Genetics, Genealogies, and Racism

Continuing the discussion from Dr Bugg's latest analysis is seriously flawed:

Great. Thanks for an excellent example of words multiple without knowledge, totally unhinged from what we know about population genetics.

There is so much error in this paragraph it is hard to know where to begin. Instead, I’ll just focus on the biggest error, which I have bolded above. Here, you tightly genetic and genealogical ancestry as if genetics can reveal genealogical connections. This is false. Here is a key fact you have not yet taken hold of: most our genealogical ancestors are genetic ghosts, who leave us no DNA.
[as a side note, it is certainly not clear that Africans have absolutely no Neandertal DNA.]

Of course, you probably doubt this, so I encourage you to read this seminal paper on the topic:

Of course, this is all covered in detail in my paper, which you have clearly refused to read. Perhaps there is something you could learn here about population genomics.

Or you could read about it from Graham Coop, of UC Davis, a population geneticist. Where did your genetic ancestors come from? | gcbias.

So then, once you’ve read these papers, please explain to us all, why Graham Coop’s work is inherently racist. We will then march down the authors I cite in my paper (including from, which include professors from MIT, WUSTL, and more. Why is all their work inherently racist?

It will be particularly entertaining to see how you pin this charge to Alan Templeton, one of the leading voices against polygenesis in population genetics.

Then, after we are done with that, you can explain how you (a white male), have discerned racism in me (a dark skinned Indian). You can also explain how you (a white engineer), knows more about population genetics than me (a computational biologist).

Once you’e succeeded at that task perhaps then we can all agree why genealogical science is inherently racist. Until then, do not make that charge again. It will not be tolerated, and will result in an indefinite suspension.

Do not multiply words without knowledge.

As an aside, the Coop blog post is a must read. He has a beautiful simulation which illustrates how genetic ancestry is not genealogical in GIF animation:


These first two sentences are essentially WRONG.

This is how it should be worded:

Genealogical ancestry is able to investigate the “ancestry” of individuals (or an entire population), without examining any specific or general GENOME. The impact of a single male, (e.g., Genghas Khan) is NOT on the genome, but on the legal, cultural or traditional status of individuals known to be his descendants, rather than on the genetic contents of their cells.

^^^ The re-written statements, based on yours, reflect Genealogical affects on individuals or populations without any recourse to genes, genetics or genomes.


With the advent of whole genome sequence of ancient people, human history is on very solid ground. Their is a lot of geological, archeological and genomic data about what actually happened in the the time humans have been in existence. Any model that you come up with can be tested and either confirmed or falsified.

Except the model I came up with it seems. Can you please show us in some way you have any comprehension about the distinction between genetic and genealogical ancestry and claims? Most of what you say is unhinged from the reality of what we can and cannot know from DNA.

okay let me know if this sounds unhinged to you.

Genealogical ancestry leaves it’s marks on the genome of populations. We can see the impact of a single male (Genghas Khan) has on the genome of about a billion present day people. We can see the effect of genealogical ancestry (and limited selection in breeding) on the genome of people with certain diseases. Let’s take the case of just one Neanderthal/Sapian mating. It made it through to billions of people today. So do you and I have a Neanderthal in our genealogy - unquestionaly yes. Has it impact our genomes - all unquestionally yes. Does an African have a Neanderthal in his genome - unquestionably no. Has Neanderthal impact his genome - unquestionally no.

Here is something that you are not going to like but it is very true. Studying genealogy and making claims about genealogy is inherently racist. You can get around it. Whether we are taking what makes us human or not. Is these people over here are better than those people over there. Take Meso American Indians. They are going to scream “racist” as you soon as you even talk about a Middle eastern Adam as being part of their genealogy. They have been through this before and the results we not good for them. So I really caution you about exploring this avenue of research as any findings scientifically or theologically is going to be instantly labeled Racist.

And to be clear, no one is saying this on the board. Everyone has affirmed the unity of all mankind. We are all endowed with rights and dignity.

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CHUCK NORRIS can get around it. In this case, so can J Swamidass. And both of them serve the original one who got around it…

PS- I am sure you are right about the accusations, because there are some people determined to see racism around every corner (sometimes it is really there), but those accusations will be without merit in this case.

