Swamidass' Review of Jay Johnson's Review of Genealogical Adam & Eve

Continuing the discussion from Becoming Adam: GAE book review:

For the sake of gathering things into one place:

My review can be found here: Becoming Adam: Podcast + Blog

Joshua’s blog post is here: https://peacefulscience.org/isolation-tasmania/

Joshua’s PS forum “reply” is here: https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/jay-johnsons-review-of-the-gae-the-question-of-tasmania-and-realism-in-science-and-scripture/8674/9

I’ll start from the bottom with the forum. Joshua says:

In the discussion he also misquotes and quote mines the book and my posts at BL (where I’m no longer allowed to post).

He provides no evidence, just an accusation. [content removed by moderator] If there are any “misquotes” or factual errors, I would be glad to correct them. [content removed by moderator] I requested a review copy, and the IVP PR dept. emailed a PDF of the first proofs. Out of courtesy to the overworked editors, I didn’t mention the numerous errors, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some wording or page numbers changed prior to printing.

As to quote mining, that’s a spurious claim not worthy of response. [content removed by moderator] “Quote mining” is finding a quote that seems to make the author say the opposite of what the author meant. Providing a short quote that is representative of the author’s thinking is not quote mining. Brevity doesn’t make the quote untrue.

Jay313 makes no mention of the actual conclusions of the chapter (p. 78). I state that the isolation of Tasmania may be real, so the total universal ancestry of AE at 6,000 years ago is legitimately disputed. He seems to be very contentiously agreeing with my point.

Let’s look at the actual passage: “Moving Adam and Eve slightly back in time overcomes most scientific objections. Theology does not make claims with scientific precision anyway, so nearly universal ancestry by AD 1 may be sufficient for the doctrine of monogenesis.”

I said in my review that I would return next week to address GAE and original sin. If you want a preview, the “conclusion” of the chapter is an excellent example of the “death-by-a-thousand-qualifications” that I mentioned. Swamidass spends a whole chapter on “The Myth of Isolation,” and then concludes that it really doesn’t matter anyway. Boy, that’s going out on a limb.

While I’m at it, I should also mention that “monogenesis” crops up at least a dozen times early in the book, but Swamidass doesn’t bother to define it for the reader or explain why it’s important until Chap. 8. This is just basic stuff.

Jay313 makes no mention of nearly universal ancestry,

Oh, I’ll be mentioning it quite a bit in the next installment. The Tasmanians were “nearly” sinners, I suppose?

Jay313 quoted 5 scientists, but none of these scientists appear to have read the book. Instead, they seem to be commenting on @Jay313 description, which we have reason to suspect. I’ve reached out to these scientists for whom I can find contact information. I’m happy to correct any errors that scientists find as they read the book for themselves. Please report errors here: The Genealogical Adam and Eve, Erratum

This isn’t moving the goalpost; it’s lifting the goalpost by crane and depositing it outside the stadium.

None of the scientists appear to have read the book? He must be joking. Imagine how that would play out. “Dr. O’Connell, would you be willing to answer a few questions about a new theory called Genealogical Adam and Eve? … Great! Thanks! I’ll send you the book, and after you’ve finished reading the entire thing … Hello? Hello? You still there, Dr. O’Connell?”

Of course they’re responding to my summary description, which I borrowed directly from Joshua Swamidass and Nathan Lents. What possibly could give him “reason to suspect” that I lied to them about GAE? Again, Swamidass throws out spurious accusations with no evidence.

It does not seem like much more of a response is needed to this article at this time.

[content removed by moderator]

Turning to the blog post, “How does the isolation of Tasmania …,” the first paragraphs say:

Consider everyone who lives across the globe from AD 1 onward. It is possible, or even likely, that everyone in this group is a genealogical descendent of a couple in the Middle East that lived just 6,000 years ago? Our best estimates of universal ancestry tell us the answer is yes.

Is the second sentence meant to be a question or a statement? In any case, he should go ahead and stop claiming that 6,000 years ago is likely, and the “best estimate” that he links is his own paper. Science says 6,000 years ago is extremely unlikely because of Tasmanian isolation. If the magic 6,000-yr figure isn’t driving the bus, why fight so hard to retain it?

