Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Dangerous" Idea Indeed.....?

Why is the concept that our sensitivities evolved directly from swimming bacterial ancestors of the sensory cilia so dangerous?

Several reasons:

1. We would be forced to admit that bacteria are conscious
2. That they are sensitive to stimuli in their environment and behave accordingly.
3. We would have to accept that bacteria, touted to be our enemies, are not merely neutral or friendly but that they are us.
4. They are direct ancestors of our most sensitive body parts.

Our culture's terminology about bacteria is that of warfare: they are germs to be destroyed and forever vanquished, bacterial enemies make toxins that poison us. We load our soaps with antibacterials that kill on contact, stomach ulcers are now agreed to be caused by bacterial infection. Even if some admit the existence of "good" bacteria in soil or probiotic food like yogurt few of us tolerate the dangerous notion that human sperm tails and sensitive cells of nasal passages lined with waving cilia, are former bacteria. If this dangerous idea becomes widespread it follows that we humans must agree that even before our evolution as animals we have hated and tried to kill our own ancestors. Again, we have seen the enemy, indeed, and, as usual, it is us.

Social interactions of sensitive bacteria, then, not God, made us who were are today.