GAE on InspiringPhilosophy

I was delighted to see The Genealogical Adam and Eve got a plug on InspiringPhilosophy.

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Right off in the first few seconds of the reference, the speaker conflated “a most recent common ancestor” with “the most recent common ancestor”. So he’s managed to completely misunderstand the point of the GAE analysis.

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Do you believe there was only one point in the GAE analysis? If so what do you believe that point was? Personally I see quite a few points:

  • First and foremost in my mind is the point that Genealogical Ancestry is “The Overlooked Science”, and we need to break out of the anachronistic mindset of seeing ancestry only from a genetic sense since “A question about “descent” can be a question about genealogies, and genealogical questions should be answered with genealogical science.”
  • Another is “There are many couples, pairs of universal genealogical ancestors, each individually from whom we all descend. These ancestors stretch from our distant past to very recently in our history.”
  • “Furthermore, the term “human” is imprecise when referring to those in the distant past. Certainly, all Homo sapiens alive right now are human. In the ancient past, however, the term is ambiguous in both science and theology.”
  • Genetic isolation does not demonstrate genealogic isolation.
  • “Mesopotamia is a location we might expect universal ancestors to arise quickly.”

and so on. So the video is citing GAE and many other sources to support the point the video is making. Did you seriously expect a detailed summary of every point of GAE in “the first few seconds of the reference”?

Produce a full quote. It’s a good opportunity to clarify.

Something like 120,000 views. That’s a lot of people…


No, but I do know that the one sentence I’m talking about incorporated a fundamental misunderstanding that can’t easily be papered over: the difference between genealogical and genetic ancestors. There could conceivably, no matter how unlikely, be a single pair of genetic ancestors, “the” ancestors, but there can’t be a single pair of genealogical ancestors. Further, this misunderstanding is necessary to the speaker’s use of GAE as evidence.

No, but I don’t expect a fundamental misunderstanding.

I could be getting this absolutely wrong, but my understanding is just the opposite. Due to genetic recombination it is nearly impossible for there to be a single genetic ancestral pair for our entire genomes, but it is entirely possible, or even inevitable, for everyone to share a single genealogic ancestral pair. In fact, it is statistically inevitable that there will be a common genealogic ancestral pair whose DNA is not found in any of their descendants.


Nearly, but the remote possibility is a bottleneck of 2 individuals. And that’s what the video is talking about.

No, impossible unless that pair is the bottleneck of 2 mentioned above, in which case genealogical and genetic ancestors are the same. Otherwise there will be ancestors of everyone, but many of them, in fact a large proportion of the population of that time, not just a single pair. Note that your quote refers to individuals, plural. Any one of those would be an ancestor but not the ancestor.

He is certainly not meaning a bottleneck.

You really have to stop with the one-sentence replies that explain nothing.

He is trying to describe a GAE like my book, not like WLC’s position. That’s what he is trying to do.

So he just misspoke? I don’t see how the standard GAE would support his position on the flood.

He thinks the flood was local, but hyperbolically recounted in Genesis. Perhaps he misspoke, I’m not sure.

Check out the interview I did with him and Cameron Bertuzzi.

I’m failing to see how GAE supports any flood scenario, whether local or worldwide or something in between.

I don’t understand your point John. I just watched the minute where the time stamp is set and all he is saying is that for that local region it’s possible to have only a few individuals that were ancestors of all in that region only a few thousand years ago. What difference is it going to make if they are genetic or genealogical?

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Apparently neither one of you understands the GAE proposition. It’s not just “a few” who are genealogical ancestors of “all in the region”; it’s nearly every person who had children. It has nothing to do with a bottleneck.

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I agree that’s the scientific side. If he’s defending the Bible, he’s saying it’s possible that only a few people could be ancestors of us all. That’s really the emphasis of the book.

Do you think it is a good idea to defend the Bible with demonstrably false claims?

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Then why is he using GAE to defend that position? It makes no sense.

He might of unclearly stated the GAE. I know him. I’ll invite him to clarify.

His brief mention uses the GAE to support the idea that everyone in the Middle East following the Flood was descended solely from Shem, Ham, and Japheth (and presumably their wives too).