The Bible and Neanderthals

A team of biologists led by Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany have concluded the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence and determined that the Neanderthals did contribute to modern mans genes through interbreeding.  As many as 4% percent of modern humans in Europe, Asia and some other parts of the world have Neanderthals for distant relatives.

My question is how do you think this will affect the creation vs. evolution debates? The fact that “God’s People” have the blood of pre-humans that weren’t even thought of or explained in the Bible.  How does Christian apologetics reconcile an incredibly old (28,000 to +350,000 year old) race of people that could probably talk, as they had the requisite physiological parts, and we know they did make tools and bury their dead with personal items and flowers, and may have made jewelry, contributing to our gene pool.

So far it looks like the intermixing occurred in the Middle East about 50,000 to 80,000 years ago or maybe longer.  No indication yet of any mixing in Europe where modern humans entered about 45,000 years ago.  There is also no sign of mixing in any of Africa’s indigenous peoples. It is truly amazing what DNA science can tell us, don’t you think?

Someone locally ask me if I thought that the Neanderthal might be the Nephilim mentioned in the Bible and I told him I didn’t think so as the Neanderthals were short (5’2” to 5’ 4”) in stature.

Could this be the people that Cain drew his wife from?  No no no, just being silly, as we all know that Cain wasn’t real, and the last Neanderthal died out about 30,000 years ago.   🙂

Quote of the day

If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.  Baron D’Holbach


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Advertisements

About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

20 Responses to The Bible and Neanderthals

  1. Plankton says:

    You ask:
    “My question is how do you think this will affect the creation vs. evolution debates?”

    Creationists have selective beliefs. They only accept the science that adds convenience to their lives and reject anything that conflicts with their faith. They have no problem rejecting geochronology, sedimentology, evolutionary biology etc, I’m sure they have no problem rejecting this based on faith alone.

    This type of information cannot be reconciled with the bible. Either the science or the biblical stories have to be rejected. Although I have seen some people try. I read a post where a Christian claimed that adam and eve could have been Neanderthals, the bible doesn’t say they were modern humans (I do find it funny that the bible also says man was created in gods image so I guess gods a Neanderthal). Even with this reasoning you have to reject science AND parts of the bible.

  2. thewordofme says:

    Hi Plankton, thanks for writing.

    It’s going to be pretty interesting I think to hear the stories that will come out of this new information. I go along with what you say, the creationist person will just have to ignore this bit of science as they do so much other.
    The Bible just keeps getting further and further from reality.
    Thanks for your comment.
    twom

  3. thewordofme says:

    Hello Qboa, thank you for writing back.

    You came to the right page. I hope you took the time to read the post.

    The reason I wanted to “talk” with you is the contents of this post. I am talking with as many people as I can get to respond about how they think the Information that Neanderthals may be in their ancestral closet will affect their particular brand of religion.

    I know that the Catholics accept a modified version of evolution, but this is pretty convincing evidence that the Biblical version of our life here on earth is wrong, at least in the ways that many religious people interpret scripture.

    I highly respect your opinion on these matters, and wonder if you would be so kind as to lend me some of your time and opinion.
    Thanks for responding,
    twom

  4. TWOM,

    Well I haven’t read about this one yet, so it won’t be in depth.

    I think we have touched on this ground before, but I certainly don’t mind going over it again.

    What makes up a person? For all Christians (that I’m aware of the answer is a person is comprised of body and spirit). Science will only address the former which relates to the human nature. Now there certainly many within Christianity who will perhaps have difficulty with Neanderthals as part of their DNA, just as human nature is closely related to chimps DNA.

    However, I don’t see anything in your piece that relates to the scriptural passage.

    “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7)

    Again Man is comprised of two “parts”
    1) the dust of the ground- in scientific terms –
    72 parts oxygen, 13.5 parts carbon, 9.1 parts hydrogen, 2.5 parts nitrogen, 1.3 parts calcium, 1.15 parts phosphorus, and small amounts of potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, silicon, iodine, and fluorine.

    &

    2) the breath of life – not biological life specifically, but spiritual life. It is this aspect that man is created in God’s image not the physical material of the dust of the earth.

    It is only when the two “parts” are join or form a union that in the opinion of Christians that humans came into existence.

    When man dies this spirit leaves the body – “His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return into his earth: in that day all their thoughts shall perish.” Psalm 146:4

    I don’t hold a wooden literalism on “that day” as in a 24 hour period. Perhaps its an area science can pursue in providing an answer for that one.

