My Sinusitis and Evolution8 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!