Two-million-year-old Adam and Eve still possible: Dr. Ann Gauger’s model remains viable

A few weeks ago, I wrote a short post titled, Adam and Eve still a possibility?, in which I drew readers’ attention to the work of geneticist Richard Buggs, Reader in Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London, who thinks it’s still theoretically possible that the human race once passed through a short, sharp population bottleneck of just two individuals, followed by exponential population growth. Biologist Dennis Venema, professor of biology at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, has recently written a two-part reply to Buggs, titled, Adam, Eve and Population Genetics: A Reply to Dr. Richard Buggs (Part 1) and A Reply to Dr. Richard Buggs (Part 2). But in a comment in response to a query of mine, Professor Venema conceded that at the present time, science cannot rule out Dr. Ann Gauger’s hypothesis that there was a severe bottleneck around two million years ago, with the emergence of Homo erectus, whom she identifies as the first true human being. When I pressed Professor Venema, saying, “In plain English, what you’re saying is that science can’t rule out an original couple, if they lived more than 1 million years ago,” he replied:

I guess it depends on how reliable you think PSMC methods are as they approach this time frame. The data looks smooth to me out to around 1.5 MYA or so, plus or minus, but the method loses its power as you go back further and further.

In a recent email message, Dr. Gauger clarified her position on Adam and Eve:

I did not settle on an old age for Adam so that the population genetics would work out or because I was seeking to prove two progenitors. It was because I could not understand why God would create Homo species so close to us and not be part of us, and because of morphology. I find species definitions to be tricky things, and sometimes they are assigned because of an agenda. H ergaster and H habilis are disputed for example. But for me Turkana boy is clearly human.

So I arrived at an early date because paleontology. I am aware of arguments for 200k (first modern skeleton), 70 k (Blombos cave, migration out of Africa), or 20-10k to match Genesis.) We will see if any of these dates, as well as the older one, can accommodate a unique origin based on AFS, LD, and several other pop gen statistics. Feel free to pass this on.

Dr. Gauger has adduced evidence that Homo erectus and Homo ergaster (African Homo erectus) were rational beings, who were capable of foresight: they transported tools over distances of 12-13 kilometers, compared to distances of just tens or hundreds of meters for Australopithecus and early Homo (see here). In addition, there is evidence (see also here) that Homo ergaster was able to tame fire as far back as 1,000,000 years ago, and perhaps use it to cook meat as well, although Wil Roebroeks of Leiden University in the Netherlands and Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in the U.S., cautions that we don’t have evidence of regular fire use going back any further than 400,000 years ago. Finally, excavations at the South African site of Kathu Pan suggest that Homo ergaster had a sense of aesthetics. As Dr. Gauger describes it:

…[T]he site has yielded what is termed, the ‘Master Hand-Axe’ which dates to approximately 750 000 BP rendering it the oldest artifact which is indisputably aesthetic i.e. worked for beauty and symmetry, perfectly oriented, and worked considerably beyond the functional requirements of the hand-axe, which could have been achieved with half or fewer blows (see Figure 4-2). The technology which produced it is known as the Acheulian, and the artifacts are thought to be made by Homo ergaster (Homo erectus in Africa), a diverse grouping of early humans commonly imagined as small-brained, small-jawed and robustly built, with heavy eyebrow ridges.

When I look at that master handaxe, I see aesthetics, painstaking care, and a joy in the materials. I see mind.

In a recent comment on Biologos, I expressed reservations about Dr. Gauger’s ancient Adam and Eve scenario:

However, if I were to identify the chief flaw of the ancient Adam and Eve scenario, it would be this: modern human behavior doesn’t appear until 100,000 years ago. Homo erectus may have had foresight (transporting tools over distances of more than 10 kilometers), the ability to control fire (although this is hotly disputed) and even a sense of aesthetics (judging from the elegance of some Acheulean tools), but it almost certainly lacked the capacity for art, religion and science. This means that in some ways it was less human than we are – which means that if we are to believe in Adam and Eve, we have to give up belief in human equality.