Science progresses as we diligently work to falsify our hypotheses.

This is almost laughable. Someone (me!) provides a challenge to the hypothesis, and Swamidass, who constantly reminds in the book that he is a scientist, [content removed] and resorts to all sorts of spurious claims against me rather than addressing the evidence.

In the case of Tasmania, I find that the assumption may not be valid from 6,000 years ago to AD 1, but we cannot say for sure.

At the moment, we can say with near certainty that the assumption IS NOT valid.

For this reason, there is legitimate dispute about the genealogical isolation of Tasmania.

No scientist who has studied Tasmania disputes the isolation of Tasmania. The only one who disputes it appears to be Swamidass.

Moving Adam and Eve slightly more ancient takes the Tasmanian objection off the table entirely.

Exactly. It’s not hard. But I have a prediction: Despite saying this, Swamidass will continue to claim 6,000 years because it’s all about the magic number.

The figure visualizes how I summarize my findings. My precise scientific argument is nuanced and complex.

I would characterize it as a lack of parsimony, but your mileage may vary. Over and out.

Good gosh! @Christy asked me to make some changes, but I was busy with family. She took matters into her own hands, but the result looks like I cussed Swamidass out or something. haha. I have a tendency to reply to ludicrous statements with sarcasm. Did I violate the standards of gracious dialogue? Guilty as charged. Did I resort to ad hominem or personal attacks? Nope.

Sorry I’m making your (unpaid) job difficult, my friend! No worries.

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Having read the content that was snipped by Christy I would have to say based on my memory of said content that it was no where near the limit of gracious dialogue. There is much that I would consider over the limit by other people and it never seems to trigger the scissors.

That is sometimes a clue that a post/thread was tldr and we’re hoping someone will yell if there is a fire. And we hold Jay to a higher standard.

Thank you for the vote of confidence. I’m sure the original is preserved somewhere, but I won’t resort to that. Christy is right. I’m held to a higher standard, and I’m okay with that.

I thought I would add my view on Swamidass. This was precipitated by a recent email discussion between me and Dick Fischer, who originally proposed a view like Swamidass’s So, here it is:

What about Genealogical Adam?

Josh Swamidass has proposed that Adam is our ancestor but we don’t necessarily have any genetic contribution from Adam. That is normal genealogy. We all have lots of ancestors with whom we are not genetically descended from. It just turned out we didn’t get any of their DNA. But I find Swamidass’ view to be incredibly dangerous, raising the problem that some people alive today might not have the image of God because they are not descended from this 12,000 year old Adam. Swamidass says:

Adam might be placed in the Gulf Oasis at 12,000 years ago,78 while keeping all the essential details of the model fixed. Placing him this far back would make universal ancestry even more certain. Only a population that is genealogically isolated for thousands of years would prevent universal ancestors, and ** genealogical isolation of this type is unobservable .* Consequently, it is likely in this model, under plausible assumptions, that we could all have descended from a particular couple. Of course, whether this possibility is important theologically cannot be answered by science."Josh Swamidass, “The overlooked science of Genealogical Ancestry,” PSCF, 70:1(2018), p. 32

First, I find Swamidass’s article in the PSCF to be well, cowardly. I have never put this kind of statement in any article I have ever written.

**"In this article, I neither disclose, defend, nor assert my personal beliefs. Josh Swamidass, "The overlooked science of Genealogical Ancestry," PSCF, 70:1(2018), p.20

He protects himself from criticism by basically saying the ideas presented here are not mine. What a crock! Man up and accept responsibility for what one writes and publishes.

The problem with this is that there have been some populations that have been cut off from the rest of humanity and genetically isolated for a long time. Groups like the Khoisan, the Tahitians, the Tasmanians and the Highlanders of New Guinea. These populations couldn’t have received a Eurasian/African ancestor, descended from this ‘Adam’ because there was no travel, say to Tasmania from 12,000 BC to the 1700s when Tasman’s expedition found them. Being descended from Adam is equally unobservable–His theory becomes an act of faith and support for his idea is equally an act of faith. This is the ultimate view that the image of God makes zero difference to the behavior of a hominid Native American who were knapping the best stone tools in the world, worshipping their gods, fishing, hunting etc and who didn’t do anything different after a Eurasian came to give them all the image of God. Archaeologically ridiculous. This view would imply that modern Native Americans were not image carriers until their Eurasian conquerors came to give them this gift. Put in these terms, the view becomes, well, as bad as the view some YECs have about the abilities of various sons of Noah. And the later views are called racist.

