Discomfort With Messiness of Science at BioLogos

I’ve always felt like it was because of our ugly history. It’s like we are trying to make up for it but in the process we try too hard and go overboard and say things are racist that really aren’t.

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Those are great examples. This sub-topic may merit its own thread—but we already pursue (quite legitimately) a surprising and growing number of tangents on this forum, so I’m resisting the urge to post more examples and related questions. Yet, because language perceptions and misperceptions (and other very human dynamics) were so much a part of the Easter 2017 events, I can’t help but think about all of the related factors.

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I was recently doing a handshake with a black friend of mine and I totally butchered it. He laughed and said man you really white boi’d that handshake. Lol. There are people who would really be upset by that joke and it’s just ridiculous

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Punk eek monogenism? : )

I agree that certainly is sometimes the issue, @T.j_Runyon, for some people. But also, the accusation of racism is often intended to exclude people whose opinions the accuser does not want to deal with. As in, “Aha! You ARE racist, therefore nothing you say has any value, and, in addition, those that hold your opinion on any subject are evil like you!” Purely ad hominem. Actually a very dangerous place for our society to have come to.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Introduction to the Genealogical Adam

@swamidass,

I thought i would re-read your introduction to “Genealigical Adam”. The lines of logic hold up very well! [[I took the liberty of inserting some proposed wording in double brackets to replace words or terms that unnecessarily encumber your narrative.]]:

"Entirely consistent with the genetic evidence, it is possible Adam was created out of dust, and Eve out of his rib, less than 10,000 years ago in a divinely created garden where God might dwell with them, the first beings with opportunity to be in a relationship with Him."

"Perhaps their fall brought accountability for sin to all their descendants. Leaving the Garden, their offspring blended with their neighbors in the surrounding [settlements]. In this way, they became genealogical ancestors of all [[humanity by the time of the birth of Jesus Christ."]]

"Even if this scenario is [[considered optional]] or unnecessary, nothing in evolutionary science unsettles this story [[concerning just a single couple]]. So, evolution presses in a very limited way on our understanding of Adam and Eve, only suggesting (alongside Scripture) [[that there some other universal ancestral couples because it is mathematically inevitable]]."

((Made some edits per Patrick.))

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all currently living humanity in recorded history? Note that there was a million years of humanity prior to GA.

Well millions of sequenced genomes do. You may need the caveat that the first couple were created each with a genone (including retro viruses) that were common in the settlements at the place and time near the garden or that nothing in A&E’s genome past on.

Don’t understand the mathematically inevitability. Please elaborate.

@Patrick

You write “Well millions of sequenced genomes do. You may need the
caveat that the first couple were created each with a genone
(including retro viruses) that were common in the settlements at the
place and time near the garden or that nothing in A&E’s genome past
on.”

Yes, the couple could have been created with even with a full
compliment of retro viruses. But because the genetics of Adam and Eve
are not the key, it is really up to denominational or personal
preferences as to what genetics Adam/Eve might have been blessed with.
Their impact is too small to trace, even if we knew it precisely.
What matters is their genealogical role for all of surviving humanity.

You ask about this: "[ I ] [d]on’t understand the mathematically
inevitability. Please elaborate."

Even with low rates of immigration, Universal Ancestral couples can
accomplish their status in less than 2000 years. And if we include
the likelihood that God would have engaged in making sure key migrants
made it to some far-away land, due to:

o via storm-driven ships or
o Adam/Eve offspring with a strong wanderlust
and an uncanny luck for surviving the worst of travels…

it seems theologically certain that “Genealogical Adam” would be an
inevitable reality.

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Genetics of Adam and Eve are key. They need to be invisible to scientific inquiry. As more and more ancient genomes are sequenced from the time period and location of Adam and Eve, and differences found among the genomes can’t be attributed to Adam and Eve as they have to remain genetically invisible to advancing ancient genome sequencing.

You just state this but you don’t give the simplest mathematical model that can support this claim. It is purely hand waving. There are anchor points in time and location as we have millions of genomes already sequenced. Your model needs to match up with them or they are contradictory to the science which Genealogical Adam can’t be. Realize that GA needs to be invisible to science now and in the future. A new discovery or a new study on the ancient people of the Levant shouldn’t be able to disprove GA. So you need more than hand waving for that. If an evolutionary scientist is going to put his scientific reputation on to a theological argument, it better be completely invisible to falsification by science.

@Patrick ,

You write: “Genetics of Adam and Eve are key. They need to be
invisible to scientific inquiry. As more and more ancient genomes are
sequenced from the time period and location of Adam and Eve, and
differences found among the genomes can’t be attributed to Adam and
Eve as they have to remain genetically invisible to advancing ancient
genome sequencing.”

In 7 generations, most of Adam/Eve’s genetic contribution will have
completely disappeared into the “noise” of the population genetics…
and that’s if we even knew what they were exactly. Since we don’t
know exactly, their genetic contribution becomes irrelevant to the
modern scientific audience.

Patrick, you continue to respond to my “mathematically inevitable”
reference: “You just state this but you don’t give the simplest
mathematical model that can support this claim. It is purely hand
waving. There are anchor points in time and location as we have
millions of genomes already sequenced. Your model needs to match up
with them or they are contradictory to the science which Genealogical
Adam can’t be. Realize that GA needs to be invisible to science now
and in the future. A new discovery or a new study on the ancient
people of the Levant shouldn’t be able to disprove GA. So you need
more than hand waving for that. If an evolutionary scientist is going
to put his scientific reputation on to a theological argument, it
better be completely invisible to falsification by science.”

