Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role: (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Monday, August 12, 2019, 15:29 (8 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Bacteria have been obviously kept around since the beginning of life since they are seen to contribute to so many beneficial functions. It looks like a very well-designed plan to me. […]

dhw: They also contribute to multiple diseases. All part of the well-designed plan? But of far more significance to me is the fact that all multicellular organisms consist of communities that work together. This is Lynn Margulis’s theory of cooperation as being the crucial factor in evolution. We must remember that every single bacterium is concerned with its survival – whether we judge its methods to be fair or foul. Each of us is a community of communities, and it is not difficult to envisage how this may have arisen through individual intelligences combining to form every combination known to us, whether extant or extinct. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence or otherwise of God, because it is the process that constitutes Chapter Two of life, not Chapter One. Chapter One deals with the origin, and has everything to do with the existence or otherwise of God.

DAVID: But it is in Chapter One that bacteria appear at the start of life along with a proliferation of other one-celled forms. Note they compete and fight with each other from the beginning, which means Darwin's point about continuous competition always plays a major role, and human diseases are a result. But at the same time bacteria are very importantly beneficial. So why can't it all part of God's planning?

dhw: This is a jumble of observations. Bacteria remain bacteria. Chapter Two is the arrival of multicellular organisms which result from single cells cooperating to create new forms of life – i.e. the history of evolution, for those of us who believe in it. My point about diseases was simply to redress the balance, since you only mentioned beneficial functions, but you are right: disease may have been part of your God’s plan. We can’t read his mind. None of this alters the fact that we are a community of communities, in which cells cooperate to produce a functioning whole, and since many scientists support the theory of bacterial and cellular intelligence (as championed by Margulis), it is perfectly possible that multicellular life (Chapter Two) evolved as a result of these individual organisms pooling their perhaps God-given (Chapter One) intelligences.

Note my entry today about a particular Archaea which finally cultured supports your comment

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