Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Creationists very bad ideas

Poor physicians and engineers :)

We're always making fun of them, as it appears as if a disproportionate number of individuals in those fields are Creationists. Oh its a funny joke for us, but if a Creationist Physician and a Creationist Engineer ever mated*, the results would be disastrous, as GilDodgen just demonstrated:

In the meantime, medical doctors should prescribe multiple antibiotics for all infections, since this will decrease the likelihood that infectious agents can develop resistance through stochastic processes.
Gil is a software engineer. He read Behes crappy book, and thought that a neat ID idea for not creating antibiotic resistant bacteria would be to trap bacteria at a minimum in a fitness landscape, kill off all the bacteria, and HURRAY! No drug resistant buggies!

Well, you can read lots of different takes on this issue:
Humble Monkey
Respectful Insolence
Ian at Pandas Thumb


I dont blame Gil for this-- hes just some engineer dude and thinks he has a neat idea. It would be a neat idea, if brought up in conversation. But thats not what he did. He made a big arrogant post of this idea on William Dembskis blog. Why Dembski allows engineers to post medical advice on his blog, I fear we will never know. But Id just like to note that this is a neat idea for a non-biologist, but it rotted into another example of Arrogant Creationists telling everyone in the world how to do their jobs.

Gil, giving everyone lots of antibiotics is the worst idea EVER. Let me list a few reasons why.

1. Just like all viruses are not one 'Viral Kind' that got off of Noahs Ark, there was not one 'Bacterial Kind' that hitched a ride for forty days and nights either. 'Bacteria' is a huge group of organisms that we have only begun to study-- new kinds of sequencing, new places to sample, theyre still aliens on our planet. 'Bacteria' are not one organism that can be killed by any 'antibiotic.' Different antibiotics work in ways that might only be effective against certain bacteria. For instance, you can give a person infected with a gram-negative bacteria all of the penicillin in the world, and its not going to do anything but kill the GOOD bacteria in your body. Giving a patient antibiotics willy-nilly instead of the targeted approach we use right now is a terrible idea.

2. You are more bacteria than you are human. Sorry. Its creepy, I know, but nothing to be done about it. There are good bacteria in your body that you could not live without. Antibiotics kill them too. Prescribing a antibiotics like buckshot means there are fewer of the good-guys around to out-compete the bad guys to clear the bad-guys out completely. *sigh* Not that a Creationist would get 'niches' and 'competition.'

3. Humans do not exist in a void. When you take a drug, it is absorbed through your stomach/intestines/broken down in your liver/whatever. Depends on the drug. But that drug is in your poop and pee, just like everything else you eat and drink. Antibiotics, illegal drugs, prescription drugs-- you can find everything we take in sewage and rivers and lakes. If everyone started taking lots of antibiotics, alllllll those antibiotics are going to go out into the environment, and help breed future Super Bugs. Baaaaad idea.

4. Physicians arent retarded. Targeted, multi-antibiotic approaches are already in use. When needed. Not for every sinus infection that walks into the office. We've also been using multi-drugs for HIV, Behes pet virus, since it was technologically possible. We've given kids in Africa seven different kinds of drugs... and they still die. I really dont think Creationists understand what evolution can do...

5. Personal note: PRESCRIBING UNNECESSARY ANTIBIOTICS?? LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF ANTIBIOTICS???? Gil is obviously not one of 'us'. 'Us'. Those side effects you see listed on that handout you get when you fill an antibiotic prescription? They dont make those up-- people get those side effects. Some of us get the bad ones. I happen to be one of those people. Im not allergic, no anaphylactic shock or anything, I just have had bad reactions to every antibiotic I have ever taken. Some of you might remember I got sick earlier this year. I didnt tell you all the whole story, as it really shook me up, and I had some anxiety issues after one particularly bad day... One dose of antibiotics that were stronger than necessary (they thought it might be MRSA) led to the most medically traumatic experience of my entire life. And Gil thinks EVERYBODY should get lots of super strong antibiotics so we dont get drug resistant bacteria. Angry......

Thankfully, Gil is an engineer and incapable of carrying out his great ID plan. Alas, Gil is still an Arrogant Creationist.

* Dont worry. I have yet to see two upper-middle-class white Fundamentalist Christian men mate with one another and produce a viable offspring. But theyre sure tryin...


Tyler DiPietro said...

A realistic landscape wouldn't be constricted to three dimensions, as Gil Dodgen imagines. A realistic representation of any biological FL would involve more dimensions than could be adequately visualized geometrically, and where global extrema across all dimensions would be so rare as to be negligable. The "unselectable minima" arguments fall apart once the false assumptions are brought to light.

I'm actualy covering that in the next Cranks Cluedo post, btw.

ERV said...


I luvs my fitness landscapes.

But like I said back when Behe was having diarrhea over them-- I am glad I grew up with fitness landscapes, rather than discovering them at 50, like Behe and Gil. Its like learning Chinese when youre younger-- it makes more sense.

But again, theyre taking things that its perfectly natural to be confused about, and making Arrogant Creationist Claims.

Chris Noble said...

The one that killed me was the strawman that evolution should make malaria parasites evolve resistance to the sickle-cell anemia polymorphism.

Once again the only thing it proves is that the people that criticise evolution have no understanding of it.

Even in regions with high malaria incidence about 90% of the popualtion do not carry the polymorphism.

There is no selective pressure for the malaria parasites to evolve resistance to.

It's bit like the stupid ideas about what HIV "should" have done. The virus has managed to infect millions of people and spread to every continent on the earth (well maybe not Antartica). What else was it "supposed" to have done? Written a book on ID?

Reynold said...

I tried posting on that column, but not even my sockpuppet with the proxy address can get through. No comment of mine ever makes it past moderation. So, I posted on Respectful Insolence instead.

Mind you, I realize that I do show a fair amount of ignorance in this topic there, but I feel it was enough to shoot down some of their points.

Gary said...

Abbie - Hey! I was expecting more "frothiness"!

But a good takedown anyway.

J-Dog Having To Post As Gary To Get By The Troll Locks

Doppelganger said...

Are we surprised by this at all?

Brett said...

Perhaps you shouldnt make fun of engineers (or physicians). It's bad enough that we rational engineers have to put up with the abundance of creationist loons in our midst, we dont need folk from various scientific fields mocking us for it. I know it's all in jest, but still, not cool.

大力 said...

Yup, I agree it's much better to learn Chinese and fitness landscapes while you're young.