by Georgia Purdom, Ph.D.
June 16, 2007
Bacteria and YouMany times bacteria are found to live in symbiotic relationships with other organisms. “They [bacteria] receive room and board in exchange for labour and chemical currency” (typically in the form of nutrients).1 Bacteria play a very important role in the large intestine. In the womb, babies are essentially sterile but by the age of 2 have acquired through their environment the complement of bacteria that will inhabit their gut throughout adulthood, also known as gut flora.1 “The human gut houses a staggering 10 to 100 trillion microbes from 500 to 1,000 species—more than 10 times the number of cells that make up the human body.”1 So essentially, you are more bacteria than human!
Gut flora are responsible for aiding in digestion (they have enzymes to breakdown foodstuffs that we don’t) and making vitamins. Another important function they serve is usually not noticed until the gut flora is killed by taking well-intentioned antibiotics for an infection. Sometimes people will suffer from what is referred to as antibiotic-associated diarrhea. When many of the “good” bacteria are killed by the antibiotics, the “bad” bacteria can gain a foothold and cause diarrhea.
Gut flora are in constant competition with pathogenic bacteria (acquired through the environment) for nutrients. Gut flora can alter the gut environment making it unsuitable for growth by pathogenic bacteria. They also produce bacteriocins, which are chemicals that kill other bacteria. Competition among bacteria is very important for keeping populations of pathogenic bacteria in check. So think twice about using those antibiotic wipes for general cleaning—a sterile environment is not a good thing!
A recent study found that “skin harbors at least 182 species of bacteria, many of which were previously unknown.”2 Differences in the complement of bacteria on the skin were found between individuals (more than 71% were unique to an individual) and between men and women.2 Again, one of their main roles may be competition to keep the numbers of “bad” bacteria low.
Exposure to bacteria early in life has also been linked to lower incidences of allergies in children. Children who live on farms (supposedly exposing themselves to many bacteria by working with animals and being outside) are less likely to develop allergies than children not living on farms.3 Allergies are caused by the body overreacting to a foreign agent (such as pollen, dust, etc.). The bacteria are thought to “train” the immune system to react appropriately. So the next time you see your kid stuffing their mouth full of dirt, stay calm and think about all the “training” their immune system is getting.
Consuming Bacteria Can Be Good for YouThe term probiotics (literally “for life”) refers to dietary supplements that contain live cultures of bacteria or yeast. Many dairy products, such as yogurt and milk, are considered probiotics. Dannon has recently marketed a yogurt which contains the bacteria Bifidus Regularis [sic], which the company claims helps to regulate your digestive system.4 Probiotics are sort of the Rid-X of the human septic system. The bacteria that compose the probiotics do not remain in the body permanently but may be effective when normal gut flora has been diminished. Research on probiotics is preliminary, but their market worth ranges in the billions. Probiotics are currently being investigated for their effectiveness in curing obesity, colitis, colon cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome.1,5
ConclusionAlthough unseen and often given a bad rap, most bacteria are not a detriment to human life but rather necessary for human life. Although the Fall has affected bacteria (as everything else) resulting in mutations that can lead to bacteria that cause disease, this was not part of God’s original design. Fortunately, much of God’s original design of beneficence can still be seen in these microscopic wonders that inhabit our gut, skin, and every environment on planet earth.
So there is so much going on within cells it is mind-blowing. Now here comes a good part: Mutations. Darwinists like to give credit to mutations for helping some mythical first living cell evolve into all the various forms and kinds of life on the planet today? Yet mutations are actually harmful and deleterious to organisms and much of the careful planning and design of the cell concerns countering the potential damaging effects of mutations.
After having demonstrated to the class how remarkably complex we are, I would then go another way and ask them what substance are we most made of...what kind of "stuff?" After serveral guesses someone would say "water" and I would say, yes, correct. But then if we looked at the body with eyes that could see all the tiniest little fragments of us, the subatomic particles and all that we know, what would we most consist of? It would be empty space! Actually not only me, but the chair you sit on and the walls of your house are more empty space than particles of matter!
