Letter to the Editor - July 16

July 16, 2012

If there’s no evolution, there’s no need for better antibiotics

To the editor:

There have been letters back and forth in the creation versus evolution discussions. It is possible to argue that there is no such thing as evolution. It is also possible to argue that Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is very dangerous. 

It requires a lot of mental gymnastics to insist that there is no evolution and that some forms of Staphylococcus aureus have evolved into  MRSA forms of Staphylococcus.

Penicillin in its various forms has never completely wiped out Staphylococcus. Those Staphylococcus germs that have survived are those who have been most fit to survive in an environment where penicillin is being used. When their children and grandchildren are again an environment where penicillin is being used, only those Staphylococcus germs that are best able to resist penicillin are able to survive and pass the resistance onto their prodigy. This same set of circumstances has occurred with most other antibiotics that are used against Staphylococcus.

Today we’ve reached a situation in which a doctor would be very upset if the patient had MRSA and insisted that, since there was no evolution,  inexpensive penicillin rather than very expensive vancomycin should be used to treat their MRSA.

Even the Institute for Creation Research has trouble explaining that there is evolution and that there is no evolution:

“Antibiotic resistance in bacteria can also be achieved when mutations in a ribosome or protein change the site where an antibiotic binds;” and, “The mutation may confer a benefit in a particular environment, but the overall fitness of the population of one kind of bacterium is decreased as a result of a reduced function of one of the components in its biological pathway. The accumulation of mutations doesn’t lead to a new kind of bacterium — it leads to extinction.”

Do any medical professionals seriously believe that MRSA is about to go extinct? I wish MRSA would go extinct, but things do not go extinct because they are evolving, they go extinct because they are not evolving fast enough. Staphylococcus seems to be doing an excellent job with evolving faster than the drug companies can come up with effective and safe antibiotics that destroy Staphylococcus bacteria.

The question has been asked,” Has anyone ever seen evolution?” I was born before penicillin came into regular use. By the late ’40s penicillin was highly effective against all kinds of things including Staphylococcus aureus. Now, due to survival of the fittest and the resulting evolution, penicillin is very ineffective against many kinds of Staphylococcus aureus.

I wonder how many of the creationists, when faced with MRSA, will demand cheap penicillin because they know there is no such thing as evolution and, since there was no MRSA in the 1940s when penicillin worked very well, it is not possible for there to be MRSA now and therefore penicillin will still work very well against  Staphylococcus aureus.

Russell Williams

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