It is not uncommon to hear evolutionists claim that bacteria evolving a resistance to antibiotics are proof positive that Darwinian evolution (i.e., macroevolution) is true. Is that claim valid?
There is no question that bacteria can change or “evolve” in some sense. Fred Tenover, Director of the Office of Antimicrobial Resistance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summarized the ways in which bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, explaining that bacteria can sometimes be intrinsically resistant to antimicrobial agents, but in other cases, there can be an acquisition of resistance.1 De novo mutation can lead to such change or resistance genes can be acquired from other organisms through conjugation (where two bacteria join, pooling or exchanging their genetic information), and rarely, DNA transposition (i.e., transformation and transduction) can lead to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, where genetic information is absorbed by or transported into bacteria from outside sources.2 The question is whether such changes imply that, (1) neo-Darwinian evolution is true (i.e., that creatures can evolve across phylogenic boundaries into a completely different kind of creature over time) or rather that (2) only microevolution or diversification of the bacteria “kind” (Genesis 1:11ff.) is true, i.e., small changes within bacteria that lead “to new varieties within a species,”3 which, based on the observed evidence, operate within strict boundaries that disallow evolution across phylogenic boundaries. More specifically, when bacteria change through mutation, does that mean that the standard, modern evolutionary model, neo-Darwinism, is true (i.e., that mutations coupled with natural selection provide the mechanism for evolution from a single-celled organism to humans)?
In response, first note that although bacteria can change through the three aforementioned mechanisms, the bacteria are still bacteria after the change. They have not changed into a different kind of creature, and therefore, such changes would fall under microevolutionary change or diversification within the bacterium “kind.” To suggest that because bacteria can change, a bacterium can, therefore, eventually change into a buffalo, is well beyond the actual evidence and requires a blind “faith” to accept.
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