Evolutionary medicine: Read all about it, but hurry

| 45 Comments

By James DeGregori and Michael Antolin

The journal Evolution: Education and Outreach (EVOO) had dedicated the December issue to evolutionary medicine, with articles on how evolutionary theories are critical for understanding human disease and why thorough classroom instruction in evolution is essential. The publisher Springer has made the journal freely available through the end of December. Many of the articles are written for a broad audience and should be of interest to specialists and non-specialists alike.

The special issue was edited by Kristin Jenkins of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and Michael Antolin of Colorado State University, and in part follows a symposium organized for the 2011 annual meetings of the Society of the Study of Evolution held June 19 in Norman, Oklahoma. The purpose of that symposium broadly overlaps the EVOO special issue: to make biologists who teach evolution at every level from secondary school to medical school aware of how much biomedical science gains from understanding human evolution and our continued vulnerability to disease. An additional goal is to increase understanding and acceptance of evolutionary science in biomedical research and to help doctors become better practitioners.

Articles include a perspective of both the historical unity and conflicts between medical and evolutionary science, why incorporating evolutionary ideas into medical education will enhance the education of health professionals, and an analysis of why so many reject evolution. Additional articles describe how evolutionary theories can be used to understand the origins of cancer and to better design therapies, how understanding our evolutionary history can help explain modern health problems (such as type-II diabetes and obesity), and how appreciating viral evolution can be used to design safe and effective vaccination strategies. Finally, several articles describe a framework for courses on evolution and medicine (from high school to medical school), arguing that teaching the evolutionary origins of disease is not only important for training medical practitioners in prevention and treatment, but will also enhance curriculum by providing fascinating and motivating insights into physiology and diseases.

An accurate and interesting portrayal of the importance of evolutionary biology is essential for convincing the public that teaching evolutionary science in school should be a priority. For many who would otherwise have no religious or political reason to oppose evolution, the question may be one of relevance, beside merely knowing natural history and appreciating biodiversity. It can be effective to teach students, especially pre–health-profession students, why evolutionary science is so important for health and medicine, given the personal impact of these topics. While the public often has the image of evolutionary scientists as stodgy old professors examining dusty fossils or pinned insect specimens in poorly lit museum basements (with apologies to some of our stodgy colleagues), this issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach provides a sampling of one very modern and highly relevant field of evolutionary science: evolutionary medicine.

James DeGregori is with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Michael Antolin is with the Department of Biology, Colorado State University, and Director of the Shortgrass Steppe Research and Interpretation Center .

45 Comments

If you guys have it your way, evolutionary principles will only increase the potency of the poisons you call medicine. If the virus doesn’t kill you, the medicine will.

Fortunately, ID will be there to provide continuing guidance to the medical establishment that has been right to resist evolutionary influences in their work.

More and more, doctors are realizing the ineffectiveness of going head-to-head with disease. The smart move is understanding that right living, right thinking, right action is integral to a person’s health.

Preemption and proaction are the keys, not battles and confrontations. Literal knife fights and nuclear detonations will not kill cancer.

Until this is understood, we will unfortunately have to witness the continued evolutionary promotion and administration of gift-wrapped poison.

The abstract to the article “Why Don’t People Think Evolution Is True? Implications for Teaching, In and Out of the Classroom” mentions “Solutions to the widespread non-acceptance of evolution must therefore involve not just further resolution of the “religion vs. science” controversy. They must also involve better communication of empirical evidence for evolution, more effective explication of the nature of science, and explicitly addressing the numerous significant psychological obstacles that evolution presents to many (perhaps most) people.

Our resident trolls certainly do a good job of exhibiting the “numerous significant psychological obstacles,” don’t they? Maybe they will read some of these articles and change their minds.…

Steve P. said: ID will be there to provide continuing guidance to the medical establishment…

Please provide us with a few literature citations exemplifying the “continuing guidance to the medical establishment” which has been provided by intelligent design creationists.

Burnett, I’ll do better than literature citations. I’l speak to the real world.

Michael Egnor is an example of a pro-ID doctor that will continue to guide his colleagues and patients in preventive healthcare. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Egnor will advocate knife fights and nuclear winter solutions as the core of a cancer treatment program.

