Christian Anti-evolutionism in Light of DNA Evidence

As I survey the world of views on Adam and who he was, one thing struck me while I was sick in bed last week–Christians seem to require that Adam not be evolved, that is, that he, like us, is an anatomically modern human. And the vast majority of views say Adam must have lived when the YECs say Adam must have lived–within the past 10 kyrs. Others who believe Adam was 200,000 years ago, still believe he had to be an anatomically modern human. In other words, it seems that a key modern Christian doctrine is that Adam must be physically like us. We seem to be saying that God could not put his image in anything that doesn’t look like us. I reject that view.

What evidence do I have for this claim? First, every YEC says Adam lived within the past 10,000 years, so I don’t need to discuss any of them. Their Adam is almost always considered to be an H. sapiens . Archaic species if granted human status are degenerates from Adam.

With the old earthers, Let’s start with Hugh Ross, who believes the universe evolved, but not biology. Poor Hugh has constantly but grudgingly been moving Adam backward in time.

"While bipedal, tool-using, large brained hominids roamed the earth at least as long ago as one million years, evidence for religious relics and altars dates back only 8,000 to 24,000 years . Thus the secular anthropological date for the first spirit creatures is in complete agreement with the biblical date ." Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God, (Orange: Promise Publishing, 1991), p. 159-160.

By 1995, Ross had moved the oldest possible Adamic date back to 60,000 years ago.

" However, the dates for these finds are well within the biblically acceptable range for the appearance of Adam and Eve __ somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 years ago according to Bible scholars who have carefully analyzed the genealogies. Since the oldest art and fabrics date between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago, no contradiction exists between anthropology and Scripture on this issue ." Hugh Ross, “Art and Fabric Shed New Light on Human History,” Facts & Faith, 9:3 (1995)p. 2

Then in 2005 Rana and Ross say 100kyr old Adam might work out:

" Gaps in the genealogies and the ambiguity of key words in the original Hebrew text render the best attempts at a biblical date for Adam and Eve as estimates only. If few gaps exist, the date calculates to around 10,000 years ago. If many gaps occur, the date falls closer to 100,000 years ago. " Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross, Who Was Adam?, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2005), p.45

Today they say:

When did Adam and Eve live? … The consistency of these three independent lines of evidence instills some confidence that Adam and Eve lived somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 years ago . This date fits within the Biblical framework and strongly argues for a recent origin of humanity.

But all throughout this time, they have vehemently denied that Neanderthals interbred with humanity, that Neanderthals were anything other than primates. and have insisted that Adam and Eve are anatomically modern humans–no evolution for us. From Feb 19, 2020:

"RTB’s human origins model regards Neanderthals (and other hominins) as creatures made by God, without any evolutionary connection to modern humans. "

As we will see, RTB is hopelessly incapable of dealing with the recent DNA data. We non-Africans have Neanderthal DNA inside each of our cells.

Ok, what about people like Dick Fischer in The Origins Solution? Again, no evolution for spiritual mankind. Adam is a full-fledged H. sapiens!

" Genesis 4:22. One of Cain’s descendants, Tubal-Cain, was ‘an instructor of every worker in brass and iron.’

"This is the proverbial smoking gun! Adam belongs after the old Stone Ages, at the end of the Neolithic, at the threshold of a period called the Chalcolithic when traditional stone tools were augmented by crude copper implements. Adam’s descendants saw the dawning of the Bronze Age ." ~ Dick Fischer, The Origins Solution, (Lima, Ohio: Fairway Press, 1996), p. 239

As I explain here, brass and iron is a euphemism for corruption. and in the post after that, an even better explanation for the corruption analogy is presented by Phil McCurdy. But regardless, Dick posits Adam as one of us. People alive at the end of the Neolithic were, H. sapiens , that is, modern humans. Again, Christians of the old earth variety require that Adam be physically like us, and living when YECs say he did!

My friend Jay Johnson told me last year that the population which got the image of God, language and morality, lived 65-75,000 years ago–again, these were modern humans because he cited the globularity of their brains and connected it to language. Erectine brains when viewed from above, look like a distorted hour-glass. They are not globular.

