Re: Genealogical Gaps?

From: <>
Date: Tue Feb 28 2006 - 22:43:13 EST

This is for John Tandy, David Opderbeck and Terry Gray


JPT: Interesting argument, Adam does mean "man" in Hebrew. But the significant difference is this: there is no scripture which says "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Jesus: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Jesus were eight hundred years". Jesus' claim to be the "Son of man" is clearly a figure of speech, going back to the prophecy in Daniel 7:13, and the Jews of his day recognized his claim of identity with the prophecy, I believe.

GRM: Yes, but it also expresses a very much shortened genealogy. If you prefer, you can see the same phenomenon by the claim that Jesus was the son of David. A very short genealogy also.

JPT: From the genealogy list in Luke 3 it is relatively easy to make the "son means ancestor" argument. The genealogies in the Old Testament are more difficult, because they don't just say "son of" -- they give detailed information about the ages of each patriarch when their son was born, and how much longer he lived afterward. If that text can't be relied on in these things, it's not hard to see why many people (I'm not saying myself necessarily) find it hard to believe the "text is a figure-of-speech" argument, or the "text is true but inexact" argument.

GRM: what about the example I used from my own genealogy? Why wouldn't that work? It seems that too often when I post something new, no one actually responds to it and subsequent argumentation act as if I hadn't posted it?


JPT: I agree this could be a very reasonable idea. The YEC author's article that I referenced, while not endorsing this view, presents essentially the same argument as one possibility. My point was that even if this is reasonable, the number of generations necessary to bridge a 5 million year gap is unreasonable. 5 million minus 1000 (approx. time of David), divided by 20 years reproduction time for typical "young men with raging hormones" as you say, who have a 40 year average life span, is 249,950 generations. The Bible lists a total of about 33 generations from Adam to David. This means that the Biblical authors "omitted" or "forgot" or considered unimportant about 249,917 generations? And I am not singling out your point of view alone for having this problem. I think the theory of a 100,000 year old Adam and a 2900 B.C. Noah is subject to the same criticism, except the numbers of lost generations is smaller.

GRM: Absolutely the 100kyr Adam has the same problem. But when I do a bit more of it, suddenly it becomes verboten and awful. 100,000/ 20 is 5000 generations. I would argue that it is no better to lose 5000 generations than 250,000. The point is that one has a very small percentage of the people there. I have often made the crude joke that it is like the man who says to the woman, will you sleep with me for $1 million and she says yes. Then the man says, would you do it for $20 bucks? She is then indignant asking what kind of person the guy thinks she is. We know what we are doing with the generations. All we are arguing over is the price. Is the price 5000 or is it 250,000. If one were to use a 6000 year history then there are 4000 years between Adam and Jesus and that is 200 generations of which only a few are actually mentioned. We know there are missing generations. The question is how many?


JPT: I certainly won't claim to be an inspired writer of scripture. But if I could write a Biblical genealogy following this line of reasoning, it might go something like this:

And after he was driven from the Garden, Australopithecus anamensis lived 531 years and begat Australopithecus afarensis.
And Australopithecus afarensis lived 419 years and begat Australopithecus africanus.
And Australopithecus africanus lived 693 years and begat Homo habilis.
And Homo habilis lived 475 years and begat Homo ergaster.
And Homo ergaster lived 211 years and begat Homo erectus.
And Homo erectus lived 563 years and begat Homo heidelbergensis. And Homo erectus preached 120 years against the wickedness of the people, but they would not repent. And the Lord commanded Homo erectus to build a great boat and to take two of every kind of animal into the boat. And in his days, there was a great flood, and he and his family were saved in the boat which the Lord had commanded him to build.
And after the flood, Homo heidelbergensis lived 120 years and begat Homo neanderthalensis.
And Homo neanderthalensis lived 99 years and begat Homo sapiens.
And Homo sapiens lived 85 years and begat David, king of Israel.
And King David lived 62 years and begat King Milesius of Ireland.
And King Milesius lived 30 years and begat Glenn Morton.

