Latest Critique of Venema's Claims About Past Human Population Sizes


Both views concern sin, but are not the same.

(Richard Wright) #102


“30-second” elevator pitch? Lol, that’s quite a tall building. :grinning:

To be entirely accurate, you should have wrote that genealogical Adam and Eve are one of many universal ancestral pairs, but the only one created de novo and in God’s image.

In this case Adam and Eve don’t need to be the genealogical universal ancestral pair at all, they could just be the 2 characters in an origins story with theologic import, just like Genesis 2 and 3 appear to be.

Where is the 150,000 year number coming from?

(Peaceful Science) #103

As is also true in the RTB and AIG models.

(George Brooks) #104


Technically you are correct, but for an elevator pitch, it is permissable to leave out complex details. Sometimes an Elevator Pitch can derail itself by bringing up a complexity that takes 5 minutes to explain.

Like I said in that posting, I’m sure minds greater than mind will come up with an optimum mix of what to say in any initial contact.

I’m not sure how many would agree with you. For early Christians to say All Humanity needs redemption, we either have to interpret this “original sin/original need” as coming from Adam specifically, as opposed to being inherent in the frail imperfection of all mortal flesh.

It’s funny how when typing a hypothetical number you just get a tingly feeling that it’s going to be disputed. I wasn’t sure what number to use to reflect the time frame for Homo sapiens sapiens. I’m not sure there is any number that everyone would agree about. But the source I was looking at provided this nice round number with a generation count … so, for this draft, it is 150,000 years.

What would be ideal, of course, when someone challenges a point or a number, if they provide a number or alternative answer which they think is more reasonable. Think how much faster these conversations could go under such an operational policy?

(George Brooks) #105


Can you get us links to samples of these two narratives? I’d love to be able to quote AIG!

(Peaceful Science) #106

It is just a fact of how uga’s work. No matter what model you use we, if they were real people, we all descend from cain, ham, seth, etc.

(George Brooks) #107

Oh, I see how you mean that now.

The difference, of course, is that YECs are used to going backward to a single pair. In our scenario, this wouldn’t be possible, but it is relevant that the only truly special pairing in the human race would be the specially created Adam & Eve.

(Peaceful Science) #108

Except this isn’t true in their model either. They allow for interbreeding with nephilim. That means our ancestors never dip to a single couple in their model. This is much like the genealogical Adam.

(George Brooks) #109


Typo Corrected - - Revision Clears things up! I think we both hate Auto-Correct and its devious ways!

But now we are on to the meat of the matter. How many YECs do we think ever take the Nephilim seriously?
Literally, @Jonathan_Burke is the first “Biblicist” I have bumped into that takes this implied part of the narrative completely seriously!

(Peaceful Science) #111

All of them?


If you are referring to the Nephilim the YEC that I know don’t believe the name refers to the same group of people. They have to in order to support the global flood.

(Peaceful Science) #113

There are a very large range of beliefs on Nephilim. Many of them cast them as biologically compatible beings who do not descend from Adam. Because they are in the origin story, most YECs take the serious even it is not clear who they are.

(Richard Wright) #114

Hello George,

The italicized portion is adequate IMO, all humanity needs redemption because we’re sinners. Adam and Eve represent, “sinners”.

I wasn’t trying to dispute is so much as wonder where 150,000 comes from since 300,000 is the usual figure. It’s not really relevant to this thread.

(Jay Johnson) #115

Hi, Joshua. Am I as dismissive of science as you are of me? Hmmm.

I read your article yesterday, as I said several times. What I didn’t have time to do was look at the original articles by Rohde, here in Nature and here in the unpublished working paper. In any case, comparing your paper with Rohde’s originals raised some questions in my mind. I’ll just throw them out there and you can address them (or not):

Swamidass: "Peer-reviewed estimates of these dates for all required descendants are not available in the scientific literature. Estimates are nevertheless possible. Currently, only one study models migration, geographic barriers, and population structure to estimate dates for all humans alive today (17). The same first author also released an unpublished and un-reviewed report with expanded results using a variety of parameters. These two studies represent the most realistic simulations of UGA (18). "

The footnotes 17&18 refer to the papers by Rohde linked above. You note that there are no peer-reviewed estimates that set the “required descendants” at A.D. 1. Rohde’s model set the required descendants at present day and included many post-1500 changes.

Question 1: If your required descendants lived A.D. 1, is it valid to apply the estimate generated by Rohde? At the very least, this seems to add another layer of uncertainty until you are able to run the simulation afresh with new parameters, a new start date for the simulation, and a new target date for required descendants.

Joshua’s article: "In the best simulations (17, 18), the MRUGA is estimated to arise 3,000 years earlier than the required descendants. The IAP is estimated to about 5,000 years earlier than the required descendants. The nearly IAP for Mesopotamia is likely closer to the MRUGA data than the IAP; a conservative number is 4,000 years. (Footnote 7: As the simulation author notes, ‘the [nearly IAP] and the [IAP] are separated by perhaps 1000 years.’)"
UGA – Universal genealogical ancestor (Common Ancestor, or CA in Rohde)
MRUGA – Most Recent universal genealogical ancestor (MRCA in Rohde)
IAP – Identical Ancestor Point (everyone farther back is a UGA)

To be specific, the dates generated by Rohde were 1415 B.C. for the MRCA, and a mean IAP of 5353 B.C., from which Swamidass deducted 1,000 years to arrive at an estimate of the “nearly IAP” in Mesopotamia of 4353 B.C. (~4000 B.C.).