Interestingly, Swamidass also places Adam as a very recent person on earth, say around 12,000 years ago. It seems that he and Venema, while disagreeing on the nature of Adam, agree that he was an H. sapiens.

Dennis Venema, a person of esteem here on Biologos said:

" In Adam and the Genome I consistently discuss humans as a species arising ~200,000 years ago. So, by your calculations, Zhao (2000) supports my case - human variation in this all region of the genome cannot be reasonably explained by a bottleneck to 2 individuals within human history, as I argue in AatG. Am I missing something here? I want to be sure I’m reading you correctly." Adam, Eve and Population Genetics: A Reply to Dr. Richard Buggs (Part 1)

He and Scot McKnight wrote the book mentioned above. Venema uses the minimum effective population size of modern humans as a hammer to pound the historical Adam and Eve out of the Bible. No bottle neck of 2 people has happened in human history. But those statistics only apply to the last 200,000 years of anatomically modern man. What if Adam wasn’t an anatomically modern human, and we Christians fully accept our evolutionary heritage rather than acting as if God can only put the his image into a vessel that looks like us?

George Murphy gets confused when he addresses this issue. He uses the statistics above, which are applicable only to anatomically modern people and then discusses briefly other hominids being human. He cites a problem I had worried about for about 20 years before finding a solution–the Major Histocompatibility Complex.

" The theological proposal to be made here does not depend on the number of hominids to be considered the first humans or on when they came into being. But it does seem unlikely that the present human race can be traced to a single male-female pair. As one example of the difficulty this idea faces, development of the present diversity of alleles of human histocompatibility genes from such a pair would require between five and ten million years. Unless we want to consider Adam and Eve the biological ancestors of all hominids, and perhaps even pongids, we must rule this out . "George L Murphy, Roads to Paradise and Perdition: Christ, Evolution, and Original Sin, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, June 2006, p. 114

While I do want to declare Adam and Eve the parents of the hominids, I wouldn’t go so far as the pongids, nor do I think we need to. Like George, I worried about the Major histocompatibility complex and its implications for not allowing a population bottleneck of two people. At the time I wrote my book, Adam, Apes and Anthropology, the widespread view among many atheists I knew at the time was that of Ayala:

" The human immune system DRB1 genes are extremely polymorphic, with gene lineages that coalesce into an ancestor who lived around 60 million years ago, a time before the divergence of the apes from the Old World monkeys ." Francis J. Ayala, “The Myth of Eve: Molecular Biology and Human Origins,” Science, 270(1995):1930-1936, p. 1932

Now obviously that won’t do. George gave up on the problem too early. The answer was out there shortly after I wrote my book and long before George wrote the above article. I, however didn’t find out about it until about a year and a half ago. Ayala’s calculation was based upon single nucleotide mutation driving the entire MHC polymorphism, which would indeed take 60 myr. But in 1998 it was discovered that both cross-over and recombination occurs in the MHC regions:

" Some new alleles are the result of point mutations, but many arise from the combination of sequences from different alleles either by genetic recombination or by gene conversion, a process in which one sequence is replaced, in part, by another from a different gene (Fig. 5.19). " Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et a, Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition.

" Sequences can be transferred from one gene to a similar but different gene by a process known as gene conversion. For this to happen, the two genes must become apposed during meiosis. This can occur as a consequence of the misalignment of the two paired homologous chromosomes when there are many copies of similar genes arrayed in tandem - somewhat like buttoning in the wrong buttonhole. During the process of crossing-over and DNA recombination, a DNA sequence from one chromosome is sometimes copied to the other, replacing the original sequence. In this way several nucleotide changes can be inserted all at once into a gene and can cause several simultaneous amino acid changes between the new gene sequence and the original gene. Because of the similarity of the MHC genes to each other and their close linkage, gene conversion has occurred many times in the evolution of MHC alleles ." Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et a, Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition.

