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Friday, December 19, 2014

How Bacteria Talk

Posted by jlwile on October 29, 2010

Evolutionists have always wanted a “simple” life form to exist. After all, to make the leap from nonliving chemicals to living systems, there must be something that is alive in every sense of the word, but at the same time, is reasonably simple. For a long time, evolutionists wanted bacteria to represent that “simple” life form.

As I make clear in my biology textbook, however, there is no such thing as a simple life form, and that holds true for bacteria as well. The more we learn about them, the more we learn how complex they really are. One of the surprises that has emerged in the past few decades is that bacteria actually talk to one another. They have an incredibly complex means of communication, but Dr. Bonnie Bassler (a professor at Princeton University) does an excellent job of describing it in the following video:

Even though it is 18 minutes long, it is worth watching. She not only tells you how important bacteria are to nature and to you, she explains bacterial communication in a very easy-to-understand manner.

What I find interesting about it is how she and I take such a different view of what the data really mean. She says that because we now know bacteria have one language to talk to other members of their own species and a second language to talk to the bacterial community as a whole, it is clear that bacteria really “set up the rules” for communication between cells. Thus, the communication that makes your cells able to work together so that you survive is simply a more advanced version of what bacteria were able to evolve billions of year ago. I look at the same data, however, and see incredible evidence for design. Just as a common genetic code tells us there is a common designer for creation, the fact that cellular communication is common amongst all the cells in creation tells us that cellular communication is the result of a preplanned design.

Regardless of how you look at what these data mean, the facts are amazing, and Dr. Bassler does an excellent job of communicating them!


4 Responses to “How Bacteria Talk”
  1. Josiah says:

    The overall lecture on inter-bacterium communication was interesting, and the practical uses of the research astounding.

    I was a bit suspicious about the quip that we are genetically only 1% human. It may well be that the sheer diversity of bacteria on us means that the number of their genes if multiplied together far exceeds ours. However most of those genes will pertain to the bacteria’s internal functions and many will be replicated. Counting all those genes when talking about the microbes as subcontractors of the human body seems somewhat deceptive.

  2. jlwile says:

    It is the result of bacterial diversity. There are just so many difference species of bacteria in and on you that when you add up all their genes, they overwhelm the number of genes you have. You are most certainly correct that the vast majority of those genes are only slightly different from one another – a bunch of variations on a theme.

    I like the term “subcontractors” for the bacteria. I don’t think she used that term, so I am attributing it to you. If you view them that way, then to even say that we are “bacterial” doesn’t make sense. It would be like saying that a construction company isn’t really a construction company if the number of its subcontractors exceeds the number of its employees on a building project.

  3. Z says:

    You’ve got a point here. I do see Gods fingerprints here! E. coli 0157:H7 uses this lovingly designed chemical communication (AI3 receptors) to detect when it is inside a human, and that’s when it activates heavenly father’s lovingly crafted virulence genes! They are so well designed in fact, that the hemolytic uremia they cause is the number one reason for acute kidney failure in children in the US!

    Go intelligent designer!

  4. jlwile says:

    Z, perhaps you need to do some reading on this subject. The Designer did, indeed, lovingly design the world. However, a nasty thing called “The Fall” happened, which corrupted creation. Things like parasitism are a result of that corruption. Perhaps if you educated yourself on an issue before commenting on it, you might have a better chance of making your case!

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