Home » Human evolution » Some of Ann Gauger’s critics claim she says that humans are four million years old

Some of Ann Gauger’s critics claim she says that humans are four million years old

In “Humanly Speaking … Part 2” (Biologic Institute, July 5, 2012) Ann Gauger responds to a possible misunderstanding of her work in Science and Human Origins, Chapter 5:

here seems to be an idea on the part of some critics that my analysis in “Science and Human Origins” means that humans arose four million years ago. That is not the case.

In the book I said that we share four haplotypes with chimps, and between three and five haplotypes predate the putative split between our lineage and chimps, assuming common descent is true. How many haplotypes depends on how the tree is drawn, and where the estimated divergence time is placed.

Some have said mistakenly that this means the first humans must have appeared at four million years. I never said that and the data do not show that.

Figures: If the girl is making some sense, they have to make up something she didn’t say, so they don’t have to address what she did say. That’s life.

See also:

Science and Human Origins conclusion: It IS possible we came from just two parents

Adam and Eve could be real?: Genes’ introns and exons tell different stories here. Who to believe?

Adam and Eve possible?: Ayala’s contrary claim built in favourable assumptions

Breaking: Adam and Eve are scientifically possible

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

61 Responses to Some of Ann Gauger’s critics claim she says that humans are four million years old

  1. Just received a copy from Amnazon today. Look forward to reading it over some coffee [or whatever] tomorrow.

  2. The rule around here is that if it is over a week old, it is “whatever.” ;)

  3. Dear Ann,

    As the Biologic site doesn’t allow comments, I shall respond here. I hope you find this response, and undoubtedly someone will let you know I have responded here if not. Firstly, I would like to point out that when you refer to “some critics” in your post at the Biologic Institute you are most likely referring to my chapter-by-chapter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) review of Science and Human Origins on my blog, although you give no indication who these critics are. As far as I know, I am the only person to have given such a detailed discussion of your book, and I feel it must be my criticism that you are addressing. I did indeed use the figure “4 million years” but did not make the argument you claim, or anything approaching it.

    I think it would also be good etiquette to clarify who you were referring to on the Biologic website and, assuming it was indeed me, at a minimum link to my review and this discussion here for the readers at that site, so that they can make up their own mind about what was and was not said.

    Allow me to reiterate the argument I made here for clarity. In your response to my comments you stated:

    There seems to be an idea on the part of some critics that my analysis in “Science and Human Origins” means that humans arose four million years ago. That is not the case.

    In the book I said that we share four haplotypes with chimps, and between three and five haplotypes predate the putative split between our lineage and chimps, assuming common descent is true. How many haplotypes depends on how the tree is drawn, and where the estimated divergence time is placed.

    You go on to cite Bergstrom et al. that:

    the vast majority (greater than 90%) of the more than 135 contemporary HLA-DRBl alleles have a very recent origin

    Several clarifications are necessary. Firstly, I did not state that you had claimed “humans arose four million years ago”. Secondly, the bottleneck argument is not dependent on allelic diversity at HLA-DRB1 (as per your citation of Bergstrom et al.) but rather the wider HLA-DR locus, of which there are major haplotypes that substantially pre-date the recent increase in DRB1 diversity.

    I said that the minimum time since a bottleneck in the human population based on the HLA-DR locus was four million years. The reason for this is that there are five major haplotypes (that you discuss), which date to a minimum age of four million years.

    This should be uncontroversial. You state in Science and Human Origins:

    Based on the amount of background genetic change in the introns, three haplotypes appear to be ancient, going back thirty million years or more. These are the haplotypes we have in common with chimps and macaques. Two haplotypes are more recent, based on their accumulated background mutation, and dateback to about four to six million years ago.

    So it is your argument that 1) Homo sapiens have 3 haplotypes of the HLA-DR locus that are ancient and definitively shared with chimpanzees, and 2) we also have 2 additional haplotypes that are approximately four and six million years old.

    This is a total of 5 ancestral haplotypes that share a minimum age of 4 million years. Because five haplotypes cannot have been inherited from two ancestors, we know that as a starting point, any two-person bottleneck in the human population has to have occurred a minimum of 4 Mya, otherwise we could not have retained these 5 ancestral haplotypes.

