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What exactly does “evolutionary medicine” do that requires this expensive outlay?

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12 PhD positions in the Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD):

PhD projects in Biology, Medicine, and Philosophy

Start: 1st April 2017. 3-year positions (TV-L E13 65 %)

The new DFG-funded Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD, GRK 2220) unites biological, medical, and philosophical research at the University of Münster, Germany. The core idea is to use the theory of evolution to understand processes leading to adaptation and/or disease. 12 PhD students will work on advancing evolutionary theory, and in turn, apply modern evolutionary approaches to medical questions.

EvoPAD doctoral researchers will perform cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary environment. Our multidisciplinary qualification program is tailored to individual career tracks, and offers opportunities for international cooperation, summer schools, and courses covering
evolutionary and population genetics, bioinformatics, experimental design, philosophy of science, and bioethics.

EvoPAD is coordinated within the stimulating city of Münster near Münster’s University Palace and offers a family friendly and international atmosphere.

The program, funded by the German federal and state governments does mention epigenetics at the site but the talk of applying “apply modern evolutionary approaches to medical questions” and “philosophy of science, and bioethics” makes one nervous.

See also: Dr. Darwin will see you now

Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

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4 Replies to “What exactly does “evolutionary medicine” do that requires this expensive outlay?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to

    “12 PhD students will work on advancing evolutionary theory, and in turn, apply modern evolutionary approaches to medical questions.”

    The false evolutionary assumption of vestigial organs has misled medical doctors into much needless medical malpractice in the past:

    Evolution’s “vestigial organ” argument debunked
    Excerpt: “The appendix, like the once ‘vestigial’ tonsils and adenoids, is a lymphoid organ (part of the body’s immune system) which makes antibodies against infections in the digestive system. Believing it to be a useless evolutionary ‘left over,’ many surgeons once removed even the healthy appendix whenever they were in the abdominal cavity. Today, removal of a healthy appendix under most circumstances would be considered medical malpractice” (David Menton, Ph.D., “The Human Tail, and Other Tales of Evolution,” St. Louis MetroVoice , January 1994, Vol. 4, No. 1).
    “Doctors once thought tonsils were simply useless evolutionary leftovers and took them out thinking that it could do no harm. Today there is considerable evidence that there are more troubles in the upper respiratory tract after tonsil removal than before, and doctors generally agree that simple enlargement of tonsils is hardly an indication for surgery” (J.D. Ratcliff, Your Body and How it Works, 1975, p. 137).
    The tailbone, properly known as the coccyx, is another supposed example of a vestigial structure that has been found to have a valuable function—especially regarding the ability to sit comfortably. Many people who have had this bone removed have great difficulty sitting.
    http://www.ucg.org/science/god.....-debunked/

    LSU Ophthalmologist Commends a “Design Approach” in Appraising Supposedly Vestigial Organs – December 8, 2016
    Excerpt: I am a pediatric ophthalmologist and I teach residents how to perform eye muscle surgery. The plica semilunaris is the curvilinear pinkish tissue in each person’s eye nasally. According to neo-Darwinian advocates, the tissue is a useless holdover from evolution, a vestigial tissue of the nictitating membrane in other mammals. Residents, who are generally a bright bunch, routinely quote this “truth” to me each year. Thus, residents tend to be careless with this tissue unless taught properly.
    When performing surgery for esotropia (“crossed eyes”), one must be very careful with the plica semilunaris. The tissue can easily be improperly attached too far temporally,,,
    I explain to the residents that the plica is needed to allow the eye to move outward or temporally, and sewing the plica in the wrong location can not only result in a dreadful red appearance to the eye, but the eye can be drawn inward.,,
    In the first few years of my practice, I saw an unfortunate Vietnamese gentleman, ,, He had a benign growth on the nasal portion of his eyes (a pterygium). The operation to remove this lesion is usually straightforward, but whoever performed his surgery neglected the plica and sewed the plica semilunaris too far temporally, resulting in very crossed eyes and double vision. Understandably upset, I had to perform eye muscle surgery (strabismus surgery) to restore his vision to normal.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03350.html

    Simply put, Darwinian evolution as a worldview is dangerous in medical treatment since it presupposes that the human body was not designed

    How Does Modern Medicine Depend on Darwinism? Tom Bethell – November 24, 2014
    Excerpt: I wonder if Sanders or anyone else can provide, as an example, one modern medical opinion that would be shown to be false if it were generally accepted that bodies are designed.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91451.html

    In fact, Michael Egnor, professor of Neurosurgery, holds that “Evolutionary explanations by themselves are worthless to medicine”

    Darwinian Medicine and Proximate and Evolutionary Explanations – Michael Egnor – neurosurgeon – June 2011
    Excerpt: 4) Evolutionary explanations by themselves are worthless to medicine. All medical treatments are based on detailed proximate explanations.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47701.html

