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When light passes through a prism, it separates into the colors that make it up. White light changes to a swath of colors. This rainbow is called a spectrum. You can make spectra (the plural of spectrum) in many ways: with a prism, with drops of water (as in a real rainbow), or with gratings (like in the glasses you can get). Scientists build special instruments to separate light, usually with gratings. These instruments are called spectrographs.
It turns out that each element absorbs light of a particular frequency—a particular color. If that element is in the cool atmosphere of the star, those atoms will absorb the light at that color and produce the line. Each element has a specific "signature"—a specific set of line.
An ERV is a viral sequence that has become part of the infected animal's genome. Upon entering a cell, a retrovirus copies its RNA genome into DNA, and inserts the DNA copy into one of the host cell's chromosomes. Different retroviruses target different species and types of host cells; the retrovirus only becomes endogenous if it inserts into a cell whose chromosomes will be inherited by the next generation, i.e. an ovum or sperm cell. The offspring of the infected individual will have a copy of the ERV in the same place in the same chromosome in every single one of their cells.
This happens more often than you might think; 8% of the modern human genome is derived from ERVs. Repeated sequences of this kind were formerly considered to be non-functional, or "junk" DNA. However, we're gradually finding more and more examples of viral sequences that appear to have some kind of function in human cells. For example, many ERV sequences play a role in human gene regulation. ERVs contain viral genes, and also sequences - known as promoters - that dictate when those genes should be switched on. When an ERV inserts into the host's chromosome, its promoter can start to interfere with the regulation of any nearby human genes. In the example that I researched, the ERV promoter has become responsible for most of the expression of a particular human gene in the large intestine.
Creationists and intelligent design advocates like to think that because some ERVs have useful functions in the human genome, they must have been deliberately put there by a creator / designer with that particular purpose in mind. Of course, no-one can explicitly prove that that is incorrect - it's not a falsifiable hypothesis, and therefore it's not science. What we can show is that ERVs provide evidence in support of the theory of evolution.
Let's imagine how ERVs would behave within a model of evolution by common descent. An ancient creature, let's call it the common ancestor of all modern mammals, is infected by a retrovirus that becomes endogenous. All of the animal's descendants (i.e. all mammals) would be expected to carry the same ERV insertion (ERV1) in the same chromosomal location.
Fast forward in evolutionary time. Different lineages have evolved and diverged from the original common ancestor and there are now many different types of mammal in existence, all carrying ERV1. A small rodent, let's call it the common ancestor of mice and rats, is again infected by a species-specific retrovirus that becomes endogenous. This is ERV2. In a parallel event in a different lineage, the common ancestor of all great apes acquires a third insertion, ERV3.
Moving forward again, a fourth ERV appears in some of these new-fangled human thingies that are running around in Africa, but not in their hairier relatives who will eventually evolve into modern chimpanzees. The early humans spread out, and a fifth and (don't worry) final ERV arises in a population that is isolated in a discrete geographical location. The infection does not spread to other human populations.
So what would we expect? Humans, chimps, mice and rats should all possess ERV1. The mouse and rat genomes will also contain ERV2, the virus that infected their common ancestor, but not the primate-specific ERV3, 4 or 5 insertions. All great apes will share an identical ERV3 insertion; all humans will also possess an ERV4 insertion that is not found in chimps or other apes. In addition, some, but not all, humans will carry an insertion of ERV5. The rodent-specific ERV2 insertion will not be found in any primate species.
I'm glad you liked it! I will be posting more, but I have had the same problem in other debates but figured it would be a waste for this information not to have a thread of it's own. I think I will cover creationism and evolution next and how they really compliment each other. (after I get off work that is) That seems like a logical next step.
The Deities invented science as a way to explain the physical environment and to discover the laws of nature as it was placed before us to observe. These records are available to all; I just happened to have minded the lessons and made them available as they may, per chance, be useful to inquiring minds.
I have also made use of a popular best seller on Einstein for this narrative which was able to make sense to me of the relativity mystery - at least in part. That book is highly readable and recommend to anyone who is interested in the life and times and theories of Albert Einstein.
Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson, Simon and Schuster, PB 2007.
Perhaps being created in god's image does not necessarily mean to look like god. Perhaps it is our minds, and the ability to think and dream and have ideas or create things ourselves. Sometimes, especially something like this, you have look at it from outside the box.