The Washington Post has a very interesting article on a new report that suggests all humans are descended from three “families”. You can head over and read it, or hang here because I’m going to walk through most of it and show how some faulty thinking and bad assumptions lead to bad science and conclusions.
All of Earth’s people, according to a new analysis of the genomes of 53 populations, fall into just three genetic groups.
Yeah science! Welcome to Genesis 9-11.
They are the products of the first and most important journey our species made — the walk out of Africa about 70,000 years ago by a small fraction of ancestral Homo sapiens.
Aww, so close. What’s missing from this statement is the debate amongst evolutionary scientists about where Homo sapiens first surfaced. Some say Africa, some say the Middle East (mesopotamia), yet others say East Asia. Hmm. Three places. Three patriarchs. Interesting.
One group is the African. It contains the descendants of the original humans who emerged in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. The second is the Eurasian, encompassing the natives of Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia (east to about Pakistan). The third is the East Asian, the inhabitants of Asia, Japan and Southeast Asia, and — thanks to the Bering Land Bridge and island-hopping in the South Pacific — of the Americas and Oceania as well.
Oh, there they are. So basically the view adopted here is that we left Africa, spread out a bit, but still come from the three groups. Close. We left Babel and split up.
The existence of this ancient divergence has long been known.
Longer than the author realizes…
People adapted to what they encountered the way all living organisms do: through natural selection.
When one has an understanding of what natural selection actually is, this is a perfectly Biblical statement. Now, natural selection by means of mutation, that’s a completely different matter. Mutations never, say it with me, never increase genetic information. It always alters existing information and/or destroys it. Hence, birth defects.
A small fraction of the mutations constantly creeping into our genes happened by chance to prove beneficial in the new circumstances outside the African homeland. Those included differences in climate, altitude, latitude, food availability, parasites, infectious diseases and lots of other things.
The scientific reality is that each so-called “beneficial mutations” have significant side effects. One amongst black Africans is sickle cell anemia. It’s a mutation that helps protect against malaria. Great, no malaria. But then you have sickle cell anemia. Some beetles on remote tropical islands have developed a beneficial mutation that results in no wings. That’s great for not getting blown out to sea by tropical winds. But it also means, no flight. It means you are easier to catch and eat. Bummer.
A person who carried, by chance, a helpful mutation was more likely to survive and procreate than someone without it. The person’s offspring would then probably be endowed with the same beneficial mutation.
First, think of beneficial mutations, which are only beneficial in appearance but not practically, like many of the new prescription meds we see advertised on TV. Sure it can reduce your cholesterol, but can result in high blood pressure, dizziness, and blood in your poo. Sign me up!
At the same time, our DNA has error correction tools in place so as to prevent and correct errors (aka mutations). I wonder how that happened by accident?
Scientists have long known that regardless of ancestral home or ethnic group, everyone’s genes are pretty much alike. We’re all Homo sapiens. Everything else is pretty much details.
Again, welcome to Genesis 1-11.
Drift describes the chance loss of genetic variation that occurred not only in the out-of-Africa migration, but through all of human history as famine, climate change or war caused populations to crash and then recover.
Wait a minute, loss of information? I thought we gained info after our African exodus because of mutation. Now we lost some? This, in fact is what natural selection actually is. Adaptation isn’t the addition of information in order to survive, it’s the selection and exclusion (and loss in many cases) of options that already exist in our genes. All of the options and combinations for skin color, hair color, lung capacity, eye shape, etc., were there to begin with, They were not added through any chance, random process. They were preprogrammed to kick in based on environment. God is pretty smart like that.
Such clear ethnic distinctions are the exception, however, defying the expectations of many researchers. That may have been a product of the way scientists have studied genes over the last century.
Why does this defy their expectations? Because they have a biased view of how things began, of human origins, that doesn’t free them to think bigger, it eliminates the pool of information from which they could glean truth. They have studied genes from an almost exclusively Darwinian perspective which is horribly flawed and truly unscientific at its foundations and in what it asserts and denies. It actually limits, it hinders, it puts blinders on their thinking. But if they had begun with God’s word, if they had even factored it into their analysis as a source, they would not have been surprised at all. In fact, they could have made better predictions.
Here is a very short summary of the Biblical picture of genetics. God created Adam. His DNA was error free. “Pure” one could say. God then took material from Adam and cloned him, but this time made a human with the XX sex determination switches turned on, while Adam’s switches were set to XY. Two humans, genetically error free, with the genetic potential to create 10 to the 2,000+ power possible combinations of humans. They had kids, their kids had kids, for some 1,600 years. Then God chose Noah and Mrs. Noah, their three sons and their wives, to start over with the human race. While these three couples still represent a significant amount of genetic variability, yet are far enough away from Adam and Eve to be distinctive.
After the flood, it would seem that Noah didn’t have any more kids. So, all humans alive, while all being descendants of Adam and Eve, are also all descendants of Noah, and one of his three sons. Yup. Science is almost caught up with the Bible. Well done!