A New Type of Progenitorship?

From talking to @vjtorley, @Agauger and @AJRoberts, we may need a new category in the conversation. Let’s review, and let me explain the distinction.

First, we have sole-genetic progenitorship. In this case, we all descend from Adam and Eve, and their descendents never interbreed with others. This is a fairly important to some people, such as @Agauger.

Second, we have sole-genealogical progenitorship, where Adam and Eve are most likely genetic ghosts. This is how we usually think about Genealogical Adam models. We all descend from Adam, but we are not likely to have any of their DNA.

Now to the new category, I’m not sure what to name.

This is, in many ways, a subcategory of sole-genealogical progenitorship, however interbreeding is limited substantially. So we all have DNA from Adam and Eve, but maybe also from others. In these models there is interbreeding, but not as much as a recent Genealogical Adam. We might have some DNA from other lines, but it will always be small amounts, yet we are all fully human.

Let me propose a few possible “labels” for this category, and then let’s discuss the unique theological questions that arise here. For a label:

  1. Genetic Progenitorship (but not sole)
  2. Nearly Sole-Genetic Progenitorship
  3. Genetic Progenitorship with Rare Interbreeding

I lean to #2. What do you think?

Now, there do seem to be some theological questions that arise in this approach. I hesitate to call them “problems”, but they are questions.

  1. Especially alongside de novo creation, why did God make Adam capable of interbreeding with others?
  2. Is the interbreeding a good or bad event?
  3. What is the theological/biological status of the hybrids (e.g. 50/50 Sapiens and Neanderthal)? Are they fully human?
  4. Are people alive today with Neanderthal DNA fully human? If so, why are Neanderthal’s not fully human?

There probably are coherent answers to these questions, though I have not thought closely about this. The recent Genealogical Adam model’s we have put forward give answers to questions like this in a different way. By affirming monophylogeny, and inferring God wanted Adam’s offspring to interbreed with others, most these questions go away. I think they rise to higher prominence in these models

So, what is the right name to call these things? Which correspond to the RTB #2 model (Engaging the Zoo of RTB Models) and @vjtorley’s suggestion a while ago. Perhaps we need a new category…

What do you think?


Would you agree that this “charactetization” of other genetic inputs is ALREADY an implicit feature of the conventional @swamidass Model?

What I see here is a conscious effort to include this as an option for some of the additional scenarios that @Agauger favors?

I think this post sounds like a redundant description of what you just said. If so… then I have summarized your thoughts well !!!

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In this post, I would like to confirm the names of models we already have!

Up to Now, I have just been calling the standard scenario The Swamidass Model. But NOW I see a proliferation of other models with more technical names. Using the naming methodologies we can see with them… would it be safe to say:

The naming of the main model would be along these lines?

[Swamidass Model =] Multi-Genealogical Progenitorship. ?

Thoughts, Joshua?

@swamidass… this is exactly how I see it as well!

Are we also in general agreement is the only way to have the Sole Progenitor models work is to carve into the Science foundation with the premise that the principle part of the Homo sapiens genome did NOT come from Common Descent?

This is as intended, correct?

It makes for an interesting hybrid or two: the supporters of these models are so interested in the GENETIC (rather than the GENEALOGICAL), they are willing to reject the theology of the “YOUNG” part of the YEC-worldview… but only in exchange for rejecting the science part of PRIMATE-to-HUMAN common descent!

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No. That is not it. My model is to seek peace in the creation wars by helping people make sense of evolutionary science in light of their own values, not mine.

The Genealogical Adam model’s we have put forward focus exclusively on genealogical ancestry, and generally presume so much interbreeding that we do not expect to have much of Adam and Eve’s DNA, even though we all descend from them. All the rest of the details are up in the air. I’ve put forward one version that might appeal to YECs, but others might take things differently. All that is fine.

So yes, there will be proliferation of models (good!), some more plausible than others. You can refer to the whole class as “@swamidass’s Genealogical Adam Models” or “@swamidass’s models”, and reference other key people who put forward ideas.

Yes and no. There is a gray zone where we all descend genetically and genealogically from Adam and Eve, but we also have interbreeding in our history. That is the RTB #2 model, and a model that @Agauger is trying to make space for.

“Notable genealogical progenitorship.”
“Pronounced genealogical progenitorship.”

Not necessarily. There are a wide range of models. William Lane Craig, for example, seems to prefer a sole-genetic progenitor that arises by common descent.


Well, yes… of course… but once we have a swarm of models… what terminology will you be using to distinguish the BASIC model, or the STANDARD model, or what have you.

