GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity

This Article shows that even if the physical evidence didn't refute the special creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 1:27, the problem of Genetic Diversity known as the "Founder Effect" would eventually lead to crippling genetic mutations or extinction.
The article also mentions some other characteristics of and similarities with Near Eastern (Southwest Asian) Myths and a little history of the Bible.

This article and its predecessors in the series are a collection of notes put together from sources that are represented by quick reference links to similar web pages to make it easy to get more information as quickly as possible. The original sources are listed at the end.

A LIST OF PREMISES AS ARTICLES REFUTING GENESIS 1-11 AND ROMANS 5 SO FAR
P1. The Interconnectedness of The Ancients - Demonstrates the robust ancient civilizations at the time and that Canaan, Israel and Judah were central to them. Discusses trade routes, seafaring, the link between whales and the Leviathans of Mythology and how long it would take to get from one civilization to another by sea.
P2. Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths. Demonstrates the prior existence of key elements of the story of the creation of the Universe that appears in Genesis.
P3. Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era. Demonstrates that the physical evidence contradicts the story of the making of the first humans in Genesis.
P4. GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity. This Article shows that even if the physical evidence didn't refute the special creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 1:27, the problem of Genetic Diversity known as the "Founder Effect" would eventually lead to crippling genetic mutations or extinction.

The criteria for Folklore as described in Alan Dundees book "Holy Writ as Oral Lit" are "multiple existence and variation".

GENESIS 1:28-31
* In most Near Eastern myths, man is made to serve god, he doesn't have a special place in the earth, but Judaism is different. The Judaic God, in concept and in comparison to other Near Eastern Gods, is like a benefactor of Man, like Prometheus(1).

* Generally, Near Eastern Myths reflect the sophistication of the city-state, Kingdom, region or Empire they come from. They have many Gods each with a responsibility and organized in an hierarchy. Judaism, coming from a small nomadic tribe has a God that reflects their culture. Their religion is simple; One god, involved with their daily business like a small town preacher. When they lost their land and moved to Babylon, then lived under the Persians, and then Greece, Gods character and behavior changed remarkably over time marked by the development of his "hiddenness" and the theology of the Angels and Satan.

* God gives them vegetation for food, later (after the flood) God changes his mind and lets them eat meat. Being pastoral, its not good to eat all the profits.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

God told them to be fruitful and multiply, but the problem is, the population they should found would be less fit over time than the founders. Their DNA would degrade over time until after a few generations, they would exhibit defects such as color blindness, immune system deficiencies, dwarfism, and a whole host of other problems that would put them at a higher risk of extinction with every generation.

* Founder effect: "The term "founder effect" refers to the loss of genetic variation when a new colony is established by a very small number of individuals from a larger population"(2,3)

Though there are a very small number of mutations (genetic drift) in a new birth, a small breeding population will amplify that drift. The effect can be profound. Changes in few a people can be copied through subsequent generations(3a). One of the problems in inbred populations are immune system damage. Without wide genetic diversity, the immune system becomes less able to fight a wide variety of diseases(4). The overall result is that inbred populations are less fit than larger breeding populations. And in fact, historically in popular culture, the effects of inbreeding are the subject of jokes directed at populations such as those that live in the Appalachian mountains commonly known as "Hillbillies"(5,6). Some case studies in genetic diversity among small populations have been done. Two ironic cases are the Amish in Pennsylvania and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah.

In Eastern Pennsylvania there are a group of Christians that live communally preferring to keep themselves distinct according to their religious beliefs(7). The are called "The Amish". This community was founded by about 200 German Immigrants in the early 18th century, possibly 1744. Because of their preference to breed from among themselves, their genetic diversity has decreased over time leading to an extraordinarily high instance of inherited disorders such as dwarfism and extra fingers caused by genetic mutations.

In Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded by John Y. Barlow and Joseph Smith Jessop. Because of their preference to interbreed, their population now lives with extraordinarily high incidence of mental retardation, encephalopathy, unusual facial features, brain malformation and epileptic seizures caused by unusually low amounts of fumarase in their cells(8).

The Pingelap Atoll is one of a group of three islands in the Pacific(9). After being struck by a typhoon it was reduced to a population of about 20. They have an unusually high incidence of colorblindness. 10% of the population are colorblind and 30% carry the Gene.