Yes Swamidass has a model that shows it is possible to get a descendant of Adam around the world. A model is not reality and should NEVER be confused with reality. A model assumes that populations are in communication. If they are not in communication, no matter how many models one has, the model doesn’t match reality–no descendant got there. The coronavirus doctors had a model of the disease that said 200,000 would die. Turns out that model is wrong as well. Models are not reality. They only represent what might be IF the assumptions of the model are met.

*The claims that isolation is unobservable. It isn’t. Genes from the Middle East should exist in every single population under his model. For more isolated populations, they would be later inclusions into the human family, and because of that, there would not be time for these genes to be lost to the population. Populations like the one below show no signs of interbreeding with the rest of the world.

" Many of the tribes of South America show strong signs of genetic drift, an indication that their populations have bred in isolation for many thousands of years. Ruiz-Linares estimates from a DNA signature found in two tribes, the Ticuna of the upper Amazon and the Wayuu, on the north coast of Colombia, that they have been genetically isolated for some 7,000 to 8,000 years. " Nicholas Wade, Before the Dawn, (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006), p.117-118

This won’t affect Swamidass or his believers at all. To believe that a descendant of his 12,000 year old Adam, raced to the New World across the land bridge and then down to South America in 4000 years, is equivalent to believing kangaroos got off the ark and hopped to Australia quickly. The whole theory is based on his belief that this had to happen but not upon evidence.

He claims isolation is unobservable. But so is descent from his Adam unobservable! He has no evidence for his view and claims the reason his opponents are wrong is that isolation upon which they depend is unobservable. As shown above, isolation isn’t unobservable. Here are more cases of isolation.

" It seems that the Keppel islanders were more or less isolated for some 5000 years. A small population of about eighty-five people exploited their limited territory of 20 square kilometres, including about 38 kilometres of coastline: there would have been about two people to each kilometre of coast, a similar population density to that found among other coastal groups, such as the Bentinck islanders or the Anbara of Arnhem Land. Over the centuries the language and physical characteristics of the Keppel Island people changed as a result of evolution in a small, isolated community, and their material culture became almost as simple and limited in range as that of the Tasmanian Aborigines " ~ Josephine Flood, "The Archeology of the Dreamtime, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 191

" The Keppel Islands now lie 13 kilometres from the mainland, but the journey to the island could be made in two legs: 4.5 kilometres to Pelican Island and then 8.5 kilometres to South Keppel. The islanders were rather isolated because of this distance from the mainland, and the effects of isolation can be seen in their language, physical appearance and material culture. Their language was unintelligible to the mainlanders, and they spoke so quickly that mainland Aborigines said they ‘yabbered like crows’. Physically, the Keppel islanders were also distinctive. The skulls studied show a high percentage of ‘auditory exostoses’, that is, bony, protruding growths in the region of the ear, which may be the result of inbreeding through isolation.
"Keppel Islander’s material culture was also different from that of the mainland. They had no boomerangs, shields or ground-edge axes, and only one type of club, but they possessed other items apparently absent from the adjacent coast such as necklaces made of shell and of ‘bits of red toadstool’, fish-hooks (made of coconut or turtle shell) and stone drills for manufacturing the hooks.
" ~ Josephine Flood, "The Archeology of the Dreamtime, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 190-191

Even today North Sentinel Island people are totally isolated from the outside world because of their behavior.

" But the war-like Sentinelese of the tiny North Sentinel Island have fiercely resisted any contact with the outside world.
An attempt to meet them in April 1974 ended when the Sentinelese showered an approaching boat with arrows and butchered a pig left behind by scientists. Lalji Singh, director of India’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, said yesterday: "The Sentinelese are the only pre-Neolithic tribe left in the world where no contact has been made. You have to reach them by boat but it is risky because you can’t run away by boat. And you can’t take other tribespeople to explain to them because they speak an entirely different language.
" The Guardian, May 12, 2001, page 18
Do they not have the image of God? To make that claim is utterly anti-christian.Do they really need Eurasians to interbreed with them in order to gain the image of God? REALLY?

