Assessing the Reasons to Believe Model

Reasons to Believe (RTB) is among the most important organizations in the origins conversation. It is led by a wise leader, whom I deeply respect, Dr. Hugh Ross. I had the privilege of sharing the stage with him this last January, asking Are Humans Special? Recently, I invited Dr. Fazale Rana from RTB into dialogue about…


Read about the zoo of Reason to Believe model here: Engaging the Zoo of RTB Models.

I hope the RTB supporters (e.g. @AJRoberts, @KenKeathley, @ClarkC, and @Guy_Coe) here share this widely in your networks. I made a mistake in assessing their model that this post retracts. I do what I can to retract errors quickly. I will make mistakes, but you can trust me to correct my errors.


I see this as a victory for the church because of the way all sides handled it.

Regarding your intention to find a MRCA by testing the four most recent alleles, you may have an unexpected result. If Adam was made de-novo 13.4K years ago (or more recently) he may have had a unique genetic signature. Maybe he is a genetic ghost, but that has always been a possibility, not a certainty. After all, Eurasians have recognizable Neanderthal genes apparently and those hybrid events were much further in the past than Adam was. A lot will depend on what you test of course.


Not knowing ahead of time that a highly-publicized position has been under private review and recently, potentially, modified is pretty darn excusable. Especially when you have to go to such lengths to bury the hatchet to even make that discovery, rather than simply, and with some perverse glee at the public fanfare, chopping down their tree. Glad you know a “good neighbor” policy when you see one. Kudos, and looking forward to your collaboration with them.


I ought to add how long and how deeply respectful I am for Dr. Ross and the RTB ministry.
The church has not always done well at navigating the sea changes from our common past theological perspective, which have slowly arisen under painstaking scientific scrutiny in the last two hundred years or so.
Scientists who do their craft well, especially as people of faith AND people with a healthy skepticism of unquestioned orthodoxies, are the unsung heros who have advanced our understanding with precision, of what exactly the Bible is affirming, as regards the natural world, and in the Bible.
I am deeply indebted to so many who have worked so hard, and am deeply thankful for the common fellowship they have assisted in creating among us, whether from RTB, ID, BioLogos, or any number of similar ministries working to get at the true meaning of the Scriptures, and giving glory to God, thereby. Cheers!


15 posts were split to a new topic: Is a Recent Genealogical Adam Detectable?

I also have tremendous respect for Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Rana, and RTB. As recent as January of this year (2018), at the ASA Southern California Day Conference, I asked Dr. Ross about his views on the descendants of Adam and Eve. And at that time, at least, he seemed to be of the view that there was no interbreeding with Neanderthals and that RTB had doubts about the reliability of the Neanderthal genetic evidence. I believe he suggested that perhaps Europeans had contaminated the Neanderthal genetic studies and perhaps researchers from Africa (presumably because they have been shown to not have interbred with Neanderthals) should investigate Neanderthal specimens as to be sure not to contaminate the genetic record. I could have misunderstood his comments and I don’t want to misrepresent what their model may show, but this is just my understanding of what I thought I heard in response to my question.


@purposenation, welcome to the forums!

Dr. Ross is not a biologist and wisely defers to Rana and other biologists. I recently invited him to a session on the science of Adam, and gave a lecture on this in attendance. He wisely demurred from participation, even though I invited him.

For the currrent RTB model, it seems the focus should be on their written work:

That is where, in print, Dr. Ross acknowledges that evidence with Rana. What you are hearing from him in person is probably put in the speculative bin.

Though, if others hold that view, we should be clear the genetic evidence solidly rules out sole-genetic progenitor within the last 500,000 years. That interbreeding with Neanderthals is really helpful, as it brings in additional genetic diversity to allow for the hope of a single couple origin of Sapiens.

Just for the record, that is not terribly plausible for a range of technical reasons. How does he even know that it wasn’t Africans or Asians that were handling the material?

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Not sure why you’d stake the validity of “human exceptionalism” on whether or not we’d ever bred with neanderthals, by defining them as non-human. The “image of God” is what distinguishes us as exceptional, as distinct from the animal kingdom. We know too little about neanderthal culture to merely describe them as “brutish.” Such conceptions have more to do with a lack of imagination than with the available evidence, IMO. Don’t get the need for this kind of distancing.

Don’t forget the Denosivans. And the other archaic humans that interbreed with our species. Also labs all over the world confirmed the interbreeding results. Unlikely to be contamination as measures % neanderthal in 2 million+ DNA kits sequenced. Did you have your DNA sequenced? You may have some Denosivan DNA in your genome. I had zero Denosivan but 1.5% Neanderthal.

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Yes I know. We are going to deal with that too. I’m just saying Neanderthal, because that is what they have accepted. The RTB model is between a rock and hard place there. As “distasteful” as interbreeding is in their model (but not in a Genealogical Adam model), they need it to get enough diversity. Or so it seems.

True. End of summer you might get a chance to have that conversation with Fuz.


2 posts were split to a new topic: Jack Collins and a Genealogical Adam

A post was split to a new topic: Wayne Grudem and Early Genesis

A post was split to a new topic: The Souls of our Ancestors

@Patrick, that is what we might be be doing here.

I am holding off testing the model too soon. I want to do with this with Dr. Rana and Dr. Roberts. They are honest scientists, and want to bring them along with this. This is, after all, an effort of peace. In the end, also, I hope their model stands.

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Can someone (@gbrooks9?) please post this on the BioLogos forum topic ( related to this?

@jammycakes, I think you had a question about this post. Do you want to ask it here?

It looks like they closed that discussion on June 13.


3 posts were split to a new topic: Neanderthals and Nephilim

So, in the interest of reviving this association and topic, I thought I’d excerpt a bit of their current fundraising letter.
This from Dr. Ross, whom I support and esteem highly:

“Recently, I came across a Facebook discussion on dinosaurs. What struck me was how much anger the Christians expressed towards scientists and science.
Chances are right now you can think of at least five people in your life who believe scientists are trying to knock down our faith or who simply refuse to talk about science. Why is that so true of so many Christians?
If you ask me, this reaction comes from fear. Millions have a deep-seated fear that the next big scientific discovery will be the one that shatters their faith. Millions more are afraid that if they ask science-faith questions --or even worse, voice their doubts --they’ll be pounced on and ridiculed, or labeled as not having enough faith.
Do you remember that fear? Before you discovered Reasons to Believe or other science apologetics, were you afraid that science might lead you away from your faith?”

I’ll include more later, if there’s interest.

Do you see this as a legitimate perspective from an OEC organization? Is it a fair way to raise funds? Personally, I think so.

The letter goes on to explain that they’re sending a free copy of their brand new DVD, “Meet Jeff Zweerink.”

“It’s Jeff’s talk from this years’ AMP conference, full of great information. But what I like best is the way Jeff shares his own struggles with fear and doubt. Jeff admits honestly that sometimes new discoveries challenge him. But, these are what scientists call “anomalies,” things we just can’t explain right now. They don’t derail the trend of scientific discovery toward greater and greater proof of God’s hand in nature. And, as Jeff clearly shows, engaging our with our doubts, instead of suppressing them, is actually the road to deeper faith!”

Good going, RTB. Thanks again for your ministry!