Dr Gunter Bechly is a palaeontologist who became convinced that Darwinian evolution cannot explain the fossil record. He debates Intelligent Design with computational biologist Dr Joshua Swamidass who affirms an evolutionary account.
Swamidass’ Theory is a Mathematical Shell Game We have all seen the shell game played out on TV and movies. There is some street hustler who has three shells and one ball. He places the ball under one shell and shuffles them around. If you want to win the game, you have to pick the shell that conceals the ball. But we all know that you can’t really win the game. Why? Because it’s a game of misdirection. In fact, the ball is not really under any of the three shells. It is hidden in the palm of the hustler’s hand ready to be placed anywhere he likes. I don’t mean to call Swamidass a hustler (that takes my analogy too far), but I do think he is playing the shell game.
I think this shell game is a fair analogy to Swamidass’s theory of human origins because Swamidass hides the ball of “ancestry” behind the many shells of population genetics. When the Apostle Paul says that Adam and Eve are the ancestors of of us, he means something very different than does Swamidass. Instead of shells, Swamidass uses a computer model based on population genetics to hide the ball of ancestry. And while this claim that the ball is somewhere under the shells may be statistically meaningful, in practical terms it is meaningless. In his book, Is Science Racist?, Jonathan Marks raises this very point. Not directly about Swamidass, but about how folks play the game of “ancestry” using mathematical models…J.R. Miller, “Misconceptions about Swamidass’ Genealogical Adam and Eve” at More Than Cake (June 18, 2021)
Maybe another debate?