Creationism and the Practice of Medicine

We are all familiar with the Salem Hypothesis, according to which engineering types — and that often includes computer scientists — have a tendency toward the creationist viewpoint. We have long suspected that it also applies to physicians and dentists, of whom we’ve encountered many examples, most recently Dr. Ben Carson, who was a contender for the Republican nomination for the Presidency.

A good example of a creationist physician is given to us today by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Hambo’s post is How Believing in Creation Helps as a Medical Doctor. If you’re expecting a factual account of creationist medicinal discoveries, cure rates, or other indicators of efficacy, or perhaps the successful use of Toad-Tested Medicine, you’ll be disappointed. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

When you start with God’s Word, you have an internally consistent worldview that can be used to answer life’s toughest questions. My long-time friend Dr. Tommy Mitchell, a medical doctor who is now a full-time, dynamic speaker/writer with us at AiG, recently spoke with some of our staff about how his belief in God’s Word and biblical creation affected his practice as a medical doctor.

What physician refers to himself as “Tommy”? Yet that’s how the guy styles himself — see AIG’s bio page on him: Dr. Tommy Mitchell. Ah well, let’s see what this is all about. Who knows? Hambo may actually have some data for us. What follows are the words of Tommy Mitchell, who says:

If you start with a biblical foundation, you can give answers. When people ask questions about abortion, euthanasia, or the sanctity of life, you can give sound answers about the life you’re talking about. People are made in the image of God, so their life has meaning and value because they are not just evolved animals.

Tommy is talking about medical ethics, not the actual practice of medicine. Let’s read on:

Now, if it’s survival of the fittest, why should you take care of the weak? Why should you take care of the infirm? I’ve raised this issue with a lot of people over the years, and a lot of people tend to get mad at me when I raise it. Most of my colleagues were evolutionists, and they always think I’m accusing them of not caring, which is not the case at all, because doctors do care. The thing is that you can’t give a basis for that care if evolution and survival of the fittest is true, because, really, why should we help the sick and infirm?

It’s impossible for the rational mind to understand, but that’s the way creationists think. If an evolutionist’s mother falls down the stairs, she ought to be left where she lies, writhing in pain. If she dies, then she dies. So what? It’s the Darwinian way! It’s the same with physicians. If someone is sick, so what? Who cares? Ah, but with a bible-believing physician — like Tommy — it’s different!

This is nonsensical, but we’ve already gone this far, so we may as well stay with it. Tommy continues:

Now, as Christians, the reason we do that is because we want to show mercy, compassion, and the love of Christ to others. Evolutionary doctors care about their patients, but when you ask them why they care, they don’t have an answer. When people came to me with these questions, I had a consistent answer: because God’s Word is true, because God does care, and because God created man in His image.

What a nice man! He cares — he really cares! But that’s only because he’s afraid that if he doesn’t care, he’ll end up in the Lake of Fire. Tommy’s patients had better hope that he never has a crisis of faith, because if he ever has doubts … well, in that case you wouldn’t want to go to him for help.

Here’s more, and now he’s talking about comforting patients, but not curing them:

Why is there death and suffering? Well, if you’re an evolutionist, you really don’t have an answer to that question because death and suffering have been here since the beginning. They are almost required. It’s almost like “it’s tough, but that’s the way things are.” That’s not a great or comforting answer when your child has leukemia.

Right. An evolutionist doctor would say: “My examination reveals that you’re having a heart attack. Tough luck. Deal with it!” Ah, but a creationist would explain that it’s because of the sin of Adam & Eve. That’s far more effective.

Here’s the rest of Tommy’s words of wisdom:

But if you start with God’s Word, you have a more consistent understanding because you have a firm foundation of the true history of God’s Word to start with.

So there you are, dear reader. In all of that blather, there wasn’t one sentence — not a single word! — about how creationism cures diseases or repairs injuries. Why didn’t Tommy tell us about that?

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

27 responses to “Creationism and the Practice of Medicine

  1. As soon as old hambone said tommy was a friend at AiG i knew that what ever he said it would be sliding down so far that stupid is out of reach! Tommy did not fail to be as expected.

  2. Ah Curmudgeon, you didn’t really think Hambone invited DrTommy to share all the wonderful medical advances creationists have produced based on the sky fairy theory rather then real science, did you?

  3. A scientist? Looking at the link SC provided, he has two published papers in proper journals, the last one in 1985. Another tale of how being a creationist really holds you back.

  4. These same people probably believe that prayer can cure diseases and injuries, but apparently not those that involve loss of limbs. Curious.

  5. “Now, if it’s survival of the fittest, why should you take care of the weak? Why should you take care of the infirm?”

    I’ve pointed it out before, but it is worth repeating:

    I am not aware of any creationist/IDer anywhere that doesn’t commit the fallacy of deriving ought from is, as Dr. Tommy shows us here in blatant terms.

