The genetic implications of GAE

Please correct if I’m wrong: the GAE hypothesis suggests that all life was produced by undirected (as in, not supernaturally caused) naturalistic means, with the exception of humans, who were a direct miraculous creation of God.

What are the implications of this for genetics? It would seem to me that, if this were true, we should see a marked difference between how genetics work for humans, compared to everything else. Let’s say you believe in Junk DNA, for example. Shouldn’t humans have much less of it compared to everything else? Shouldn’t the direct design of God look more streamlined and elegant than the product of millions of years of unguided naturalism?

Basically my question boils down to, is there any conclusion we can draw from GAE that would render the hypothesis falsifiable or testable?

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My understanding of the GAE is that genealogical ancestry (as opposed to genetic ancestry) is compatible with recent creation scenarios like that one. GAE doesn’t say anything about whether anything is “undirected” and doesn’t suggest or claim anything about miraculous creation. Instead, GAE says, basically, “if humans were created recently, in the company of other hominids that are otherwise indistinguishable from humans, we would see the genetic diversity we see today in modern humans.” If I’m right about that, then I hope you can see that GAE doesn’t claim that humans were recently miraculously created. It doesn’t need to do that.

There is nothing in the GAE that supports this. It’s a non sequitur.

That’s a question about gods and not about evolution.

The GAE idea is based on already-established facts about genetics. So in the most basic sense, it can only be falsified by showing that patterns of inheritance and recombination in humans have been spectacularly misunderstood for decades. So, IMO, recent miraculous creation of humans that were genetically indistinguishable from non-humans–and this is the premise of the GAE–cannot be falsified without falsifying genetics overall.

But any claim about timing can be falsified, and that’s discussed in the book.

These are my impressions and opinions; standard disclaimers apply.


Ok, that’s not what I understood then. Dr Swamidass is saying that there was no genetic difference between Adam and Eve and a non-human?

How does it make any sense to say that humans were created recently, if they were indistinguishable from non-humans? This just turns into a semantic game. Similarly, if we are using the word “created” in a way that makes no claims of the miraculous, then we are equivocating with the meaning of this word, which implies the miraculous.

No, he’s not saying that, and IMO you should take this conversation as an exhortation to read about the GAE. Joshua doesn’t claim anything about Adam and Eve, and this is why I wrote that the GAE “doesn’t suggest or claim anything about miraculous creation.” It’s about whether such an event would be compatible with what we know about modern human genetic diversity. In other words, if A&E were miraculously created in a form indistinguishable from non-humans alive at the same time, then modern human genetics would look the same.

I hope you can see how different this is from what you wrote.

I can’t think of any logical problem with that suggestion. I don’t believe it, since I don’t believe in gods, but the onus is on you to explain why this “doesn’t make sense.”

You wrote that right after suggesting that another idea is a “semantic game.” I can assure you that the word ‘created’ does not imply the miraculous, and I probably learned that the same day I learned the word ‘created.’

I would respectfully suggest that you stop with the semantic games (which I will ignore) and instead focus on learning what the GAE concept is, what it says about miracles etc., and what it means for your own religious preferences. To further type comments about it, without figuring out what it actually is, seems inappropriate to me.

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Obviously. That’s a tautology.

It’s a semantic problem, not a logical one. Logically, it’s a tautology.

You should read the book first. Have you done that?


No I have not read the book. Based on what is being said here, however, it would seem to be promoting a tautology: If God ‘made’ Adam and Eve in such a way as to be exactly like those things which evolved, then Adam and Eve’s existence would be compatible with evolution.

When you read the GAE, evidently for the first time, you will understand what it’s about, and that the point is about when such an A&E could have lived.

That’s not a claim of the GAE. It’s a premise.

I’ll bow out now, but once you have read the GAE (which can be understood from materials here at PS, and from an article in PSCF), I’ll be open to discussing it. This thread is about neither genetics nor the GAE; it is about your incorrect assumptions about both.

You are wrong. GAE says nothing about whether evolution was undirected. One form of it says that two humans were a direct miraculous creation, and depending on the definition of “human”, they were the first humans and only their descendants were human. But that definition is a highly idiosyncratic one, “textual humans”, while under any of the usual definitions, say Homo sapiens, the species evolved, except for those two individuals.

None. You have confused genealogical A&E with genetic A&E.

To a degree. We could test whether it’s plausible for two people born (or not) in 4000 BC to be ancestral to all people on earth by 1 AD. And in fact that test is the meat of the GAE theory.



Your cavalier use of the term “non-human” troubles me.

The most practical expressions of GAE theory require that Genesis 1 refers to humans that were created by God via Evolution, while Genesis 2 refers to humans that were created by God in a miraculous (aka, non-Evolutionary) act of de novo creation.

Adam and Eve would be every bit as human as the humanity discussed in Genesis 1. They would be indistinguishable from a physiological or biological point of view.

However, Adam and Eve would be special in their psychological aspects … having experienced something filled with special meaning and value: a personal and nurturing relationship with God the creator.

@PDPrice (@swamidass)

Where did you come up with this ridiculous assessment?

How do you explain how a scenario that INCLUDES the miraculous creation of Adam and Eve (aka, “de novo” Creation) can co-exist with the assumption that “all life was produced by undirected naturalistic means”?

What would that even mean?