As Swamidass explains it, the “nearly IAP” is akin to the amount of time it would take an “Adam UGA” in Mesopotamia to become related to everyone. Thus, “it will take between 3,000 and 5,000 years for a specific ancestor to become a UGA (Figure 2). The quickest time, 3,000 years, corresponds the time to the MRUGA and applies to very few, lucky and ideally located individuals. The longest time, 5,000 years, corresponds to the time to the IAP and applies to very few, unlucky, and poorly located individuals, like those in the Americas or Australia. More likely, especially for those in central locations like the Middle East, the wait time is between 4,000 and 3,000 years (Figure 3). A cautious estimate, therefore, of the wait time for typical individuals is 4,000 years, even though a more accurate estimate might be 3,500 years.”

Here is what Rohde had to say about his estimate: “The point beyond which everyone alive today shares the same set of ancestors is somewhat harder to predict, but it most likely falls between 5,000 and 15,000 years ago, with a significantly more recent date for the point at which we share nearly the same set.” (P. 27 of working paper.)

Deducting the same 1,000 years as Swamidass, Rohde’s estimate would be between 2000-12000 B.C. for today’s population. However, we are after the “nearly IAP” for A.D. 1, not A.D. 2000, so the dates provided by Rohde range between 4000-14000 B.C.

Question 2: Don’t you think it would be more accurate to give a range, as Rohde has done, rather than fixating on the earlier date?

So, I was reading the unpublished paper where Rohde talked about tracking some of the “sims” in his computer simulation.

"This particular MRCA was born in Taiwan in 1536 BC. She had a remarkable advantage
in that one of her great grandchildren migrated up the coast to Chukotka. … Her lineage first reached Indonesia in 1206 BC, North America in 1091 BC, Africa in 838 BC, Australia in 652 BC, South America in 95 BC, and Greenland in 381 AD.

I concede the sea voyage to S. America was not the best choice, but I’m claiming at least a TIE on the back of this poor sim’s family. haha

Questions about Universal Ancestry
(George Brooks) #116

Okay… but how “literal” are you being with that word “represents” ???

Can Adam and Eve represent humans that aren’t even genealogically of Adam’s lineage?

Frankly, I would support that idea… would you @Swamidass

Is it crucial that all of humanity really be descendants of Adam?.. isn’t it enough that Adam and Jesus represent all humanity?

(George Brooks) #117


As with the story of Noah’s Ark … is there anything necessary that can’t seen as solved by the providential hand of the Father?

These dates are estimates based on culture and technology?

And all of them are terribly pessemistic if God needs to deliver Adam’s posterity all over the world centuries earlier.

(Richard Wright) #118

Too liberal for you. :yum:

The rest of your post sounds like you agree with me.

(George Brooks) #119


I think I do agree with you … unless the Swammi can come up with a compelling reason why Adam
really just has to be one of the common ancestors for all humans alive today …

(Jay Johnson) #120

God has surprised us many times! In this case, one could claim that God could arrange it so that Adam was the MRCA, which bumps up everything substantially. But if one is going to claim divine intervention to arrange a perfect MRCA, then all bets are off anyway, aren’t they?[quote=“gbrooks9, post:117, topic:37034”]
These dates are estimates based on culture and technology?

There are a lot of assumptions built into the model, of course. I think Rohde did yeoman’s work in building it, but he lays out numerous qualifications, especially on the migration numbers. Their lifespan was a problem, too, being based on early 20th-century figures (51.4 median age at death, as I recall). Median lifespans began to climb in the 20th century. Rohde should’ve chosen something from the 19th century, at the latest. (Median lifespans were fairly steady from antiquity until the 20th century. We take it for granted these days that we should live to at least 70.) A function of the math that I frankly don’t completely understand is that the MRCA fluctuated mainly with migration and wasn’t affected too much by other factors, but the IAP seemed to be affected by every variable. At least, that’s how I read it. Maybe someone with more math skills than me can decipher the prose …

Edit: I meant migration numbers, not patterns.

Questions about Universal Ancestry
(George Brooks) #121


Hasn’t this been the point some of us have been trying to make with you for the last dozen posts or so?

You are getting all wrapped up in technicalities… as though that was somehow the real issue at hand.

When in fact, the real issue at hand, is identifying and listing those premises of Creation that would need to be modified by God the Creator (in other words, would require His special attention !) in order to accommodate special creation of Adam & Eve - - along with the evolution of the rest of the human population!?

For some reason, the same people that think God made humans from dirt get all shy and bashful when we suggest that God might have intentionally led a navigator to a new continent or an undiscovered island. Then, all of a sudden, we need to know the social security number of who this impertinent fellow could have been!