But past pandemics are more than just ancient history—they are drivers of human genetic diversity and natural selection.Pathogens can dramatically decrease survival and reproductive potential, leading to selection for resistance alleles and elimination of susceptibility alleles.
When I’m talking with atheists or agnostics who are passionately against any and all religion, I sometimes find that they have inaccurate (or just plain wrong) ideas about the teachings of the Bible, the nature of the Christian faith and the qualities of the God I believe in.
In other words, some of those whom I’ve encountered have a poor understanding of the very thing they think they oppose.
The prevailing hypothesis is that the selective rise of to its current frequency can be attributed to bubonic plague.
By using a population genetic framework that takes into account the temporal pattern and age-dependent nature of specific diseases, we find that smallpox is more consistent with this historical role.
The deletion allele is currently under intense selection in populations with a high prevalence of HIV-1 (14).
However, HIV has not infected humans long enough to account for the selective rise of this resistance allele, the frequency of which is estimated at an average of ≈10% in European populations (4, 12, 15-18).
Popularized most recently by Ray Comfort’s mind-bendingly bad, gospel-poisoning movie, “Evolution vs.
God,” this claim generally betrays not only a misunderstanding of evolution, but science in general.
According to the most recent Gallup poll of Americans’ views on evolution, almost half of all respondents rejected the mainstream view of human origins.
The number — 46 percent — has not changed meaningfully in more than two decades. But to understand my theory, I offer an analogy, which actually involves individuals from the opposite side of the fence.
This allele provides almost complete resistance to HIV-1 in the homozygous state (4, 7, 12) and partial resistance with slower disease progression in the heterozygous state (4, 5, 8, 12).