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Why did God make parasites?

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Hookworms. Image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Public Health Image Library.

Because She doesn’t like YOU, that’s why. Well, actually, …

… actually, in a world that by its very nature can only be optimized, not perfected, the whole concept is relative. Maybe the factory farm animal, had it the wit to consider the matter, would consider humans deadly parasites on its species. Think about it.

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Don’t go nuts over it. Just think about it.

CBC Radio’s Ideas program recently hosted Rosemary Drisdelle, a parasitologist and author of: Parasites: Tales of Humanity’s Most Unwelcome Guests, along with other experts:

People hate parasites. They’re slimy and repulsive – worms emerging from blisters on the body, mites breeding in skin folds. They hold wild parties in our guts. They bring pestilence, misery…even death. But wait: parasites can also be good – really, really good! Author Rosemary Drisdelle explores these much maligned creatures and their importance in nature, and she unveils exciting new medical research into the good they can do for us. More. Listen.

From Drisdelle’s book:

Chapter Two: Market of Peril

When we think about parasites, we often think in terms of them eating us, or at least parts of us. But it’s also true that we eat them: that’s how many of the parasites that live in people get into people in the first place. Looking back in time, it’s clear that people have been tremendously helpful to many parasites. Even today, we’re making it easy for various parasites to infect more people than ever before! And you thought your food was safe.

In Chapter two, take a walk through the local market and find out how people have added worms to pork, beef, and even greens. Find out why sheep and sheepdogs can be a bad combination for the shepherd, and consider whether raw fish is worth the risk. Have you ever wondered why, exactly, we shouldn’t let flies walk on our food? The giant fly at the market fills you in.

Okay, okay. Drisdelle, a lab scientist, is just trying to help us see that it isn’t a conflict between good Us and bad Them.

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Remember that the next time some smartass raises parasites as an instance of why there isn’t really design in nature, or anyway, not one that he himself would worship.

Oops. Sorry guys. Sometimes my iPhone tells me my post failed to be published, so I try again and then find it actually was published. Apologies! tjguy
Here is an article entitled "Natural Evil: How Good Germs Can Go Bad" that speaks to this subject. http://crev.info/2013/12/natural-evil-how-good-germs-can-go-bad/ tjguy
Here is an article entitled "Natural Evil: How Good Germs Can Go Bad" that speaks to this subject. http://crev.info/2013/12/natural-evil-how-good-germs-can-go-bad/ tjguy
Mark Frank Evil / illness and a loving god are not mutually exclusive. Just like a loving parent and a parent who disciplines his child can be the same person, a loving god who allows evil for some greater good is not inconceivable. Any parent can understand this unless that parent is someone who has never said no to her child and turned that child into a spoiled little monster. ;) RexTugwell
Mark Frank, Personally, I don't believe God creates either good or evil spirits. Only the physical can be created. If humans are evil, God had nothing to do with it since he only creates the physical body. Our spirits are our own and they are what they are and cannot change. Not all spirits are evil, though. We are told that only 1/3 of the angels are bad, for example. I don't believe there was always sickness and suffering among humans. I may be wrong but I believe that our spirits have the power to affect karma which, in turn, has power to influence the course of certain physical events so as to cause good or evil things to happen. Now, I don't presume to know everything, not by a long shot. But as a Christian, I believe that there is a time for everything, as Solomon wrote. There is a time for suffering and sadness and a time for joy and pleasure. Now, we are going through our time of suffering. Even God's chosen ones get sick and die. Paradise will come later to those who have faith in the goodness of God. That's my take on it. Mapou
Mapou Actually this one really matters which is why I got drawn into one more debate. It may be necessary to understand the concept of evil/illness etc to understand goodness/health. But that doesn't mean that a loving God had to actually allow evil things and sources of terrible illness to exist. Mark Frank
#9 cc So clearly we should release the few remaining samples of smallpox back into the wild, reverse the campaign to eliminate polio, maybe encourage TB - uhm Mark Frank
Mark Frank => After all it might be doing some good and there can be no health without illness. Me=> It increases immunity against future attacks for the population. In fact you could point out this is evolution of humans against malaria ! :-) coldcoffee
Mark Frank @7, By "there's no health without illness", I mean the same as "there's no left without right". It just means that no member of a pair of opposites has any meaning without the other. Opposites are ONE. They are also of the same nature. That is to say, to know one is to know the other. For examples, we would not know what peace meant if we had no concept of war. Same thing with health/illness, beginning/end, up/down, positive/negative, etc. Curing illnesses does not take away from the Yin-Yang nature of reality. There is no need for you to oppose every idea just because you have bone to pick with some people. So be cool. Mapou
So are being smartasses to when we try to eliminate the malaria plasmodium which kills over half a million people a year - most of them children? After all it might be doing some good and there can be no health without illness. Mark Frank
Asking why God created parasites is like asking why God created pain and pleasure sensors. God also created the immune system that fights parasites. We live in a Yin Yang reality; there is no escaping this fact. There can be no health without illness, no pain without pleasure, no left without right, no peace without war or up without down. This is one of the important lessons we are here to learn. Mapou
This looks like the “parasite therefore no design” argument is a non-issue after all.
I have not seen the parasite used as an example of no design. It's been used by atheists and skeptics as an argument against a Loving God. TheisticEvolutionist
God wrote the mosaic law and so knows the issues. It wasn't the Hebrews ideas. God did not create parasites. They didn't exist before the fall. They would be something else harmless. Our bodies would probably have no bugs for digestion etc. They would work very differently. Robert Byers
While intestinal parasites are unpleasant to deal with, it's always amazed me that nearly four millenia ago, people had basic sanitation rules to live by that greatly reduced their risk for food contamination. About 3,500 years ago, Israel received the Mosaic Law. That Law protected the Israelites from many foodborne illnesses. Consider the following instructions: ? Avoid unclean utensils and dishes that touched a dead animal: “Any vessel of which some use is made will be put in water, and it must be unclean until the evening and then be clean.”—Leviticus 11:31-34. ? Do not eat an animal that died of itself: “You must not eat any body already dead.”—Deuteronomy 14:21. ? Eat leftovers within a short period: “On the next day what is left of it also may be eaten. But what is left of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day is to be burned with fire.”—Leviticus 7:16-18. A. Rendle Short, M.D., expressed surprise that the Mosaic Law—compared with the contemporary laws of surrounding nations—should contain “so wise and reasonable a code of rules of health.” Barb
Besides, our office furniture wouldn't have a leg to stand on. - O'Leary for News News
This looks like the "parasite therefore no design" argument is a non-issue after all. Nice. I'm reminded of a recent paper in BIO-Complexity by Douglas Axe, et al which turns the question around on our Darwinist friends and asks "Why has no organism in 400 million years evolved the ability to digest the abundant, high energy, 'low-hanging fruit' known as lignin?" Those unfamiliar with lignin can read all about this essential molecule found in all woody plants here as well as the ensuing devastation to life on our planet if some hungry little critter evolved the capacity to dine on it. Lignin--Designed Randomness RexTugwell

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