Darwinism Intelligent Design

Bacteria thrive via non-Darwinian “survival of the friendliest”

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But it makes a lot of sense if you think about it:

New microbial research at the Department of Biology reveals that bacteria would rather unite against external threats, such as antibiotics, rather than fight against each other. The report has just been published in the scientific publication ISME Journal. For a number of years the researchers have studied how combinations of bacteria behave together when in a confined area. After investigating many thousands of combinations it has become clear that bacteria cooperate to survive and that these results contradict what Darwin said in his theories of evolution.

“In the classic Darwinian mindset, competition is the name of the game. The best suited survive and outcompete those less well suited. However, when it comes to microorganisms like bacteria, our findings reveal the most cooperative ones survive,” explains Department of Biology microbiologist, Professor Søren Johannes Sørensen.

Faculty of Science, “Friendly bacteria collaborate to survive” at University of Copenhagen

Of course, in the real world, “survival of the friendliest” makes a great deal more sense than a Darwinian war of all against all because most life forms are best off to minimize energy-draining hostilities wherever possible.

By isolating bacteria from a small corn husk (where they were forced to “fight” for space) the scientists were able to investigate the degree to which bacteria compete or cooperate to survive. The bacterial strains were selected based upon their ability to grow together. Researchers measured bacterial biofilm, a slimy protective layer that shields bacteria against external threats such as antibiotics or predators. When bacteria are healthy, they produce more biofilm and become stronger and more resilient.

Time after time, the researchers observed the same result: Instead of the strongest outcompeting the others in biofilm production, space was allowed to the weakest, allowing the weak to grow much better than they would have on their own. At the same time the researchers could see that the bacteria split up laborious tasks by shutting down unnecessary mechanisms and sharing them with their neighbors.

“It may well be that Henry Ford thought that he had found something brilliant when he introduced the assembly line and worker specialization, but bacteria have been taking advantage of this strategy for a billion years,” says Søren Johannes Sørensen referring to the oldest known bacterial fossils with biofilm. He adds:

“Our new study demonstrates that bacteria organize themselves in a structured way, distribute work and even to help each other. This means that we can find out which bacteria cooperate, and possibly, which ones depend on each another, by looking at who sits next to who.”

Faculty of Science, “Friendly bacteria collaborate to survive” at University of Copenhagen

Don’t be too surprised if many pathogens get a lot of co-operation from “harmless” bacteria too, complicating the picture. But then who said life was simple?

Paper. (open access)

See also: What the fossils told us in their own words

5 Replies to “Bacteria thrive via non-Darwinian “survival of the friendliest”

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    For a microbiologist, Professor Sorenson seems to have a poor grasp of evolutionary theory. There are many examples from nature, human beings not least amongst them, that demonstrate that co-operative behavior has great fitness value.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note: The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the contradictory findings to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that they had found:

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory — at least in one case.
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    per Sev at post 1,

    You tell her Seversky! Survival of the fittest, Survival of the friendliest, whatever! Darwinian story telling can explain anything and everything, even things that falsify core Darwinian presuppositions. You just got to have a big enough imagination and not be too troubled by actual science.

  4. 4
    PaV says:

    So, bacteria help one another out instead of trying to kill one another off. Darwin is wrong, then. Of course. But, let’s continue. We’re told that bacteria has existed from 2-3.5 billion years ago. It’s no wonder, then, if competition is out–and therefore NS!!–that multicellular life did not arise until .54 billion years ago. But now there’s this larger problem. If bacteria don’t compete, then what caused them to compete (or else NS is not available for change) all of sudden after 2 billion years? What caused this? Why was there an “explosion” of phyla? Darwinian explanations are completely lame.

    Theodosius Dobzhansky famously said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of Evolution.” But, as we can see, each day teaches us that, “Nothing in biology makes sense in the light of Darwinism.”

  5. 5
    Mimus says:

    What? Under one condition cooperation increases individual fitness so…. Darwin was wrong? NS is out? And that has something to do with multicellularity?

    Really, what?

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