Is This Creationism’s Biggest Problem?

According to creationists there were two separate occasions — not one, but two — when all of humanity descended from one human male. The first time, of course, was in the Beginning, when Adam — that despicable sinner! — was the first and only human male in the world, and all of humanity were his descendants.

The second time was after the Flood, when once again there was only one male progenitor for all of humanity. That one, of course, was Noah. Well, there was a wee bit of diversity after the Flood, because the wives of Noah’s sons weren’t his descendants. Nevertheless, Noah and his three sons were the only males in the world, so a similar situation existed.

What “situation” are we talking about? A genetic bottleneck, of course. This came to our attention because of a news article at the Fox website: Royal dynasty facial deformity known as ‘Habsburg jaw’ was caused by inbreeding, scientists say. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A facial deformity known as “Habsburg jaw,” famously noted in the Habsburg dynasty of Spanish and Austrian royals, can be attributed to inbreeding. According to a new study published in the Annals of Human Biology that looked at facial deformities and investigated the possibility of a genetic basis for them, the unique chin is a result of generations of intermarriage.

Here’s the published paper they’re talking about: Is the “Habsburg jaw” related to inbreeding?, which you can read on-line without a subscription. Getting back to Fox, they quote from an author of the paper:

The Habsburg dynasty was one of the most influential in Europe, but became renowned for inbreeding, which was its eventual downfall. We show for the first time that there is a clear positive relationship between inbreeding and appearance of the Habsburg jaw,” said lead researcher Professor Roman Vilas from the University of Santiago de Compostela in a statement.


“While our study is based on historical figures, inbreeding is still common in some geographical regions and among some religious and ethnic groups, so it’s important today to investigate the effects,” says Vilas. “The Habsburg dynasty serves as a kind of human laboratory for researchers to do so, because the range of inbreeding is so high.”

The problem isn’t just a deformity of the jaw. We found this article at PhysOrg from ten years ago: The role of inbreeding in the extinction of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. You read their title correctly. It says “extinction.” One excerpt should be sufficient:

The powerful Habsburg dynasty ruled Spain and its empire from 1516 to 1700 but when King Charles II died in 1700 without any children from his two marriages, the male line died out and the French Bourbon dynasty came to power in Spain. Reporting in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, April 15 [The Role of Inbreeding in the Extinction of a European Royal Dynasty], Gonzalo Alvarez and colleagues at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, provide genetic evidence to support the historical evidence that the high frequency of inbreeding (mating between closely related individuals) within the dynasty was a major cause for the extinction of its male line.

The reason we mention the foregoing is so that we can ask this question: Why don’t creationists ever consider the obvious problems associated with their version of history? There are some people running around who are undoubtedly inbred idiots — but we’re not all like that. So what’s the creationist explanation? Is there one?

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17 responses to “Is This Creationism’s Biggest Problem?

  1. Oh, they have an answer (they always do). Buckle your seat belts!

    Since when have they considered the evidence against their “opinions” (I can’t call them theories)? They majored in cherry picking in college. They only address evidence that supports their world view and for the rest of it, they have spin, spin, spin….

  2. Isn’t their answer to that problem the alleged “genetic entropy”? I.e., that Adam and Noah were genetically more “perfect” and that the human genome was continuously corrupted since the Fall.

    A “perfection” and a “regression” measured on a wishful thinking scale supported by a total lack of data. But creation scientists (sic) rarely feel the need to back their ideas with positive evidences.

    This said, I don’t know if they think that Jesus’s death had done something against this “entropy”.

  3. Michael Fugate

    Hypermutation? No mutations are always bad.
    God-infused genetic variation? God is always good.

    The “perfect” Adam model is the one Behe used in “Darwin Devolves” by substituting in “perfect” genes and proteins – it comes out of the Greek influence of ideal forms – nothing in Genesis says the creation or anything in it was perfect only that it was good (whatever that means). The idea that there is a “right” or “correct” human is wackaloonery after the 18th century.

  4. There is a reson for all of the intermarriage among the Habsburgs. Only a Habsburg is good enough for a Habsbrg to marry. Also, this kept the Habsburg property in the famiy.

    Read in Wikipedia about the sorry state of Charles II of Spain, and the war that resulted for deciding who would inherit the lands of the Spanish Habsburgs.

