Neanderthals, Denisovans and Human Speciation

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September 23, 2011 Tags: Human Origins

Today's entry was written by Dennis Venema. You can read more about what we believe here.

Neanderthals, Denisovans and Human Speciation

Note: One of the challenges for discussing evolution within evangelical Christian circles is that there is widespread confusion about how evolution actually works. In this (intermittent) series, I discuss aspects of evolution that are commonly misunderstood in the Christian community. In the first post, we discussed how speciation results from acquired changes in average characteristics between two populations that have become (at least partially) genetically isolated. In this post, we explore how these principles apply to human evolution, and examine the interactions portions of the human lineage had with two other hominid groups: Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Geographic isolation and reproductive barriers

As we have seen, speciation (the events that lead to reproductive isolation between populations of organisms) can be a prolonged and complex process. Populations can become isolated geographically (e.g. through migration) and begin to accumulate genetic differences that may raise a barrier to reproduction between them. This barrier may only be a partial barrier, however. The stickleback populations we discussed previously are an example: the first event leading to speciation was physical separation when some marine fish colonized new freshwater habitats. Even after significant differences accumulated between the marine and freshwater forms, a second wave of colonization of fresh water by the marine form brought the two groups into contact again, leading to some genetic exchange even as the two groups remained largely distinct. At the point of the second colonization, whether one or two species is/are present is a point of discussion: the case can be made for either. A scientist arguing for one species would point out that the two groups can still produce fertile offspring, whereas a colleague might argue for two based the distinct characteristics and ecological niches of the two populations, as well as the observation that the hybrids resulting from interbreeding are not as well adapted to either niche. The point is clear: speciation, as a slow process, is a gradient, and a clear line of demarcation cannot be drawn on a gradient. To return to our flip-book analogy, every adjacent page is only slightly different from the pages on either side. If we compare widely separated pages, the differences are clear. The point is that there is no single page in between them that we can identify as the point where the images “became different.”

While this discussion might seem a little academic and uninteresting (perhaps because one might discount such events as mere ‘microevolution’ of sticklebacks), we have recently learned that similar events shaped human speciation. As far as we can tell, sticklebacks are not aware of, nor concerned about, the theological implications of how they came to be, but we certainly are for our own species (and perhaps even for sticklebacks). What was once an area of interest mainly for specialists is about to become a topic of intense discussion among evangelicals: we have only recently learned that a portion of the lineage leading to modern humans interbred with other hominid species they encountered as they migrated out of Africa ~50,000 years ago. In order to explain what happened, let’s pick up the tale at an earlier point, around 450,000 years earlier.

Out of Africa, twice over

Somewhere between 500,000 and 300,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) left Africa and migrated into the Middle East region, and from there on to Europe and parts of Asia. (Recall that human ancestors, at this point, are all still in Africa, and will stay put until around 50,000 years ago). Neanderthals persisted in the Middle East and Europe until ~30,000 years ago, meaning there was a time where the humans leaving Africa about 50,000 years ago could have interbred with them before they went extinct. This remained an open question until techniques improved to recover and sequence ancient DNA. It is now possible to obtain and sequence DNA from Neanderthal remains, and the complete genome sequence of Neanderthals was published in early 2010. The results were fascinating: DNA sequence comparisons between the two species indicates that modern, non-African humans have about 1-4% Neanderthal DNA in their genomes. This variation, however, is not present in sub-Saharan Africans, since they are descended from humans that did not leave Africa and and thereby, because of geographical separation, never had the opportunity to interbreed with Neanderthals. We also know that the group that left Africa went through a reduction in population size to about 1200 individuals (a genetic bottleneck), whereas those that stayed behind maintained a larger population size (about 6000) over the same period.

New details

In addition to this information, we have recently discovered a new hominid species from Asia, as Darrel Falk recently highlighted here on BioLogos. This species, named the “Denisovans” is known to us only from a few bone fragments and one molar, but - wonder of wonders in this age of paleogenomics - this was enough for us to determine its complete genome sequence. The results were, again, fascinating: the Denisovans are relative of Neanderthals that split off from them after their common ancestor left Africa. The Neanderthals went west to Europe, and the Denisovans colonized Asia (and evidence suggests they were quite widespread). Even more interesting is that comparing Denisovan and human DNA indicates that some humans (modern Melanesians) have about 5% Denisovan DNA in their genomes. This variation is not found in Europeans or Africans.

Putting the story together

Assembling all of this information reveals the following tale: the common ancestor of Neanderthals and Denisovans migrated from Africa to the Middle East between 500,000 and 300,000 years ago, leaving a population behind that would eventually become modern humans (at around 200,000 years ago). In the Middle East, the populations destined to become Neanderthals and Denisovans part ways, with their differences accumulating over the next several hundred thousand years to make them distinct species. When a population of modern humans leave Africa around 50,000 years ago, they encounter, and breed with, Neanderthals shortly after. This genetic exchange is small, since there are partial reproductive barriers in place, but a small fraction of Neanderthal DNA becomes established in this lineage. Groups from this population then part ways, with some migrating into Europe and others into Asia. This latter group then encounters the Denisovan hominids, interbreeds with them, and a fraction of Denisovan DNA takes hold as a result. This population goes on to colonize southeast Asia, Oceania and Australia, where we see this variation today in Melanesians. Modern humans thus have different evolutionary trajectories: Melanesians have both Neanderthals and Denisovans in their lineage, Europeans have Neanderthals, and Africans have neither.

