God, that’s the big G, created us in his image. I’d post a Bible verse, but I just don’t care more than to tell you that it is in there. In all that is his glory and perfection, so amazing is the image of God that man, made even just in a portion of what he is, must be the most perfect thing of all creation. It makes sense if I believe the Bible. But, after God grew weary of staring at penises that weren’t quite as perfect as his, he grabbed a rib (I want my Chili’s…) and added some miracle (get it?) grow — and we had women. And it was good. Very good. Amazingly good. Curvy and sexy good. So good, yet a little less in God’s image. In fact, the rest of life, God’s image would spend all his resources trying to mate with God’s lesser image, while God’s lesser image would be ignoring God’s image. Got it? Good. Both of these would ignore the far more evolved image that gave them food poisoning last week.
Are we really at the top? Sure. We invented blogging. And all the technology for 2000 years that led up to this great use of my time. Surely, only perfection made by God could do such a thing. But what is perfection? Well, if you come from the Bible, there is no question. God’s image is perfection, and we’re made in it. If you come from logic, we’re the most complex and thus, must be the most evolved. But is complexity good? Is it better to stuff as many books in a library as possible and try to read them all, or is it best to have only the best of reference books. Well defined simplicity is far more successful then complexity. As humans, we are less human than microbe. One trillion human cells, 10 trillion microbial cells (and 70% water…until that hangover.) Take a single microbe out of the human, and it will be millions of cells in a day. Take a trillion human cells out of the microbes, and they will be dead in a day. I wonder how many microbes help make up a perfect God?
Our body is a waste. A big waste. Busy making hundreds of thousands of enzymes just in case we digest beef, or chicken, or starch, or sucrose, or whatever. Cells tend to work on a balance where chemicals are produced to fight each other and variations in concentrations begin any needed changes. The system is a mess from the view of resources. Our brain uses an unproportionately large amount of nutrients and oxygen compared to the rest of our body. We think things such as sight are amazing, and those such as speech are a specialty of humans. Self-recognition is what makes us who we are. But do these really matter? They seem great, but they really mean nothing as an evolutionary advantage.
Bacteria has it going on. I was once challenged to find as many differences between bacteria and human cells as possible. I came up with over 243 in one evening. The most important thing I noticed was that the differences were not in function, but how they did the function. We like to think of our cells as more advanced, but if we do it, they did it first. The most obvious thought is tissues. We have specialized cells that form into tissues, then organs, then us. We are multi-cellular. So is slime. Biofilms are very complex gloop which are common everywhere in nature. Within a biofilm, one or more species of bacteria work to the advantage of them all. We, as humans, build complex structures. Sorry, they did it first. Biofilms appear more like a city than slime, with high flying towers and streamers. Why the towers and streamers? It turns out bacteria mastered hydrodynamics and nutrient flow ecology. By shaping the towers correctly, nutrient distribution to the desired cells can be maximized as well as waste exchange. Streams actually bud off allowing the biofilm to stay in tact, but a subset of reproductive cells to fly off and start a new colony. Sorry, Wright brothers, they flew first. And do they talk to each other to do this, obviously. It is called quorum sensing, and is far more complex than speech.
“Ok,” you say, but what about sight? They don’t need it. But, when it does come in handy, once again, they did it first. Photo spots of chlamydomonas anyone? How about thought? Quorum sensing again — some do it with electricity just like nerves. What it boils down to is that the single cell one-tenth the size of one of your cells is so well organized in its minimalistic perfection that it is in fact able to do all the complex things we do, outcompete us, and reproduce better than us. Bacteria is so much better than man, that it is 90% of us. Without it we would be nothing…and it would not care. If God made us in his own image, surely it is this 90%. But in that case, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, with it’s flagella like noodley appendages, may be a better idol than Ol’ Gray Beard in the Clouds.