If two students hand in an assignment containing exactly the same mistakes, their teacher will rightly suspect that one (or both) has been copying the other’s work. This is because the chance of them independently making the same mistakes is very small. Similarly, when an identical mutation is found in the DNA of apes and humans, evolutionists claim that the only reasonable explanation is that the mutation occurred in a common ancestor and was then passed down to its descendants.
There are many parts of our DNA that look like virus DNA, and some evolutionists argue that this shows that these parts of our DNA came from viruses. Our ancestors, they say, were infected by viruses which added DNA to our ancestors’ DNA, and this was then passed down to us. These short stretches of genetic material are often referred to as ERVs and are said to be ‘junk’ having no useful purpose. Since we sometimes find the same ERVs in the same locations in the DNA of apes and humans, evolutionists claim that ERVs provide strong evidence for evolution. The probability, they say, of the same viruses randomly inserting the same stretches of DNA in the same locations in human and ape DNA is negligible. It is far more likely, they say, that a common ancestor passed on its ERVs to both humans and apes.
As convincing as it sounds, however, closer examination reveals serious flaws in this argument.
Are ERVs really junk?
Given the number of times that evolutionists have had to backtrack on their claim that our bodies are full of junk, one would think they would by now have learnt their lesson. For example, dozens of organs were wrongly labelled ‘vestigial’, said to be non-functional leftovers from our evolutionary past. Organs such as the appendix were said to have been used by our ancestors millions of years ago but, over the course of evolution, had become redundant. However, most if not all of these ‘vestigial organs’ now have known functions.1 Similarly, evolutionists claimed that much of our DNA has no function; but recent research indicates that this is nonsense. Significantly, functions of many ERVs have also been discovered, and they are known to interact with the rest of our DNA in a particularly sophisticated manner. For example, they enable the same stretches of DNA to be read and used in different ways. Research indicates they play an active role in at least one-fifth of our DNA.