Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Fri Dec 11 2009 - 12:56:37 EST

Dennis already answered this very well, I think. But I'd like to add the phrasing that Dan Harlow used in the paper that he gave at the ASA meeting in Baylor. The (edited by him after the talk) text of his talk includes this paragraph:

"One needed clarification of the molecular evidence concerns the early human whom geneticists have nicknamed “Mitochondrial Eve.” The popular press has misled some into thinking that scientists have discovered evidence for the very first female human, and many Christians have taken this announcement to support the biblical portrait of monogenism.4 Mitochondrial Eve, though, is not the founding mother of the human race but only the individual carrier of an ancestral mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecule that gave rise to all modern human mtDNA––a tiny fraction (ca. 1/400,000) of the total human genome (ca. 16,000 out of 6,000,000,000 nucleotides). Thousands of other men and women were the contemporaries of this ancient woman, and they no doubt contributed other parts of our full genetic makeup.5 The same is true, mutatis mutandis, of the so-called Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal common ancestor for all Y chromosomes in men living today, who lived around 60,000 years ago, that is, some 100,000 years after Mitochondrial Eve.6"

His reference 4 mentions


From: John Walley
Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 7:08 AM
To: Gregory Arago ; Dennis Venema ; Terry M. Gray ; AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record


I had this exact same discussion come up the other night at dinner with a high school biology teacher. RTB teaches that the mitochondrial evidence shows descent from a single female progenitor.

Is there a good resource on the web you can recommend that addresses this issue specifically? I have forwarded your ASA presentation to her but would like more focus on this if you have something handy.




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Received on Fri Dec 11 12:57:10 2009

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