Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design

Is late stage Darwinism benefiting from the “Semmelweis effect”?

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Semmelweis was a young physician from a downscale community who noticed that antiseptic practice might be a good idea for medicine:

Medical students are prudently taught to guard against the “Semmelweis reflex.” Also known as the “Semmelweis effect,” it is the tendency to automatically reject new information or knowledge that contradicts prevailing norms or beliefs. The caveat stems from one of the most notorious debacles in the history of medicine. But it is applicable to any area of human knowledge. It is worth briefly recounting the facts of the case here for the light they shed on the nature of the phenomenon.

As a young Hungarian doctor serving in the maternity ward of mid-nineteenth-century Vienna’s most prestigious hospital, Ignaz Semmelweis (1818–1865) made an astonishingly simple life-saving discovery. Although the germ theory of disease had not yet been established, he reasoned that doctors who went directly from performing autopsies to examining maternity patients in the hospital’s First Obstetrical Clinic were somehow transmitting infection to those women—who were dying at alarmingly high rates compared to poorer patients in the Second Clinic, who were attended by midwives rather than doctors. When he ordered doctors to wash their hands in a chlorinated lime solution before examining patients, the mortality from childbed fever dropped precipitously.

Michelle Marder Kamhi, “Beware the Semmelweis Reflex” at National Association of Scholars

But his innovations were resisted. Many young mothers died in that memory hole.

Ignaz Semmelweis’s story about handwashing helps us understand a culture in which — when the news coming back from paleontology doesn’t favor Darwinism, the proposed solution in many quarters is — more emphatic Darwinism! It’s part of the real story of science: Many scientists are just hangers-on, demanding that the system confirm their prejudices, for the well-being of their careers.

As long as we can talk about it, things aren’t hopeless.

See also from National Association of Scholars: National Association Of Scholars Launches New Report On The Reproducibility Crisis In Science

Hat tip: Pos-darwinista

7 Replies to “Is late stage Darwinism benefiting from the “Semmelweis effect”?

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    A comment about two extremely smart people who believe their worldview depend on natural selection being true.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/closing-in-on-how-early-life-stress-changes-epigenetic-markers/#comment-726741

    Irony is that their world views are flawed because of their belief in Darwin but nevertheless they are extremely smart and contribute worthwhile ideas. Just shows that belief in natural selection is not a very necessary belief for building a better world.

    Now if they just believed that God is behind it, would any of their important concepts have to change. Some but not many. We may get an even better world. God does not get in the way of this. Truth never does. That is the true irony.

    Aside: I believe Darwin’s ideas are the basis for modern genetics along with the discovery of how DNA works. And thus are highly valuable. Darwin’s ideas just have almost nothing to do with evolution.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    This doesn’t need a fancy name. It’s just human nature. People believe what their paycheck believes, because they want to keep the paycheck coming. It takes either huge courage or huge financial security to break out of paycheckolatry.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    God is not – and never has been – a scientific explanation. You don’t answer the question of how something happened by suggesting who might have done it. It doesn’t really help.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    God is not – and never has been – a scientific explanation. You don’t answer the question of how something happened by suggesting who might have done it. It doesn’t really help.

    Who said it was a scientific explanation? It’s an explanation flowing from logic. Do you disagree?

    By the way there is something called “forensic” science. Is that science?

    Aside: do you realize by your continual use of non sequitur comments you support the opposite of what you are supposedly arguing for.

    Aside2: when someone offers an explanation, it does not mean that this is the only way something happened. It means it has probability. One way of supporting an explanation is showing the unlikelihood of other possible explanations.

  5. 5
    Querius says:

    Semmelweiss was committed to an insane asylum by some “friends,” where he died from an infection from a beating he received from the orderlies there. When the hospital rescinded the handwashing rule that he’d imposed, the maternity mortality rates bounced right back up. And the medical community didn’t even notice–such was the intensity of arrogance, professional jealousy, and ideological poisoning.

    It’s the same with the desperate clinging to a failed theory from the 1860s, in an era of wooden ships, colonialism, white supremacy, and slavery. But most biologists, pedagogues, and ignorant posters don’t even notice.

    Similarly with the criminally incompetent and bureaucratically corrupt K-12 education system in the US.

    The fact is, the Semmelweis reflex is alive and well because humans are parasitized by sinful motivations.

    -Q

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