Stated Clearly: The DNA evidence for Common Descent in ERVs

In the video we did put effort into not making this about Theology vs Science. However, Jon Perry and I feel the evidence and data, when taken objectively is quite overwhelming just as Dr. Collins explained. This must be the reason for the “cheeky” parts of the video.

1 Like

You will notice that there is no attempt to explain the nested hierarchy in which both the insertions themselves and their sequences are arranged. Now why would that be?


Just because the reality of the conversation is surprising to you doesn’t mean I’m sowing confusion :wink: .

Creationist positions are many and complex. And yes, they include common descent too!

Hi Joshua,

Thanks for the reply. I can now understand how an OEC model could accommodate the existence of ERVs in mammalian genomes. Worth noting, though: The widespread existence of ERVs in mammalian genomes would definitely be omphalous to a YEC model, as our friend @John_Harshman notes.

I believe you missed the second half of my sentence, so allow me to bring that to your attention again:

This response sure seems like special pleading on the part of creationists. In other words, there’s no particular reason to think a designer would plant inoperable genes in the genomes of various mammals in a way that is best represented mathematically as a nested hierarchy.

I am not aware of an OEC model that arranges all of the mammalian class into a single nested hierarchy. In particular, the common ancestry of H. Sapiens with other primates is hotly disputed in all the OEC literature I have read. This is why a “separate creation” model would either just ignore the nested hierarchy or make a special pleading, as far as I can tell.

@colewd - I will take a look at that paper later and get back to you.

Thanks to all for reading this little comment,


I did not miss this. The model of creation by copying and modifying existing genomes is an example of an OEC model that does arrange mammals into a single nested hierarchy.

Yes, it is hard to imagine how this could work for YEC.

May I ask what you involvement is in producing this (these?) videos??

Could you please explain in some detail what this means? Are you talking about fiat creation of individuals with modified genomes, instant speciation by insertion of mutations simultaneously at many loci, gradual, guided evolution, or something else? I would see the first two as definite omphalos events, as they closely simulate what one would expect from common descent and ordinary evolutionary processes, and for no good reason.

1 Like

This is just standard progressive creationism. And that isn’t how omphalos is defined. There is no intentional “appearance” of common descent or divine deceit required.

Yes, it is difficult to motivate, at least for me and you, which is why we aren’t progressive creationists. But that also means we’re not well situated to judge if it is ad hoc.

That link just leads to a list of articles by McLatchie, and none of the titles obviously refers to ERVs, at least that I noticed.

1 Like

Dan - I am a professional Engineer with a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering working in industry for 25 years. In attempt to satisfy my sometimes pathological curiosity, I do my own layman’s research in a variety of topics to understand them in as much detail as I time for. When I was learning about ERVs and DNA I could not find a concise and professional video that explains it well. Therefore, I set out to create one with an existing YouTuber since I don’t have time to do this myself. The motivation for this was simple. That is to propagate reality and truth. I started emailing YouTubers and Jon Perry was interested in creating this with me. I was involved as the “Producer” in the sense I paid Jon to create this video and worked with him to write the script. Jon Perry did 100% of the animations and video work as well as much of the research to get this done. I am very happy with the video and working with Jon was great fun. Money well spent.

Here is Jon Perry’s YouTube channel:


You consistently avoid going into details, which hinders communication. There is no “standard progresive creationism”, and in fact as you know I’ve been unable to discover what the RTB creation model entails. But I’m pretty sure that a progressive creation model would not “include common descent” except of course within “kinds”. Is all this vagueness and reticence on your part a deliberate strategy? One hopes not. I would agree that until there’s an actual description of a model it’s hard to be sure whether it’s omphalism or not.


I’m pretty sure the Progressive Creationists I know would disagree with you. :wink:

Great. What, specifically, do they mean by progressive creationism? What is created? When?

1 Like

Your expectations of a scientific hypothesis for progressive creation will be met with disappointment. It’s not about science.


Nothing in that article warrants this conclusion.


But what is standard about it? What’s the core of agreement?

1 Like

That God is fiddling with things as they go along, of course. Religion again, not science.

1 Like

No expert, but from all I have seen “progressive creationism”, when not outright denying evolution a la Behe, entails that God created things in a manner that is literally indistinguishable from unguided evolution. So your questions are pointless, because they cannot be answered in principle.

Someone is most welcome to correct me if I am wrong.

Doesn’t that fit Michael Behe?

1 Like

Ahh you see, it all starts with God creating the Last Universal Common Template Organism, LUCTO(or Ludicrous, take your pick) about 3.5 billion years ago. Then God takes Lucto and makes a copy of it so now there’s Lucto A(archaea) and Lucto B(bacteria). Then God puts mutations in to A and B. Why? Dunno, he just does. Then God takes mutated Lacto B, and copies it so there’s Lacto B1 and Lacto B2. Then God puts mutations into Lacto B1, and mutations into Lacto B2. Don’t ask. Then God takes Lacto B1 and copies it so there’s Lacto B1a, and Lacto B1b. Then God puts mutations into both. Then God takes Lacto A and copies it so there’s Lacto A1 and Lacto A2. Then God puts mutations into each. Then God copies each once, so there’s Lacto A1a, Lacto A1b, Lacto A2a, and Lacto A2b. Then God mutates them all. Then God copies them all… and so on. Over billion year timespans. Or maybe God did all of this in an instant, but just held his creations in a sort of supernatural stasis and then incrementally planted selections among them at million-year intervals in Earth’s sediments. Then lets them go extinct, and creates new copies and mutationally derive them, plant them on the planet, let them go extinct, and then create new derivations of the extinct ones. Usually always making sure to create well supported bifucations because well why the fork not?

Now God doesn’t do this so as to feign evidence for common descent, He does it because he likes to. Big Difference!™

To make matters even more ridiculous, God has made sure to progressively create his living organisms such that they evolve seemingly all by themselves, making it all the more mysterious why he would create them to look like they evolved to their present state but didn’t, and only from approximately now on would actually start evolving seemingly without His influence. Ahh no wait, with respect to that last one about seemingly without his influence, we’re not allowed to say that either because God could of course also have elected to change his mind and recently start invisibly guiding his progressively-made-to-be-able-to-evolve organisms.

To those of you out there who believe this, @Swamidass just wants to make sure there’s a space for you too. Nothing at all utterly nuts or insane about your beliefs. Nope. Nothing. Perfectly rational.