Casey Luskin on Adam, Eve, and Evolution

Two interesting articles from a Casey Luskin:

In the subtotals, the GAE and Homo heidelbergensis models perform best because they incorporate mainstream scientific views about common ancestry and human evolution from apelike species in contrast to the other non-evolutionary models, while also acknowledging Adam and Eve as real historical people. The GAE model also allows for their de novo creation and recent origin, while the Homo heidelbergensis model allows them to be the sole ancestors of humans and denies interbreeding with non-human species. In the grand total analysis (Table 4, Figure 1), however, the Unique Origins and Design and Hybrid models tie for the highest scores, followed closely by the YEC model, which is followed closely by the OEC and Homo heidelbergensis models. The TE/EC model scores lowest, largely because it rejects traditional theological beliefs and other important scientific points worth considering in the conversation.

These are notable for several reasons. Casey is trying his best to be even handed with different approaches to human origins in science, and he has succeeded in publishing this in Religion, which is a fairly good academic journal. Moreover, his discussion at ENV ends up discussing the theological approaches to evolution that he thinks might work. That is a pretty stunning thing to observe, and ultimately a really good shift in the conversation.

Casey is doing his best to be even-handed, but still has some ways to go. I noticed a few things off the bat:

  1. He tries to make a distinction between Gauger and and WLC’s position, even though they both have essentially the same (perhaps even exact same) position.

  2. He misses that Gauger’s suggestion of a 100,000 years ago unique origin (1) was never demonstrated by their paper, and (2) presumed intermixing between Adam and Eve’s lineage and others, and (3) doesn’t at all address the TMR4A data. That’s a pretty big set of misses here on the scientific details. He might benefit from reading this article more closely: The Misunderstood Science of Genetic Bottlenecks .

  3. He quotes my statements on miracles at length, when all am I saying is that I’m not invoking ad hoc miracles to explain away difficult data. They seem hung up on methodological naturalism still, though that isn’t really the point of disagreement. ID scientists also adopt this rule, eschewing ad hoc miracles to explain away difficult data.

  4. He oddly concludes that GAE entails bestiality by (1) assuming that the people outside the Garden must not be in the image of God (not a position I favor!), and (2) assuming that interbreeding between these groups must be bestiality (that isn’t the only possibility!).

So in the end, this paper does have some points worth discussing more, and I do think that addressing these issues would change the assessment.

Here is what @jongarvey writes:

his classification of GAE as an “evolutionary” model (in contrast to the “hybrid old earth young Adam” model. Given that your book stresses the special creation of A&E, and treats the existing population as a given, I can’t see the difference.

Your own commitment to evolution (as descent from other species) is certainly in the book, but doesn’t seem to be entailed by the genealogical approach. Indeed, as I remember it, perhaps wrongly, you tend to use open-ended phrases lie “compatible with the current understanding of evolution…”

I see that Casey, though seeking to be evenhanded across all views, has significantly misrepresented GAE by omitting its key feature, ie that it allows, or even requires, Adam and Eve as progenitors of the entire modern human race.

His stress on its congruity with evolutionary theory is therefore the elevation of a minor, optional, feature to its major point, whilst the omission of the major point – genealogical science – makes the paradigm look as if it is an amateurish fudge. In that case, I’m surprised he scored it as highly as he does!

I’d agree with Jon on these points of course.

This all being said, I do think it is valuable that Casey is laying out his theological and scientific priorities. It is great to see the ENV laying out the theological approaches to evolution they are most inclined to find acceptable. That is, in the end, a pretty stunning thing to observe and ultimately helpful.


His figure is interesting too, because of his extensive use of “other scientific factors,” which are sort of a fudge because they don’t really fit the ontology, and are places he maybe putting his finger on the scale. Ignoring the gray components, the assessment becomes a lot more clear :slight_smile: .


Can you quote from the paper to support that it makes this presumption? I don’t recall seeing it, and it would seem to be at odds with the model.

I would have to say that the various “other scientific factors” are mostly not true and just look as if they’re gifts to creationism. The waiting time problem? Seriously? They’re also orthogonal to most of this. GAE entails no position on the waiting time problem, for example.


I had a look at what those “other scientific factors” are:

  • Acknowledges Waiting Times Problem for Evolving Complex Traits and the Possibility of Design
  • Incorporates Population Genetics Modeling Showing Humans Can Come from an Initial Pair
  • Incorporates Evidence of Pseudogene Function.
  • Accepts Evidence of Full Humanity of Neanderthals/Denisovans
  • Acknowledges Fossil Gap between Human and Apelike Species
  • Adam and Eve Aligned with First Appearance of Fossil Evidence of Humanlike Body Plan
  • Adam and Eve Aligned with First Appearance of Archaeological Evidence of Humanlike Intelligence

Adam and Eve as the initial pair of humans is not a “scientific factor”. Nor is “the possibility of design”. Luskin’s “scientific factors” are really creationist factors.


Which, more than anything, might tell us something about the quality of religious journals.

