ERVs are a favorite with Darwin defenders, claimed as a support for common descent.
Ann Gauger recently wrote an excellent piece about interpreting scientific writings minus all the unnecessary evolutionary gloss.
In his “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution” on TalkOrigins, Douglas Theobald claims that “Endogenous retroviruses provide yet another example of molecular sequence evidence for universal common descent.” The presumption behind his argument is that endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are functionless stretches of “junk” DNA that persist because they are “selfish”–but they have no function for the organism. If we find the same ERVs in the same genetic loci in different species of primates, Theobald concludes they document common ancestry. But what if ERVs do perform important genetic functions? Even theistic evolutionist Francis Collins acknowledges that genetic similarity “alone does not, of course, prove a common ancestor” because a designer could have “used successful design principles over and over again.” (The Language of Read More ›