Saturday, August 18, 2007

ERVs do not exist.

Index to Common Creationist Claims about ERVs

Courtesy of a new source of blogfodder: ERVs do not exist.

Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are segments of DNA which, due in part to some similarities and their seemingly haphazard distribution, are thought to have resulted from past viral infections.
Even if this idea were correct, it does little to support evolution in the microbes-to-man sense.
... and so on.

This is part of a larger Creationist scheme-- put words like 'purportedly' and 'supposedly' in front of basic scientific facts. Create confusion in followers by making facts relative. "We look at a sequence and see GOD! Scientists look at a sequence and see MUTATION! Same data, different interpretations... You arent a MUTATION, are you?"

The LTRs of ERVs are distinctive enough that we can sometimes determine what kind of retrovirus the ERV used to be (alpha, beta, etc). We can even find families of related ERVs and reconstruct an infectious retrovirus from their leftover bits. There is no other way to 'interpret' this data, other than stating that ERVs are ERVs.


Israel Barrantes said...

...and they're now also saying that recent discoveries in the field of epigenetics support the intelligent design... but they're so narrow- minded that it makes me too lazy to reply to them

quantok said...

This sneering attitude to evolution can be seen in abundance on the Creation Evolution Headlines website at

This works on the principle that by quote mining scientific literature and media science articles and putting anything remotely speculative into BOLD TEXT you refute the argument. Thus the word 'hypothesis' becomes LIE or 'proposed mechanism' turns into FAIRY STORY by insinuation.

They also have a nasty little line in dissecting reports by schoolkids of their experiences with science as if their imperfect grasp of scientific principles equates to the science itself being weak.

I mean, isn't this just lying by other means? Ain't that a stoning offence by their lights?

ERV said...

Israel-- Most are too scared to mention epigenetics, and when they do, its horribly horribly twisted. Ugh.

quantok-- Youd think. Looks like lying to me.

大力 said...

This seems to be a new twist (comment #26 from

First of all we have to realize ERVs (retrotransposons) are not derived from integrated RNA viruses. IT IS THE OTHER WAY AROUND: The elements known as ERVs are in fact variation inducing genetic elements (VIGEs). (Barbara McClintoc couls have told you so.) RNA viruses emerge from VIGEs, which normally already carry two genes typically found in retroviruses and which are required for replication and transposition. These VIGEs do the fine-tuning of impliciet morphogenetic programs, such as beaksizes, in order to adapt rapidly to novel environments.

Would you like to comment?

P.S. I'm very ignorant about biology, so my opinion isn't worth much, but I find your arguments concerning HIV much more credible than Prof. Behe's.

Aaron said...

"We look at a sequence and see GOD! Scientists look at a sequence and see MUTATION! Same data, different interpretations... You aren't a MUTATION, are you?"

This reminds me of a quote:
"If you were taught that elves caused rain, then every time it rained you'd see proof of elves."

I mean, isn't this just lying by other means? Ain't that a stoning offence by their lights?

I remember reading somewhere that Ken Ham said something like "Sorry, Kettle but we've got an agenda," in response to someone calling him out on hypocrisy. I tried googling for the source, but have been unable to find it.

David said...

I have been reading a lot of different articles on the topic of ID vs. Evo lately, and I am starting to get a clear understanding of this phenomena. It is money motivated. There is money to be made in making books on this topic and selling it at christian seminars.

They don't shy away from peer review because they know their bs will be torn to shreds, its because, well that doesn't pay like a book royalty. And by the time the idea has time to be dissected in the public, well, they have probably sold a lot of books to xians, and of course those xians don't really look into each theory, or read any criticisms of it, and even if they do, the are predisposed to believe its a conspiracy to deny god.

This tactic is evident in some of the other underhanded tactics this guy has done. For instance, "leaking" excerpts from his book on the web, and then reading criticisms and rebuttals on it, and then rebutting the rebuttals and make it seem like he anticipated it.

Down right shameful.