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ID vs. natural selection — in health care?

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Pos-Darwinista writes to say, I came across this rather strange report:


The European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) guidelines for health economic evaluations represent a consolidated view of non-binding recommendations for assessments of the relative effectiveness of pharmaceuticals or other health technologies. EUnetHTA views itself as the scientific and technological backbone of the development of health technology assessment in the European Union and among its member states and other partners. Unfortunately, the standards for health technology assessment proposed by EUnetHTA do not meet the standards of normal science. They do not support credible claims for the clinical and comparative cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. In rejecting thestandards of normal science the guidelines put to one side the opportunity not only to re-assess and replicate clinical and cost-effectiveness claims but to provide meaningful feedback on claims assessment to health care decision makers. The purpose of this review is to make the case that, in failing to support standards for experimentation, EUnetHTA is advocating its partners support the creation of modeled or simulated imaginary or false worlds. While EUnetHTA is not alone in recommending the construction of imaginary worlds to support formulary decisions, there is still the opportunity to revisit these recommendations and decide whether or not to encourage a scientifically rigorous approach to health technology assessments – to abandon a commitment to intelligent design in favor of natural selection. Paper. (public access) – Langley PC. Imaginary Worlds: The European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) Recommendations for Health Economic Evaluations. Inov Pharm. 2016;7(3): Article 3.

Can a European reader explain what this means? Medicine must be intelligent design by nature. If we leave it to natural selection, there would be no need for medicine at all.

See also: UCLA introduces evolutionary medicine to fight depression

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6 Replies to “ID vs. natural selection — in health care?

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    I don’t know why you would need a European – this as written by someone in Minnesota. The reference to ID/natural selection is incidental, really.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Bob O’H at 1: Incidental to WHAT? Maybe a European would know.

  3. 3
    Bob O'H says:

    Incidental to the argument. Nationality isn’t an issue – an ability to read the actual article is enough.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    a few notes:

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.,,,
    From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005

    “Truth 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.”
    (Jerry Coyne, “Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?,” reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006).)

    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.

    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.

    Limited role of Darwinism in medicine – May 2, 2014
    Excerpt: In eight well-written and thoroughly researched chapters, Ferngren takes the reader from ancient times to the Greco-Roman period, early Christianity, into the Middle Ages and the Islamic world, to the early modern period, and on into the 19th and 20th centuries. The roots of Western medicine, we learn, can be found in the transformative effects of Judeo-Christian traditions.
    But the story told here is also about the eclipse of those traditions. While it is not a book on or about Darwinism, Ferngren states accurately that “Darwin’s theory did not make a significant contribution to clinical medicine.”

    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.

    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).

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    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.

    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.

    Comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes: Searching for needles in a haystack – Ajit Varki1 and Tasha K. Altheide – 2005
    Excerpt: 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).

    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

    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.

  6. 6
    Battman says:

    Welcome to St. Darwin’s Hospital where only the fit survive.

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