So all the generations from Australopithecus anamensis to Homo erectus were 6 generations;

and all the generations from Homo erectus to Glenn Morton were 6 generations.

GRM: I would have done this: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Abram was told by God to leave his country..... All the problems would not be there.



JPT: It could have happened this way, I grant the possibility, but the whole thing seems a bit ridiculous to frame 5 million years of anthropological history as if it were 3000-year detailed geneaology that in no way reflects reality. Another real difficulty which is overlooked in this view is -- authorship. Over most of 5 million years of anthropology, pre-humans didn't keep such genealogies. At best it was Moses, by revelation through the Spirit of God who produced the book of Genesis. Of course Biblical scholarship throws this into doubt as well, saying the Genesis account was created or modified much later in Israel's history. Therefore, it was not a matter of Homo erectus historians forgetting or purposely omitting generations over millions of years, it was either God or human authors who purposely left them out.

GRM: which is why I said that I believe in the ability of God to inspire some real information in the later writers. If he is so incapable of such a simple task for him, how can we know he has the power to raise the dead, including us???


JPT: If Genesis was Moses' writing, it was a divinely authored account written purposely to mislead people concerning the true history of mankind, making it appear artificially short. This seems analogous to the YEC argument of "appearance of age," in their view that God created starlight in motion in space to appear as if it had traveled millions of light years when it was actually created just a few minutes earlier.

JPT: If Genesis was instead the product of post-exilic human authorship, the account is a complete sham and fabrication by people who had no conception of reality. This more or less invalidates the account as inspired writing. Either way, the Biblical text is compromised in the interest of satisfying the archaeological evidence. The only other apologetic I could foresee in this case, would be to argue that historians of that day routinely made up genealogies which weren't meant to convey actual reality of people and families, but rather were allegorical narratives. I'm not sure if this strengthens the doctrine of Biblical inspiration, even if it were true.

GRM: I think it destroys biblical inspiration. Once again, how powerful is our God?

JPT: This is a good and very interesting point. I have grown up with the ideas that a pre-flood water canopy, along with fewer compounded genetic disorders in the early generations of the world, caused people and things to live long at first and progressively shorter lives toward modern time. If these theories are not true, there definitely needs to be a revised Biblical interpretation.

GRM: there is no evidence for great longevity.


Glenn wrote: The Scot and Irish nobility lineage can be totally true but have those gaps of 2-300 years without any evidence that it is there, save for the lifespan.

JPT: Another very good and quotable piece of apologetic that could help blunt the YEC type of argument, "if the Bible text, taken at face value, isn't strictly and literally factual in every detail, then the gospel of Christ is invalidated". If we can show that historians of past ages were not so concerned about recording every excruciating detail of history with the same precision as our 21st century bias causes us to require, then we should give more latitude to the ancient text rather than requiring a black-and-white true/false judgment to be made. I think the "strict biblical inerrancy" theology of the past century has greatly contributed to our modern bias in subjects such as this.

GRM: I agree, but one dare not throw reality out with the bathwater of YECism.


David Opderbeck wrote:

>>>I have trouble seeing how this is materially different from or superior to the view you attribute to ID ("God used similar genetic systems from other animals and miraculously created man"), particularly if "dust of the earth" used by God in the special creation of man includes preexisting genetic material in skin cells or hair sloughed off of an early hominid. <<<

Because I don't try to use it to prove design at a place in history and science (biology) where it is impossible to prove design. That is what is wrong with ID--they try to prove design in biological systems when there is a perfectly reasonable and workable scientific explanation--evolution. They then have to deny all biological science in order to perform the magic trick of demonstrating design. I don't do that and that is why my view is better.