Once one throws gene conversion and recombination into the mechanisms of how to form MHC diversity, one can no longer use the rate of point mutation to date the age of the MHC alleles. In both processes, multiple nucleotides are traded at each gene conversion and crossing over/recombination. This clearly means that the rate of creation of alleles is much faster than point mutations and the age of the complex is much younger than 60 myr, and maybe undatable…

Once this MHC issue is gone we have no real obstacle to a single pair except our own bias. Most people don’t know that there is no definition of modernity which includes all modern humans and excludes all archaic species:

" The main problem with modernity, we think, is reflected in the fact that there is no worldwide definition of moderns that simultaneously includes all modern humans and excludes all archaics. If modern humans share a recent unique origin, definition of this group should be possible. However, it may not be possible if the multiregional model is correct." ~ Milford Wolpoff and Rachel Caspari, “The Modernity Mess,” Journal of Human Evolution, (1996), 30:167-171, p. 169

Indeed, a form of multiregionalism is now in vogue, where Neanderthals, Denisovians and a ghost archaic in Africa interbred with moderns. Were the offspring moderns? Given that some of their descendants are alive today would strongly suggest that. By comparison to other animals we can illustrate the problem:

" We feel that this quest for the beginnings of modernity is doomed to failure; we are seeking something that doesn’t exist. It is time, as P.V. Tobias recently said, to stop talking about ‘anatomically modern humans’ for the same reasons that we don’t talk about 'anatomically modern elephants '. And we propose, it is time to stop publishing papers about the evolution of ‘anatomically modern humans’ unless they include a definition of them. " ~ Milford Wolpoff and Rachel Caspari, “The Modernity Mess,” Journal of Human Evolution, (1996), 30:167-171, p. 170

Very OLD Genes

Moving Adam and Eve back in time, like I do, to 5.3 myr ago, we can have a historical Adam, and an evolutionary humanity. And we can explain the significant number of extremely old genes in humanity (old= old time to most recent common ancestor, like genes greater than 4 myr old). Garrigan and show the age of various genes.

One can see the haploid mtDNA and y-chromosome measurements are only for a very recent time scale and tell us nothing about when humanity arose. The average age of an autosomal gene is about a million years! Anatomically modern humans were not alive then, but we still have genes from those non-anatomically modern humans. The X chromosome and the other autosomal chromosomes show a great genetic time depth for humanity–a time depth Christians seem unwilling to grant.

Garrigan and Hammer suggest that if we modern humans interbred with archaic species, then that would mean we were never an isolated reproductive species.

" If the AMH genome contains any degree of dual ancestry (that is, archaic and modern) the single origin model must be rejected. Although most of the AMH genome might descend from a single African population, if further studies confirm a non-negligible contribution of archaic genetic material to the AMH genome , it would imply that the evolutionary lineage leading to AMH did not evolve reproductive isolation from other archaic hominin subpopulations and, therefore, cannot be considered a distinct biological species. " Daniel Garrigan and Michael Hammer, “Reconstructing Human Origins in the Genomic Era,” Nature Genetics, 7(2006), p. 677

Well, we have non-negligible input from at least 3 archaic populations, Neanderthals, Denisovians and a ghost population from Africa. And there is evidence that the Denisovans interbred with an even older archic from 1.8 myr ago. Asians and Europeans have 1.7 and 1.8 percent Neanderthal DNA respectively. Africans have .5% Neanderthal DNA. Melanesians, Australian aborigines, and polynesians have between 2 and 6% Denisovian DNA. (Wiki) . This year genetic evidence for an unknown archaic having interbred with some West African tribes. Anthropologists don’t know who this archaic is. But the genomes of the Mende of Sierra Leone, the Esan of Nigeria and the Yoruba of Nigeria, have from 2-19 percent of their genomes from this unknown archaic hominid.

Because the main place where Denisovian dna introgressed into humanity was in Papua New Guinea and Australia, Cooper and Stringer wonder if the Denisovians crossed the Wallace line and that would mean building steerable ships.

