Thursday, March 3, 2016

Has Science Dis-proven the existence of Adam and Eve?

Dr. Ann Gauger is a senior research scientist at Biologic Institute. She has a BS in biology from MIT, a Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Washington, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Her work has been published in such journals as Nature, Development, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry ( The following is a summary of an article written by Dr. Ann Gauger on “The Science of Adam and Eve” (chapter 5 of Science & Human Origins. Seattle : Discovery Institute, 2012).

Some scientists, and even groups like BioLogos, have insisted that scientific evidence has disproven the existence of Adam and Eve. In Gauger’s words, “Using population genetics, some scientists have argued that there is too much genetic diversity to have passed through a bottleneck of just two individuals. But that turns out not to be true” (105).

Gauger focuses on one of the strongest scientific arguments supposedly disproving the existence of Adam and Eve, i.e. “the argument based on genetic variation in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes, some of the most variable genes in the human genome” (106). These HLA genes “bind and present foreign peptides on the surface of immune cells (leukocytes), in order to trigger a response by other immune cells” (106).

“In the 1930s and 40s, Darwin’s theory of evolution and Mendel’s theory of genetics were combined, creating what is now called the Modern Synthesis” which focused on “how genetic variation spread through populations.” These “‘population geneticists’…developed mathematical models to extrapolate from existing genetic variation in populations to what may have happened to those populations in the past” (108). They determined that it is not possible that the amount of genetic variation seen in humans today came from just two human beings.

Gauger argues that generally speaking, these genetic models assume 1) “a constant background mutation rate, with no strong selection biasing genetic change” 2) “a constant population size with no migration in or out” and 3) that “common descent is the underlying cause of sequence similarity” (108). Gauger demonstrates that all of these are questionable assumptions.
More specifically, Gauger challenges the research of Francisco Ayala, a biologist who set out to disprove the idea that all humans came from Adam and Eve. He used “sequence information from one of the HLA genes” called HLA-DRB1 (109) and concluded that there was “just too much ancestral diversity in HLA-DRB1” for “the human population to have passed through a bottleneck of two” (111).

Gauger argues that Ayala’s “explicit assumptions include” 1) “a constant background mutation rate over time” 2) “lack of selection for genetic change on the DNA sequences being studied” 3) “random breeding among individuals, 4) “no migrations in or out of the breeding population,” and 5) a constant population size.” Guager says that if any of these assumptions turn to be unrealistic, the results of a model may be seriously flawed” (112). Not only that but Gauger argues that “the particular DNA sequence from HLA-DRB1 that Ayala used in his analysis was guaranteed to give an overestimate, because he inadequately controlled for two of the above assumptions” (112).

In addition, Gauger says “There are also hidden assumptions…For example, “The population genetics equations…assume that random processes are the only causes of genetic change over time, an assumption drawn from naturalism” (112). Second, Ayala’s “algorithms assume that a tree of common descent exists.” It assumes an evolutionary model in which all animal life including humans descended from a common source [In other words, if swimming, flying and walking creatures are separate creations by God as Genesis 1 claims, Ayala’s model fails. Just to be clear: Ayala’s model denies the truthfulness of Genesis 1 and then uses this assumption to refute the biblical account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2]. As Gauger says, Ayala’s “assumptions rely upon the very thing they are meant to demonstrate” (112).

Gauger doesn’t just point out the faulty assumptions. She also demonstrates why they are faulty. Gauger concludes, “…one thing is clear right now: Adam and Eve have not been disproven by science, and those who claim otherwise are misrepresenting the scientific evidence” (121).