But the Tasmanians experienced the second longest isolation–and it started at the time Swamidass claims his Adam lived. and ended in 1642

" Tasmanian history is thus a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction-namely, complete isolation from all other humans for 12,000 years. " Jared Diamond, “The Evolution of Guns and Germs,” in Evolution: Society, Science and the Universe, ed by A. C. Fabian, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 60

So Tasmanians didn’t have the image of God until after 1642 when they mated with their European conquerors? Yeah, that is an appealing position to take.

Further, this same thing goes for the New Guinea Highlands, which were isolated from the rest of the world until 1930.

" Other anthropological peculiarities of Oceania include features like the extraordinarily rich linguistic diversity especially of New Guinea with about 1,000 often very distinct languages, the independent and early development of agriculture in the highlands of New Guinea about 10,000 years ago, or the long-term isolation of the entire region from the outside world, which lasted as long as until the 1930s for most of the interior of New Guinea. " Manfred Kayser, “The Human Genetic History of Oceania: Near and Remote Views of Dispersal” Current Biology Volume 20, Issue 4, 23 February 2010, Pages R194-R201 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982209021204

Papua New Guinea highlands were first populated about 50,000 years ago. source so they might have been isolated as long as 30,000 years or more until 1930. MtDNA says lineages have been separated for that long:

" Most lineages in Australia and New Guinea do not show a relationship indicative of co-colonization or gene flow, but two clades on branch 1, both of three sequences, contain sequences from both Australia and New Guinea (Fig. 2, marked “1c” and “1d”). These groups of sequences last shared common ancestors approximately 46,000+/-9000 (“1c”) and 31,000+/-8000 (“1d”) years ago. Interestingly, in both cases the New Guinean sequences derive from individuals sampled from the highland areas . " Max Ingman and Ulf Gyllensten, " Mitochondrial Genome Variation and Evolutionary History of Australian and New Guinean Aborigines, Genome Research, 2003, https://genome.cshlp.org/content/13/7/1600.full.pdf?pagewanted=all

To conclude, there is no doubt that this data will make no difference to belief in Swamidass’ theory (which really is the same as one proposed by Dick Fischer years ago), but the Swamidiss model is so full of holes that one can only compare it to swiss cheese

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You are not one to sugarcoat, are you! I agree with your observations, though to be charitable, will say if nothing else, the GAE idea opens the door to discussion and perhaps will give some the opportunity to think through their position on the subject.

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lol, In my career, I was the guy responsible to tell them where to drill for oil. We almost always had binary results, a commercial well or a dry hole. Tiny bits of oil was not a solace to having spent $200 million of my employer’s money on a dry hole. And I worked with the drillers, with whom sugar coating just got people killed. Telling people not to tie themselves to a high temp line in a sugar coated way, might make a guy do what a fellow on one of our platforms did. He tied himself to a hot steam line, started working and when the leak in the pipe started spraying, he was tied to the pipe and couldn’t run away. He was steamed chicken. I would tell a group of new people that in those words to make them remember NOT to ever NOT have an escape from the equipment planned.

I lost a few friends on helicopter crashing into the water and sinking. My first day on the job out of college, I saw a what happens to a 33,000 lb seismic vibrator if it rolls down a mountain side. They were bringing that piece of equipment into the home office for inspection as I drove into work. In this one case, the driver survived because he broke the rules. His window was open and he didn’t have his seatbelt on (a viololation), and as the truck rolled, it landed first on the driver’s side and the driver went out the window and the truck rolled away from him. Had he been buckled in, he would have been crushed with a 33,000 lb hammer. I never learned what the safety guys taught about that incident, but I always had my window down and my hand on the seatbelt release as I drove those big trucks.

I sent people out on seismic vessels and expected them to come home. I didn’t want to have them do something stupid and fall overboard or whatever. So, No, I don’t sugar coat. Doing that dilutes the message.

