How do we correct the erroneous analysis by David Klinghoffer at Evolution News?

This article just out ! And it’s a terrible hatchet job.

Discussion Is Over: On Adam and the Genome, Former BioLogos Fellow Backs Down
David Klinghoffer | @d_klinghoffer
May 3, 2018, 2:11 PM

“We now have the “public statement” from Venema, which is more like a squeak, though, than the robust admission of error that Buggs or Gauger sought. So be it. What’s the “good summary” from Buggs? Gauger is referring to a post by Richard Buggs for the forum associated with the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, “Adam and Eve: lessons learned.” This is interesting. A major geneticist observes that his broaching this question at all “may sound bizarre to some,” but “it is one that is often asked by those with a background in Abrahamic faiths.” Following the discussion about Adam and the Genome, Buggs concludes that that matter remains up in the air.”

Later he writes about @DennisVenema’s book: “I think at this juncture it’s reasonable to set Venema and his book aside at last.”

I’m mildly disgusted by the whole trajectory of his analysis. As one of the followers of the debate Klinghoffer is discussing, his conclusion is quite different from my own. Klinghoffer is clearly sharpening his axe on the BioLogos skin… But he wouldn’t be the first one… nor will he be the last.

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Interesting to see at the bottom,

The issue isn’t solely of scientific interest. As Ann Gauger points out, it “impacts the faith of many Christians,” and she has noted how students in Dr. Venema’s own classes have experienced that fact.

…which links to an article that has very little about aforementioned students, but does say near the bottom,

His students “feel free” [that they need no longer be afraid of evolution]? No doubt some do. Others have a different experience. One of his students has told me that her friend, who had taken his course, nearly lost her faith, and that others who did so had completely lost their faith.

Yes, this is [sarcasm font] definitely Dennis’s fault. Not at all the fault of the people who set up false dichotomies (either YEC or atheism!) in the student’s childhood. [/sarcasm font]



This is what happens when we don’t hold the YECs to a “10,000 years or Nothing”. And all those red herrings about 400,000 years or 500,000 years …

With all that fish, all I could think of was Jonah, who spent 3 days in the “waters of death” … but he too came out alive. But the smell must have been pretty disturbing.

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I (and others) have made the point that a bottleneck to two hominins before 700KYA will necessarily be taking place on the African/Eurasian landmass, and thus raises challenging questions about how such a bottleneck could have taken place. Hominins are widespread during this time period.

In the absence of a plausible mechanism I don’t see how the formal possibility of a 2-person bottleneck is meaningful. I recognize others might disagree.


A huge, gigantic, glaring hole in Klinghoffer’s analysis is how exactly “a pair of Homo Erectus 700 KYA” is a synonym for “what Evangelicals generally believe about Adam and Eve”. As someone who studies this debate for a living, that equivocation is just laughable.


@DennisVenema, the syntax of this sentence puzzles me.

Do you mean: “a two-person bottleneck is not ruled out after 700 KYA” ?

Or, in other words, “that there could not have been a two-person bottleneck before 700 KYA”?

Please advise…

OH wait! I get it… before 700 KYA means FURTHER BACK!!!

Gosh, I hate the way those terms clump together!

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Current methods allow us to say with confidence that we’ve never been down to 2 from a time 700KYA to the present day.


Yep, you’ve got it.

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Right. I’m clued in on the syntax of your sentence now… But I can imagine those opposed would misinterpret it for longer than I did.

George, what do you expect from an anti-evolutionary publication that names itself “Evolution News” ?
Sort of like if a Republican publication was named “Democrat News and Views.”


Dr Venema, Thank you for presenting a scientific approach to evolution. I enjoyed your and Scot McKnight’s book. In addition, your gracious interaction and presentation has helped win others to appreciating things of science. For example, playing your videos of Youtube presentations to churches in BC and your gracious counterpoint to Nathaniel Jeanson at the Southeast Baptist conference helped YEC elements in my family view EC favorably.

Keep it up, please.


Randy - thank you for that encouragement! It is primarily for folks like you, and your family, etc, that I’ve worked at this for these last few years. (And for students, of course. I have a soft spot for students struggling through these issues). Blessings to you and your family.


“genetic science DOES NOT exclude a traditional first couple”

Yeah, the semantic domain of the word “traditional” does not quite allow this sentence. What Judeo-Christian tradition has ever envisioned a Homo erectus Adam and Eve? I consulted a thesaurus for him. The proper modifier would be “iconoclastic first couple.”


Care to share links for these?

Talk to his home church, with the Canadian Scientific and Christian Association: --there are other Youtube videos too.

Vimeo for the Southeastern Baptist Historical Adam Conference (I actually listened to the podcast, and didn’t watch all the video–the 3rd part of 4 had trouble):

I listened to the conference on the downloaded app from Southeastern Baptist.



PS I think a strong point is his gracious, humble and humorous attitude.

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Counter example: @DennisVenema helped me find my faith. Soooo…


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