URCall: Common Ancestor

From the ICR’s URCall series of videos, hosted by Markus Lloyd. “Who is our common Mother and Father?” (link)

Transcript:

Geneticists trace humans back to a common mother – a matrilineal ancestor from which all humans descend on their mother’s side – and a common father, from which we all get our father’s genes. Current evolutionary theory places the mother – “mitochondrial Eve” – as having lived in Africa as long as 200,000 years ago, while the father – “Y-chromosomal Adam” – lived as much as 500,000 years ago. While the evolutionists argue over who lived when, Christians have a simple answer: Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve explain why all the variety of people in the world are genetically related.

Christians, as we all know, have never argued over anything. Certainly not about topics that might be related to this subject…

From the scientific – or pedantic – standpoint there are plenty of minor inaccuracies in the above. For example, you don’t receive all of your father’s genes in the form of the Y chromosome – even if I put the apostrophe in the wrong place you still don’t get all of your “fathers’ genes” from there either, and that category only makes much sense as some kind of euphemism anyway.

More importantly the video conveniently omits the part where they explain that tracing back to a common mother doesn’t make her the only mother, or even the only common mother, and the same goes for the father. In fact, the mathematics underlying genealogy mean that the most recent common mother or father was almost certainly much, much more recent than that – the significance of m-Eve and y-Adam is merely the point where the matrilineal and paternal lines coalesce, respectively. This coalescence is inevitable, and to insinuate that they could be a literal Adam and Eve in the sense of YECism is dishonest.

So far as they can be said to be making a coherent argument here, the ICR contends that debate is bad and simply asserting an answer is preferable. Science tries to answer the question of when these people lived and who they were – the same question, in a way – with evidence. But to the ICR it is better to ignore that evidence and substitute your own dogmatic worldview.

But they don’t even do it very well. For one they say that “evolutionists” can’t agree over the when, yet they don’t even bother to give their own figure. This is because, while Ussher’s 4004 BC is most well known, the YECs can’t agree on their actual chronology, and so seem to have largely agreed not to discuss it.

For another even if their stories are true, y-Adam at least is not Adam – he’s Noah. If the global flood really happened then everyone is descended from Noah’s family, of which he is the patriarch. I’m pretty sure that the ICR knows this, but they sure don’t want to admit it. It might make their audience think.

Speaking of thinking, consider this: if “Adam and Eve explain why all the variety of people in the world are genetically related,” how can the ICR consistently explain how all life is genetically related? Common descent doesn’t just stop.

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15 thoughts on “URCall: Common Ancestor

  1. “the most recent common mother or father was almost certainly much, much more recent than that”; this puzzled me at first but I see it now with the help of the link (where would we b e without Carl Zimmer?); the most recent female common ancestor in the entire tapestry of crossing lines is much more recent than the most recent common ancestor in the matrilineal-only line.

  2. > Adam and Eve explain why all the variety of people in the world are genetically related.

    But they don’t explain how all the variety of people in the world are genetically related to chimpanzees.

    When you’re happy to accept one scientific conclusion “genetics says we are all related” but not another “genetics says we are related to chimpanzees”, that’s called cherry picking.

  3. Sadly, ICR is being very misleading again, and omitting key information beyond what Peter has already mentioned. For example, as they know (or should), there are far more than 2 alleles for many traits in humans and countless other species. This could not be the case unless 1. Each species descended from more than two individuals, and 2. Significant evolution has occurred. Since their view denies both, it is thoroughly falsified. About the only “out” I can see for them is if they invented more ad hoc miracles, and claimed that God spontaneously implanted new alleles in millions of species during the last few thousand years. But I have not heard any claim that, and it would hardly help their case or overall credibility anyway. Besides being inherently unscientific and not even Biblically supported, they’d still have mountains of contrary fossil and geologic to contend with. I explain the genetic problem more in the article below (in case any new readers did not see my past reference to it). It’s been on the web for years, and not one YEC to my knowledge has proposed a proposed solution. http://paleo.cc/ce/ark-gene.htm

  4. I should have proofread my last post better. I see I ended by being redundant (again), ha. By the way, I had to chuckle at Lloyds hypocritical comment that evolutionists can’t agree on who lived when. YECs not only disagree even on the most fundamental aspects of their “model’ (like what periods of geologic time were deposited during the “Flood”), but on the issue at hand (human evolution), they do this to extremes. Their model forces them to deny or minimize all the evidence of intermediates forms between modern humans and earlier hominids, but they can’t even agree amongst themselves on which forms are “all human” or “all ape”. What better evidence could there be that the fossils show intermediate features?

