Beatles, Stones, and a Brand New Field of Virus Research Part 4

One Trail Dead-Ends While Another Blazes into View

Last time I showed you some diagrams that gave me some eye-opening insights into viruses, DNA, and ethernet packets!

Read Part 3 Here. 

At the same time I was musing on those diagrams, I got in touch with a scientist who was about to publish a paper that he said would prove COVID-19 was engineered in a lab. I probed him on this, but he wouldn’t answer my questions because he was too busy. 

So I pulled in University of Chicago biologist, James Shapiro. Shapiro looked at what this guy was doing and said, “Perry, if he’s right about this, then it’s a very big deal.”

This was 2020 and my publicist told me “nobody is interested in evolution, they want virus info!”  

So I thought, “Oh great, this is a big story, I’ve got something for my publicist to use!” People were already arguing about whether C-19 was engineered in the lab or not. The CDC was taking a very hardline position that it was not. “Maybe I’m onto something here.” 

But since the guy publishing the paper wasn’t talking, I decided I was gonna have to figure it out myself. So I took some Evolution 2.0 funds, I went on Upwork and hired two virologists and two geneticists. Since the COVID genetic sequences were all online, I asked them to download those sequences, analyze them with genetic software, and see if they could reproduce the data in this guy’s paper.

After a very involved and detailed analysis, we realized that he did not adequately explain his statistical methods for reaching his conclusions. He was making a case that bits of HIV had been inserted into COVID. 

But it turns out that these “insertions” were so short, you could find those same patterns anywhere. You could find them in a duck, goldfish or human. 

Think of them like pieces of words that are only three or four letters long that appear in many different words. The three letters “ier” appear in Kiersten, lonelier and outlier. But it doesn’t mean that those three words have any relationship to each other. So it was impossible to conclude that COVID was engineered in a lab (based on his data).

Thus his paper did not show what it purported to prove. But by this time I was intrigued. Because there are not very many possible answers as to how these modifications, insertions, and transpositions were being made. 

The virus could not be doing it itself, because a virus lying on a kitchen table does not possess  machinery for editing or rearranging itself. And if these rearrangements are too large and too orderly to happen by accident, then there’s only one answer left. 

The HOST must be doing the heavy lifting!

That’s when I pulled in radiologist Bill Miller, who has been down the same evolutionary rabbit hole as me (I interviewed him, listen at I asked, “Bill, is there any literature about this? These virus insertions remind me a lot of McClintock’s corn plant diagrams. Has someone already gone down this path?”

Two weeks later, Bill called me back. “Perry, there are only needles in haystacks. They are spread out all over the place. There’s all kinds of evidence that viruses engage in mutual engineering with their hosts, but there is no unified field of study.” 

“Then Bill, let’s create a new field of study.” We pressed forward with the help of geneticist Jennifer Head from Oregon. 

After about a year we had a ton of data. I had spent as much time and money as I could justify. We had reached several dilemmas:

One, that COVID was so hyper-politicized that it seemed unlikely that anyone would listen to us. Or if they did, we would be given cement shoes and tossed into an icy New Jersey river.

Another was that all this research was expensive. I had spent as much as I could reasonably justify on this. (Thank you VERY much to the Evolution 2.0 donors who made this possible.)

Another dilemma was that we looked all over the place looking for collaborators. Bill and I have zero credentials in virology, so a credible virologist would be a big help. But we just could not find any. We ended up kissing a lot of frogs. I remember one zoom call with a highly credentialed virologist from Europe who felt he might be willing to help… but then I got into an argument with him because he was still convinced that virus variations come from random copying errors.

“It’s mathematically impossible,” I argued, but he simply retorted that there are umpteen trillions of viruses so it’s inevitable that just about anything will eventually happen by chance. I couldn’t get him unstuck from his ‘monkeys with typewriters’ mindset so we moved on.

So, I thought, this project is dead until further notice.

A year went by.

Then I got an email from Bill which may have been the spark of a whole new field of scientific inquiry.

Find out more about that in Part 5.

And click here to read my recently published peer-reviewed paper on this fascinating subject. 


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