Steve P. said:

If you guys have it your way, evolutionary principles will only increase the potency of the poisons you call medicine. If the virus doesn’t kill you, the medicine will.

Dullard hasn’t a clue about the directions drug discovery takes. Hey moron, why use mice to find out what ails men? Why the highly derivative nature of biological reality, in the patterns required by evolution? Of course you know nothing about anything, so if you answer it will be as stupid as the foregoing.

Fortunately, ID will be there to provide continuing guidance to the medical establishment that has been right to resist evolutionary influences in their work.

Why yes, biology is very complex will open up medicine’s eyes. Or was the “guidance” supposed to be that we have no idea what processes were used by the unknown Designer, nor what the point of it is? (Other than Jesus, of course).

Gee, I’d like to see how ID guides malaria research. It must be fun to see them trying to figure out why P. falciparum has been guided to remain virulent. Let’s see, evolutionary theory only explains the apicoplast and why chloroplast genes exist in P. falciparum (possible targets of medicine, as we lack genes from chloroplasts), while ID has an enlightening “Duh” as “explanation.”

More and more, doctors are realizing the ineffectiveness of going head-to-head with disease.

Gee, maybe because we and our parasites evolved together. Stephen P. being an ignoramus doesn’t understand the importance of that.

The smart move is understanding that right living, right thinking, right action is integral to a person’s health.

The profundity of ID strikes again.

Preemption and proaction are the keys, not battles and confrontations. Literal knife fights and nuclear detonations will not kill cancer.

Understanding its evolution helps to fight it, not that Stephen P. will ever be honest about anything he hates.

Until this is understood, we will unfortunately have to witness the continued evolutionary promotion and administration of gift-wrapped poison.

Stephen P. benefits from medicine, reviles it and the science upon which it rests. Say, DF, how are vaccines “poison”? Oh, right, you’re just stupid.

Glen Davidson

Steve P. said: Michael Egnor is an example of a pro-ID doctor…

Give us a link to one article he has written in the medical literature which mentions intelligent design creationism.

New troll, thinks it knows everything. Please do not feed it.

Steve P.

September 2 I was biopsied for a nodule on the prostate - came back 10/12 +, Gleason Score 7, mostly 4+3. October 21 the entire organ was removed - path report was Stage III, with clean margins and no lymph node involvement. Two weeks ago the post-surgery PSA test came back below limits of detectability; i.e. no metastases.

I’ll take a good surgeon with a sharp scalpel* any day over a lying bastard proffering nonsense.

fusilier James 2:24

*OK, it was a DaVinci device, but you get the idea.

Curiously, the countries with the highest longevities tend to have very low religious occurrences.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o[…]e_expectancy Top 5 in longevity Japan - 76% irreligious Hong Kong - 57% irreligious Switzerland - 76% Christian (including both Catholic and protestant) Israel - 76% Jewish Iceland - 81% Lutheran

So, I’m not even sure your initial premise has any merit. Depends on how you define ‘clean living’. Would you care to give some specifics that we can apply objective metrics to?

In other news, I’m about to grab this and read it. There are lots of misinformed people that think evolution is not important to medicine and makes no contributions to medicine. I’m looking forward to peer-reviewed evidence that this is not true.

Matt Young said:

New troll, thinks it knows everything. Please do not feed it.

Where’s the new one? All I see is the same cluelessness I’ve come to expect from Steve P., who apparently thinks neurosurgeon Michael Egnor doesn’t “go head-to-head” against disease by performing surgery, prescribing drugs, or using radiation therapy.

Why do people who think right, live right, and act right still die of cancer? Or is the cancer proof that they were thinking, living, and acting wrong all along?

Glen Davidson said:

Fortunately, ID will be there to provide continuing guidance to the medical establishment that has been right to resist evolutionary influences in their work.

Why yes, biology is very complex will open up medicine’s eyes. Or was the “guidance” supposed to be that we have no idea what processes were used by the unknown Designer, nor what the point of it is? (Other than Jesus, of course).

Gee, I’d like to see how ID guides malaria research. It must be fun to see them trying to figure out why P. falciparum has been guided to remain virulent. Let’s see, evolutionary theory only explains the apicoplast and why chloroplast genes exist in P. falciparum (possible targets of medicine, as we lack genes from chloroplasts), while ID has an enlightening “Duh” as “explanation.”

