|It’s a Jungle in There: Friendly Bacteria and Intelligent Design #1
By Dr. Chuck McGowen
The Human microbiome project (HMP) is an initiative that was launched by National Institutes of Health in December of 2007 with the reported objective of identifying and characterizing the billions of microorganisms which are found residing in the bodies of both healthy and diseased humans. It is a five-year project having a total budget of $115 million. The ultimate goal of this rather expensive microbiome project is a further demonstration (or refutation) that the now somewhat poorly characterized changes in bacterial population taking up residence in the human body can be associated with, or a determinant of, human health or disease. We know for certain that an alteration of the protective balance in the normal inhabitants called “friendly” bacteria by a reckless use of antibiotic therapy can cause complicating diseases in humans; I.e. thrush (oral candidiasis), vaginitis in females and antibiotic induced diarrhea (C-difficle enteritis) in humans of either gender.
The multitudes of human friendly microorganisms far out number those of the putative pathogens (disease producers, or germs). The “friendlies” participate in various normal bodily functions such as breaking down an end product of protein metabolism called urea in the gut as well as maintaining a healthy environment in the distal, female genital tract. The project participants, who happen to be scientists approaching the study from a macro evolutionary mindset, are attempting to find answers to the questions they have continually raised as to how we have allegedly evolved through random processes of mutation and natural selection. The perspective of those of us who hold to a theory of Intelligent Design would instead seek to find the answers as to how those organisms have fit into the Designer’s plan for our survival; as the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) put it, “Thinking God’s thought after God.” Discovering answers to those types of questions are what enabled committed Christians such as Joseph Lister and Louis Pasteur to unravel the mysteries concerning infectious disease in the 19th century before Darwin had befuddled the minds of their fellow scientists.
To be continued next week.
Sunday, April 12, 2009, 12:22 PM