Germs can be resistant to antibiotics by a few means:
- Already being resistant.
Some bacteria that have been frozen since before antibiotics were ever invented have been discovered as being resistant. 3 This demonstrates that they have always been resistant.
Bacteria can become resistant sometimes by destroying or deforming part of themselves (the part that the antibiotics use to destroy them).
- Ramping up resistance
Sometimes, the bacteria already had resistance for small amounts of antibiotics, but not for larger amounts. A mutation can cause the bacteria to create far more resistance than it normally would in the wild, giving it the ability to survive lots of antibiotics. 4 Normally, in the wild, this type of bacteria would be worse-off because it wastes time concentrating on extra resistance.
- “Borrowing” resistance
Sometimes bacteria can get antibiotic resistance information from other bacteria, 5 and so this category never generates brand new information, either.
In each of these cases, no brand new information is being created. In most of these cases, the bacteria are worse off overall than before, although for this particular situation the “handicap” helps them survive. This situation is similar to citizens burning a bridge to keep the enemy out at wartime 6 or like sailors throwing cargo overboard a ship to keep from drowning in a storm. In both situations, they are losing something in the long run, but in the sort run it helps them survive. On the other hand, however, evolution needs to explain how new things arise, not how they are destroyed for short-term survival.
Site Under Construction
This site is still under construction. It needs more references, citations, and debate arguments. If you would like to help, please view the community page.
Cotner, S., & Moore, R. (2011). Arguing for Evolution: An Encyclopedia for Understanding Science. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood.
Coyne, J. A. (2009). Why Evolution Is True. New York: Viking.
Sarfati, J. D., & Matthews, M. (1999). Refuting Evolution. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
Behe, M. J. (2007). The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism. New York: Free Press.
- Cotner and Moore, 2011, p. 10 ↩
- Coyne, 2009, p. 130-131: “This is natural selection, pure and simple. Everyone knows about drug resistance, but it’s not often realized that this is about the best example we have of selection in action.” ↩
- Sarfati, 1999, p. 40 ↩
- Sarfati, 1999, p. 40: “In other cases, antibiotic resistance is the result of a mutation, but in all known cases, this mutation has destroyed information. It may seem surprising that destruction of information can sometimes help. But one example is resistance to the antibiotic penicillin. Bacteria normally produce an enzyme, penicillinase, which destroys penicillin. The amount of penicillinase is controlled by a gene. There is normally enough produced to handle any penicillin encountered in the wild, but the bacterium is overwhelmed by the amount given to patients. A mutation disabling this controlling gene results in much more penicillinase being produced. This enables the bacterium to resist the antibiotic. But normally, this mutant would be less fit, as it wastes resources by producing unnecessary penicillinase.” ↩
- Sarfati, 1999, p. 40: “Another example of acquired antibiotic resistance is the transfer of pieces of genetic material (called plasmids) between bacteria, even between those of different species. But this is still using pre-existing information, and doesn’t explain its origin.” ↩
- Behe, 2007, p. 34 ↩