Apparently, evolutionary biologists/psychologists (if there is any difference, I would be glad to know*) are trying to get jobs adding to the cost burden of medical schools, fronting their speculations to doctors in training, a friend advises. See this story by Daniel Cressey (“Groups say med school training must evolve,” Nature Medicine 15, 1338 (2009) doi:10.1038/nm1209-1338a, paywall, of course):
Medical training must adapt to include coursework covering evolutionary biology, according to a group of leading researchers.Momentum for such change seems to be building.
I bet. In an age of skepticism about all the nonsense evolutionary biologists front, they need to attach themselves to a system that people are still willing to fund.
“The case for ensuring that physicians and medical researchers are able to use evolutionary biology just as fully as other basic sciences is compelling,” says Randolph Nesse, of the University of Michigan, lead author of the paper. “The constraints that inhibit change are severe, however. Most medical schools do not have a single evolutionary biologist on the faculty.”
Nesse’s paper cites examples of where evolutionary knowledge can benefit those working in medicine. An awareness of why humans have evolved the fever response, for example, could help doctors understand when it is safe to use drugs to block fever.
Rubbish. Pharmaceutical studies on living patients in real time do that. No one proposes to give the drugs to Old Stone Age Man, but rather to a toddler, an overworked near-retirement executive, or a frail older senior. The latter two would not even have been alive in the Old Stone Age.
As I have written to friends,
… Joe Roofer shows up in the family doctor’s office griping about his arthritis.
Who cares if Stone Age man had arthritis? Joe Roofer is paying, one way or another, for what helps him now. He must get back to work and supervise his men …
Sure, speculations about Old Stone Age Man are interesting.
But “interesting” doesn’t cut it in medicine – and I have plenty of relatives in medicine who can tell me so.
What works for Joe Roofer today cuts it. So Joe can hop back on a ladder, supervise his men, please his clients, and meet his payroll Friday.
Medicine is real time. So what use is Darwinism when we are dealing with people over 60 years of age – a lifespan rarely attained in practice in ancient times, and irrelevant to natural selection?
Bioethics is the major concern now because most people who need significant medical care are old.
Oldsters take longer to heal than youngsters, but if they stick it out, they often live many more years than expected, under modern conditions. But they are on pension so …
This story owes nothing to Darwinism and no Darwinist was abused in making it. But anyone who cannot see where all this is going is half asleep, in my view. Remember eugenics? We are now seeing it at the back end, rather than the front end.
One friend noted in response to my mug-waving, “Two words. Downright ridiculous.” Someone she knows is in medical school and is busy enough without learning atheist culture’s creation myth.
*Actually, I suspect there isn’t really any difference between evolutionary biology and “evolutionary psychology”, which is why the evolutionary biologist is forever linked to his idiot siamese twin, the “evolutionary psychologist” (= “Why women love shopping,” “Why men are big spenders,” etc.)
If evolutionary biologists wanted to denounce the nonsense, they could sever the skin tie, but then they’d be expected to address the nonsense they front themselves. How many months has it been since the “Ida” fossil rolled through pop culture?
Don’t tell me science is “self-correcting.” Ida shouldn’t have got anywhere near the traction it did. In this area, science is about as self-correcting as a driverless car heading off a cliff.
One Reply to “More coffee!! Your doctor needs to know what would have worked for someone’s hypothetical reconstruction of Stone Age man before she can treat you effectively …”
When I took anatomy and physiology in college, one of the textbooks I came across had an entire section on evolution, and the reason for this was that it was impossible to treat people medically without understanding where they came from.
It made no sense then, and it makes no sense now. If I have a methicillin-resistant Staph. Infection (MRSA), how does knowing that my ancestors were Australopithecines make any difference?
Here’s the Webster’s New World College Dictionary definition of ‘biology’: the science that deals with the origin, history, physical characteristics, life processes, habits, etc., of living organisms such as plants and animals.
I submit that biology, when dealing with medical science, should be confined to physical characteristics, life processes, and habits. Cures for diseases do not come about by speculating on the eating habits of Homo erectus.
Mapping the human genome, an incredible medical and scientific advancement, did not happen because the scientists involved spent time studying the evolutionary family tree.