New data, new questions

Even as I stand amazed in what God has revealed to us about our origins through science, I know that this new information will be difficult for some within the evangelical community to accept. Moreover, it is almost certain that some Christian groups, unfortunately, will misrepresent this data to their constituents (whether intentionally or not), and thus spread confusion that hinders the needed theological conversation. Still, I have reason for hope: God has seen it fit to reveal this information to us, and that suggests that He believes the evangelical Christian community is ready for this conversation to happen. As Darrel mentioned at the end of his recent piece, we at BioLogos want to assist our evangelical sisters and brothers in this conversation in any way we can, in full confidence that it can be done in an edifying way:

BioLogos exists to help Christians think carefully about the ramifications of these new data in light of long-standing traditional ways of viewing human creation. We have some re-thinking to do, but it can be done and will be done within the context of a Christian faith that is fully orthodox and thoroughly evangelical. Any time we draw closer to truth, to God’s truth, we have nothing to fear. There is still much to learn, but we can look back at what we have learned with awe—absolute awe.


Dennis Venema is Fellow of Biology for The BioLogos Foundation and associate professor of biology at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. His research is focused on the genetics of pattern formation and signalling.

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sy - #64940

September 23rd 2011

Dennis

Thanks for that wonderful summary of the physical anthropology and evolution of modern man. I wonder if I might add some words about the cultural evolution that appears to have occured at the same time. I am not a scholar or an expert in this field, but I do find it fascinating, especially as it relates to a Christian perspective.

At some point, following Dennis’ outline, there were a number of hominid species living all over the world. In terms of culture and technology, there were more similarities than differences between these groups. They worked with primitive stone tools, and might have had some primitive language. They all were present in small numbers, and all were continuing to suffer from the mini ice age and dryness that had followed the super volcano eruption 72,000 years ago. Populations of all were low, the African branch (us, modern Homo Sapiens) were down below 10,000.

Then something changed in Africa. The Homo Sapiens, (still looking as they did before) began an amazing cultural revolution (The Upper Paleolithic Revolution) which included sophisticated tool making, cave painting, evidence for speech and ceremonial art, fishing (which was of major importance) trade, population explosion and migration out of Africa. It was these H. Sapiens who got to the Middle East and then to Europe Asia and Australia and took over the world. They were us.

So what happened to turn H. Sapiens into people like us. Nobody knows. I believe they (or some of them, or maybe even just 2 of them) were given the gift of a human soul, (or human consciousness, or whatever we wish to call it). I believe that God created Man in His image at that time. I cant prove it. There are many other possibilities (like a mutation that allowed for language to develop, or higher brain function). But whatever it was, it allowed us to rise to where we are now. Masters of the Earth, and servants of the Lord.





Norman - #64944

September 23rd 2011

As populations increase so does the opportunity for knowledge to increase and become retained and to build upon. This is the pattern that we find all over the sphere in the old world and new world cultures. The luck of climate, domestic capable animals and the right agriculture started mushrooming as populations grew and learned to take advantage and pass on this heritage. Huge setbacks occurred as populations grew due to overcrowding and depopulation due to wars and biological impediments. Isolated populations became susceptible to the germs and vermin that other larger more capable populations introduced. The dynamics and the explosion of peoples have been so in fits and spurts and hopefully genetics will help us continue to unravel the story a little better.

The possibility appears reasonable that the various forms of humanity have been intellectually robust for hundreds of thousands of years and it is marvelous to contemplate. The ability to contemplate God and Nature appears to have been in place also from at least the time that the African groups came out and intermingled this last time around 75,000 years ago or so. The reason being is that the descendants of the Americas became isolated 12,000 to 15,000 years ago after the closing of the Bering strait and the time it took these groups to migrate from out of Africa 75,000 years ago until they split off 20,000 years ago testifies to the robustness of all that derived from out of Africa. However the smaller sub groups that split off 300,000 to 500,000 years ago while small appear to have some of the same robustness as well. They were simply limited by their smaller group size and needed time which is what God gave all of them until they merged into the great collective of the world that we now know. The picture of God knitting us in the womb of our mothers can be compared to the knitting together of humanity at large over the eons.


beaglelady - #64942

September 23rd 2011

Another great post, Dennis. I cringe when I think about what evangelical Twistians will do with this fascinating story.


Jimpithecus - #64956

September 24th 2011

I am not as concerned about AiG as I am with RTB, which will put their own spin on it.  Where this will hit the hardest is the Christian colleges, where we have already recently seen problems.  As Christian scholars continue to struggle with this information, and more of them begin to accept an evolutionary scenario, more incidents like the recent one at Calvin will happen. 

