Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Malevolent Designer News - God Doesn't Hate Frogs; He Just Loves Mosquitos and Malaria More

New research finds the global collapse of frogs and other amphibians exacerbated malaria outbreaks in Costa Rica and Panama during the 1990s and 2000s.
Credit: David Mark from Pixabay.
Amphibian die-offs worsened malaria outbreaks in Central America - AGU Newsroom

Readers of this blog may recall that I wrote about the fungus that is devastating amphibian populations around the world several years ago. I then asked the question, "Does God Hate Frogs?"

I also wrote about it in my latest book, The Malevolent Designer: Why Nature's God is not Good., in which I said:

Exterminating Frogs with a Fungus.

Most of the examples I’ve talked about so far have been organisms and viruses that affect humans, but we are far from being the only species that Creationism’s putative intelligent designer seems to have taken an intense dislike to. For example, the world’s frogs and other amphibians are currently being decimated by chytridiomycosis, caused by a couple of related Chytrid fungi, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans. It has been estimated that over 500 different species have been severely reduced in number by this fungal plague, with over 90 extinctions.

These fungi seem to have originated in an area of Southeast Asia by modification of a common, harmless, soil fungus. In that part of the world, the local population of amphibians seems to be resistant to the pathogenic forms of the fungi, suggesting that these fungi frequently become pathogenic and the local population have built up resistance to it.

[...]

ID advocates would have us believe that, for reasons unknown, their putative intelligent designer has deliberately redesigned a soil fungus so it can overcome the immune system it designed to protect frogs from infections, and so exterminate over 90 species of amphibians that it designed earlier and severely endanger some 500 species in what has been described as the biggest single loss of biodiversity, albeit, aided and abetted by humans in this endeavour. Creationism’s intelligent designer must really hate the frogs it designed. Maybe a private definition of the word ‘intelligent’ is being employed here.

Now, a group of scientists at the University of California - Davis, have found what might be the reason why a designer, if such a thing really existed outside the imagination of creationists, designed this fungus. In a paper to be presented to the American Geophysical Union (AGU)'s Fall Meeting on 8th December, Joakim Weill, an environmental economist, will present evidence that the devastation of the frog population in Central America probably exacerbated malaria outbreaks in Panama and Costa Rica during the 1990's and 2000's.

The AGU press release ahead of their Fall Meeting explains:
The global spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, an extremely virulent fungal pathogen known as amphibian chytrid fungus, has been responsible for massive worldwide die-offs of amphibians since the 1980s. A 2019 study found the fungal disease has played a role in the decline of over 500 amphibian species over the past five decades and presumably caused extinctions of 90 species. The authors of that study referred to the die-offs as “the greatest recorded loss of biodiversity attributable to a disease.”

Chytrid fungal disease traveled across Costa Rica and Panama from the early 1980s through the 2000s. Both countries experienced large increases in malaria cases following this rolling collapse of amphibian populations.

In the new study, researchers investigated whether these malaria outbreaks were connected to the amphibian declines because amphibians eat mosquitoes that transmit the disease. They compared the timing and spatial extent of amphibian die-offs with malaria cases in Costa Rica and Panama at the county level from 1976 to 2016.

The researchers found a significant increase in malaria cases in these countries that started immediately after the amphibian die-offs began and peaked 5 to 6 years after. In 1980, there were fewer than 1,000 cases of malaria in the two countries, but cases began to rise in 1990 and peaked at about 7,000 in Costa Rica in the mid-1990s and 5,000 in Panama in the mid-2000s.
So, from an intelligent [sic] design advocate's perspective, where nothing happens without the deliberate intervention of an intelligent entity, their putative designer seems to have redesigned an otherwise harmless soil fungus from southeast Asia so it virulently kills frogs and other amphibians, not so much because it hates frogs and likes to see them suffer and die, but because it wanted to stop them eating the mosquitos that it had chosen as its method of infecting humans with the malaria parasite it had designed to make us sick and die. It not so much hates frogs as loves mosquitos and malaria and hates humans.

The extent of its success can be seen in the increased number of deaths from malaria in Central America.

Creationists worship this malevolent entity and bring their unfortunate children up to regard it as omni-benevolent and a source of morals, However, simply because they are dogmatically prevented from acknowledging that this fungus and its consequences are the result of a perfectly rational, well-understood, amoral, undirected natural process which, as such, has no purpose or goal in mind, they unwittingly make it look like an unspeakably malevolent, misogynistic, genocidal evil genius that loves nothing quite so much as seeing human children dying a horrible death from the disease organisms it created for that purpose.







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