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.
"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
Former Professor of Biological Sciences
University of California, Irvine, CA
"At the Dawn of Humanity is thorough and balanced. With characteristic clarity, Dr. Gerard Verschuuren snaps together the current understanding of human evolution, an integration of science, philosophy, and theology.
He not only clarifies the questions, he provides answers for our moment in history. This is an important work."
Dr. Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of chemistry
at Holy Apostles College
"A well-researched and comprehensive analysis. Solidly grounded in the best scientific research available, Verschuuren presents cogent arguments to defend the traditional and commonsensical claim that we are a radically unique kind of animal that stands out among the billions of other species that have ever evolved.
"Verschuuren argues cogently that this theory (of evolution) is incapable on its own of explaining what he identifies as the five great "divides" between the human person and animals.... What makes the book so fascinating - and so valuable - is that Verschuuren takes a close look at the materialist explanations scientists have offered to bridge these divides"
"This is a clearly written, accessible, and thoroughly interesting book. In a world of generally stupid polemics between scientific materialists and intelligent design/young earth creationists, this text offers an exceedingly and coherently rational (and thoroughly Catholic) examination of the ascent of the human form.
Grounded in science and scientific reasoning, the book offers much to the believer who wishes to know more about evolution and how a Catholic (or any person of faith) might think about it."
Publisher of Angelico Press Ltd.
"absolutely brilliant, better than any I have yet come across in contemporary philosophical literature."
Dr. Peter A. Kwasniewski
Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center in Steubenville, Ohio
"[He] takes up the challenge of the neo-Darwinists who have made a 'doctrine' of gradualism,
Charles Darwin's belief that between animals and humans there is only a difference 'of degree and not of kind.'
Verschuuren ends his excellent work with a 'Final Word' about how 'scientism' today [...] has become our new semi-religion."
Listen to "Episode 55: Cynthia Toolin-Wilson interviews Gerard Verschuuren on his book At the Dawn of Humanity: The First Humans (August 5, 2020)" on Spreaker.
Dr. Cynthia Toolin-Wilson interviews Dr. Gerard Verschuuren concerning this book
on WCAT radio (August 5, 2020)