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  • voodoo genealogy

    Hello, I'm having a discussion on another forum that claims Genetic Genealogy is nothing more than voodoo genealogy.

    Their claims is: As an individual, 100% of one's DNA is who they are represented by a Pedigree Chart. Using Y-chromosomes or Mitochondrial DNA as a group identity, in only 3 generations back, it only represents 3 out of 14 people. 20 generations that represents 20 out of 1,048,576 people.

    A group identity becomes totally meaningless due to the loss of information, when one considers one's Y-DNA line could be from Norway and the rest of the lines could be from Japan, making one's genetics mostly Japanese, but show up as Norwegian.

    How do I prove them wrong?

  • #2
    Hi Jane,

    Fairly newish poster on here, so go easy on me.

    I think you are BOTH right. Genetic genealogy cannot tell you the full story about who you are NOW, because, as the detractors have pointed out, it only focuses on certain lines: not everyone who has ever contributed.

    But I would argue that genealogy is not really about who you are NOW. If you want to understand more about at least some of your ancestors, it is a useful tool. It is not without limitations, of course, but it beats knowing nothing at all!

    I don't really like the comparison with "voodoo", because that implies there is no science behind it. There certainly IS science behind it, and the fact it cannot tell you about ALL of your ancestors doesn't detract from that, in my view. The effectiveness of a tool depends on what you are trying to use it for. If you are aware of its limitations, and not trying to use it for something beyond that, it's still a good tool.

    Just my opinion!

    Comment


    • #3
      Y-dna does just give you one line, the patrilineal one. But it has real value in that it is based in hard, biological fact, whereas a paper trail geneaology is subject to error and also to so-called "Non-Paternal Events" (NPEs), most of which occur due to unofficial adoptions and name changes, but some of which, no doubt, are due to marital infidelity, or a bride pregnant before the wedding by someone other than the groom, etc.

      By having the right cousins or uncles tested, the information from y-dna can be expanded to include more than a single line in one's family. The same is true for mtDNA, if one has the right cousins and uncles or aunts (or grandfathers or grandmothers) tested.

      Nothing is perfect, and we just cannot at present know about every single ancestor we ever had. But knowing something is better than knowing nothing, and it is certainly not "voodoo genealogy." I think a person who says that is simply afraid of what biology might reveal and would rather stick with the safety of a cherished paper trail that might or might not bear up under close scrutiny.
      Last edited by Stevo; 7 February 2010, 04:54 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Tmason,

        Thanks for your response.
        But I would argue that genealogy is not really about who you are NOW.
        From a genetic point of view, the Pedigree Chart is the only mechanism that reveals 100% of one's genetic make up. Going from a specific representation (the individual) to a general representation (the haplogroup) looses 99% of the information. Claiming 1% of the information is who one is ( the objective of genealogy) is where they get the claim that Genetic Genealogy is "voodoo".

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Stevo,

          Thanks for your response.

          I agree that the Y-dna/mtDNA markers are an objective way of establishing one's parentage which is priceless information. But to go back in time 100 generations to establish who one's ancestors are, it is impossible where the information is lost for ever. That is where the claim "voodoo" comes in.

          Example: an ancestor in position #24 on a Pedigree Chart, is as relevant to who someone is, as someone who is the ancestor #16 on the y-dna line.

          Pedigree Chart


          Also, their claim is that "haplogrouping", is a way for bible believers to use science to trying and prove the bible is true (to substantiate the cohen gene), which is what makes the process voodoo.
          Last edited by Jane Ryan; 7 February 2010, 06:03 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi again, Jane.

            Claiming 1% of the information is who one is ( the objective of genealogy) is where they get the claim that Genetic Genealogy is "voodoo".
            This is the part (of their argument) I take issue with. I don't agree that the claim is made that it's "who one is", or that that is the objective of genealogy, either.

            I don't believe my DNA test is "who I am". It's just one piece in the jigsaw - but an interesting one.

            You could say the same about conventional genealogy. If you have only researched, or CAN only research, one branch of your family tree, does that mean the research is futile, and roughly on a par with palm-reading? Of course not! The purpose is to find out what you can, but no claims are made that it would ever be possible to find out everything. Does that invalidate what you can find out? Personally, I don't see why.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tmason View Post
              This is the part (of their argument) I take issue with. I don't agree that the claim is made that it's "who one is", or that that is the objective of genealogy, either.

              The family tree, visually represented by the Pedigree Chart, is what Genealogy is all about. Filling in the blanks as to who one's ancestors are. Genetics using "haplogrouping" is only new to Genealogy, at most 50 years.
              Any person on the horizontal line is as relevant to someone else on the line, making "haplogrouping" have any relevance, is like claiming one's last name is who they are.

              Each person on my mother's line is as important to my genetic make up, as on my father's line is.

