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Discovery Magazine 7/1/2008

Bacteria Does Not Help Evolution

Have you ever had an ear infection? If so, then you probably went to the doctor. The doctor looked into your ear, saw the infection, and wrote a prescription for some medicine. The medicine for the infection was most likely an antibiotic. What is an antibiotic? Tiny microscopic organisms called bacteria grow in your body. Some are good and help you. But others are bad and can hurt you. The infection in your ear was caused by bad bacteria. An antibiotic is a substance that kills bacteria. That is why it helped get rid of your infection.

But some bacteria build up a resistance to antibiotics. Genetic mutations can cause the bacteria to change slightly so that antibiotics no longer work on them. People who believe in evolution claim that bacteria that build up resistance to antibiotics prove that evolution is true. They believe these small changes in bacteria prove that bacteria could evolve over billions of years into a human.

People who use small changes in bacteria to “prove” evolution have several problems. First, the bacteria change a little, but they always stay the same type of bacteria. For instance, bacteria called E. coli has changed in many small ways, but it has always been E. coli and has never changed into another kind of organism.
It has never evolved into part-bacteria and part-fish or part-lizard. The fact that bacteria stays the same kind of bacteria is exactly what you would expect if God created it and commanded it to multiply after its own kind.

Second, most of the mutations that change bacteria are not helpful. The mutations might help the bacteria live when attacked by an antibiotic, but in the long run, they hurt the bacteria. For example, suppose that a certain kind of bacteria has something like a right hand and a left hand. And suppose that an antibiotic kills the bacteria by attaching itself to the left hand of the bacteria. Then imagine that the bacteria mutates so that it loses its left hand. The antibiotic cannot kill the bacteria any longer, but the bacteria now has only one hand. “One-handed” bacteria might be resistant to antibiotics, but they are “crippled” and do not survive long. The fact that some bacteria become resistant to antibiotics certainly does not prove the bacteria could evolve into humans.

Even though bacteria can change in small ways, these changes do not prove evolution. In fact, they do just the opposite. They prove that bacteria remain bacteria, exactly as God instructed them to do during the Creation week.



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