It is instructive to compare Homo erectus with modern-day tribes whose lifestyle has been described by some as “primitive.” Members of these tribes have relatively little trouble in adapting to the cognitive demands of civilization, some making the transition in as little as a generation. I doubt very much whether Homo erectus could have done that. And I also doubt whether anyone could have preached the Gospel to Homo erectus.

Finally, in a recent post on The Skeptical Zone, I marshaled evidence indicating that Homo erectus almost certainly lacked the use of language, and that even the Neandertals probably lacked it. What’s more, the human brain appears to have evolved specific traits in the lineage leading to Homo sapiens, which allowed our species to possess a full-blown theory of mind and imagine what others were thinking about them.

For her part, Dr. Gauger is not troubled by the fact that Homo erectus lacked our level of linguistic ability. And in a post on Biologos, she responded as follows to my concerns about the lack of symbolic culture in Homo erectus: “First of all, our full capacity for art, drama, philosophy, religion and language was not present 300,000 years ago. Nor was it present, it could be argued until the Egyptians, the early Greeks, and the Chinese had their cultural flowering.” I agree with Dr. Gauger that early Homo sapiens, who lived 300,000 years ago, lacked “our full capacity for art, drama, philosophy, religion and language.” I think that these abilities appeared 100,000 years ago, with the emergence of modern human behavior (see also here). Dr. Gauger argues that the long lag between the appearance of Homo sapiens and the emergence of behavioral modernity means that we shouldn’t consider Homo erectus subhuman because it didn’t behave in this way. I would argue, however, that the human brain did not stop evolving with the appearance of Homo sapiens. It may have subsequently acquired the traits which enabled us to use language and to possess a full-blown theory of mind.

So the long and the short of it is: Dr. Gauger’s model of a two-million-year-old Adam and Eve remains scientifically viable, but their minds would have been very different from ours. Personally, I wouldn’t call Homo erectus a true human being. The Neandertals I’m not so sure about, for reasons I’ve discussed previously.

I’ll just finish by mentioning the work of Dr. Joshua Swamidass, who is an assistant professor at Washington University in Saint Louis where he runs a computational biology group. In an article titled, A Genealogical Rapprochement on Adam?, he accepts “the genetic evidence in which it appears (1) our ancestors arise as a population, not a single couple, and that (2) we share ancestry with the great apes,” but also proposes that an individual named Adam “was created out of dust, and Eve out of his rib, less than 10,000 years ago in a divinely created garden where God might dwell with them, the first beings with opportunity to be in a relationship with Him.” After leaving the Garden, Adam and Eve’s offspring blended with that of their neighbors in the surrounding towns. “In this way, they became genealogical ancestors of all those in recorded history. Adam and Eve, here, are the single-couple progenitors of all mankind.” Of course, humans today have many genealogical ancestors, not just Adam and Eve. An article outlining Dr. Swamidass’s hypothesis will appear in the March 1, 2018 issue of PSCF (Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith). The important thing for readers to grasp is that genealogical ancestry is not genetic ancestry: “Though scientific discourse focuses on genetic ancestry, genealogical ancestry is germane to the theological claims about Adam.” Adam and Eve are ancestors of us all, because genealogical ancestry becomes universal in just a few thousand years. Dr. Swamidass contends that “Scripture and theology, at most, make claims about genealogical ancestry, but not genetic ancestry,” because when Scripture was written, people had no notion of what genes were. I’m not sure, however, that it’s that simple. The Bible appears to affirm that Adam and Eve were the only genealogical ancestors of the entire human race. As Acts 17:26 puts it: “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries.” I’m also not sure exactly what new trait Adam and Eve were supposed to have possessed, under the scenario proposed by Dr. Swamidass, since he explicitly declares that even the human beings living outside Adam and Eve’s Graden were made in the image of God. It seems the only thing that was genuinely new about Adam and Eve was that they were spiritually fallen. But because genetic information is transmitted only unreliably, Dr. Swamidass argues that Adam and Eve, if they existed, “probably did not transmit DNA to all their descendants, nor did they transmit any identifiable DNA to any of their descendants.” He continues: “This means that Adam and Eve’s DNA is not how the Fall or original sin, if they exist, is transmitted to all of us.” At any rate, Dr. Swamidass’s article is a very stimulating read, which is sure to take the Adam and Eve debate in a new direction.