    —-

    Now, in Chapter 3 of Science and Human Origins, Casey Luskin has argued that modern humans appear suddenly in the fossil record at 2 million years ago, with the arrival of post-cranially-modern humans in the form of Homo erectus. Before this, Luskin emphatically states, there is only evidence of ape-like hominins.

    The Homo lineage then underwent strong, directional selection for increased cranial capacity, arriving at humans with a modern language capability within the last 100,000 years. Even if we ignore the doubling of cranial capacity in Homo and accept for the sake of argument that erectus shared a similar capacity for thought and language, then there is still a two million year shortfall between the last possible time that Adam and Eve could have existed, and the emergence of modern humans. While on the basis of HLA-DR alone we cannot rule out Adam and Eve existing more than four million years ago, we can definitively rule out that they were human in the modern sense.

    In short, there cannot have been a single, modern human couple like Adam and Eve that founded the extant human population.

    —-

    All of this ignores the wider evidence that rules out a population bottleneck of the magnitude required for an Adam and Eve situation.

    I cited in my review the recent paper by Li and Durban (2011) who use whole-genome analyses to demonstrate ancestral population sizes in several human lineages. Thus, any additional, vaguely stated doubts about more recent population bottlenecks are extinguished. There is no evidence of a population bottleneck in their analysis that could allow the radical conclusion you reach in Science and Human Origins that:

    [t]he argument from population genetics has been that there is too much genetic diversity to pass through a bottleneck of two individuals, as would be the case for Adam and Eve. But that turns out not to be true.

    In fact, population genetics demonstrates a level of genetic diversity that is substantially inconsistent with a bottleneck of this magnitude at any point in the Homo lineage, or for millions of years preceeding it.

    As it stands, a human Adam and Eve couple is not scientifically defensible.

  4. PaulMC-

    Population genetics does not deal with evolution by design.

  5. Joe-

    What is “evolution by design”? Are you asserting that varation in the HLA DR locus was “intelligently designed”? If it were true, why should we not consider that this variation was “intelligently designed” with very great SLOWNESS, so that the HLA DR locus is much OLDER than it appears?

    But let us suppose that variation in the HLA DR locus was intelligently designed. You don’t know the identity or purposes of the Intelligent Designer, so how do you estimate how long it took for each haplotype or allele to be intelligently designed? It could taken the Intelligent Designer thirty million years, for all you know, so any alleged two person population bottleneck could be very, very far in the past.

  6. The problem with Ann Gauger’s argument and paulmc’s response is that both appear to assume that the claim that all modern humans can be traced back to one man and one woman includes the further claim that all modern humans have descended from only one man and one woman. Genesis certainly does not make that claim. In fact Genesis 6 tells that there are other sources of genetic material that have been inserted into the human genome.

    The bottom line is that if humanity has a complex genetic history, there is no way that the types of studies being done today could sort that all out with any degree of certainty.

  7. In fact Genesis 6 tells that there are other sources of genetic material that have been inserted into the human genome.

    You must be assuming the term sons of God can not refer to a human. I don’t think that is neccessary. However, even if that was the case, and one assumesthe context was about genetics, then consider that Noah was considered perfect in his generation(Genesis 6:6).

  8. And of course, the reason Noah’s is mentioned, is because Noah represents the biggest genetic bottleneck in human history. So, from eight people we also have a at least one other couple that we all share a common anscestry with (i.e. Noah & his wife).

  9. If you read Genesis as a YEC, then Noah and his family would be a genetic bottleneck. A more consistent approach is to read Genesis as a series of eye witness accounts that recount what those who were present actually experienced and passed on to later generations. People naturally say things like “all the mountains were covered” and “all living things were wiped out” without adding the qualifier – “as far as I could see”.

    If you think that God simply dictated everything, how is it that we 4 Gospels which each tell the story of Jesus from a different perspective? You might also read what Luke said about how he wrote his gospel. He does not start out by saying – “God dictated all of this to me.”

  10. @Lamont.

    Yes, people use such expressions. But why use measuements to specify how far above the mountains the water rose? And why would the rainbow then be a given by God as a promise that God would never kill people in a localised flood again? While we regularily see local floods killing large swaths of people, e.g. the one caused by the tsunami that hit Indonesia.