I am quite certain that Ken Ham will put his dark glasses on and write something scientifically ridiculous and theologically flat about the discovery.  I do not look forward to reading it.


Terrance - #64958

September 24th 2011

Is RTB worse than AiG? I decided to look for myself and have found very little from RTB on this subject. The only recent article on recent interbreeding reports I could find on their website is this - http://www.reasons.org/does-new-date-neanderthal-extinction-mean-end-human-neanderthal-interbreeding . A search for ‘Denisovans’ yielded no results at all - not one.


Jimpithecus - #64959

September 24th 2011

You need to check out Todd Wood’s scorching response to RTB’s take on the human/chimp genome similarities.  It begins here (http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2011/01/rtb-and-chimp-genome-part-1.html) and there are seven parts.  He ends his series with the following quote:

  I would recommend that no one accept any of RTB’s arguments without
fact-checking their claims first.  I do not know whether these problems
are due to lazy scholarship, ignorance, intentional deception, or
ideological blinders.  What I do know is that you cannot trust Reasons
to Believe.


Jon Garvey - #64947

September 24th 2011

The detailed story doesn’t seem to be any more of a challenge to Christianity than it was in Warfield’s time, a century ago. He and many others were comfortable with that kind of account so long as it didn’t stray beyond the evidence into metaphysics. The problems come from:

1 Christians unwilling to accept a physically evolutionary origin of mankind. They have trouble accepting the science. That’s predominantly a North American sociological/historical accident, but colours most of the discussion today. I suspect that their position arose largely from…
2 Atheists insisting that the evolutionary origin of Homo sapiens necessarily excludes the Christian account of humanity, and the place of the divine. “If man evolved, humanity is entirely defined by evolution.” This view goes back to Darwin himself and is famously represented by the Gnus (and a majority of biologists) today. That was bound to produce a reactionary backlash.
3 Christians unwilling to accept Sy’s point that humanity’s spirituality is a cultural and supernatural, rather than an evolutionary, event (whether or not his 70K horizon is where you place that event), thus seeking to rewrite theology entirely. There is nothing about an evolutionary origin for our “God-relationship” in the story Dennis describes, so any attempt at rethinking theology itself in evolutionary terms arises from an ideological, rather than a scientific, agenda. Many of us who accept evolution are unhappy with that.


guang - #64948

September 24th 2011

Pardon me, who is Sy? What book are you quoting from? I would love to read more.


Jon Garvey - #64949

September 24th 2011

Hi guang (I nearly wrote “Hi Gang”!)

Sy is the first responder on this thread, and a frequent poster here, and would be the best person to comment on who he is. However, I understand he’s a working scientist and a Christian.

I didn’t quote from any book. I used quote marks for a generic position, which I don’t think many would dispute as widely applicable. As to Darwin himself, his religious convictions, and lack of them, have been discussed ad nauseam, but it’s clear even from the Origin of Species that he saw his theory as antithetic to supernatural creation, and nothing I know from his writings gives any hint that he allowed room for any special divine dispensation in the case of mankind.

For that position in general, I guess Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” is as good as anything.  For Darwin, there’s a useful section by Hiram Caton @ http://darwin-legend.org/html/Charles-Darwin-Six-Errors.htm - look at thesis 5 for an outline of his religious position.

Does that help at all?


guang - #64950

September 24th 2011

Thanks, helps a bit. Was hoping there was a whole book that elaborated the 70k spiritual and cultural concept though


sy - #64961

September 24th 2011

Guang

For more on the Upper Paleolithic Revolution (but not from a Christian viewpoint) see The Fifth Chimpanzee by Diamond. I havent seen any discussion of the relevence of this event to the development of humanity from a Christian point of view in print (other than in my own online ravings.). And I agree with Jon, that human evolution theory does not do a great job in explaining consciousness, artistic impulses, or any aspect of human spirituality.


Jimpithecus - #64966

September 24th 2011

It isn’t meant to.  It is an examination of the biophysical processes that led to modern humans arising.  Yes, toward the end, we have grave goods and non-utilitarian objects but, by and large, we make judgments about various species’ cognitive abilities based on what they left behind and how much we can discern about their neural organization. 


beaglelady - #64967

September 24th 2011

There is no reason why music could not have evolved. Here’s a wonderful article from Natural History magazine, almost 10 years ago (keep reading, it gets better and better):

http://www.brams.umontreal.ca/plab/research/dossiers_vulgarisation/face_the_music/face_the_music.html

(And keep in mind that our choir of men and boys at St Thomas on 5th Avenue moves me to tears sometimes.)




guang - #64975

September 25th 2011

Hmmm…..having trouble finding the fifth chimpanzee. Do you mean the third chimpanzee?