    I’m kinda sick of the homogeneity. If someone can point me to an example of a creationist that recognizes and doesn’t commit the ought/is fallacy, I’d be grateful.

  6. Hammy says:

    Now, if it’s survival of the fittest, why should you take care of the weak?

    Actually, Ken, it’s not survival of the fittest as in “strongest”, but “fittest” as in “most adaptable”. Which means that you and your ilk are the “weak” part here. If it weren’t for all of that sinful science that you hate so much, you’d not have the modern medicine that keeps your sorry carcass alive. Since you’re incapable of adapting (e.g. actually doing science that advances mankind), you’re living under that sinful Umbrella of Real Science. Did Tommy rail against all that modern tech when he was practicing? Did he ever say to his patients, “Ya know, it’s not that you’re having an allergic reaction to the medicine. It’s that you had an impure thought. This is God’s way of telling you that.”? As if that wasn’t galling enough, the fact that you’re using modern technology provided by that same sinful science to both reach this vast, global audience as well as to put together your so-called “replica” of Noah’s Ark is just piling on. Face it. You’ve not provided one iota of anything that has actually helped mankind. That’s the part that troubles you, isn’t it? Rather than admit your mistake, you’re doubling down and tripling down and… I’ve lost count.

  7. So Ham asserts that atheists can care, and do, without believing in a god or fearing eternal punishment. His point is that he thinks atheists probably cannot explain (to his satisfaction) exactly why they care. So what? Doesn’t the fact that they can care about their fellow human beings, just like some Christians do, argue against Christianity as being the ultimate source of moral behavior?

    What’s so special about Christianity that it has to be imposed on the rest of us, Ham? Apparently we’re perfectly capable of behaving decently without it.

  8. We shouldn’t be criticizing creationists for their religion. Sure, we can attack creationist science, but once you start attacking their personal faith, you’ve become insensitive. I think that AiG’s point on this wasn’t to show actual medical practices derived from the Bible or something, but to show the value of believing in the Bible when it comes to sickness.

    Also, I’d like to say that yes, evolutionists who are also scientists have made scientific advancements that lead to the furthered good of mankind, but has the evolutionary theory itself done that? If not, then why are you all trying to say that the creationist theory is junk because it hasn’t produced scientific advancements? The evolutionary theory, as well as the creationist theory, aren’t scientific advancements in themselves; instead, scientists are searching for evidence that supports the theory. They make observations, and come to conclusions. Evolution and creation are conclusions, not advancements.

  9. From the dumbed-down style, I’d say Ham is Tommy’s ghostwriter. Has anyone done a textual analysis of their claptrap? I’m glad more doctors think about evolution when prescribing (or not prescribing) antibiotics. I’m glad when phylogeny is used to guide the search for drugs. And, evolution explains far more about birth defects than any creationist drivel. It’s probably good for his patients that Tommy got another full-time job.

  10. Emma – you make some good points, but I believe that ‘religion’ is distinctly different from ‘personal faith.’ Most of us probably have little or no problem with the latter, but have quite a few problems with the former because folks tend to want to impose their religious beliefs on others. Ham is particularly good at this since he views most of the world as either non-Christian or ‘compromised’ Christians, and everything must fit in to his peculiar faith- and world views.

  11. Jill Smith

    Is there a named hypothesis (like Salem) explaining why so many creationist “scientists” on sites like AiG use childish nicknames (a quick glance yielded Buddy, Tommy, and Danny))

  12. waldteufel

    Sorry, Emma, but creationism is nothing but superstition wrapped in ignorance. Creationism has nothing at all to offer. It is vapid nonsensical mumbo jumbo and nothing more. Evolution is an outcome of the application of the scientific method to mountains of evidence. Creationism is an outgrowth of Iron Age and Bronze Age magical thinking with no evidence at all. In the world of reality there is no debate as to the veracity of evolution. Therefore, creationism deserves only derision and ridicule.

  13. @Douglas E That those who push their religion on others is a bad thing is definitely true, but I was just focusing on the AiG article in question, which was discussing beliefs, hopes, faiths, etc, when it comes to sickness and death. I am definitely aware, though, of Ham’s imposing disposition when it comes to Christianity. But I felt that this particular article was a harmless expression, useless and somewhat insensitive to attack by this blog. I do encourage a darn good discussion of fact and science, though.

  14. @waldteufel Except what this particular post was ridiculing was not creationism itself, but the personal faith of real people. That, I am against.

  15. michaelfugate

    Emma, how was that about personal faith? It was an attack on atheism and evolution and a paean to social conservatism – nothing more. Christianity was certainly no where in sight.

    As Reflectory points out the premise is a flat out lie – our ancestry is irrelevant to whether or not we care. I am not responsible for the crimes of my parents or their parents. My skin color doesn’t make me slave or free. My gender doesn’t determine my educational potential. What is does not determine what ought to be.

