Rebuttal of information as presented on the vampirewebsite.net front page
I elected to take on this research as I find the propagation of false information spread under the guise of “scientific research” harmful to those who are actually trying to accomplish true scientific research. The information is presented on vampirewebsite.net as fact alone with minimal actual data and studies to support the information presented there-in. Because of this, I have taken on to examine the front page of “vampirewebsite.net” and point out the errors in the scientific thinking and add additional studies and data to support my assertions.
If we elect to start at the beginning, it should be a brief history of the website itself. Formed in 2008 by Steve Leighton, it originally espoused the V5 viral theory (K-17 also mentioned) but it was changed in 2009 to add the endogenous retrovirus hypotheses. However, those virii were found to be a product of fiction (Ultraviolet TV series for V5 and “Reign of Darkness” for K-17) and eventually reference was removed in 2010 when “vHERV” was substituted for “V5” without any other change to the text. I believe this led to further errors in the hypothesis put forth. These errors will be addressed later. In 2012, a page on superinfection was added with a link to a Harvard article describing the theory of superinfection. However, this article does not apply as presented and will be discussed later. The Harvard link was removed in 2015 and replaced with a Google link for searching “superinfection”.
This is not to say information cannot evolve and we cannot change our way of thinking on scientific endeavors, only set to make a timeline for the information I will now set forth.
Step by Step:
“The Headache Paradox”. This is an interesting premise to start with, however the only place I can find it is on this webpage and various blogs that quote it. The paradox itself is not true. The pain we feel from a headache does not come from the brain, which it is true has no self pain receptor, but from the surrounding tissue – meninges, periosteum, and vasculature. These areas do have pain sensation that responds most specifically to pressure.
The page goes on to talk about increasing the efficiency of the brain to improve senses and physical speed. While the senses may be true, physical speed relies on more than quick neurological conduction and is at least partially dependent on the speed on muscle contraction. Muscle contraction speed is dependent on the type, and amount, of fast twitch or slow twitch fibers. The amounts of these fibers are controlled genetically with fast twitch made for short bursts and slow twitch for endurance.
This is followed by the supposition that the vampire brain has axons that are 12-15% wider and the brain has 10,000+ miles of blood vessels. The premise of the first supposition is true, the wider the axon, the faster the conduction. That is described in this video https://www.khanacademy.org/science/health-and-medicine/nervous-system-and-sensory-infor/neuron-membrane-potentials-2014-03-27T17:58:17.207Z/v/effects-of-axon-diameter-and-myelination . The second part of the supposition actually falls short of the true number, closer to 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the adult human. In this form, however, is the author considering there is less space for the blood vessels due to the increased axonal size proposed? If so, it would be an inefficient cooling mechanism due to the decrease in venous blood flow unless we are also reducing the number of axons to accommodate the decreased space and decreased blood flow. The concept of blood being a coolant for high-functioning organs is prevalent in nature with the most common example being the vascular plexus of the testicle in land mammals. However, this is a purely hypothetical conjecture as there is no data to back up the presumption of increased axonal size.
Discussion of the sympathetic vs. parasympathetic system is the next portion of discussion. In first, the common misconception that the fight or flight response of the sympathetic system results in increased strength. The “lift the car off the victim” response, so to speak. This misconception affect later assertions so should be corrected. The body does NOT have an increase in strength, however the sympathetic system allows us to over-ride our natural limitations that would normally cause pain and damage for a short period. So we might lift the car, but we may also pull tendon from bone in doing so without a thought at the moment. Without the sympathetic in control we would not lift the car, as those receptors would remind us of our limitations before the tendon tore. In this section it is also mentioned the sympathetic “increasing blood production”. This is not true, however the sympathetic system does cause contraction of the spleen, which places more blood into circulation. The breathing does increase in response to increase oxygenation of the blood for use by the organs in the fight or flight moment.
Now we get to a leap of logic that is not scientific. That of “If vampires need blood because of an increased sympathetic tone, then ingesting it would bring blood into circulation.” This line of thought is bolstered by comparing a red blood cell to water or to a virus (HIV). The error in thinking here is size and make up. A red blood cell is multiple orders of magnitude larger than either a water molecule or a virus. Yes, what we eat or drink touches many surfaces before the stomach is reached, but there is a limit in size as to what can cross a mucous membrane and be absorbed by the body intact If we consider amino acids at ~ 0.8nanometers long, a water molecule at 0.2 nanometers long, HIV virus at 100 nanometers long, and a red blood cell at 9MICROmeters (10000 nanometers) we can see there is an order of magnitude difference that would disallow absorption of a red blood cell whole into the circulation.
Another way to think of this logically would be if we can absorb a red blood cell whole, we would be constantly bleeding out the little holes the same size as the red blood cells.
