HUMAN UNIQUENESS, THE OTHER HOMINIDS, AND “ANTHROPOCENTRISM OF THE GAPS” IN THE RELIGION AND SCIENCE DIALOGUE

Authors

  • Joshua M. Moritz

    1. Joshua M. Moritz is managing editor of the journal Theology and Science and Research Associate at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, CA, 504 Curtis Street #3, Albany, CA 94706, USA; e-mail: Jmoritz@ctns.org.
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Abstract

Abstract.  The concept of human uniqueness has long played a central role within key interpretations of the hominid fossil record and within numerous theological understandings of the imago Dei. More recently, the status of humans as evolutionarily unique has come under strong criticism owing to the discovery of certain nonhuman hominids who, as language and culture-bearing beings, lived as contemporaries with early anatomically modern humans. Nevertheless, many scholars, including those in the field of religion and science, continue to interpret the remains of these other hominids in light of empirically ungrounded implicit assumptions about human uniqueness, which the author calls “anthropocentrism of the gaps.” This paper argues that “anthropocentrism of the gaps” is philosophically unwarranted and thus should not be assumed by scholars in religion and science when evaluating contemporary findings in paleoanthropology.

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