The data challenges our views of the capacities of the archaic populations, the data challenges our view of when Adam and Eve lived, and the data totally messes up the nice picture we Christians have of a recent Adam living less than 200,000 years ago. Christians have long ignored this data pointing to our ancient roots, denying God the ability to put his image into whatever he wishes to–as Jesus indicated on Palm Sunday that God could make rocks stand up and cheer. The form of anatomically modern humans is not what makes us special–it is the image of God.

Until Christians are willing to actually deal with the genetic data showing that our origins are from millions of years ago, we will be like the YECs, ignoring data to maintain our preferred theological view of a recent Adam.

While I tend to see Adam and Eve as more myth (in the sense of true myth), I am open to a historical Adam in the distant past and find your ideas interesting to consider. To me, the question is at what point did we have moral capacity, and perhaps that relates to when we were able to assume the mantle of being the image of God.

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I believe in a combination. I tend to view the story as ahistorical ( historical fiction ) where reality and mythology was combined to generate a awesome story. So I believe he’s existed, but not that he was the first man and that he was not a mud golem brought to life or that eve came from a bone. But that a man and a woman were brought together by God as the first humans that he reached out to in a personal way. But I don’t know enough on human evolution to made a solid answer.

Such as when did humans begin to take partners for a life time, when did humans begin to wear clothes, and when did humans begin to do small scale ag and when did humans begin to have some form of judicial laws and when did humans begin to build cities ( village tribes) and so on.

I agree with you that the image brought morality to the human race. An ape does not have morality because he doesn’t have a sense of right and wrong. We humans, regardless of what we look like, have a choice–act like our animal ancestors or behave like God wants us to.

I know most people have given up on having any historical reality to Scripture. And I understand why. No one in the last 200 years has offered an interpretation of Scripture would would make Scripture match science. YECs come with their make believe, childish science, and the old earthers have accepted science as the data which trumps anything the bible says, so, yeah, lacking a way to make things match, it is understandable why the early stories are viewed as myth and ahistorical. It really makes me cry for christianity because to the world, both sides look unappealing.

We still don’t do that. I don’t think that is a sign of the image

when did humans begin to wear clothes,

I would suggest we will never know that. Grass skirts don’t fossilize. But we do know that as hominids moved into colder regions of the earth they would need clothing to survive. I did a calculation for Dmanisi Georgia where H. erectines (who were as hairless as us) lived with winters too cold to survive naked and without fire…

and when did humans begin to do small scale ag

Defining ag is tough. These people engage in activities like ag, but they are not agriculturalists.

Studies of modern hunter-gatherers show that there is a correlation between population density and the specialised use of particular foods. Examples include the systematic exploitation (in some cases even involving the sowing) of wild grasses and other herbaceous plants for their seeds, and the replanting of wild yams and other tubers to ensure continuity of supply.” ~ D. R. Harris, “Human Diet and Subsistence,” in S. Jones et al, editors, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 72-73

The evidence for digging them up goes back 1.9 myr or more at Swartkrans, South Africa. Is that ag? it is one part of ag.

and when did humans begin to have some form of judicial laws

When we obtained morality. Every family has its set of laws as well.

and when did humans begin to build cities ( village tribes) and so on.

About 12,000 years ago. It is a long story but without divine help, it would take millions of years for even those with the image to figure out how to make cities work. One must have spare forms of energy, like animal energy, and that requires domestication of animals. And then there is the issue that early farmers died much younger than hunter gatherers of the same period. This has led many huntergatherers to avoid farming. As one guy said when asked why he didn’t farm:

Scattered throughout the world, several dozen groups of so-called primitive people, like the Kalashari Bushmen, continue to support themselves that way. It turns out that these people have plenty of leisure time, sleep a good deal, and work less hard than their farming neighbors. For instance, the average time devoted each week to obtaining food is only 12 to 19 hours for one group of Bushmen, 14 hours or less for the Hadza nomads of Tanzania. One Bushman, when asked why he hadn’t emulated neighboring tribes by adopting agriculture, replied, "Why should we, when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world?”" ~ Jared Diamond, “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race,” Discover, 1987, in in D. Bruce Dickson, ed. Readings in Archaeology, (New York: West Publishing, 1994), p. 22