While the study and predictions of adequate numbers in a founder population is inconclusive, the estimates obviously depend on the quality of the initial set of genes. The numbers that I have seen for a viable population go from 50 to 10,000 individuals. A recent study of the genetic diversity in the founding of the Americas(10) shows the retention of genetic material of only about 70 individuals. Some of the genetic material was lost due to attrition (less breeding by a certain group) so the number was higher. According to Claude A. Piantadosi "the minimum founder population for a remote permanent space colony is likely to be on the order of 100 to 200 unrelated individuals."(11,12) That should bring new meaning to the phrase "Planned Parenthood". I suppose a plan to ensure the greatest amount of genetic diversity would have to be established to ensure the greatest likelihood of long term preservation of health.

If we say that Adam and eve lived and were perfect, then as we have traced our lineage back, we find the genetic "Adam" at about 60,000 BC and we find the "Mitochondrial Eve" at about 200,000 BCE. with 140,000 years between them, this contradicts the scenario in the bible. That puts us to the very beginnings of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, who definitely were not like us, and were living at the same time of the Neanderthals.

Stipulating Adam and Eve actually existed we should extend to them perfect Genes when they were made. Even with that, they could not escape genetic drift. We can see through experience and case studies that without perfect genes, a breeding population of more than two hundred would be needed to avoid the type of problems experienced by the Amish, the LDS, and the Pingelaps. Even with perfect genes, we know by extending the principles of inbreeding that any population derived from Adam and Eve would be less fit than they would otherwise. To posit a perpetual miracle is to increase the depth of contrary-to-fact speculation and makes an unlikely scenario even more unlikely. In any case, the problem presents itself again with the story of Noah.
30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

GENESIS 2:1-2:4a
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

* The ancients used principles of influence to try to enforce policy. They used Gods to legitimate their policies and their Kingship. Egyptian Pharoahs were variously linked to Gods, and The Epic of Gilgamesh has Gilgameshes name inserted in as the name of the Hero.

* The assertion that God rested on the seventh day is obviously a myth and an indicator that the writer was trying to legitimize this policy by associating it with God. "All his work" shouldn't be any effort at all for an all powerful being. He wouldn't need rest. Was he setting an example? What value does and example add to a mandate from God especially when there is a behavioral double standard for God and Humans?

* Being nomadic, and so prone to displacement, they needed something holy to keep up with the near eastern tradition, specifically Canaanite tradition, so they made a day holy. Holiness in Time rather than place. It allows for "Portable" worship.

* Genesis 2:4a is the end of the story and Genesis 2:4b starts the second one. Normally the biblical chapters correlate to the start and end of a story. In this case Stephen Langton(13) of Magna Carta fame, evidently decided to make this an exception or hadn't worked out the correlation between chapter and story yet.

* I've found two opinions on Genesis 2:4a. One says that it is like the book end to the first sentence. The second says that it was interjected by the redactor to introduce the second story(14). I hate to disagree with Richard Elliot Friedman, but it sure does look like a literary device that opens and closes the first story and it does seem to fit better, in my mind, than opening the second story, only to reverse the words in the next breath.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
4a. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

End of the first creation story

That brings us to the second creation story.

QUICK REFERENCES
1. Prometheus
2. Founder Effect from wikipedia
3. Founder Effect from BookRags
3a. Genetic Overview
4. Inbreeding
5. Hillbilly
6. Hillbilly Jokes
7. Amish
8. Fumarase deficiency
9. Pingelap colorblindness
10. Peopling of the Americas
11. The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments, Claude A. Piantadosi, Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (September 11, 2003) pg 246,
12. Google books- "The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments" Online
13. Stephen Langton
14. The Bible with Sources Revealed Richard Elliot Friedman.

SOURCES
1. Human Prehistory and First Civilizations, The Teaching Company
2.
Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications
, The Teaching Company
3. Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World, The Teaching Company
4. The Bible With Sources Revealed Richard Elliot Friedman
5. The Book of Genesis, The Teaching Company
6. Great Figures of the Old Testament, The Teaching Company.
7. Alan Dundees Holy writ as oral lit
8. National Geographic Genographic Project

10 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

Lee, I think you have a book in you, and I'll want an autographed copy when it's done!

Lee Randolph said...

Thank you John,
I'm honored and flattered. I'll work on it here to "run it up the flagpole" first!

