SIV in Present Form

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A new study of the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), a virus infecting “almost all African monkeys” but not sickening them, has led to speculation about how long the virus has been around in its present form.

Regardless of the conclusions drawn about the virus’s longevity, the related Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to have a mysterious past as scientists speculate about why HIV made its deadly and epidemic appearance in the 20th century. Scientists study the mutations of these viruses in hopes of getting some clue to help in the treatment of HIV sufferers.

The study found that Bioko, an island cut off from the mainland when 19 miles of melting Ice Age water covered the land bridge to the continent, was home to four dissimilar forms of the simian virus, SIV, which match well to SIV viruses infecting similar species found on the mainland. Although evolutionists point to several Ice Ages and speculate that this land bridge was covered at the end of the last one “10,000 years ago,” we affirm that one single Ice Age occurred. This Ice Age, based on a biblical understanding of history and meteorological models (see “Setting the Stage for an Ice Age”), probably occurred soon after the global Flood and probably lasted about 700 years. In any case, the new findings suggest the existence of the present SIV ancestor on the continent of Africa several thousand years ago.

Scientists are trying to determine how long ago the SIV ancestor appeared on the scene, using apparent mutation rates as a “molecular clock.” In view of the new data suggesting these virus strains are “at least 10,000 years old,” the scientists “now believe that all the S.I.V. strains infecting monkeys and apes across Africa diverged from a common ancestor between 32,000 and 78,000 years ago.”

Commenting on the viral “molecular clock,” Answers in Genesis’s Dr. Georgia Purdom (a molecular geneticist) gives the following explanation:

A molecular clock is not an independent factor that can measure time but rather is dependent on external factors for its calibration. If the calibration is wrong, like the starting assumption by the scientists that the virus is at least 10,000 years old, then the clock will be wrong too, giving exaggerated dates. It is interesting to note this quote from the NY Times article that “Previous methods of dating the virus had concluded it was a few hundred to 2,000 years old, ‘and that just didn’t seem right,’ Dr. Hahn said.” It didn’t “seem right” to them because of their evolutionary presuppositions, and so, in their desire to get a date that “seems” more reasonable to them, they change the interpretation of the evidence to make it better fit their presuppositions or starting point.

Furthermore, rather than producing new information and becoming the agents of evolution, mutations (such as apparently resulted in the change of the simian virus) actually represent a loss of information and a reshuffling of the information that is present in the genome. Thus, the emergence of deadly human immunodeficiency virus in the 20th century, while yet unexplained, is definitely not an example of evolution.

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