A Boatload of Genetic Problems
A common question that many fundies can’t answer is “Where did Cain get his wife?” This question has an easy answer, at least if you listen to the folks over at Answers in Genesis. They have an overly-long article that addresses the issue.
Here’s the basic idea: Cain married his sister. That was perfectly OK in those days, because the law against it didn’t come along until the time of Moses.
What about the risk of genetic deformities caused by inbreeding? No worry! There were none! People back then were perfect. Problems didn’t crop up until Adam & Eve sinned by eating the apple. At that point, God punished them by sabotaging their DNA. That’s why the law against marrying your sister had to be implemented.
OK, I’ve got a bunch of problems with this whole concept, but let’s just accept this at face value for now and see where it leads.
I came across an interesting article over at the Creationism Pages at HolySmoke.org.
This part of their site seems to be an archive of a bunch of articles and internet correspondences. Sadly, their link is dead, so I can’t find out any more.
The article that caught my eye is called “Noah’s Daughters?”. It articulates something that has been bothering me for a while. It’s a brief debate between a couple of folks named Robert Craft and Laurie Appleton. Robert Craft starts with:
Then let’s move to a harder problem — the limited gene pool. For any given gene, the population of the eight humans would contain only a maximum of 10 alleles — 2 each from the three son-in-laws and 2 each from Noah and his spouse. Since the daughter’s alleles would simply be subsets of those of Noah and his spouse, they add nothing to the gene pool.
Laurie Appleton replies:
Since I was NOT aware that Noah had any daughters, at least not on the Ark anyway, and neither did he have any sons-in laws there either then perhaps you should rephrase your question. The whole four women on the Ark might well have been NO relation to Noah at all, but from wholly different families.
That sounds like she’s already trying to weasel out, but Robert gives her the benefit of the doubt:
Fine, Laurie, I’ll play your game. Let’s say that all eight people on the Ark were unrelated. That means that each of them could have carried 2 different alleles for each gene or a total of 16 [2 x 8, Laurie] alleles for the entire population. Since the human genome encompasses up to 59 different alleles for some genes, FROM WHERE did the OTHER 43 alleles come?
You’ve got three choices:
1) There were more than 30 people on the Ark [and Scripture is fallible]
2) The Flood didn’t cover the entire world and at least 22 other humans survived [and Scripture is fallible]
3) 43 different alleles EVOLVED after the Food.
Pay yer money and take your choice, Laurie.
The web page does not record what, if anything, was her reply.
In addition to the three problems above, I also want to know who the offspring of the Ark passengers married. Although it is true that the prohibition against marrying within the family would not come along until Moses, the flood story occurred after “The Fall”. The DNA was already defective by this point. Doesn’t that mean that everybody who believes the flood story is, by definition, the descendants of inbred hicks?