    Against “Darwinian Medicine” – Michael Egnor – August 9, 2016
    Excerpt: Darwinist Randolph Nesse has been peddling “Darwinian Medicine” for years.,,,
    He argues for integration of Darwinian science into medical school curricula,,,
    The very admission that Darwinism has had no role in medical science is a telling argument not for its inclusion, but for its irrelevance. Medical science is remarkably successful. Antibiotics, cybernetics, cancer chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, hip replacements, heart transplants, and a host of near-miraculous advances have greatly extended our lifespan and improved the quality of our lives — all without Darwin.
    Whether or not Darwinian hypotheses can be teased out of some medical advances, it is simply a fact that doctors and medical researchers pay no attention to Darwinian speculations in their work, and their work has been astonishingly successful.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03058.html

    Even Jerry Coyne admits that Darwinian evolution has been useless for medicine, among other things:

    Doctors and Evolution – May 19, 2015
    Excerpt: Coincidentally, a correspondent today sends across my desk this from biologist Jerry Coyne, of Why Evolution Is True fame. Writing in Nature (“Selling Darwin”), Coyne has conceded:
    [T]ruth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96181.html

    Moreover, testing medicines on animals is largely a huge failure precisely because of the false evolutionary assumption of common ancestry:

    What scientific idea is ready for retirement? – Mouse Models
    Excerpt: A recent scientific paper showed that all 150 drugs tested at the cost of billions of dollars in human trials of sepsis failed because the drugs had been developed using mice. Unfortunately, what looks like sepsis in mice turned out to be very different than what sepsis is in humans. Coverage of this study by Gina Kolata in the New York Times incited a heated response from within the biomedical research community.
    AZRA RAZA – Professor of medicine and director of the MDS Centre, Columbia University, New York
    http://www.theguardian.com/sci.....t-edge-org

    Animal Testing Is Bad Science: Point/Counterpoint
    Excerpt: The only reason people are under the misconception that animal experiments help humans is because the media, experimenters, universities and lobbying groups exaggerate the potential of animal experiments to lead to new cures and the role they have played in past medical advances.,,,
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted that 92 percent of all drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials because they don’t work or are dangerous.,,,
    Physiological reactions to drugs vary enormously from species to species. Penicillin kills guinea pigs but is inactive in rabbits; aspirin kills cats and causes birth defects in rats, mice, guinea pigs, dogs, and monkeys; and morphine, a depressant in humans, stimulates goats, cats, and horses.
    http://www.peta.org/issues/ani.....ience.aspx

    Comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes: Searching for needles in a haystack – Ajit Varki1 and Tasha K. Altheide – 2005
    Excerpt: we have many characteristics that are uniquely human. Table 1 lists some of the definite and possible phenotypic traits that appear to differentiate us from chimpanzees and other “great apes”2. For the most part, we do not know which genetic features interact with the environment to generate these differences between the “phenomes”3 of our two species. The chimpanzee has also long been seen as a model for human diseases because of its close evolutionary relationship. This is indeed the case for a few disorders. Nevertheless, it is a striking paradox that chimpanzees are in fact not good models for many major human diseases/conditions (see Table 2) (Varki 2000; Olson and Varki 2003).
    http://genome.cshlp.org/content/15/12/1746.full

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    The reason why medicines act vastly differently between different animals is because, as would be expected on the Design framework, the gene regulatory networks controlling gene expression are vastly different between different animals:

    Mouse gene expression reveals “widespread differences” from humans – Nov. 22, 2014
    Excerpt: an international group of researchers has found powerful clues to why certain processes and systems in the mouse — such as the immune system, metabolism and stress response — are so different from those in people.,,,
    Mice are widely used to model human metabolism, disease, and drug response. But results published today (November 17) in PNAS reveal widespread differences between human and mouse gene expression, both in protein-coding and noncoding genes, suggesting that understanding these disparities could help explain fundamental differences in the two species’ physiology.
    Michael Snyder of Stanford University and his colleagues compared how genes are expressed in 15 different human and mouse tissues, including brain, heart, liver, and kidney. They found that gene expression patterns clustered by species rather than tissues. For example, gene expression in a mouse liver more closely resembled the patterns observed in a mouse heart than those observed in a human liver.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....om-humans/

    Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,,
    A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species.
    On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,,
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?.....plicing%2F

    And whereas evolutionary assumptions have led to much needless medical malpractice, on the other hand, Intelligent Design, particularly the presumption that there are strict limits to what evolutionary processes can accomplish, is turning out to be very useful for medicine.