If we are to go with what Michael Behe has to say, Intelligent Design does not say “duh” as an explanation to why P. falciparum is so virulent: Intelligent Design alleges that God The Intelligent Designer deliberately designed it to cause pain and suffering as it kills its host, with the implication that humans deserve such pain and suffering as just punishment for our stupid legendary ancestors’ heinous crime of eating an apple they were told never to eat.

Another important aspect of evolution and medicine is evolutionary development. Techniques have been developed in this field to identify important genes and pathways in morphogenesis. This in turn can yield valuable insights into the basis of congenital malformations and developmental anomalies.

As for the troll, once he has proven that he has read the articles in question and shows a willingness to address specific issues discussed in the articles, then maybe someone will be interested in having a discussion with him. Until then, his mindless musings can be safely egnored.

Matt Young said:

New troll, thinks it knows everything. Please do not feed it.

A single post from this troll is worth underscoring that the rhetoric of ID is nothing more than that. There is no substance whatsoever to the claim – virtually the entire post is a fantasy. Which sums up the contribution of ID to science.

mplavcan said:

Matt Young said:

New troll, thinks it knows everything. Please do not feed it.

A single post from this troll is worth underscoring that the rhetoric of ID is nothing more than that. There is no substance whatsoever to the claim – virtually the entire post is a fantasy. Which sums up the contribution of ID to science.

It has been demonstrated repeatedly and convincingly that none of these trolls (Steve P., FL, IBIG, Beyers, etc.) has any understanding of any scientific concepts whatsoever.

Every one of them fails every test of their knowledge of science; and every one of them runs screaming and sneering from test questions and opportunities to demonstrate they know what they are talking about.

Furthermore, not one of them can articulate one single concept from their own pseudo-science of ID/creationism. They can’t define concepts, they can’t articulate the ideas in the writings of their masters, and they have no idea of what ID/creationism is.

Even more remarkable is the fact that these hyper-sectarian trolls don’t even know anything about the history of their sectarian beliefs and their own holy book. Most of the secular people posting here know far more about religion and its history than do any of these trolls.

Yet every damned one of these trolls puts on airs and struts as thought they are experts who can pass judgment on science, religion, secular law, education, morality, and ethical standards. And every damned one of them is incapable of handling mature, adult concepts and thinking. They can only copy/paste the thoughts of others; doing so without any comprehension and without any attempt at comprehension.

These trolls are hollow children; children who have refused to grow up, yet children who pretend to be adults and botch it all up with no awareness of the fact that they are still little children. Spoiled children. Soiled children. Undeserving children. Parasitic children living off the efforts and generosity of others they don’t know. Ungrateful children being fed and protected by the very people and the very society they vilify and condemn.

With most of these trolls, this shtick has been going on for several years now; and there has not been the slightest change in the shtick or in their level of knowledge of any topic. The shtick is just an endless and mindless repetition of the same taunts and sneers, month after month, and year after year; nothing but sick, mechanical, obsessive/compulsive repetition.

This is what ID/creationism and fundamentalist sectarianism do to the minds of people who get caught up in them. One can go over to UD and see the same mindlessness kvetching and drooling.

SWT said:

Matt Young said:

New troll, thinks it knows everything. Please do not feed it.

Where’s the new one? All I see is the same cluelessness I’ve come to expect from Steve P., who apparently thinks neurosurgeon Michael Egnor doesn’t “go head-to-head” against disease by performing surgery, prescribing drugs, or using radiation therapy.

Yeah, It’s almost hard to believe that someone could be stupid enough to think a neurosurgeon (Egnor) doesn’t perform surgery on or prescribe drugs to his patients. And I am quite sure when Egnor doesn’t think surgery is a good option he refers his patients for some sort of radiation or chemo therapy. And the fact that SteveP refers to surgery as knife fights and radiation therapy as nuclear detonations shows how bad he is at rhetoric considering his analogies fall flat for too many reasons to even bother with. I am a little surprised he didn’t equate prescribing medicine with chemical warfare.

j. biggs said:

SWT said:

Matt Young said:

New troll, thinks it knows everything. Please do not feed it.