>>>>Why is the assumption that Adam and Eve were neolithic taken with such apparent certainty? Genesis 4 suggests neolithic elements among the descendants of Cain, but the term "father of," as I understand it from Kidner's commentary, is somewhat loose, and doesn't necessarily suggest widespread adoption of technologies like metal smelting during Tubal-Cain's lifetime. Also, the Genesis 4 text is antedeluvial and pre-Babel (is anteBabelial a word?). Perhaps the technologies referred to in Genesis 4 were practiced among a relatively small group of antedeluvians and were lost in the flood, to be revived sometime after Babel. Maybe the loss of those technologies was part of God's judgment on that society at the time. The flood would not then correlate with any of the riparian floods for which we have archeological data, but would be earlier and not evidenced in the archeological record either because of an absence of remains resulting from the relatively small population and/or the paucity of excavations in the region. <<<<


GRM: I specifically take the approach you do, that the technology was lost in the flood. Eight people would not have the knowhow (or genetic diversity) to recreate a farming community after the flood. I have posted on this several times in the ASA.



Terry Gray wrote:


>>>>>Doesn't Dick's solution accomplish the same result as yours in terms of the genetics? The descendants of a miraculously created neolithic Adam and Eve interbreed with an already existing humanity. The genetics of his solution look the same as the genetics of yours. You preserve the unity of the whole race and he doesn't. He has a neolithic Adam, you don't. Theologically, I'm partial to your solution. Being honest with the details of Genesis, I'm partial to his solution. (Of course, by theologically, I mean taking all that the Bible teaches into account--not some readily discardable human system.) <<<<

GRM: From a genetic point of view, Dick's solution would handle the human genetic system equally with mine. No problem there.


GRM: Do you admit that the details of your solution comes from the Bible alone? (I'm not saying that this is bad!) I.e. there is no real scientific evidence for your scenario--it is just the case that your scenario is consistent with the scientifically.<<<

First off, no all my details do not come from the Scripture anymore than all our knowledge of the Hebrew language comes from the Scripture, or any more than our interpretations of the geocentric-leaning verses comes from Scripture. Outside knowledge simply has to be allowed into the fray.

I would agree with your assessment of the status of my view. I fit with all the data of which I am aware. I also lack positive evidence specifically supporting the thesis. I would say this, however. The first step in finding a solution MUST be that one must be consistent with KNOWN data. If one requires superhuman strength to pole a boat up a river, then one is probaly wrong. If one requires that there be less genetic variability among the humans than we currently observe, then one is probably wrong becaue they don't fit the KNOWN data. This is why I go the direction I do. I think it is imperative that we actually fit known data, things like archaeologic sites from 400 kyr ago which LOOK like altars.


>>>Finally, remind me of the Ayala quote with respect to the date indicated by the MHC data (a link to a previous post is fine). My recollection is that he estimates the "bottleneck" to be a population of around 10,000. I don't really remember what he said about the date. <<<

GRM: In animal conservation, when they are trying to bring a species back from the brink of extinction, often they have to interbreed the species with a close relative to improve the chances of the species surviving. If such a think is necessary with animals today on the brink of extinction, then interbreeding was probably required by 8 humans as well. Maybe that is why we had to interbreed, assuming there is any validity to the Biblical story at all.

Here is some stuff by Ayala that I have posted which is relevant to the present discussion.

"If we assume a mean population size of 10^5 individuals and a long-term
generation time of 15 years, the expected coalescence for neutral alleles
is 6 Myr, which is much less than the 30 Myr coalescence of the DRB1
alleles. Although the coalescence estimate has a large variance, it seems
that either our ancestral population was even larger than 10^5 or, as
assumed, balancing selection accounts for the long term persistence of the
MHC polymorphisms. The presence of balancing selection is supported by the
analysis of the DNA sequences of HLA alleles. In codons specifying amino
acids of the PBR, variation at the first and second positions is
significantly higher than at the third position, and this observation is
taken as evidence that positive selection acts on the first two positions.
Moreover, Hill et al. have shown that MHC polymorphism may increase
resistance to Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for malignant
"Estimates of the magnitude of the selection coefficient, s, that
maintains the MHC polymorphisms vary from locus to locus, but range from
0.0007 to 0.019. It seems unlikely that the selection coefficients do not
allow for the long-term persistence of polymorphisms except in the presence
of large populations. For example, only 7 alleles can be maintained in a
population of N=1000, even with overdominant selection as unreasonably
large as 0.3." ~ Francisco J. Ayala, Ananias Escalante, Colm O'hUigin and
Jan Klein, "Molecular Genetics of Speciation and Human Origins," Proc.
Natl. Acad. Sci, USA, 91:pp6787-6794, July 1994, p. 6790.