    Guide of the Perplexed: A Quick Reprise of The Edge of Evolution – Michael Behe – August 20, 2014
    Excerpt: If there were a second drug with the efficacy of chloroquine which had always been administered in combination with it (but worked by a different mechanism), resistance to the combination would be expected to arise with a frequency in the neighborhood of 1 in 10^40 — a medical triumph (over malaria).
    per evolution news and views

    Fighting Cancer with Intelligent Design – Casey Luskin – December 25, 2015
    Excerpt: “In fighting antibiotic resistance, Darwin’s theory actually provides little guidance. Indeed, quite the opposite. As SUNY Professor of Neurosurgery Michael Egnor has written here, “Darwinism tells us that … bacteria survive antibiotics that they’re not sensitive to, so non-killed bacteria will eventually outnumber killed bacteria. That’s it.”
    To create drugs that outsmart evolving bacteria or cancer cells, biomedical researchers must use a process of intelligent design. They create drug cocktails that bank upon the fact that there are limits to how much living things can evolve on their own. Far from being evidence for Darwinian theory, antibiotic resistant bacteria point to what Michael Behe has called “the edge of evolution,” beyond which unguided Darwinian processes are powerless.”
    In simple terms, Darwinian evolution tends to work fine when only one mutation is needed to give an advantage. But when you need multiple mutations to gain an advantage, the process tends to get stuck. By throwing lots of antibiotic drugs at an organism, we force it to evolve lots of mutations — more than Darwinian evolution can produce — in order to survive. In this way, we can beat antibiotic-resistant microbes.,,,
    Dr. M. William Audeh at UCLA School of Medicine. He makes the same point with regard to fighting cancer.,,,
    He says we kill cancer cells by using many (“combinations of”) drugs — more than they can possibly evolve resistance to.
    When he says that we can “overcome the adaptive potential of the population,” he means there are limits to how much cancer cells can evolve. If we intelligently design combinations of drugs that would require more mutations than could possibly arise via Darwinian evolution, then we kill cancer cells before they evolve mutations to evade our therapy techniques.
    – per evolution news and views

    The multiple drug cocktail that has been so effective in controlling HIV uses much the same strategy of being beyond the ‘edge of evolution’ that Dr. Behe has elucidated:

    When taking any single drug, it is fairly likely that some mutant virus in the patient might happen to be resistant, survive the onslaught, and spawn a resistant lineage.
    But the probability that the patient hosts a mutant virus that happens to be resistant to several different drugs at the same time is much lower.,,,
    it “costs” a pest or pathogen to be resistant to a pesticide or drug. If you place resistant and non-resistant organisms in head-to-head competition in the absence of the pesticide or drug, the non-resistant organisms generally win.,,,
    This therapy has shown early, promising results — it may not eliminate HIV, but it could keep patients’ virus loads low for a long time, slowing progression of the disease.
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....edicine_04

  3. 3
    mw says:

    The proposed Dr Darwin, retired from studying medicine at Edinburgh University. “Darwin did not enjoy his studies.”

    He did qualify at Cambridge in theology to become an Anglican priest, a type of spiritual doctor. However, he never qualified as a naturalist, but he did diagnose the Judaeo-Christian God as “erroneous” as to how life formed.

    And, Dr almost, Darwin, diagnosed that Jesus was not the Son of God, and the Judaeo-Christian religion not divine.

    He also diagnosed that miracles were for uneducated people, and dismissed miracles. So, do not expect medical miracles in any shape or form whatsoever from those 12 esteemed apostles of Darwin with PhD’s.

    Darwin, much invigorated by such exorcising of the mind (though as he commented, who would really trust a mind from a monkey), wrongly diagnosed humans recapitulated through evolutionary stages in the developing child or embryo.

    His good friend, professor Ernst Haeckel gave a false injection to Darwin’s hypothesis by prescribing fraudulent evidence for recapitulation. Such ‘advanced diagnostics,’ regressed true medicine and true education, as even today in textbooks.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03726.html

    Of course, the apparent self-hypnotic powers of evolutionists, diagnosed a pig’s tooth as a missing human link. And so many learned people diagnosed the false Piltdown man as the best thing since man ‘became’ knuckle draggers, after prolonged and continually consulting a field mortuary of fossilised quadrupeds. Some recently found with blood still in them!

    To be fair to the Darwin, he did rightly diagnose that there are no transitional fossils even though he had by then swallowed his own elixir of life; a worm chance mixed with some simian or other. That’s what he believed made him tick and fit: no doubt a placebo.

    Of course, all those who survive are fit. Thank goodness, I have passed ‘Dr’ Darwin’s unqualified naturalist medical examination.

  4. 4
    mw says:

    December 18, was the anniversary of the Piltdown hoax.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03373.html

    There is God-like difference between a human and a simian. The degrading theory of Darwin cannot even be true to its self. A slight advantage in some theoretical arms race cannot be tenable between apes and humans.

    Still, if we go back far enough theoreticly, any good doctor in the making was an ape; so those apostles of Darwin must believe. Next stop, superman.

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