I’d now like to throw the discussion open to readers – especially those with a Christian background. If you had your druthers, which Adam and Eve would you pick? A two-million-year-old one, who was perhaps a lot dimmer than us, as proposed by Dr. Gauger? Or a Neolithic one, as proposed by Dr. Swamidass, who interbred with other humans that were made in God’s image and likeness, and left descendants all over the globe? Or neither of the above?

I’ll leave you all with a concluding thought: “We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals,” according to John Hawks, a professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Many of the genetic mutations that have spread through the human population in the last few thousand years relate to “changes in the human diet brought on by the advent of agriculture, and resistance to epidemic diseases that became major killers after the growth of human civilizations.” Civilization seems to have been what’s changed us most. But how has it changed our brains? That I don’t know. Maybe someone can tell me. Over to you.

300 thoughts on “Two-million-year-old Adam and Eve still possible: Dr. Ann Gauger’s model remains viable

  1. fifthmonarchyman: The Goldilocks zone is not in the house of the three bears and the “Pinochio” awards are not given to the years greatest puppeteer.

    And when geneticists refer to Adam and Eve, they are not referencing the Biblical story. They are just using those familiar names.

  2. Neil Rickert: And when geneticists refer to Adam and Eve, they are not referencing the Biblical story. They are just using those familiar names.

    What do you think the Biblical story is about? It’s about the origin of humanity that is exactly what the geneticists are referring too. That is why they use the names.

    I’m not saying they believe the story I’m saying they believe in the underlying event it describes. ie the origin of humanity with it’s singular family tree.

    quote:
    And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, (Acts 17:26a)

    end quote:

    That beautiful “Christian” fact is what is reflected in genetic Adam.

    peace

  3. fifthmonarchyman,

    You didn’t answer my question. You just continued talking about evil materialists, but you didn’t give me a way for distinguishing between species other than “observation.” Observation of what? What do you observe when you look at Bacteria? What when you look at Fungi? What when you look at apparent different species that then are actually two stages in the development of a single organism?

    You think that everything is like cows and tigers. You thus assume that just by looking at something we have the problem solved. Oh, but wait! Observation means looking at something. That’s materialistic. So where then do we find the non-materialistic solution to the species definition problems? It’s not like you would criticize materialistic definitions, only to give a wishy-washy materialistic definition yourself, right?

    Peace. Right?

  4. fifthmonarchyman: what are you talking about? It’s biologically meaningful if nothing else

    You should ay attention to the context. Mung was talking about descendants of “Adam and Eve” interbreeding with other “human” populations. Populations not descending from “Adam and Eve.” That makes the idea of Adam and Eve meaningless, since it expands the ancestral population to more than those two.

    You were criticizing someone for not reading an article. Hum. What was that about the beam in thy own eye?

  5. Entropy: but you didn’t give me a way for distinguishing between species other than “observation.”

    There is no way of distinguishing between species other than observation

    Entropy: Observation of what?

    For starters phenotype and genotype as well as niche and evolutionary history
    basically everything

    Entropy: You just continued talking about evil materialists

    I never said materialists are evil just wrong and slow some times

    Entropy: You think that everything is like cows and tigers. You thus assume that just by looking at something we have the problem solved.

    assume much do we?

    The fact is when we get to unicellular organisms genetic isolation makes even less sense than when we look larger organisms

    Entropy: Oh, but wait! Observation means looking at something. That’s materialistic.

    So??

    Do you think mental concepts can’t be represented physically?
    Of course they can as long as you understand that no representation is perfect.

    Part of the way I discovered the mental concept of “circle” was by observing the imperfect representations of it we see in the physical realm.

    Entropy: So where then do we find the non-materialistic solution to the species definition problems?

    Again as I said before there is no solution.

    You can’t perfectly reconcile the mental with the physical. What we find in the physical world will always fall a little short of the perfection that exists in the mental realm.

    That does not bother me at all I’m not hung up on the idea the physical world is all that really exists. It’s not a problem for me

    On the other hand if I was a materialist I would have a real problem

    peace

  6. fifthmonarchyman: The fact is when we get to unicellular organisms genetic isolation makes even less sense than when we look larger organisms

    That’s what I said. Why did you answer my comment without reading it in full? Without trying to understand it? What’s that about the beam in thy own eye again?

    fifthmonarchyman: Again as I said before there is no solution.

