Scientific Proof that GAE Existed?

Continuing the discussion from NPR: Swamidas, Lents and Templeton on the GAE (Tuesday at Noon CST):

" Dr. Swamidass, perhaps you can carry this question to the Tuesday discussion: If Genealogical Adam and Eve has a genealogical connection to us all, but does not contribute any genes to any of us, how can science investigate whether GAE existed? Or how Original Sin got handed down to, say, me?:


I thought I would make a quick comment about your question about “how can science investigate whether GAE existed”.

While there is general agreement in the GAE ranks that science cannot refute the existence of GAE, it is my own personal opinion that science will never be able to prove or disprove the existence of GAE.

So, your next question, “how can science investigate whether Original Sin was passed from Adam/Eve to humans descended from Adam/Eve” is also answered similarly. Original Sin is a theological or metaphysical construct. And science is not designed to test metaphysics. As above, this is my personal opinion on the matter. But I have long suspected that as soon as something like Original Sin is successfully measured by science, it means original sin is not really, categorically speaking, “meta-” physics, - - but just a more obscure part of ordinary physics.


It is unfortunate that so many people will misinterpret the message of the GAE book to be that science has now “found” Adam and Eve. Or is this maybe not a misinterpretation?

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And I will be and have been public in telling them that such an interpretation is wrong. If you need something quotable, let me know.



Nobody who understands the genealogical paradigm will draw that conclusion, but there’s virtually 100% certainty that that’s the way press headlines would put it, and that millions of people who read that, and not the actual literature, will take it like that. Let’s face it, in my experience even working scientists at BioLogos took “Y-Adam” and “Mitochondrial Eve” as evidence that anyone like Adam would have to be living back then, flying in the face of the actual genetics.

Creationists will say science has found Adam, and skeptics will say Joshua and the rest of us writing on it are creationists for saying they’ve found Adam and selling out science.

But what are you going to do? Try to control the thinking of the entire population of the world? Does it really matter that ignorant people get science wrong, more than (for example) that clever people misuse it to control others?


Journalists misrepresenting scientific findings is a curse that has plagued the scientific community for as long as I can remember. It’s not a matter of if it will happen, but how often it will happen.

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Press misrepresentation per se is just one of the problems in the public understanding of science.

Ten years ago Nick Davies showed in Flat Earth News how, their own political biases or headline-grabbing aside, the press had even then become largely a purveyor of undigested PR from others, and it’s far worse now as the public have been deserting the main news outlets.

And so most science reports to the public are slightly embellished press releases from corporations or universities for financial gain, from governments or supra-national organisiations like the EU or UN for political gain, or from NGOs and others for ideological gain.

And that’s before we factor in any such influences on the scientists themselves, who might be as pleased as their university that their paper makes them famous and more employable, and who even if not will not be keen to endanger gaining tenure and funding, or failing peer review in a (perhaps) small field, by producing the “wrong” results. (This really only applies to scientists in controversial areas, of course - but those are the very areas that get into the press: the reclassification of mammals would probably be reported correctly, but of course is not reported at all).

After all, it was not the press being implicated when Ricard Horton of The Lancet wrote: “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

And Horton was talking about the material sciences - let’s not even think about the soft sciences like psychology or sociology, where (I believe) only about 10% of papers have proved replicable.

There are institutional problems galore, which I thought during my medical career were limited to my own field, but which turn out in my last decade of independent study to be rampant in many fields. Just one example: I’ve come across a number of cases where researchers refused to share their original datasets, which in some kinds of mass-data science makes replication impossible, and therefore destroys the ethos of science as overcoming appeals to authority at a stroke.

If the news-media relate to such things at all, it’s in not having a clue they happen, and accepting the press-releases on trust.

Why would science want to investigate GAE? It seems irrelevant to anything if a couple in the Middle East several thousand year ago could be in the genealogy of all people by 1 AD. Who cares? Science will never accept the nebulous concept of original sin being spread by genealogy. Also the very concept of original sin is against most people’s sensibilities of human rights. No human is born with sin. Sin is a religious concept and not part of human rights, morality, ethics, values and laws.



Science only has an interest in genealogy of population and Pedigree Survival.

The rest is theology.

The rest is not even theology.


Oh really? Not even theology… says the Atheist?

GAE isn’t theology.