lundi 22 août 2011

Adam and Eve: a nice story, but not actually our ancestors

"Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: 'That would be against all the genomic evidence that we've assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.'

Venema says there is no way we can be traced back to a single couple. He says with the mapping of the human genome, it's clear that modern humans emerged from other primates as a large population - long before the Genesis time frame of a few thousand years ago. And given the genetic variation of people today, he says scientists can't get that population size below 10,000 people at any time in our evolutionary history.

To get down to just two ancestors, Venema says, 'You would have to postulate that there's been this absolutely astronomical mutation rate that has produced all these new variants in an incredibly short period of time. Those types of mutation rates are just not possible. It would mutate us out of existence.'"

[There was an exhibit on the Human Genome at the Museum of Nature a while back, and I'm sorry I missed it. It was aimed at kids -- I remember seeing the ads on buses throughout the city. I hope we get museum passes when we have kids and spend a TON of time visiting the various museums here -- one of the major advantages of living in a big city, in my opinion.]


"[People] believe in a literal, historical Adam and Eve for many reasons. One is that the Genesis account makes man unique, created in the image of God - not a descendant of lower primates. Second, it tells a story of how evil came into the world, and it's not a story in which God introduced evil through the process of evolution, but one in which Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit."

[The concept of "Original Sin" is dealt with spectacularly in the His Dark Materials trilogy that I just finished...]


"Protestants who question Adam and Eve are akin to Galileo in the 1600s, who defied Catholic Church doctrine by stating that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. Galileo was condemned by the church, and it took more than three centuries for the Vatican to express regret at its error."


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