    I think you will find objections in the area of carbon dating which isn’t an exact science yet and some Christians will get hung on the time line. They focus their energy on refuting the science to fit their theological interpretation. IMO just spinning their wheels.

  5. thewordofme says:

    Hi Qboa, thank you very much for responding.

    A while back some Doctor decided to try and weigh a man before and immediately after he died to see how much a soul weighed…there was no difference. Of course that didn’t prove anything as there is really no way to determine the existence of a ghost or a soul or a demon or angel. We really have only the word of men who grew up in an ancient culture that believed in magic. Some just think we are intelligent meat.

    What of the man/people who has/have no contact with Christian religion and of course there is no connection with an Adam and Eve, especially if this person is a European or Asian who has Neanderthal blood in his veins. Is he truly formed of the dust of the ground by an omnipotent all seeing God? At what point, or where, would a God insert a soul in this being?

    You write:
    “I think you will find objections in the area of carbon dating which isn’t an exact science yet and some Christians will get hung on the time line. They focus their energy on refuting the science to fit their theological interpretation. IMO just spinning their wheels.”

    You are right on the money. The whole creationist “thing” is hanging by the slim thread of denial that we can accurately date artifacts and archaeological findings. There is no longer any doubt in any of the scientific disciplines that the over 40 independent dating methods work. They are continually cross-checked and verified.

    Now they (Creationists) have one more thing to deny.

    Qboa, I re-read this after writing it and it seems a little harsh towards you…please don’t take it that way at all.

    twom

  6. No worries.

    TWOM: What of the man/people who has/have no contact with Christian religion and of course there is no connection with an Adam and Eve, especially if this person is a European or Asian who has Neanderthal blood in his veins.

    I don’t understand your comment or question. Human nature is made of the same compounds whether one is of Indo-European or Asia DNA.

    According to DNA migration studies all of humanity is linked back to a very small group of ancestors in Africa. That doesn’t dispute Adam and Eve is lends support for it.

    “However, some have used skull data to argue that modern humans originated in multiple spots around the world. We have combined our genetic data with new measurements of a large sample of skulls to show definitively that modern humans originated from a single area in Sub-saharan Africa.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070718140829.htm

    TWOM: Is he truly formed of the dust of the ground by an omnipotent all seeing God? At what point, or where, would a God insert a soul in this being?

    I think perhaps your taking a wooden literal reading of the scripture passage in that God took up dust literally to form the first man. That is certainly possible, but science leans towards a progressive development of the material elements of humans, so such a view is unlikely. True religion supports the truth because God is true. There isn’t a conflict btwn religion and science except from those who desire to hold their own individual pet interpretations of one or the other field of study over and against the evidence.

    Its more likely IMO that God stepped into the process and gave the creature the divine spark of God’s spirit. Did God have to use this method, no but it seems to be the case.

    • Plankton says:

      You say:
      According to DNA migration studies all of humanity is linked back to a very small group of ancestors in Africa. That doesn’t dispute Adam and Eve is lends support for it.

      Actually that doesn’t support Adam and Eve, it debunks it. For one thing its completely at odds with the timing in genesis. Mitochondrial Eve lived about 125,000 years ago while Y-chromosomal Adam lived about 70,000 years ago. Mitochondrial Eve was not the only woman alive at the time. We have fossils of modern humans that are much older than Mitochondrial Eve. We also share a common ancestor with Neanderthals that lived about 700,000 years ago.

  7. What timing of Genesis? The only people who have an issue with it are those who support a James Ussher’s chronological record wooden literalism with various assumptions to get to 4004 BC.

    So if your point is that the evidence doesn’t support the young earth creationists, I agree with you.

    The various dates of Mitochondrial Eve & Y-chromosomal Adam are simply physical evidence of the material used. There isn’t any evidence as to when God breathed on Adam, so I don’t think the Christian is locked into a specific date as to its occurrence. Additionally the scriptural record indicates that God then created Eve from Adam, so the intervention of God’s action is a bypass of natural selection in this case.

    I think all Christians would have difficulty accepting a process of polygenesis vs. monogenesis for mankind, but its not impossible. Such a case would then be understood as the deprivation of supernatural grace tied to human nature rather then natural generation of descendants.

    I’m not willing to go that far at this point but I’m open to the possibility of it.