Where’s the new one? All I see is the same cluelessness I’ve come to expect from Steve P., who apparently thinks neurosurgeon Michael Egnor doesn’t “go head-to-head” against disease by performing surgery, prescribing drugs, or using radiation therapy.

Yeah, It’s almost hard to believe that someone could be stupid enough to think a neurosurgeon (Egnor) doesn’t perform surgery on or prescribe drugs to his patients. And I am quite sure when Egnor doesn’t think surgery is a good option he refers his patients for some sort of radiation or chemo therapy. And the fact that SteveP refers to surgery as knife fights and radiation therapy as nuclear detonations shows how bad he is at rhetoric considering his analogies fall flat for too many reasons to even bother with. I am a little surprised he didn’t equate prescribing medicine with chemical warfare.

Or wearing an Oxygen mask with fueling a fire.

lying troll:

If you guys have it your way, evolutionary principles will only increase the potency of the poisons you call medicine. If the virus doesn’t kill you, the medicine will.

We’ve had our way for over a century. The average US lifespan has increased by 30 years. The contribution of religion and creationism to this stunning achievement has been zero.

In the last few decades HIV has gone from being a death sentence to a manageable disease and now potentially curable. This has been guided explicitly by evolutionary principles. HAART works by using multiple drugs to keep viral levels very low so they virus can’t mutate around them. It works and works well.

The number of new HIV infections peaked in 1997 and has been going down ever since. We are winning against this epidemic. Thank science, all religion did is get in the way. In times past, an epidemic like HIV would simply burn through the population killing tens of millions until a resistant population evolved.

more lies:

Fortunately, ID will be there to provide continuing guidance to the medical establishment that has been right to resist evolutionary influences in their work.

I work in the field and have never even heard of a IDist or creationist medical researcher. This is simply a lie. In point of fact, evolutionary biology informs a huge amount of medical research. The current model for cancer is a somatic cell evolutionary one.

More and more, doctors are realizing the ineffectiveness of going head-to-head with disease. The smart move is understanding that right living, right thinking, right action is integral to a person’s health.

Oddly enough, the morbidity and mortality among fundie xians is higher than the general population. So much for that idea.

Hm. We’ve crashed SpringerLink…”Currently, the system is too busy to process your request.” Nice to know people are so interested in learning things they can bring a server to its metaphorical knees.

This is what ID/creationism and fundamentalist sectarianism do to the minds of people who get caught up in them. One can go over to UD and see the same mindlessness kvetching and drooling.

Nonsense. This is simply the sort of person to whom something as meaningless as ID naturally appeals. The “final authority” is not only considered to trump reality itself, but can be made up as they go along. There’s no real need to study or understand anything, and the reward is moral superiority over those who do.

But ID no more warps the minds of these morons, than basketballs make people tall.

Flint said:

This is what ID/creationism and fundamentalist sectarianism do to the minds of people who get caught up in them. One can go over to UD and see the same mindlessness kvetching and drooling.

Nonsense. This is simply the sort of person to whom something as meaningless as ID naturally appeals. The “final authority” is not only considered to trump reality itself, but can be made up as they go along. There’s no real need to study or understand anything, and the reward is moral superiority over those who do.

But ID no more warps the minds of these morons, than basketballs make people tall.

On the contrary: Intelligent Design is used as an excuse not to learn, and as an excuse to reject or accept anything that the moron wants to reject or accept. In other words, the way that these morons use Intelligent Design helps to keep their minds stunted, and in the hands of especially ambitious individuals, lead them to harm the intellectual development of others, as well.

fusilier said:

Steve P.

September 2 I was biopsied for a nodule on the prostate - came back 10/12 +, Gleason Score 7, mostly 4+3. October 21 the entire organ was removed - path report was Stage III, with clean margins and no lymph node involvement. Two weeks ago the post-surgery PSA test came back below limits of detectability; i.e. no metastases.

I’ll take a good surgeon with a sharp scalpel* any day over a lying bastard proffering nonsense.

fusilier James 2:24

*OK, it was a DaVinci device, but you get the idea.

Yeah, sure the knife looks like a magic wand when you are past the point of no return.

Apparently, it never dawned on Fusilier that he had it in his power to stay away from that knife.

But that would require hard work like, changing you diet and old habits, a change in attitute, etc.