I believe @Swamidass has already put his scientific reputation
to the theological argument!

Joshua says the “genealogical” aspect of Adam/Eve is invisible to
falsification by science… and in the issue of “genealogy”, it is not
because of persisting genetic traces but because of the “trump-suit
nature” of genealogy! Of the millions of Europeans who are probably
descended from Charlemagne, it is not because of genetic traces of
Charles the Great of France-and-Germany… but because once a
progenitor is introduced into someone’s family tree, there is no way
to eliminate him/her. He/She will be in the family tree forever. It
is this logic which, in part, drives the modern Mormons to track down
all the branches of the human family tree, so that one day they hope
to embrace all of humanity under a divine/human ancestral couple!

Now I’m having trouble seeing any difference between YEC ad-hoc explanations and GA ad-hoc explanations. I’ve been quite crtical of the YEC explanation for dispersal after leaving the Ark. How did sloths get to South America. I’m told they had “strong wanderlust” and embarked to go right over the land bridge and get as far away from the ark as possible. I’m told they were swept up on vegetation rafts and rafted over the south america. These are extremely unlikely scenarios that don’t deserve serious attention but for GA we can invoke these same sorts of explanations because our model is right and so its ok to toss around any explanation we want to make everything else fit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m wanting this to work but I’m getting worried that I’m being asked to gasp way too many straws.

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I have not relied on as hoc explanations here.

But if we find sequences of a hundred ancient genomes from France who lived in the century following, and it traces back to the same father or the mother of the same father, we can pretty sure that this wasn’t a special creation but instead a man who had a lot of decedents and who had a mother. You can’t have that with GA as he has to have been specially created leaving no evidence of his contribution genetically be yet in the genealogical of everybody.

@patrick we have gone over this several times. Did you forget already why your objection is unfounded or are you just messing with @Joel_Duff and @gbrooks9?

@Joel_Duff,

You write: “Now I’m having trouble seeing any difference between YEC
ad-hoc explanations and GA ad-hoc explanations. I’ve been quite
critical of the YEC explanation for dispersal after leaving the Ark.
How did sloths get to South America. I’m told they had “strong
wanderlust” and embarked to go right over the land bridge and get as
far away from the ark as possible. I’m told they were swept up on
vegetation rafts and rafted over the south america. These are
extremely unlikely scenarios that don’t deserve serious attention but
for GA we can invoke these same sorts of explanations because our
model is right and so its ok to toss around any explanation we want to
make everything else fit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m wanting this to
work but I’m getting worried that I’m being asked to gasp way too many
straws.”

Joel, you have probably heard the phrase, “In for a penny, in for a
pound”? So let me itemize what I think your penny applies to:

  1. Unless you are a Unitarian Universalist like I am, one’s Christian
    stance is anchored on the idea that Jesus was born a Son of God, and
    that when he died on the cross, he was resurrected. (It is well
    beyond the scope of this list to entertain all the thoughts that run
    through my head regarding just these two miraculous benchmarks for the
    average Christian.)

  2. Having one’s faith thus anchored, PeacefulScience.Org asks even the
    most science-minded of Christians to embrace at least one more pair of
    miracles: that in the midst of a fully evolved human population (or
    adjacent to them), God used miraculous special creation to create
    Adam, and a related act of special creation to create Eve. This
    event doesn’t require archaeological proof, but should be placed in
    time and space at a time when it is conceivable that Adam’s
    instruction in garden work would make sense integrated into the human
    timeline.

  3. For those Christians who are further anchored by Paul’s Romans 5,
    and its implications regarding Original Sin, then there is probably no
    strong reason why such a Christian would object to the idea that God
    made sure that the minimum amounts of human migration would come to
    fruition in order to make Adam and Eve one of the Universal Common
    Ancestral pairs of all humanity alive at the time of the birth of
    Jesus.

  4. If one is a Christian who is not particularly dependent on a
    literal interpretation of Romans 5, the genealogical universality of
    Adam/Eve can have a lesser importance.

Thoughts, @Joel_Duff?

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@Swamidass

You write: “@patrick we have gone over this several times. Did you forget already why your objection is unfounded or are you just messing with @Joel_Duff and @gbrooks9?”

I have long assumed that Patrick’s memory isn’t what it used to be.

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I just want to make sure that the theology of GA stays in the theology domain. Because if it leaks into the physical, or historical domains, science has a way of slamming the door on such things and I wouldn’t want to see your fingers getting caught in the slamming door. Science is very good at falsifying claims. You will never know where the next result will come, falsifying what you thought was impossible to falsify. So be careful about being too specific on GA, especially with respective to a specific place and time. One you specify either a place or a time for GA, you run the risk of science saying that isn’t true.

GA rests on being outside of science, and that it can’t be proven to be impossible to have a special creation of GA that leaves no evidence of occurring. However, if you claim some specificity of this special creation like where or when, it gets into the physical realm and science can falsify the claim.

Remember that you are trying to take a character in an story (Adam) and make him a real historical person. Saying that Adam is a special creation with unknown details is probably all you need to say about him.

I agree with most of what you are writing here, but it does not follow from the arguments you were making, which were not valid.

That is not necessarily true. You know that right? There are a very large number of specific places and times we can place Adam that cannot be ruled out by science. Science has some pretty severe limits here.

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