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The germ theory of disease is a theory that suggests that all types of specific infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms called "germs". This theory was developed by Louis Pasteur through the influence of Antoine Bechamp.
Observation and questioning stage:
1854: Pasteur, the 19th century biologist and chemist, becomes the director of scientific studies where he had studied.
1857: He begins his work on the theory of germs and micro-organisms. His first research based on: Fermentation in alcohol, such as wine and beer.
Through his research, he found that fermentation without oxygen, involved living organisms that abound in the surface of all objects in the air and in water.
1861: Pasteur's germ theory is published.
Hypothesis and experiment stage:
1864: He used the process of pasteurisation to heat liquid: such as, milk and alcohol at about 50 degrees Celsius for certain time and then cooled them in order to destroy the micro-organisms.
From his observation, Pasteur was aware that if the microbes could affect liquids, then it was a possibility that they could also affect animals and humans.
1865: Pasteur begins his studies again after his asked by the silk industry to find the cause of the disease that had been affecting the silk worms.
From his research he found that this infectious disease was caused by living organisms, in this case parasites, bacteria and fungi.
Sharing findings stage:
1867: After Pasteur's influence, Joseph Lister a Surgeon decides to use this theory in medical procedures.
Joseph begins to use phenol (Carbolic acid) solution to treat surgical wounds, reducing infections and deaths.
Repeat by others stage:
1876: Robert Koch, a German physician was one of the people who established that bacteria actually cause diseases. Based on Pasteur's previous studies, Koch was the first to discover the cause of anthrax (a disease that was destroying cattle and sheep in Europe). With his research, Koch found a rod-shaped bacterium now known as: (Bacillus anthrax) in a dead cow's blood.
Koch experimented by growing a culture of the bacteria from the dead cow and injecting samples into healthy animals. When these animals became sick and subsequently died, Koch separated the bacteria from the blood of these cows and compared them with the original set of bacteria samples taken from the blood of first cow. He concluded that both samples of blood had the same bacteria.
This occurrence proved that Pasteur's previous study on microbes; the cause of most animal deaths meant that these infections where motivated by micro-organisms.
Theory acceptance stage:
1888: The "Pasteur institute" was founded in Paris for the treatment of diseases and Pasteur became the director.
Task 2 M1
Questions science is currently addressing.
Is there a cure for AIDS?
Global warming, can it be stopped?
First of all, global warming has not been proven; it is as much a theory as is the theory of evolution and neither has been established as incontrovertible fact.
The causes for global warming are many and varied; the latest proponent is that there are too many of us already on the planet and the numbers are increasing rapidly. The mere fact that we are continuously breathing out carbon dioxide means that CO2 levels can only increase which will further increase the warming effect.
Science is being used in many ways to bring about the aims of Agenda 21, which was divulged at the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Brazil on June 14, 1992. The main purpose of Agenda 21 is to control the world and "reduce" our population by 80-90%, which would bring the population down to around 500 Million. Vaccines have been developed and are being used covertly to render populations of developing countries infertile and therefore reduce the size of future generations.
Questions science cannot answer yet.
Where did humanity come from?
Is there life on other planets?
At the moment, from the scientists point of view there is no technology available at present to investigate this point which makes the whole question very difficult to answer.
Firstly, there is no way of knowing what forms of life could exist on the planets outside of our solar system. Moreover, the universe is simply too vast and present technology cannot provide space ships with the ability to travel fast enough to explore these far off regions. Water has been found on the moon in higher quantities than ever thought possible, and as Mars (which is thought most likely planet to support some form of life) has conditions close to what is found in Antarctica (other than the absence of oxygen).
It is quite likely that Science will be able to answer this question definitively within the next 10 to 20 years or so.
Questions science may never answer.
Can time travel be possible?
When will the world end?
The only way a definitive answer can be substantiated is if time travel was possible and that information could be relayed back to the present time. This in itself is a paradox. However, in order for science to answer the question, other questions need to be presented.
There is a raft of media attention focusing on the fact that the last date on the Mayan calendar is December 21st 2012. As most of the predictions relating to key events in history have been successfully predicted, then it is quite reasonable to hypothesise that by using the Mayan calendar, some catastrophic event could well happen on or immediately after the 21st of December 2012.
