Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue Mar 13 2007 - 09:00:25 EDT

*Fact is, we humans can NOT be younger than the oldest gene system
in our bodies. By oldest human gene I mean the largest calculated time to
coalescence for the gene as observed across the human population.
Why? It seems to me that you're engaging in some kind of genetic
determinism here. Obviously, if humans are the product of evolution, we
will carry many genes that are far, far older than whatever it is that
essentially makes us human. You might as well say Adam was a single-celled

I'd suggest that it's a mistake to think of our common ancestry from Adam &
Eve (or the Noahic survivors) in genetic terms. Biblical lineages know
nothing of genetics. It's too easy for us to foget that just a little more
than 50 years ago, genetics was still a black box.

Using a non-genetic geneological model, the MCRA of everyone living today
probably lived only several thousands of years ago. (Wiki: We cannot all
trace our genes back to Adam or Noah, but we could very plausibly all be
able to trace our geneologies back to them. And geneologies are what
matters in scripture, not genetics. (This of course is assuming we need to
think of these figures as historical individuals (which I believe is most
consistent heremeutically but I wouldn't stake my life on it))

The real problem with the MHC (as I understand it primarily from one of the
essays in "Perspectives on an Evolving Creation") is not how ancient the
oldest lineage is (undoubtedly it's ancient), but the diversity of alleles
in the human population as compared to other animal populations. Human MHC
diversity suggests that there could not have been a population of only a few
human individuals any time in the recent past. However, this depends on
probability assumptions about mutation rates and molecular clocks that are
controversial and that may not hold for the human MHC. Or, it may indeed
mean that our concept of humans created with the imago Dei needs to handle
the fact that we humans interbred at different times with non-human hominids
(and also that some such non-human hominids may have survived the flood) --
difficult considerations, but it seems to me not imposible ones, paricularly
if we drop the eisegetical notion that Biblical anthropology and
Biblical geneology have anything to do with genetics.

On 3/13/07, Glenn Morton <> wrote:
> George wrote:
> > I hope it was clear that I was expressing the views of the
> > clergy I referred
> > to, not my own. Of course I agree with your objections to
> > those views - &
> > would add the fact that by allowing YEC views they contribute
> > to making
> > Christians seem stupid.
> >
> It isn't just YEC views. It is silly unfactual things said by ID folk, and
> occasionally by us TE's that make us look stupid. In our debate about the
> age of humanity, both ID and TE's often totally ignore the details of the
> human genetic system. The fact is, that mt DNA will not give a
> populational
> history. Fact is, we humans can NOT be younger than the oldest gene
> system
> in our bodies. By oldest human gene I mean the largest calculated time to
> coalescence for the gene as observed across the human population.
> Many TE's and ID folk insist on believing that humans arose 100-200 kyr
> ago
> (Hugh Ross used to say 60kyr ago and no more but Fuz Rana at least dragged
> him into the 1980s and convinced him that humans arose 100kyr ago and no
> more, ignoring of course that mtDNA data says it has to be older than
> that.)
> The model whereby we believe humans arose from a single pair, or are
> descended from 5 people at the time of the flood, has certain genetic
> implications. Genetic diversity can't be very large in any gene system
> under either of those scenarios. If we are liberal, and take the Noahic
> 5,
> at most we can have only 5 haplotypes for any given gene system.(a
> haplotype
> is a family of similar DNA sequences which are clearly related by
> mutational
> descent. But, last time I looked, the Major Histocompatibility Complex
> (MHC), has over 100 different haplotypes. Ayala, I believe, once said that
> it would require 30 million years to give rise to this suite (however, I
> believe there is some evidence that this area of the genome evolves faster
> than Ayala assumed). The MHC requires long periods of time to evolve and
> means that we can't get that much diversity in 200kyr which most ID's and
> TE's believe in. So, they make us look silly and stupid.
> If coalescence times are 5.5 million years, that means we can't have had
> a
> genetic/populational bottleneck, as the Bible requires for the past 5
> million years. If one believes that humanity came from a very small
> population of people, either 2 or 5, then current ID and TE views which
> hold
> that humanity arose in the last 200 kyr are as laughably wrong as the YEC
> views of a 6000 year old earth. And it means that the ID's and TE's are
> doing exactly what the YECs are doing--ignoring data on the age of
> something! They deny the age of the earth, ID's and TE's deny the age of
> human genes. So, I would conclude that I see ID and most TE views doing
> the
> same thing as YEC--making us look silly, stupid, and in denial of the
> data.
> And when I try to raise the issue that to be consistent with the
> scientific
> and observational data, I get snide remarks from people like you about the
> imaginary scenarios I offer. But that is ok, I get plenty of snide remarks
> from YECs when they deny the clear geologic data that shows the age of the
> earth. I see what I am doing as dealing with the data that y'all ignore.
> The fact that y'all find my views personally incredulous is no more of a
> reason to reject this view of the age of humanity than is the personal
> incredulousness of the YEC who rejects the age of the earth and universe.
> As the preacher said, There is nothing new under the sun.
> glenn
> They're Here: The Pathway Papers
> Foundation, Fall, and Flood
> Adam, Apes and Anthropology
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Received on Tue Mar 13 09:00:57 2007

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