To let you know about mongongo nuts. I ran into this quote a while back:

By far the most important food is the Mongongo (mangetti) nut (Ricinodendron rautanenii Schinz). Although tens of thousands of pounds of these nuts are harvested and eaten each year, thousands more rot on the ground each year for want of picking.
"The mongongo nut, because of its abundance and reliability, alone accounts for 50 per cent of the vegetable diet by weight. In this respect it resembles a cultivated staple crop such as maize or rice. Nutritionally it is even more remarkable, for it contains five times the calories and ten times the proteins per cooked unit of the ceral crops. The average daily per capita consumption of 300 nuts yields about 1,260 calories and 56 grams of protein. This modest portion, weighing only about 7.5 ounces, contains the caloric equivalent of 2.5 pounds of cooked rice and the protein equivalent of 14 ounces of lean beef.
“Furthermore the mongongo nut is drought resistant and it will still be abundant in the dry years when cultivated crops may fail. The extremely hard outer shell protects the inner kernal from rot and allows the nuts to be harvested for up to twelve months after they have fallen to the ground. A diet based on mongongo nuts is in fact more reliable than one based on cultivated foods, and it is not surprising, therefore, that when a bushman was asked why he hadn’t taken to agriculture he replied 'Why should we plant when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world.”
"Apart from the mongongo, the Bushmen have available 84 other species of edible food plants , including 29 species of fruits, berries, and melons and 30 species of roots and bulbs. The existence of this variety allows for a wide range of alternatives in subsistence strategy.” ~ Richard B. Lee, “What Hunters Do for a Living, or, How to Make Out on Scarce Resources,” in Richard B. Lee and Irven Devore, Man the Hunter, (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1968), pp. 30-48, p. 33



Are these mentions of “George” about me?

Since I haven’t written anything, perhaps you could add the last name of the George you mean?

If you published that article in PSCF, then yes, if not then no. Did you ever go to Glenn Morton’s ranch?

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I was never at Morton’s ranch. I dont even know him.

If you could edit your post(s) by adding the OTHER George’s last name, that would be helpful.

Everything I know about that author’s name is in the reference. AND the last name is there in the reference if you but look. Sheesh, it isn’t my problem that you have a common name, nor do I think you have a copyright on the name George… This George is a friend of mine with whom I disagree theologically. You are George Brooks. The article is by George Murphy and my post has always said it was by George Murphy–it is you who haven’t read carefully my friend

I didn’t thank you for this. Over the past 30 years, the number of people who have said something like that to me are vanishingly small. And now at the end of my life I wonder what was the use of my life, a life ignored is not very useful. But enough griping.

I want to add one more thing to what we explain if we move Adam and Eve back in time, the fossil appearance of Broca’s area, long before the non-evolutionary anatomically modern Adam’s were formed. Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area are two areas on the left side of the brain which are word processing centers (no they are not the only areas). Damage either area and speech becomes difficult.
Broca’s area in humans has a bump on the brain that leaves an indentation on the inside of the skull. And it is this indentation that we first find in Homo habilis (rudolfensis) from 2.4-2.6 myr ago. The question is: Why did a word processing module develop if habilis had no language? What was it used for? How did it switch to our use of it in language? Such questions can’t be answered by most christian views in which homo sapiens is the first being to speak!. Again, along with the genetic data above, this can only be explained if speech were much older than Homo sapiens–not necessarily our kind of speech or mode of speech but speech none the less.