Philosophical proponents of the last days have different opinions as to when this event will take place. For instance, Christianity teaches that the world will end will end once Jesus has returned to earth and taken his true followers to heaven. It is written that Jesus himself does not know the date, as it is God the Father alone who knows.
Ultimately, it is a known and proven fact that the earth will eventually burn up in a billion or so year's time, when the sun has expanded into a giant red ball of fire. However a date within a million years either way cannot be substantiated.
Reasons why these questions are different:
Is there life on other planets?
Global warming, can it be stopped?
When will the world end?
Each of these questions are different, because in order for them to be answered there needs to be an evolutionary step ladder of scientific knowledge. In other words, the level of scientific knowledge we have at present can only provide answers to a limited number of questions.
However once our present level of scientific knowledge evolves to yet a higher level, today's mysteries will be disclosed with ease.
Argument For and Against...
The Theory of Evolution.
We should all be aware that evolution is just a theory and as such this assignment addresses arguments both for and against the "Theory of Evolution".
What is evolution all about? We are initially taught in schools, universities and by the media that all existence evolved from a simple life form over millions of years; that the more intricate species on earth were compelled by natural selection, thus encouraging all present life on earth to have arrived at its present state as a result of what is termed as "survival of the fittest". This is what most people take for granted as to what the term "Evolution" represents.
However, there are modern aspects to the term "Evolution", One example in microbiology, is where bacteria has become resistant to antibiotics; these bacteria are said to have "evolved" into an antibiotic strain.
For the purpose of this argument, I will deal with the former, where the term "Evolution" assumes that all present life has evolved from primordial forms of life.
Evidence has been presented to support this theory; most coming from fossil records.
According to some records, the fossils examined as evidence reveal that living organisms such as the horse has modified over time. If we look at an example of a transitional form of record, we find that the horse has developed from a tiny animal with multi-toed feet existing within a tropical rainforest type environment, into a single-toed animal that is accustomed to a totally different environment.
Additionally, evolutionists have proposed ideas that suggest that whales developed from early mammals such as: camels, elephants and cows. Fossils of different animals were found to have similar characteristics as early whales. In their view this was the evidence to show different transitions.
In contrast, there is also strong evidence that overrules the theory of evolution. If we take a close look at the whale's formation, we start to question: how is it possible that what was once a camel, adapted to breathing air and land based have the mental ability to know how to hold its breath in order to put its head under water? And how many generations of camels would have to have been born for this ability to become an inherent characteristic of its nature?
Camels are herbivores, so at what point in their supposed evolutionary process were they able to begin to digest a wide range of food such as: microscopic plankton and very large animals?
Likewise, although evolutionists have argued that birds have developed from reptiles such as crocodiles there hasn't been any evidence to support this. Reptiles do not breathe in the same manner as birds, so how could a bird's lung function possibly change from another type of lung function? To further support this argument of birds evolving from reptiles, there are no fossil records showing reptiles with feathers, birds with scales or anything in-between.
Also, creationists argue that there is nothing in the fossil records which definitively proves that there is a relationship between humans and apes or even between any other living systems. This view is supported by the bible in Genesis chapter 1:24-25, which states:
And God said, "Let the earth be filled with animals, each producing more of its kind. Let there be tame animals and small crawling animals and wild animals, let each produce more of its kind. And it happened."
Verse 25: "So God made the wild animals, the tame animals and all the small crawling animals to produce more of their kind. God saw that it was good."
The key we learn from this quote is that every kind of living thing was spoken into existence at the same time, hence the word: "Kind". This includes all life forms that have become extinct since that time and are now to be found in the fossil records.
To further support this; when we look at the different types of animals of the same kind: "dogs, whales, lizards and butterflies" in the world, the theory that one simple life form evolved into many different types of life forms, becomes negated.
To conclude, looking at the arguments above it is quite fair to say that evolution is still a theory and not proven as fact; there is as much evidence, if not more, to disprove it as a theory.
Despite the fact that evolutionists have found evidence in fossil records to support transitional forms, there is still no obvious evidence of fossils which show development between crucial life-forms such as; humans and the apes.
It is clear when looking at the likeness in the anatomy of all living systems that they indicate exceptional evidence for Intelligent Design rather than the development of living things from a simple life form.
Books: An introduction to microbiology (first edition)