Strategy, Strategist

Binary fissionI haven’t done anything on yesterday’s DpSU – while it’s certainly wrong, it would take more time for me to go over why exactly that is than I presently have available. Today’s DpSU – The Ingenious Way That Bacteria Resist Aging – presents no such problem. It also counts as biology revision, which is a minor plus.

Here’s the situation: Binary fission in a bacterial cell produces two identical cells. The old, worn out machinery of the original cell is divvied up between the daughter cells. But this presents the problem of ageing – do bacterial cells age?

An additional problem with this is that observations conflict. Some people have reported yes, others no. The study that this DpSU is based on works out a way to explain this by arguing that the older material is biased in going to one cell or the other. That is, one daughter gets a better inheritance than the other. The press release ends like so:

“There must be an active transport system within the bacterial cell that puts the non-genetic damage into one of the daughter cells,” said Chao. “We think evolution drove this asymmetry. If bacteria were symmetrical, there would be no aging. But because you have this asymmetry, one daughter by having more damage has aged, while the other daughter gets a rejuvenated start with less damage.”

Can you guess Mr Thomas’ problem?

That’s right:

“We think evolution drove this asymmetry,” he said. But he did not explain how. He also said, “Because you have this asymmetry, one daughter by having more damage has aged, while the other daughter gets a rejuvenated start with less damage.”

Of course, the species as a whole will survive longer if each generation could redistribute damaged parts. But allocating so many tiny parts is a horrendous logistical problem.

Chao’s study was more about the how than the why. But even then, in the omitted portion of the paragraph, he gave a possible mechanism – active transport.

I’m interested to know how he knows that the process requires energy, rather than, say, being an inherent property of damaged and non-damaged things that they separate themselves out. But an ‘active’ mechanism is more susceptible to evolutionary pressures. Amazingly, even Brian Thomas realises that such a system would be evolutionary advantageous – he just thinks it’s impossible. Why?

I don’t know. He goes on:

Since no problem ever solves itself, either an intelligent person continually selects and removes the damaged biochemicals, or an intelligent engineer encoded an internal apparatus that identifies and transports the tiny offending chemicals into one daughter cell and not the other. There is no evidence that engineers live inside bacteria, so the latter option fits best.

I seem to remember an Acts & ‘Facts’ article that was of the opinion that some kind of wasp was being directly piloted by God. But then that could just have been a metaphor, like the use of the word ‘strategy’ and ‘selection’ and all the other things that creationists often harp on, like so:

While it makes sense that a dividing bacterium would give more damaged biochemicals to one cell than another, it makes no sense that “evolution”—which by definition excludes intelligent causes—could “drive” such a strategy. Strategies always come from strategists and never from nature.

Such an ingenious design could only have come from an ingenious Designer.

Yes, it make sense.

Now: Back to the maths study.


As usual, “regular service will resume nearer the weekend.”

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One thought on “Strategy, Strategist

  1. Pingback: Mistakes Were Made – But Not By Us « Eye on the ICR

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