Discovery Institute: Toad-Tested Medicine!

DOES THE theory of evolution have any value in the practice of medicine? That might strike you as a bizarre question. After all, if creationism were true, and all species were specially created, there would be no reason to do research and test our medicines on monkeys, as is commonly done. See: Animal testing on non-human primates. According to creationists, monkeys are no more related to us than — well, toads.

Toads would be a lot cheaper to use in the lab than monkeys, and their use should generate fewer objections from animal rights groups. So why not do all our research on toads? Would a creationist be brave enough to rely on toad-tested medicine?

Apparently there is one who would. The neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) have posted this article at their blog: Darwinian Medicine 2.0.

The article was written by Michael Egnor, described at the Discoveroids’ website as a professor of neurosurgery. Wikipedia has a bit more information about him here. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his Discoveroid blog article, with bold added by us:

I recently pointed out that Darwinian stories about the evolution of diseases were of no tangible use to medical science. Few physicians and medical scientists and educators with genuine experience with medical education, research, and practice, and who are not ideologically committed to the materialist-atheist metaphysics for which Darwinism is the creation myth, honestly believe that evolutionary biology is important to medicine. … We’ve done very well for more than half a century without Darwinian medicine.

We’re not entirely clear on the meaning of “Darwinian medicine,” so let’s read a bit more:

Years ago, medicine turned away from Darwinian “science” after eugenics was widely exposed and denounced in the aftermath of WWII.

Ah, the picture is becoming more clear.

Eugenics was based on the explicit Darwinian postulate that man is an animal evolved by the process of natural selection. We are human because our ancestors struggled, often to the death. The Darwinian concern was that human civilization was corrupting natural selection by foolish solicitude for the unfit. The solution was to “take evolution into our own hands,” which was to breed human beings

How much more of this do we need to read? Darwin was not an advocate of eugenics, and eugenics never needed Darwin as a justification. We’ve pointed out in an earlier essay that eugenics and selective breeding are at least as old as Athens and Sparta. See: Hitler and Darwin.

Here’s one final excerpt from the Discoveroid blog article:

For more than half a century, “evolution-free” medicine has done very nicely. …We haven’t missed the mass sterilizations, the pseudo-diagnoses of “feeble-mindedness” and the carefully planned quarantine and even exterminations of the handicapped (merely planned in the U.S. — at the Eugenic Records Office at Cold Spring Harbor — but actually carried out in Germany). In American medicine in the past half-century, evolutionary biology wasn’t missed at all.

Right. We haven’t behaved like the physicians in the Third Reich. But, contrary to the Discoveroid propaganda, they weren’t Darwinians.

Anyway, Dr. Egnor seems happy to be practicing medicine without recourse to the theory of evolution. What’s it like? We shudder to think.

“Toad-tested medicine! Step right up folks, and get your toad-tested medicine!”

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6 responses to “Discovery Institute: Toad-Tested Medicine!

  1. Pingback: Discovery Institute: Toad-Tested Medicine!

  2. Seems like the same old ignorant garbage on behalf of the DI. It seems that not only do they need to brush up on their history, but also the incredibly huge effect the Theory of Evolution has had on medicine for decades.

    Things like vaccines, cancer treatments, drug/medicine creation…

  3. No, no. The Discoveroids are right. When we turned away from the practices of Josef Mengele, we abandoned Darwinian medicine.

  4. Who needs modern biology when you can simply hang a talisman to ward off demons on your kids’ bedposts, as does Disco ‘Tute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer? Now that’s evolution-free medicine!

  5. I think what Egnor is saying is that it is entirely possible to practice practical medicine without knowing or relying on the theory of evolution. Now, of course he defines evolution differently than we do, he means macro-evolution, and he practices a type of medicine that is primarily physical engineering but, giving him as much rope as possible, he is in a manner sort of correct. You don’t need to know what the common ancestor of a flatworm is to know what drugs will kill it off. You certainly need to know, if you are practicing science while looking for a way to stop infections, what the potential for a micro-evolutionary change in a microbe is in response to an antibiotic. To a scientist, that micro change is every bit as much evolution as are macro changes.

    That’s the beauty of equivocation, people like Egnor can play semantic games all day long and look bright and right as long as he can anticipate which definition his intended audience is likely to use.

  6. “I think what Egnor is saying is that it is entirely possible to practice practical medicine without knowing or relying on the theory of evolution.”

    That’s true for many practitioners who don’t do research, but it’s a trivial point. What he’s really saying is that evolution = eugenics.