What would the CDC or the government do if there was a massive outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant disease?

If there was indeed a massive outbreak of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, the government and CDC would do little or nothing. Why? Because they no longer function in any recognizable form. A severe outbreak of bacterial disease could only happen if these institutions have collapsed. Antibiotics are not critical to keeping society safe from bacterial Read More …

Is the actual work in a biology research lab not as intellectually interesting as the conceptual aspect of the discipline?

Biology is not a lawful science. That is to say, you can’t start with a set of principles and reason your way to interesting conclusions. The big intellectual leaps in biology always follow advances in technique and technology, particularly those advances that make data collection faster and easier. The biggest advance of all – Darwin’s Read More …

How deadly would a bacterium be to humans if it was brought from a completely different star system?

The chance that extraterrestrial bacteria would be deadly to humans is zero. Not just very, very small. Zero. Pathogenesis requires intimacy, which is only attained through millions of years of co-evolution. The need for intimacy is apparent when you look at how bacteria and viruses cause infections and disease. Infection requires binding to a cell Read More …

Can we evolve to be immune to diseases?

We can and we do evolve immunities to specific diseases. Tuberculosis is a good example. In the 17th-19th centuries it was often the largest single cause of death among Europeans, particularly in cities[1] . What’s more, it was a disease of young adults, with most victims being in their 20s and early 30s. TB exerted Read More …

Is there any other organism than ourselves who can perform transactions (services or goods)?

Mutualism – the exchange of services or goods between one species and another – is the rule, not the exception, in biology. Few organisms – most certainly not humans – could exist in a biological desert devoid of all organisms but themselves. Plants produce oxygen that animals use to oxidize carbohydrates to produce carbon dioxide Read More …

Could God have created a universe where life started with an ingenious system we call RNA and DNA which would evolve to thrive in many environments, and into a being of sufficient thinking capability, to supply a soul?

This question is another version of an old and dishonest ploy used by creationists to try to trap scientists into admitting that there is a God. But the creationists are not nearly as clever as they believe themselves to be. Here’s how it works: Admit a few facts that science has established beyond all reasonable Read More …

What evolutionary purpose does the placebo effect serve?

Assigning a “purpose” to any feature of evolution is an invitation to make a fool of one’s self. Evolution is an inherently random process. The desire to use evolution to tell “just so” stories often results in seemingly scientific explanations that are completely bogus. But I’ll bite, and risk looking like an idiot, because this Read More …