    • Plankton says:

      You said:
      What timing of Genesis? The only people who have an issue with it are those who support a James Ussher’s chronological record wooden literalism with various assumptions to get to 4004 BC.
      So if your point is that the evidence doesn’t support the young earth creationists, I agree with you.
      – Yes I was referring to what young earth creationists believe

      You said:
      There isn’t any evidence as to when God breathed on Adam
      – Actually there isn’t any evidence to support that it ever happened. The evidence we do have supports human evolution and disproves the genesis myth.
      You said:
      Additionally the scriptural record indicates that God then created Eve from Adam, so the intervention of God’s action is a bypass of natural selection in this case.
      – So are you saying that you accept evolution by natural selection for everything BUT humans? If that’s the case how can you explain away the vast amounts of evidence in favor of human evolution. For example how would you explain the Endogenous Retroviruses we share with chimpanzees. For the same viruses to infect us at the same locations in our genome would be a mathematical impossibility.

  8. thewordofme says:

    Hi Plankton,

    Quickbeamoffangorn is a friendly debater, and him and me have been going at it for a few years now. He is one of the most intelligent religious opponent in debate you could wish for and already accepts many things in the science fields.

    Just a friendly notice…you’ll have your hands full.
    🙂

  9. Plankton: Actually there isn’t any evidence to support that it ever happened. The evidence we do have supports human evolution and disproves the genesis myth.

    QB: well nothing you accept, but that moves the discussion from science to theology and philosophy. Science doesn’t disprove evidence in fields it isn’t competent to comment on.

    If your point is simply to knock down young creationist who themselves attempt to use science to establish theological viewpoints and then disprove neo-darwinism well that is their problem and you sport.

    Plankton: So are you saying that you accept evolution by natural selection for everything BUT humans?

    QB: No how did you draw that conclusion. If you read the first post you will see that humans are not simply biological matter. We are made up of matter and a spiritual soul. To my knowledge science doesn’t address not does it desire to address this matter.

    If that’s your claim there is no soul in humans you have the right to your belief system, but its an argument derived from an underlying philosophy (not science) which requires more faith IMO then my system.

  10. Just to clarify your dismissal “Actually there isn’t any evidence to support that it ever happened.” is a claim based not on science but philosophy- in general its an appeal to Epistemology and more specificly the school of empiricists.

    As long as you know that your making a philosophical claim and not a scientific one you can believe that all day, but your point isn’t proven by your dismissal.

    There is a whole host of schools that debate as to how and what constitutes knowledge.

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/category/m-and-e/epistemology/

    I don’t claim any training in philosophy, just a general knowledge of the various fields of study.

  11. Dave Wyman says:

    quickbeamoffangorn wrote:

    “We are made up of matter and a spiritual soul. To my knowledge science doesn’t address not does it desire to address this matter.”

    Actually, we are made up of prehistoric frog dung and invisible pixie dust dropped from under your mother’s left armpit. To my knowledge science doesn’t address nor does it desire to address this matter.

    You have no evidence that the above is not true.

    If it’s your claim we aren’t made up of frog dung or invisible pixie dust dropped from under your mother’s armpit, you have the right to your belief system, but its an argument derived from an underlying philosophy (not science) which requires more faith IMO then my system.

  12. Dave Wyman says:

    By the way, quickbeamoffangorn, you’ve admitted you can’t prove there is a soul, and you have asserted science can’t prove there isn’t a soul.

    At least I have some evidence on my side. Not only can I show that frog dung exists, I can also prove scientifically that small bits of matter can be found under your mom’s armpit; these bits of matter are not from your mom’s corpus.

    Such matter could contain the invisible pixie dust, of which the rest of us are indeed made.

    Meanwhile, neither you nor science can show the place where the soul comes from. So I at least have some empirical data that can be tested, while you have nothing.

    • the word of me says:

      Below is the conclusion from the website you recommended.

      “Neanderthal man was a direct descendant of Adam and Eve. He was fully human and was a product of his environment. Neanderthals were larger brained, more muscular, extremely strong, and longer-lived than modern man. We must not let our preconceived notions about supposed prehistoric men cloud our picture of the proper understanding of Neanderthal man. Only when we consider all the facts can we see the complete picture.
      Neanderthal man was not a product of evolution. All of the evidence properly understood supports the Genesis account of early man as described in the Bible.”

      Several problems with the apologetic’s on the site.

      The DNA from humans and Neanderthals do not match.

      There is plenty of evidence that Neanderthals made their appearance on earth well before humans did, i.e. Neanderthals are an OLDER race and they came out of Africa long before modern humans did.

      From Wikipedia:
      “The publication by Noonan et al. revealed Neanderthal DNA sequences matching chimpanzee DNA, but not modern human DNA, at multiple locations, thus enabling the first accurate calculation of the date of the most recent common ancestor of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis. The research team estimates the most recent common ancestor of their H. neanderthalensis samples and their H. sapiens reference sequence lived 706,000 years ago (divergence time), estimating the separation of the human and Neanderthal ancestral populations to 370,000 years ago (split time).

