How does the isolation of Tasmania impact recent universal ancestry?

The question of Tasmania pulls us deeper into science, wondering together about what we know and the limits of our knowledge. Let the conversation grow.

My conclusion in The Genealogical Adam and Eve about the likelihood of universal ancestry from Adam and Eve at different points in time (p. 78). The totally universal ancestry from Adam and Eve at 6,000 years ago is disputed, but we cannot tell for sure from evidence, but they would still be nearly universal ancestors.


This article from 1993 contains a wealth of information, even if surely some of it is out of date.

This comment from @jongarvey is important to highlight. His book (Jon Garvey: Update on The Generations of Heaven and Earth) places AE at 6,000 years ago.

It is also worth discussing the population sizes involved. There are about 50 million people across the globe at AD 1, but just 5,000 people in Tasmania. They would really be an exception to the rule. If Tasmania was isolated, 99.99% of the world would descend from AE at AD 1.

To reiterate a quote from the PS article:

Theologians might understand the deplorable history of Tasmanian colonization in one of two different ways. In this history, perhaps, we glimpse an echo of our distance past, seeing how Adam and Eve’s fallen dominion destroyed and subsumed people from outside the Garden. Or, alternatively, we see the familiar story of Adam and Eve’s lineage, warring against itself. Whatever our understanding of Adam and Eve, or whenever we place them in history, we should all agree the evil done to Tasmanians was evil. Not just wrong; it was truly evil.

The details of the Discover Magazine article from 1993 should make that clear. Honestly, I struggle to imagine any theology that could possibly justify the obviously evil things done to indigenous Tasmanians. I offer several examples of theology that condemn it, rightly, in the book.

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And yet the people who did it, probably considered themselves to be good Christians. And even today, there are American’s arguing for racism, while yet considering themselves to be good Christians.

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Racism and the evil associated with it boggles the mind.


Van Dieman’s land was a convict colony, and the killing was largely carried out by soldiers - neither group noted for regarding themselves as “good Christians.” The governor probably most to blame was a military aristocrat, the son of a brewer, whose autocracy and authoritarianism eventually got him recalled. His earlier despatches about the suppression of a slave revolt in Honduras provoked William Wilberforce into his abolitionist activity.

Even in that context Arthur is an ambigous figure:

In 1820 an expedition which he led to suppress a slave revolt aroused his hitherto dormant humanitarianism and he sought to introduce the Jamaican slave code into Honduras in order to provide legal protection for the local slaves. In 1822 he decided to free the descendants of the Miskito Indians who he believed had been illegally enslaved. These actions alienated the slave owners and led to growing opposition.

Nevertheless, the moral ambiguity of a nation which, en masse, considered itself spiritually superior to the primitive tribes sums up the whole ambiguity of “Adam theology.” Maybe there are parallels with “liberal democratic nations” nowadays that we all know well, that have sought to impose their values on certain middle eastern countries by killing thousands of them on spurious grounds and gaining huge profits for arms manufacturers and politicians.


I should stress that my “4000 BC” date for Adam is a broad approximation based on literary, historical, genealogical, palaeo-geographical and cultural pointers - and with a healthy dose of tongue in cheek acknowledgement of that scholar who greatly influenced Robert Boyle, ie James Ussher, who did a pretty thorough job given the limitations of his data.


And it’s so stupid. It’s like taking personal credit for the fact that your great-great-grandmother didn’t come from West Africa.

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