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Do Endogenous Retroviral Sequences (ERVs) Prove Evolution? Yes, they do!

The following makes corrections (in red) to a blog page at "Evolution Dismantled". While scientists will point out that "proof" is not a concept in science, being constrained to mathematics, other axiomatic systems and to alcoholic beverages, ERVs do indeed prove in the legalistic sense of "establish beyond reasonable doubt", that common descent is true. Accused murderers have been found guilty or acquitted on much less substantial evidence.

The author ignores all the evidence that ERVs derive from retroviruses and attempts to argue from personal incredulity (a fallacy) that it is impossible for ERV components to furnish adaptive function, and that it is impossible for organisms to have acquired so many ERVs from retroviruses and survive.

Note: The author of the page repeatedly refuses to approve my comments on it. Here is the latest comment of mine that he keeps erasing, "
Are you going to display any manners and respond to my offer of helping you with your re-write? And what errors did you find in my piece?" He/she would be most welcome to comment at the foot of this page, without fear of censorship. Readers are encouraged to post a link to this page in the discussion section of the original blog page

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  1. Well done Barry, but you might want to summarize your main objections and counter-arguments at the top instead of just using the red-text insertion method.

    1. Thank you, Diogenes. I have added a short paragraph at the top to that effect.

  2. "Evolution Dismantled", commenting at his original page, says, "Barry, can you please stop posting dozens of comments with your link. There's no need to get upset that you are being censored. For the last few weeks, a new article on ERVs has been in progress and will replace this outdated one. That being said, your blog post contained quite a number of errors in it."

    He neglected to mention what he thought those errors were. I invited him to come here and offered to help him with his new article.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. So, to sum up, the Creo arguments boil down to:

    1. If small parts of a few ERV's (< 2,000) out of 203,000 ERV's are functional, then all parts of all ERVs are functional. (I will not say 10s of thousands are functional, because being the promoter for the start of transcription of low-level-expressed RNA transcripts is not proof of function, IMHO.)

    2. If something is functional, it can't tell us anything about the origin of the thing. For example, if a man points to a bag of potato chips and says to a vender "I'd like thet bag o' crisps mate" in an English accent, this sentence has a function, and therefore its accent and vocabulary cannot tell us anything about the origin of the man who said it.

    3. If the same *kind of* RV inserts in two different species at two totally different sites, that proves that when > 202,700 of the same kind of ERVs insert into human and chimp genomes at identical sites, the > 202,700 identical site insertion locations can't prove common descent, because that *kind of* RV has jumped the species barrier.

    4. Cells have apoptosis so the cell will self-destruct if an RV invades their genome even once. This clearly explains why no human or animal has ever gotten the common cold or HIV (both retroviruses) because our perfect apoptosis system never breaks and has made catching an RV impossible. It also explains why no human or animal ever gets cancer, because our perfect apoptosis system eliminates cancer, never breaks, and we live forever. It also explains why Koalas are not really being killed by KoRV and why the variable insertion sites of endogenous KoRV in different koalas were recently poofed there by God, in different insertion locations, in different individual koalas, since the alternative hypothesis, *they caught the virus that we find IN THEIR SPERM* can't explain it, because the perfect, flawless apoptosis system never breaks, and perfectly *prevents* the observed infections of koalas by the KoRV ***THAT WE ACTUALLY FIND IN THEIR TISSUES AND SPERM.**

    So yeah, totes logical. We evolutuonists better stop using the ERV argument...