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

From: John Walley <>
Date: Wed Apr 16 2008 - 21:14:43 EDT

Thanks for this very enlightening response.
Please note I did not deny a naturalistic mechanism or suggest that one did
not exist, just that I was ignorant of one if so and had not been able to
piece together how it might have happened naturalistically. And as opposed
to Gregory, I am not threatened by the possibility that there may be one and
now I am forever enriched by this new understanding of this scenario that
could explain it. I do have this follow-up question however if I may.
Assuming this fusion happened only once in a local population and single
fused sample left only half of his offspring in this hybrid state and they
in turn did the same, it seems it would take 3-4 generations to have even a
hundred or more samples hybrid samples among the entire population. Then
assuming two hybrids did mate, only 1/4 of their offspring would have 46
which now means only a tiny fraction of the overall population would be 46
while the vast majority were still 48 and 47.
It seems to me that it is stretching to assume that a population bottleneck
would fix this unless we imagine the interventionism of ID and believe it
came down to a single pair that were chosen just-so, so that is why I
suggested that this 46 configuration must give those specimens some kind of
selection advantage. If not and they were all the same as far as breeding
goes then wouldn't we expect to see at least a trace sample left of the 47's
and 48's that were once the predominant portion of the population? I am
assuming we don't see this trace in any significant number in either chimps
or humans, right?
This question seems to be complicated to me by all the remaining 48's being
chimps but all the new 46's being human. What can explain this transition?
Assuming that the original hybrid 47 and all his hybrid 47 descendants and
even the double hybrid 46's were all chimps or a common ancestor of chimps
and humans, and then you had a population bottleneck shortly thereafter to
keep the 47's from gaining a significant representation in the overall
population, how can we explain that all the 46's evolved into modern day
humans other than a selection advantage?

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Dennis Venema
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 4:43 AM
To: Gregory Arago; John Walley; 'David Opderbeck'; 'Alexanian, Moorad'
Cc: 'Bethany Sollereder'; 'Jack'; 'George Murphy'; 'ASA list'
Subject: Re: [asa] Theo-Neo-Darwnian Synthesis + Chromosome Fusion WAS Who
do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real person?)

A few comments about the supposed difficulty of a "natural mechanism" 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 haven't 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. I'll
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 "fixes" 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 "needed" 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
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).

John Walley <> wrote:

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?

-----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

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 21:36:23 2008

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