Longfarewell - #65290

September 30th 2011

They must have ment ‘The Third Chimpanzee’.  Overall, I thought a very good book. 


beaglelady - #64982

September 25th 2011

A good book is

Prehistoric Art: the Symbolic Journey of Humankind

by Randall White.  btw, the date he gives for the cultural transformation is about 40,000 years ago.

Randall White was the curator of  an exhibition called  “Dark Caves, Bright Visions” at the American Museum of Natural History, all about this very topic. That was a long time ago, but it was awesome since it had so many artifacts from this time period.  Wish I could go back in time and visit it again with you guys! 


beaglelady - #64951

September 24th 2011

Darwin can hardly be compared to Dawkins.  For one thing, Darwin was never an atheist; only an agnostic. Dawkins, on the other hand, is a raving atheist, out to destroy faith.




Papalinton - #64973

September 24th 2011

Not quite right, beaglelady.  Dawkins simply wishes that faith stick to what it best does, and where it makes unsubstantiated or fallacious claims about man, about society, about the universe, or the world, it better put up or shut up.  And another thing, Dawkins firmly believes that comparative religions should be studied by all.  No comprehensive historical outlook will ever be complete without knowledge and understanding of the influence and impact of christianity [in the case of the Western world] on social and cultural development of human relations.


beaglelady, a half-truth is still only a half-truth and an egregious misrepresentation of Dawkin’s perspective.

beaglelady - #64976

September 25th 2011

So what does faith do best, according to Dawkins?  Delude us? Dawkins is still an enemy of faith.


Jimpithecus - #64978

September 25th 2011

Uh, no.  Actually, Dawkins once upon a time likened a Catholic upbringing to child abuse.  He wrote:

Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, I
suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of
bringing them up Catholic in the first place.

(http://richarddawkins.net/articles/118?page=2) The “link” option doesn’t seem to be working again).  He does write that Anglicanism is “less noxious” but he clearly views that religion is all bad.


beaglelady - #64952

September 24th 2011

For information on the changes that made us fully human in behavior, I’d recommend “The Mind’s Big Bang” which is an episode on the excellent Evolution series on PBS. It’s available free on YouTube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWJ2wcPyrvo

And I believe Carl Zimmer wrote a companion book for this PBS series, if I am not mistaken.


Also, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will be presenting a free series of web lectures (live and on-demand) called “Bones, Stones and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans.”  Their lectures are excellent.

You can read about it here:
http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/

Another great resource would be a natural history museum, such as the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan or the Smithsonian in Washington.




sy - #64964

September 24th 2011

Beaglelady

Thanks for the link to that superb PBS program. I found it fascinating that while the text makes it clear that there was a “Big Bang” of human culture 50,000 years ago, that resulted in the true origin of modern humans, spiriturally and culturally, there is virtually no discussion of the possible causes of such an abrupt, punctuated event. The possibility of one or more likely more than one mutations is raised, (and that is possible) as well as the sudden (again mysterious) appearance of language. 

I think, just as in the first Big Bang, and the Big Bang of the origin of life, none of the data concerning the Human Mind (or soul) Big Bang is inconsistent with a divine creative process.  


beaglelady - #64965

September 24th 2011

The evolution of the human brain opened the door to imagination, the arts, language, and other symbolic thought, and even, I think, spirituality. Note that while evolution can help explain our ability to hold religious beliefs and other forms of  abstract thought, it can’t explain the beliefs themselves.

As I recall, a long time ago Dennis Venema was going to walk us through a scenario for the evolution of the human brain.





Jimpithecus - #64968

September 24th 2011

It is important to remember that the human brain did not go through a fundamental mental reorganization around 50 k years ago.  That happened around 150 k years ago.  What happened around 50 k was the beginnings of a population expansion that really kicked into high gear during the Early Wurm/Late Wurm interglacial period.  The vast amount of non-utilitarian objects appear around 20-30 k years ago, long, long after modern humans have arrived on the scene.  This kind of change reflects a large enough population density that people began bouncing ideas off each other, creating better stone tools, the first bone tools, hafting tools (the need to build a better mousetrap?), and, because they maybe had more time on their hands, more non-utilitarian objects.  They also began to think about more metaphysical things, reaching out to their creator. 


beaglelady - #64969

September 24th 2011

They also began to think about more metaphysical things, reaching out to their creator.

It must have been beautiful beyond all words—sitting around the campfires, surrounded by an unspoiled nature and looking up at all the stars, having those first deeper discussions.  Wish I could visit that world!


PNG - #65126

September 28th 2011

Sounds like you are just about ready to be a camp counselor.


Jimpithecus - #64957

September 24th 2011

Dennis, thank you for the wonderful exposition and clarification of the genetic data concerning the origins of modern humans.  It has been interesting to follow the interpretations of genetics as they have had an impact on studies of modern human origins.  I come from a multiregional background, so the mtDNA studies showing an African speciation event in the late 1980s required a bit of a rethink, but now those of us who saw transitional characteristics in the European and Near Eastern skeletal data from the Wurm now feel a sense of vindication that maybe we weren’t just imagining it.  You are about 1.5 million years in front of my series of posts and I am dealing more with the fossil evidence but having the new genetic data to work with is invaluable. 


