Assumptions, Circular Reasoning, and a Literal Adam and Eve

by Dr. Patricia Fanning

Many scientists claim that genetic evidence clearly demonstrates humans are descended from chimps and the original population of humans was much larger than a single man and woman (the biblical Adam and Eve). They base these claims on theoretical models of the evolutionary relationship between humans, chimps, gorillas, orangutans, and rhesus monkeys. In this article, I explain the erroneous assumptions and the process used to support this conclusion.

In a recent Today’s New Reason to Believe, I promised to provide a detailed review of the assumptions made during the process of generating phylogenetic trees. Researchers use these trees to derive the evolutionary relationships between humans and the great apes. The trees are constructed using gene sequences similar among the species being considered. For each gene, a separate phylogenetic tree (called a gene tree) can be constructed using computational methods.

If evolution were true, one would expect the vast majority of gene trees to look the same and to reflect the evolutionary history of each species. Based on this reasoning, evolutionists construct a theoretical “species tree” that they expect the majority of gene trees to match. Gene trees also generate theoretical dates at which each species being analyzed is thought to have diverged from the common ancestor. The divergence times in the gene trees should also be consistent with one another and with the theoretical species tree. This is the theory, but the genomic data does not necessarily behave in the way evolutionists expect it to behave.

Scientists must explain why the data is the way it is because it’s often inconsistent with the theory. For example, in “Mapping Human Genetic Ancestry,”1 the authors acknowledge that the genomic data reveals that the human genome looks more like a mosaic rather than showing the clear, direct descendent from chimps, as expected.

Here we will review the data analysis process used by the authors to explain why the data doesn’t show the expected results and we’ll observe the assumptions and the process used to deal with contrarian data.  (The assumptions are underlined so that you can identify them clearly.) We’ll see that the authors conclude evolution is true despite the fact that the majority of the data doesn’t fit the evolutionary hypothesis…

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