    Does this mean the bible is not inspired? And if it is just uninspired persepectives of humans, and the rainbow isn’t a sign or promise of anything, but only an opined allegory. Then where is the line? Why not Adam and Eve as allegory, that means original sin is allegory, Jesus sacrifice is then an allegory, etc… Seems, it leads to a complete meltdown of the bible as a revelation by God.

    Thoughts?

  11. I would like to see Ms. Gauger’s take on paulmc’s critic of her book. His criticisms deserve a response.

  12. @Lamont.

    BTW: I’m a young earth creationist. Though, that might have been evident. :)

    Measured time on earth:
    1. 6 literal Creation days.
    2. ~6000years ago.
    3. Noah + 7 family members survive a global flood.
    4. Global flood was about ~4500yo.
    5. Subsequent tower of Babel dispersion of man by confusion of languages from somewhere in the Middle East.

  13. Hi JGuy, The Bible can be inspired and still written from the perspective of the inspired writer. There is a middle ground between skepticism and naive literalism which I believe captures the truthfulness of what God intended to reveal better than any rigid method of interpretation.

    For example, I believe that the flood was a world wide event but that each of the flood stories recorded by various cultures around the world represents what happened to the people in that locality. In the case of Noah, everyone that he knew of was wiped out. So the Biblical account is truthful. It is only the way in which some interpret it that I would disagree with. http://www.accuracyingenesis.com has a good article on the flood as well as on some of the other issues you raise which you might check out.

  14. Given that Eve was made from a rib from Adam, is there any reason at all to think that both Adam and Eve did not share the exact same identical DNA?

  15. @MMung.

    That is an intriguing question, and one I just so happened to hear addressed at some level last night while perusing the irrefutable source known as youtube. :)

    That question is addressed, and a lot of other interesting stuff regaridng population genetics as it pertains to the biblcial Eve:

    Origins – Eve: Real Evidence with Dr. Robert Carter

  16. @Mung.
    Actually, the video with the information addressing your question was the one about Y chromosome Adam:
    Origins – Creation Genetics & Adam Our Ancestor with Dr. Robert Carter

  17. The book has arrived- yeah baby…

  18. Mung,

    If Adam and Eve had identical DNA they would be the same sex.

  19. My apologies to paulmc for not linking to his blog. Someone had sent me a quote, and that is what I responded to, having not seen the original. I will respond to his critique when I can.

  20. Gauger@18

    Someone had sent me a quote, and that is what I responded to, having not seen the original.

    And yet you were criticizing people in a previous thread for leaping to conclusions about your book without having read it.

  21. Paul,

    Settle down. I think there’s a difference between responding to a quote, unaware of the larger context, and criticizing a book you haven’t even read.

  22. nullaus, Gauger complained that people judged here books from “snippets, or sentences taken in isolation”. Now she is doing *exactly* the same thing with paulmcs review.

  23. Indium, exactly what dont you understand about the fact that gauger was unaware of paulmc’s review and had only responded to an unsourced quote?
    Why is that so hard to understand?

  24. Pretty much what kuartus said.

    Listen, I can appreciate that some people – particularly swampers (Hi guys, do you really think you’re not noticed?) – are perpetually on edge with this kind of thing. But really, settle down. Ann just apologized for not linking to Paul’s blog, said she realizes now that she was responding to a quote rather than a whole article, and that she intends to get to it.

    I know, I know. It’s a saturday night, and that means, arguing on the internet! But really, you couldn’t ask her to promise to address this in a more proper faction. Go unwind with some Team Fortress 2 or something. ;)

  25. And in some very ahead-of-the-times places it’s actually Sunday morning :)

    Nullasalus, I appreciate your point of view. Also, let’s remember that after one round of telephone, Ann’s remark has lead to me being accused of lying (in the OP):

    “If the girl is making some sense, they have to make up something she didn’t say, so they don’t have to address what she did say.”

    I don’t think it is unreasonable of me to want to correct that.

  26. Hi Paul,

    I just receved the book today and have finished the first chapter. Your “review” is nothing but whining.

