Sunday, 25 April 2021

Malevolent Designer News - Another Win for Science?

The life cycle of malaria parasites. A mosquito causes an infection by a bite. First, sporozoites enter the bloodstream, and migrate to the liver. They infect liver cells, where they multiply into merozoites, rupture the liver cells, and return to the bloodstream. The merozoites infect red blood cells, where they develop into ring forms, trophozoites and schizonts that in turn produce further merozoites. Sexual forms are also produced, which, if taken up by a mosquito, infect the insect and continue the life cycle.

National Institutes of Health (NIH), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
New vaccine success for Oxford is truly remarkable | Kenan Malik - The Guardian

News today of a major breakthrough by medical science in its search for a treatment/cure for malaria which Intelligent [sic] Design advocates believe was created by their putative designer deity to kill around 430,000 people a year, mostly children.

Scientists at Oxford's Jenner Institute have announced the results of a clinical trial of their anti-malarial vaccine, R21, in Burkino Faso, which has shown it to be 77% effective.

One of the problems facing those humanitarian scientists seeking to eradicate malaria, is the complexity of the life-cycle of the organisms that cause it. From the Medicins Sans Frontier website:
Malaria is a deadly disease carried by Anopheles mosquitoes. Every year, it kills around 430,000 people and infects more than 200 million. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite malaria mortality rates falling by 25 percent since 2000, a child in Africa still dies every two minutes from malaria. Malaria is most common in poor, deprived areas. In many cases, the disease itself is the cause of such poverty: it causes havoc on a socioeconomic level as patients are often bedridden and incapable of carrying out usual daily tasks, resulting in burdens on households and health services, and ultimately considerable losses to income in malaria-endemic countries. This suffering and loss of life are tragically unnecessary because malaria is mostly preventable, detectable and treatable. While ninety percent of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, the disease is present in nearly every tropical area where MSF works: from Ethiopia and Sierra Leone to Cambodia and Myanmar.


Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted from person to person by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. These mosquitoes usually bite from around dusk to dawn. Once transferred to the human body, the infection travels to the liver where it multiplies and then enters the red blood cells. Inside the red blood cells, the parasites rapidly multiply until they burst, releasing even more parasites into the bloodstream. There are four main species of the malaria parasite: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale. P. falciparum is the leading cause of severe clinical malaria and death.
The malaria parasites are a special favourite of Creationists because their evolution of resistance to the anti-malarial drugs currently being used was the subject of a book by Michael J Behe in which he famously misused basic probability theory to try to show Creationism's putative intelligent [sic] designer must have designed it because it was 'irreducibly complex', so must have arisen in a single event. This attempted deception was exposed by Kenneth R. Miller who showed that evolution by natural selection in a large population is more than capable of explaining it.

Behe had hoped to get away with the pretence, aimed at his mostly scientifically illiterate Creationist dupes, that a series of highly unlikely events would have to occur together, or in a fixed sequence, in the same cell - something no serious evolutionary biologist would ever propose. Miller showed how it could easily have arisen by accumulating small changes across a population, with several possible pathways and in no pre-requisite order, just as the TOE says evolution works.

Apart from being the leading Creationist who single-handedly invented the notion of irreducible complexity as part of the Discovery Institute's 'Wedge' Strategy for subverting the US Constitution as a prelude to establishing a fundamentalist, Taliban-style, self-appointing theocracy in the USA, and became a millionaire on the proceeds, Michael J Behe is perhaps best known as the bumbling incompetent whose inept advocacy for Creationism lost them several court cases in which they had hoped to bamboozle American courts into allowing the Intelligent Design Hoax to be inflicted on vulnerable children at tax-payers' expense in American public schools, in contravention of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

But anyway, the malaria parasites are till lauded as a fantastic creations of this putative Intelligent [sic] Designer by dedicated Creationists, apparently oblivious of the fact that it creates the impression of their favourite deity as a malevolent sadist who creates organisms to randomly kill children, incapacitate adults and inflict poverty on much of the under-developed world, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Apparently the fear of offending it is preventing many Creationists from telling the truth about their putative creator god and accepting that natursl processes are perfectly capable of creating biodiversity. Childhood indoctrination has muh to answer for.

It will be interesting to see how Creationists react to news that medical science could have achieved a significant victory over their putative god, just as it did by eradicating smallpox and with its recent development of a range of highly effective vaccines against the SARS-Cov-2 virus currently killing millions world-wide and wrecking the economies of even advanced countries.

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