According to Ralph Holloway of Columbia University, the leading authority on ancient hominid brain structure, the markings revealing Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas appear millions of years before the Creative Explosion was allegedly triggered by the emergence of language, certainly by the time of Homo habilis. Holloway has also shown that habilis skulls reveal cerebral asymmetry: a left-hemisphere lopsidedness, which is associated in our species with language. More recently, Terry Deacon of Harvard University has pointed to language-related structures in the prefrontal cortex of the brain that also began to swell beginning with Homo habilis.” ~ James R. Shreeve, The Neandertal Enigma, (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995), p. 274-275

But if we take a Baldwinian view of evolution, then speech precedes the development of Broca’s area. If habilis were dealing in symbolic communications, it would place demands on the brain for computational power. Deacon says:

This one cognitive demand would introduce an incessant selection pressure in a society of hominids habitually dependent on symbolic communication in whatever form this symbolic communication took. As was explained in Chapter 9, the particular neural computations that are required to surmount this mnemonic-attentional threshold largely depended on processes that are this mnemonic-attentional threshold largely depend on processes that are carried out in the prefrontal cortex. Thus, the neural computations associated with symbol acquisition were unavoidably required by all languagelike behavior; they imposed a significant demand on a comparatively underdeveloped cognitive process; they were invariant across a wide range of sensorimotor applications; and they depended on a specific common neural substrate in all brains. This is a recipe for a powerful Baldwinian selection process.” ~ Terrence W. Deacon, The Symbolic Species, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 335

From this Baldwinian perspective, we can make one prediction and one observation. The prediction is that if complex deliberate communication requires a developed brain, then simple deliberate communication of some sort must have preceded the evolution of big brains. .” Stephen Oppenheimer, The Real Eve, (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003), p. 21

According to this Baldwinian view, it was speech which drove the development of structures capable of more powerful speech. Remember, our speech comes from the Neocortex. Every other animal vocalization comes from the deeper, emotional centers of the brain. We are absolutely unique in where our vocalizations arise from–and from my reading, no one really has a good explanation for how control of vocalization jumped from the emotional centers to the neocortex.

A couple of theological problems we solve (at least from my viewpoint) by moving Adam way back are

1 A real Eden, described absolutely correctly.
2. A real explanation for the strange behavior of water in Eden
3. A real flood described accurately by the bible

All three of these things happen if we but move Adam back to the time genetics requires for there to be a possibility of a primal pair… Thus I guess we could add
4. A primal pair.

All of these are possible for an Adam 5.3 myr ago. This was the only time in geologic history that the four Edenic rivers actually interacted in the same place.

This is the only time in geologic history that a catastrophic flood lasting around a year and covered high mountains actually happened! But we christians prefer our homo sapiens, non-evolutionary Adam, to solving the problems I have tried to solve.

A real historical Bible is a powerful thing. A book of mythology doesn’t lead people to give their lives for the advancement a myth.

I salute George Murphy.

I have been meaning to ask you about this graphic. Are the colored areas sediments from the rivers or evaporates?

They are subaerial, fluvial sediments. an enlargement of the picture’s legend would have told you that. Here it is

The article this comes from is " Discovery of vast fluvial deposits provides evidence for drawdown during the late Miocene Messinian salinity crisis"

Fluvial means water deposited and non-marine. Basically rivers. Lacustrine is lakes and marine is ocean.

In the search for oil, such deposits are prized if they are sandy, and these probably are. Then one looks for a trap–a fault, a closed high or stratigraphic traps which can contain oil. If I were managing these guys I would be pleased with the work they did.

One note, the Abu Madi deposits shown are only those of Messinian age. The Abu Madi was badly designated and the lower part of it is pre-Messinian. What is shown is the upper part of the NIle fluvial deposits of Messinian age.

Which is where my confusion came from. The paper you mentioned is “Evidence of clastic evaporites in the canyons of the Levant Basin”. To this layperson evaporites means the water evaporated.

And from the abstract:

That is the paper for the Pison. What 'clastic evaporites" are are evaporites ripped up and moved by a river. The Pison was not full of a lot of sediment otherwise, but it had enough water to move some evaporites.

The link is to the article I got the map from. You are correct I didn’t make it clear enough so I will fix that.
Is this better?

Hi gbob -

I agree: Your ideas are very interesting! It’s clear you have given a lot of thought to the Adam and Eve question, and your geology background adds a lot.

Your hypothesis does have some rough edges. For example, the catastrophic flood you are referring to happened 5.3mya. But Homo Habilis did not arrive until 3M years later.

