Posted by jlwile on August 25, 2010
One of the fundamental ideas behind the evolutionary hypothesis is that organisms fall in a range from “simple” to “complex.” The organisms that are supposed to be simple, like bacteria, are assumed to be more reflective of the kinds of organisms that existed on earth a few billion years ago. As the evolutionist waves the magic wand of time, it is assumed that those “simple” organisms slowly evolved into “complex” organisms. What we see on earth today, then, is a range of complexity in nature. “Simple” organisms (like bacteria) are reminiscent of the first kinds of organisms that existed on earth, and “complex” organisms (like mammals) are the products of the long, slow process of macroevolution.
Of course, this goes counter to the creationist view. In the creationist view, organisms do not fall in a range from “simple” to “complex.” Instead, as my coauthor and I stress throughout our biology book, there is no such thing as a simple organism. Even organisms like bacteria are marvelously complex. Thus, if there is a range of complexity in creation, it is from “really complex” to “ridiculously complex.”
The more we learn about science, the more it confirms the creationist view of complexity. Organisms that evolutionists call “simple” are actually amazingly complex.
The most recent installment in this march to confirm the creationist view comes from Reindert Nijland and J. Grant Burgess. 1 They studied the bacterium Bacillus licheniformis. It is a common bacterium found in the soil and on bird feathers.2 It is a very useful bacterium, because it is easily cultured to produce an enzyme (protease) that breaks down proteins into water-soluble chemicals. That enzyme is widely used in biological washing powders.3
In the study, the authors learned that when ammonia is present, these bacteria form a slimy colony. It is assumed this happens because bacteria eat things like ammonium sulfate and convert them to ammonia. As a result, the presence of ammonia indicates that bacteria are eating, which signals the fact that food is present in the environment. Since these bacteria feed more effectively as a slimy colony than as a bunch of individuals, they tend to form the slimy colony when they detect ammonia. So…if you add ammonia to a dish that has some of these bacteria in it, the bacteria form a slimy colony in preparation for a feast.
Interestingly enough, however, the researchers found that you don’t have to add ammonia to the dish in order to get this response. Instead, if you put a dish containing only ammonia next to a dish that contains the bacteria, the bacteria will still form a slimy colony. In addition, if you put a dish of bacteria farther away from the ammonia-containing dish, the bacteria will still form a slimy colony, but not with the vigor of the bacteria close to the ammonia-containing dish.
What does this tell us? It tells us that the bacteria are sensing the airborne molecules of ammonia that are drifting out of the ammonia-containing dish and wafting to the bacteria-containing dishes. The farther the dish of bacteria is from the ammonia, the fewer airborne molecules reach the bacteria, and the weaker their response is. Nevertheless, the results are clear – bacteria are detecting airborne, food-related molecules.
What do we call it when organisms detect airborne molecules? We call it smelling. Thus, these bacteria are actually smelling the ammonia. Of course, bacteria are assumed to be so “simple” that no one expected them to have a sense of smell (which is typically called “olfaction”). Neverthelees, this paper shows that at least these bacteria do, indeed, have a sense of smell. That’s why the paper is entitled “Bacterial olfaction.”
One of these days, evolutionists will be forced to admit that there is no such thing as a simple organism. Until that day, creationists will just have to keep pointing out every new advance that illustrates this simple fact of nature.
2. Frank B. Gill, Ornithology, W. H. Freeman (third edition), 2006, p. 95
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3. Andrew Allott, Biology for the IB Diploma: standard and higher level, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 15
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