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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 14, 2013 at 8:25pm

Chad, this article states that bacteria employes different tactics or adaptations to survive the antibiotics.

"Antibiotics stop working because bacteria come up with various ways of countering these actions, such as:

  • Preventing the antibiotic from getting to its target When you really don't want to see someone, you might find yourself doing things like hiding from them or avoiding their phone calls. Bacteria employ similar strategies to keep antibiotics at bay. One effective way to keep a drug from reaching its target is to prevent it from being taken up at all. Bacteria do this by changing the permeability of their membranes or by reducing the number of channels available for drugs to diffuse through. Another strategy is to create the molecular equivalent of a club bouncer to escort antibiotics out the door if it gets in. Some bacteria use energy from ATP to power pumps that shoot antibiotics out of the cell.
  • Changing the target Many antibiotics work by sticking to their target and preventing it from interacting with other molecules inside the cell. Some bacteria respond by changing the structure of the target (or even replacing it within another molecule altogether) so that the antibiotic can no longer recognize it or bind to it.
  • Destroying the antibiotic This tactic takes interfering with the antibiotic to an extreme. Rather than simply pushing the drug aside or setting up molecular blockades, some bacteria survive by neutralizing their enemy directly. For example, some kinds of bacteria produce enzymes called beta-lactamases that chew up penicillin.

How do bacteria pick up these drug-fighting habits? In some cases, they don't. Some bacteria are simply making use of their own inherent capabilities. However, there are many bacteria that didn't start out resistant to a particular antibiotic. Bacteria can acquire resistance by getting a copy of a gene encoding an altered protein or an enzyme like beta lactamase from other bacteria, even from those of a different species. There are a number of ways to get a resistance gene:

  • During transformation - in this process, akin to bacterial sex, microbes can join together and transfer DNA to each other.
  • On a small, circular, extrachromosomal piece of DNA, called a plasmid - one plasmid can encode resistance to many different antibiotics.
  • Through a transposon - transposons are "jumping genes," small pieces of DNA that can hop from DNA molecule to DNA molecule. Once in a chromosome or plasmid, they can be integrated stably.
  • By scavenging DNA remnants from degraded, dead bacteria."

Comment by Shaun Johnston on September 14, 2013 at 8:25pm

I think controversial means, among most people, not limited to the consensus among those with specialist training.  I believe I represent the majority better than those of you who have responded to my comment so far. Do you think I'm wrong?

 It may be assuming too much but I fancy I offer you an opportunity to glimpse what puts the majority of people off darwinism.  But I detect little interest,

 I'll merely repeat, I think it's an error to say there's no controversy.  What there is is an unwillingness among those dedicated to darwinism to acknowledge the existence of controversy.

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 14, 2013 at 8:01pm
I'm starting to get a bad taste in my mouth here.

Okay, Shaun, I'll play your game. What do you as a "non believer" propose would be a better model?
Comment by Susan Stanko on September 14, 2013 at 8:00pm

It is controversial to you because, it obvious from your posts, that you have NO understanding of what evolution actually is.   Nor what determinism is.

Comment by Shaun Johnston on September 14, 2013 at 7:54pm

Joseph, I do not engage here in order to change your mind, only to   affirm that evolution is controversial.  By controversial I mean in general, among the majority that experience consciousness as different in kind from any form of matter and also that they have free will. To them l think "emergent  properties" would smack of an appeal to magical thinking.  I am myself among that majority. To me, darwinism is not the kind of theory likely to account for what I experience myself being. For us non-believers, darwinism (modern synthesis) remains controversial.

Can you see how reasonable it is for ordinary people to doubt the darwinian origin story -- random damage to the blueprint we're built on, followed by a 1-2%-efficient culling process of individuals?  It's just not convincing unless you place blind faith in population statistics and emergence.  We won't put our faith there just because an influential minority say so. That kind of blind deference to authority lead to witch trials and eugenics. Do you endorse such blind obedience?  Or should we think for ourselves? Perhaps you think, because we're determined, we can't think for ourselves.  But if we can't how can you? And if you can't, why should we pay you any attention?