Also, it is quite possible that Homo Habilis had a more advanced language capability than, say, modern chimpanzees. However, all the linguists I have studied indicate that symbolic language–the language necessary to understand philosophy and morality–is a very recent development. Almost certainly no more recent than 200kya.

I mention these not as a way to try to refute your ideas, which are certainly thought-provoking. Rather, I mention them because I would not be surprised if you could find a way to reconcile these various data which are in tension.

A tip of the hat, and stay safe my friend,

Chris Falter

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So you think it matches the description in Genesis?

That certainly sounds like a large river.

I figured that. But the article doesn’t seem to support your idea. Or have things changed since the article was written? From the article. And if I am misreading this please let me know.

No less recent surely?

Hi Chris. Thanks for the kind words You have hit on what is a usual criticism of my view, but it stems from a wrong assumption about the fossil record. Most people assume that the fossil record shows us everything that was alive on earth at a given time. This is not correct. Geologists have long noticed that only 3% of animals alive today are found as fossils in the Pleistocene, which starts 12,000 years ago and extends back 2.58 myr ago. But we know that almost everything alive today was indeed alive 12000 years ago, yet there is no trace of 97% of them in the fossil record. In the quote below, ‘paleontologically important species’ are those who are easily fossillizable.

" The number of living species that have been described is about 1.5 million…If we focus on the paleontologically important groups, present-day diversity is about 180,000 species. …Suppose we assume that the present-day level of diversity was attained immediately at the beginning of the Cambrian Period and has been maintained since then. Then 25 percent of 180,000 species, or 45,000 species became extinct and were replaced by new species every million years. In rough terms, the Phanerozoic is 550 million years log. this leads to an estimate that there have been 180,000+(45,000 X 550) or about 25 million species. Comparing this with the 300,000 described fossil species implies that between 1 percent and 2 percent of species are known as fossils. " Michael Foote et al, Principles of Paleontology, (New York, W. H. Freeman and Co., 2007), p 23

Now, the second thing to think about with the fossil record is that groups like genera or species can live on earth for millions of years without leaving a known trace of themselves. I have compiled a list of gaps in certain lineages but one will do for illustration: The oldest elephantine creature dates to 60 million years ago. The previous oldest elephantine animal dated to 55 myr ago. In between, Elephantine creatures lived on earth for 5 myr without having left us a known trace of their existence.

Now consider the question. Was the 60 million year old elephant the very first evolved elephant ever? Likely it wasn’t. How long before 60 myr did elephantines exist? We don’t know, but statistics would suggest that the first elephantine creature arose in the Cretaceous. I just look up elephant evolution and one site says this:

About 80 Million years ago, the genetic linage of elephants split from primates. The tree shrew is considered our nearest common ancestor.

Now we have no paleontological trace of elephants on earth as far back as 80 myr ago. If this genetic date for the origin of elephants is true, then they lived on earth 20 myr without leaving a trace.

So, lets look at human origins. Starting from a few people 5 myr ago, how likely would it be that some of Noah’s descendants were fossilized when they numbered 1000?. How likely would it be that we would find those deposits? Do we know where the stragglers off the ark were 1000 years after the flood? My view is that they moved south into Africa. But they would be few and if a catastrophe hit their group, it would have a high potential for being an extinction event.

Finally who was it that lived that that time? I don’t know. If I used the statistics applicable to Elephants, that a group arose 1/3 older than the earliest fossil, it would mean at least that H. habilis lived at least as early as 3.4 myr ago, but that is a statistical number, not a law of life. It could have been longer ago.

I prefer that Adam and Eve be a bigger brained hominid, but given that the cruses are both curses given to someone who is about to get a bigger brain, I can’t rule out Adam and Even being small brained ardepithecus’s or australopithecines. Bigger brained hominids would obviously be more popular among everyone else. That said, my life has not been about being popular, it has been aimed at trying to find truth. It wouldn’t bother me either way about who Adam was–habilis, erectus, or ardepithecine. It is the image of God that is important, not what the being looks like. Shoot, some pictures of Aborigines show that they have huge browridges, an archaic featrure–but they are still image bearers.

