What Genetic Science Says About Adam and Eve (Omission #1)

BioLogos published an article by @glipsnort on population genetics and Adam and Eve.

This is easily the best article on the topic published by them. By far. They are lucky to have scientist of @glipsnort’s caliber writing for them.

@glipsnort posted on our forum about it. He also privately asked me specifically to publicly give a response. Here is a paraphrase of my response:

While there is much to praise about this article, but I think it fails to make its case due to some significant and critical omissions.

@glipsnort wanted to know. So, I briefly explained the first omission. In my view, he has ignored a significant active challenges to his conclusions from several respected scientists, including both @John_Harshman and Dennis Venema. @glipsnort responded that this was irrelevant to his paper. I disagree. This is how I expanded on the first omission, and and explained why it is relevant to this new article by @glipsnort:

I look forward to hearing his response to his article. It seems that he could address with some fairly straightforward edits to his article, or a follow up article.

On a different note, but still relevant to this thread, next week I am presenting a response to his paper at the ASA. This paper will make clear another substantial omission, one that is even more significant than the one I describe here. This will be an academic paper. I will look forward to seeing @glipsnort’s response to that paper too.

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The discussion in a comment thread has been phenomenal. One key line of evidence against @glipsnort’s conclusions is worth clarifying.

What @John_Harshman is propounding is the evidence of trans-species variation. This is a legitimate line of evidence that most scientists think rules out a bottleneck of 2 anytime between 6 million years ago and present day. This comes from a paper in in the 1990s by Ayala, and it is the most common evidence cited by scientists against a bottleneck of 2 individuals.

In my view this a valid line of evidence that must be addressed by @glipsnort. He, also, has to come to a far stronger conclusion than mine on this matter, so I do not know if his conclusion will stand.

WLC and I have dealt with this in a particular way.

  1. I presented evidence (which WLC explains in his new book) which substantially weakens the argument based on this line of reasoning. But I cannot fully dispatch it.

  2. WLC makes clear that he is thinks there is a larger population of reproductively compatible individuals that may have interbred with Adam and Eve’s lineage.

In my presentations of this work, I am sure to point out both these points. The first is point is important, but the second point renders this line of evidence moot. WLC is not working within BioLogos’s genetic-sole progenitor model of human origins.

In @glipsnort’s case, he should certainly rely heavily on and cite the evidence I offered in #1. However, the escape hatch of #2 is not available to him. He has been excruciatingly clear that by “sole-genetic progenitor” he means to exclude any interbreeding between Adam and Eve’s lineage at all. So when he concludes that the evidence does not rule out a bottleneck couple more ancient than 500,000 years ago, he is making a far stronger conclusion that WLC or I.

Maybe he is right. Demonstrating his case here with @John_Harshman would add significantly to the discussion. @glipsnort is also well equipped and situated to do the requisite genetic analysis to put this argument fully to rest. So I very much look forward to his response hearing his take on trans species variation.

Of course, even if @glipsnort does not make his case, WLC and I have #2 as an escape hatch. We are not working within the confines of @glipsnort’s genetic bottleneck paradigm. Either way, our claims are safe.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Responding to: Pop Gen article at Biologos

Actually, I think you’re misremembering. Try this:

Check out the tree in fig. 1.


Perhaps that data is in multiple papers @John_Harshman . Once @glipsnort makes his initial response, you can clarify as much as you like. I’ll jump in as needed. Until then, stick to the comment thread. Out of respect for him, we should keep this thread as clean as possible.

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Comments on What Genetic Science Says About Adam and Eve