PNG - #65127

September 28th 2011

If anyone wants to look at a blog where the bones and DNA are both covered in some detail, try:


john hawks weblog | paleoanthropology, genetics and evolution
http://johnhawks.net/weblog

Norman - #64963

September 24th 2011

It would seem that the ability to comprehend God would precede the out of Africa migration 70K ago. Otherwise: how does one explain the ability of the sub Saharan ancients that never interfaced with Neanderthals and Denisovans to have that capability although being isolated from those that left. Doesn’t it need to go back 200K at least to mitochondria Eve? If the sample size was small at that time then this seems the best division indicating something significant had occurred. This also seems to be borne out by the inability of the Neanderthals to mount socially sophisticated art and burial customs indicating a lacking in some manner. Since the split with Neanderthals and the mitochondria Eve linage occurred between 500k and 300k then we may have the significant occurrence apparently happening during that period. Now I must raise the obvious question concerning the Elephant in the room regarding this article, if the Neanderthals were socially inept or dullards then why and how were more modern and capable Mitochondria Eves offspring sharing genes with them? You don’t have to answer that.

The question is whether if one could clone a Jurassic Park Neanderthal child somehow and raise them today: could they grasp our concepts of God?


PNG - #64972

September 24th 2011

Retarded people can be saved. Theological precision is not what is required.



Westcoast Life - #64974

September 24th 2011

I think the Neanderthals did bury their dead and show signs of religion (grave artifacts and art) - they just didn’t have as advanced artifacts as us.  We don’t really know if they had language either.  By inter-breading with Neanderthals, humans also benefited to some degree - the lighter skin colours take longer to get frost bite (all the Adam and Eve paintings get the first racial make-up of Humans wrong - we were sub-saharan African, not Asian - the lightening of humans was due to inter-breading with non-humans) In the end, humans were smarter so, in the changing climate - we adapted more easily and out-competed for a limited amount of food (brains over brawn).


Being dull is rarely an impediment to being religious.

sy - #64977

September 25th 2011

WCL

Its not likely that the lighter skin color of Europeans came from interbreeding with Neanderthals. Only a small fraction of modern European DNA is of Neanderthal origin, (about 2-3%). Skin color did lighen rapidly due to natural selection, and the need to absorb more Vitamin D from sparse sunlight. It would not take very long for obvious changes in skin color, through positive and negative selection, to occur, on the order of hundreds or perhaps a thousand years. But you are right, that Adam and Eve were very likely either black or  brown.


Jimpithecus - #64979

September 25th 2011

Noooooo, modern humans probably weren’t smarter.  Any more so than we are smarter than the Koi or the San who live quite nicely on the plains of the Serengeti without any sort of advanced technology.  We just have a larger population density and more tools at our disposal. 

One cannot overstate the importance of the bronze and iron ages in the Mediterranean region for where we are now.  We give Neandertals down the road for not having advanced the culture but how do you do that when the tundra line is at Vienna? 


Norman - #64981

September 25th 2011

@Westcoast Life - #64974

You said …”Being dull is rarely an impediment to being religious

.”

I got really tickled reading that statement and immediately thought you must be quoting Richard Dawkins.

I suppose most of us religious faithful types are sitting in the IQ sweet spot between Neanderthal dullards and our more advanced Evolutionary brainier cousins to come. Dawkins [obviously an early brainiac evolutionary mutation] would simply point to statistics; illustrating the science and higher educated crowd as being less religiously inclined as the future evolutionary path to come.

I’m sorry but I’m still ROFL


Jimpithecus - #64983

September 25th 2011

And being intelligent is rarely an impediment to being atheistic.  I would be willing to bet you there is no correlation.  Anecdotally, I go to a church full of Ph.D.s and Masters degree holders. 

Nice, bringing in the brain interactive construct.


beaglelady - #64984

September 25th 2011

What church do you go to?


Jimpithecus - #64986

September 25th 2011

Christ Chapel, fifteenth an Highland.  It is a non-denominational church that started out life as a Pentecostal church forty years ago and is now sort of what I would call a conservative church in terms of theological interpretation and social mores.  My TE is distinctly in the minority but my pastor knows about it (http://scienceandcreation.blogspot.com/2009/05/meeting-with-my-pastor.html) and there are a few others that lean that way in the congregration. 


Merv - #64985

September 25th 2011

... being dull rarely an impediment for being religious ...  and being intelligent rarely an impediment to being atheistic ....   this is sort of a heads - I win, tails you lose turn of phrase isn’t it?  Not sure if you meant to say it that way, but maybe you were being unintentionally Biblical. 

I Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, ...

I read recently that while religious faith is now less represented in the middle ranks of higher education (basic degrees), but that it proportionately grows again among advanced degree holders.  I wish I could remember where I saw that.

—Merv


Jimpithecus - #64987

September 25th 2011

Sure wish you could, too.  Let me know if you do.