You are just like my Dad; ‘i know, i know. but Gawd i love my steak and potatoes.’ Its all an enjoy now, pay later mentality.

But he’s coming around. He knows popping 10+ pills is a two-edged sword. The side effects are taking their toll, slowly, slowly, but eventually, its the meds that will shut him down.

Now that he is finally coming around to the idea of changing his diet, drinking vinegar (It took him finding out that my sister was also drinking vinegar on a daily basis for him to come around but thats OK. Old habits die hard) etc, he understands.

Now he’s kickin’ ass with this renewed energy and vitality, learning to surf the net, and now trades currencies on the web all at 73 years young. If I get my way, I’ll wean ‘im off those cholesterol, heart, and other meds and ensure more quality in addition to quantity of years.

Steve P:

If I get my way, I’ll wean ‘im off those cholesterol, heart, and other meds and ensure more quality in addition to quantity of years.

You will probably kill him.

Thanks for posting that. I always thought you were merely an evil fundie xian maliciously posting stupid stuff on the net for warped laughs because of an antisocial personality problem.

It’s actually much more serious. You are way far gone into crank magnetism and polykookery. It’s beyond conscious evil and into delusional craziness.

I quite often see people go alternative medicine and die shortly afterwards. One of the most heart wrenching was a woman with risk factors picked up with stage 1 breast cancer at 33. Her prognosis was a 90% cure, statistically. She went alt med and died 18 months later of metastatic breast cancer, age 34. I saw a list of her alt meds and it was pathetic, the lowest of the low in quackery.

Another 40 something woman decided to drop her high blood pressure meds and go alt med. She died of a massive hemorrhagic stroke a few weeks later.

mplavcan said:

Matt Young said:

New troll, thinks it knows everything. Please do not feed it.

A single post from this troll is worth underscoring that the rhetoric of ID is nothing more than that. There is no substance whatsoever to the claim – virtually the entire post is a fantasy. Which sums up the contribution of ID to science.

Bullshit, I talk from experience. Plenty of it. Dad, big sis, big bro are all taking poisons (excuse me, meds). They are bad news all around. I have had plenty of chances to take meds, but refused. I am better for it.

People see pills as a panacea, a quick fix so they don’t have to change their diet, their lifestyle, their workload, their attitudes.

And its a travesty that you (pl) would (seemingly) want to be part of and promote such wrong-headed thinking.

But then again, it makes sense not to bite the hand that feeds you. Billions to be made, baby. Billions.

raven said:

Steve P:

If I get my way, I’ll wean ‘im off those cholesterol, heart, and other meds and ensure more quality in addition to quantity of years.

You will probably kill him.

Thanks for posting that. I always thought you were merely an evil fundie xian maliciously posting stupid stuff on the net for warped laughs because of an antisocial personality problem.

It’s actually much more serious. You are way far gone into crank magnetism and polykookery. It’s beyond conscious evil and into delusional craziness.

I quite often see people go alternative medicine and die shortly afterwards. One of the most heart wrenching was a woman with risk factors picked up with stage 1 breast cancer at 33. Her prognosis was a 90% cure, statistically. She went alt med and died 18 months later of metastatic breast cancer, age 34. I saw a list of her alt meds and it was pathetic, the lowest of the low in quackery.

Another 40 something woman decided to drop her high blood pressure meds and go alt med. She died of a massive hemorrhagic stroke a few weeks later.

Ha, who the F*ck is talking about alternative medicine? Yoga is alternative medicine? vinegar is alternative medicine? Eating right is alternative medicine? Avoiding stress is alternative medicine? Regulating your activitiy is alternative medicine?

What friggin’ world to you live in Raven?

Vinegar will remove the need for my Dad to take Cholesterol medicine. Its called weaning him off it. Slow reduction in medication based on the compensurate reduction in Cholerterol levels as a result of change in diet and activity.

I had cholerstol levels over 240 last year. I changed my diet, exercised more, and take vinegar on a regular basis. Now, months later my cholesterol levels are normal at 210.

No, Raven you are the ignorant liar.

What friggin’ world to you live in Raven?

The real one. The one you don’t even know exists.

No, Raven you are the ignorant liar.

You are a delusional kook. Whatever.