There is no desirable way to conceive of Adam and Eve as miraculous one-off creations, while assuming that Evolution is a mindless process. (( I suppose somebody, somewhere, might develop such a scenario for some theoretical purposes.))

But it is virtually impossible to suggest such a scenario is more attractive than the idea that God employs evolutionary processes for creating much of the life on Earth … but also found it necessary to make 2 humans in an especially miraculous process!

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Isn’t one big theme of Joshua’s book the notion of what ‘human’ means? And therefore the concept of nonhumans? I don’t understand what is wrong with @PDPrice asking about the difference between A&E and a nonhuman.

That’s a “practical expression” of GAE? I’m not sure about that.


The problem with “the difference between A&E and a nonhuman” is that it implies some unsavory conclusions:

  1. that evolution can’t produce humans … only God can make humans (through miraculous creation).
  2. if only A&E are humans, then any hybrids produced in a cross between A&E and evolved humanity would be less than FULLY human - - they might need to be called half-breed humans.

If @PDPrice would like to clarify matters by accepting evolved humans and de novo Adam & Eve can be legitimately considered equally human, then I would retract my concerns.

The problem is that this question (“what is a human”?) is central to discussions of the implications of GAE. Joshua discusses various aspects of how to answer that question. It’s a question that forms the entire backdrop of conversation like the one about “the first French speaker.” All evolutionary accounts of the origins of humanity necessarily involve the difference between a “human” and a “nonhuman.” It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about A&E and others alive at the same time, or about A&E and their nonhuman ancestors.

I’ll grant that it’s weird to talk about A&E as “human” and the conspecifics they mated with as … something else, but that problem is a problem with the GAE and not with @PDPrice. I think it explains why Joshua spends a lot of time in the book and the PSCF article discussing what is meant by “human.” It would be dishonest to deny that these strange concerns arise from the importance of A&E (“theologically” speaking) in the first place. Whatever the other hominids outside the “garden” were, in the minds of people who buy this garden story, they were significantly different from A&E. That’s the whole point of having A&E. (I can’t help but note that jettisoning belief in these myths is a great way to save time and mental health.)

Your concerns are just your concerns (and, IMO, your confusions). I don’t think @PDPrice needs to toe your line. Maybe he just doesn’t believe what you believe. That’s one thing he and I have in common.



I reject your assessment. If God can SPECIFICALLY create a human by quasi-magical means, God can certainly ALSO create a human more slowly, by evolutionary means. Once it is agreed that the Pre-Adamite humans (mentioned in Genesis 1) and the Adamite humans (mentioned in Genesis 2) are virtually the same, the more useful the GAE scenarios become.

The less talk about other hominem or hominid strains of the Homo group, the less controversial GAE becomes. And thus I am in favor of most any GAE scenarios that place de novo creation of Adam/Eve to NO MORE distant than 10,000 years ago, but not more recently than 6,000 years ago.

[Typo above corrected! “NO MORE distant than 10,000 years ago”]

Is that an ad hominem argument? :laughing:

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@gbrooks9 misses the point. The distinction between the human A&E and the non-human “those outside the garden” is part of GAE and is not @PDPrice’s invention. The problem is that Price fails to understand the nature of that distinction and the odd definition of “human” that GAE uses. It talks about “textual humans”, simply defined as Adam and his descendants. That isn’t “human” in any ordinary sense, and other people living at the same time are not “non-human” in any ordinary sense either.

And of course there are no genetic implications of GAE.


Being a god, he can do anything else too. This has nothing to do with the topic of human vs. nonhuman.

But that’s not a choice you get to make. The only way the GAE can solve any “theological” problem is for A&E to cohabitate with, and mate with, conspecifics that are different from them. Here you are finally alluding to the problem, which is that until someone defines what they mean by “human,” there is a potential implication that humans before and during the A&E era were not fully human. It’s really not hard to see the problem, and that problem doesn’t get solved by typing non sequiturs and red herrings.

I don’t think that the GAE idea commits itself to humans outside the garden being “nonhuman.” But it’s one potential implication.

Maybe it would be better for you to type your opinions about stuff without giving off such a strong sense that you fully understand the GAE and speak on behalf of it. Just a suggestion.


And that is EXACTLY why I responded to @pdprice’s posting! He made it sound like GAE automatically assumes that Adam and Eve are the only humans.

It is actually the exact opposite… the most valuable GAE scenarios are the ones that MANDATE that the Pre-Adamites AND Adam/Eve are ALL fully human!

You write:
“I don’t think that the GAE idea commits itself to humans outside the garden being “nonhuman.” But it’s one potential implication.”

What a terrible way of discussing the GAE scenario! No… the GAE idea does NOT commit itself to Pre-Adamites being “non-human”.

And in fact, virtually all the GAE scenarios that ALLOW Pre-Adamites to be non-human, are useless to the highest calling of GAE - - which is to show how easy it is for Christians to accommodate de novo Adam/Eve and evolutionary processes simultaneously!

I am still waiting for someone to make a convincing GAE argument that puts Adam and Eve on Earth while other hominid lineages are still alive and mixing with Homo sapiens. Until someone comes up with one, I will remain convinced that GAE scenarios that involve the other hominids are intellectual curiosities - - not theologically helpful.

At the end of the day?: I think you should reverse your syntax when discussing GAE scenarios:
the best scenarios are those that equate Pre-Adamite phenotypes with Adam and Eve, i.e. that both groups are indistinguishably HUMAN.