    Then stop pretending to know better. Pure criticism and then your solutions are the very same already proposed. Observe phenotypes and genotypes! And then what? You just started down the same pathways and problems you criticized. Oh, you thought that mere genetic isolation was the one and only proposal, despite I explained that wasn’t so? What’s with creationists and their problems with reading comprehension?

  7. Entropy:Mung was talking about descendants of “Adam and Eve” interbreeding with other “human” populations. Populations not descending from “Adam and Eve.” That makes the idea of Adam and Eve meaningless, since it expands the ancestral population to more than those two.

    Why???? Apparently It’s you who don’t understand

    There is no theological reason I’m aware of why the ancestral population had to be restricted to just Adam and Eve. As long as we all can list Adam as a ancestor.

    I can still say I’m related to king George even if he is not my only grandpa

    peace

  8. fifthmonarchyman: You can’t perfectly reconcile the mental with the physical.

    No kidding! Could that be a reason why I mentioned conceptual and practical species definitions? Nah. Scientists have materialistic limitations. I could not have mentioned that. Mayr could not have discussed those either. He proposed materialistically-limited definitions, so how could he talk about conceptual and practical definitions? That kind of wisdom belongs exclusively to ego-inflated creationists alone.

    fifthmonarchyman: peace

    In my experience, creationists who end their messages with the word “peace” are the ones with the most inflated-ego, the least self-aware, and the most hypocritical. You’re living up to that expectation. You’re almost a perfect material instance of the concept I’ve formed about your type.

  9. Entropy: That’s what I said. Why did you answer my comment without reading it in full? Without trying to understand it?

    So you were accusing me of not looking at unicellular organisms when my argument is strongly supported by the evidence seen by looking at unicellular organisms.

    My you are sly one. aren’t you 😉

    Entropy: Then stop pretending to know better. Pure criticism and then your solutions are the very same already proposed.

    Know better than what?

    I do know better than to hope that there is a materialist way to solve a problem that is not physical if that is what you mean. I do know better than to continue and beat my head against a wall trying to do the impossible simply to maintain a flawed metaphysics.

    Entropy: observe phenotypes and genotypes, and then what?

    Report on what you find.
    If you think you discovered a species defend your claim but don’t expect what you know to ever be perfectly reflected in the physical world.

    This is not difficult when you understand that species exist in the mental world

    Entropy: Oh, you thought that mere genetic isolation was the one and only proposal, despite I explained that wasn’t so?

    Of course it’s not it’s just the one that we are dealing with in this thread.
    There are other materialist proposals each with it’s own unique flaws.

    The problem with all of them is the same, you can’t comprehensively define a mental concept physically.

    Entropy: What’s with creationists and their problems with reading comprehension?

    back at you buddy 😉

    peace

  10. fifthmonarchyman: Why???? Apparently It’s you who don’t understand

    Why? For obvious reasons. If there’s more than those two ancestors, then there’s many “Adam and Eve” to point to. The concept becomes obviously meaningless.

    In terms of genetics, well, the sorting and recombinations might result in us having little to no genes from any pair of individuals, mixtures from many of those couples, etc. The coalescence for most genetic pieces would go different ways, and different times. As I said, it becomes meaningless to talk about Adam and Eve.

    If you prefer to talk about “Adam and Eve” as populations living at different times, fine by me. But I’d call that Adams and Eves instead. Doesn’t sound too sexy or too biblical, but would be a tad more accurate.

    Let me guess. I know nothing about the bible, therefore it would still be meaningful to talk about Adam and Eve. Right? Well, you have a right to make a fool out of yourself. I won’t stop you.

  11. fifthmonarchyman: So you were accusing me of not looking at unicellular organisms when my argument is strongly supported by the evidence seen by looking at unicellular organisms.

    No, I’m accusing you of mentioning that to me as if I didn’t mention that myself before.

    fifthmonarchyman: Know better than what?

    Than those evil materialistic definition my illiterate friend.

    fifthmonarchyman: I do know better than to hope that there is a materialist way to solve a problem that is not physical if that is what you mean.