Raven,

Is that all you’ve got? Your mind is warped by your hatred of fundies. You see fundies under your bed and in the back seat. Stop freakin’ out already.

FYI, I’m Catholic and proud of it. Now lets watch you make snide remarks about Catholics.

This oughta be fun. Break out the popcorn. Raven is gonna stroke her Medulla and go on an anti-Catholic tirade!

Kara Neumann caseFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search

The Kara Neumann case was an incident in which parents of a sick child refused to treat her with anything other than prayer, resulting in the child’s death.

The 11-year-old child, Madeline Kara Neumann, of Weston, Wisconsin, died of undiagnosed diabetes[1] on March 23, 2008 after Kara’s parents, Leilani and Dale Neumann knelt in prayer beside their dying daughter instead of seeking medical help.

The parents were charged with second-degree reckless homicide by the Marathon County District Attorney.[2]

This is the sort of thing we see a lot of. Kara Neumann was a type 1 diabetic. She died at 11 years, untreated after months of agony because her parents were members of a faith healing cult. Up until the last day or so, with a few dollars worth of insulin, she would still be alive and living a normal life.

No one is too sure of the numbers of kids that die of faith healing every year but it is thought to be around a hundred. No one knows the number of adults that die of faith healing but it is much higher. Since it is legal for adults to refuse medical treatment, no one collects the statistics.

FYI, I’m Catholic and proud of it. Now lets watch you make snide remarks about Catholics.

Half my extended family is Catholic.

I actually don’t have a problem with most Catholics. They have had millennia to learn how to ignore the priests. It’s the original Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

You can be a fundie and be a Catholic. Their best feature is that there aren’t very many fundie Catholics.

But Steve P., that isn’t your main problem. You have a very dark and twisted mind and no idea just how far out in La La land you are. Anyone taking your nonsensical and uneducated medical advice has greatly increased their chances of dying early.

I see it occasionally. It is always disturbing, like watching a slow motion train wreck without being able to stop it.

Steve P. -

What I am writing here is not intended to convince you. That would be impossible. There will be a response from you, unfortunately, and it will consist of bizarre inappropriate hostility expressed as juvenile sarcasm. However, others are more likely to see the point I am making if I position it as a response to you.

Most anti-medicine types make ground their denial in several valid points.

It is perfectly true that a healthy, nutrient dense diet, a good exercise regimen, avoiding things like cigarettes, maintaining safe driving habits, not behaving irresponsibly with weapons or explosives, etc, can greatly reduce statistical risk of health problems.

There is some evidence that cider vinegar consumption may be able to have some negative aspects of cholesterol metabolism http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21561165. This is also true of some other foods, for example, healthy oils. It does not mean that no-one ever needs other cholesterol lowering medications. Furthermore, that information came from the same source that any other valid information about diet and exercise that you may possess came from - from mainstream scientists doing valid research, not from denialists making arbitrary pronouncements from imaginary authority.

Any responsible physician recommends that people try to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and avoid bad habits. The main differences between responsible physicians and medicine deniers are -

1) Responsible physicians recognize that a healthy lifestyle reduces risk, whereas deniers often falsely claim that it eliminates risk.

2) Responsible physicians recognize that risk reduction and treatment are two different things. Once a condition is present, it needs to be treated as well as possible.

Yeah, It’s almost hard to believe that someone could be stupid enough to think a neurosurgeon (Egnor) doesn’t perform surgery on or prescribe drugs to his patients. And I am quite sure when Egnor doesn’t think surgery is a good option he refers his patients for some sort of radiation or chemo therapy. And the fact that SteveP refers to surgery as knife fights and radiation therapy as nuclear detonations shows how bad he is at rhetoric considering his analogies fall flat for too many reasons to even bother with. I am a little surprised he didn’t equate prescribing medicine with chemical warfare.

This is incredibly important. This is the second incidence in a short period of time, of creationists denying basic medical science in a way that would appall Egnor (or anyone else with a proven record as a competent neurosurgeon). Not long ago, another creationist was angrily denying speech areas of the brain.

Egnor should take note of this. Compartmentalization has its disadvantages.

Raven said -

Oddly enough, the morbidity and mortality among fundie xians is higher than the general population. So much for that idea.

