Human evolution theistic evolution

Geneticist: Adam and Eve could have existed

Spread the love

Image result for Adam and Eve public domain Adam and Eve have certainly been in the news a lot lately. Recently, Joshua Swamidass distanced himself from Christian evolution group BioLogos over their insistence that Adam and Eve could not possibly have existed.

Meanwhile, British plant geneticist Richard Buggs posted a letter he had sent in May to BioLogos’ Dennis Venema, taking issue with the claim that a population of 10,000 is required, as stated in Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight, Adam and the Genome:

I was a bit surprised that you categorically state in your book that the past human effective population size has definitely never dropped below 10,000 individuals and say that this is a fact of comparable scientific certainty to heliocentrism. Most people working in the field take reconstructions of effective population size with a pinch of salt. I well remember my surprise as a newly graduated PhD student attending a summer school on molecular evolution at Edinburgh University in 2005 on hearing Gil McVean from Oxford say over breakfast that effective population size is a nebulous concept. As I am sure you know, effective population size is a measure of a population’s susceptibility to drift, rather than an attempt to measure census population size. I would be very hesitant to rely too heavily on any estimate of past effective population size.

To get more specific, I think you are mistaken when you say this:

“If a species were formed through such an event [by a single ancestral breeding pair] or if a species were reduced in numbers to a single breeding pair at some point in its history, it would leave a telltale mark on its genome that would persist for hundreds of thousands of years— a severe reduction in genetic variability for the species as a whole”

It is easy to have misleading intuitions about the population genetic effects of a short, sudden bottleneck.

Richard Buggs

Crickets answered Buggs all summer and into the fall.

At Evolution News & Views, Ann Gauger offers a lay-friendly take on the question:

This means that a single pair of individuals can carry a great deal of heterozygosity with them through a bottleneck, provided they come from an ancestral population with high diversity and undergo rapid population growth after the bottleneck. They will pass most of that diversity on to the population they found, so long as population grows rapidly.

Gauger and others are offering a model to test the idea:

What is needed is a model that does not rely on the standard assumptions of population genetics. Recently Hössjer, Gauger, and Reeves have proposed such an alternative model. The model, when programmed, will be available for use by anyone to test the effects of various starting conditions, like population size, the degree of gene flow, recombination and mutation rates, mate choice effects, and ultimately the effects of selection. The outcomes of various scenarios can be tested and compared to summary statistics from modern populations, in order to determine which scenarios best explain current populations.

Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science by [McKnight, Scot, Venema, Dennis R.] Curiously, in Adam and the Genome, McKnight and Venema assert that no one who doubts understands the evidence:

“there does not appear to be anyone in the antievolutionary camp at present with the necessary training to properly understand the evidence, much less offer a compelling case against it.” (Adam and the Genome, p. 65, emphasis added)

“to date, no one in the creationist camp writing about these data seems to understand the evidence, much less has the ability to credibly undermine it” (Adam and the Genome, p. 205)

Well, Dr. Buggs, who has a good publication record, understands, doubts, and is not of Darwin’s fold. Naturally, one might hope for some response from Dr. Venema soon. The crickets are tired.

See also: Swamidass distances himself from Christian evolution group

3 Replies to “Geneticist: Adam and Eve could have existed

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Next thing you know geneticists will be telling us that Jesus could have existed.

    Think of the furor that could cause at BioLogos!


  2. 2
    J-Mac says:

    Next thing you know geneticists will be telling us that Jesus could have existed.

    Think of the furor that could cause at BioLogos!

    Can you imagine Bill Nye’s or Ken Millers’ face expressions pretending that evolution predicted it?

  3. 3
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    I guess Prof. Swamidass has read Paul’s letter to church at Rome, Chapter 5, verses 12 – 21, and understands its implications:

    Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ
    12 Sin entered the world because one man sinned. And death came because of sin. Everyone sinned, so death came to all people.

    13 Before the law was given, sin was in the world. This is certainly true. But people are not judged for sin when there is no law. 14 Death ruled from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. Death ruled even over those who did not sin as Adam did. He broke God’s command. But Adam also became a pattern of the Messiah. The Messiah was the one who was going to come.

    15 God’s gift can’t be compared with Adam’s sin. Many people died because of the sin of that one man. But it was even more sure that God’s grace would also come through one man. That man is Jesus Christ. God’s gift of grace was more than enough for the whole world. 16 The result of God’s gift is different from the result of Adam’s sin. That one sin brought God’s judgment. But after many sins, God’s gift made people right with him. 17 One man sinned, and death ruled over all people because of his sin. What will happen is even more sure than this. Those who receive the rich supply of God’s grace will rule with Christ. They will rule in his kingdom. They have received God’s gift and have been made right with him. This will happen because of what the one man, Jesus Christ, has done.

    18 So one man’s sin brought guilt to all people. In the same way, one right act made people right with God. That one right act gave life to all people. 19 Many people were made sinners because one man did not obey. But one man did obey. That is why many people will be made right with God.

    20 The law was given so that sin would increase. But where sin increased, God’s grace increased even more. 21 Sin ruled and brought death. But grace rules in the lives of those who are right with God. The grace of God brings eternal life. That’s because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done.

    Christianity is a historical faith. If it doesn’t get history right, it has nothing, since it builds explicitly on definite accounts of historical events.

    Here, if there is no first Adam, there is no second Adam, and no salvation or forgiveness from sin.

    Of course, as they say about Thomas Jefferson and those like him who levy an excise tax on the Bible, removing what they don’t like, once you start cutting stuff out of the Bible, you never know when to stop. But don’t worry; they’ll try a John Wayne and say what they cut out must’ve been inaccurate and made up anyway.

    There is a consequence, though. As Harold Lindsell documented some 40 years ago in his book THe Battle for the Bible, over the past 200 years, every Christian denomination or organization that surrendered inerrancy drifted into apostasy. Every one.

    The ongoing implosion of Biologos is at once another example of this phenomenon, and a good cultural lesson for the ID community. Surrendering even a small part of the truth that particles-to-people evolution through natural selection acting on random mutation not only did not happen, but could not have happened, takes the first step on a path that will always lead to a rejection of all the truth. Unless one does a 180-degree turn on this road, acknowledges the error and returns to the starting point, there is no return.

    The larger lesson is that truth and lies cannot long co-exist; one will eventually dominate and destroy the other. Richard John Neuhaus put it this way, in what has become known as Neuhaus’ Law: Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.

    The tension between truths embraced and truths denied in a human heart is unendurable. We can’t hold part of it and reject part of it, for long. As J. Budziszewski wrote, the teeth of the moral gears are too finely set for that. The violated conscience does not wither; it both propels the person into a wholesale rejection of the truth for himself, and fuels his efforts to remove reminders of the rejected truth from the entire world.

Leave a Reply