Sanford and Carter: God, Family, and Genetics - A Biblical Perspective

Drs. Sanford and Carter led a symposium in 2015 titled God, Family, and Genetics - A Biblical Perspective. God, Family, and Genetics – A Biblical Perspective

At the main page of the website, Sanford and Carter argue for the possibility of a de novo Adam and Eve. One of the main issues they address is the scientific evidence that the current human population has much more genetic diversity than two sole progenitors 6,000 years ago would allow.

What would prevent God from engineering 25 million variants (heterozygous sites) into Adam from the very beginning? If we assume Eve was assigned her own unique genome, this would double the amount of potential designed diversity. If that was not enough diversity, God could have created different genomes in each of Adam and Eve’s reproductive cells. There really is no limit to how much diversity God could have designed into Adam and Eve, but we do not need to invoke anything more than simple heterozygosity. Adam’s potential heterozygosity alone is sufficient to explain nearly all human genetic diversity.

I have read similar arguments before and have tried to explain that the number of haplotypes is more relevant than the number of individual SNPs. So I’m asking for feedback in a couple of different areas:

  1. Am I actually correct about the relevance of haplotypes to the issue of a sole progenitor pair in the 6kya time frame?

  2. Is there an easier way to explain why the explanation from Sanford and Carter is wrong?

1 Like

I think you mean sole genetic progenitorship.

@glipsnort had a very simple response bases on SFS that theyay have successfully responded too.

They still have yet to manage the TMR4A evidence.

I would say yes. Sanford discuss this point in chapter 8 of the piece below entitled « The chromosomal components of the original human population are still evident, despite genetic recombination »

What original human population was that? Anatomically modern humans have been around for 200K years and their close hominid ancestors for millions of years before that. What you call the “original human population” is purely subjective, like trying to define the first French speaking population.

That’s pretty much the textbook definition of a useless ad hoc explanation.

1 Like

I disagree. They are putting forward a testable hypothesis. We would expect to see a particular distribution in those variants if that is what God did. We don’t see that distribution.

“God did it by a miracle” isn’t a scientific hypothesis.

1 Like

I don’t see how TMR4A is relevant to this model, since in this model chromosomes do not go through a bottleneck of size 4; the bottleneck is 2x(however many children Adam and Eve had).

Personally, I think Sanford and Carter’s model is unnecessarily restrictive. As long as your goal is, ‘genetic data should look exactly like humans are the product of millions of years of evolution’, and you are willing to invoke an indefinite number of miracles to accomplish this outcome, why restrict yourself to God creating separate genomes in each of Adam and Eve’s reproductive cells (genomes that just happen to look like exactly like they’ve evolved)? God could be introducing new genomes every generation, or individually tweaking the results of every sequencing run to make genomes look like something they’re not. That way you don’t have to worry about even the remote possibility that your proposal will have any kind of encounter with reality.


It is relevant three ways.

First it puts an obscenely high number on the number of children AE needed.

Second, If we keep in mind the noahic bottleneck (which can’t make use of this trick), we are pushed back to 180 Kya ago.

Third, we see nested clades in the data, pre bottleneck? Why? As far as I know, no good explanation.

Why? If A&E had 20 kids, that’s a bottleneck of 40 genomes. Have you looked at the TMR40A distribution?

Sure, and the usual Ti/Tv, CpG rates, etc.

1 Like

Well, with a 158 genomes, about 80% would be a lineage at 6 Kya. Add more genomes and that number is going to increase. How many lineages do you think are active at 6 Kya from extant DNA?


Dunno. 6 kya is so insanely short a time that I don’t think about it much.

1 Like

A bit of a side-note, but @glipsnort, you were actually a source for a related article (but they spelled your name incorrectly).

Adam and Eve, designed diversity, and allele frequencies

Shaffner, S. 2017a. Can someone explain like I’m 5 yo, what’s wrong
with this refutation of Biologos? Retrieved May 15, 2018, from https:// [See also post #126 on this same thread].

Shaffner, S., 2017b. Bottleneck: a forward genetic simulator for playing
around with demographic bottlenecks. Retrieved May 15, 2018, from
GitHub - glipsnort/bottleneck: A forward genetic simulator for playing around with demographic bottlenecks [This was the software used togenerate the graphic in the discussion thread (Shaffner 2017a)].

1 Like

Can you send me a not with the mispelling and page number noted. I’ll send them a note. They are likely to correct if if they can.