Paper Abstracts

Designed genetic diversity in Adam and Eve

J.C. Sanford, W. Brewer, R.W. Carter, J. Baumgardner

Discipline: Biology

Abstract: Theistic evolutionists present multiple genetic arguments against a literal Adam and Eve. One key argument asserts it would be impossible for a single human couple to give rise to the genetic diversity seen in the modern human population. This implicitly assumes Adam and Eve would have been created without internal genetic diversity. If this were true, all observed variations would have to arise recently via random mutations. This would require incredibly high mutation rates, logically leading to rapid extinction.
Yet, Adam and Eve could have been created massively heterozygous. We have argued for over a decade that they could have been created with "designed diversity". We have previously shown that a vast amount of genetic variation could have been pre-programmed into their genomes. This could logically provide the genetic basis for: 1) our human gifts and talents; 2) the many forms of human beauty; and 3) the various ways people have rapidly adapted to new habitats.
It is also claimed that the currently observed human allele frequency patterns could not arise from a single couple. The logic here is that, since there were only four sets of chromosomes in Eden, all variants would have had an initial frequency of either 25%, 50%, or 75%. Today, most allelic variants have frequencies in the range of 0-10%. Therefore, it is claimed that observed human diversity disproves a literal Adam and Eve.
In this paper we have critically examined these arguments. Our analyses highlight several genetic mechanisms that can help reconcile a literal Adam and Eve with the human allele frequency distributions seen today. We use numerical simulation to show that two people, if they contain designed alleles, can in fact give rise to allele frequency distributions of the very same type as are now seen in modern man.
We cannot know how God created Adam and Eve, nor exactly how Adam and Eve gave rise to the current human population. However, the genetic argument that there is no way that a literal Adam and Eve could have given rise to the observed human allele frequencies is clearly over-reaching and appears to be theologically reckless. There is no compelling reason to reject Adam and Eve based on modern allele frequencies.