Posted: Jun 07, 2014 6:51 pm
by Bob@RealScienceRadio
Hello THWOTH! Yes, there are plenty of writings from creationists, and evolutionists, that explain the vital role that bacteria play in a typical multicellular organism's cycle of life as indeed in the world's entire interrelated ecosystem. So you ask "from a creationist... justifications as to why [God] made human survival necessarily dependent on bacteria." Our physical life is dependent upon algae and phytoplankton in the oceans producing oxygen, on much of the plant kingdom in fact and its photosynthesis, etc. A robust economy has redundant services provided by a multitude of farmers and miners, redundant manufacturers and distribution systems, etc., whereas a vulnerable economy can have many points of failure where removal of one service devastates the whole enterprise. Likewise, a robust ecosystem has many redundancies in services provided by a million species. Likewise, the reliability of your heart to beat millions of times is linked to the fact that it is made out of hundreds of millions of cells that exist to do nothing other than contract and expand, so far superior to a car's engine, the "cardiac cathedral" has billions of machines (literally, billions, of discrete molecular machines) which exist to keep that organ beating. Likewise, bacteria in your body, like in your appendix, intestines, everywhere, perform vital functions. That's the justification. Bacteria are a vital part of the circle of life and because they are microscopic, they can pull their load and work, by the quadrillions per human being, as with our blind spot, without usually even being noticed.

THWOTH, you ask about creationists:

THWOTH wrote:...have they not stopped and asked themselves why <nominated supernatural agent> would give humans an eye inferior in every regard to that of the mantis shrimp, for example?

The mantis shrimp can generate enough heat (hotter than the sun) to stun or kill its prey, while preserving its own life long enough to enjoy the meal. Other functional requirements for that shrimp included a vision system to operate underwater in murky environments. A bloodhound has a huge snout and hundreds of millions of sense receptors (we have, what, a few million?) and two olfactory passages to its brain (whereas we have one, if I recall correctly) and a huge proportion of its brain dedicated to deciphering, per millisecond, the gigabits of incoming data from all that hardware (so to speak). So, there's a design tradeoff. The human anatomy could have been designed with a big nose, but then what proportion of our brain circuitry would you be willing to trade off for better smell? (I wonder if Dawkins would be willing to trade his blind spot for intermittent temporary blindness?) I seem to recall that a falcon's brain, and a bloodhound's, each have an enormous portion dedicated to processing their incoming vision and olfactory inputs, respectively. Most of us, I presume, enjoy our advantage of being able to ponder such matters, rather than simply being able to smell them.


Thanks THOTH for bringing up functional issues like the role of bacteria in a complex ecosystem and the various biological niche tradeoffs evident in anatomy.