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Yeah, that’s my point. They are essentially orthogonal (no relationship to Adam and Eve) or totally disputable (based in personal values, not science).

Which is why its notable that discarding these factors, the GAE is the clear winner. That doesn’t even touch on the other issue; he scored GAE lower than warranted on the theological category.

Those criticism being stated and real, I do think its good to see Casey lay out his reasoning so clearly. There are parts he is wrong, but that can be corrected now that he has put his reasoning out there.

Also see this article:

Despite all these real issue, look what we are hearing from an ID venue:

If recent decades are any indication, new models will likely be constructed in the future that adopt and refine the strongest elements that these current models have to offer. Whatever the final resolution to these questions, it seems clear that a variety of options already exist for Protestant Evangelicals and other Christians seeking to understand human origins and harmonize traditional theological beliefs with the scientific evidence. Although some models appear more successful than others at achieving a reconciliation, one need not jettison traditional beliefs about Adam and Eve in light of the findings of science.

Critically important for us at PS, what he means by “science” here clearly includes affirmation of evolution. That is a big win, and the GAE + WLC’s model is a big part of what makes this possible.

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Could you refresh me on just what WLC’s model entails? Has it changed recently, or does it require that non-Adamic humans are not quite human, likely less intelligent, lacking language and culture, etc.?

No, he published it in Religions, with an ‘s’. Run by MDPI. Which has poor reputation.

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It’s nearly identically to Ann Gauger’s approach.

  1. Adam and Eve are ancient (about 700 kya)
  2. They are the headwaters of a fully human mind. (Therefore other humanlike beings at the time were not fully human).
  3. Adam and Eve’s descendents “may or may not” have interbreed with others, but interbreeding would be rare.

That’s identical to Gauger’s view. Identical. The part that is different is that he also states:

  1. Adam and Eve had parents (they weren’t de novo) and became fully human when they were “refurbished” by God from beings created by evolutionary processes.

Gauger, in contrast, emphasizes de novo creation, so her model is a halfway position between WLC and RTB.

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Thanks for the correction.

Still, it seems that this went through real peer review. That is likely one reason why “mainstream science” is separated out from “other scientific” concerns, which does help a great deal.

Also, every one should be able to agree that Reigions is a better venue for this sort of thing than ENV alone. Peer review, even when not comprehensive, is valuable and helpful.

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Thanks. I’m not sure either WLC or Gauger’s position is quite coherent or consistent with the evidence (or even with Genesis, the supposed goal).

But actually, Gauger would appear to reject, or at least want to reject, #1. She wants the first couple to be much less than 100,000 years old, and if you recall she claims that it would take only small tweaks to her model to make that work. Not sure quite what model Luskin evaluated.

Isn’t MDPI a pay-to-play publisher? If so, peer review is an empty formality.

Ah, so they added an “s” and hoped no one would notice. Sneaky. But not sneaky enough!

No, I do not agree. “This sort of thing”, which treats established and undeniable scientific facts as somehow up for debate, has no part in any serious academic discussion, not matter what the discipline. Best to keep such nonsense confined to illegitimate venues like ENV.

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I don’t think she cares about the date. It’s others on that team pushing for more recent.

Sometimes I wonder too, because he seems to be putting a lot of stock in distinctions that aren’t particularly relevant or even real at times.

Now that I don’t know. I’m only judging from published statements. What extra information do you have?

Just noticed this:

I’m just wondering if there are more special issues, say one exploring science from the perspective of I Love Lucy, or the perspective of Gustav Mahler, or the perspective of a small puddle of a brown liquid, possibly creosote.


Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. John A. Bloom

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Department of Chemistry, Physics and Engineering, Biola University, La Mirada, CA 90639, USA
Interests: christianity and science; biophysics; archaeology; biblical studies[1]

This being the same Biola University that has numerous DI members on faculty, created the “Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth” (a thoroughly Orwellian title, IMNSHO) to “honor” the “life and work” of "the “Godfather of intelligent design”[2] and created the Maxwell Chair of Molecular Biology for DI associate Douglas Axe.

I know nothing (as yet) about Bloom specifically – but I think the Biola connection is further reason to view with skepticism any claimed credibility that may conferred on those published in this “special issue”.

Addendum: I also noticed that this “special issue” also contains a piece by Hugh Ross on Biblical Perspectives as a Guide to Research on Life’s Origin and History.

Further addendum: Bloom is a CSC Fellow.


Addendum: I also noticed that this “special issue” also contains a piece by Hugh Ross on Biblical Perspectives as a Guide to Research on Life’s Origin and History.

One of the worst, most factually incorrect screeds I have read in a while. Falsehoods, bare assertions, and non sequiturs all the way down. In the very first sentense he doesn’t even get the definition of naturalism right.


But it’s a peer-reviewed paper in a peer-reviewed journal!


I have never before seen so many falsehoods, non-sequiturs, cherry picked, missing, or improper citations, and misleading generalizations as in that “paper”.

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