    Oh, so the species scientists are trying to describe are non-physical? Woa, you certainly know better. My bad.

    fifthmonarchyman: I do know better than to continue and beat my head against a wall trying to do the impossible simply to maintain a flawed metaphysics.

    Metaphysics! That the word you hadn’t mentioned yet! Now you match perfectly with the concept I have formed from the likes of you. Didn’t you say that was impossible? To get the concept and the material in harmony or something to that effect?

  12. Entropy,

    What is the deal? Why all the hostility?

    I simply pointed out that the biological concept of species is whacked and is the root of the difficulty discussed in the OP and is causing real harm to things like the red wolf.

    If we abandoned it all together it would be a good thing. That is all.

    We know a lot more than Mayr did it’s not 1942 any more. It’s OK to move on. No need to take it so personal.

    I asked why scientists needed any species concept at all, instead of answering that genuine inquiry you go on about all the different species concepts there are. What possible purpose does that serve?

    The different practical (ie materialist) concepts are subject to the same criticisms I’m offering and the conceptual ones are related to what I’m advocating here.

    Entropy: Mayr could not have discussed those either. He proposed materialistically-limited definitions, so how could he talk about conceptual and practical definitions?

    You are treating Mayr like he is the apostle Paul or something. I’m sure he was a nice guy and loved his mother

    I’m well aware of his work and it except for the “biological species concept” is irrelevant to my argument.

    How about we start over.

    Why is the biological species concept so important to you?

    peace

  13. fifthmonarchyman: Report on what you find.

    Oh. Right. Scientists never do that! I’ll make sure to let them know that they should report what they find. Those evil bastards.

    fifthmonarchyman: If you think you discovered a species defend your claim but don’t expect what you know to ever be perfectly reflected in the physical world.

    No kidding! I never knew that scientists expected their definitions to perfectly reflect the physical world. Those evil metaphysics! You’re truly opening my eyes!

    fifthmonarchyman: Of course it’s not it’s just the one that we are dealing with in this thread.

    That doesn’t justify answering my comment without reading it first. Sorry.

    fifthmonarchyman: The problem with all of them is the same, you can’t comprehensively define a mental concept physically.

    I know. Mayr knew too. Lots of scientists know. That’s why I mentioned conceptual and practical definitions of species. That’s why Mayr discussed that too.

    P.S. Oh, and before you jump. We know that neither is perfect. One might be applicable in one situation, some in another situation, etc. But none will be perfect. We know. We didn’t need an ego-inflated creationists to come and tell us that.

  14. Entropy: We know that neither is perfect. One might be applicable in one situation, some in another situation, etc

    what situation is the biological concept applicable for in 2017 that another concept would not work for?

    be specific ………………and relax a little bit

    peace

  15. Entropy: I know. Mayr knew too. Lots of scientists know.

    Do you think I’m accusing scientists of being ignorant?

    I’m not,
    I’m accusing some scientists and scientist popularizers of holding to a faulty definition for no good reason.

    That is all

    peace

  16. fifthmonarchyman: what situation is the biological concept applicable for in 2017 that another concept would not work for?

    What about distinguishing between conceptual and practical definitions did you not understand?

    Do you know what the word practical means?

  17. Entropy: Do you know what the word practical means?

    yes,

    What practical situation is the biological concept applicable for in 2017 that another concept would not work for?

    peace

  18. fifthmonarchyman: yes,
    What practical situation is the biological concept applicable for in 2017 that another concept would not work for?

    You missed the first question my ego-inflated creationist, which lead to you still asking a non-sensical question. In what world would it be possible to test the conceptual definition of species that you refer to (as if there was only one). How practical would that be?

    fifthmonarchyman: peace

    Yeah. Right. As if your disdain for those “evil materialists” wasn’t oozing out of each and every one of your comments.

  19. fifthmonarchyman: How about we start over.

    Hum. Start over. Sounds like a good idea.

    fifthmonarchyman:
    Why is the biological species concept so important to you?

    Oh, so we start over by yet another demonstration that you’re not reading my comments for comprehension? How many times have I said that the concept you’re talking about is problematic? Two? Three? One of them in my first comment to you?

