My Sinusitis and Evolution

8 December, 2008

Both of my readers have most likely noticed that I have been rather silent of late (I have responded to a couple of comments, but (obviously) no posts).  I thought I had the flu.  Turned out it was a sinus infection.  And  if that wasn’t bad enough, the bacteria inhabiting my sinus cavities was a resistant strain.  The first anti-biotic did nothing (I have a vision of the bacteria sitting in there saying, “Bring it on, baby.  Bring it on.”).  So my doctor prescribed a stronger anti-biotic.

My doctor stressed (strongly) that I had to take all of the medicine.  Unfortunately, some people out there, when taking anti-biotics, will take the pills until they feel better and then stop.  Which creates the resistant strains.  I already knew this, but let him go on.  I am taking all of the pills — I have no desire to create even more powerful bacterium.

It got me wondering, though, about evolution denialists.  Germs are a perfect example of evolution — they breed quickly, so any adaptations show up fast.  The predator is the anti-biotic.  And, if given the chance (say, the patient doesn’t take all the medication), the germ will evolve resistance to the particular medicine.

So, were I an evolution denialist, would I have said to the doctor,”No, I don’t need a stronger anti-biotic.  If it worked before, it will always work as there is no evolution”?  Or would an evolution denialist just assume that man is playing god and has ‘intelligently designed’ new bacteria? 

All evolution denialists out there who claim that evolution cannot be observed, take a look at the bacteria inhabiting my sinuses.  They have observably evolved a resistance to some anti-biotics.  This is evolution in action, at an observable level, and in a reasonable time span.  Luckily, the damn things have not developed a resistance to Zithromax.  Yet.

Take all the damn pills!



  1. Ah, (((Billy))) – the fundogelical answer to your question is … microevolution. Many religionists make a false distinction between micro- and macro- evolution. Microevolution happens within a species, so bacteria evolve to become super-bacteria. Macroevolution supposedly is the change from one species to another. Obviously, this distinction is bullshit, but it’s the only out that evolution-deniers who get religiously get a flu shot every fall can take.

  2. My question on that one is always, “When does microevolution end?” Seriously. The orioles of the Eastern United States are, genetically, one species with minor variations. Yet, due to differences in sexual signals, they do not interbreed even where the Baltimore Oriole (not the baseball team) and the Bullock’s Oriole overlap (though there does appear to be some hybridization). Then again, compared to their cousins the crocodilia, they are pretty close.

    The red herring of microevolution has always pissed me off. All evolution is micro. But over a long period of time (more than 6,000 years) those little bitty changes become massive.

    As for your last, I’ve noticed that fundamentalists are very, very, very good at rationalizing.

  3. All evolution is micro. But over a long period of time (more than 6,000 years) those little bitty changes become massive.

    That’s the part that macroevolutionists don’t seem to get. I guess their logic circuits burn out before they get to the point of taking the next step.

  4. Sorry – microevolutionists (but I think you already had that figured out (because you’re much smarter than most evolution deniers)).

  5. Chappie

    I think you were wrong both times. Both micro and macro evolutionists understand evolution. It’s the wing nut creationists who have a hard time with the concept.

  6. SI – since the micro-/macro distinction is false, I think the micros, macros and creos are all wrong.

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