If you are going to make Gauger a batch of models name accordingly:

[1] Sole-Genetic Progenitorship
[2] Sole-Genealogical Progenitorship

It would make sense to use the same naming style for the standard model…
but even if you would rather not, we still need to know how to refer to your basic
model… and this will become more and more important as the other variants begin to
be bandied about !

Jumping in in the middle here. I would call it monogenism with admixture. Monogenism is pretty clearly defined. All humans are descended from a first pair, and no one is descended from another founding pair.

Paraphrasing of Humani generis:

After Adam all true men took their origin through natural generation from Adam as from the first parent of all.

Your questions:
1.Especially alongside de novo creation, why did God make Adam capable of interbreeding with others? Why not? If it’s de novo, I don’t know why there are other hominids at all. If he used hominids as a template with modification then there should be some compatibility.

BTW, the inbreeding took place 40-50 KYA. Predominantly. They can track the decline of admixture over time.

  1. Is the interbreeding a good or bad event? Bad. Apparent references in the Bible.

  2. What is the theological/biological status of the hybrids (e.g. 50/50 Sapiens and Neanderthal)? Are they fully human? I think the status depends on how rationality, soul and image of God are conferred. For Catholics, the rational soul is one thing and is conferred directly by God. So they would be human. And inherit original sine as well.

  3. Are people alive today with Neanderthal DNA fully human? If so, why are Neanderthal’s not fully human? Of course they are. What makes us human is more than our DNA. But this is why the insistence on monogenism, that you would ask this question.


Sorry about that last. In too much of a hurry. Neanderthals are not human unless they have rational souls and descend from Adam.

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That is exactly what a Genealogical Adam is @Agauger. I’m pretty sure we’ve established that. The question is just about the extend of interbreeding.

Of course, you were explaining more in the context of the RTB #2 model, not from another point of view, which you prefer, that counts them as “humans.”

No it’s not. Draw a tree. Mine has one trunk with many branches and twigs, with a small amount of foreign wood grafted on to a few of the branches.

Yours has multiple trunks that grow and entwine with each other as time goes on.

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I’ve drawn many trees =). We can draw it out in multiple ways. One way looks identical to the model you prefer, and one way looks different. It is two perspectives on the same data. That is the point. Both can be true at the same time.

You have still yet to demonstrate that a Genealogical Adam does not satisfy the historical definition of monogenesis. It does. Even as you put it on your slide at Dabar, it exactly satisfies that definition. If you allow for any interbreeding (as you do), then you are demonstrating that the monogenesis does not mean we only recieve genetic material from Adam and Eve. This leaves space for a Genealogical Adam.

@Agauger, Dr. A, in all fairness, once you have a single (non-human) neanderthal on the genealogical chart, it carves out its “location” in a person’s ancestry that will never move or change… it goes all the way back to the beginning… it is a part of the trunk… it is a part of the root… all the way back until the origin of whatever life it was that started the evolution of the hominids.

However, if you pursued a scenario where Neanderthals are corrupted relatives of Adam… then the trunk only goes back to Adam.


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One other thought. In my case, Adam and Eve would not be ghost lineages. Our DNA is theirs after hundreds of thousand of years of mutation and recombination.

YES. That is exactly correct. That is why I am calling the RTB #2 model…

  1. Nearly Sole-Genetic Progenitorship
  2. Almost Sole-Genetic Progenitorship

Do you like either of those terms? Another suggestion? Monogenesis + interbreeding is not specific enough.

OK, there are too many wrinkles here. You are assuming common descent and I am not. The trunks are not necessarily the same.

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Those terms are awkward and confusing. Plus easy to confuse with your model. I think the problem is with your use of the term sole as exclusive of interbreeding. If you think of ancestry as a tree with one trunk and a few grafts, everything draws is identity from the trunk.
I am the vine and you are the branches.

Not at all. My model is called Sole-Genealogical Progenitor, but NOT Sole Genetic Progenitor.
Adam and Eve are likely to be genetic ghosts.
Monogenesis AND interbreeding.
Others are same kind.

RTB #2 would be Almost Sole-Genetic Progenitor.
Adam and Eve are NOT genetic ghosts.
Monogenesis AND interbreeding.
Others are different kind.

Your 2mya model would be Sole-Genetic Progenitor.
Adam and Eve are NOT genetic ghosts.
Monogenesis, and NO interbreeding.
Others are different kind.

It is more likely to be confused with your model than mine. Keep in mind, however, that you appear to be relying on genealogical ancestry if you say this:

If that’s the case, we are talking about genealogical transmission of “human”. That is what you are saying, not me. That is also my point. As soon as you allow for interbreeding, the moves you have to make at that point, demonstrate that Genealogical Adam models are consistent with traditional theology.