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If @Patrick continues further, however, I will be wondering about the racism of white atheists against dark scientists. Yes, dark scientists can sometimes understand science, in our area of expertise, better than white engineers. This should not be surprising.

BOOM! A “person of color” has just played the race card against an oppressive possessor of “white privilege.” This debate is clearly over…little joke there…because it was over a while back when @Patrick failed to catch the distinction between genetic verses genealogical.



Could you possibly get all these things wrong without intending to get them wrong?

The use of Genealogy is virtually exclusively to demonstrate the mathematics of how a mated pair of ancestors can become the common ancestor to all of Earth’s humans. I can’t imagine a view less centered on a racial view of mankind. If it is racial, it is a zealous portrayal of a single race… the “human race”.

Not only are they all descendants of Adam & Eve, but they are all made in God’s Image.

@swamidass, when you get back from your presentation, maybe there’s a place you can let Patrick cool off? He’s so excitable, he can’t even follow the discussion without concluding the opposite of whatever is before him.

@Patrick, I imagine this exchange is bewildering. As a rule of thumb, it is usually not wise to insinuate that the one dark person in a conversation being racist. The optics just do not look good for you, especially when it is not true. I personally do not shrink away because false charges of racism. I’ve see up close and personal enough of real racism, not to tolerate it being thrown about to make rhetorical points. It is too serious of an issue to trivialize this way.

I appreciate, also, that you have not continued further with this line of reasoning. I’m not going to hold it against you. You are welcome to participate in the conversation, but do not do that again.

Moreover, I’d encourage you to educate yourself about the difference between genetic and genealogical ancestry. There is really interesting (and non-racist) science here. Unless you catch up on the basics, you are going to continue to be making nonsequiturs. Genealogical ancestry just works very differently than genetic ancestry. It is really interesting and nonintuitive how this works. It is really worth understanding.


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To be fair Joshua, certain atheists are genuinely blind to race… and to professional skills, experience of life, fields they haven’t studied or discussion they missed. The principle is that atheism itself makes you automatically better informed than the rest of us.

Still, I always get a sense of irony when people throw the race card at you, particularly, on Genealogical Adam.



I would have to reject your broad optimism, and replace it with something a little less over-reaching and modest.

ANY MODEL? The model most commonly mentioned by me here on these boards is that within 2000 years, a mated pair can become one of the Universal Common Ancestral pairs to everyone alive today.

I hardly think there is any genetic test that could confirm the existence of genetic information in everyone alive today that came from someone 2000 years ago. You said “ANY” … and I’m showing you that one of the main pillars of the work on this site is pretty impervious to that word “any”.

No, a mated pair within the last 2000 years wasn’t one of the Universal Common Ancestral pairs to everyone alive today.

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2000 years is claimed by the nature 2004 study, but there would not be genetic material to everyone. @gbrooks9 was wrong on that. On what basis though do you disagree with the nature study?


I don’t think you’ve read any of @swamidass’s articles or postings explaining what exactly he is proposing.

Back on BioLogos, there were several posts examining the methodologies of genealogical researchers, testing how robust “genealogy” really was (compared to “genetics”). They discovered that with very very minimal assumptions for migration, from one generation to the next, moving descendants of a “key pair” into every habitable region on the Earth, the entire process could be completed within 2000 years.

Naturally, we can’t count on “random processes” to guarantee this - - but in a God-Guided scenario, inspiring an unemployed descendant of Adam to go check out China is not a very difficult idea to grasp.

@Patrick, you really need to do some catch-up reading.


When did I say there would be genetic material to “everyone”? If I unintentionally left out a “not” (left in too many "not"s), let me know - - and I’ll correct it immediately!

I have spent quite a bit of time agreeing with your sentence… and if I said it incorrectly, I want to make sure I fix it.

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This does not require Gods guidance though perhaps it happened.

Exactly! @swamidass, I agree with that sentence perfectly!

Very very low assumptions of migration can still accomplish the desired result.
The nuance I added was:

“Naturally, we can’t count on “random processes” to guarantee this…” I stated this for those who somehow become fixated on the idea that Universal Common Ancestry is too important to leave to chance. For those folks (and on a bad day, I’m one of those folks), there is always the fact God could well have nudged here or there to make sure the UCA-effect was fully executed!

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