What is fitness?

When functioning properly, viruses are helpful, not harmful. Viruses keep bacteria levels at a proper balance, for one thing.

To give an oversimplified answer, it’s because of the Fall, and the general decay caused by the Curse. For more detail, read this:

So you don’t know which host is the intended host, because this doesn’t differentiate between a virus that mutates in a single species vs one that crosses between species.

That doesn’t mention “intended” or “unintended” hosts.

What is the “proper” function of the Ebola virus? All it does is reproduce itself and kill people.

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Yes, we know there are bacteriophages - there are probably many more than we can ever hope to count, but IAV is not among them. You are welcome to refer evidence to the contrary, detailing how IAV utilizes prokaryotic ribosomes, mediates transcription, gains entry through the cell wall, recognizes membrane proteins, and performs lysis. Good luck with that. Until then, your response the question of host tissue is just so much whale song.

Read this for the enormous specificity involved in every stage of the influenza life cycle. Virus attachment, entry, RNA synthesis, protein synthesis, and release, are all highly targeted mechanisms.


The horse is very much alive and well. If you are going to be strident, it is best to be correct. While reassortment is definitely part of the picture and incorporates lineages from 1918 and divergences from human, back to swine, and then back again to humans, the current genome of IVA is predominantly derived from the 1918 virus.

The 1918 influenza pandemic Bold mine:

The 1918 influenza A virus was a new “founder virus” that initiated the current era of circulating influenza A viruses by evolving into progeny pandemic viruses through genetic reassortment. All influenza A pandemics and seasonal epidemics since that time, and almost all cases of human influenza A worldwide, have been caused by descendants of the 1918 influenza virus. These include not only the antigenically “drifted” descendants of the 1918 H1N1 virus itself but also the genetically reassorted pandemic viruses that appeared in 1957 (H2N2), 1968 (H3N2), and 2009 (H1N1pdm)…The 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus (H1N1pdm) contained HA, nucleocapsid (NP), and nonstructural (NS) gene segments derived from the classical swine H1N1 (1918 origin) lineage…
The founding 1918 pandemic virus is truly the “mother” of all subsequent influenza pandemics , and we are still in its “pandemic era” today. Its descendants are still evolving, still killing tens of thousands of people every year, with no end in sight

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Again, yes. We have derivatives of the 1918 strain. We do not have the original strain itself. What part of this concept is so difficult to understand?

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Of course the circulating viruses have undergone genetic shift and drift. That is adaptation, not extinction. What part of this concept is so difficult to understand?

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The fact that it’s a lie. The 1918 strain is extinct, just like dinosaurs. According to evolutionists, dinosaurs also adapted and became birds. Yet, we still know that dinosaurs are extinct. So this is not the hill for you to die on, clearly.

What’s strained is your frantic redefinition of “strain.” But hey, I’m just an actual virologist and you are a professional apologist.

No. Evolution is about branching. Your portrayal of evolution as linear is false.

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Sorry, but no. Dinosaurs aren’t extinct. Birds are a group of dinosaurs. Are you not familiar with cladistic terminology? In fact, this is exactly the same situation as with the 1918 flu. Altered descendants of a group still belong to the group. “Extinct” means “has no extant descendants” if we’re talking about clades.

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Okay. Thanks for putting that out there in print.

“Dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago (at the end of the Cretaceous Period)”

I’m hardly the first. What you see here is a conflict between two different understandings of the term, a typological one and an evolutionary/cladistic one. In popular writings both meanings are used from time to time. In scientific writings, “dinosaur” is usually prefaced by “non-avian” when the typological meaning is intended. (In fact, I see that your citation from Science actually does that.)

Did you have some kind of point to make?

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Rather, I think you should explain what point you were trying to make. Apparently I am supposedly wrong for saying the 1918 flu is extinct, yet it’s perfectly fine when scientific sources routinely refer to dinosaurs as extinct. Because they are allowed to use a typological meaning, whereas I am not.

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As long as we’re clear that you are using the typological meaning, then fine. But doesn’t that destroy your attempted defense of genetic entropy? If a portion of the population still survives in a transformed state, it hasn’t succumbed to GE.

You’re wrong because you’re using what’s true for one definition to support a claim that relies on a different definition.

So are we now agreed that dinosaurs are not extinct, as long as a descendant of a dinosaur still counts as a dinosaur?

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The juggle of sophistry consists, for the most part, in using a word in one sense in all the premises, and in another sense in the conclusion.

–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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The reassortment with other viruses means that fresh, less-mutated genetic material is being infused in the resulting new strains. This is why they are still managing to survive, whereas the original strain did not. This is not a refutation of the fact that GE caused the extinction of the original strain.

But aren’t the other viruses also experiencing GE? So why would their material be “fresh”? This is another version of the magic reservoir theory.

What fact? There’s no fact.


Not magic. Just the way viruses work.

But new strains created by reassortment would experience GE in the same way as the original strain correct? It seems like this is an obvious point they’re not acknowledging.

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That wasn’t an answer. There is no reservoir in which viruses remain safe from mutation (except for the retroviruses inserted into eukaryote genomes, but that’s not flu virus). There is no “fresh” virus available for repairing flu virus genomes. Address the question.


Why would reassortment reset the GE clock? Wouldn’t that require fresh genetic material that had not previously existed?