Antibiotic Resistance as “Evidence” for Evolution

on ; last featured January 26, 2009

One of the most common evidences used in textbooks to support evolution is antibiotic resistance in bacteria. However, the marvelous ability of bacteria to survive against antibiotics does not support the idea of progressive evolution at all. Public school textbooks claim that bacteria’s sophisticated capacity to change—which appears to be built into their systems—supports the claim that molecules can change into completely different kinds of creatures, like mosquitoes, mushrooms, and men—despite the fact that these changes require the addition of completely different kinds of genetic information.

The textbook authors recognize that the resistance is already present in the bacterial population (Fig. 15.5) and then claim that selection for resistant bacteria in a population is direct evidence for evolution. Selecting for something that is already present does not provide support for the information-gaining change required for evolution. Students are left with a confused understanding of evolution and are expected to equate observed changes in bacteria with the conversion of one kind into another.

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From Glencoe Biology, page 399

See Evolution and medicine for more on antibiotic resistance.

Answers Magazine

April – June 2007


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