"For example, 63 primate alleles are known of the DRB1 gene, 17 of them in
humans. As many as 14 DRB1 human alleles predate the origin of Homo
erectus, 9 alleles predate the divergence of the human and chimpanzee
lineages, and 7 alleles predate the divergence of the human and orangutan
lineages. Another instance is the occurrence of multiallelic polymorphisms
in the [beta]-globin family that yield at least 17 haplotypes, the
coalescence of which goes back to 450,000 years B.P. or earlier and would
be consistent with an effective population of 10,000 individuals through
that time span." ~ Francisco J. Ayala, Ananias Escalante, Colm O'hUigin and
Jan Klein, "Molecular Genetics of Speciation and Human Origins," Proc.
Natl. Acad. Sci, USA, 91:pp6787-6794, July 1994, p. 6791.

"Two recent molecular studies favor some degree of regional
continuity over complete African replacement. The first study
concerns polymorphisms in the genes for green and red visual
pigments. Color vision in animals is mediated by light-
sensitive pigments consisting of a chromophore covalently linked
to a protein moiety (opsin). The genes coding for opsins in the
red and green pigments are located on the long arm of chromosome
X, whereas the one for the blue pigment is on chromosome 7. In
humans, the red and green opsin genes are highly homologous and
consist of six exons. The duplication of these two genes has
been dated to 30-40 Myr B. P., shortly after the divergence of
the Old-and New-World primates.

"The green and red opsin genes have now been sequenced in a
sample of 16 chimpanzees, 7 gorillas, and 4 orangutans, yielding
a total of 14 biallelic polymorphic sites (all in either exon 2
or 4). Six of these polymorphisms are also found in humans,
which indicates that they are of ancient origin predating the
divergence of humans and apes.

"One of these trans-specific polymorphisms involves the
amino acid residue 65, which in the green opsin gene of
orangutans and humans can be either threonine or isoleucine. The
relevant results is that this polymorphism has been found in
Caucasians (the Ile-65 allele in 4 out of 120 individuals) but
not in a sample of 56 individuals of African ancestry and 49 of
Asian ancestry. It is possible that the Ile-65 allele may
eventually be found in African populations. It is also possible
that it may have been lost from African and Asian populations in
recent times, that is, after the emergence of modern humans. But
since this polymorphism is millions of years old, loss of the
allele over the long period since the migration of H. erectus out
of Africa is more likely than a recent loss. In the replacement
model, migrants from Africa colonize other parts of the world and
replace any preexisting populations within the last 200,000
years. It would seem unlikely that the polymorphism would have
been passed on to Caucasian populations and become thereafter
lost in the larger African population. Thus, the opsin
polymorphism argues (mildly) against a complete replacement of
the Caucasian gene pool by African populations.

"The second example concerns an autosomal recessive disorder
in lipid metabolism due to the absence of apolipoprotein C-II,
the physiological activator of lipoprotein lipase, a key enzyme
in very low density lipoprotein metabolism. Two deleterious
alleles, one from a Venezuelian Caucasian family and one from a
Japanese family, share a frameshift mutation suggesting common
ancestry. These two mutants diverged from the normal allele at
least 2 Myr B. P. The persistence of two defective alleles over
such a long time is a puzzle, perhaps a consequence of small
heterozygote advantage. But this persistence (i) argues against
extremely small population bottlenecks throughout the Pleistocene
human history, and (ii) favors the conclusion that European and
Asian H. erectus have contributed to the gene pool of modern H.
sapiens." ~ Francisco J. Ayala, Ananias Escalante, Colm O'hUigin
and Jan Klein, "Molecular Genetics of Speciation and Human
Origins," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, USA, 91:6787-6794, July 1994, p.


I can't find the quote I want so that will have to await my return to Beijing tomorrow and Thursday.



Received on Tue Feb 28 22:45:34 2006

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