What if we were certain there was a Single Pair Bottleneck 510,000 years ago?

(George) #1

Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach Highest Point in Human History:

. . .Carbon Concentrations at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observ. topped 415 ppm
By:
Meilan Solly.
Smithsonian.com . May 15, 2019 11:42AM
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How’s this for a conversation starter? Meilan Solly, wrote this for Smithsonian:
"Although it’s difficult to place this number in perspective (CO2 @ 415 ppm), climate expert Peter Gleick offers an apt frame of reference, writing on that “the last time humans experienced levels this high was … never. Humans didn’t exist.”

Writer Solly adds this parenthetical statement: "Our species, Homo sapiens,
evolved around 300,000 years ago.)
[End of Conversation Starter!]

Please don’t get the wrong idea from me. I’m not going to fall on my sword (or yours) on when exactly “humans” can be said to have arrived. But for the sake of discussion… let’s say we agree it is 300,000 years, or 400,000 years…

And we have this 510,000 threshold for when there is so much noise in the genetic signal, you could literally wipe out virtually all the hominids alive (except for 2) and we could conceivably produce the diverse human population we have today.

But it seems that we know some people who love playing with fire. They think the 500,000 year threshold is an important breakthrough? But for what is it a breakthrough?

I suggest that it is just too soon to even worry about it. When an organization “takes hold” of the Half Million Year marker… then we can start discussing the implications. If it’s just a person here or there … I would interpret their discussions and proclamations as just the normal academic optimism to stir things up!

When a whole group says: “You know what? I’m pretty sure we could do a lot of good for Christian evangelism if we take hold of the 510,000 year mark and declare it the year of de novo creation for Adam and Eve!”

A colleague taps the speaker on the shoulder: “Are you sure about that? If Adam and Eve knew how to farm, where is the evidence for farming in 500,000? Or 400,000? Or 300,000?”

The original voice proclaims: “We’ll find it!”

“We haven’t found any cities from 500k, 400k or even 300k? Where did Cain build his city?”

“We’ll find it!”

“uhhh, okay. I think I’ll give @swamidass a phone call! See you around…”

Link to Peter Gleick’s History-Making Twitter!
Twitter

(Peter Derecskei) #2

He didn’t lose any sleep over it. Neither did the lizardmen sitting behind the secretary. They look fresh as a tuna.

1 Like
(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

@gbrooks9, people who take this path don’t think the rest of Genesis should be taken literally.

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(George) #4

@swamidass,

I’m in absolute agreement with that. It is certainly a perspective well known to anybody who has spend some time with BioLogos!

But in those cases, we really should make it strikingly clear:

When a person is attacking a Pro-Evolution interpretation of the Bible… it is usually because they INSIST on the literal meaning of Genesis 1 and 2… and whatever else.

So isn’t it ironic that someone who doesn’t believe Evolution was used by God to create Earth’s living things… grabs at the theoretical possibility of a LITERAL couple, half a million years ago… and then says, the rest of Genesis is just figurative!

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #5

That isn’t what is happening. WLC has no problem with evolution. At the moment, he is hung up on a couple phrases in Genesis and on New Testament teaching. He comes at this as a structuralist, which makes it harder for him.

(George) #6

@swamidass

If you say so. Obviously you are maintaining some confidences … and I respect that.

But I really won’t know what to think until I know more about the WLC objection (or objections).