It’s in the DNA

The controversy about the revised “statement of belief” professors at the evangelical Bryan College, in Tennessee (named after Scopes trial prosecutor William Jennings Bryan), are being asked to sign, gets a fairly even-handed coverage in the New York Times: Bryan College Is Torn: Can Darwin and Eden Coexist?.

The “statement of belief” involves affirming the creation of man by God, and the declaration that Adam and Eve “are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms.”

I couldn’t help but notice the irony in the last paragraph of the NYT story, quote Bryan College’s president:

“I don’t think you have to believe the Bryan way in order to be a strong evangelical,” he said. “But this is Bryan College, and this is something that’s important to us. It’s in our DNA. It’s who we are.”

So, evangelicals who believe in the factual existence of Adam and Eve as the ancestors of all humanity, also believe in DNA? The irony is, as Jerry Coyne points out in his reaction to this article:

What’s in our DNA, in fact, is evidence that we all come from a minimum of 12,250 ancestors. How funny and ironic that they say that their rejection of that fact is also in their DNA!

Coyne has pointed this out before: given the present diversity of humanity across the globe — that is, DNA analysis of — there’s no biological way that diversity could have arisen from *two* people who existed a few thousand years ago.

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