When Will Dr. Rana Respond?

A very telling thread on facebook, brought to us by @Guy_Coe. A RTB supporter asks:

Dr. Rana, how do we deal with the arguments of Dr. Swamidass? This link was brought up on the Old Earth Creationist FaceBook page. He seems to know Dr. A.J. Roberts and some of her arguments.

He links, of course, to: Heliocentric Certainty Against a Bottleneck of Two?

Dr. Rana responds…

All the claims for an original modern human population size in the thousands are based on mathematical modeling methods that have never been validated. For http://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/the-cells-design/read/the-cells-design/2017/04/26/conservation-biology-studies-elicit-doubts-about-the-first-human-population-size

Or so we thought. This is an article from 2017, before the TMR4A work was even on the web, and it equivocates this work with a population size estimate, missing that it uses exactly the same approach he relies upon to identify Mito-Eve and Y-Adam:

This is the same theory that Dr. Fazale Rana himself relies on to compute the age of Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosome Adam. So if he feels the need to dispute the TMR4A data, he is going to have to figure a way to walk back his position on that science. To be clear, the TMR4A data does not make a population size estimate, and is entirely referenced by him.

And, to conclude this post…

the bigger question you should be asking is “why won’t Dr. Fazale Rana respond to the TMR4A work?” The reason is that it falsifies his model. Pull that thread.

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I hope he dips his toes in the water here. I’ve been praying for some time that he’d reconsider a number of unneccessary assumptions, and breathe some fresh air. Here’s hoping!

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This conversation has sort of exploded. AJ Roberts from RTB, my friend, has joined in. Her comments really merit archiving and notice. I’m going to quote here a bit here.

She writes, in my defense, a very honorable response,

Luis Teixeira it may be possible to remain faithful to the biblical texts in Genesis, Romans, and Corinthians and to see Adam and Eve as archetypal representatives that God entered into relationship with and in doing so did something ontologically unique… imparting his image… Models exist (although they have not been validated) that “allow” such a pair as this to become genealogical ancestors of all extant humans, including all those present prior to 1st century AD of whom Paul and Jesus wrote. I am not endorsing these models, I am simply saying they exist. And as fellow Christians we must encourage one another to wrestle with the data and the scriptures faithfully. I believe that Dr. Swamidass (Yes, Josh is my friend, but I prefer to respectfully acknowledge his title here) is doing this, faithfully, as a computational scientist and brother in Christ. I believe the data comports better with a common design model (progressive creationism) and the evolutionary models have unsupported assumptions and lead to unnecessary complexity. But I may be wrong. And if I am, then I appreciate even more the work Dr. Swamidass is doing.

A man on Facebook responds (woefully ignorantly):

Anjeanette Roberts the text says nothing about the archetypal model as representatives for god’s image . That is just adding your thoughts to the text too. Its good you don’t support it but then again you shouldn’t support anything of Christianity if the PLAIN text has been shown wrong

And AJ response…

Luis Teixeira the word “archetypal” is not in the text, but Adam is archetypal even if he is the sole, historical male progenitor. Others are not reading anything into the text. The text allows faithful interpretations within orthodox, evangelical understandings. God is covenantal. He made covenants with Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob (Israel), Moses, David, and in Christ has made a new covenant with all who acknowledge him as Lord. So it is very consistent with God’s covenantal character that Genesis might be describing the first covenant God made with humanity. To argue, as you are, for constraints to only literalistic interpretations of the text is not good or faithful hermeneutics. The range of faithful interpretations must be lovingly discussed among Christians, and if the points of disagreement are not impinging on salvation issues, then we should remember Paul’s words to the Ephesians to make every effort to maintain unity (in the things that are essential to salvation). Furthermore, realizing that Paul admonishes us to make every effort, even among believers who hold all these things in common, suggests that there may be disagreements within the body of Christ about significant (but not salvific) things. All the more reason to be gracious here.

In another interaction, she writes:

Kenny Hoyt I don’t think we need to “deal with” Dr. Swamidass’ model in the sense of refuting it. In science, models compete with one another, and different scientists prefer different models based on their interpretations of the data and underlying assumptions about reality.