With the comment about the body recognizing blood… it would recognize its own, but even then it would not be absorbed into circulation. Non-self RBCs would be treated as a pathogen and destroyed by the immunes system. This is part of the reason for cross-matching blood in transfusions.
The “experiment” of drinking HIV infected blood to prove the absorption of red blood cells is both faulty and dangerous as you MAY become infected with HIV, but more likely due to small cuts and abrasions in your mouth the virus can enter through rather than absorption directly.
Endogenous Retrovirus Hypothesis
This is the portion in which the author previously had discussed the V5 virus, and then changed at a later date to the vHERV Endogenous retrovirus information. In doing so, the author confuses the concept of a virus and an endogenous retrovirus. The short rebuttal to this is that endogenous retroviruses are parts of our DNA that are NOT transmissible horizontally (from person to person) but can be transmitted vertically (parent to child) as any other genetic material.
If we again go step-by-step in this section we find the following:
The link titled “Endogenous retroviruses contribute to the evolution of the host genome and can be associated with disease” is not active. I am guessing Yale moved the link as the actual article can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12829621_Many_human_endogenous_retrovirus_K_HERV-K_proviruses_are_unique_to_humans
However, the linked title is merely the first line of the paper, it is not what the paper itself is about. The article is specifically about the HERV-K provirus group and how many of that family are human-specific. There is no specific link to how this ties into the vHERV hypothesis.
The next paragraph also contains an inactive link, however even if the link were active it is to a page discussing retroviral vectors. Again, not the same as endogenous retroviruses. This paragraph also says endogenous retroviruses are a “sub-catagory of oncogenes that include the lentiviruses” This is incorrect on two levels. First, endogenous retrovirus is a broad category. They are classed by what retrovirus they most closely resemble but, again, are not true viruses themselves. Thus, they are not actually classed with viruses, lenti, onco or otherwise. The second error comes in classification. Lentiviruses are not a sub-category of Oncoviruses. Oncoviruses can be DNA or RNA based, while the Lentiviruses are exclusively RNA based. Oncoviruses have the ability toward cancer production (HPV and HepatitisB/C for example). Lentiviruses are slow-acting but not necessarily cancer causing (HIV, for example). It is important to note that lentiviruses CAN integrate into the host genome germline (eggs and sperm) to the point they become endogenous retroviruses and are then passed vertically.
Continuing on to the mention that the number of chromosomes is what separates humans from animals. This is false. Were this true then everything that has 46 chromosomes would be human… including the Sable Antelope and Reeve’s Muntjac. Also, to follow this to the absurd end, each species would have unique number of chromosomes until the billionth species would have a billion chromosomes. Too full of DNA to function. It is not the number of chromosomes that determines speciation.
4) I suspect in the discussion of the endogenous retroviral distinction between humans and chimpanzees the author is referencing the Yale paper on HERV-K. However it is a confusing paragraph, first mentioning “seven endogenous retroviruses that separate human from chimpanzee” and then later “seven of which are shared with chimpanzees”. If the author is referencing the HERV-K paper then they have misunderstood the intent and extent of the paper. Yes, 10 endogenous retroviruses in the HERV-K line were found, 8 of which were not found in other primates, 2 also found in chimpanzees. It is an exaggeration of the paper to say these HERV-K proviral portions represent ALL endogenous retroviruses as this is just looking at the specific K type.
5) The Yale University paper does not imply at all that the endogenous retroviruses cause humans to be more evolved than chimpanzees. The paper is merely finding that the 8 HERV-K endogenous retroviruses found in human DNA were integrated after humans diverged from chimpanzees in evolution. This does not imply the presence CAUSED the divergence in any way.
Finally, I wish to address the concept of superinfection as presented on Leighton’s website. I have approached this subject before, but unfortunately cannot find my original writing on it. On this website, it is implied that the endogenous retrovirus will become stronger by mixing with another. This is not how superinfection works. When this concept was originally introduced on Leighton’s website, he had linked to an article from Harvard University discussing superinfection theory. (http://ped.fas.harvard.edu/files/ped/files/1994_-_superinfection_metapopulation_dynamics_and_the_evolution_of_diversity.pdf) The concept of superinfection is not “they combine and get stronger” but “the strongest one wins”. For example, if one were infected with two strains of the cold virus, the one able to replicate faster and survive better would be transmitted more often than the lesser, slower cold virus. Thus, the faster would ”win”, in a simplification of the theory. Again, however, this is irrelevant to the purposed endogenous retrovirus hypothesis as they are not true viruses to be horizontally transmitted.
In conclusion, while the endogenous retrovirus hypothesis is laudable in concept for hereditary or vertical transmission of vampirism, it is not relevant for horizontal transmission as stated. Unfortunately, the base premise here is lost in a poor understanding of the difference between a transmissible virus and a non-horizontally transmissible endogenous retrovirus. It is poor science to base an entire hypothesis on a false concept and I hope the author will revise their concepts on future iterations of the website.