    Just what type of nested hierarchy should descent with modification form, Paul? A nested hierarchy based on what? The nested hierarch of Linnean taxonomy is based on characteristics but with evolution those can be lost. Not only that with a gradual evolution we would expect a blending of characteristics- the very definition of “transitional form”- and that would form a Venn diagram where overlapping is allowed. Overlapping is not allowed in a nested hierarchy.

    If you can’t even get that concept then what have you?

  27. 27
    Prince of Eternity

    Joe is right- “Population genetics does not deal with evolution by design.”

    Population genetics is just a bunch of math and equations that has nothing to do with science. Real science is about cause and effect. The evolutionary materialist fanatics are always using trying to shove a bunch of equations and experimental results down our throats, and indoctrinate us into their religion of, as Rousas Rushdoony called it, brute factuality.

    James Le Fanu recently in “Why Us?” exposed the utter absurdity of using complicated math to determine if a gibbering monkey had turned into a Beethoven or a Goethe. He quoted your hero, Ronald Fisher, a founder of your so-called “population genetics”:

    “The purpose of reproducing here just a small part of Fisher’s twenty-five-page statistical proof of his major work, The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, published in 1930, is not to clarify his argument, but simply to convey its most salient point—its impenetrable obscurity.”

    Tell me this, atheist: if we can’t understand your so-called “math”, then how could it prove my grandfather is a monkey? So “population genetics” is exposed as just another faith. “Population genetics” is just your religion. Of course, in high schools around this country, this atheist religion is shoved down the throats of innocent children.

    Evolution by design– Intelligent Design– whatever you call it on Sunday in your house of worship, will not be constrained by your brutal, animalistic equations. You evolutionary materialists can never understand, the great Programmer transcends your loveless, unfeeling world of test tubes and bunsen burners and addition and multiplication.

  28. Your “review” is nothing but whining.

    You’re much too kind.

    A nested hierarchy based on what?

    Well, some cladograms are made with anatomical characters, some are made with nucleotide sites, others use behavioural characters, still others use highly conserved phenotypes such as biochemical pathways.

    The nested hierarch of Linnean taxonomy is based on characteristics but with evolution those can be lost

    Presence and absence are both valid character states. Absence of a character can inform phylogeny if the ancestral (basal) state was presence. Using DNA as an example, a deletion can be informative.

    Not only that with a gradual evolution we would expect a blending of characteristics- the very definition of “transitional form”

    If what you’re saying was right, cladistics could never have gotten off the ground.

    The nesting of clades comes from lineages splitting – cladogenesis. When lineages split, some of their characters diverge. These can be used to understand their relationships.

    You refer to transitional forms, but many transitional fossils have a mix of derived and basal character states, rather than a blend of everything. In fact, characters don’t usually head together on a uniform trajectory that blends from one species to the next.

  29. Paulmc,

    Cladistics is based on the tips of the branches. Transitional forms would be those branches- meaning cladistics does not include them. If they were alive today cladograms would be a total mess. That you didn’t know that pretty much says it all.

    Do you even know what a nested hierarchy is?

  30. Joe,

    Cladistics is based on the tips of the branches. Transitional forms would be those branches- meaning cladistics does not include them.

    Umm . . . I don’t think so. A clade is a group of taxa consisting only of an ancestor taxon and all of its descendant taxa. So it’s based on an arbitrary ancestor. Say all the vertebra. Or all the reptiles. Or all the mammals. Or all the Primates. Or all the hominids.

  31. Jerad,

    Look at a cladogram. Only the tips of the branches are represented by actual organisms. The other points are assumed/ hypothetical populations, ie not real only imagined.

  32. Joe,

    I wouldn’t say that fossilised life forms are assumed or hypothetical. They appear in clades.

    Anyway the definition of a clade is all the descendant taxa of an ancestor taxon. It’s not defined by the existing organisms.

  33. Jerad:

    I wouldn’t say that fossilised life forms are assumed or hypothetical. They appear in clades.

    Reference please. Do they appear at the tips?

    Anyway the definition of a clade is all the descendant taxa of an ancestor taxon.

    Yes I know. However that does not make it so.

    It’s not defined by the existing organisms.

    It is constructed using existing organisms at the tips and the number of shared characteristics determines the degree of relatedness.

