“…virulent bacterial systems are degenerative systems that have resulted from a loss of aboriginal genetic information.”Meyer, Stephen C “Signature in the Cell” p. 491
Viruses are diverse and biologists still find the various strains hard to classify, harder to place on the tree of life. Many biologists reason that viruses might have originally been “free-living” organisms which later became the viral parasites they are today. Some viruses such as the polio-virus contain RNA while most others do not. Some unique viruses contain single stranded DNA while other viruses like smallpox have a double stranded DNA. Many viruses do not contain any DNA at all. Viruses are not cells but are bundles of proteins inside membrane envelopes, all lack ribosomes, ATP, organelles, and cytoplasm. Therefore, one commonality that all viruses share is the fact that they all are missing genetic material (molecular machinery).
University of Idaho microbiologist Scott Minnich believes he has identified enough evidence to show conclusively that viruses are a result of degraded genetics. To illustrate, Minnich’s team researched the virus responsible for the mass death of 25 million people from the 14th century called the Black Plague (Yerisnia pseudoturberculosis).1They theorize that the havoc emerged as a result of lost genetic material derived from a more common non-lethal bacteria that lost genetic material. A single spontaneous mutation deleted a single genetic letter which caused a the virus to change. The virus become unable to manufacture certain molecules and structures normally recognized by the human immune system including flagellin. Minnich and his team confirmed this reality by correcting the genetic information in experiments which caused the virus to again be able to produce flagellin. This correction allowed the virus to return to its original non-degenerated and non-lethal form.2
As another example: “The known strains of Ebola vary dramatically in their deadliness. (The) strain Ebola Reston doesn’t even make people sick. But (genetically degenerated strains) Ebola Bundiguyo had a death rate of up to 50% while the Sudan Ebola strain (further degenerated) killed up to 71% of the infected according to the World Health Organization.”https://www.livescience.com/56598-deadliest-viruses-on-earth.html
Of course, not all scientists agree, especially Darwinian hardliners who believe spontaneous mutations are the secret to evolution and ultimately all living complexity on earth. But genetic research continues to tell a completely different narrative. Data indicates that spontaneous mutations are deadly.
Viruses may have emerged due to massive degenerative genetics in the past. There are many reasons to consider this possibility:
BAD DESIGN? One argument is the so-called “bad design” (dysteleological design) which points out that if a true intelligent designer designed life, He would not intentionally created deadly things such as viruses. This argument has also been called the “God would not have done it that way” logic. There are many holes in this “bad design theory”. First, how could one ever know the intentions, designs, or purposes of an Almighty Creator God? We cannot! Secondly, we might mistakenly “find” design faults because we do not yet fully understand the features and functions. As an example, the once believed and now debunked “backward wiring” of octopus eyes are now discovered to provide amazing vision capacity and are not design “mistakes” afterall. Third, and as argued in this blog, perhaps due to the fall of man due to sin and the introduction of the curse on earth, today we find ourselves witnessing an unraveling of the once perfect genetic creation. This has been called genetic entropy.
VIRUSES ARE MISSING RIBOSOMES. All viral strains do not contain ribosomes the necessary molecular machinery for translation.3 In extant cells the only known method for building proteins occur by DNA translation which are built inside ribosomes within living cells. This indicates that the original viruses would have likely had the various components of all other living cells at some point in the past indicating genetic degradation.
VIRUSES DO NOT CREATE ATP. Viruses do not have any ability to maintain a metabolism apart from parasitically stealing it from a host because viruses cannot produce ATP. ATP is required for cellular energy and metabolism in all other living organisms.4 This indicates degradation of the original composition because apart from a host, viruses would not survive.4
VIRUSES ARE VERY SMALL. Viruses are quite small compared to most living organisms and are not comprised of cells but protein bundles inside membrane envelopes.4 They are less than 200 nano-meters 3 while the average animal cell has a diameter over a thousand times larger.5 Being smaller does not alone tend to necessitate genetic degeneration, however, when this attribute is added to all the other abnormalities of viruses, being smaller does seem to fall in line with evidence of lost genetic information.
VIRUSES ONLY REPLICATE INSIDE HOST CELLS. All living extant cells contain DNA and can replicate using their own genetic information (DNA) but viruses do not all contain DNA. Viruses require a host in which to replicate.3 Whether this replication method is due to Design or Darwin, such evidence screams of genetic degradation due to such co-dependence on hosts for survival.
VIRUSES MUST HAVE EVOLVED AFTER HOST ORGANISMS. Another seeming paradox for Darwinian evolution to explain emerges as one considers viruses being hailed as the most “simple” living organism. The standard Darwinian position imagines simple living organisms gaining complexity over millions of years through the mechanisms of spontaneous mutations and natural selection (DNA allele function). This ‘chicken or the egg’ riddle asks: which came first the virus or the host? The answer turns the “tree of life” upside down as the simpler virus evolves after the more complex organism.
THE MOST DANGEROUS VIRUSES ARE GENETICALLY DEGRADED. As stated earlier, many diseases can emerge when quite common viruses become genetically damaged (degraded). While Darwinist’s point to such mutating viruses as evolution in action, they are more accurately defined by clear degradative effects on genetic information. No argument here that these mutational effects are clearly results of spontaneous errors, similar to how somatic cancers are another effect. This issue here is not the mechanism but the result of the mutations. More examples of genetically degraded viral diseases include: The Black Plague 1, Malaria, HIV, smallpox, measles, Yellow fever, Ebola, and Zika Virus.6
VIRUSES ARE NOT CELLS BUT HAVE PROTEINS. As a clear indication of degradation in the past, viruses are not composed of cells and also do not contain ribosomes which manufacture proteins (see above) yet inside viruses are bundles of proteins– how did these first ones emerge without the ability of translation within ribosomes among other vitally missing molecular machinery? How did viruses get proteins without any means to build proteins?
VIRUSES DO NOT HAVE NUCLEI, ORGANELLES, OR CYTOPLASM. Another clear indication of degradation are the many missing components found in living cells.4 Because viruses are not built by cells they are missing many material attributes indicating potentially massive genetic degradation.
VIRUSES CANNOT MAINTAIN HOMEOSTASIS. All living things must maintain their environment to survive– every living thing by viruses.4 Viruses are alive, although completely dependent on another living host. At some point in the past they must have had the ability to provide their own metabolism and environment. Presumably viruses did not emerge inside a host but have devolved from more fully functional organisms.4
There is no shortage of arguments that seem to support the concept that viruses are here likely as a result of genetic mistakes, deletions, and potentially biological catastrophes. From the Creationist perspective which is correct makes little difference. The primary purpose of our blog was not to contrast design or demise but to illustrate that the concept of Darwinian random spontaneous mutations are ill founded. Massive evidence indicates that viruses, the poster child for mutational evolution, are not built by positive “beneficial” mutations but by genetic losses. This is a major stumbling block for Darwinian evolution because every living thing from “simple” viruses to multi-cellular humans and every living thing in between are believed to be here by this same mechanism of spontaneous mutations. Genetics have revealed the absurdity of these claims.
1 “Black Death” Pandemic, Mideval Europe. https://www.britannica.com/event/Black-Death
2 Meyer, Stephen C “Signature in the Cell” p. 491
3 “Wessner, David, et. al. “The Origin of Viruses” Scitable by Nature Education; 2010 https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-origins-of-viruses-14398218/
5 Guertin, David A.; Sabatini, David M. “Cell Size Control” http://sabatinilab.wi.mit.edu/Sabatini%20papers/Cell_Growth_REV_ELS-2006.pdf