Bacteria Tell an Interesting Story


From How bacteria “talk” – Bonnie Bassler – TED-Ed

Who knew that bacteria are social “creatures”? Yes, social! It turns out they do not act as separate organisms, but as communal organisms. Dr. Bonnie Brassler gives an interesting TED Talk on bacteria that explains what incredible social or communal organisms bacteria are, and these bacteria tell an interesting story.

Bacteria not only interact with themselves; they work in harmony with other more complex organisms. Bonnie Brassler points to the example of a squid that engages in an intricate dance with bacteria (virio fisheri) to provide an “ingenuous” anti-predator scheme that prevents the squid from casting a shadow. The symbiosis between the squid and bacteria is amazing, down to signal proteins given off by the squid and signal receptor proteins from the bacteria that are like “lock and key”.

It turns out this is no anomaly. All bacteria have systems like the bacterial friends of squid. “All bacteria can talk to each other. Continue reading

The Irreducible Complexity of the Universe

(c) Can Stock Photo

I recently read the book, Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge University Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science. The book uses Darwin’s acknowledgment that the Cambrian Explosion was a significant problem to his evolutionary theory of the origin of life as a springboard to explore in detail that problem which Meyer aptly names “Darwin’s doubt”.

I have summarized the first ten chapters of the book on a different Blog, Perspective, starting with a summary of the first four chapters of the book. If you want to read a summary description of the detail that Meyer explores without buying the book, though I strongly suggest buying the book if your are interested.

In this blog, I want to provide an overarching description of the basis for Intelligent Design, which is ultimately the theory that Meyer espouses. For Meyer, the key basis for Intelligent Design is 1) the argument from biological or genetic information and 2) the argument from physics or cosmology. Both arguments can be summed up in the statement that we live in a universe of irreducible complexity that could not have happened by chance or unguided “natural law”.

Meyer focuses on the biological argument, observing that, to build the complex biological machines that we see, there is a need for prior information, and any discussion of that complexity begs the question: where did that information necessary to build the protein parts out of which the complex structures are made come from in the first place? What cause is capable of generating that information? Meyer argues that we can use the same scientific method that Darwin used to infer that the cause had to be conscious mind or intelligence.
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