Bacterial Resistance: Evidence for Evolution?


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Evolution has been observed and we know it — bacteria have evolved to become resistant to antibiotics. Or have they? The bacteria example is an extremely popular one, so it pays to discuss it in a little detail.
Scientists have discovered that when certain bacteria come into contact with antibiotics, the bacteria didn’t die out like the rest of the population. Evolutionists tell us that these bacteria became resistant due to the miraculous work of evolution. So is this irrefutable evidence for evolution as claimed? Many would have you believe so, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

What Really Happened

In order to discover whether this is an example of evolution, we must find out what happened genetically. Evolution, the idea that all life has evolved from a single celled common ancestor, requires a net gain in genetic information for it to occur. For instance, that single-celled ancestor did not have the ‘instructions’ to make the brain, limbs, heart, other vital organs, blood, eyes, hair and much more. Where did the information come from to make these features? It must come from a net gain in information.

So then, we can deduct that if bacterial resistance to antibiotics was real evolutionary change, mutations would have added new information. And therein lies the problem. Antibiotic resistance occurred by a lossof information!

Mutations harmed the ribosome of the bacteria so that antibiotics were not able to attach. This made the individuals resistant; however, it came about from a loss of information. No new ‘machines’ or functions able to destroy antibiotics were added.

One can easily see that this is not evolution! Jonathan Sarfati paralleled such changes well:

“[bacteria] will destroy their own bridges to prevent an enemy crossing (or even better, right when the enemy is crossing), sabotage their own factories if the enemy is using them to churn out armaments, or burn their own crops so the enemy will run out of food.”[1]

Interestingly, evolutionists may try to rebut all this by pointing out that the mutations did not render the ribosome useless. The ribosome was still able to function. This is, however, completely beside the point.The mutations themselves cause harm and it is irrelevant to what extent they destroyed.


Evolution needs a net gain in new genetic information for it to happen, but the example of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics is a loss of information. Don’t be fooled by supposed ‘gain of function’ examples like this — what is really needed are ‘gains of information’.

Possible Responses

  1. “But this is a gain of genetic information — new information results every time the gene(s) is changed.”
    Firstly, the point at hand is a net gain in information — not just a gain. So the statement is wrong right off the bat. Secondly, recombining the ‘letters’ in a gene does not result in new information because (1) entirely new ‘letters’ must be added, (2) entirely new meaning must result, and (3) the gene must have new intended purpose (see this article for more).
    Recombinations of the ‘letters’ in a gene will not result in real evolution in the same way that re-arranging a small book will not result in the British Library. You may get another small book withchanged meaning, but it will never result in the British Library.
  2. “How can beneficial changes result from loss of information?”
    The beneficial effect (resistance) came about at the expense of another (ribosome). So the change isn’t completely beneficial in the first place. The best way to explain it is to point out that the change occurred by a loss of information but added beneficial side effect. In the same way that destroying a bridge may save you from the enemy, destroying the ribosome will save a bacterium from death. Ultimately, it is only partly beneficial.


  1. Jonathan Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution (Creation Book Publishers: Atlanta Georgia, 2010), p. 52. Back to text
The Theory of Evolution
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