The implications of darwinism are controversial.

Comment by Joseph P on September 14, 2013 at 6:59pm

The entire idea is a complete nonstarter, for me, Shaun.  You're proposing we develop a new model, because the old model doesn't account for something that I don't believe exists.  You see the problem here?

Evolution can explain the development of consciousness.  It's just an emergent property of a sufficiently-advanced processing engine ... the brain.

Your statement about free will is ... odd.  Do you have an idea of any sort of mechanism to allow for free will?  My understanding of our current model of reality is that it's deterministic.  Even the cumulative effect of quantum mechanical oddity can be summarized on the macro level, using well-established rules.

For that matter, I don't see how quantum activity would translate into free will, even if it was truly random.

Even if there was such a thing as free will, I don't see how it acts as any kind of reason to reject Darwinian biological-evolution.  If we have a mechanism for free will, then clearly it was there all the time, and biological organisms simply incorporated it.  How do you think it invalidates Darwin's proposal?

So, yes, I have a major problem with your logic.  You need to explain why we need to shove free will into the equation, before you can use it as an excuse to look for a new model.

"I am of the opinion that  individual creatures do not live long enough to direct their own evolution ..."

Uhhhh, individual creatures don't evolve.  I think you have a few holes in your understanding of natural selection.  :-P

Oh, and sorry about the questioning of your atheist creds.  You wouldn't believe the people I've unmasked, masquerading on here, who only came clean indirectly, after I questioned them about their beliefs, in deep detail.

"Ah, so you do think that some sort of creator being that we would call a god - possibly the Christian one - probably does exist.  Right, let me go get the moderators to kick your ass off the site."  ^.^

Some people don't read the agreement that they digitally signed.  Heh heh heh.

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 14, 2013 at 6:42pm
Dorian, be careful attributing intent where no exists: Evolution happens in populations, not individuals. In the examples you cite, it is not the individual organisms "choosing to change" it is simply that of the large population, the ones who survived already had the mutation necessary to enable them to survive. Those ones reproduced and passed on that trait to their offspring.

As to free will, Shaun, on a level metaphorically similar to Dorian's example of our "moving 350+ miles per second in seven different directions," free will is an illusion. But on a middle world human scale that is just a pointless sophistry. As far as I am concerned, I am sitting at my desk at work, not moving aside from to type this comment. And as far as I am concerned, I freely chose to write this comment. Sure, in theory we could trace back antecedent after antecedent to show that I didn't chose to make this comment but was rather compelled by layers of cause, but that, although it might be true, is silly, sophomoric, and pointless.
Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 14, 2013 at 6:11pm

Shaun logic doesn't always correlate with reality.

Back in the 1600s it was unimaginable to conceive that we are moving at 350+ miles per second in 7 different directions, but we are.  And we are doing that without anyone feeling any motion sickness or anything flying around the house.

But more interesting is your comment that creatures do not live long enough to direct their own evolution.  I'm not sure where you are drawing this conclusion from, but it couldn't be further from the observed facts.

Just think about the HIV virus, it constantly mutates to it's advantage.  Even as the immune system kills it off.  It actually hides and mutates again and again.

Bacteria becomes immune to drugs even as most of them die from such drug.  The very few remaining bugs mutate to become immune to the drug.

There is no controversy in Evolution, only missing pieces to the puzzle.   Evolution is a fact, but the theory that explains it, is incomplete.

Comment by Shaun Johnston on September 14, 2013 at 5:54pm

I am not a theist, but l am driven by logic to accept that in a world that contains creatures with consciousness and free will, consciousness and free will cannot be defined as absent from how they evolved.  Judging from your answers, though, my opinion is controversial, confirming that-- unless you deny any validity to my logic--there can be controversy in evolution.  I am of the opinion that  individual creatures do not live long enough to direct their own evolution, but some agency at the level of the species or the order or the kingdom might. Can logic rule out such a possibility ?

Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 14, 2013 at 5:48pm

I'm not an expert, I'm just throwing that out there based on educated assumptions, but have you seen what a Fly can do?


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