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

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #771

No such effort on my part! I merely chimed in that @T.j_Runyon’s comments were interesting, and that they might be of interest to you and @Jay313, the two Forum regulars who (it seems to me) most often interact over the subject of a Great Leap Forward. My intent was to help you by calling this post to your attention during a season with lots of posts on the Forum. Didn’t mean to imply anything about your position or mischaracterize it. :slight_smile:

Have a good day —

(Peaceful Science) #772

Very good point!

I certainly am not in the ID camp, and I also affirm common descent. @DennisVenema work explaining this both on the blog and in his book has been very important.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #773

…but @swamidass has written four blog posts for BioLogos, and spent lots more time hanging out with all of us… so I’d say Joshua is more part of BioLogos than Steve, by those measures! :slight_smile:

(Sorry, don’t mean to be insensitive to political realities. Just expressing my naive wish that we could “all just get along” :slight_smile: … I very much appreciate all the voices in this conversation and the time generously given to this important conversation!)

(Jay Johnson) #774

Yes, interesting article. There’s a really good paper that came out of an interdisciplinary symposium on cultural evolution that ties together all of these things pretty well. The Nature of Culture: an eight-grade model for the evolution and expansion of cultural capacities in hominins and other animals Here is the key section:

Due to the virtual nature of notional modules
it is often difficult to detect undoubted evidence
of notional cultural capacity within the archaeological
record. Pigments and cut marks on different
raw materials are often claimed to implicate
symbolic content (d’Errico & Henshilwood,
2011; d’Errico et al., 2012; Mania & Mania,
1988), a fact which can hardly be proven without
other unambiguous hints from the archaeological
context (cf. Garofoli & Haidle, 2014).
Recently, ca. 500 ka old shells from Trinil on Java,
Indonesia have been reported as showing engravings
in a geometrical pattern (Joordens et al.,
2014). However, it is not clear that the engravings
are deliberate, let alone evidence of Homo
erectus having attempted to signify something.
Eagle claws from 130 ka old layers at Krapina
suggest at least a Neandertal affection for special
objects (Radovčić et al., 2015); if possible ornaments
as such are a proof of symbolism is debated
(Garofoli, 2014). It is only around 40 ka ago that
undisputable elements of figurative art occur in
the archaeological record, which are accepted
by most archaeologists as carriers of notional
information (but see Malafouris, 2007 for an
alternative conception of cave paintings). From
that time, ivory sculptures depicting animals and
females have been discovered from several cave
sites of the Swabian Jura in Southern Germany
(Conard, 2003, 2009; Higham et al., 2012).
As early evidence of notional concepts artistic
representations of probably supernatural beings
are counted like the ca 40 ka lion-man from
the Hohlestein-Stadel cave in South Germany
(cf. Kind et al., 2014; Wynn et al., 2009), the
‘adorant’ from the Geißenklösterle cave nearby
(Hahn, 1994), and the small figurine interpreted
as a lion-man from Hohle Fels cave (Conard,
2003). A stone figurine from Stratzing in Austria
(Neugebauer-Maresch, 1989), paintings on rock
fragments from Fumane Cave in Northern Italy
(Broglio et al., 2005), and the paintings from
Grotte Chauvet in France (Clottes, 2001) are of
roughly comparable age. The oldest cave paintings,
so far, have been dated in Northern Spain
back to more than 40.8 ka (Pike et al., 2012).
Outside Europe, the oldest evidence for figurative
depictions was found in the Maros caves on
Sulawesi, Indonesia dating back to more than 35
ka (Aubert et al., 2014) and in 27.5 ka old layers
at Apollo 11 Cave in Namibia (Vogelsang, 1998).

Edit: I should also clarify that H. erectus did not speak “language” but proto-language, which began with one-word utterances. This doesn’t require full symbolicity, as the symbols are processed one-at-a-time.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #775

This is probably too far afield, but just to say: Challenging Chomsky’s theory on universal grammar is tricky, because the theory is virtually unfalsifiable. Everett took one of Chomsky’s more memorable but narrow claims and attempted to falsify it. The argument may appear flimsy because it’s narrow, but in Everett’s defense, this was probably one of the only ways to pin down Chomskian theory and falsify (some portion of) it.

That said, Everett is certainly a controversial figure, not least for his highly public deconversion as a former member of a well-known evangelical mission that counts at least three regular BioLogos Forum contributors in its ranks. :slight_smile:

(Peaceful Science) #776

Do not despair.

I am no longer associated with BioLogos or consider it my “tent”, however, I still have good relationships with people here. We can get along, and we are not enemies. There are no hard feelings on my end, and neither do I think there are on theirs. We have a great deal of common ground, despite our very real disagreements.

That being said, as is entirely evident on this thread, the moderators have been very accommodating and tolerant of me.