As to Swamidass, since ‘these are not his views’, he is safe from any charge of these view being worse than the yec views of Noah’s 3 sons. But I think this view leads to a situation where people will once again view us as being discriminatory. Really, are we supposed to believe that until the Eurasians had sex with the Tasmanians they didn’t have an image of God? I am apalled that so many fall into thinking this is a good idea.

Dick Fischer is a good friend of mine and we have debated, argued and become friends. I have pointed out to him numerous times that his Adam as progenitor of the Semites means my wife, who is a Semite, has the image of God and I don’t. It never seemed to sink in with him that that is a problem. that said, my wife does think I do crazy things which she might take as support for Dick’s thesis. :grinning:

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@gbob

It seems clear that you have some rather strong feelings here… And maybe, then, it becomes easier to see that you are in error!

The G.A.E. scenarios are designed to be open to any number of theological or denominational biases and preferences. And so it is quite logical for @Swamidass to remind the reader that he is not trying to advocate his personal religion!

You seem to think GAE is some sort of unified and hard-coded view on Evangelicalism. It isn’t. And you need to pull in your horns a bit if you expect to sustain any kind of credibility in these discussions!

Follow me? If you don’t follow me … explain where you think the problem is, and I will walk you through it !!!

Hi Glenn,
Thank you for sharing your opinions on the GAE theory. You mention having read Dr Swamidass’s PSCF article a few years back. From my understanding, Dr. Swamidass’s ideas have been more fully flushed out in recent years. He has had lots of discussions with scientists and theologians since that paper published to help him think through some of the ideas and to determine where the theory might be helpful. Dr. Swamidass addresses the points that you bring up in his book. Have you had a chance to read the book? He blogs very actively on his forum, so you could discuss your challenges to his theory directly with him there:

I posted some of my opinions on the helpfulness of the GAE book in a thread that was recently closed:

And I am currently reading @Jon_Garvey’s book on the topic, The Generations of Heaven and Earth, to get a better understanding of the theological implications of the GAE theory, as well. Here’s a publisher’s summary of the main points made in Garvey’s book:
https://try.wipfandstock.com/the_generations_of_heaven_and_earth/

With regard to your challenge about genealogical isolation, Dr Swamidass makes these points in his book:

  1. While is it is likely that Tasmania has remained isolated for thousands of years, it is not scientifically possible to prove complete and total genealogical isolation. Even if Tasmania had been fully isolated for the past 6,000 years, moving the date of Adam and Eve back to 15,000 years ago would decrease the likelihood of isolation.
  2. The Bible does not speak with such scientific precision. Even if a small number of people had remained genealogically isolated, they would be rare, undetectable exceptions. Thus, the genealogical hypothesis would satisfy the theological claim (which is not an absolutely precise scientific claim) that all people descend from Adam, and that sin and death spread to all people through Adam (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
  3. Christian theology can (and would) give full human dignity and worth to people outside the Garden

Dr Swamidass spends more than half his book delving into ideas about how definitions of personhood, human, and image of God could intersect with the GAE theory. He spends a chapter explaining how the GAE theory is to be clearly distinguished from historically racist ideas of polygenesis. Swamidass’ model builds off of a 2004 Rohde, et al Nature paper. I recall that paper being big news when I was in graduate school, because it surprisingly pointed out how connected and related all races are around the world are, which helps break down racist ideas.

The News and Views on the paper is freely available:
https://www.nature.com/articles/431518a
The original nature paper is behind a paywall:
https://www.nature.com/articles/nature02842

Swamidass is also very clear in his model that “people outside the garden” have full dignity and human worth. On page 115, he also has a table that states that it would be possible to say that all categories of people could have the image of God, including the people outside the garden, Adam and Eve, and the decedents of Adam and Eve (textual humans). However, how they came into being differed in that they either evolved, were created de novo, or descended from Adam and Eve, respectively.

Of course views on this would depend on your definition of the image of God. It is a great mystery of what it means to be made in the image of God that has been discussed by many theologians across generations. Theistic evolutionists, evolutionary creationists, old earth creationists, and the GAE theory all have similar challenges in how to explain the concepts of the image of God as well as original sin. None of the answers are fully satisfying, but in my mind, the idea that various options are available means that there must be an answer to these questions. While these ideas are very interesting to think about, I also think that it is unlikely that any of us will find the full and complete answers until we get to heaven.