Evan said...

Lee what I find interesting is the further you get into the facts, the fewer critics you seem to have.

This is really first rate work and it's been up almost a full two days now and nobody really has even taken a shot at it.

This mirrors my experience. The more someone knows of biology, the less they can credibly believe in the Bible. Yes, I still know some MD's such as Egnor and others are creationists, but my guess is their actual experience in the deep weeds of biology is limited and they mostly work in human medicine.

When you contemplate the tangled bank -- it clearly shows the lack of a designer.

Lee Randolph said...

Thanks Evan,
I was wondering if it passed muster with an expert or not. I'm no expert, just a guy looking for the truth.

What I want people to take away from reading my stuff is that you don't have to be a scholar to check facts. all my stuff comes from info that can be found in high school or university text books.

Its good to trust, but its better not too.

You're right about the unintelligent design. The whole fabric of religion is built on faulty principles. You can't take many religious principles and apply them elsewhere in life and make them work. Thats a good indication that they need closer scrutiny. If the only way to argue a viewpoint is to resort to special pleading or special circumstances, chances are its a flawed viewpoint.

Trou said...

Lee,
Great post. I find it interesting as I am now reading a college level evolutionary biology textbook that I bought for 2 dollars the other day. I just read about the founder effect and genetic drift.
Correct me if I'm not understanding this well but when a few individuals are isolated, say on an island, there is a greater chance that a genetic trait can become dominate due to genetic drift or a mutation can take hold and become dominate when otherwise in a larger community this gene would not.
As an example of this, recently an island was experimentally populated with several lizards to see how they would adapt to a new environment. Civil strife prevented the island from being accessed for 20 years. When the biologists returned they found, much to their surprise, that the lizards had developed (among other features) cecal valves in their stomachs that allowed them the ability to better digest the plant material that was found on the island.
It took only 20 years. This is an example of the founder effect and genetic drift in action. See the article @ http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080417112433.htm

Lee Randolph said...

hi trou,
exactly,
I left you link on the other article regarding a cornell site talking about southern canaanites getting thier monotheism from egypt.
Its not much, but I think it supports what you were talking about a little bit.

Drow Ranger said...

Actually, the Founder Effect would be more damaging to Evolutionary Theory than Genesis.

Assumptions MUST be made--be they correct or not--on the state of the DNA in the past. We do not know how many errors/mutations/indels existed in populations at the time. However, we do know this: Evolution would require vastly larger time periods than Genesis, thus making for MORE indels, mutations, etc than the few thousand years since Genesis.

I don't think the Hebrews go their monotheism from Egypt. Egypt wasn't monotheistic at the time for crying out loud.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Drow Ranger,
Again thanks for playing.
before I answer, how old do you think the earth is? I'm guessing you think its 6,000-10,000 years old?

Drow Ranger said...

Hi Drow Ranger,
Again thanks for playing.
before I answer, how old do you think the earth is? I'm guessing you think its 6,000-10,000 years old?


Lee: You're just going by what TalkOrigins and PBS and guys like that say about the age of the Earth, aren't you?

6-10, give or take, yeah. Millions/Billions of years make your Founder Effect exceedingly more problematic.

I think you'd better look up why Radiometric dating (which is the end all and be all to those who think the earth is old) isn't what it's cracked up to be. There are too many unprovable assumptions, such as the amount of original parent element in the rock when the "clock" starts versus the amount of daughter element (usually assumed to be 0 out of the starting gate). You'd need the Tardis to confirm whether these assumptions were correct. There could be all kinds of "daughter" element(s) right at the beginning and you'd never know.

Sadly, you still haven't addressed a statement I made ages ago, about how a DIAMOND that is supposedly millions of years old, could have Carbon-14 in it, when C-14 decays to the point of being undetectable much past 100,000 years. Dodge much there Lee?

Also please note, I believe Einstein's theory of Relativity, specifically in the context of how ~10k years can pass on earth while millions of years can pass out in outer space. Yeah, it's a little more complex than you think. There are an increasing number of astronomical discoveries that throw a HUGE monkey wrench into the whole Big Bang theory. In fact, the issue of light-travel-time is a problem for the Big Bang.

Anonymous said...

Haw, I am now delighted by the thought that our ancestors somewhere would perceive in us some gross genetic deficiency.