Microbe Forum at AiG—the first ever meeting of creation microbiologists

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It became apparent through our discussions that we needed to have a meeting of creation microbiologists.

After coming to AiG a little over a year ago, I needed to make a decision about what my research interests would be. There seemed to be two areas of biology that evolutionists were consistently using to support their belief in evolution: mutation/natural selection and microbes (i.e., bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoans). For example, antibiotic resistance in bacteria is used as an example of “evolution in action.” Although my training was mainly with eukaryotic organisms (i.e., mice, humans, etc.), I had taught microbiology for 6 years at my former university and had developed a keen interest in microbes. Late last year, I began my research by studying the role of adaptive mutations in bacteria. These mutations help bacteria adapt to adverse environmental conditions. Although they too are touted as an example of “evolution in action,” they do not add information (as required for microbe-to-microbiologist evolution) to the bacterial genome. Adaptive mutations alter the bacteria’s current genetic information making them more suitable for a particular environment.

In October 2006 I had a meeting with Ken Ham and a biblical creationist who was a mycologist (studies fungi) working at a secular university. It became apparent through our discussions that we needed to have a meeting of creation microbiologists. There seemed to be a lot of questions that didn’t have answers—such as the origin of pathogenicity (the ability of an organism to cause disease), when microbes were created, and what microbes were created for—to name a few. I began searching the literature and was amazed at how underrepresented microbiology was in creation research and writings. The decision was made to host a Microbe Forum that would follow a similar format to the Information Forum that was held at AiG last summer. The purpose of the forum would be to present research related to the role of microbes before and after the Fall. This would include combating the evolutionary thinking on the topic of microbes but also proposing models to increase understanding of the role of microbes in God’s creation.

I began contacting colleagues at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and Creation Research Society (CRS) for their input of whom to invite. Together we compiled a list of creation microbiologists who specialized in different areas of microbiology.

  • Dr. Joseph Francis: bacteriology, immunology, forum co-leader
  • Dr. Kevin Anderson: bacteriology
  • Dr. Dan Criswell: bacteriology
  • Mr. Frank Sherwin: parasitology
  • Dr. Yingguang Liu: virology
  • Dr. Alan Gillen: bacteriology
  • 2 Ph.D.-holding scientists from secular universities: mycology and virology
  • Dr. Georgia Purdom: bacteriology, forum co-leader

The meeting was held June 26th–29th. Each scientist gave at least one presentation, followed by several hours of discussion. A sampling of presentation titles follows:

  • Creation Microbiology and Origin of Disease
  • Germ Genesis in Bacteria
  • Endogenous Retroviruses: Remnants of Germline Infection or Created in the Cell?
  • Creation, the Fall, and Protozoan Parasites

Many of the presentations seemed to focus to some degree on the origin of pathogenicity which helps us answer the common question about the origin of disease-causing microbes like bacteria and viruses. It was decided that this would be the first collaborative research project for the group and will hopefully lead to a publication on this topic. In addition, non-technical articles on various microbiology topics would be developed for the AiG website. There is also a possibility of an exhibit(s) for the Creation Museum on creation microbiology.

By the end of the forum everyone agreed that it had been a very productive time. One person even remarked it was the best biology conference he had ever attended. AiG is pleased to continue to play a role in bringing together scientists to discuss and research the issues that are at the forefront of the creation/evolution debate.


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