    I insist, what was that about the beam in thy own eye?

    Peace and good night.

  20. Entropy: In what world would it be possible to test the conceptual definition of species that you refer to (as if there was only one).

    My definition of species is simply

    quote:
    a class of individuals having some common characteristics or qualities sharing the same name
    quote:

    I’m not sure why that would need testing it’s pretty self explanatory and unambiguous and you don’t generally test definitions of these sorts they are like axioms in mathematics.

    Entropy: which lead to you still asking a non-sensical question.

    now this is just silly. Why is it nonsensical to ask what situation is the biological concept applicable for?

    Surely it’s useful for something, if not why keep it around?

    peace

  21. Entropy: How many times have I said that the concept you’re talking about is problematic? Two? Three? One of them in my first comment to you?

    Are you saying that problematic means useless?

    If so you agree with me. If not I would think it behooves you to explain why it’s useful. What am I missing?

    Entropy: Peace and good night.

    uh, ok?????

    peace

  22. fifthmonarchyman:
    Robert Byers,

    Amen

    I think that genetics is the wrong tool for looking at these things.

    Species what ever they are are not defined by genetic isolation. That goes for humans as surely as it goes for red wolves

    The “biological species” concept is simply whacked out ideology masquerading as science. The more genetic information we have the more that becomes evident.

    peace

    Yes. The reason species doesn’t work in the end is because of the origin for bodyplan changes/speciation.
    as with people its not based on evolution but from innate triggers affecting the body. Human colour never evolved or was halway but was a imnstant switch upon a tribe migrating to a area.
    The evolutionist must say colour change evolved. So needs intermediate stages from start to finish.
    So in the evolution case what a species is becomes a problem. its like segregating a spectrum.
    So a creationist does believe in hard and fast “SPECIES” but upon a mechanism acting quick. So this mechanism doesn’t recognize reproductive ability as relevant.
    Oddly enough the very concept of species , ala origin of species, increasingly hurts evolutionism at its foundation.

  23. Neil Rickert: Quite right.The idea of “species” is hopelessly inaccurate, just like the idea that the earth is a sphere is hopelessly inaccurate.

    Both work very well, thank you, and both are good science.

    Science is a pragmatic enterprise, not a truth-seeking enterprise.

    Science is about truth. About conclusions. Evolutionists do nothing but say creationism/Christianity genesis is wrong.
    Anyways.
    Species has been a flawed concept. Probably because from the start and later with evolution the mechanism foe speciation actually undercut species as a real thing.
    Instead creationism was better in seeing segregated bodyplans from parent bodyplans as due to innate triggers within a genetic system.
    Human colour etc being case in point. Not from evolving populations.
    Just a instant change upon migration. A generation instantly saw its colour change.

    Species only means something if it means segregated populations with different bodyplans(however little or big)
    The mechanism bringing the different bodyplan does not need aLSO bring a reproductive ability change.
    If species are real then human beings are different species.
    They reject that today even while otherwise calling all other creatures in species names.
    Yes its been flawed. Possibly a bigger flaw is shown in the present evolutionary foundations behind it.

  24. Entropy,

    I spent several pages of a couple of threads ‘discussing’ species concepts with fmm. It boils down to this:

    1) Species are discrete – as we can discover by looking around us.
    2) Because species are discrete to us, they are discrete in the ‘mind of God’.
    3) Given an example of apparent current non-discreteness, we can’t be sure but God can.
    4) In a temporal series, when one chronospecies gradually shades into another, we wouldn’t know the point at which a parent gave birth to a member of a new species, but God would.
    5) Something about God being ‘outside space and time’.

    So, it’s a bizarre retro-fit of intuitions based upon observation, but not detailed observation, and then insistence that the casual observation’s pattern of discreteness must be carried all the way down to spatial and temporal examples where that discreteness is not at all apparent.

    You won’t get anywhere, ‘cos fmm already knows he’s right. When people get their views direct from God, the words of mere humans cannot possibly penetrate.

    Peas.

  25. stcordova,

    How come there is tropical vegetation inside the stomachs of frozen Mammoths.

    There isn’t. You’ve been reading Creationist websites again.

