Friday, 2 January 2015

Intelligent Designers Unmasked

Illustration: P. Huey/Science
Persisters unmasked

Have you ever noticed how religious people, when asked for evidence that their magic friend actually exists, will point to something attractive or good or otherwise worthy of awe and arbitrarily ascribe it to their favourite god, then claim it as evidence? Strangely, they never point to things obviously bad or ugly or otherwise worthy of revulsion and disgust, such as childhood cancer, eye-worms, famine, malaria or natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes, and claim them as evidence.

When confronted with these inconveniences however, they blame their imaginary friend in such a way as to make it look as repugnant as childhood cancer, earthquakes, etc, and more an object to be loathed and feared, like a psychopathic protection racketeer, rather than something we should all adore and worship. It seems not admitting to not knowing or having an easy answer is more important than defending the reputation of the god they purport to love and worship.

The similarity between that intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt approach to theology seen especially, but not exclusively, in fundamentalist religions and creationism is, of course, an essential element of the Intelligent Design fallacy, the undercover version of biblical creationism which poses as science. The Intelligent Design movement tries, like the awestruck fundamentalist, to present everything as the marvelous work of a magic man in the sky whose existence has never been independently demonstrated and who they like to claim has created the entire Universe for humans, and so appeal to people who have little but can't imagine themselves having an importance which doesn't involve a close personal relationship with the creator of the Universe.

So, let's take a look at a typical piece of biology, published today in Science, and present it from an Intelligent Design perspective, save only from the hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty which normally accompanies their propaganda pieces. This starts, naturally, by selecting something that any self-respecting professional liar for the Intelligent Design industry would either be trying to ignore altogether or thinking up some lies and misrepresentations just in case it came up at a public meeting.

Remember, this is from a biblical creationist Intelligent Design perspective, with the dishonesty removed, just in case you're tempted to think I've lost my marbles.

Scientists have recently shown how the Intelligent Designer helped some pathological bacteria get round the attempts by human beings to get rid of them or to make themselves less sick and less liable to die when they get infected. They have shown that they have been intelligently given the ability to survive the stress caused by having to live with the antibiotics that human scientists stupidly made to try to harm them and prevent them doing what the Intelligent designer made them for - making people sick.

Apparently, a few bacteria in every population have the ability to resist antibiotics even when they haven't been given antibiotic resistance genes by the Intelligent Designer. They just sort of go into suspended animation until the antibiotic goes away, then they can start reproducing again to make the victim sick again just when they thought they were getting better.

Penicillin may have saved more human lives than any other drug. Yet, almost as soon as it was introduced in the 1940s, researchers found that the antibiotic could not completely sterilize a culture of a Staphylococcus aureus strain sensitive to the drug. Shortly thereafter, Joseph Bigger showed that when the few cells that had survived an initial treatment were regrown in the absence of penicillin and then exposed again to the antibiotic, the proportion of survivors was similar to that found after the first treatment (see the first figure). Therefore, the survivors were not stable drug-resistant mutants, but transient drug-tolerant persisters. In the past decade, a resurgence of interest in persisters has revealed some of the molecular mechanisms that stimulate their formation. It has become clear that intracellular toxins present in virtually all bacteria control reversible bacterial growth arrest, explaining their antibiotic tolerance.

David Holden, Persistence Unmasked; Science 2 January 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6217 pp. 30-32 DOI: 10.1126/science.1262033

So, the only possible explanation for those intracellular toxins which makes all this possible is intelligent design because it can't have been evolution, even if it's obvious to people who don't understand that evolution is impossible because that would rule out The Intelligent Designer, that bacteria with that ability would have more descendants. And anyway, how would Darwin have known about bacteria and antibiotics?

If persisters lead to recurrent infections requiring multiple courses of antibiotics, then they are likely to contribute appreciably to the current worldwide crisis of antibiotic resistance. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the relative usage of antibiotics for persistent infections and the degree to which persisters influence the emergence of resistance.

David Holden, Persistence Unmasked; Science 2 January 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6217 pp. 30-32 DOI: 10.1126/science.1262033

So there we see a scientist admitting they don't know something, which means science is useless because if doesn't provide all the answers like Intelligent Design does because Intelligent Design scientists know already that The Intelligent Designer did it. We can also see how The Intelligent Designer has already thought of an answer to human scientists who imagine they can outwit Him The Intelligent Designer and win the battle against the bacteria He made to make us sick because of Eve's sin.

Okay, joke over.

Seriously, can any Intelligent Design proponent explain this feature of bacteria in terms of intelligent design by and all-loving, all-knowing, inerrant designer such as the creator god described in the Bible and the Qur'an, using just science, and not having to invoke, judgement, punishment and notions of sin straight from religious mythology?

Alternatively, would any like to find the intellectual and moral integrity to admit that the infantile notion being foisted on an ignorant and gullible people for political reasons is devoid of science and based entirely on a desire to force-fit reality into an irrational, non-scientific, and superstitious view of the Universe?

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