  16. Charles Deetz ;)

    So what was God’s answer about kids with leukemia, Hammy? You kind of left us hanging.

  17. waldteufel

    Emma, creationism is the real faith of real people. While I agree that people should not be ridiculed, their ideas and “faith” are not immune from criticism or ridicule. Faith is the permission people give themselves in order to believe ideas for which they have no evidence. That’s one reason that con men like Hambo rely so heavily on people having the intellectual poison of faith.

  18. Emma,

    I’m not disagreeing or agreeing with you, but I’d just like to point out that your definition of “personal faith” seems to assume that it is a benign thing; therefore “ok” and beyond reproach.

    If we look at the aggregate effect of “personal faith” in the sense that I take you to mean it, then sure, we can find many examples of the comforting thought of heaven when Granny is dying. But what about Uncle Jim tortured with the thought of hell? I was raised in a fundamentalist household and every time I was completely alone as a child, I was panicked by the thought that the “rapture” had occurred and I had been left behind.

    “Personal faith” is not a benign thing; it deserves no special deference.

  19. Jill Smith asks: “Is there a named hypothesis (like Salem) explaining why so many creationist “scientists” on sites like AiG use childish nicknames (a quick glance yielded Buddy, Tommy, and Danny)”

    Maybe, but I’ve never heard of it.

  20. JS – I hypothesize that these fellows are from the South where folks name their kids Jimmy, Tommy, Danny, etc.

  21. Emma,

    This post is worthwhile for the slander the doctor (and Ken Ham) heap upon others.

    Why is there death and suffering? Well, if you’re an evolutionist, you really don’t have an answer to that question….

    Anyone, even Dr. Tommy or Ken Ham if they could be honest for 10 seconds, could answer this from an evolutionary viewpoint.

  22. Dave Luckett

    It’s a funny thing, but Ken – or Tommy, whoever wrote this – says he’s never gotten an answer to the question: “if it’s survival of the fittest, why should you take care of the weak? Why should you take care of the infirm?”

    And yet, everyone I’ve ever heard of who has actually studied evolutionary biology knows the answer: “We take care of the weak and infirm because we are evolved as a social species, and our fitness is largely determined by our ability to provide mutual support.”

    I really think that Ken and Tommy have heard this explanation before, and it’s only their respective Morton’s demons that prevent them from comprehending it.

  23. “Sure, we can attack creationist science”
    Sure, we can also bake a unicorn leg.

    Plus Emma, Ol’ Hambo / Tommy is flat out lying about Evolution Theory. The question “if it’s survival of the fittest, why should you take care of the weak” has been answered within a few years after Darwin published his Origins. By an atheist anarchist, who, very unlike Ol’ Hambo and Tommy, actually went out to do research. In frigging Siberia.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_evolution/2012/10/evolution_of_cooperation_russian_anarchist_prince_peter_kropotkin_and_the.html

    http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/watching-the-detectives/peter_kropotkin_and_the_evolution

    Personally I think ignorant liars like those from AIG deserve all the ridicule they receive.

  24. The article in which AIG finally admits they don’t think Christians who accept evolution are actually Christians.

  25. Emma wrote: “…scientists are searching for evidence that supports the theory.” I don’t think so. There may be some scientists who are searching for evidence that refutes the theory but the rest of them in the relevant disciplines are trying to discover how the evidence is explained by the theory.

  26. Emma asks what evolution has done to further the advancement of science. The answer is plenty, since pretty much every branch of biology requires evolution as a foundation. It also correlates with other disciplines, such as geology.

    As to why atheists and agnostics have empathy? I would guess that empathy is a survival trait, since humans are a social primate.

  27. Eric Lipps

    Tommy is talking about medical ethics, not the actual practice of medicine. Let’s read on:

    Now, if it’s survival of the fittest, why should you take care of the weak? Why should you take care of the infirm? I’ve raised this issue with a lot of people over the years, and a lot of people tend to get mad at me when I raise it. Most of my colleagues were evolutionists, and they always think I’m accusing them of not caring, which is not the case at all, because doctors do care. The thing is that you can’t give a basis for that care if evolution and survival of the fittest is true, because, really, why should we help the sick and infirm?<Tommy is talking about medical ethics, not the actual practice of medicine. Let’s read on:

    Now, if it’s survival of the fittest, why should you take care of the weak? Why should you take care of the infirm? I’ve raised this issue with a lot of people over the years, and a lot of people tend to get mad at me when I raise it. Most of my colleagues were evolutionists, and they always think I’m accusing them of not caring, which is not the case at all, because doctors do care. The thing is that you can’t give a basis for that care if evolution and survival of the fittest is true, because, really, why should we help the sick and infirm?

    How about because a lot of them recover if cared for, and go on to reproduce and help others do so (no, not just that way; by providing food, etc.).