Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rise of the Super-Germs

So, some idiot ("Hill Billy") gets an infection, and goes to urgent care, where he obtains a prescription for antibiotics. He starts taking the pills, feels a little better, and skips the last few doses, figuring he's cured. Little does he know that, among the germs infecting him, a tiny percentage, Set X, have increased resistance to the antibiotics, so they survive. Now, Set X would have been finished off by the recommended dosage, because they don't have that much resistance to the antibiotics, but once they survive and begin reproducing, they create an entire population of Set X. Hill Billy returns to the urgent care, sick again, and this time, the sickness doesn't get better when he takes his prescribed antibiotics, even when he takes the whole run of pills. They transfer him to the hospital, where they strap him down and do heavier antibiotics via IV, but Set X is super-adapted to those, too, because of its earlier survivability. Suddenly it's a massive emergency, and Hill Billy is transferring incurable staph infections to everyone in the hospital. It spreads across the nation and everyone dies.

Like the mysteriously non-exponential spread of AIDS--which was caused due to the American proletariat's sudden sexual responsibility, sometime after Magic Johnson failed to infect his wife and unborn child during 8 months of pregnancy-sex--the staying power of Set X, the superbug, is an amazing Act of God. How did Set X develop its immunity to prescription-strength antibiotics in the first place? Well, by Hill Billy being an idiot and not finishing his full run of the drug. But then, how does Set X's survival of the incomplete first round of antibiotics confer upon its successors an immunity to the full run, the failure to apply which was responsible for Set X's dominance in the first place? Well, see, Set X gets stronger due to natural selection, except that such an affirmative development sounds like creationism, because random mutations shouldn't cause Set X to know it's going to get hit with antibiotics round 2. And even then, how could Hill Billy and all his idiot relatives be causing--through their incomplete application of take-home pharmaceuticals--the growth of Set X into a force of nature which can resist full-strength IV antibiotics? They weren't provided with that level of strength beforehand. How is it that Set X would have randomly cultivated that level of immunity also? And if Set X had that level of immunity, how is it Hill Billy's fault for not completing his at-home treatment, given that Set X had already evolved strength to withstand hospital-dosage?

If Hill Billy can nurture Set X to full-on "unstoppable staph outbreak" proportions through missing his doses, then Set X in responsible people must also be leaving behind antibiotic-resistant super-germs even when they finish the treatment of the standard stuff. Set X appearing in Hill Billy, resisting his antibiotics and surviving the hospital round, kills Hill Billy and anyone else infected by Set X, then dies off inside the hosts. How do similar versions of Set X then appear in other hosts across the great oceans, committing suicide missions by killing off their hosts in defiance of foreign hospital antibiotics, at about the same time in history? Hill Billy's stupidity can't bear a causal relationship to Set X's superpowers, given how effective it already must have been. In fact, the observed evolution of Set X and its cousins proves an integrated relationship of course and direction--not mere hindsighted feedback--between antibiotics and biotics. Set X could only prepare itself to withstand the hospital if the greater system had, in some way, transferred the super-weapon's one easily exploitable design flaw to Set X ahead of time. Since market-style evolution doesn't occur within the individual organism, it must occur beforehand, ergo the surviving germ was prepared ahead of time to meet the failing antibiotic, ergo nothing we do to properly treat the infection can succeed, ergo it doesn't matter whether or not Hill Billy completes his full dosage, since the super-germ had already appeared which would take out six at the local hospital. And since that germ doesn't then destroy the world, we know it was fully exterminated, and what are the chances that, decades after the widespread, commonplace, cheap usage of antibiotics, ignorant germs would begin developing a coordinated worldwide response to them that translated into the same M.O. in hospital after hospital? It's almost like they can communicate, not just with each other, but with our own practices and motivations as we develop and employ chemicals against them.

What observation shows us is evolution at work, lightforms in rapport, like honeybees and flowering plants, developing in concert toward increasingly complex, energy-intensive forms, in endless defiance of the notion that reality is a contest of antagonistic elimination.

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