Monday, April 13, 2009

Evolution Vs. Creation Discussion Board

By way of a comment to this blog, I located a discussion board called "Creation Vs. Evolution" that is, according to the boilerplate: "Dedicated to helping develop a better understanding of both sides of the issue, the EvC Forum plays host to the ongoing debate." The owner of the site states that neutrality is the goal but, in the interest of full disclosure, is pro-evolution. I came across it looking at a post on ERV viral insertions, yet another piece of evidence of common descent. The post is a bit long, but quite good and very convincing.

ERVs are endogenous retrovises that insert themselves into the DNA of the host organism. Most of the time, this is successful and there is more than some suspicion that some ERVs are responsible for MS and some forms of cancer. Sometimes the insertion doesn't work, though and fragments of the non-functional ERV are left over in the host's DNA and can be spotted as markers. turns out that humans and the higher apes share some of these markers, adding yet more evidence for common descent. The author writes:
Some have argued that ERV’s are not the result of viral infections but instead are the result of a supernatural design process. Firstly, the viral genes found in mammals today are very similar (99% to 75% homology) to viral genes that we see today. This evidence supports the origins of ERV’s as viral. No other mechanism, besides viral infection, has ever been observed that results in an ERV. Secondly, the argument could be made that if ERV’s are all focused on the design of the organism that a difference in ERV’s would make a noticeable difference in design. As it turns out, humans differ in genomic ERV content. That is, some people have ERV’s that other people don’t. [2] Since we don’t see any difference in design between these groups of people it would seem that ERV’s are not necessarily there for design purposes only. However, ERV’s have been suspected as playing a role in many functions, such as placental development in mammals. On the other hand, ERV’s have also been suspected of causing multiple sclerosis [3] and susceptibility to cancer. Most scientists have come to the conclusion that ERV’s act as random mutation events in that most ERV’s are neutral and some have beneficial or detrimental effects on the individual. If they are part of some design process then they are ineffective in causing design differences in most cases. Also, a designer would not be forced to make the pattern of similar ERV’s between species follow what is found in the fossil record. That is, a designer would not be forced to follow the rules set forth by common ancestory and the theory of evolution.
Good points, all. It is interesting when a bit of evidence not only supports evolution but is also antithetical to ID. the comments are also quite interesting.


  1. That is a great summary of the ERV evidence for common ancestry. Thanks for the link.

    I made a YouTube video about this topic, if you'd like to see it explained in video format.

    Here's a link:

  2. I would think that ERV's would definitely raise the eyebrow of creationists. They certainly can't use the excuse "were you there?" We can simply observe that ERV's have been inserted into the human genome and that those ERV's have functions (some make us placental mammals). I don't remember reading anything in the creation story that God used bits and pieces of other things, much less viruses, to make the human. The story indicates that He created us from scratch. Of course these facts don't get in the way of AiG (they actually have a webpage talking about ERV's), they simply say that retroviruses were created good. Of course this is another reason why creationism couldn't be taught, it couldn't (and wouldn't!) predict that there would be shared ERV's between human's and other organisms.

  3. You may also be interested in this:

    The Viruses That Make Us: A Role For Endogenous Retrovirus In The Evolution Of Placental Species

  4. I used to hang out on this site some. It is definitely a pro-evolution site, where most of the regular contributers accept evolution, most of whom are well educated and articulate. Creationists come and debate and for the most part while the usual internet insult pop up, it is more civil then most other discussion forums.

  5. EvC was a pretty active board years ago, but I'd forgotten all about it. Thanks for the reminder!