At the Dawn of Humanity
The First Humans

(upcoming)


Summary

What happened when humanity emerged? It depends on whom you ask. Many scientists will say that almost nothing really changed. Many religious people will respond that almost everything was new. Most other people are somewhere in-between—between almost everything and almost nothing. The extreme ends of the spectrum will either minimize or maximize the differences between the non-human animal world and the human world. Who is right?
In this book, we want to investigate first how genes may change from generation to generation—before, during, and after the dawn of humanity. After we have studied those mechanisms, we want to find out how much this can explain what many people consider unique to humanity: the faculties of language, rationality, morality, self-awareness, and religion. Are those features really unique, or did they come from the non-human animal world? Were the first humans able to use language, to think rationally, to act morally, to know who they were, and to know there is a God? The answer may surprise you.


Table of Contents


1.	COMMON DESCENT	
	Unity in the Living World	
	Natural Selection	
2.	EVOLUTION STEP BY STEP	
	Survival of the Fittest	
	Genetics	
	Gene Duplicates	
	Gradualism	
3.	SPECIATION STEP BY STEP	
	The Species Concept	
	The Process of Speciation	
4.	EVOLUTION WITH LEAPS	
	Saltationism	
	Regulatory Genes	
	Taxonomy	
5.	HUMANITY STEP BY STEP	
	Common Ancestry	
	Gradualism
	
6.	THE LANGUAGE DIVIDE	
	Anthropomorphism	
	Linguistics	
	Speech	
	When and How	
7.	THE RATIONALITY DIVIDE	
	Conceptual understanding	
	Concepts in the Animal World?	
	Conceptual reasoning	
	Reasoning in the Animal World?	
8.	THE MORALITY DIVIDE	
	How Unique is Morality?	
	A Moral Code or a Genetic Code?	
	Where Does the Moral Code Come from?	
9.	THE SELF-AWARENESS DIVIDE	
	What Is Self-Awareness?	
	The Mirror Test	
	At the Dawn of Self	
10.	THE RELIGION DIVIDE	
	Self-Transcendence	
	A Gene for Religion?	
	Religion Explains Everything Else	
11.	THE SOUL DIVIDE	
	More than Matter	
	Immortal Souls	
	Adam and Eve?	
12.	CONCLUSION	





Reviews
 


“The first five chapters of this book are a wonderful, up-to-date account of the evolutionary origin of humans from our animal ancestors. But, as Gerard Verschuuren asserts, ‘Although we are flesh as they are flesh, we are also very exceptional creatures in this Universe, endowed with the faculties of language, rationality, morality, self-awareness, and religion.’
The last five chapters are dedicated to each of these five distinctive human faculties. And it is in these chapters that Verschuuren develops a comprehensive, informative, and very personal understanding of the nature of
Homo sapiens, our own species, all written in clear didactic and easy to follow language. A wonderful book.”

Francisco J. Ayala
University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences
University of California, Irvine, CA

Upcoming

Dr. Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Chemistry
Holy Apostles College & Seminary
Cromwell, Connecticut