  26. Entropy:
    newton,

    😀

    Imagine the article’s title: Perfect solution for the species conceptual and practical definitions: pray to The Lord for Him to reveal the species and you shall receive. If The Lord feels like it.

    That is why God fine tuned the circle, so no matter where you start, it comes back to the same place over and over again. QED God exists

  27. Entropy: In my experience, creationists who end their messages with the word “peace” are the ones with the most inflated-ego, the least self-aware, and the most hypocritical. You’re living up to that expectation. You’re almost a perfect material instance of the concept I’ve formed about your type.

    Nailed it.
    If you really, really wanna have fun, ask him how he knows stuff.

  28. Talking about being slow, how’s that pattern recognition, design detecterrrr program coming along FMM?

  29. Allan Miller: You won’t get anywhere, ‘cos fmm already knows he’s right. When people get their views direct from God, the words of mere humans cannot possibly penetrate.

    Hi Alan,

    These types start emphatically criticizing “evil materialists,” but when asked for a specific demonstration of the superiority of their non-materialism, they show themselves to be as limited as those evil materialists and their “poor metaphysics,” or worse, because they ignore all the work that has already been done.

    As if showing the same limitations wasn’t enough, they might end up contradicting themselves. Notice how fmm started:

    fifthmonarchyman: The fact is the more we look when it comes to genetics what we see is an amorphous mass of interbreeding individuals nothing like the well defined categories that we define as species

    Only to later say that:

    fifthmonarchyman: Again as I said before there is no solution.

    So, “we” (I think fmm meant “creationists,” by “we,” but not too sure) have well defined categories, but there’s no solution (!!!??)

    So, you see? I got somewhere. I had fmm to show the “superiority” of his (or her?) “non-materialist rich metaphysics.”

    Peas and rice.

  30. Allan Miller:
    stcordova, How come there is tropical vegetation inside the stomachs of frozen Mammoths.

    There isn’t. You’ve been reading Creationist websites again.

    Allan is technically correct. The mammoths were unfrozen and the tropical vegetation was removed.

  31. Mung,

    I’m sure you’d be the perfect teacher Mung. Starting the lesson with some reading comprehension perhaps? The dynamics of DNA and RNA associations?

    Will you lead by example?

    😀

  32. Entropy: These types start emphatically criticizing “evil materialists”

    Talk about having reading comprehension issues.

    fifthmonarchyman: I never said materialists are evil just wrong and slow some times

  33. Entropy: The dynamics of DNA and RNA associations?

    Funny you should mention that. Last night I was reading from molecules and morphology in evolution: conflict or compromise? edited by Colin Patterson in which DNA-DNA hybridization was nicely covered.

    Nowhere did they suggest that it is the process by which DNA replication takes place in the cell. You should read it.

  34. dazz: Talking about being slow, how’s that pattern recognition, design detecterrrr program coming along FMM?

    Right now I’m working on my 5th and 6th set of weather forecast data.

    So far Ive been able to improve weather forecasts in each of first 4 I looked at with a P value of less than .05 in each instance. The improvement I have seen is somewhere in the range of .25 to .5 degrees Mean Absolute Error,

    The reason I’m looking at various weather sets is that I want to be sure the method is reproducible

    The time consuming part is in waiting for enough data to conclusively demonstrate the improvement.

    It often takes weeks to understand the pattern and then more weeks to verify that I’m not mistaken and quantify the improvement.

    It would be nice if daily forecasts came out more than once a day ;-).

    I think that I will be satisfied with the tool once I finish the present data set.

    In the mean time I’m writing up an informal paper explaining the method and it’s implications that I expect to present here once I’m done.

    It’s been a really fun exercise. I Can’t wait to share it

    peace

  35. Allan Miller: You won’t get anywhere, ‘cos fmm already knows he’s right. When people get their views direct from God, the words of mere humans cannot possibly penetrate.

    I’m not sure if you are most bothered by my open acknowledgement of God’s existence or my confidence in my views .

    Either way, it’s a shame that you have such difficulty dealing with people who look at the world a little differently than you do.

