Doctors and Evolution

I wish Michael Egnor was my patient. He wrote an article for the Discovery Institute arguing that there’s no reason for doctors to study evolution. If Egnor was my patient, I’d have a use for all that expired influenza vaccine. I could jut give him the same vaccine year after year as there would be no reason to give a new one. (We’ll ignore the question of whether he’d even need to repeat the influenza vaccines. After all–he ignores basic biology.)

Egnor would also be great as an HMO patient. No need to use those expensive new antibiotics under any circumstance. As antibiotic resistance cannot occur, I could always stick with the older, cheaper antibiotcs.

More seriously, The Panda’s Thumb does an excellent job of refuting all of Egnor’s points. Egnor argues:

Doctors don’t study evolution. Doctors never study it in medical school, and they never use evolutionary biology in their practice. There are no courses in medical school on evolution. There are no ‘professors of evolution’ in medical schools. There are no departments of evolutionary biology in medical schools.

The Panda’s Thumb responds by noting that it is often possible for doctors to practice state of the art medicine without any understanding of the basic science if they follow established standards of care. While this could be done it is hardly desirable to promote such ignorance as desirable.

Egnor is incorrect in his claims that evolution isn’t studied in medical school. Many examples of the teaching of evolution in medical school are provided. In addition, evolution is a basic science which pre-med students are expected to have studied before applying, and is a part of the Medical College Admission Test which must be taken before applying to medical school. Panda’s Thumb also refutes Egnor with examples of professors at medical schools who have interests in evolution as well as noble prize winners in medicine for advances based upon evolutionary science.

More at Pharyngula, Northstate Science, ERV, and Afarensis, with background information at the Evolution and Medicine Network.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    kj says:

    Hahaha! JKB really enjoyed this. ;-)

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