              Comment


              • #8
                So is anybody taking issue with traditional genealogy? Is anyone claiming that genetic genealogy is better than traditional? Is anyone claiming that a person's yDNA or mtDNA is the be-all and end-all of a person? Why the attack on genetic genealogy? If you don't think it adds anything to your family's story, then don't participate. Nobody's forcing you to. I think your prior post referencing "bible believers" belies the real motivation for this entire thread.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by vinnie View Post
                  I think your prior post referencing "bible believers" belies the real motivation for this entire thread.

                  The real motivation is to get to the truth of the matter. What is the objective making "haplogrouping" and where does it have any relevance?


                  DNA versus The Book of Mormon
                  Here is where bible believers try to disprove the Book of Mormon, claiming the "cohen gene" contradicts the Mormon dogma that the Native Americans originated from Jews.

                  The problem with their hypothesis is, there is no such thing as the "cohen gene" where there are currently two distinct groups that claim to be Jews, the Ashkenazi Jews of Central Asia ancestry and Sephardic Jews of Middle Eastern ancestry, that would have to distinctly different "haplogrouping".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jane Ryan View Post
                    DNA versus The Book of Mormon
                    Here is where bible believers try to disprove the Book of Mormon, claiming the "cohen gene" contradicts the Mormon dogma that the Native Americans originated from Jews.
                    Sounds to me like your motivation for calling genetic genealogy "voodoo genealogy" is religious too. The Bible believers vs. the Book of Mormon is what this seems to be in your mind.

                    If I wanted to cast doubt on the claim that Native Americans descended from the Jews, all I'd have to do is point out that the yDNA and mtDNA haplogroups of Native Americans don't match those of the Near East, where the Jews are from. They match the haplogroups of North and East Asia, which goes along with what scientists have said about the origin of Native Americans.

                    But then I'm not really interested in a theological debate. I'm just interested in how genetic genealogy can be used as a resource for researching my family tree, especially as I have a brick wall in my paternal line.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is this the discussion you're referring to about genetic genealogy being "voodoo genealogy" - http://www.arguewitheveryone.com/rac...or-jews-9.html and http://www.arguewitheveryone.com/rac...r-jews-10.html. See postings #85 and #99 on Feb. 5.

                      This discussion appears on a discussion board in a thread titled "Proof that Whites are superior to Jews." Warning - racial epithets and profanity are used by posters on the pages I linked to.
                      Last edited by MMaddi; 7 February 2010, 10:30 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MMaddi
                        They match the haplogroups of North and East Asia, which goes along with what scientists [bible believers] have said about the origin of Native Americans.
                        That is only under the assumption that haplogroups have any relevance beyond establishing one's Y-dna/mtDNA line.

                        Here is a good example where using Y-DNA and mtDNA in defining a genetic population aka haplogroups to try an substantiate the concept of race "born a Jew", is a fraud.

                        .67% would have the supposed cohen gene, where only .33% would not.

                        Pedigree Chart

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That is only under the assumption that haplogroups have any relevance beyond establishing one's Y-dna/mtDNA line.

                          Here is a good example where using Y-DNA and mtDNA in defining a genetic population aka haplogroups to try an substantiate the concept of race "born a Jew", is a fraud.

                          .67% would have the supposed cohen gene, where only .33% would not.

                          Pedigree Chart
                          It seems that you don't understand that what you call the "cohen gene" (actually the Cohen Modal Haplotype, CMH) relates to the Cohanim priestly caste within Judaism. It does not mean that all Jewish men have that haplotype, just that many Jewish men who have a paper trail indicating Cohanim status have the CMH. Notice that the CMH has been proven by referring to traditional paper trail documentation, what you call a pedigree chart.

                          The broader point is that not all Jewish men are in the same haplogroup. No competent genetic genealogist would ever claim that, so your use of that argument is a straw man. Jewish men belong to various haplogroups; some of the most common are J1, J2, E1b1b, G2, R1a1, R1b1b2.

                          The role of genetic genealogy is to confirm what a sometimes false paper trail claims or sometimes to break down a brick wall where no paper trail exists. So I don't know why you have such hostility to what you call "voodoo genealogy." By the way, thanks for finally dropping the charade that you were just reporting to us about others who call genetic genealogy "voodoo genealogy"; it's much better to have a discussion when you know the true beliefs of the person with whom you're discussing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jane Ryan View Post
                            From a genetic point of view, the Pedigree Chart is the only mechanism that reveals 100% of one's genetic make up.
                            A good many "pedigree charts" as you term them contain myth and pure fiction because they are not backed by trustworthy documentation but rather by hearsay, unreliable memories and downright lies -- usually to cover unsavory events.

                            The only mechanism that "reveals 100% of one's genetic make up" is a 100% genome map, something that is currently available only to a few very wealthy and well resourced people, such as J Craig Venter.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jane Ryan View Post
                              I'm not in to religion. But, I do find it ironical though, that bible believers trying to use voodoo genealogy to disprove Mormonism, when genetics disproves the bible.
                              Please keep those kinds of baseless sentiments to yourself. This is neither the place for the promotion of religion or for attacks on it.

                              Comment

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