Re: [asa] Theo-Neo-Darwnian Synthesis + Chromosome Fusion WAS Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real person?)

From: Dennis Venema <>
Date: Wed Apr 16 2008 - 04:43:17 EDT

A few comments about the supposed difficulty of a ³natural mechanism² to
account for our fused chromosome (human chromosome 2).

First off, I have not seen anyone suggest in the literature that this fusion
event was a selective advantage, or even that it contributed to our
divergence from the last common ancestor with chimps. I am willing to stand
corrected is someone knows of a reference I haven¹t read yet. As far as I
know this is viewed as a neutral accident, at least based on the evidence
currently available.

Secondly, there is no difficulty here from a mechanistic standpoint. I¹ll
try pitch this for a non-specialist audience. The fused chromosomes are
fused in telomere sequences ­ the very distal tips of the chromosomes. This
is non-coding DNA, and the fusion event did not destroy any genes, but
simply pasted the two chromosomes together. This organism is thus still
fully diploid, but now has 47 chromosomes:

the new compound chromosome (1)
the other copies of the affected chromosomes which did not fuse (2)
the other chromosomes not involved (44, in 22 pairs).

This organism would not have any apparent defects, and would still be able
to complete meiosis just fine. It would be able to mate with normal 48
chromosome individuals.

Upon mating, half of the offspring of this organism would be like itself (47
chromosomes) and the other half would have 48.

Overt time in a small, inbreeding population, it is likely that two 47
chromosome-bearing organisms would mate. In this case, on average 1/4 of the
offspring would have 46 chromosomes, one half would have 47, and 1/4 would
have 48. Again, all of these options would be able to interbreed just fine.

Continue this process over time and you have two 46 chromosome organisms
mating, now producing offspring with only 46. Toss in a population
bottleneck and you have a population that ³fixes² on the new chromosome
structures (our ancestors). Again, there is no loss or gain of information
in this process, and no speciation either.

So, nothing supernatural required.

>Again, there is no 'simply natural' explanation for what happened. One must
appeal to an 'architect' or 'designer,'

Not to put too fine a point on it, but not understanding a mechanism is
often confused with the need for divine intervention. God may well have
influenced this process in some undetected way, but that is not ³needed² to
explain the data by any means.

Leave it to a Drosophila geneticist to lecture on compound chromosomes!
Class dismissed.


On 4/16/08 12:53 AM, "Gregory Arago" <> wrote:

> Yes, I agree with you John on the well-worded expression of David O's
> position. Not understanding 'exactly how' the stories mesh together is/can be
> what inspires further reflection, meditation and even scientific theorising on
> the topic. I am glad you have come to 'rest' with where you are while, as you
> already know, noting that I find the TE/EC position lacking because it gives
> too much credit to evolutionary biology (rep: natural science), while
> neglecting other evolutionary theories. David O's position is not heavy-handed
> with 'evolutionary philosophy,' which seems to permeate the TE/EC pov much
> more deeply.
> Credit given, I wonder if you could clarify why you would choose to call such
> a position a theo-neo-Darwinian synthesis (TNDS, for short), i.e. seemingly
> forcing Darwin into a position of professing theology, when he refused to
> speak about religion publically in his later years? Such a view would seem to
> be a 'tack-on' to Darwin rather than flowing from Darwin's thought.
> T. Dobzhansky and P. Teilhard de Chardin are the recognized pioneers of
> 'integrating' science and faith using evolution(ism), which you deem
> previously were 'wedged' apart for you, presumably by YECism or biblical
> literalism. Why not call it theo-neo-evolutionary synthesis (TNES) instead and
> leave Darwin out of it? This is partly about semantics, and partly about
> appeal to authority. After all, there are new evolutionists today and indeed
> some of Darwin's views are clearly and indefensibly obsolete
> Your curiosity about the 'mechanism of speciation' made me smile. Especially
> this sentence: " the chromosome fusion of a single member of a primate
> population would convey to it an adaptive advantage over the rest of the
> population?" Have you seen the blockbuster "The Matrix"? This is exactly what
> the character 'Neo' is, an anomaly 'designed/composed' by the system, (in the
> M3 we discover) 'the Architect.' The 'mating with other non-fused members' is
> fictionalised as the relation between Neo and Trinity.
> As with you, I see no way this can happen 'naturalistically' either. In the
> Matrix films, the term 'fate' is extremely important. However, in our
> discussion Providence and predestination, as well as others (for
> naturalistically-minded Christians, the only alternative may seem to be
> 'supernatural') become relevant. Again, there is no 'simply natural'
> explanation for what happened. One must appeal to an 'architect' or
> 'designer,' or 'mechanic' (if using mechanistic language), or some other
> non-naturalistic metaphor to open-up or uncover the deeper meanings or
> (historical) truths of how, when, why, where (and on the parallel thread),
> with who it originatively happened.
> Indeed, Neo was 'original' in his own way (though the film says he was
> something like a clone of previous anomalies).
> Cheers,
> G.A.
> John Walley <> wrote:
>> David,
>> This gets my vote as the best Theology/Neo-Darwinian Synthesis theory (or
>> Theo-Neo-Darwinian Synthesis) that I have heard. I think the net-net is that
>> we choose to believe that it meshed somehow but is impossible to tell exactly
>> how. I guess that is where the faith comes in. Anyway this is similar to
>> where my TE journey takes me as well and like you all I can say is that it
>> works for me and I think I have concluded that that is about the best I can
>> hope for at this point. It is somewhat anti-climactic but the after the
>> initial joy of stumbling onto TE and the liberation it yields by removing the
>> wedge between science and faith and integrating the two, I now find that it
>> ultimately leaves me in the state of Job after God spoke to him out of the
>> cloud where I feel like all I can do as well is put my hand over my mouth.
>> As an aside, I have been wondering about the mechanics of the speciation into
>> modern day homo sapiens sapiens. What plausible scenarios exist for how the
>> chromosome fusion of a single member of a primate population would convey to
>> it an adaptive advantage over the rest of the population? A chromosome
>> irregularity of this type today would most accurately be described as a birth
>> defect it seems.
>> And how would this single sample successfully mate with other non-fused
>> members such that only fused samples are selected and propagated with no
>> known surviving hybrids in between? Maybe I am misunderstanding the process
>> but I have wrestled with this and can't piece together how this could have
>> happened naturalistically. Can anyone explain this or are their any theories
>> on this and if so can someone direct me to any resources on it?
>> Thanks
>> John
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: [] On
>>> Behalf Of David Opderbeck
>>> Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 10:28 AM
>>> To: Alexanian, Moorad
>>> Cc: Bethany Sollereder; Jack; George Murphy; ASA list
>>> Subject: Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real
>>> person?)
>>> To me, it depends how the narrative is supposed to be understood and what
>>> you mean by "wrong."
>>> The narrative pictures God directly shaping Adam out of dust and forming Eve
>>> out of Adam's rib in a garden in Mesopotamia. Further, the narrative seems
>>> to presume that this pair is the actual fountainhead of all humanity.
>>> The fossil record and the record of molecular biology, however, seem to tell
>>> a different story of the gradual emergence of a group of people out of
>>> Africa, with no clear deliniation between "human" and "pre-human."
>>> It seems to me there are two possibilities: 1. one of these stories is
>>> true and one is false; or 2. the stories mesh together somehow.
>>> Personally, I very much wish it were possible to argue persuasively that the
>>> "scientific" story is false. But, while I don't think the scientific story
>>> can be "proven" to be true, it seems to be based on quite reasonable
>>> inferences from the empirical evidence.
>>> I also very much wish it were possible to argue persuasively that the
>>> Biblical story is false in the sense of being entirely non-historical even
>>> if true in another sense. Some are persuaded this is possible; at this
>>> point in my personal journey, I find this unravels too many things that are
>>> important to me.
>>> To me, right now, the stories have to mesh together in some sense somehow.
>>> The Genesis story isn't "literal" but it also isn't non-historical. It
>>> describes God's special attention to and relationship with the first pair to
>>> be fully and truly "human," perhaps even directly created by God. This
>>> first truly human pair can choose to obey God and thereby, in a sense, bring
>>> all the creation "into the garden" through their stewardship. Perhaps this
>>> involves also their headship over the rest of emerging humanity. But they
>>> sin, are cast out of their state of idyllic fellowship and into the
>>> slipstream of biological humanity. Yet they remain spiritually / federally
>>> the heads of humanity and we all are bound to them in this sense, in the
>>> same way that those who trust in Christ are bound to him. All of this is
>>> known to us only by revelation and it is opaque to science. It probably
>>> doesn't compeletly work, but it sort of works for now for me.
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Received on Wed Apr 16 04:45:59 2008

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