Re: Dating Adam

Glenn Morton (
Thu, 30 May 1996 20:35:58

I am going to combine several responses to Terry Gray, Ena Vanzyl, and
Dave Koerner into one.

Terry wrote:

>Glenn seems to be accusing me of being behind the times in the
>mitochondrial Eve debate. I disagree with him. This is a hotly
> contested field with the multi-regional theorests having a lot to lose
>in granting the point of the molecular evolutionists. From what I read,
>the mitochondrial Eve data is not nearly as "withered" as Glenn and his
>paleoanthropology authorities would lead us to believe. And of course,
> a human origin 100,000 to 200,000 years ago would simply do in Glenn's
> flood theory (as I have been pointing out).

For those who don't know a few definitions.

Multiregional theory--the theory holding that mankind's ancestors came out
of Africa once and have evolved into Homo sapiens all over the world in
multitudinous regions.

Out-of-Africa theory--the theory holding that there have been many waves
of immigrants out of Africa and Modern Humans were merely the last wave
which occurred around 100,000 years ago.

The Eve theory as generally propounded--mtDNA mutation rates show that all
humans descended from a single female living 120-200 thousand years ago.
This view SUPPORTS the Out-of-Africa Theory.

Reply to Terry: When I see Out-of Africa advocates like Donald Johanson
state that the young (~150,000 year) Eve theory has withered; when I see
an Out-of-Africa Theorist like Tattersall admit that there were major
problems in the young Eve theory, then I know that there is a major
problem. If you will recall, Terry, on another listserv, I defended the
Eve theory as late as last December. That was when our friend, Robert,
quoted some authorities saying the Eve viewpoint was in trouble. I didn't
believe him at the time but went looking to see if he was correct. Robert
was correct. Those who would most benefit from the Eve view are now
admitting that there are major problems and their most recent books are
downplaying that data. The leading proponents of the multiregional theory
are Milford Wolpoff and Alan Thorne. I have specifically and
intentionally NOT quoted from ANY of the multiregionalists. When the
enemy of a position admits problems, then there are problems.

>>From what I can tell many knowledgeable people in the field are still
>holding to the more recent dating. Dawkins in *River Out of Eden*
> seems to have no problem with the 200,000 year ago date. Here's a
>*brief* line from Niles Eldredge "Dominion" (1995) suggesting that the
>criticisms that Glenn has been citing were premature.
>"...They concluded that the diversity of mitochondrial DNA patterns
>converges on an African configuration--one that must have been present in
>an African *Homo sapiens* woman who lived sometime between 150,000 and
>200,000 years ago. What better name than Eve?
> "Wilson's work has been sharply criticized. There were problems with
>samples and the statistical techniques used to compare the different
>genetic sequences. Yet in general the results seem to be holding up.
> And they agree so well with what the fossils themselves seem to be
telling us."
>(p. 80-81)

Eldrege is not "in the field". He is a paleontologist not a
paleoanthropologist. I have been quoting paleoanthropologists not The
authors of the original mtDNA study now admit that the date may be as
early as 400,000 years.

Definition: A Venus figurine is a statue of a naked lady, usually with
pendulous breasts and huge hips. The oldest one is from 330,000 years
ago. The second most recent date from around 35,000 years ago in the
upper Paleolithic

>Concerning Glenn's reference to the Golan Venus--I'm not willing to
>conclude anything from such an artefact other than that those hominids
>could make from rock images that looked like people. To say that the
>existence of such a thing implies idolatry and thus religious
>sensibilities and thus image of God seems a bit excessive.

In that case you can not use the Venus figurines made by upper Paleolithic
man to conclude anything about the religious sensibilities they might
have. And if you eliminate those more recent Venus figurines, then there
is precious little evidence for religious activity until around 4000 B.C.
when the Temples on Malta were built.

Since you have ruled out art objects, and signs of other human activities
as being evidence of mankind (in the larger sense) being on the planet,
what exactly do you propose to use to determine when mankind (with the
image of God) first appeared on this planet? Why do you use 100,000
years? The plain fact is that when homo sapiens first appears on the
planet (120,000 years ago), he spent the next 85,000 years doing exactly
what Neanderthal did. If there is no difference in the behavior of early
modern humans, and Neanderthals, what is the fact from the fossil record
that makes you think those early humans were different?
Shreeve, picking the change in behavior differently than other
authorities, writes

"With a 60,000-year time lag between the appearance of modern human
skeletons in one part of the world and the florescence of modern behavior
in another, the most astonishing advance in the history of human culture
has been orphaned of a cause."~James R. Shreeve, The Neandertal Enigma,
(New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995), p. 267

If you want to say that Neanderthal was human (since they and modern homo
sapiens behaved similarly), then the first Neanderthal appeared 230,000
years ago. Does this mean that man was therefore formed 230,000 years

>As an aside I might add that in my theology, human beings aren't the
>only creatures with religious sensibilities. "The heavens declare the
>glory of God..." "They look to Him for food..."

That may be true, but human beings are the only ones who make sculptures
of naked females.

Ena Vanzyl writes:

>I disagree on the statement that the theory of dating Eve genetically
>is out dated. In a '95 issue of "Genetics, Selection and Evolution" a
>paper on this same topic was published - "The age of Eve". I do not
>have the exact reference with me, but have read the paper. If
>interested in this paper just look in the abstract of the journal.

There is an Eve in the sense that we are all descended from a single
female. This is true regardless of whether the "Eve" is the Eve of the
Bible or if evolution is correct. The real issue is WHEN did Eve live?
The "Eve" theory I am saying is on its way out is the one that says Eve
lived in Africa 120-130,000 years ago.

I will try to get the article, but you don't give any details, how old do
they say Eve is, did they use the PAUP software, and how many solutions
did they put the PAUP software through? Part of the problem with the
young Eve theory is that everytime the program was run with different
initializations, it gave radically different answers as to when and where
Eve lived. This is what Terry and I are disagreeing over.

Dave Koerner wrote:

>As an astronomer, I have little background to evaluate the archeological
>details of this discussion, but I find that even the basic assumptions
>andmotivation for this debate are not entirely clear to me from the
>archived posts. Could someone clarify? I gather that both sides are
>trying to date the first occurrence of the "image of God" in a hominid,
>but this concept doesn't seem to be well defined. What precisely do you
>mean by the first occurrence ofthe "image of God?" Must this appearance
>constitute an abrupt change within onegeneration, or could the "image of
>God" appear gradually over many generations?

I have argued that Christianity must incorporate into an apologetic of the
early part of Genesis the vast amount of evidence for human and human-like
activity found in paleoanthropology. Some of this behavior goes way back.
If you are interested in that list of activities, I will send it to you
privately since I have posted it here before. Terry, as I understand him,
does argue for a more gradual appearance of human traits but with Adam
occurring around 100,000 years ago.

The only thing one could even possibly point to in the way of evidence for
the image of God from the fossil record is evidence of religious items
such as the Venus figurines. Terry finds these objects unconvincing. I
find them fascinating since animals don't engage in that behavior.

Foundation,Fall and Flood