[Content removed]

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Well; yes. Rhetoric is not patently despicable, though. It becomes a means of discovery and persuasion, when the available alternatives seem to be at an impasse. Dr. Anjeanette Roberts’ rhetoric, is, for example, helpful in defining issues and areas for further discussion. And now we’re at the interesting juncture of two scientists who take their Scriptures seriously, and their science just as seriously, but who may disagree on what the best science is. It’s no longer a matter of “right” or “wrong,” but “how much” or “how little.” That’s where “iron sharpens iron.”
I do hope Dr. Rana responds to your work soon; I’ve urged him to do that in priority over engaging with the model I’ve put forward, for now.

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And here she goes on a plain reading of Scripture. I really appreciate her contributions.

Luis Teixeira I am sincerely curious what you think of the scriptures that say that God reveals himself to us through creation. (See, please such verses as Rom. 1:18-20 and Psalm 19:1-4). I believe these verses say that our observations of nature will be clear enough that to reject God (even without ever hearing the gospel) is grounds for our judgment. That more than suggests that God’s revelation in nature should help us understand the bits that may be “non-literalistic”" in the biblical texts themselves. The church father Augustine acknowledged this non-literalistic interpretation of the days of creation in Genesis. We cannot simply ignore God’s creation and remain infants in treating the biblical text in ways that don’t make sense to someone today just using common sense. The earth moves, the plain text of scripture says it doesn’t. The plain text of scripture says Adam and Eve will die in the day that they eat of the tree. They didn’t. They lived long enough to reproduce. We must be consistent in the way we bring our human understanding of God’s revelation in Scripture and in nature into harmony.God isn’t playing games with us. He reveals himself everywhere we look because he wants to be known and reconciled to those he created in his image.

[Content removed to give @AJRoberts a kinder gentler introduction to the forum]

One more from AJ (abbreviated):

Sorry for this long response. I’m looking forward to Dabar too. The TMR4A hypothesis is interesting to me on the grounds of what you seem to be willing to consider in your model that cannot be assessed by science. You seem willing to suggest that Adam and Eve may be a unique creation introduced into a hominid population – and then allow them (according to a YEC model) to become a (one of many) UGA of humanity.

Thank you @AJRoberts for the kind works.


And a fairly entertaining point:

S Joshua Swamidass, my assumption is that Dr. Roberts’ main focus, at RTB, is on the genetics. Dr. Rana is probably now freed up to focus on other aspects of biology and chemistry. He has, for decades, had to have his hand in too many “cookie jars.” I’m sure that it has been exhausting. That is just a guess.

To which I respond:

Kenny Hoyt Your assumption would be wrong. This is Fazale Rana’s primary area, and Anjeanette Roberts is just kind and forthright enough to engage with us. I respect her willingness, but this is really Fazale Rana’s work she is defending.

Though AJ, does clarify she cares about this too, she is speaking for herself. I respond:

Though, the real point is about Fazale Rana. He is still the key guy at RTB on the genetics of Adam. It is not that he is not responding because he doesn’t care about this. I think over the next week he is giving TWO talks on this. This is active area of work.

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Now we’re finally in the biblical Major Leagues, with regards to the science. Go, Team(s)! Rats; can’t find the tickets to Skype stadium. Wonder when the replays will run…


@Guy_Coe, have fun passing this around in RTB networks and beyond:



Saw it; am praying and hopeful for you both. In the best traditions of science, I hope what emerges is well considered and cast in terms that, frankly, could lead to good news headlines beyond Dabar, and in service to the cause of Christ!

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He is much more likely to respond if others ask him to. Send it to other friends at RTB, and let’s see what happens.

Okay; just officially reposted your invitation post to the RTB Official Facebook Page. There’s no way he can simply ignore it now, or say that he didn’t see the invitation, even if he was so inclined. Whether this results in sweet tea or lemonade, the scene is set. Cheers!