Hope this helps my ‘rough edge’ lol.

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Bill, I can always count on you for ‘gotcha’ questions. Of the Pison, not having lots of sediment, clearly I don’t think you understand sediement loading in a stream. Erosion gets greater with more mountainous terrane, and the higher the mountain, the higher the potential energy of the water going down that stream, and thus the greater the ability to carry sediment. Both the Tigris and the Euphrates come out of mountainous regions and could carry lots of sediment. The Nile floods are well known to have carried lots of sediment. But Havilah is a bit different

At the time of the Messinian Salinity Crisis, the land of Arabia was tilted to the NW, not to the SE as it is today. This is in part because of the uplift caused by the Ethiopian triple junction which uplifted Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia, tilting it to the NW, But it wasn’t a high mountainous land like Turkey’s Tauride mountains. It was basically a gentle slope and that makes for a small capacity for the river to carry much sediment. I think of it kind of like the Brazos River which is just west of where I am. Only when it floods does it take much sediment downstream.

So, yes, I do think that Afiq canyon is the mouth of the Pison and Mart and Ryan while not considering the theological issues, would agree that this canyon and its attached river drained Arabia, which is where scripture says Havilah was.

"Additional valleys of similar dimensions and characteristics to the marine extension of Afiq Canyon occur elsewhere along the continental slope of the entire Levant, suggesting that several rivers of the fluvial system of the Levant, which drained northwestern Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea during the Oligo-Miocene, still prevailed in the Messinian "

Now, the Scripture speaks of the Tigris, Euphrates, Pison(out of Havilah) and the Gihon which encompasses Cush. The White and Blue Niles certainly can be said to encompass Cush. The name Gihon is interesting. The theological wordbook of the Old Testament says it means:

hence has the meaning “the Gusher” or “the Bubbler.” Smith, J. E. (1999). 345 גִּיַח. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 159). Chicago: Moody Press.

At the time of the Messinian salinity crisis, the Nile had cut a 13000 ft deep canyon into the granite rock that underlies that part of Africa. It would have had a huge set of rapids from near sea level down to the bottom of that canyon and ‘Bubbler’ would be a great name for it at that time. In China I stood at the base of a similar canyon, about as deep (12,790)

, Leaping Tiger Gorge. It is in Yunnan Province just north of North Viet Nam and the water is flowing off the Tibetan Plateau. Here is a picture of this Bubbler of a river (which is the Jiangzi River.

Twenty or so whitewater enthusiasts tried to go through this rapids, and I think 5 or 6 died. China won’t allow anyone to go down it anymore

.Bill, you are misunderstanding what you are reading. The very latest Messinian is called Lago-Mare(Lake-sea). There were large hyper-saline lakes in the deepest parts of the basin

Rivers flowing into the Med would erode evaporites outside of the lago-mare and bring them into the lowest elevation which was the lakes. These have been debated for a while, and some think there is a karst surface as well:

The discovery of a conglomerate rock unit with components and matrix derived from the local dep sea bed is indeed unusual, particularly when individual pieces were clearly lithified before erosion and subsequent weathering and abrasion. In addition, the secondary ‘alabastine’ gypsum from the drill bit sample of Hole 125A points to a replacement phase in the evaporites that may have required significant ground water activity and which generally is believed to be accompanied by large volume changes. We will discuss and defend later, in Chapter 43 an hypothesis that the so-called ‘cobblestone’ topography is none other than a regional karst surface over an eroded and ‘metamorphosed’ evaporite formation widespread throughout the Mediterranean deep-sea basins.” ~The Shipboard Scientific Party, “Mediterranean Ridge, Ionian Sea --Site 125” in Ansis G. Kaneps, editor, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project Vol. 13 part 1, (Washington: U.S. Gov’t Printing office, 1972), p. 199

Some of this very well might be due to erosion and resedimentation happening at the time of the refilling as well.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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