Norman - #64999

September 25th 2011

This article tends to point to the better educated not having quite the negative decline in church attendance since the 1970’s. The piece implies that there are many factors and not all of them related to faith such a country club option for the upwardly mobile. Also college-educated is not a scientifically controlled model for evaluating IQ: but it is a measurement of some sorts.

Also the question must be asked why religious attendance is less important today than it was 40 years ago. So it’s really difficult to draw significant conclusions about raw intelligence and faith in general from this kind of survey. But I pass it on anyway.

Church Attendance Dropping Among Less-Educated White Americans

Using data from the General Social Survey and the National Survey of Family Growth, Wilcox found an across-the-board drop since the 1970s in those who attend religious services at least once a month:

•Among college-educated whites between ages 25 and 44, attendance slipped from 51 percent to 46 percent.

•Among moderately educated whites, attendance dropped from 50 percent to 37 percent.

•Among the least educated, attendance fell the most, from 38 percent to 23 percent.

“Schwadel’s study, published in the Review of Religious Research, found that with each additional year of education, the likelihood of attending religious services increased 15 percent, and the likelihood of occasional Bible reading increased by 9 percent.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/25/church-attendance-dropping_n_937138.html


Dancing From Genesis - #65019

September 26th 2011

Since Darwin’s term species is meaningless for classification purposes, then what does that say about Darwin’s hypothesis that goo morphed into you? 

Google search:  syngameons species bible
 
The more educated are attracted to the logic of  classification by syngameons, while the disingenuous or ignorant use of the term species certainly hurts the cause of Christ, because if you can’t believe the first book of the Bible, Genesis, then why believe the rest of it, right?


beaglelady - #65021

September 26th 2011

I think I’ll stick with the cheap wedding dresses hypothesis.


Dancing From Genesis - #65022

September 26th 2011

Have you yet thought through that species is a meaningless term?  Of course “natural selection” is a reality, but only within the respective syngameons (biblica kinds) of animals. 


beaglelady - #65023

September 26th 2011

I see from your blog that you believe in Atlantis….


Dancing From Genesis - #65025

September 26th 2011

Who wouldn’t after having read further under category Atlantis Revealed there?  All those submerged megalithic ruins around the world certainly belie that the ice age ended circa 10000 b.c., wouldn’t you say?


beaglelady - #65038

September 26th 2011

Oh, so you are excavating Atlantis! That’s cool. 

btw, James Cameron’s planet Pandora is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park! I’m looking forward to seeing all those new BLUE biblical “kinds.” 


Dancing From Genesis - #65043

September 26th 2011

Syngameons in modern biologic parlance.


beaglelady - #65045

September 26th 2011

Do you have artifacts from Atlantis?


Dancing From Genesis - #65048

September 26th 2011

You’ll find overwhelming evidence for the real Atlantis if you just spend an hour reading under category Atlantis Revealed at my blogsite.


beaglelady - #65053

September 26th 2011

What is the evidence?



Dancing From Genesis - #65056

September 26th 2011

Go to my blogsite and read under Atlantis Revealed if you can.


beaglelady - #65058

September 26th 2011

Just give me a direct link.


Norman - #65063

September 26th 2011

I would like to point out that these DNA genetic developments in the last few years are nothing more than astounding. I want to echo Dr. Falk’s exuberance he wrote with in his article “A Geneticist’s Journey” concerning the frontier we are now entering in understanding our human ancestry. I can only imagine what genetics are going to illustrate for us in the next few years and decades.

However I want to caution the science crowd to not follow the path of the Hugh Ross’s and attempt to match scripture with what science is currently presenting. Genesis is a Hebrew theological piece of literature that is very different in scope than meets the casual eye; and the story of Adam and Eve is written as a microcosm of Israel in effect. What I mean is it is not written from the perspective of the human race at large but is written from the Hebrew historic faith perspective. Adam does not go back to Mitochondria Eve in or out of Africa but he goes back to an ANE humanity that begins to embrace the God of the Hebrews which Genesis 4:26 plainly states as the time when the Adamites begin to call upon the name of YHWH; the God of Israel. This is clear because YHWH was a Hebrew description of God contrasted to the universal name Elohim that connotes the God also of the Gentiles. The usage of YHWH and Elohim is used strategically throughout Gen 1-4 to illustrate these nuances in the story line.

The beginning time of Adam finds his historical faith beginnings around 4000 BC; this is not a projection of Bishop Usher centuries ago but is determined from Jewish literature itself that meticulously tracks the arrival of messiah from that vantage point. The second Temple Jewish book of Jubilees is written from this time keeping perspective; as verified by any who examine it. This is not a mistake of the Hebrews because it is not written from the perspective of the dawning of the biological human race but is written from the dawning of the human race coming into focus with the Creator God of the Universe. He will enable humanity with the Highest calling of His Image upon those who seek him as the First Adam attempted to do, but pitifully so. The Hebrews did not write mistaken science but wrote accurate messianic prophecy projecting to the time when the deceitfulness of those who usurped the Garden away from the First Adams (Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David) would be set aside by the Last Adam. That is the Genesis and Biblical perspective; not an ANE false mythological creation account. Indeed this story was serious and mockingly of those accounts which they parodied the pagan gods and their feebleness.

