Adam, Eve and Population Genetics: A Reply to Dr. Richard Buggs (Part 1)

(Christy Hemphill) #549

But this violates the concept of species, doesn’t it? How is there ever “the first” mating pair of a species? Species transition over time as a population. Any divisions are arbitrary divisions on a development continuum that does not have precise boundaries down to individuals. Now it looks like you are conflating Homo sapiens with human.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #550

If there’s one thing I thought I’d learned in this conversation (the most recent part of it — yesterday and today), it was that you may be able to meaningfully say that there was a first “human” couple if you define human relationally or theologically, but you can’t say that there was a first “human” couple if you define human genetically (H. sapiens) or behaviorally (“behaviorally modern” humans).

If I’ve got this wrong, I hope Joshua will clarify.

Biological Definition of "Mankind"
(Jon) #551

I agree. This is the kind of parsing to which I referred in my previous post. One minute a term means X, the next minute it means Y, then still later it’s swapped out for Z. It feels horribly like a bait and switch is happening each time.

(Lynn Munter) #552

It is possible one could recognize a sharp species boundary at a point when the number of chromosomes changed, making interbreeding difficult although probably not impossible. That did happen once between the chimp split and us but I doubt it was at a human-defining moment we’d think much of. Other than that I couldn’t say.

(Christy Hemphill) #553

So the number of chromosomes changed in only two individuals? How is that possible? And they happened to find each other and mate?

(Lynn Munter) #554

It would change in one first (identical twins tangent … no, not going there) but then they’d have a kid? And either inbreeding, or the chromosome number isn’t as much of a fertility issue early on as it becomes later.

(Lynn Munter) #555

His clarification was about three words. What you appear to be going off of is your further clarification/restatement which he agreed to, which is fine for some purposes, but not for saying he should put a retraction in the next edition of his book.

(Jay Johnson) #556

I really wish you would stop saying “adams”. The Hebrew in Gen. 1:26 is adam, which is a collective noun meaning “mankind”. It is not a Hebrew plural, formed by adding -im, so what you’re doing is, in effect, talking about “mankinds” every time you say “adams”.

In any case, if you’re trying to define a theological category of “adams” in contrast to the biological category of “mankind,” I reject the distinction. We can have a theological definition of mankind and a biological definition of mankind, and they may be entirely different. But that is a far different thing than saying God created a “theological mankind” separately and at a later date than his creation of “biological mankind.”

All of humanity developed through one evolutionary process of creation. That is parsimony.

Biological Definition of "Mankind"
(T J Runyon) #557

I agree. Some of this word play is just becoming silly and I am quickly losing interest in this thread. I’m interested in if Homo sapiens, a species that is 350kya give or take ever dipped down to two. And the way I read Dennis’ book was that the view that we are the descendants of two individuals that were created de novo is false and this as certain as heliocentrism. I couldnt care less if Erectus dipped down to two. And as someone who dedicates much of his time to Erectus, the view that Adam couldve been Erectus just doesn’t match the data. I just want to know did our species ever dip down to two and is if even possible without that pair being descended from a larger pre Sapiens ancestral population?

(Dennis Venema) #558

Lynn has the correct sense of things. I too am not really interested in grammatical hair-splitting! Nor do I see a need to revise the book. “Descending from just two people” is talking about populations and genetics, not genealogy. Yes I was aware of the genealogy issue - that is why “only” is in there. In other places, I’m careful to say we don’t descend “uniquely” from just two people, etc.

(Dennis Venema) #559

Oh, and chromosome number change by fusion isn’t a speciation mechanism (in vertebrates, anyway). It happens in one individual, who then mates with others with the usual set. In the human lineage, this occurred before Neanderthals and Denisovans branch off.

48 --> 47 --> over time, more individuals with 47

47 mates with 47 —> some have 46

Over time, 48, 47 become less common, and our lineage fixes on 46.

(Lynn Munter) #560

Thanks for the clarification! Does it not cause fertility issues at all, or just not issues sufficient to prevent offspring?

(GJDS) #561

Perhaps we misunderstand each other - I read your statement to mean there should be two classifications of humanity (eg non-theological and theological). The subsequent comments show some type of biological change and this excites others into speculation regarding Adam and Eve.

I think I will leave this conversationit at this point.

(Christy Hemphill) #562

I don’t personally think that, but yes, that is how some people talk about it. There is the species Homo sapiens (biological human) and then people speculate that within the species (or an earlier one) there arose a group or a couple that were the first “theological humans;” the first to have a relationship with God, or moral accountability, or an eternal soul, or the image of God, or whatever it is that one uses to define “human” theologically.

(Dennis Venema) #563

The fertility issues are mild.

This sort of thing still happens - there’s an example of a man in China with 44 chromosomes - his parents both have 45, and the fused pair they have they inherited from a common ancestor.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #564

For what it’s worth, I think that a number of folks here (or perhaps just @swamidass and I) don’t even necessarily feel this distinction is the best way forward for ourselves, but have been exploring it for the sake of those who cannot bear to accept evolution if it means jettisoning a singular historical Adam.

This sort of “saving the phenomena” approach seems to be tiring folks on this thread, though, and it’s not properly speaking the topic of the thread…

(Peter Wolfe) #565

Yay! Have folks actually agreed on something? Isn’t it the same thing we started with?! Can I go back under my rock now :nerd_face:.

(GJDS) #566

It seems to me there are as many versions as people to promote them.

I think we begin with one human species, and within these one couple that were created by God for a special relationship wit Him, that communed with God in a sacred place. We may draw an analogy from today - all of us are human, but some of us are Christians. With Adam and Eve, we draw on the Bible for understanding and read this into the entire doctrine of salvation in Christ.

(Chris Falter) #567

We could also say that God is miraculously transforming the vision of astronauts so that a truly flat earth appears round. We could also say that the sun only appears to be the gravitational center of our neighborhood in space due to miraculous, divine interventions in our observations, but in fact the sun and planets revolve around the earth in conformance with Calvin’s exegesis of many Bible passages.

You offered your observation as an olive branch to those who disagree with you, Joshua. Your motives are admirable. However, sometimes the doctor has to tell her desperate patient that he has stage 4 cancer, and sometimes the scientific community has to tell a religious community that some tenet of their traditional natural history does not comport with reality.

The genealogical Adam idea is a worthy idea, though. Worth further investigation, for sure.

Grace and peace,

The Big Tent ... and Genealogical Adam!
(GJDS) #568

To join in this humorous vane, we may also marvel at the mysterious “natural” force(s) that miraculously made all manner of “pre-humans”, and once it saw the required genetic diversity was achieve, it culled this helpless population (of an unknown but large number) into just the right bottleneck, (of an inferred but smaller number) at just the right time, to give us our indisputable modelling of the current human genome - but wait, this clearly is as certain as the round (as opposed to a flat) earth, and wait, there is more astronomy to leave us with complete certitude.

Just having some fun.

Grace and Peace,