BioLogos places a vital role in the conversation, which I support. We are just cross-purposes with each other in this season. Who knows what the future holds.

(George Brooks) #777


Didn’t you read any of this thread? Or this post in particular?:

The thread deals with this book:
“Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique Edited by J.P. Moreland”

Despite her extensive involvement with this book, as far as I have been able to determine, Dr. Gauger, (@agauger) , at no time, attempted to rectify the Young Earth position by explaining that humanity is much, much, much older than 6,000 or even 10,000 years.

So, what exactly convinces you that Dr. Gauger is not a YEC?

The concerns I raise are essentially the very same concerns raised by @Jonathan_Burke:

(George Brooks) #778


But what you write in the book “Theistic Evolution” is far and away the opposite of what your scientific position, as described here and there on these BioLogos boards, would indicate.

You are either keeping “a secret” from the Young Earth Creationists … or keeping “a secret” from the BioLogos audience. How can one person write your answer to me above, and also write what we see in the book “Theistic Evolution”?

You can see that it is not just me who is wondering what is going on here… @Jonathan_Burke has written far more about your views than I have even contemplated.

Can you resolve this mystery for us?

(Ann Gauger) #779

@gbrooks9, @Jonathan_Burke,

I’d like to make several points.

  1. Science and Human Origins, published in 2012, was when I was first beginning to grapple with this problem. It lays out why I think/ thought an unguided process could not account for human evolution. It did not mention an age for Adam. I had not begun to think about it. It does touch on the problem of special creation but says the evidence is not in yet.

  2. There are four things that are separable.
    Did God use special creation to produce Adam or not?
    Did God use guided evolution and we can detect it?
    Did God use guided evolution and we can’t detect it
    It all happened by natural causes, with God having set everything in motion.
    I am either 1 or 2. Still considering. Most of my writing does challenge evolution, but that depends on how you define evolution. What I challenge is 3 and 4.

  3. I began thinking about the evidence available about dates for a bottleneck/ first pair after that. I have a power point from a talk I gave in 2014 that demonstrates that. At that point I was convinced of an old date and a first pair but did not have firm evidence. So I didn’t argue the point publicly.

  4. I began to pursue a model to test the Ne of 10,000 and dates in 2014.
    By 2016 we had a model to publish, which we did. The possibility of either a young age or an old one is discussed in those papers.

  5. The manuscript for my chapters in the TE book were submitted in 2016. The article on the population genetics models restates what our more scientific paper said: there are two options for a first pair (or bottleneck), as stated above. I said nothing on the age of the earth because it was irrelevant, AND it should be clear from other writings that I accept an old earth. If it’s not clear to you, then let me say it here: I ACCEPT AN OLD EARTH. I gave no firm dates for Adam because at that time we still didn’t have a model working to test the possibility. NOTE: the articles in the TE book were submitted long before any of this discussion had happened.

  6. It is only recently that we have a real argument for a possible bottleneck older than 400 kya. I have been waiting for a public statement. But with Swamidass having addressed the HLA problem, we have several lines of argument/evidence, so it is a good time for me to say something about this publicly. The only caveat is our model has not been run to test the dates yet. That is in progress. It will be interesting to see what it shows, because it uses different assumptions.

Nothing hidden. No secrets. No deception. Just an unwillingness to state a date without evidence.
I can’t spend more time on this. You will either have to accept my word, or let your prejudices color your reading of what I am saying in ways I cannot predict.

(Chris Falter) #780

Thanks for summarizing your research so clearly, Dr. Gauger. Could you kindly provide links to the papers you reference?

(George Brooks) #781


I thank you for your clarifying details. Timelines are certainly important in the development of your views.

But I do struggle with just one point: You say you accept Old Earth. I must assume that your acceptance of an Old Earth is part of what came after you submitted your chapters in the TE book. Otherwise, I would have expected that your chapters would reflect Old Earth views, and that your submissions would not have been included in the TE book.

Since you have an “insiders’” view… can you list a few names of any other experts in the I.D. field (other than you or Dr. Behe):

Who are Definitively and Simultaneously:
1) Old Earthers, where humanity, not just the Earth, was created well before 10,000 years ago;
2) that God formed present-day Humanity by influencing the step-by-step genetic progression of
a population (or populations) of pre-humans - - who would thus be the legitimate biological ancestors
of modern humans.

Let’s start things on an easy gradient, Dr. Gauger. Can you confirm that your views currently satisfy both of the points above? If not, which point seems to be the problem?

I worded the two-way criteria above to accomplish a few things at once:
A) To accommodate some of @Swamidass’s scenarios, without doing specific harm to evolutionary scenarios.
B) To defeat dodgy equivocations by some who say they are Old Earthers but still insist that humanity came
from a single pair 6000 years ago, with evolution not even being a consideration.
C) To satisfy many BioLogos supporters who see no controversy in the idea that God guided evolution.

