A Dialogue with Nathaniel Jeanson?

Wow. I missed that the first time. That is just…stunning. I’m just about speechless.

@Toni_Torppa, why not pause a bit, and learn something. Several of us are practicing scientists. We don’t even have to discuss origins if that is too loaded. I’d love to help you learn some about how science works.


To be clear, created heterozygosity does not succeed in explaining the genetic data away, because he is neglecting recombination and linkage. He would need people outside the Garden (why not?) or genetic mosaicism + hundreds of children in Adam and Eve’s family to make it work. Even then, I’m not sure if genetic mosaicism could work, so he may be boxed into people outside the Garden if he truly cared to engage the data.

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This isn’t about just people. He uses it to explain “excess” variation in all species, and in fact all “kinds”, which he thinks are mostly families. So he needs a recombination rate vastly greater than is observed, and yet one that somehow preserves the appearance of linkage groups.

However, he can’t accept people outside the garden, since that’s just another word for evolved humanity and an evolutionary time scale. It would require abandoning literally everything in his book.


Even if Adam,and possibly Eve has as many alleles as possible Noah’s family creates a big problem for maintain that variation. Between creation and flood Adam’s variation would be expected to have been sorted to a great degree such that any man 1500 years later would only have a fraction of Adam’s variation. And yet, all variation in living humans, neanderthals and denisovans is said to have been derived from Noah’s family. It is more extreme for other animals for which there were only two on the ark which then become the progenitors of all species of there kind. The YEC would have us believe that the variation to produce hundreds of species of ungulates was created at the beginning but then was preserved in only two animals on the ark. I haven’t seen any YECs seriously tackle the population genetics of this great bottleneck.


What species have you in mind? I’m partial to wolverines, ratels and sea otters myself.

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Maybe they thought you were too explicit about Adam.Eve for them to maintain their pretence of non-creationism. Though that pretence is extremely flimsy in this case since if “Intelligent Design” wasn’t creationism it’d have no requirement for a single-couple origin of humanity.

Hey, @David_MacMillan: that paper of yours was masterful, and in this case that does not include any caveat about its being utter bollocks. I read it a few weeks ago, and doggoned near fell off my chair when I got to the illustration (Fig. 5) that the last common ancestors of the various “baramin” within Carnivora were more similar to one another than any of the collections of creatures in those groups. Made my day.

I have often pointed out to people the absurdity of YECs telling us, on one hand, that evolution doesn’t do a doggoned thing, and then telling us that all speciation from a handful of “kinds” happened at super-speed in the last few thousand years. But I’d never actually thought through what happens when you track those “kinds” back each to their common ancestors. Masterful indeed, and without the slightest bit of bollocks, except in the sense that some bits of literal bollocks are sometimes required in order to push descent with modification along.


True. Work we’ve done on autosomal DNA shows that the most recent 10 alleles are at about 180 kya. So that is enough for the RTB model to squeak through, but it seems Jeanson misses the boat. Unless there were people outside the Ark.


Thank you for the compliment.

One thing we did not point out in the paper is that Jeanson’s new hyperevolution would in some cases require new species to emerge every generation. Ironic that this is precisely the objection they often make to biological evolution. Creationists often poke at a caricature of common descent with statements like “You’ve never seen a crocodile give birth to a duck, have you?” And of course we haven’t, because that is not what the evolutionary synthesis predicts. But now they themselves are advancing a model which has a parent and child be completely, wildly different species.


cough what law would that be, exactly?


Case in point, my opening comment on this was that Jeanson’s delivery is masterful, and I obviously disagree with him.

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Could you unpack that?

The time to most recent 10 alleles is about 180 kya. RTB, also, allows for Homo sapiens interbreeding with Neanderthals too, a mosaic Eve, and placing Noah at 180 kya. With those moves, they have a bit of a fantastical model, but it may not actually be in conflict with the evidence.

Of course more DNA samples might push that date back, but I suspect not by much.

What do you mean by “most recent 10 alleles”? 10 alleles at what locus? Is this some kind of autosomal average?

Median estimate across all loci. It is the same calculation as the TMR4A, but for TMR10A.

That’s extraordinary. And yes, very hard to reconcile with claims that this is precisely what evolution predicts (false) and that it cannot happen (true).

I hope you’ve been enjoying law school. I finished law school back in '85, which seems now like a million years ago, and then spent the next two decades in civil rights litigation of one kind or another. I wish you the best, career-wise, and I hope you will keep working to illuminate the culture war over evolution. Too many people suppose that just because there’s no legitimate scientific controversy, there’s no need to push back against nonsense.


Between creation and flood Adam’s variation would be expected to have been sorted to a great degree such that any man 1500 years later would only have a fraction of Adam’s variation. And yet, all variation in living humans, neanderthals and denisovans is said to have been derived from Noah’s family… I haven’t seen any YECs seriously tackle the population genetics of this great bottleneck.

Professor Duff, I would like to point out that you have not now done your research accurately. I know a good book that has taken this seriously. Guess what the name of the book is? I think it can also be found on your bookshelf. The name of the book is Replacing Darwin - The New Origin of Species :+1:

The book says (p.228) "Under the model of preexisting nuclear DNA differences, these bottlenecks would have been population bottlenecks, not Genetic bottlenecks. In other words, population bottlenecks tend to eliminate large amounts of Genetic variety only when the population size is kept small for many generations. The single-generation population bottleneck followed by exponential population growth (eg, the kind of event that describes the bottlenecks at the creation of Adam and Eve, at the Flood, and at the Tower of Babel) would result in the loss of far fewer varieties . "

See also endnote in that section to find a few other good “creationist” studies on the subject. I also recommend reading Chapter 9 of the book, if you want to understand, How many different chromosome combinations would be possible in the 6,000 years from Adam and Eve until the present? I think you have great difficulty understanding this and it is the understanding of this that is the key to understanding how all this immense diversity may have been packed into two individuals.

Of course in the Swamidass first post link, Jeanson says this thing well, but maybe you didn’t look at it carefully.

You will find, as a lawyer (if indeed you haven’t noticed already) that there are a lot of people who think “the law” is a thing you just look up in a big book (presumably titled “The Law.”) and find the answers written down in a form that directly answers whatever question it was you had in mind. Alas, even in a civil law jurisdiction it ain’t so simple. The law is not like a shmoo, dying when you gaze hungrily at it and tasting just like whatever it was you wanted to eat.


Noah at 180 kya? In a huge boat made of wood? Homo Erectus might have made small rafts but not anything like the Ark described in Genesis.

That’s quite incorrect. A short bottleneck may have only a modest effect on genetic diversity as measured by the total number of genetic differences between individuals, but it has an enormous effect on the amount of genetic variation present in the population – it entirely removes all low-frequency variants, which are by far the largest class of variants.