Please try to restrain our scientific tendency to take this story and run with it biologically as far as you can while trying to concord it with Genesis. That biological examination is another story and I might add a magnificent one, depicting God’s illumination right before our eyes at this juncture of history. We humans are entering a new era and we will never think the same again: the twentieth century is now ancient history in the most profound way possible.


Dancing From Genesis - #65064

September 26th 2011

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

Now considering what is actually written in Genesis, would they now be the young earth creationists, who have a myriad of evidences for the accuracy of what is actually recorded in Genesis, or would they now be those old earth creationists, trying to shoehorn darwinism into the Bible?  Any takers?


beaglelady - #65065

September 26th 2011

This from someone who claims to have evidence for Atlantis.


Dancing From Genesis - #65066

September 26th 2011

Overwhelming evidence for those ambitious enough to read it.


Dancing From Genesis - #65067

September 26th 2011

Beaglelady, there are many blogposts under category Atlantis Revealed at my blogsite, not just one, there are many, the result of years of research, so if can’t go read it and then offer something ostensibly substantive in rebuttal, then please stop hectoring, bringing absolutely nothing to the debate.


beaglelady - #65078

September 27th 2011

You have bits and pieces all over the place. You claim that Hamites built Atlantis! What is the evidence for Atlantis? Why haven’t archaeologists found Atlantis?


Dancing From Genesis - #65083

September 27th 2011

Just read the material, then try to refute it, you haven’t so far.


beaglelady - #65085

September 27th 2011

There is nothing to refute. You have shown me nothing. No artifacts, nothing at all.  And to make matters worse, you can’t even write a coherent sentence in English.

Where can I go to see see artifacts from Atlantis?  I can easily take the train to NYC to see artifacts from the ancient world. 

Once could claim that planet Nibiru is approaching but that wouldn’t make it so. 

I would suggest putting Atlantis in the Bible, proclaiming that it’s been there all along in the original manuscripts.  You could claim that only you have seen the original manuscripts, which have mysteriously vanished.


Dancing From Genesis - #65088

September 27th 2011

Tell me the gist of just one of the blogposts about Atlantis which I’ve written.  I bet you can’t even do that.


beaglelady - #65091

September 27th 2011

You are right, but that’s because it’s difficult to see anything like a central theme in your rambling blog posts.   Hey everyone, don’t take my word for it; take a look for yourselves:

http://dancingfromgenesis.wordpress.com/


Ashe - #65092

September 27th 2011

Those post titles are monumental. 


Dancing From Genesis - #65099

September 27th 2011

So you two can’t relate the gist of even one blogpost, the words are too big I guess, but for many others here, the words are not too big, thus their silence because they can’t refute the material, yet maybe they can explain to you two why they can’t refute it.  Ask for help.


Jimpithecus - #65102

September 27th 2011

Don’t be snotty.  There is no place for that here.


Dancing From Genesis - #65105

September 27th 2011

Tell that to the girls.


Jimpithecus - #65103

September 27th 2011

Over at Todd Wood’s blog, he writes that the new information in this post could “potentially devastate old earth creationist scenarios for the origin of humans”  Not dead sure what he means by that but it will be interesting to find out.  Personally, I think the multiregional evolution have, in some ways, come home to roost.


Ashe - #65106

September 27th 2011

Wouldn’t OECs just say that they were souless human-like creatures. 


Jimpithecus - #65108

September 27th 2011

Then you run into the problem that they look exactly like us and behaved exactly like us.  Where do you draw the line?  OECs have sometimes argued that there were only two “humans,” Adam and Eve and that the other people were “Pre-Adamites.”  I have always had theological problems with that argument.


Jimpithecus - #65104

September 27th 2011

Should have been “multiregional evolution supporters.”  Sorry about that.


Jon Garvey - #65123

September 28th 2011

Surely the only controversial thing here is the suggestion of a complex pattern of polygenism for modern human groups, based on gene frequencies.

But regardless of any differential gene components from ancient hominims, the fact is that people across the world have been intermarrying for many thousands of years. You’d be hard put to it to find an African without a European in their ancestry, or a European without some Asian input along the line. That, surely, is why we are biologically one race.

Theologically the question is whether mankind’s God-awareness arose by biological evolution in deep time , in which case drawing a line between human and animal historically is impossible? Or did it arise by God’s self-revelation, in which case it could have occurred at any point in time up to and including the historical era.

In other words is the important thing mankind’s biological capacity, or God’s self-revelation? Or, is the line betweeen mankind and animals now only one of biological descent (including the capacity for eternal life?), or is it one of spiritual endowment?

The new findings may perhaps cause YEC or OEC problems, but don’t seem that relevant for the bigger issues.


Dancing From Genesis - #65132

September 28th 2011

Therefore, race is a silly term, a term for racism. 