(Ann Gauger) #782

@Chris_Falter This lists both papers, with links.
Ola Hössjer, Ann Gauger, and Colin Reeves are the authors.

(Ann Gauger) #783

I think you have several things run together which need to be separate. It is possible to hold that the earth is old, and not have a position on the age of humanity. There is a great deal of evidence that the earth is old, which I accept, and disputed evidence about when humans first appeared and whether common descent is true. Those last two are what I am working on.

My chapters do not discuss old earth views. Neither do they propose a young earth. Casey Luskin’s discussion of fossils clearly does. And not discussing something does not indicate disagreement with it.

Concerning the opinions of other ID supporters, I can’t answer because I don’t know. I haven’t taken a poll. Some may be on the fence, some may be on either side of the fence. And I said, you need to separate your categories.

I am glad that many Biologos supporters believe that God guided evolution. I guess the question that might distinguish my position from theirs is whether we can detect that guidance.

  1. I don’t know when humanity was created. I am still waiting on the results of our model. I favor an older origin but don’t consider it settled yet.
  2. I can’t affirm 2. I don’t affirm common descent, at least where humans are concerned. I am open to evidence.

No. I was old earth from the beginning. I don’t know why you think otherwise.

(Ann Gauger) #784


Thanks for your response. Admittedly I am basing my evaluation on a book by Tom Wolfe :slightly_smiling_face:
and I am not a linguist. However, I discount Everett’s story for this reason:
He challenged Chomsky on one particular grammatical feature that Chomsky said was universal, by saying that the tribe he worked with did not have this feature in their language. Fair enough, but tribe members who moved to locations where they had to learn other languages picked up that grammatical feature without trouble. So it’s not that they lacked the structure in their brain, just that it wasn’t being used until necessary.

Everett does have his supporters. The article concerning Homo erectus and boat building had a favorable quote from Kenneth Laland I believe. He is a member of the group that wants to see an extended synthesis for evolution.

(Ann Gauger) #785


One more thing. After your questions about why I didn’t declare myself on the age of the earth in the TE book, I remembered something. The editors decided well before I joined the team to not bring up the age of the earth. This was discussed in Wayne Grudem’s intro.

A. What This Book Is Not About
This book is not about the age of the earth. We are aware that many sincere Christians hold a “young earth” position (the earth is perhaps 10,000 years old), and many others hold an “old earth” position (the earth is 4.5 billion years old). This book does not take a position on that issue, nor do we discuss it at any point in the book.

So nobody discussed this subject, and that reveals nothing about anybody’s position. Certain chapters discussed material that required the use of dates–those chapters used old earth dates.

I understand that you see the YEC position as inimical, and you would like for someone somehow to persuade them of the truth. At least that’s how I read what you have written. You think I have not declared my position to avoid offending them. No, I will declare what I see as happening, but not declare what I see as not firmly settled as if it were settled. And BTW, my taking up an old Adam position will not change anybody’s mind.

Another thing, it’s one thing to propose an idea, and another thing to hang one’s hat on it. I have stated my reasons for why I think an old Adam would fit the data best, but that choice depends on which data are emphasized and which are left out. Other choices can be made.

A good deal of science is living in tension with conflicting data, and trying to find a way to explain both sides. I find the science/faith dispute about origins is similar. I know a little, and what I do know I hold very gently, because I can be wrong. There is a great deal more that I do not know, and even more that I don’t know I don’t know :slight_smile:

(Brad Kramer) #786

A post was split to a new topic: Question for Ann Gauger

A.Suarez's Treatment on a Pope's Formulation for Original Sin's Transmission!
(Steve Schaffner) #787

That is correct: I do not affirm a historical Adam. That’s not really based on scientific considerations – the way I view the Bible operating as scripture doesn’t give me any reason to think Adam would have been a historical figure.

(George Brooks) #788


You don’t find some of the scenarios being explored by @Swamidass appealing?

The one I like is that God uses special creation to create the Adam and Eve pair, and they shape the course of the entire human race by having their descendants blend into the ancient human lineage(s) that have evolved on Earth . . . not realizing they were prepared for the arrival of Adam and Eve.

(Steve Schaffner) #789

No. I might find it appealing if I thought the authors of Genesis were intending to talk about a historical figure, and if I thought they had access to information about such a figure. But since I don’t believe either of those things, estimating the time of genealogical Adam is of no more interest to me than, say, estimating the date of the first human with blonde hair, or the first human who was lactose tolerant.

(Peaceful Science) #790

Makes a lot of sense to me why @glipsnort does not care.

Our views on a genealogical Adam will be tightly defined by how we read Scripture. I’m fine with that.