Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Staph Attack Interesting article from today's New York Times about new strains of antibiotic-resistant staph infections:

A new chapter in the continuing story of antibiotic resistance is being written in doctors' offices across the country, as a group of common bacteria rapidly becomes resistant to the antibiotics that have been used to treat them for decades.

The bacteria are called Staphylococcus aureus, or staph for short. Staph are the most common cause of skin infections like boils and can also cause lung infections, bloodstream infections and abscesses in the body's internal organs.

In hospitalized patients, infections caused by antibiotic-resistant staph have been common for years. Among healthy people, though, antibiotic resistance in staph has not been a big problem. Since the 1970's, doctors have routinely, and successfully, treated staph infections in healthy patients with penicillin-like drugs.

This is why doctors ignore evolution at their peril.

Of course, even creationists acknowledge this sort of evolution. They derisively dismiss such things as "microevolution" by which they mean that it involves small changes within an existing species, but not the sort of large scale changes that have occurred since the emergence of life on Earth.

Alas, they never draw a clear line between "micro" and "macro" evolution. This allows them to dismiss any observed evolutionary change as being micro, and therefore not relevant to understanding large-scale trends. Perhaps one day they'll tell us what principle of science or logic says that natural selection can cause small changes over short time-scales, but can not cause large changes over long time-scales.


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