Deleted: Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple?

Yes, that’s true, but they are also usually very open to the idea of people outside the garden. That isn’t usually the sticking point.

We can argue endlessly about what dead people meant or actually thought. When distinctions were not clear in the past, this will be a very convoluted argument.

What we do know is that that many living theologians troubled by evolution did mean it as genealogical descent and are now able to approach evolutionary science anew. That is indisputable. Conflating genetic and genealogical descent In 2010 most certainly created an immense amount of unnecessary conflict for them.

In some cases, the dead person has explained his views. I don’t know about Lewis. Do you?

It’s not clear to me that they did this. They merely assumed that genetic descent was intended. And in fact it most commonly was.

Well we know now.

Darrell Falk, to his credit, has publicly stated that he was wrong. That included, as I understand it, this article. And he wanted this article to be retracted (not silently deleted) for at least a year. It is unclear why that did not happen and it is being deleted now.

Many theologians didn’t know there was a difference between genetic and genealogical. Once they understood the difference, they clarified by saying genealogical ancestry is what they cared about.

Did Dennis Venema and Darrel Falk know the difference at the time? I don’t know, at least not from public evidence. I do know that less than 1 month later, David Opderbeck published his article on this distinction on the BL blog. I do know that Opderbeck’s article was visible but unmentioned in the whole conversation surrounding the CT article.

If they knew the difference at the time, they might have avoided an immense amount of conflict by clarifying the situation and actually asking theologians which type of descent was important.

Rather than genetics vs. genealogy, I think the more important point would be “sole ancestors” vs. “among the ancestors in the population at that time”. And I’d say that neandertals or nephilim are likewise irrelevant. Of course if they are sole ancestors, that would necessarily be both genetic and genealogical.

Maybe, except that is not the right use of the theological term. Whatever the case, none of these questions were under discussion at the time.

Perhaps the right way to phrase it is: sole progenitors whose lineage interbred with others vs sole progenitors whose lineage did not interbreed with others.

Either that, or remove reference to the theological term sole progenitors all together.

Sorry, what isn’t the right use of what theological term?

I think “sole” was implicit in the article.

I find that opaque. If their lineage interbred with others to a significant degree then they can’t be called sole progenitors. And it isn’t clear whether this interbreeding is as part of a single population or as rare introgression from other Homo species.

I am unclear on the actual definition of this theological term. Or is there one?

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Yes you are unclear. Yes there is more than one definition. This is discussed in my book of course :slight_smile: and in many places in this forum. Perhaps just stop using the term “sole progenitor” all together for this reason. It’s a theological term any ways, and it confuses scientific statements because it is polysemous.

You will note that I have been using the term “sole ancestors”, not “progenitors”.

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Okay, I missed that.

Still, that doesn’t make sense. Even if there is no interbreeding, AE are not our only ancestors. For example, my father is also my ancestor. They also aren’t our “sole universal ancestors”, most likely their children would be universal ancestors of all of us too.

Our only ancestors at the time. Of course, your objection applies to “sole progenitor” too.

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They could still be our only “progenitors”, depending by what we mean by this in theology.

I am all for just avoiding “sole-progenitor” and, instead, using theologically neutral terms, scientific terms, to describe the evidence. That is what I have advocated from the beginning.

On January 21, 2020, I emailed BioLogos with this concern:

Breaking the policy that Dr. Haarsma laid out in a recent article, a key article of historical significance was silently deleted from the website, without notice or explanation. Why was policy broken? Deleted: Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple? This article should be kept online with a note stating that it has been retracted, the date of retraction, and why.

October 20, 2020, Dr. Deborah Haarsma responded:

Remember that the BioLogos website is not a scientific journal. Like other popular blog sites, we routinely delete and update articles for a wide variety of reasons without retraction notices. Now that the committee’s work is done, we will be having an external expert review/rewrite the population genetics articles to ensure correctness on all points, and will then consult Ard and others on whether any retraction notice is warranted.

I responded back:

I would like more information about the the article from 2010 that was stealth deleted in January, 2020. Although I was the first qualified scientist to critique this article, back in 2018, several scientists have since stated publicly and privately that this article should be put back online with a note explaining the problems that have been identified with its scientific claims. So, why is additional review required?

For this specific article, can you please clarify who the external reviewer is? How will my scientific objections be communicated to this reviewer? What is the timeline you expect to hear back from him/her and take action on his/her recommendations?

November 2, 2020, Dwight Baker, the current chairman of the board wrote back,

BioLogos considers past cases closed. The board accepted the committee recommendations it will monitor their implementation. Based on specific board direction, BioLogos will not consult with you on the details of these recommendations or any former publication.

I’m very concerned by the lack of transparency here. It has been known among biologists at BioLogos that this article was in serious error for years now. I see no sensible reason for leaving my questions unanswered. Even if this matter is closed for BioLogos, it seems open for many others.

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