Question about evolution

They can kill their hosts. That’s predation. [Gut and soil bacteria don’t poison each other per se in competition.]

In the case of pathogen arguably but I don’t think you can really describe pathogen between monocellular life forms.

Actually its the opposite, bacteria in a same environment don’t poison each other because they each developed resistance to the toxins that the other produces. If bacteria coming from different environments meet they can poison each other since they haven’t developed the resistances.

Phages are pathogens of bacteria.

Simple waste products become resources, penicillin isn’t a simple waste and wouldn’t be generated in an environment where it has no competitive effect. Gut ecology is barely understood.

Ok fair enough.

Yep, that basically what I was saying.

Except penicillin is fungal, not bacterial. The gut doesn’t have the equivalent, despite actinomycete bacteria generating antibiotics.

And, admittedly, phages aren’t cellular.

I’ll have to take your word for it. Of course when using penicillin, we use the molecules extracted from species of the Penicillium genus not the fungus it self.

We do, the fungus doesn’t.

My point was that one of the most revolutionary discoveries in public health and well being ultimately came down to using the competitive nature of microorganisms and uses it to combat disease caused by other microorganisms.

What is Penicillium in competition with?

Clorox? :grin:  


Obviously something, or it would not waste the resources to produce a toxic product to many bacteria, which would be my guess as a competitor for eating the bread or cheese in my refrigerator.


But it is true. The primary issue here is that of natural evil. If God created a world where there was never enough to eat, so all of God’s creatures were forced to battle each other for every scrap of food, then nature is evil and God is evil. That is the myth that survival of the fittest perpetuates

On the other hand we have the science of ecology which teaches that there is a basically enough food for all if it is distributed properly. Thus we have two different basic assumptions, both of them cannot be true.

Predation culls out the sick, the elderly, the very young, the pregnant, so there is more for the healthy, and the younger. Some young and pregnant die so others can live. There is strength in numbers. Predation harms some so the whole can be stronger, just as some police and firefighters die in order that the community might be safer.

Deer which are better adapted to the environment by their speed, their coloring, and their awareness of their surroundings and cooperation with others do live longer and have more offspring, not because of some abstract fitness, but because they are better adapted to the ecological niche God/nature has given them. Still it is the species, not the individual that is adapted.

I feel like you are essentially saying the same thing but calling one version evil and the other version good but saying the same exact thing. So I don’t even know how to agree, or disagree with you because it’s the same argument. That’s why I believe you keep running into contention.

Ecology and evolution and survival of the fittest are all the same thing. It’s all aspects of speciation. Nature is not good or evil. It’s not about morality. Righteousness versus unrighteousness is not a biological thing but a line drawn in the sand by God. Plenty of animals in the wild eat their own young or eat their own kind. The reason why it’s wrong for us to do it is because we know better. We were told not too. It’s part of our species hardwiring now for the most part. Almost every human mother probably naturally knows to not pop out a baby and then roast and eat it. Combination of nature and nurture including the Holy Spirit.

The argument that “ god made s world with enough food in it “
Is nothing anyone can do anything with. That’s not how a good web works, that’s not how habitats and ecosystems work. There has been multiple mass extinctions before humans even existed. There has been issues of animals being swept out into the water and landing on some island and going through all kind of evolutionary changes. We see dwarfism and giantism. We see a species splitting into subspecies and then that entire other species goes extinct and only the subspecies exist. Why did the majority of big dinosaurs go extinct leaving behind mostly avian , if not only avian dinosaurs that resulted in ground birds that eventually evolved into flying birds.

Your argument on the ecological value of predators is the same as the survival of the fittest of the prey……. And this prey also keeps the fauna in check. Without them it would equally go crazy.

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Granted that fungi are in competition with bacteria for food, the way antibiotics like penicillin work, over a million years of evolution and more, is by inhibiting gram positive bacterial peptidoglycan coat formation leaving such bacteria naked and acutely vulnerable. Their death and breakdown provides food for fungi. Hence predation.

That is one common form of competition, called allelopathy. For example, many plants fight by producing chemicals that harm competitors. Antibiotics are an effective form of allelopathy.
If the purpose of the antibiotics is to harm competitors, rather than hunt competitors, I would not call it predation.

Eating the competitor is maybe the most productive form of competition. Actually a cross between competition and predation, called intraguild predation. It is called predation because one competitor attacks the other with the intent to kill and consume the competitor.

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That is a claim that most would not make. If lack of food is common in nature, it does not make nature evil. Saying that nature is evil is making nature a creature with intents, with the capability to be evil. Or that the creator had an intent to create something that would fulfill the evil desires of the creator.

Claiming that God is evil if there is not enough of food for everybody sounds like you have a narrow image of God. If God is not like I want Him to be, then He is evil.

Sometimes there is plenty of food, sometimes not. If any population is growing long enough, sooner or later it will face shortage of food. That is a fact, not something that makes nature or God evil.


That is not true. The science of ecology does certainly not teach that there is enough of food for everybody.

That sounds a bit outdated opinion. This hypothesis was prevailing 40+ years ago (until early 1980’s). The hypothesis claimed that predators kill and eat surplus individuals, mostly sick and weak that would die anyway. By killing surplus individuals, predators act as a force that keeps the populations healthier.

After the use of radio telemetry became common, it was soon evident that this hypothesis is not true. Predators kill all kind of individuals. In many cases, they kill the most active and vigorous individuals because the most active individuals encounter predators more often.

The impact of predators depends on the predator-to-prey ratio. When there is a low number of predators relative to prey numbers, predators have hardly any effect on prey populations, except possibly by affecting the behavior of prey. When the relative number of predators is high, prey populations may crash because of a high kill rate, no matter what quality the prey have.


I’ll point you towards this podcast on the book of job. especially the bits on chaos. It might give some valuable insights.

So fungi indirectly killing competing bacteria and eating - absorbing - their remains isn’t predation? What is it when I eat a radish?

Selfishness is definitely an oversimplification. Political philosophies build on that tend to be authoritarian like Hobbs. The truth is there are multiple strategies depending on the situation. However, I would wager that it is only by the grace of God that anything functions at all. We should be praying more and arguing less.

by Grace we proceed

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Largely, it seems like your question was answered and now we are arguing about peripheral things.

I was thinking that in your own life, you have some people who you consider rivals (at some level), and some people you consider friends. For those you really have to compete with, you probably apply a very different strategy than what you do with your friends. … at least, I would expect so. Also, there are people you really don’t have much to be bothered with one way or the other.

Perhaps with your rivals, it may be a zero sum game; you win, they lose, and vice versa. With your friends, you have shared interests. Yet even with your friends, it it not always 100% mutual, and with your enemies, it is not always 100% zero-sum.

It is sort of like whatever works and very contingent too, so it doesn’t mean it always works either. Anyway, if you think about it with this sort of analogy, maybe it is a little easier to understand how both can happen at the same time.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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