Paleobiology = Extinct Creationists

One of the small pleasures in life is encountering an article that is a complete game-changer. What I am referring is the rare article which provides information so new and surprising that it revolutionizes your understanding of the world, if only in a small way.

I came across such an article last December in the New Yorker. Michael Specter's story "Darwin's Surprise," explains the burgeoning field of Paleovirology, in which biologists study evolution utilizing gene remnants of viruses inserted over the past millions years into our genome. In some cases, scientists have been able to locate the virus genes in the human genome (virus code is numerous in our DNA) and utilize them to reassemble and resurrect long extinct viruses.

These scientists believe that viruses have played a major role in our evolution. Specter also posits that their existence in our genome is a sort of smoking gun proving evolution. The money graph:

"Darwin’s theory makes sense, though, only if humans share most of those
viral fragments with relatives like chimpanzees and monkeys. And we do, in
thousands of places throughout our genome. If that were a coincidence, humans
and chimpanzees would have had to endure an incalculable number of identical
viral infections in the course of millions of years, and then, somehow, those
infections would have had to end up in exactly the same place within each
genome. The rungs of the ladder of human DNA consist of three billion pairs of
nucleotides spread across forty-six chromosomes. The sequences of those
nucleotides determine how each person differs from another, and from all other
living things. The only way that humans, in thousands of seemingly random
locations, could possess the exact retroviral DNA found in another species is by
inheriting it from a common ancestor."

The science behind this is so unlikely, so sophisticated that it nearly defies belief. For that reason, it lends an otherworldly quality to the tie between our genes and evolution. There are demons in our DNA and if you don't believe there we can conjure them up to show you.

Through our DNA we can peer back in time, like a telescope or a soil sample. But unlike these, our DNA is a time machine for hibernating viruses, awaiting the proper technology to awake and attack the doubters of evolution.

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