  5. Michael Fugate

    One would think that if kings were chosen by God, then God would have given them a heads up on basic genetics, no?

  6. This article triggered a thought…. christANALs clam masturbation is a sin, and is also homosexual as you are doing sex acts with a male — your own self). But if Adam was the 1st human, and gawd made Eve from Adam, then isn’t Adam masturbating when have sex with Eve, since Eve is Him??? Adam being homosexual is debatable as Eve is a female him.

  7. Remember that before well into the 19th century, nobody had any idea about genetics, or much else about reproduction, either. In the Bible, for example, it mostly assumes that the male is the important parent. A tribe is the children of a single male.

  8. Michael Fugate

    Which is why Jesus could be born of Mary, but be entirely God. Mary was merely an incubator.

    Still, God could have told everyone how it all worked – think of how it could have helped improve animal breeding, for instance. There are many things that could have been relayed that would have been helpful and many things that were supposedly relayed that were harmful – definitely a mixed bag. Makes one wonder if any Gods were involved.

  9. SC says ” Why don’t creationists ever consider the obvious (genetic) problems associated with their version of history?” Good question. And the answer is ?……… Or more appropriately its this. opinion>science.

  10. SC also asks ” Is this creationism’s biggest problem?” A genetic impossibility ? Or creationism’s complete rejection of basic physics, nuclear physics, biology, geology, etc ? Genetic failings certainly play a role in creationist behaviors such as rejecting established sciences across the board. Finding believers doesn’t seem to be a problem .

  11. Dave Luckett

    No, it isn’t creationism’s biggest problem. As with all the purely logical or conceptional objections to creationism, it can be dissolved in the Universal solvent of divine power. Inbreeding? Lack of genetic diversity? God set them at naught. So what if the genetics is impossible? To God, all things are possible. God’s will was that the human species survive and grow, and it was so. End of story.

    Creationists have to do this multiple times when accounting for the Genesis stories, anyway. No, that’s not the problem.

    The problem is the evidence AGAINST fiat creationism and a 6000 year old earth. That evidence is everywhere. It’s not conceptual, in the same way as transgressing on genetic theory would be. River deltas all over the world can be shown to have accumulated, by slow degrees, over millions of years. Geological strata can be demonstrated to contain millions of years’ worth of the shells of marine creatures. There is not one sedimentary stratum, there are dozens – hundreds – all different. Marine sediments, hardened into rock, contain exclusively fossils of fish unknown today. If they’d died in the Flood, there should be modern fish among them. There aren’t.

    Evidence like this cannot be met by saying “God willed it”, because that implies that God is capricious and false. He’s a trickster, a liar. He made things to look like what they are not. That can’t be right.

    In all those cases, creationists are reduced simply to ignoring or denying the evidence. Appeals to miracles don’t help them. And a creationist without recourse to miracles is truly an abject sight. Well, they are anyway, but more abject in that case.

  12. Yes, God is capable of anything. For that matter, we have no idea of the limits on the supernatural or unspecified intelligent designers.
    So how do we know that they couldn’t make evolution happen over billions of year? How do we know that we understand the Bible about that? (We were mistaken about geocentrism, all of us, for 2000 years.)

    If we allow miracles, then maybe there is some miraculous way that what the Bible says is compatible with evolution over billions of years. How can we rule Out what is possible for God, the supernatural or intelligent design?

  13. Laurette McGovern

    Creationism’s biggest problem is that it is a house of cards built on shifting sands. It has no substance, no foundation.

  14. Michael Fugate

    Isn’t a big problem trying to tie your faith to scientific discovery? God’s existence can’t depend on the age of the earth or Homo sapiens’ origin. As soon as you make that mistake you can’t win.

  15. Isn’t that what the author of Genesis was trying to do?
    Trying to fit his theology to the best science of the day, that of the Babylonians,

  16. Michael Fugate

    I think they were just telling story around the campfire.

  17. As others have noted, creationists reject modern genetics. We learned the other day from Hambo that Eve had the same set of genes as Adam. Not only would their kids be the product of inbreeding, 25% of conceptuses would die by having 2 Y chromosomes, and among the survivors there would be 2 males for every female. Not an intelligent way to get a population started. Perhaps Cain killed Abel looking for a sister to marry?