RE: [asa] Re: Reading Genesis theologically NOT historically

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Tue Oct 06 2009 - 11:01:33 EDT



Just a question about the okapi example. What if the offspring of the five-foot animal was not five foot six (presumably an unlikely event), but five foot plus half a centimeter, with the extra half centimeter being in the length of its neck. What if three generations down the line, there was a descendent who was five foot plus a full centimeter. Offspring for several generations might have been similar, within a degree of normal variability. What if ten generations later one of the offspring of one of those lines had a neck that was another half centimeter longer, while many of its cousins had been killed off through various environmental events. And so on, until there was a population, maybe 1000 generations later, whose survival had preserved the longer-neck genes and became what we call the giraffe.


At what point in this sequence would you identify the first *giraffe* ancestor? Which half centimeter (or quarter centimeter, to make the challenge more difficult) increase in which lineage would classify as being the first? Biologists would tell us that the *first individual* of the population is in most cases immaterial, that the migration of population and genetic traits over time are what's more important.


I have no idea whether this is how it happened, and I suspect that biologists don't really *know* either, but infer something like the above from the gradual nature of the (incomplete) fossil record. It could have been entirely different, with one mutant having a half-foot longer neck and also happening to be the lucky survivor when most of his fellow population got killed, being the proud father of longer necked descendents to a new population. But unless one could find the complete fossil record of every generation before and after that individual (and be able to prove that the fossil record was unbroken), there would be no way to prove that there was a first distinctive individual. Am I wrong?


Jon Tandy


From: [] On Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow
Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2009 2:10 AM
To: asa
Subject: Re: [asa] Re: Reading Genesis theologically NOT historically


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Oct 6 11:02:12 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Oct 06 2009 - 11:02:12 EDT