Viruses intentionally choose how they infect

(Steve Schaffner) #101

No, that’s not right. Lots and lots of things were broken by viral insertions over those many millions of years. The insertions that broke things, however, weren’t passed down to us, because they had broken something, and organisms with broken genes tend not to do too well. What we see are the ERVs that have survived filtering by natural selection.

(Martin R) #102

i don’t know, you just said, the ERV sequences disappear after many years … but i guess, there are still plenty left (the most recent ones) for the common ancestry argument…right?

(Martin R) #103

i see… so now i am confused again… are you saying, that there were much more than 200,000 insertions in the past?

(Phil) #104

Interesting thoughts, Mitchell. Welcome to the forum!


As Steve said, insertions that have a negative impact on fitness are removed by natural selection and don’t survive to today. Those that have no impact or a positive impact remain.

(Martin R) #106

sure guys like you don’t believe in design (when it comes to life), because you are not qualified … or are you? Are you an engineer ?

I am an engineer, and in nature, i was able to recognize the following design - very easily:

joints, goose neck, pumps, valves, rotors, jet propulsion, buoyancy compensator, color displays, gears, sonic gun, autofocusing cameras, RGB image processors, image stabilizer, sound processors, signal converters, echolocation, wings, navigation systems, thermal sensors, pressure sensors, position and orientation sensors, clocks, hi-tech materials, camouflage, proofreading systems, repair systems, traps, explosives

(Martin R) #107

and i would like to add, perhaps my most important observation that none of you guys in here realize:

in nature, there are at least 3 layers of design:

  1. the design itself - e.g. a hummingbird (shape of the body, wings, internal organs)
  2. the design of the step by step self-assemble process - (development) because the hummingbird self-assemble… there are no assembly workers, nor parts or materials suppliers…
  3. the materials (someone had to chemically design all these sophisticated materials like feathers, bones, cornea…)


Retroviruses continue to infect different species. Some of the insertions are millions of years old, but some are quite young. For example, there are nearly 300 PtERV1 insertions in the chimp genome that were put there since the human and chimp lineages diverged. There are about 100 human ERVs that are not shared with chimps that could have come about since the human/chimp split. Retroviruses didn’t go away, they are still with us.


It would be proof that the virus I saw you design was designed.

If I froze water in front of you, would you accept that as evidence that freezing water requires a designer?


“It looks designed” isn’t a scientific measurement which is why it isn’t taken seriously within science. The other fact is that viruses reproduce and self assemble.


There would have been retroviral insertions in the past that did not make it into modern populations. I think it is fair to say that the ERVs we see today are fewer than the total number of ERVs that have existed in the past.

As noted by others, ERVs that have a negative impact are selected out of the population. ERVs that have a positive impact are kept. ERVs that have no impact are passed on by chance with some becoming fixed in the population and others disappearing.

(Martin R) #112

again, why are you guys doing this?

I told you, a virus = a design = multiple parts work in concert
frozen water, snowflake = there are no multiple parts that work in concert

why is it so difficult to remember?


I am showing you how your argument doesn’t flow logically from premises to the conclusion.

There are multiple parts that work in concert to produce ice. First, you have the multiple components of the atoms themselves which are the protons, neutrons, and electrons. Those atomic particles are also made up of parts called quarks. Each water molecule is then made up of 2 hydrogen parts and one oxygen part. The ice crystal requires all of these parts to work in concert to produce a hexagonal design:


Natural processes that require multiple parts working in concert produce a design.

(Martin R) #114

i have 2 questions:

200,000 insertions have been selected by natural selection, why those 200,000 ?

Steve said, there were more ERVs insertions, which have not been selected by natural selection.
how much more? if you can say… i put that same question to Steve, no reply yet…


Most of those insertions were probably not positively selected for. Most are probably fixed through neutral drift. Why those 200,000? Chance, for the most part.

I don’t know of any hard numbers, but the distribution of ERVs in the genome can give us some clue. ERVs are usually found outside of the “important” parts of the genomes where there are genes that could be interrupted by retroviral insertions. We also know from experiments that retroviruses would insert into those regions, so their absence in those important sections of the genome tells us that there is a very strong possibility that those insertions did happen and they were selected against.


They had no impact or a positive impact.

If an insertion has a negative impact on fitness the individuals don’t survive to pass that insertion on. There is no modern DNA that could point to these. All of the evidence would be erased.

(Martin R) #117

Ok, the World-famous snowflake argument…

Before we continue, would you mind to answer my 2 offtopic questions?

  1. what is your education
  2. are you an atheist / agnostic / theistic evolutionist ?

We spend a lot of time with each other, so i would like to know who am i talking to… if you don’t mind.

Thank you

(Steve Schaffner) #118

He already did.


Yep. A snowflake is a perfect example of why the design argument doesn’t work.

Just in case you missed the first time, I am an atheist who has a bachelors in Zoology and 20+ years lab experience in the field of molecular biology.

(Martin R) #120

it seems i missed … alright, so an atheist … The moment you came up with the snowflake argument, i was 99% sure. However, this forum is a bit strange, because here are theistic evolutionists as well. So sometime it is not easy to recognize.

The snowflake:

Yes, such an irony…all the engineering masterpieces we see in nature can be discarded using a snowflake argument … e.g. an octopus - a camouflage technology beyond our comprehension, but you guys downgrade octopus’s technological sophistication to a snowflake… moreover, you feel like you won the argument…

Just look at it:

What if our Creator would show up, today, on Earth, and show you how he created all the species … would that be a good design argument?

I guess, for you, it would be not, I bet your first question to our Creator would be: “and who created you?”

am i right?