  5. And human beings also share 50% of their gene sequences with bananas. I like to eat chocolate covered frozen bananas. Does that make me a cannibal?

    I believe that God is smart enough to know what DNA building blocks work, to make life possible on a planet like Earth.

  6. Christine Plouvier, is that fifty percent homology between genes, or sequence similarity? We have about 99% homologous genes with mice, for example (that is, if there’s a particular gene in a mouse, there’s a 99% chance that a human will have a recognizable — but probably not identical — version of it), but much lower sequence similarity (how similar the corresponding genes are; for example, the cytochrome-c gene in humans differs from that of chimps by a single nucleotide or base pair (the enzyme cytochrome-c is identical in the two species — it differs more between humans and other species). Of course, given that there are only four possible bases in DNA, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least 25% sequence similarity between any two species.

    Here’s an interesting question: why is human cytochrome-c identical to the chimpanzee version, different in one amino acid from the macaque (rhesus monkey) version, and more different from other organisms. Cytochrome-c does the same job in humans and in pine trees, so on the principle of common design, why isn’t it identical or virtually identical between all species? Conversely, if humans were created distinct from the rest of creation, why are chimpanzees more genetically similar to us than to gorillas or orangutans (or any other species, of course)?

    Generally, “cannibal” is defined as an organism that eats members of its own species, not just related species.

  7. Christine, do you reject human evolution or macro-evolution in general? Aside from the genetic evidence of common ancestry, don’t you think any fossils show intermediate features? In particular, do you not believe that any hominid fossils show features intermediate between modern humans and earlier forms? What’s your view of Homo erectus?

  8. Steve, good point about cannibalism. Otherwise, if eating related species were cannibalism, we and all other organisms would be considered cannibals.

  9. Peter, Dan Chriswell’s article that you reference about blood types at http://www.icr.org/article/abo-blood-human-origins/ appears misleading as usual, for several reasons. First, even if everything he said were true, it does not imply that the blood system descended from only two people as he claims, or provide any evidence against evolution. Second, he seems to tacitly admit that the ABO system probably involved the preferential preservation (natural selection–tho he avoids the term) of at least a few mutations. Hello: that’s the definition of evolution and contradicts the common YEC refrain that “no new information” is ever created. Third, he conveniently fails to mention that there are many other traits in humans that involve even more alleles, and thus must have arisen by evolution (or required new creative acts by God–contradicting the YEC doctrine of a finished Creation). I have not heard any YEC claiming only two are original and the rest examples of “degeneration,” but that would be lame anyway, since in most cases there appears to be nothing inferior about the various alleles that have evolved over time–quite the opposite.
    The other article on genetics by Brian Thomas has so many false and misleading statements I don’t know where to begin. For example, he says that “Most genetic variation comes in two versions and these versions are found distributed throughout the world’s population,” according to Dr. Carter.7 First, he doesn’t reveal that Carter is a YEC. Second, Carter and Thomas neglect to mention that scores of traits involve many more than two alleles. Earlier Thomas casually admits that some alleles could have arisen by “mutation.” But if they arose by mutation and then were preserved and passed along, then again: 1.That’s evolution, and 2. It’s also the production of “new genetic information” – which most YECs deny can ever happen.

    • I didn’t say they were any good. 🙂

      I remember looking at the Thomas article when it was published. I did a post on it somewhere, but there’s so much wrong in it that reading it again years later I find things I missed. It’s amazing how that works…

    • Hi Peter,

      Are you planning to write anything about ICR’s recent claims (including those in the last Acts and Facts) about chimp and human DNA being far less similar than previously claimed. ICR and AIG now say 70% to 90%, depending on what article you read and how they calculate it, which seems to involve a number of questionable methods. Do you know if there have been any good critiques of these claims?  YECs seem to be running with them full steam.   

