Testing the Genealogical Adam Hypothesis

Science

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #1

For the Genealogical Adam Hypothesis to be considered as worthwhile science inquiry, it will need to be tested. Fortunately data does exit to do a first-order test of the hypothesis.

First order test: Show that the genealogy of every human being that got its DNA sequenced (over a million people) has in their genealogy a man who live within a one hundred kilometers radius of present day Israel, 10,000 to 4000 years ago. Note that there are whole genome sequencing of ancient people who lived in this time and place.

If you can show that this is indeed the case, it would show that it was indeed possible that a man in this region and time frame could be your sought after Adam. It would not show the person is actually Adam of the Genesis story but it will go along way in advancing the hypothesis.

However, if it is shown that no person of the region at that time period isn’t in the genealogy of every living person today, that would strongly disfavor the hypothesis. It still isn’t a proof that the hypothesis is false, it just says that more data is required to either support the hypothesis or falsify it.

This seems like the kind of scientific research that JTF might fund. It would require access to the DNA data of Ancestry.com, 23andme, and David Reich’s lab and then a whole lot of DNA computation servers.


(Steve Schaffner) #2

You can’t determine genealogy from DNA, or rather, you can only determine a small subset of genealogy, and the genetic portion won’t tell you want you want to know here. You also can’t tell where someone’s ancestor was living.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #3

Ok then determine if a small subset of genealogy is part of every living person. Regarding where an ancestor was living, assume that the location of the fossil DNA that is where it lived where it was found.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #4

That is not true @Patrick. It has been tested.

How do you propose doing this beyond what has already been demonstrated in the literature?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #5

This is an invalid test, looking for genetic ancestry, about which we have no interest in this case.


(John Harshman) #6

The entire point of the genealogical Adam scenario is that it can’t be tested or falsified by data. Genealogical Adam leaves no trace in the genomes of any living people. Even if you found a population somewhere that had been genetically isolated (or so say their genomes) from the rest of humanity for 40,000 years, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t get a couple of migrants much later from elsewhere and from which all members of that population are genealogically descended. Not amenable to test.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #7

Can you please share the science literature on this subject. Thanks


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #8

So how can it be considered science if it can’t be tested or falsified by data?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #9

That is a poor definition of science. There are many things that are real, and also part of science, that we do not have the ability to falsify.

That isn’t the point. It is the conclusion of an analysis. The scenario was not chosen to be undetectable. It just is undetectable.

Please read this article, and start systematically reading the references therein: https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2018/PSCF3-18Swamidass.pdf. You have also read David Reich’s work, which I had not yet seen before I wrote this paper. His work ends up validating the key argument in this paper with a boat load of evidence I didn’t even know existed at the time.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #10

This isn’t science. This isn’t peer reviewed scientific inquiry. No even close. Even bio-complexity wouldn’t publish this. For a scientist who regularly publishes in Nature, this is far far below your’s and Natures standards. Do even try to compare this with David Reich’s work. It is not in the same league.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #11

It is peer reviewed, by 6 referees, and 3 of them were population geneticists. The papers I reference in the PSCF article, also, are peer reviewed in the mainstream scientific literature. You wouldn’t know that unless you actually read them.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #12

Fair enough, I’ll go and read them.


(John Harshman) #13

An analysis of Genesis? Certainly not of a scientific analysis; the conclusion of a scientific analysis would merely be that any such thing would be both possible and undetectable.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #14

The undetectability is the conclusion of an analysis of the GA hypothesis. The GA hypothesis was not constructed with undetectability in mind. We asked, what evidence would expect of find? The answer just happened to turn out to be “none.”


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #15

So GA can’t be detected.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #16

It is outside the genetic streetlight, just like the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and Jesus’s miracles are also outside the streetlight. Whether or not they are true or false, we don’t expect to find genetic evidence for or against them. To think otherwise is to entertain profound misunderstanding of genetic science, akin to a category error.

The same, also, is true for black holes, the big bang, and computers. None of them leave evidence in our genomes. The fact that genomes do not tell us one way or another does not weigh at all into our decision to affirm or reject these things.


(John Harshman) #17

Which is just what I said.

That seems naive of you. Wouldn’t it be obvious that genealogical Adam would be undetectable after so many generations? Now, it seems that your analysis was devoted to determining whether Adam was possible, i.e. that he could be ancestral to everyone on earth within a reasonable time.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #18

So why not leave Adam right where he is, in the pages of Genesis?


(John Harshman) #19

I don’t see the relevance. Genealogical Adam leaves no evidence of any sort, while the other three do leave evidence, just not in your genome.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #20

Well, considering I proposed the hypothesis, I am pretty sure I know its motivations. I’m glad the answer was obvious to you. It was not to me, nor is it to many of the people thinking about this. Maybe we are all naive.

Fair enough. Let’s put it in the same category as Jesus’s Miracles. Whether they happened or not depends on how you read Scripture, not on how you read DNA.