Glenn, if I remember correctly, I believe that you have put together your own theory about how to concord evolutionary theory with Biblical Christianity. Would you please point remind me how your theory works? Was there a link where you explained your ideas?

I also agree with what George said:

Dr Swamidass’ approach is not one of cowardliness. He is not meaning to be evasive, rather his goal is to open up dialogues between people of different views.

Anyone who offers and idea, be it an oil deal or a theological theory who starts out with, this isn’t my idea, that is a strong clue to stay away from it.

So please explain to this lowbrow rural kid, what benefit having genetic Adam as a genealogical ancestor provides, and why it is necessary?

Maybe I am limited in imagination as you claim but for the life of me, I can’t see anything it could offer except the image of God given to Adam. If the Tasmanians already had the image of God prior to Europeans arriving, then GAE isn’t necessary or explaining anything.

Thanks for the advice, sadly people have been wanting me to have a personality transplant for years. One boss kept telling me I needed to be more like Frank, the geological manager. I was the geophysical manager and couldn’t see really, that I wanted to be like Frank. That said, this isn’t the first time people want me to change. lol

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Then stay away from it.

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I read it about a week ago following a discussion with my friend Dick Fischer. I debated with Dick back in 1995 or 1996. Maybe that is what you are thinking of.

I have my hands full here defending my own views, and I don’t think anything I will say will make a difference. As I have said, anyone who starts a paper saying this is not my idea, is not someone I think I need to waste my time on. I have other fish to fry with the time I have left.

Of the book reviews. McCall wrote:

*For example, what are we to make of the moral and spiritual status of these other creatures who are biologically-compatible with Adam and Eve and inter-breed with their offspring? What, more precisely, are we to think theologically about Neanderthals, Denisovans, “hobbits,” and the like?

Yeah? Given that Neanderthals, 176 kyr ago went deep into the Bruniquel cave, built a stone structure and burned a bear. One doesn’t go hundreds of meters underground to have bear BBQ! This was a ritual sacrifice and it in some ways mirrors the religions that existed in the circumpolar regions prior to modern missionaries. A plurality of tribes from the Finns to the Siberian tribes to the Ainu, to the Chippewa, held yearly sacrifices of a bear. And there are other evidences that Neanderthal worshipped the bear. So, what is their status, theologically? I think they had the image of God because only those of us with it can worship–my cat doesn’t worship anything but himself, he certainly worships no greater power…

Harden says:
How does GAE define “human”? Ch. 11 (p. 134; also see Table 14.1) defines two types of “humans”: (1) “biological humans”, defined scientifically, and (2) “textual humans”, those descended from A&E. Today, these labels refer to the same set of people (all of us), but earlier in history this would not be true. POTG are the biological humans in the past who were not textual humans. The fate of pre-textual, biological humans has troubled some. Do they possess the imago Dei ?

Except that the Andaman people on North Sentinel Island are not descended from Adam even today and they are thus, not a ‘textual human’ Anytime we humans divide ourselves that way, into us and them, we get into trouble. This is a bad idea because if someone even thinks the Andamans, do not have the image of God (as was argued about native Americans), people feel justified in mistreating them.

The more recent the encounter would be, the more likely some remnant of the interbreeding would be found. And to turn it around, it is equally not possible to prove there was interbreeding, so the theory, which is being advanced, lacks positive evidence that it is true. the evidence seems to be that one can’t disprove it so it must be true! That is a perversion of how science should work.

So reality doesn’t matter? Even if they are undetectable, the fact that they actually AREN"T descended from Adam doesn’t matter, because this is undetectable?

If Swamidass has an us and them, Biological and ‘textrual’ humans, then racism has not broken down. We humans have enough trouble with us vs them without adding a theological us vs them possibility. My wife is a non-Jewish Semite. I have seen people treat her badly because they think she is Jewish. My dau in law is chinese, and I know she feels uncomfortable at times in a room full of Europeans (Oddly when I lived in china I never felt uncomfortable being the only ou zhou ren in a room of Chinese). But I know that at times some Chinese would stare at me menacingly because I was a foreigner.