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I’m going to try to clarify a couple of things from my vantage point and understanding. Interestingly, Y-chromosomal Adam and mitochondrial Eve (data that point to a shared paternal ancestor for all extant human males and a shared maternal ancestor for all of humanity), as well as recent analyses of mitochondrial DNA of over 500,000 different animals that point to much more recent small populations (near extinction levels) of humanity and other animals, comport well with an old-earth, common design model. OEC would predict a sole male progenitor and a sole female progenitor as well as discontinuity in genetic analyses and the hominid fossil records (variation within kinds but distinction across kinds). In comparison, these data require much more complex model-fitting to maintain an evolutionary framework of interpretation. Evolution would not “predict” (even if it can account for the finding of) a Y-chromosomal Adam and a mtDNA-Eve.

The only major scientific data that argues against an OEC model is the genetic diversity in extant, modern human autosomal DNA. According to Swamidass’ current human TMR4A work, this has now been accounted for by a model allowing a possible dip to two, but at a relatively very early date (500-700 KYA). Claims are made that the RTB/OEC model fails here and must be reworked. But I would suggest we still do not have enough validation of the molecular clocks used to set these times. Finding Denisovan similarity of mtDNA in remains thought to be Neanderthal required huge adjustments to molecular clocks and reworking presumed divergence times. So, although the computational analysis used in the TMR4A and mtDNA and Y-chromosomal analyses are the same, radical adjustments to the setting of molecular clocks based on a single new finding allows for doubt in the exact timing of bottlenecks and genetic markers in human genome analyses. What the data now suggests is there could have been a single pair (autosomal data assessed in TMR4A model) that predates the mtDNA female and Y-chromosome male. The “exact” dates are, in my opinion, to be held lightly as we concede relative dates. (This may pose no problem to an OEC model if one considers the ramifications of a Noadic flood on humanity and any genetic signature this may have left.)

The point that has been made in the past may still hold, as current models await further validation. Although the analyses may vary, regarding extant genetic diversity, multiple studies show consistent overestimation of founding population sizes in other species. Reluctance to abandon a common design model based on one study is perhaps not unscientific. At the very least it may be prudent. Finally, higher than anticipated genetic diversity in extant humans could be accounted for (but not scientifically assessed) if an omniscient God endowed genetic diversity in the complement of Eve’s mature ova (and/or the couple’s gametic precursor cells) in order to sufficiently equip them to give rise to a robust and diverse human population that would endure millennia and multiple environmental diversities and challenges. To discount all of these considerations at the behest of saving evolutionary presuppositions alone may be treading on thinner ice than OEC’s common design.

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Just to clarify. I never said or implied that all species originated some 200,000 years ago. (That’s ludicrous in my opinion.) I am saying the recent article in Human Evolution based on extensive mtDNA barcoding (COI gene) analyses across various phyla indicates that there may have been extreme bottlenecks for many extant species that occurred ~200,000 years ago.


Thanks for posting, Dr. A.J., and welcome to these forums. You’ll find a robust discussion venue, plenty of disagreement, a little vitriol now and then, but definitely food for thought. If you can avoid some categorical thinking, and ask “how much, versus how little,” you might hopefully find some new ideas, and the basis for continued wonder.

gbrooks9, I did not say nor do I believe that all species originated 100,00 to 200,000. No straw men to knock down there. Cheers.


@AJRoberts gonna take a family break for a bit, but I’ll be back in a bit. Sorry for the delay here. Peace.

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Sorry about the rough introduction @AJRoberts, and for misreading you. If you look above, you’ll see I deleted several things that took us down a wrong direction.

I very much appreciate your presence here. You have been a great friend across the isle, and I want to back off the scientific debate for now. I really have a great deal of respect for you. As you know, I think you are one of the most important voices to watch at RTB. At your pace, and in your way, we can engage topics as you see fit.



It most certainly does predict both. This is a pretty simple, statistical outcome. No divine intervention required, just simple reproduction.

You don’t know for sure if that is the case from evidence. It is possible, but no experiment controls for God’s +/- involvement in the fossil record.

That, however, is correct @Argon.