Superbugs Not Super After All

Bacterial superbugs cartoon

Natural selection, but not evolution

by Carl Wieland

After over 12 years as a medical practitioner, I suddenly found myself an avid consumer, rather than a provider, of medical care. Involved in a serious road accident in 1986, I spent many months in hospital, including weeks in an intensive care unit.

While in intensive care, I became infected with one of the varieties of so-called ‘supergerms’, which are the scourge of modern hospitals. These are strains of bacteria which are resistant to almost every (and in some cases every) type of antibiotic known to man.

Several others in the same unit with me died as a result of infection by the same bacterial strain. The germs overwhelmed their immune systems and invaded their bloodstream, untouched by the most expensive and sophisticated antibiotics available.

This ‘supergerm’ problem1 is an increasingly serious concern in Western countries. It strikes precisely those hospitals which are more ‘high-tech’, and handle more serious illnesses. Applying more disinfectant is not the answer; some strains of germs have actually been found thriving in bottles of hospital disinfectant! The more antibacterial chemical ‘weapons’ are being used, the more bacteria are becoming resistant to them.

The reality of increasing bacterial resistance seems at first to be an obvious example of onwards and upwards evolution. But the facts, when carefully examined, show otherwise.

Natural selection, but not evolution

Evolution is basically the belief that everything has made itself—that natural processes (over millions of years, without miraculous, divine input of intelligence) have created an increasingly complex array of creatures. According to evolution, there was once a time when none of the creatures in the world had lungs. This means that there was no genetic information (the ‘blueprint’ for living things, carried on the molecule DNA) for lungs—anywhere. Then, at a later time, ‘lung information’ arose and was added to the world, but no ‘feather information’ as yet—feathers evolved later…

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