      Thanks,

      Glen

      >________________________________ > From: Eye on the ICR >To: gkpaleo@yahoo.com >Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 6:47 AM >Subject: [New comment] URCall: Common Ancestor > > > > WordPress.com >eyeonicr commented: “I didn’t say they were any good. 🙂 I remember looking at the Thomas article when it was published. I did a post on it somewhere, but there’s so much wrong in it that reading it again years later I find things I missed. It’s amazing how that works…” >

    • By the way, I notice that ICR has been steadily revising down it’s claimed chimp-human similarity down from 95% (2013 article), to “86-89%” (2012 article), to now 70% (current articles).  I have not had time to study their articles or the original research carefully, but one thing I notice is that they seem to be reporting the percentage of _non-identical_ DNA sequences–that is the same alleles that have different base pairs, which is very misleading.  In other words, I don’t think they are not really reporting percentages of similar or corresponding genes, but of identical DNA/base pair sequences, which is not a trivial distinction. Even different human beings would probably have significant percentages of non-identical DNA, which of course YECs are not going to mention. I think what they need to calculate and report, for the figures to have much significance in the C/E controversy, is what is the percentage of _corresponding alleles_ for meaningful, functioning DNA sequences between chimps and humans. I suspect if they did that that we’d be back to above 95% again, but they’re obviously not keen on doing that. I hope someone else soon does, and makes a detailed critique of these claims.  Of course, no matter what the DNA figures, it does nothing to discount the compelling fossil evidence for human evolution, and the geologic evidence that it took far longer than 6,000 years.

      Glen

      >________________________________ > From: Glen K >To: Eye on the ICR >Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:30 AM >Subject: Re: [New comment] URCall: Common Ancestor > > > >Hi Peter, > > >Are you planning to write anything about ICR’s recent claims (including those in the last Acts and Facts) about chimp and human DNA being far less similar than previously claimed. ICR and AIG now say 70% to 90%, depending on what article you read and how they calculate it, which seems to involve a number of questionable methods. Do you know if there have been any good critiques of these claims?  YECs seem to be running with them full steam.    > > > >Thanks, > > >Glen > > > > > > >>________________________________ >> From: Eye on the ICR >>To: gkpaleo@yahoo.com >>Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 6:47 AM >>Subject: [New comment] URCall: Common Ancestor >> >> >> >WordPress.com >eyeonicr commented: “I didn’t say they were any good. 🙂 I remember looking at the Thomas article when it was published. I did a post on it somewhere, but there’s so much wrong in it that reading it again years later I find things I missed. It’s amazing how that works…” >

    • Oops, I meant to say their 95% estimate was from 2003, not 2013.

      >________________________________ > From: Glen K >To: Eye on the ICR >Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 12:02 PM >Subject: Re: [New comment] URCall: Common Ancestor > > > >By the way, I notice that ICR has been steadily revising down it’s claimed chimp-human similarity down from 95% (2013 article), to “86-89%” (2012 article), to now 70% (current articles).  I have not had time to study their articles or the original research carefully, but one thing I notice is that they seem to be reporting the percentage of _non-identical_ DNA sequences–that is the same alleles that have different base pairs, which is very misleading.  In other words, I don’t think they are not really reporting percentages of similar or corresponding genes, but of identical DNA/base pair sequences, which is not a trivial distinction. Even different human beings would probably have significant percentages of non-identical DNA, which of course YECs are not going to mention. I think what they need to calculate and report, for the figures to have much significance in the C/E controversy, is what is the percentage of _corresponding alleles_ for meaningful, functioning DNA sequences between chimps and humans. I suspect if they did that that we’d be back to above 95% again, but they’re obviously not keen on doing that. I hope someone else soon does, and makes a detailed critique of these claims.  Of course, no matter what the DNA figures, it does nothing to discount the compelling fossil evidence for human evolution, and the geologic evidence that it took far longer than 6,000 years. > > > >Glen > > > > >> >> >> >>________________________________ >> From: Glen K >>To: Eye on the ICR >>Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:30 AM >>Subject: Re: [New comment] URCall: Common Ancestor >> >> >> >>Hi Peter, >> >> >>Are you planning to write anything about ICR’s recent claims (including those in the last Acts and Facts) about chimp and human DNA being far less similar than previously claimed. ICR and AIG now say 70% to 90%, depending on what article you read and how they calculate it, which seems to involve a number of questionable methods. Do you know if there have been any good critiques of these claims?  YECs seem to be running with them full steam.    >> >> >> >>Thanks, >> >> >>Glen >> >> >> >> >> >> >>>________________________________ >>> From: Eye on the ICR >>>To: gkpaleo@yahoo.com >>>Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 6:47 AM >>>Subject: [New comment] URCall: Common Ancestor >>> >>> >>> >WordPress.com >eyeonicr commented: “I didn’t say they were any good. 🙂 I remember looking at the Thomas article when it was published. I did a post on it somewhere, but there’s so much wrong in it that reading it again years later I find things I missed. It’s amazing how that works…” >

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