Adam lived in Africa 180,000 years ago, according to geneticist Dr Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona. According to Genetics, all men descend from this single male ancestor. In Nature magazine, Dr Hammer said this ancestor, “whom he nicknamed ‘Adam’”, was not the loner of Genesis but lived in a small group of primitive people. He was probably the only one who successfully procreated.
This new report balances the earlier research that indicted all women descended from a single “Eve” figure some 200,000 years ago. However, according to Dr Hammer, there is no evidence that Adam met Eve. All this research contradicts the older theory that mankind evolved in different regions of the ancient world a million years ago.
In the same magazine, another report gives a more recent dating for Adam.
Oxford Biologist Richard Dawkins is the author of River Out of Eden. It is an interesting book with some fascinating descriptions of biological processes. He writes that the conclusion that “Eve” lived in Africa is controversial and by no means certain.
Dawkins, who is a militant atheistic evolutionist, says it would be a mistake to see all this as a vindication of Genesis. The research does not indicate Eve was the only woman on earth but that she is the only one whose descendants have survived to the present day.
Richard Dawkins is a brilliant scientist and an excellent communicator. But when it comes to religion or philosophy he seems at times embarrassingly naive. His hang-ups about religion arise frequently throughout the book, as its title might suggest. He refers to Christianity often quite unnecessarily and usually dismissively.
In defending evolution he points out that all earthly living things have an identical basic genetic code (arranged in different orders). So he believes they all descended from a single ancestor.
There is no fundamental difference between living and non-living things, no mysterious life force, according to Dawkins. “Life is just bytes and bytes and bytes of digital information.”1 He is reducing life to a sort of computer tape. A “byte” is a small sequence and “digital” here refers to the microscopic code of instructions at the heart of every living cell which govern that cell’s development and function.
Dawkins admits that evolution is a “jumpy” rather than a gradual development. But he adds that nobody thinks that it has been jumpy enough to create a new group of animals in one step. On the other hand he delights in giving a long description as to how the eye could, in his view, have developed gradually from a patch of light-sensitive skin and could have been advantageous at each stage. Creationists who use the argument that a half-formed eye would be no advantage to an animal need to read this.
However anti-Bible Dr Dawkins may be, he is certainly very religious! “Science may even be described as a religion,” he writes. However, as if to prove his ignorance over religious matters, he added “scientific beliefs are supported by evidence, and they get results. Myths and faith do not.”(!)
On the other hand Darwinian theory commands “superabundant power to explain. Its economy in doing so has a sinewy elegance, a poetic beauty that outclasses even the most haunting of the world’s origin myths.” He speaks of the “almost limitless power of the Darwinian principle”.2 This is the language of worship and confirms Romans 1: if people don’t worship God they tend to worship creation.
Dawkins denies there is any purpose in life, the universe and everything. He dismisses the question “Why?” as often inappropriate (an unconvincing side-stepping of the problem). But he admits that “we humans have purpose on the brain.”
Then he writes that the true “utility function” (which really means purpose!) of life is “DNA survival.” (DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid – a basic building block of living things). So he denies there is any purpose to life, then says life’s purpose is to preserve DNA!
He writes, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference … DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”3
What a sad and narrow-minded philosophy!
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction
1 River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Richard Dawkins, Perseus Books, 1995, p. 18
2 Ibid p. 133.
3 Ibid p. 133.