According to one evolutionist the answer is “yes.” In his blog post, “Confessions of a Creationist: the making of a serial killer,” he writes,
How do you reason with Creationists/I.D. advocates? Sometimes you can’t. They aren’t listening because they think that if they do listen God will be very very mad at them. Some people are willing to listen to reason, however, and I know because I was one of them. So when I talk to Creationists, I like to think back and ask myself, what persuaded me? And for me, the first thing that convinced me the theory of evolution just had to be true was pathogens — killer microbes.
The blogger then explains how a pathogenic strain of Vibrio cholerae (causes cholera) infects and kills humans. He challenges creationists to give an answer to the seeming contradiction of a good God and the complex mechanisms employed by bacteria to infect its host and cause harm.
How would a Creationist or I.D. advocate explain all of this? They don’t believe that bacteria can develop significant new adaptations, so they’d have to attribute all these changes to recent surreptitious tinkering by an Intelligent Designer. . . .
Bacteria like those that cause tuberculosis, bubonic plague and cholera all feature remarkable adaptations that enable them to invade the human body and get what they need at our expense. To believe in I.D., you have to believe that an Intelligent Designer deliberately crafted these bacteria in this way in the certain knowledge they would cause horrific suffering — suffering on a scale that dwarfs any of the wars we’ve fought in our history.
I am agreed that bacteria cannot develop significant new adaptations, in the sense that there is no mechanism to add new genetic information. However, God’s creative work ceased on Day Six of creation and He declared it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God isn’t still “tinkering” with cholera bacteria and He didn’t create pathogenic bacteria.
So how did the original “very good” bacteria that God created become pathogenic without the gain of complex systems (requiring new genetic information) that lead to infection and disease? I have researched and written on this topic in my paper entitled, “The Role of Genomic Islands, Mutation, and Displacement in the Origin of Bacterial Pathogenicity.” I encourage you to read the paper, but here’s a short summary.
The mechanisms responsible for pathogenicity are very similar to the mechanisms used by bacteria to create symbiotic relationships. Symbiotic relationships with bacteria are beneficial. In humans these relationships are necessary in our gut for digestion and on our skin to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria, to name just a few. It appears that changes in these symbiotic mechanisms (after the Fall) allow bacteria to “cross the line” and become harmful instead of helpful (for more details as to how this occurs, please see the paper).
As for Vibrio cholerae, they have good functions displayed in aquatic environments, including regulating cellular activities in some organisms and chitin degradation (chitin is the main component of the exoskeleton of many aquatic invertebrates). Sometime after the Fall due to a combination of events (genetic alterations, environmental changes, and others), Vibrio cholerae became pathogenic in humans.
The blogger ends his post with this:
So if you are a Creationist or if you believe in I.D., stop for a minute and ask yourself this: What’s the most logical way to explain something like the cholera? or Yersinia pestis? or Mycobacterium tuberculosis? Do you really believe these were deliberately designed in order to kill you, and if so, then why? If you stop to think about it, I believe you’ll find the theory of evolution is by far and away a more satisfying explanation.
Okay. I’ve asked myself that question, and here is the answer based on the Bible and science. The most logical way to explain something like cholera, etc., is that God created the bacteria that cause these diseases as “very good” but because of the Fall (due to man’s sin) they have changed and some bacteria now cause disease. Evolution is not a more satisfying explanation because it is not only inconsistent with the Bible but also inconsistent with science. For evolution to be true, these very complex bacteria with their very complex mechanisms would have to develop by random mutations that cause the gain of new genetic information. Since random mutations cannot do this, nor can any other genetic mechanism, evolution is simply not possible.
Killer microbes are consistent with the Bible’s account of creation and the Fall and the scientific evidence. The harm they bring is terrible and makes me long for the new heaven and earth where “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!