  34. Joe,

    Reference please. Do they appear at the tips?

    They can if they were the last of a line. Like some dinosaurs or Neanderthals. Google ‘dinosaur clades’ to see some examples.

    Yes I know. However that does not make it so.

    Guess you’d better argue with the people who invented and defined cladistics.

    It is constructed using existing organisms at the tips and the number of shared characteristics determines the degree of relatedness.

    More or less but using different kinds of ‘characteristics’ (morphology, computational phylogenetics or genetic sequencing) and/or different structures (node-based, branch-based, apomorphy-based) give you different kinds of cladograms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladistics

  35. Jerad:

    Guess you’d better argue with the people who invented and defined cladistics.

    Just because someone can define cladistics doesn’t mean it holds water. i can use the same criteria for determing a clade and use it to determine the common design.

  36. 36

    Joe claimed:

    i can use the same criteria for determing a clade and use it to determine the common design.

    That might be helpful. Would you care to work an example?

  37. Joe, the thing you seem to be forgetting is that most lineages go extinct. So fossils are unlikely to be ancestors of modern animals, rather than close cousins to those ancestors. In this way fossils should be thought of as tips on trees (just tips that don’t make it to the modern day). The standard creationist apoplexy about this or that fossil not being ancestral is based on the same misunderstanding, the point in not that one fossil is an ancestor, but that we can infer what characters and ancestor was likely to have using a phylogentic framework.

    There is a nice illlustration of how extinction and speciation can balance to get “bushy” evolution narrowing down to sparse phylogeny here: http://web.uconn.edu/gogarten/

  38. wd400:

    Joe, the thing you seem to be forgetting is that most lineages go extinct.

    Nope, I am not forgetting that.

  39. Daniel King-

    Just take any existing cladogram and instead of common ancestor replace that with common archetype- for example all vertebrates have some commonality in their design.

  40. Joe, then why do you think fossils shouldn’t be on tips?

  41. wd400:

    Joe, then why do you think fossils shouldn’t be on tips?

    Do I also beat my wife? What am I thinking now? What flavour gum am I chewing? Trick question because I just usually throw in a small handful of different flavoured gumballs- but hey you knew that already I am sure.

  42. Daniel King-

    In “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” Denton started a “Transportation” nested hierarchy which was based on common designs.

  43. Sorry, Joe, should fossils be tips in trees or not?

  44. Put then wherever you want. My guess was they would be on the tips- their respective tips. Meaning the branches would still be bare and hypothetical.

    However, if you think about it, they should be inside of the clade on the branches- those missing ancestors the tips came from.

    IOW if we put all the fossils and all the extant organisms on the tips there isn’t anything left for ancestors, hey.

  45. Joe,

    Put then wherever you want. My guess was they would be on the tips- their respective tips. Meaning the branches would still be bare and hypothetical.

    Clearly some fossils would be on tips and some would be on the branches.

    However, if you think about it, they should be inside of the clade on the branches- those missing ancestors the tips came from.

    So . . .why did you guess they would be at the tips?

    I don’t understand what you’re trying to get at. Or if you’re even taking this discussion seriously.

    IOW if we put all the fossils and all the extant organisms on the tips there isn’t anything left for ancestors, hey.

    Which is why we don’t.

  46. 46

    Joe:

    Just take any existing cladogram and instead of common ancestor replace that with common archetype- for example all vertebrates have some commonality in their design.

    That’s not clear to me. Would you kindly work an example, as I requested?

  47. Daniel King-

    Linnean taxonomy is based on a common design- that is your worked example.

  48. Jerad:

    Clearly some fossils would be on tips and some would be on the branches.

    How can one tell which is which?

    Earlier I asked you for a reference and you didn’t produce one. Why is that?

  49. Joe,

    How can one tell which is which?

    Based on whether or not they generated descendants clearly.

    Earlier I asked you for a reference and you didn’t produce one. Why is that?

    They’re easy enough to find if you’re really interested. I’m not sure you are so I’ll leave it up to you.

  50. Jerad,

    How can one tell if a fossil generated any descendents? That is descendents that were a different species?

    So you have no intention of supporting your claims- got it.

