I read a nice review article on viral evilution this weekend that really highlighted, for me, how clueless Creationists (especially Intelligent Design Creationists) are about evilution.
As we saw the last time IDiots tried to talk about HIV-1, Their Arguments Regarding Design focus on mutations rates– HIV needs to make X mutations to escape a drug, HIV needs to make Y mutations to become climb a fitness peak, etc.
What theyre talking about (what theyre clueless about) is a genetic barrier. Lets say you have three antiretrovirals that act on protease. HIV-1 only needs to change one amino acid to become resistant to Protease Inhibitor A. It needs to make two amino acid changes to become resistant to Protease Inhibitor B. It needs to make 50 amino acid changes to escape Protease Inhibitor C.
Of course, Protease Inhibitor C is the best option. As Ive already pointed out to teh IDiots, HIV-1 exists as a quasispecies, thus when you treat someone with antiretrovirals, there are already members of their viral population that are resistant. Its just a matter of keeping resistance and rebuilding viral fitness after that. Drugs A and B have low genetic barriers.
Thus, according to Creationists, if you treat a patient with a drug that requires 50 amino acid changes to become resistant, evolution around that drug is impossible, thus youve cured AIDS (also, proved Jesus, or something).
The problem with this kind of thinking is that its myopic.
1– Yes, changing 50 amino acids in protease might be one solution to the ‘problem’ of Drug C.
But there might be a shortcut.
Like, instead of making those 50 changes in protease, what if HIV-1 discovers it can deal with a crippled protease, if it alters the target of protease. Alters the cleavage site in gag. Forget changing protease at all, cause it found an easier answer in a different location that we didnt think about before. Which is exactly what HIV-1 does in real life, in real patients. You put up an insurmountable genetic barrier, and HIV-1 burrows under it.
2– This genetic barrier thing might be new to Creationists, but its not new to HIV-1 researchers. The second we had two different antivirals, we tried giving them both to patients– increasing the genetic barrier. Now we usually give them three different classes of drugs. Three different barriers. Weve also tried Mega HAART. No, that isnt a joke. Mega HAART is like regular HAART, with even more drugs. Raising the genetic barrier as high as we can with todays technology. We gave kids who had already failed antiviral therapy (three drugs) up to 7-8 more drugs. At once. HIV-1 had to figure out a way to become resistant to 10-11 drugs. Surely, an insurmountable genetic barrier!
Youll never guess.
The kids werent cured.
They certainly did better– the new drugs slapped down their viral loads. But they were not cured. The drugs werent sterilizing. Because even though all those drugs made a huge genetic barrier for HIV-1 and were therefore sterilizing in a culture dish, that doesnt mean they will have the same effect in the human body. Drug 1 doesnt get to the brain– brain HIV-1 are safe from it there. Drug 2 doesnt get in the testes– testicle HIV-1 are safe there. Drug 3 doesnt like to cross this barrier or that, Drug 4 crosses that barrier but not this. Humans are a mess inside. HIV-1 capitalizes on that.
Creationists have long argued that they cant imagine X. Therefore, Jesus.
But the evolution of HIV-1, once again, demonstrates why what they are doing is very, very stupid. Technically, their ‘world view’ would be deadly in the real world, if they were ‘in charge’.
Therefore, Raptor Jesus.