Racing to a Conclusion

on May 9, 2009
Featured in News to Know

Africa may be the most genetically diverse place on earth. Is that evidence of evolutionary origins?

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Evolutionists have long called Africa the “cradle of humanity,” a reference to several supposed apeman fossils found on the continent. Now, the largest genetic study ever undertaken on Africa reveals the extent of genetic diversity there.

The study began with more than 3,000 samples of genetic material taken from 121 African populations, including from remote groups. Among those, the researchers identified 14 “ancestral population clusters” whose members share ancestry/ethnicity as well as cultural and linguistic similarities.

Because of the evolutionary presupposition that the group with the most genetic diversity is also the oldest population (the idea being it has had “the longest to evolve,” BBC News explains), the researchers believe the study supports the idea that humankind first evolved in Africa. The scientists even go a step farther, claiming to identify an aboriginal group of Africans (the San) as possibly “descendents of a population ancestral to all modern humans,” said the University of Pennsylvania’s Sarah Tishkoff, the team leader.

Evolutionary assertions like Tishkoff’s remind us of why Darwinism (not necessarily Darwin) promoted and reinforced racism for more than a century: the idea that certain groups’ ancestors diverged earlier than others, showing them to be inferior to more “highly evolved” races. While even modern evolutionists dismiss such conclusions, the underlying principles remain.

Several factors could account for the wide range of genetic diversity in Africa, including the fact that it is the second-largest continent with a wide range of geography, as well as that its history includes ongoing trade and migration between Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Furthermore, it is not clear whether studies of equivalent rigor have been conducted on other continents (for instance, targeting remote groups as this study did).

After Noah and his family departed from the Ark, their descendants would have steadily diversified, especially after the Confusion event at Babel. In the millennia since, a litany of factors—wars, mass migrations, trade, disease, and more—have continued to alter genetic diversity. What we observe today is a result of both biology and history, all of which we can understand through the biblical worldview.

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