  51. Danial King-

    Do you know how clades are formed? They are formed via similarities. And similarities are evidence for a common design. So instead of some hypothetical ancestral population as the divergence point, we would have a common design based on the number of similarities.

  52. Joe,

    Similarities are also evidence for common descent. As is the geographic distribution of species.

    How can one tell if a fossil generated any descendents? That is descendents that were a different species?

    From the fossil, genetic, morphologic and biogeographic data.

    So you have no intention of supporting your claims- got it.

    If I thought you were really interested I would make another attempt. If you were really interested in dinosaur clades you would look one up. When I try and defend my position you just decry whatever I say. I don’t have any evidence, etc. And you’re very reluctant to answer questions. (Here’s one: if there is extra programming in the cell as you’ve asserted and the whole thing is front loaded in some way then would there be lots and lots of transitional forms that did not form fossils?) (Here’s another one: if ID is not anti-evolution, as you’ve said, then does ID agree with clades based on genetic sequencing?) So I’m not sure it’s worth continuing the dialogue to be honest. Not when it feels like I’m just being mocked and not taken seriously.

  53. Jerad:

    Similarities are also evidence for common descent.

    Yes humans give rise to similar humans. Chimps gve rise to similar chimps.

    And sorry, no one should take evolutionists seriously. Just look at what you are saying- we are the result of accumulations of genetic accidents that can’t even produce more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites.

  54. 54

    Do you know how clades are formed? They are formed via similarities. And similarities are evidence for a common design. So instead of some hypothetical ancestral population as the divergence point, we would have a common design based on the number of similarities.

    So you would have a hypothetical ancestral design instead of a hypothetical ancestral organism. It looks like different names for the same thing, if the same method yields the same result.

  55. That is right Daniel- did you know that evolutionists took Linne’s taxonomy and changed the names to make it look like evolution didit as opposed to a Creator?

    One would expect a priori that such a complete change of the philosophical bias of classification would result in a radical change of classification, but this was by no means the case. There was hardly and change in method before and after Darwin, except that “archetype” was replaced by the common ancestor.– Ernst Mayr

  56. Joe,

    And sorry, no one should take evolutionists seriously. Just look at what you are saying- we are the result of accumulations of genetic accidents that can’t even produce more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites.

    No one said you had to take it seriously. I just wish you took the time to answer some of my questions seriously like you expect me to answer yours. Oh well.

  57. 57

    Joe,

    Thanks for the Mayr quote. It’s a classic.

    If I’m following you correctly, using cladistic methods, evolutionists hypothesize a common ancestor for humans, chimps, and gorillas, whereas design theorists using the same methods hypothesize a common ancestral design for humans, chimps, and gorillas.

  58. Daniel-

    “Change the way you look at things at the things you look at change.”- Wayne Dyer

  59. I’m not a critic, but rather a sceptick. Ann is AFK!

  60. 60

    @51.
    “[Clades] are formed via similarities.”

    Uh… No.

    Clades are, by definition, an ancestral species and all of its descendant species. They are formed via descent with modification. Graphic representations of clades, i.e., cladograms (phylogenetic trees), are produced by assessing/analyzing the extent of shared unique features, be they morphological/physiological features or molecular sequences. The methods for producing cladograms have been tested on knowns and experimentally generated clades and found to be quite accurate, and the assumptions of these methods have also been tested (e.g. that mutations are heritable).

  61. Clades are, by definition, an ancestral species and all of its descendant species.

    Clades are formed via similarities- that is what is and isn’t in a clade is determined by the number of shared characteristics:

    intro to cladistics

    The basic idea behind cladistics is that members of a group share a common evolutionary history, and are “closely related,” more so to members of the same group than to other organisms. These groups are recognized by sharing unique features which were not present in distant ancestors. These shared derived characteristics are called synapomorphies.

    cladistics:

    Cladistics can be distinguished from other taxonomic systems, such as phenetics, by its focus on shared derived characters (synapomorphies).

    And also what is cladistics?

    They are formed via descent with modification.

    That is the assumption. However a common design explains the similarities and descent with modification still cannot explain the differences.

    And nothing about cladistics supports the premise of accumulations of random mutations.

Leave a Reply