Sanford and Carter: A ‘genealogical’ Adam and Eve?

Excellent review by two leading YEC scientists. It will be interesting to see what the YECs in the pews thing. Today I did a podcast with a former staff member at CRI (and friend of Duane Gish) who loved the book and the approach it took.

We have both spent time with Dr. Swamidass, and we applaud his courage and what appear to be sincere motives. We share his desire for peaceful science, respectful dialog, and reconciliation wherever possible. We share his joy in creative thinking, and we also routinely engage in episodes of creative brainstorming. However, we must point out that the TGAE model, while very creative, is contrary to Scripture on many levels.

What do you think of their review?


You got a serious review on - that’s fantastic news right there. Then they go on to trash the book, as expected, but any press is still good press. :slight_smile:

We have major concerns about his increasing willingness to rework the Bible to his own satisfaction, and his attempts impose things into the Bible that are simply not there.

AND then my Irony Meter exploded! :rofl:


They did not trash the book. They disagreed with it. I do think they also misread it in a few points, but it seems to be in good faith. They were kind to me.

I am confused, however, why they call this “not fair play”:

Creationists “resist evolutionary science” (p. 158).

They are creationists. They resist evolutionary science. What exactly is not fair play about this? I don’t get it…

Any how, I sent Dr. Sanford and Dr. Carter an email asking if they would let me respond to them at I hope they do.


Because they don’t resist evolutionary science. You know, like ID doesn’t oppose evolution, or like the Discovery Institute doesn’t oppose evolution. It’s simple.


OK, that’s fair. Sometimes those disagreements preceded the explanation of your point, which was unnecessary.


No, that isn’t right. ID says that isn’t opposed to evolution (except when it is). Young earth creationist scientists are opposed to evolution. That’s front and center!


The real irony is as you say it:

The thing is that I did not rework the Bible. I just read it literally. My concern with YEC is that it reworks the bible.

A this point, I am really looking forward to the review from Hans Madueme at TGC to come out. He is a YEC too, but I think he will give the book a very favorable review. Not just kind, but also agreeing with much fo it. The difference is that Hans is not a scientific YEC. He is a theological YEC.

Exactly. They really do oppose evolution, they just pretend that they don’t. They’re dishonest.

Exactly. So when they say it’s not fair play to say they resist evolutionary science, they’re being just as dishonest as the ID people. That’s the point. Of course they’re still happy with the hyper-evolution required to make animals after the flood, but we can’t expect YECs to be rational.

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I don’t understand their point, and I do not think it is dishonest. I asked John in an email. Perhaps @stcordova can enlighten us. It doesn’t make any sense to lie about this. They clearly were tweaked by the language, but I do not understand why.

Here is an example of a misreading:

It is very important to note that the Bible does not mention, nor does it require, any POGs. They are only a theological innovation designed to accommodate deep time and evolution.

The point is that POG (people outside the garden) are consistent with Scripture (and they are) and there is historical evidence that they were speculated about long before evolution was speculated about, and had nothing to do with deep time. The historical evidence of this is unambiguous and clearly explained in the book. I’m not sure how they missed it.

I think you did as well as you could with this article. They were supportive of your effort to unite divided groups but had theological concern which I would expect from YEC’s. Has Ken Ham read it?

I think if you understood their point you would realise how it’s dishonest. This is strong motivation to not understand their point, obviously.

I don’t think you’re very familiar with the YEC community and how they think.

I think you missed their point here. They don’t care about all that stupid “historical evidence” stuff. They care about “the Bible does not mention, nor does it require”. From their point of view, you can show them all the “historical evidence” you want, it means nothing if the thing you’re trying to demonstrate isn’t actually spoken of in the Bible.

Do explain. It does not make sense to me.

  1. They claim they don’t resist evolutionary science.
  2. In reality, they actually do resist evolutionary science.

But why would they claim not to resist evolutionary science? I don’t get it. What motivation do they have to do this?


I have promoted your book to my creationist group as an alternative to the perspective I advocate.

But I didn’t read your book, and I haven’t read Rob and John’s review, but I promoted your book on the fact that you and John are friends, and that it is important in general to read books with other perspectives. I’ve been spending time in books by Felsenstein, Alberts and Chemistry books. I haven’t even gotten through John’s book with Chris Rupe, nor Behe’s latest book. I’ve really been investing time in reading original papers and textbooks. So, apologies for not getting around to your book. But I have promoted it since Intervarsity Published it!

Actually I wasn’t aware of this review by Rob and John until you notified me, and when John and I talk, it’s usually pertaining almost exclusively to the projects I’ve been assigned. My specialty has been molecular bio-physics and reporting developments at the NIH, and in the field of structural biology, select proteins l and a few other issues. I don’t delve at all into the question of Adam and Eve like John, Rob, or Nathaniel Jeanson do. Nor do I get into theological issues too much.

So apologies that I can’t add to this discussion.

It’s also best if I let Rob Carter (the lead author) speak for himself and same for John.

But thanks for contacting me.

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They oppose it, right up until the Ark lands. Then, yahoo! It’s hyperevolution time!


John Sanford is an honest person. He may be wrong, but he is honest. Period.

Other people disagree.

Here Dr. Sanford characterizes synergistic epistasis as a completely meaningless concept, trying to belittle it. But that is a knowing falsehood, since he shows elsewhere in the book that he knows perfectly well that synergistic epistasis is a well-established, meaningful concept.


Well to be fair the person who wrote that has apparently retracted his accusations of lying. He accepts that Sanford is sincere, but wrong.

It’s the age old question of how someone can so consistently get something so obvious, wrong over and over again. And I struggle with it all the time. It often feels like it just shouldn’t be possible to get something so wrong. It is natural to think the person is being deliberately deceitful. How could someone miss something so obvious? But the depressing reality is that they can. And sadly it’s a well-known phenomenon in very religious people.

You know that saying “he believes in it religiously”? Or “it’s like he’s made it his religion”? What do these phrases convey? They convey the meaning that some person has become unreasonably attached to some idea and is impossible to converse with rationally about it. Naturally the phrase as come into common use because the phenomenon is so frequently observed in religious people. Religions some times have that effect on some people, it renders them unable to see clearly. Not exclusively of course, people can become unreasonably attached to many things. Sports teams, singers, nationalism, both capitalistic and communistic ideologies, and so on.

Some people really just are sincerely out of their mind. For such a person who is sincerely out of their mind, it is possible to just make up a curve and claim it’s how Kimura would have drawn it since he “clearly” considered beneficial mutations outside the realm of consideration.

So now we have to play nice and avoid the subjects both of their manifest insanity, and their dishonesty. We are to proceed under the pretension there is legitimate debate with this lunatic.