In a just-published book, Science and Human Origins, Ann Gauger et al took issues with some popular beliefs. Some asked whether their work commits the sin of creationism.
Well, as noted earlier, if it is legitimate to ask whether all life descended from a primordial cell, it is legitimate to ask whether all human life came from two parents. You can call them Adam and Eve or Ada and Evan. Or Geek and Granola..
The principle question is whether the bottle’s neck is so narrow. Here is Gauger et al’s conclusion:
Reconsidering the Evolutionary Story
I chose to look at the HLA-DRB1 story because it seemed to provide the strongest case from population genetics against two first parents. If it were true that we share thirty-two separate lineages of HLA-DRB1 with chimps, it would indeed cause difficulties for an original couple. But as we have seen, the data indicate that it is possible for us to have come from just two first parents.
See also: Breaking: Adam and Eve are scientifically possible
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Moreover, the data indicate that DNA similarity is not going to be a simple story to unravel. There are already regions of human DNA known to more closely resemble gorilla sequences than chimp sequences.22 Now we have sequences that resemble macaque DNA, a primate not part of the hominid group. Furthermore, when adjacent regions of DNA yield different evolutionary trees, linked to species that diverged well before the putative most recent common ancestor of chimps and humans, something unusual is going on.
This result was a surprise to me, and threw me back into a consideration of the whole story of our common descent from ape-like ancestors. I already knew from my own research that similarity of form or structure was not enough to demonstrate that neo-Darwinian common descent was possible. I knew that genuine protein innovations were beyond the reach of naturalistic processes. I therefore began to re-examine everything
I knew or thought I knew about human origins. I reviewed paleo-anthropology, evolutionary psychology and population genetics research articles, I reviewed popular books and textbooks. I applied strict logic to the story of what would be required for our evolution from great apes.
As a result of all this reading and reflection, although I was always skeptical about the plausibility of human evolution by neo-Darwinian means, I have now come to wonder about the extent of common descent as well.
Currently, neo-Darwinism is the accepted explanation for our origin. It may be, though, that as we continue to investigate our own
genomes, the Darwinian explanation for our similarity with chimps—namely, common descent—will evaporate. We may discover additional features in our genome that defy explanation based on common ancestry. As evidence of common descent’s insufficiency as a theory grows, alternate theories will need to be tested.
But one thing is clear right now: Adam and Eve have not been disproven by science, and those who claim otherwise are misrepresenting the scientific evidence. [emphasis in original]
Note: In this and in previous excerpts, journal reference numbers have been omitted.
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