Why are there still Archaea?

Carl WoeseIn memorial of the death of microbiologist Carl Woese Brian Thomas brings out an old classic creationist trope, that which asks “why are there still monkeys?”, for ‘Ancient’ Bacteria Still Alive and Not Evolved. Because stupidity loves company just as much as misery, a few other, similar arguments are chucked in as padding.

Archaeans are amazing microbes that run on completely different metabolic processes than other microbes. Discovering the first of them must have been like finding a car that runs on hydrogen fuel cells amidst a landscape of gasoline-powered vehicles. This was the privilege of evolutionary biologist Carl Woese, who died on December 30, 2012. How did he interpret these findings, and what should we remember about his contributions?

They don’t have completely different metabolic processes – Thomas is exaggerating significantly here. He also thinks that he’s smarter than Woese, or at least has a better “interpretation” of his results. Continue reading