    I hope you eventually come to understand that those of us on the other side of the atheist/Christian divide are just regular folks.

    peace (and I mean it)

  36. fifthmonarchyman: Right now I’m working on my 5th and 6th set of weather forecast data.

    Don’t pay any attention to dazz. He’s supposed to be working on a program that creates nested hierarchies. So far from him we’ve seen zip.

  37. fifthmonarchyman: I hope you eventually come to understand that those of us on the other side of the atheist/Christian divide are just regular folks.

    We’ve had a bit more education, but we won’t hold that against them. 😉

  38. Entropy: So, “we” (I think fmm meant “creationists,” by “we,” but not too sure) have well defined categories, but there’s no solution (!!!??)

    Yes that is because for the non-materialist there is no problem to be solved.

    We have well defined categories but categories are mental things and not physical ones. I thought I had made that clear.

    peace

  39. Could somebody explain to me why the definition of species is relevant here? Does it have something to do with how many members of a species are around when the species originates?

  40. Joe Felsenstein: Could somebody explain to me why the definition of species is relevant here? Does it have something to do with how many members of a species are around when the species originates?

    If species is defined as a population in genetic isolation then folks like Dennis Venema think It’s impossible that Adam and Eve existed because there supposedly is no point in history with an isolated genetic population of less than 10,000 individuals.

    On the other hand Adam and Eve’s existence is not an issue if species is not defined by genetic isolation

    peace

  41. Mung: We’ve had a bit more education, but we won’t hold that against them.

    There but for the Grace of God go I 😉

    peace

  42. fifthmonarchyman: On the other hand Adam and Eve’s existence is not an issue if species is not defined by genetic isolation

    If the way that biologists define “species” leads to an issue in your theology, then there is something seriously wrong with that theology.

  43. fifthmonarchyman: If species is defined as a population in genetic isolation then folks like Dennis Venema think It’s impossible that Adam and Eve existed because there supposedly is no point in history with an isolated genetic population of less than 10,000 individuals.

    On the other hand Adam and Eve’s existence is not an issue if species is not defined by genetic isolation

    Thanks. I see, so then we could call Adam and Eve the ancestors of our species, even though a whole bunch of other folks living at the time were also ancestors of us.

    That seems like mostly an exercise in labeling. The genetic evidence does strongly indicate that the set of ancestors of us has never been as small as 2, at least not since we were Homo erectus.

    If it makes people happy to have all the other ancestors not be labeled as part of our species, sure, let’s call them something (someone) else.

  44. Neil Rickert: If the way that biologists define “species” leads to an issue in your theology, then there is something seriously wrong with that theology.

    If the way someone resolves a difference in theological views makes a difference to your science, then there is something seriously wrong with that science.

  45. Joe Felsenstein: I see, so then we could call Adam and Eve the ancestors of our species, even though a whole bunch of other folks living at the time were also ancestors of us.

    Something like that.
    We all have Neanderthal DNA but that does not make us Neanderthals.

    Joe Felsenstein: The genetic evidence does strongly indicate that the set of ancestors of us has never been as small as 2, at least not since we were Homo erectus.

    I never was Homo erectus I’ve been Homo sapien as far back as I can remember. 😉

    It really does depend on what you mean by “us”.

    If by “us” you mean a species as defined by genetic isolation then I would not disagree instead I would withhold judgement in light of the rapidly shifting assumptions in this enterprise .

    However since I don’t define species in that way I have no problem with a set of ancestors as small as 2.

    peace

  46. Neil Rickert: If the way that biologists define “species” leads to an issue in your theology, then there is something seriously wrong with that theology.

    I would say it means that you have a theology that is in touch with actual shared objective reality instead of a milk toast “non overlapping magisteria” pansy faith but that is just me.

    When folks in power define things incorrectly it affects us all eventually.

    Especially when they shield their error by calling it science.

    In the end It’s important to remember that words have meanings and if we don’t share the same language communication is impossible

    Joe Felsenstein: If the way someone resolves a difference in theological views makes a difference to your science, then there is something seriously wrong with that science.

    Exactly. That is why I find it to be troubling to see so many here defending the biological concept of species just because a Christian like me happens to be against it.

    Why not defend the concept on “scientific” grounds? Are there any takers?

    peace

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