Jim Tour Endorses The Genealogical Adam and Eve

Just received a late endorsement from a friend. I thought you’d want to see:

Joshua Swamidass might not get a Nobel Prize in Biology for The Genealogical Adam & Eve, but he should get a Nobel Peace Prize for his approach of kindness in trying to unite several disparate camps on the front lines of the origins debate. He masterfully takes the old and often forgotten suggestion of a possible difference between the “creation of man” events in Chapter 1 vs. Chapter 2 of Genesis, and he adds genetic legs. Being a computational geneticist, Swamidass has the expertise to assess the latest scientific data and compute that indeed, Adam and Eve could have been a single couple even in the last 6000 to 10,000 years, and the progenitors of all human beings alive today, provided that the humanoids from Chapter 1 of Genesis were breeding into the line from Chapter 2. Since I love the Bible and science, it is was a riveting read. It is a delightful mixture of scholarship across disciplines, presented in an easy to access framework and highly educational. I think all camps can walk away happy that they’re right, in a way.

James Tour, Rice University

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I hope he makes it clear elsewhere in the piece that this possibility is predicated upon a pre-existing pool of humans outside of Adam and Eve, because otherwise naive readers might get the impression that the book is arguing for straight-up YECism.

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That’s not quite correct, is it? The idea that Adam and Eve could have entered the human gene pool is predicated on the idea that this is NOT something that would be evident from the genomic data, therefore we can’t say for sure that it didn’t happen. Would that not be a more accurate statement of the facts, rather than implying (even if unintentionally) that you had uncovered some evidence to support that this had happened?

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That’s all clear in the quote. Biggest issue is that there isn’t a Nobel in Biology! :slight_smile:

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But Medicine often acts as a proxy award. Still, that is an oversight that should have been corrected long ago. Get rid of the anomalous award for Economics, and give it to biologists instead.

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Chemistry is becoming that proxy now.

I find a number of disturbing statements there. Calling the Genesis 1 people “humanoids”, for example. What does he actually mean by that? It doesn’t seem to imply that A&E join the existing population of H. sapiens, which is what GAE is all about. Also, I continue to decry the claim that A&E are “the progenitors of all human beings alive today”, since they are (under the theory) merely among the progenitors.

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I don’t like the term humanoid either and never used it. Progenitor isn’t a scientific term, and I mean it precisely in a genealogical sense. They are sole-genealogical progenitors within a larger population that also contributes to our genes. He talks about interbreeding so their is no way to misunderstand it. Not sure why there is reason to decry it.

I think you underestimate the possibilities for misunderstanding, and I for one am not quite sure what Tour was trying to say. What do you think he meant by “humanoids”?

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I’ll ask him.

As for misunderstanding? There is so much out there publicly about the thesis it would take some willful blindness to misunderstand this.

We can be reasonably sure that a lot of creationists will be “warning” their communities about how it isn’t any different than evolution too. It’s going to be hard to misrepresent this book.

The most obvious interpretation is that A&E are the created H. sapiens lineage and that interbreeding with neandertals and denisovans is responsible for genetic diversity, which is not your idea as I understand it.

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That wouldn’t work with the timelines he put in there. The term I use is “people outside the Garden”.

Then I’m at a loss to understand the meaning of “humanoid”, clearly a contrast with “human”.

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Well I’ll probably ask for an edit on both the Nobel on Biology and on humanoid :slight_smile:

OTOH, if I understand correctly, you believe that the H. sapiens who were not directly descended from Adam and Eve were not “human” in some theological sense, correct? That they were missing some immaterial aspect that we have all inherited from A&E without which we would not be human in the fullest sense. Have I got that right?

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I’m confused. Are you claiming that Genealogical Adam and Eve are the only persons of that era who are genealogical ancestors to the whole human population? That would seem to put you back at odds with science.

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Not correct. I specifically back away from the term “theological human” to avoid precisely that confusion.

Consider this:

There is one and only one woman in my world, my wife, Victoria.

Is this a claim that there are no other woman across the globe? Or that these other women are some how less woman or sub human? Of course not!

I’m not speaking metaphorically or figuratively either, but entirely literally, within a well defined (but tacit) relational scope. I’m presuming an important relational distinction between Victoria and everyone else, not a “substantive” distinction.

When we talk about “humanness” that almost always implies a difference in substance. I’m explicitly and directly not making that type of distinction between AE and those outside the Garden.

I instead refer to “textual humans”, as those that are the subject of Scripture. My point is that Scripture is bound to Adam, Eve, and their descendants. It isn’t talking about other people, which means their status and existence is a free parameter. Scriptures claims can be understood to imply substantive claims about AE, they do not necessarily imply substantive claims about those outside the Garden. Much in the same way, the claim that Victoria is the “one and only woman” does not some how denigrate the humanness of other women, thought it does imply (correctly) that Victoria is a human like me.

Of course there are dumb ways to fill in the blanks in the story, but there are also coherent, sensible, and theologically sound ways to fill in the blanks. For example, I don’t think it makes sense to think “humanness” spreads by genealogical descent from a recent Adam and Eve, I never argued this, and have in fact argued against it. The people outside were fully human. They just were not the subject of Scripture.

No, but I very much appreciate you asking the question to clarify. The chapter of “humans of the text” explains this. I do allow for others to make a substantive distinction too (and, for example, @Andrew_Loke does), but I most definitely do not.

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@jongarvey, could you add to this?

No. I’m not. I’m saying they are the first and initially only human persons within the scope of Scripture, and they are also ancestors of everyone (or nearly everyone) across the globe by AD 1, even if they are as recent as 6,000 years ago.

I understand GAE is postulating Adam and Eve as universal genealogical ancestors. I don’t understand what import the word sole is meant to carry.