      Earlier mitochondrial DNA research led by geneticist Svante Pääbo in 1997 had indicated present day Homo sapiens and Neanderthals mtDNA split into separate lineages approximately 500,000 years ago.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_genome_project

      I’m sorry, but I believe in the testable, repeatable sciences that are exploring these subjects much more then I believe in a provably wrong ancient man-made foundational myth of a bronze age peoples.

  13. Kyle says:

    Interesting article. The most fascinating part is that “the word of me” seems to be more anti-religion (especially Christianity) than anything else.

    I would like to note that the dating methods used to get the estimated dates in the article are have been proven faulty past only a few thousand (3,000 if memory serves) years, and are not considered reliable by many respectable scientists.

    Also, another necessary note is that the arguments of this article are all based on the analysis of the neanderthal DNA, which, at the time this article was written, was only 40% completely analyzed and has since shown to have been corrupted with an estimated 11% human DNA in the neanderthal DNA sample.

    It is really just speculation to try to say if the neanderthals are or aren’t the Nephilim. I get the feeling that the author speculates a lot, so out of fairness, one might speculate that at the rate the human population has been increasing in height over the generations, humans back many generations would have been much shorter than they are now (average being around 5’9″) neanderthals would have appeared taller at their 5’6″ average height.
    Of course, that is speculation, and by no means is speculation a good ground for an argument.

    Over all, this article seems to be a rant about something that is way over the author’s head, and is just as selective and closed-minded as many “religious” people. Of course, that would be assuming this anti-religion belief of the author isn’t a religion! 😉

    Quote of the day:
    “Doing your homework in advance helps your articles sound more intelligent” -Me

    • the word of me says:

      Hi Kyle thanks for your reply.

      Quote of the day:
      “Doing your homework in advance helps your articles sound more intelligent”–You.

      Well, my friend, it seems you may not have done your homework before you replied to this post.

      You write:
      “Interesting article. The most fascinating part is that “the word of me” seems to be more anti-religion (especially Christianity) than anything else.”

      I am not anti-religion. That implies that I would want to get rid of religion, and I don’t necessarily want to do that. I am atheist and simply don’t believe in your (or any others) God. The only thing I am concerned about, vis á vis religion, is for Christians to keep their religion out of schools and our governments.

      You write:
      “I would like to note that the dating methods used to get the estimated dates in the article are have been proven faulty past only a few thousand (3,000 if memory serves) years, and are not considered reliable by many respectable scientists.”

      You haven’t been keeping up on the science of dating artifacts I see. I would refer you to this article: “Radiometric Dating A Christian Perspective” by Dr. Roger C. Wiens
      http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html?_sm_byp=iVVR6TfrRHf78VTS

      It’s by an evangelical Christian scientist who happens to work in a age dating laboratory.

      From the forward:
      “Radiometric dating–the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements–has been in widespread use for over half a century. There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them. It has become increasingly clear that these radiometric dating techniques agree with each other and as a whole, present a coherent picture in which the Earth was created a very long time ago. Further evidence comes from the complete agreement between radiometric dates and other dating methods such as counting tree rings or glacier ice core layers. Many Christians have been led to distrust radiometric dating and are completely unaware of the great number of laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent. Many are also unaware that Bible-believing Christians are among those actively involved in radiometric dating.”

      By the way, C-14 is useful up to about 50,000+ years now because of new technology. AMS14C
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating

      You write:
      “Also, another necessary note is that the arguments of this article are all based on the analysis of the neanderthal DNA, which, at the time this article was written, was only 40% completely analyzed and has since shown to have been corrupted with an estimated 11% human DNA in the neanderthal DNA sample.”

      The full Neanderthal genome was completed around 2009-2010, and it was also found that we humans and Neanderthals mated over 30,000+ years ago, and as a consequence most non-Africans today carry some Neanderthal genes/blood. All so-called ‘corruptions’ have been addressed and corrected.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_P%C3%A4%C3%A4bo
      https://www.ted.com/speakers/svante_paabo
      http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals/sequencing-neanderthal-dna

      You write:
      “Over all, this article seems to be a rant about something that is way over the author’s head, and is just as selective and closed-minded as many “religious” people. Of course, that would be assuming this anti-religion belief of the author isn’t a religion! ;)”

      Sorry, not a very good critique, primarily due to you’re not doing your homework and actually understanding the science you are protesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: