Mike the Mad Biologist

I haven’t gone after creationists in quite a while, because it just starts to feel like picking on the slow kid. Both PZ Myers and Kele Cable attended a seminar by Answers in Genesis High Wackaloon Terry Mortenson. I don’t think you could pay me enough to wade through that morass of unadulterated bullshit, but they‘ve filed some reports (there’s a Twitter feed here). But what burned me up was seeing this come across the Twitter transom:

Antibiotic resistance always evolves from a loss of information. [PZ:] Not true!

Sweet Baby Intelligent Designer, Mortenson is stupid.

Let’s leave aside the question of whether or not a point mutation (a change in the smallest subunit of DNA) that knocks out the function of a gene (and thus causes antibiotic resistance) is a loss of information.

If you know anything about bacterial antibiotic resistance, you immediately realize just how fucking stupid this is. Many instances of resistance are due to the gain of new genes–that is, a gain in information, not a loss. Bacteria often acquire resistance genes through plasmid transfer–where one strain passes a ‘mini-chromosome’ with a resistance gene. And these plasmids (‘mini-chromosomes) usually contain a dozen or more genes. This isn’t an isolated or rare phenomenon. KPCs, Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenamases, are a real problem in hospitals (along with resistance to other penicillin-derived antibiotics). If you read Maryn McKenna’s blog, Superbug, she has written repeatedly about the problem of the NDM-1 antibiotic resistance gene (which also is a life-threatening problem).

It would be funny, were the consequences of this stupidity not so serious.

An aside: For creationists bleating about microevolution versus macroevolution, read this. Then read this. Then consider that the plasmids I discuss above move among different genera.

Comments

  1. #1 greatbear
    March 4, 2011

    Creationist logic:

    Any change in species = loss of information = evolution isn’t real.

    Anything that contradicts the above statement is greeted with, “LALALALALALA I can’t hear you!”

  2. #2 lank
    March 5, 2011

    the classic caricature (and if only it were just that) is that if deer evolved bullet-proof armour or skin, creationists would simply say that they had lost the ability/information to die from being shot.

  3. #3 moliva
    March 5, 2011

    Creationist logic:

    Any change in species = loss of information = evolution isn’t real.

    Anything that contradicts the above statement is greeted with, “LALALALALALA I can’t hear you!”

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