And why didn’t you say europeans with african input, hmmm?


Jimpithecus - #65139

September 28th 2011

Just as a point of clarification, biologists and geneticists haven’t used the term “Race” in almost fifty years, not since the work of Vin Sarich in the late 1960s. 


Dancing From Genesis - #65141

September 28th 2011

It’s used in everyday parlance, and your man Garvey used it, a destructive force in human relations.


Jimpithecus - #65146

September 28th 2011

Maybe so, but in everyday parlance, the word “stuff” is also used.  The very reason “Race” is not used is that it carries with it destructive connotations.


Dancing From Genesis - #65158

September 28th 2011

You admit “race” is used in everyday parlance, thanks to darwinism. 


beaglelady - #65177

September 28th 2011

He didn’t mean anything sinister by it, for crying out sideways. “Race” is often used synonymously with “ethnic group.”


Jimpithecus - #65138

September 28th 2011

“hominims” Beware the EVIL spell checker!! 

It has long been argued in the multiregional evolution camp of modern human origins that Homo sapiens represents a highly polytypic species and has for some several hundred thousand years.  As far back as 800k?  Uh, maybe.  We don’t know when the revelation occurred.  Some argue as far back as Homo erectus, but I am not so sure.  If you have revelation sometime after the appearance of modern humans, then you have to integrate the story of Adam and Eve into a scenario where there are a whole bunch of critters that look like us running around.  This is what got John Schneider in trouble at Calvin College recently (http://www.langaa-rpcig.net/+Professor-quits-because-he-can-t+.html).  

For some historians, theologians and biologists, at some point, when viewing the evidence, something just sort of *snaps* and the historical Adam and Eve suddenly becomes untenable.  It almost becomes a paradigm shift.  That hasn’t happened to me yet but the water on the other side of the dam is getting very high.


Dancing From Genesis - #65161

September 28th 2011

And shouldn’t become untenable for you, because homos are all of the same genus (and syngameon), from a common origin, Adam and Eve.


PNG - #65169

September 28th 2011

p style=“margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.5; “>I posted this in the earlier material, but since the blogosphere lives in the eternal now defined by what has not yet scrolled into relative oblivion, here it is again.

If anyone wants to look at a blog where the bones and DNA are both covered in some detail, try:

div style=“margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; “>john hawks weblog | paleoanthropology, genetics and evolution
http://johnhawks.net/weblog
br>
A recent post indicates that things are already a lot more complicated than modern, Neandertal and Denisovan.
br>
Also, what is the “cheap wedding dress” hypothesis? Sounds amusing. Maybe not as amusing as “irrefutable” hypotheses of Atlantis, but we’ll have to give that careful consideration. I always preferred Atalanta, myself, since she was cute and ran naked, which always has a certain interest.

Dancing From Genesis - #65170

September 28th 2011

Just remember that the Atlantic ocean and the Atlas mountains were probably not named by the egyptain priests of Sais. 


beaglelady - #65195

September 28th 2011

“Cheap Wedding Dresses” was a spam bot that came through here recently.  Definitely not as amusing as Atlantis.


Dancing From Genesis - #65199

September 28th 2011

Google search:  Atlantis Bible Ice Age

(I know you won’t Beaglelady).


beaglelady - #65201

September 28th 2011

That is true. Why should I?  I could google “planet Nibiru” and get hits, but that wouldn’t make it true. Or would it? 

http://www.planetxvideo.com/


Dancing From Genesis - #65205

September 28th 2011

For you it probably would.


Dancing From Genesis - #65233

September 29th 2011

The term “human speciation” in the title opens the door for racists (most in the darwinists’ community) to use that bad science to say that some humans are “more evolved” than others now as supposedly in the past. 

All of the genus homo, neanderthal, denisovan, homo sapien, homo erectus, etc., must have been the progeny of common homo ancestors (hence the genus homo designation), so actually there was no darwinian evolution involved, nor currently.

But if darwinian evolution were valid, dare I ask then which gene pools in the world today of the genus homo are “more evolved” than others, any takers?

So lest you call yourself a racist, you should admit that species is obviously a meaningless term, and therefore, that given the true meaninglessness of the theistic darwinian evolutionists’ term species descended intellectually from Charles Darwin, the commonsense notion of classification by syngameon is clearly the loving, biblical, and scientific term which should come into vogue among all cogent thinkers, particularly christians, right?   


Jimpithecus - #65298

September 30th 2011

“so actually there was no darwinian evolution involved, nor currently.” 

Not so.  There is enough evolutionary change to recognize the changes from Australopithecus sediba to Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, archaic Homo sapiens, Homo sapiens neandertalensis, and, lastly, anatomically modern Homo sapiens.  Oh yes, there was quite a bit of evolution.  Just because they all have the same genus name doesn’t mean they are the same species. 


beaglelady - #65299

September 30th 2011

But if someone says that species is meaningless, that means it is meaningless.   (Coming you you live from Atlantis.)


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