I agree, and it is why I have gone my own way on these issues and provide a way for Adam and Eve to be real and the actual ancestor of all of us, as it used to be thought. they were the primeval couple. Only having them as the actual first couple can we avoid all forms of us vs them, biological vs textual people. sheesh, the whole concept of calling someone either of those names gives me the willys.

I would be delighted to.

This post talks about genetic data and why Adam and Eve must be very old. It is the 3rd of a four part discussion on why Adam and Eve must be old.

Here is how I have Adam both evolved, and specially created. It is the only way I could think of to do it. The pseudogenes clearly say we are related to the great Apes and the bible says we are specially created. How does one do both at the same time? I think I found a way. I don’t like it, but it matches the data constraints, and that is what a theory is supposed to do. My like or dislike really is meaningless if I can’t find data against the scenario, and I haven’t been able to.

I am proud I don’t have any distinctions between Adam and Eve’s descendants as all recent Adam theories have to have. My view is very interconnected and coherent. People don’t like it because Adam is so old, They don’t beleive small brained hominids could have a technology–yet as I pointed out this morning on anther thread, H. Floresiensis a small brained hominid with a brain size at the lower end of the Australipithecine range, made these stone tools and hunted pygmy elephants with them.

My theory raises so many immediate questions that most people just throw in the towel and never take a hard detailed look. But that is what a theory about our origins ought to do, make us think hard about what actually constitutes a good theory of our origin. All Neolithic Adams have God giving the curse of pain in childbirth to a woman whose ancestors all the way back to 2.4 myr ago, had pain in childbirth. Giving it to a neolithic Eve is meaningless!!! She was already doomed to pain in childbirth before the curse. on the pain in Childbirth skip to the 2nd part, the Johnny come Lately section.

That may be, but when he said, in the article " In this article, I neither disclose, defend, nor assert my personal beliefs." I didn’t and still don’t read it that way. I always disclose what I think. Maybe too much and too often. :joy:

Thanks Glenn, for your honest assessments. I will take a closer look at your theory. It sounds intriguing. Your perspective of wanting a very old Adam and Eve sounds somewhat similar to the perspective of William Lane Craig. I recently listened to Craig and Swamidass dialogue on Capturing Christianity, and they said they are now writing a book together, which should be interesting, as well.

@gbob

Do us all a favor … READ HIS BOOK… before you start throwing the shade around, okay?

@gbob

After years of working intensely with YEC’s here at BioLogos, a number of us noticed that the most entrenched underpinning of the YEC perspective is Romans 5. It is the YEC viewpoint that Romans 5 describes an historical Adam and Eve, and that they are necessary for the logic of redemption, atonement and salvation to work.

Of course, there are other important ideas that YECs fixate upon. But for obvious reasons, an “historical Adam and Eve” is the point that comes up most in BioLogos discussions.

So take a time machine back when Evangelical Geologists were the first ones to suggest that the Earth seems to be MUCH older than 6000 years old. This didn’t threaten the religion of the Geologists. But it impressed them. They started taking measurements … and they kept pushing their theories further back.

The Earth was 10 million years old… 100 million years old… 1 Billion years old… and the whole time the Geologists were speculating on the antiquity of Earth (and the Universe) - - suddenly there was Darwin! And he came to the conclusion that a really old Earth would allow for Evolution. He didn’t know why or how… but it seemed increasingly clear.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED … (presumably triggered by the thoughts of an Adventest Prophetess) … there had to be a miraculous creation of Adam and Eve, 6000 years ago.
.
.

The adamant nature of the YEC claim triggered adamant stances in the scientific community - - an over-reaction that was completely unnecessary:

Christians who were professional scientists said: No Way. It could only be Evolution!

And so the polarizing wall was erected … and everybody has suffered ever since!

@gbob, this next part is crucial, so please stop skimming at this point:

[1] Christians who were scientists were for the most part Trinitarians. They believed God was miraculously born of a virgin. They believed God was miraculously resurrected. They believed in these foundational miracles. But these beliefs did not overturn the sciences of Evolution. Christians who were professional scientists could be devout and faithful Christians without overturning all of science.

[2] But Prof. Swamidass has been able to re-engineer the discussion! He shows that one-off miracles (like the virgin birth, or the resurrection of Jesus) - - which don’t threaten or overturn the sciences - - can actually include just two more one-off miracles!: the creation of a man named Adam (excellent word play!), and then the creation of Eve.

