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Behe: Magnetotactic Bacteria and Other Micro-Wonders

David Klinghoffer
Image source: Discovery Institute.

Magnetotactic bacteria are the fascinating stars of the new episode of Secrets of the Cell with Michael Behe, which premieres TODAY at 5 pm Pacific time/8 pm Eastern right here. These bugs could point the way to a treatment for cancerous tumors, thanks to their natural ability to maneuver by sensing the Earth’s magnetic field. Dr. Behe explains how. They owe this gift to a sophisticated manufacturing and quality-control process — a code-driven factory, in effect, in each bacterium — for the production of magnetosomes, forming the functional equivalent of a compass. A modern, human-built factory would be no less sophisticated.

“It’s true,” says Behe, 

some types of bacteria are harmful to humans. But countless others are superheroes of the microbial world. All this raises an obvious question. How did bacteria come to be so diverse and so ingenious? 

Indeed, that’s the question, and he details the steps that an unguided process would have to take to furnish these bacteria with the needed equipment. An intelligent agent with foresight and a plan could do it, step by step. But blind Darwinian evolution? “Color me skeptical,” says Professor Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University and pioneer in the field of intelligent design.

Join us here as we learn about this and other micro-scale wonders that surely would have given Charles Darwin cause for reflection if he had known about them.