I seriously just read this tag-line:
Viruses have been viewed as being non-living parasites, outside of the evolution of living organisms. New research has uncovered the shocking conclusion that viruses are actually the ancestors of all living things.
I'm quite seriously appalled by people's inabilities to accept the fact that life did not start from the benevolent effluence of a greater being (or, let's say for those who will argue the extremes, that human
life did not start from it). I really try to be objective when listening to the arguments of intelligent design but more often than not it seems like I'm listening to an abacus try to describe the invention of the cell phone - that is: impossible.
We, as humans, continue and continue and continue to believe that we are something special, that life is somehow a unique vessel, that we are not
chemical machines and I assure you - from my maniacally egotistical ivory tower - we are
From the cover article of the March 2006 Discovery
"We have a lot of [new evidence] that the virus phylum is at least as old as the other branches of life and that viruses were involved very early on in the evolutionary emergence of life."
That represents a radical change in thinking about life's origins: Viruses, long thought to be biology's hitchhikers, turn out to have been biology's formative force.
"No shit!" he said in wide-eyed surprise. "Whoda thunk it?"
This is striking news, especially at a moment when the basic facts of origins and evolution seem to have fallen under a shroud. In the discussions of intelligent design, one hears a yearning for an old-fashioned creation story, in which some singular, inchoate entity stepped in to give rise to complex life-forms - humans in particular. Now the viruses appear to present a creation story of their own: a stirring, topsy-turvy, and decidedly unintelligent design wherein life arose more by reckless accident than original intent, through an accumulation of genetic accounting errors committed by hordes of mindless, microscopic replication machines. Our descent from apes is the least of it. With the discovery of Mimi, scientists are close to ascribing to viruses the last role that anyone would have conceived for them: that of life's prime mover.
the viruses appear to present a creation story of their own"??!? Now? As opposed to yesterday when I thought that GOD took some time out of his day about 6,000 years ago and *plop* - dropped 'ol A&E down in the Garden of Eden?
"Our descent from apes is the least of it
"!?!?! The Least of it? When was it ever the end all be all? Are creationists convincing themselves they are comfortable with evolution by believing that we descended from apes and no further - that's it - it ends there? WHO the.. What the fuck are you.. I don't.. The CHINAMAN is NOT the issue here!
Do these sentences - in a main-stream scientific magazine - sound like horseshit to anyone besides me? Who the hell is writing this article? It sounds like a kindergartener whose just been taught that peanut butter goes well with jam.
There is even a newly discovered category of subviral agents known as viroids: naked snippets of RNA that lack even an outer protein coat and don't encode for anything.
Newly discovered? NEWLY DISCOVERED? The first viroid was discovered in 1971
so unless the editor's of Discovery (what I thought
was a reputable magazine) are on CRACK and think that the first-ever video game Pong is "new", then we're in more trouble than I thought we were..
Oh wait, I guess I did think we were in an awful lot of trouble. Nevermind.