[3] These 2 additional one-off miracles ALSO don’t threaten the sciences of the modern world, if they are accompanied by a few assumptions, and a Christian-centric view of providential events.

[4] GAE scenarios are as broad, or as detailed, as any given audience wishes them to be. Some denominations really don’t have a strong position on a global flood… so the flood doesn’t come up. While other denominations or individuals find the flood needs a lot of discussion.

I am a Unitarian Universalist - - which means I don’t affirm the miracles that the bulk of Christians in the modern world take for granted. So to me, the GAE is completely beside the point. But I help promote the logic of the GAE because, in my view, it helps the willing Creationist become half-right, instead of 100% wrong.

Getting down to specifics - - if you are a full-blown Young Earth Creationist, @gbob, it doesn’t surprise me that you reject the GAE scenarios. But calling @Swamidass a coward? I myself would be looking for your retraction of that particularly scurrilous sentence!

Yes, science bears a high burden of evidence. Thus, it is important to clarify: the GAE theory explains the limits of science, thus opening up space for theologians to keep their own perspectives. You do not need positive evidence to make a clear statement about what science cannot prove.

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@gbob

When it comes to metaphysics, how does any prove any thing?

GAE is not designed to CONVINCE all the different schools of Creationism.

You have a very specific scenario for how to accommodate Creationism. Would you call it one of the Old Earth scenarios? And you believe that God guided primates into becoming the foundation of the Adam/Eve community?

Or do you think God miraculously created one of the hominid lines?

Just a few quick answers will get me in sync with your overall position!

@MOls

Wow… I wish I had thought of such a concise sentence!!!

@gbob

Just to clarify… Genesis 1 refers to Humanity bearing the image of God.

Genesis 2, which specifies Adam and Eve, never mention the image of God.

Genesis 9, after the Flood, says that murder is taboo … because all humans alive bear the image of God.

We are not talking metaphysics here. If you are saying that the GAE is carried invisibly on the wind and is totally undetectable, then that is metaphysics. But if you say that one MUST have a particular ancestor to become a ‘textual’ human, whatever the heck that term actually entails, then we are talking observatioal data. The North Sentinel Andamanese have repelled everyone who is foreign from their island. Indeed, They even repel other Andamanes.

Further there are other localities which it just seems incredulous that some Eurasian raced across the land bridge and then down to South America. The genetics of some indian tribes appear to have been inbreeding for some time. Below is data against the Swamidass theory

“Many of the tribes of South America show strong signs of genetic drift,an indication that their populations have bred in isolation for many thousands of years. Ruiz-Linares estimates from a DNA signature found in two tribes, the Ticuna of the upper Amazon and the Wayuu, on the north coast of Colombia, that they have been genetically isolated for some 7,000 to 8,000 years.” Nicholas Wade, Before the Dawn, (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006), p.117-118

If you think someone raced to South America so they could have the image of God back at 5000 BE or earlier, it isn’t science it is a belief lacking evidence.

It is far better to have the image of God given to a primeval pair whenever that is. That way we don’t appear as racists to many of our critics.

Again, I point out that a curse to Eve of pain in childbirth is a ridiculous curse given that human birth patterns are found in fossil man 2.4 million years ago. If we have to move our primeval parents back that far or further in order not to say we are ‘textrual’ and they are not, then we should do it.

Genetics says our oldest Genes are about 5.5 myr old.

It is interest to me that this fits,
1 The time when the description of Eden in Genesis actually matches a real place on earth–in the Dried up Mediterranean basin.
2. the time of the only geological flood which matches exactly the Biblical description of the Flood.

Such an old Adam allows even the Andamanese to have the image of God, without having to interbreed with an outsider, which is a very dubious proposition.

Such an old Adam with an old curse, explains why fossils 2.4 myr ago have pain in childbirth

such an old Adam explains religion among the H. erectines and Neanderthals

Such an old Adam in the place I put him explains why mists rose from the grown,why no rain had fallen and why there might not have been a rainbow before the flood.

No doubt, most people don’t want these things explained. They just want me to go away.

“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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