Evolution hearts medicine

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This week’s Science contains the statement that Medicine needs evolution:

The citation of “Evolution in Action” as Science’s 2005 breakthrough of the year confirms that evolution is the vibrant foundation for all biology. Its contributions to understanding infectious disease and genetics are widely recognized, but its full potential for use in medicine has yet to be realized. Some insights have immediate clinical applications, but most are fundamental, as is the case in other basic sciences. Simply put, training in evolutionary thinking can help both biomedical researchers and clinicians ask useful questions that they might not otherwise pose.

The statement was written in part by Randolph Neese, an author of the book Why we get sick: the new science of Darwinian medicine. I’ve written before about working on getting doctors involved in the fight to teach good science and voice support for evolution, since medicine is a major place where the rubber hits the road as far as usefulness of the discoveries and theory of evolutionary biology. The authors also make some suggestions for reforming medical and pre-medical curriculum.

(Continued at Aetiology; see comments on the topic also at Pharyngula.)

5 Comments

Interesting. This article

http://education.guardian.co.uk/hig[…]4171,00.html

shows that some medical students in the UK are not at all worried about understanding evolution. In fact numbers of them reject evolutionary theory, and can see no relevance in their chosen disciplne. As a UK citizen, I find it dispriting and quite frightening.

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I think “medicine hearts evolution” is probably more accurate.

“Facts”, as Ronald Reagan once famously put it, “are stupid things” - and probably don’t much heart, one way or the other, how they’re used.

I am a doctor although I don’t play one on television. I never let an article/editorial/letter to the editor supporting ID go by without a response to the Rocky Mountain News or Denver Post. The tally so far? Thirty letters written one published. So much for the power of the M.D. to command respect. Among my peers only the specialists in infectious diseases feel that evolution is an important educational topic. Few are creationists but most think this is a topic that they feel not to be important enough to jeopardize their reputations among the fundamentalists and risking blackballing. To even bring out the fact that there is no scientific theory of ID to teach will get you labeled as an athiest or materialist in published response. Yet I’ll keep on hammering away. Here letters that are reasoned educational responses don’t get published, only strident ad hominem attacks will do. Conflict sells papers.

Med students to study dinosaur ailments

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 28 (UPI) – The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is launching a unique program to teach medical students the evolutionary history of humans and animals.

Partnering with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the university says by learning the origins of human disease, such as back pain and cancer – which existed in Jurassic Age dinosaurs – students should better understand contemporary public health concerns.

Scientists say there are myriad common medical ailments whose roots can be traced back millions of years, when our human ancestors evolved from walking on all fours to standing on their two hind legs.

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This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on February 24, 2006 12:38 PM.

Science: Ohio School Board Boots Out ID was the previous entry in this blog.

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