Re: The death of the RTB model

From: D and K Hayworth <>
Date: Wed Feb 15 2006 - 19:59:47 EST

Dear friends,

I think several of you are overstating things on both sides. Glenn places too much confidence in Templeton's analysis, while Terry underappreciates its significance with respect to some of the very specific claims of the RTB model. To say it in the positive sense, Glenn is reminding us that we were wise not to build a theology of concordance with the RTB model, while Terry is reminding Glenn (and all of us) that we also should not build a similar theology solely on the story that Templeton tells based on his analysis, as if it were the final answer or the only way to think about human genetic history.

I apologize if I'm not up on the precise details of how Glenn and others use these human population genetic data in constructing models of concordance with the biblical story, but how are the differences between these alternative evolutionary models particularly important to the theology/science topic? What about your own models, Glenn or Dick, depend on one or the other of these genetic models being correct? Both models involve some form of expansion out of Africa.

From an ethics/morality/theological perspective, I think the more important part of Alan Templeton's analyses are what they say about the lack of historical distinctness between races (see related article: I did my PhD at Wash U, where I took population genetics and other courses from Alan Templeton (and he was on my committee). I remember him talking about how concepts of race are social rather than genetic. He contrasted the views about "black" in the U.S. vs.Brazil, where I think he had done a sabbatical. In the U.S., you are considered black if you have any black-like features; in Brazil it is largely the opposite; you are considered white if you have any white-like features. On a related note, DNA ancestral analyses are revealing surprising things to many African Americans about their ancestry (see article in USA Today last week).

Of course the coalescence analyses were focused on more ancient population genetics. And even Alan would not deny that different patterns of physical features did evolve in different geographical areas. However, the only reasonable conclusion from his analysis seems to be that there has always been a significant level of gene flow within the entire human species (i.e., among human populations). This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has read history. The Israelites couldn't keep themselves from intermarrying at some level with all the nations around them, even when God commanded them to. And we know that few other civilizations did any better. With regard to Isreal, one could make a strong case that God was more concerned about cultural distinction than genetic isolation; he wanted Israel to maintain its faithfulness to God. I'm speaking off the top of my head, so don't take these as my definitive views. My point is that these seem to be a more interesting points for discussion as tangents from Alan Templeton's work than the origin of humans.

Douglas Hayworth

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Received on Wed, 15 Feb 2006 18:59:47 -0600

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