So we are made of so much more than we appear to be made of and there is so much more than just a human being there, every person is a planet that harbors 100 trillion or so passengers in their cruise through life. Yet we are more water than anything else on one level and if you really look hard at us, we are more nothing than anything...which then brings us to the question of nothing. Is nothing really nothing? Is there actually such a thing as nothing in place in the material world? Nature abhors a vaccum they say, and even so-called empty space is inhabited by time and is said to bend. What we perceive as nothing may indeed be the underlying fabric to everything.
God has said that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and I have to agree. Having studied many of the metaphysical philosophers that liberal universities hold up as great thinkers, I have to say that they tend to miss the main point. The Universe is by definition everything. Yet we can see that it had a beginning and is headed for an end. Thus, the Creator of the Universe must exist and the Creator of the Universe must not be material or bound by time, but rather be the inventor of both time and space. This is a job for God. Only a supernatural Being could turn nothing into everything. In fact, before there was everything there was no nothing, because nothing is a concept that is relational to time and space and time and space did not exist until God decided to create them. God didn't start with just a tiny little bit of something and BOOM everything into existence and He didn't need 15 billion years and millions of years of death and destruction to bring today into being.
Just think about it a minute. You have great powers yourself. Right now you could sit down at your computer and write an essay using maybe Microsoft Word and then print it out and turn it in as an assignment. Or, you could go find some formation with graphite from which you would extract enough to make a crude pencil rod and then find a good stick, split it down the middle, hollow it out a little and lay the graphite rod inside. Then you would need to figure how to bind it all together. Next, you would take more wood and grind it and smush it and mix it and then dry it out in a layer to try to make a crude form of paper. Or perhaps you would strip some bark off of a paper birch if one was close at hand. Now all you have to do is invent some kind of language to enable you to write your thoughts out on the crude document that you have crafted and then teach others how to communicate in that same language so they can understand your writings and...
Wait a minute! You are NOT going to do all that stuff, you are going to sit down at the computer and type up your essay and print the stupid thing out! When you have the ability to do something simply and well, why do something crude and difficult by painstaking means and long, difficult hours and even days? Well, you don't because you are not stupid. God is not stupid. He had and has the ability to speak the entire Universe into existence and so why in the world would He use billions of years?
When a person assumes that the Universe is billions of years old and that he knows more than God, he is saying God is stupid. If a person accepts that God's Word is true and that the billions of years isn't what it appears to be, he is saying God is true. Wise people accept that God tells the truth and accept that some things will be quite hard to understand.
Think about it, if you take away the idea of the concept of a Universe that is billions of years old just because of one measurement, then everything we see on and around Earth fits the Bible quite nicely. There is only one problem with believing the Bible and that is the appearance of great age for the Universe. That is it. Nothing else, really.
Meanwhile, Darwinists cannot explain life or information or account for how organisms work. They cannot explain the irreducible complexity of life on the planet. The more we learn, the more we discover symbiotic relationships everywhere, the more remarkable brilliance of the design features of organisms we try to copy and the more we test macroevolution, the more it fails to happen. How long will you let one measurement keep you from seeing the obvious: Only a brilliant Creator could have made the remarkable Universe and the wide variety of complex organisms that inhabit our planet.
You are mostly nothing. Except that nothing isn't nothing. You are mainly water but you don't pool on the floor. You are one person but you are 100 trillion cells and your have ten microorganisms hitchhiking on and inside of you for every one of those cells! But even when you say all of those things you still haven't found you. Are you the firing synapses of your brain, the beating of your heart, the inhaling of the lungs? Even if you are all of those things, you are packed with information and we know it is there but we cannot take it out and look at it because it doesn't have a material form. Even though you know you are alive, we cannot reach in and find the "life' part of you and take it out and look at it. So life itself has no material form. Finally there is the essence of self. Unlike animals and plants, you are not only self-aware and others-aware, you are aware of abstracts and can be creative because you are, like the God who created you, a three-part entity. Body, soul and spirit. We can define the body and count the parts of it but we cannot locate the soul life that breathes in and out nor the spirit of man who can take flights of fancy to imaginary places at imaginary times and perceive things unseen and unheard.
From the Biblos website:
Webster's Bible Translation
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth the work of his hands.
Webster's Bible Translation
I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: wonderful are thy works; and that my soul well knoweth.
Now just for fun, a movie about the ribosome from the cell. Yippee!!!