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Ok so just from an empirically measurable perspective, we know that inbreeding leads to deformed offspring, why didn't this happen with Adam and Eve, and Noah and whoever he choose to go on board the ship with him?

To clarify, how could their siblings then go one to produce offspring without having sex witn their brothers , sisters , father or mother?

I'm also confused as to how humans split into differing distinct racial profiles, how does and where does the Bible explain this part?

Many thanks in advance

reference literature on inbreeding

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    As to Eden, the question has been raised previously on this site(Adam and Eve and ecology) and as to Noah, the question does not arise as they were a fully formed family already with father and wife and three sons and their wives. – Nigel J Aug 17 at 11:14
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"we know that inbreeding leads to deformed offspring"

No, we don't know that. (Or if we do, we have been misinformed.)

Consider Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, whose ancestry is well documented. For five generations back, all of her ancestors descended from the same couple. Most people have 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents. Cleopatra had only 2.

If that's not an incestuous family tree, I don't know what is. Yet no one says "So that's why Cleopatra was so deformed!".

Yes, if someone has a broken gene and their descendants interbreed, there is a greater chance that a child will end up with two copies of that gene. But the risk usually isn't high. When it does happen it typically means that that child won't have children of its own, thereby reducing the incidence of the bad gene from the gene pool. Except for the obvious case of the child itself, this is a good thing.

Here's an extract from something I wrote elsewhere about cousin marriages:

Inheritance

People's DNA has two copies of each gene. If one copy happens to be non-functional, that's usually okay as the other will provide whatever genetic information is necessary.

The problem is that if a common grandparent has a defective gene, two grandchildren could each inherit that gene and both could pass it on to their child. If that child has a gene where both copies are defective, the child will have the disease, disability, deformity, etc. associated with it. If the grandparent does have a defective gene, the chance that a great-grandchild will inherit two copies of it through their first-cousin parents is one in sixteen (6.25%).

Consider a common inherited disease such as Cystic Fibrosis. Among northern Europeans, one person in twenty-five carries the damaged gene. This means that the chance that a child of first-cousin parents inherits both damaged genes from its double great-grandfather is 1/16th of 1/25th, or one in 400 (.25%).

Most inherited diseases are far far rarer than one in twenty-five, so that .25% rate for C.F. represents an extreme case.

Risk

Now suppose we consider a rate of .25% to be too high a risk, and use it to justify declaring such marriages illegal. What are the implications of this?

If we applied the same criterion to Down's Syndrome, we would have to make it illegal for women over 32 years old to conceive children, as the percentage of 16-week fetuses with Down's Syndrome is higher than .25% for 33 year old mothers. And perhaps we would have to make it a criminal offence for any woman over 42 years old to conceive, as the chances then are ten times higher than that.

Legally restricting conception based on the age of the mother is far more justifiable than restricting it based on a first-cousin relationship. But no jurisdiction has ever done that.

  • Its NHS advice that a simple supplement of folic acid, which is also found in high doses in marmite reduces the risk of Down's Syndrome significantly. – Andrew Shanks Aug 17 at 20:47
  • Birth defects are common in the Egyptian royal line due to inbreeding, even 1000 years before Cleopatra owlcation.com/humanities/…. – Alex Strasser Aug 19 at 5:25
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    @alex strasser - yes, their inbreeding was prob used of God to change history.... Hatshepsut rescued Moses from the river because she and her half-brother Thutmose II couldn't produce a son. They had the same father but not the same mother. (SORRY, I have to take back this part of what I said: we cannot be sure about the parents of Ahmose, the mother of Hatshepsut. One of Ahmose's titles though was the "King's Sister", so she may have been the sister of her husband, Thutmose I.) – Andrew Shanks Aug 19 at 9:28
  • @AndrewShanks Interesting I hadn't heard that before. – Alex Strasser Aug 19 at 14:07
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Young earth creationists do indeed believe that Adam and Eve's children would have paired up to reproduce. They do not believe that this would have caused deformed offspring because at that time their DNA was in a relatively good state. YECs believe that genetic decay is a consequence of the fall. Even if each of Adam and Eve's children had a hundred new mutations, they would have each had different ones. Many of the genetic deformities we know today require both parents to have the mutation, so the first generation would have been mostly safe. As long as that generation's children didn't breed exclusively with their own siblings, their mutations would also not match their partners'.

YECs generally assume that Adam and Eve remained fertile for quite some time, with sons like Seth being born after 100 years, and presumably more even later than that. This means that the children of Adam and Eve who married each other may not have been raised together; many could have even been virtual strangers before pairing up. The Westermarck effect thus could have remained in place, and technical incest could have occurred without the social problems that we associate with it now.

As to the nations and 'racial' appearances after the flood, well YECs believe that the Tower of Babel story provides the answer. After the languages were confused the peoples of the world would have spread out, with smaller ones fleeing faster and further in order to escape the chaos and conflict. The larger groups probably remained closer, and would have had more people knowledgable with each technological advance, so that the "cradles" of civilisation we see are centred around Mesopotamia, while nations further away seemed more primitive. As groups spread out, their gene pools shrink, and certain characteristics get emphasised in each. One of the most obvious traits, skin colour, would be caused by the sun: near the equator those with light skin would have died more from skin cancer, while those near the poles with dark skin would have suffered from rickets and other vitamin D deficiencies. Natural selection would thus select the most advantageous skin colour for the climate.

  • Ok sorry your answer is equally valid, I am having trouble deciding between these two. – Adam Aug 18 at 1:15
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Adam and Eve were created perfect. This included their DNA. It had no faults. Interbreeding between a brother and sister or a mother and son, etc, who have no genetic faults will produce children with no genetic faults.

One of the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve was increasing damage to the genetic make up of all animals and humans through genetic mutation. But this took many generations to begin to have a noticeable effect. For humans the life expectancy only came down after the Flood. This may have been because of the increased DNA corruption.

And maybe God's laws on who we can and cannot marry are not what they were in the days of Cain and Abel because genetically we are not what we were.

  • Well no I'm certainly not perfect old mate but I'm flattered so shanks very much I guess – Adam Aug 29 at 14:13
  • You're very welcome. By the way, you know my surname so what does the M stand for, Ada? – Andrew Shanks Aug 29 at 15:21
  • oh nice here we go no I'm a mononym like a Jacob on facebook – Adam Aug 29 at 17:10

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