That’s very interesting; do you have a citation?

That’s very interesting; do you have a citation?

Yeah. Just look at the morbidity and mortality statistics in states with high fundie populations, Red states, versus those that don’t.

In parts of hard core fundieland, the average life span is actually going down.

Life expectancy declining in parts of WV, rural America - WVPubcast …www.wvpubcast.org › NewsCached - Similar You +1’d this publicly. Undo

4 Sep 2008 – A new study shows that life expectancy is declining in parts of rural America … found this set of counties where life expectancies are going down,” Murray said. … of low-income, rural counties – scattered across Appalachia, the deep South and

Anyone noticed that Steve P. has not mentioned any sort of Intelligent Design alternatives to the “poisonous” medicine he rails and wails against?

apokryltaros said:

Anyone noticed that Steve P. has not mentioned any sort of Intelligent Design alternatives to the “poisonous” medicine he rails and wails against?

I wouldn’t be surprised if he advocated “alternative therapies” like homeopathy and Reiki – not ID-based but consistent with his lazy and woo-based anti-mainstream-science mysticism.

raven said:

That’s very interesting; do you have a citation?

Yeah. Just look at the morbidity and mortality statistics in states with high fundie populations, Red states, versus those that don’t.

In parts of hard core fundieland, the average life span is actually going down.

Life expectancy declining in parts of WV, rural America - WVPubcast …www.wvpubcast.org › NewsCached - Similar You +1’d this publicly. Undo

4 Sep 2008 – A new study shows that life expectancy is declining in parts of rural America … found this set of counties where life expectancies are going down,” Murray said. … of low-income, rural counties – scattered across Appalachia, the deep South and

If you want to argue science, let’s start by being careful about broadly based epidemiological claims on the basis of correlation. Decline in life-expectancy is most likely associated with poverty and lack of access to health care and proper nutrition. These are deeply disturbing statistics, but the fact that there are a lot of fundamentalists in these areas is largely irrelevant, unless you want to argue that pray and faith have no impact on morbidity and mortality rates. For that, you will need some pretty carefully collected data. Anyway, the trolls on this site are exemplary of bad science. Let’s keep it to the trolls.

If you want to argue science, let’s start by being careful about broadly based epidemiological claims on the basis of correlation.

raven:

Oddly enough, the morbidity and mortality among fundie xians is higher than the general population. So much for that idea.

You are reading something there that I didn’t say. I just mentioned the correlation which is real.

What we can say is that being a fundie xian doesn’t lead to a longer, healthier life which was the original troll claim.

It can be hard to untangle cause and effect in these cases. Being a fundie is also correlated with low education and low socioeconomic status. Whether the increased morbidity and mortality is a direct or indirect result doesn’t really much matter. They still have unfavorable health care outcomes. Which was the original statement.

raven said:

If you want to argue science, let’s start by being careful about broadly based epidemiological claims on the basis of correlation.

raven:

Oddly enough, the morbidity and mortality among fundie xians is higher than the general population. So much for that idea.

You are reading something there that I didn’t say. I just mentioned the correlation which is real.

What we can say is that being a fundie xian doesn’t lead to a longer, healthier life which was the original troll claim.

It can be hard to untangle cause and effect in these cases. Being a fundie is also correlated with low education and low socioeconomic status. Whether the increased morbidity and mortality is a direct or indirect result doesn’t really much matter. They still have unfavorable health care outcomes. Which was the original statement.

“Mentioning the correlation” is saying something. You don’t just “mention a correlation” without an implication, and your meaning there seemed very clear to me, and still seems so on re-reading it.

Apart from that, as far as I am aware there are precious few analyses establishing a clear cause-effect relationship between religion and health. On the one hand, I agree that alternative medicines, including prayer and faith treatments, can be deadly if the condition does not spontaneously resolve. On the other hand, correlational analysis is famous for detecting bullshit associations. I teach this stuff every year to my graduate students, with my favorite example being the relationship between rates of alcoholism and the number of preachers in Urban areas. Both anecdote and correlation can be extremely misleading. If you have actual data, I would appreciate a citation (the cite that you give is not adequate), as I would find it interesting to take a look at.

If you have actual data, I would appreciate a citation (the cite that you give is not adequate), as I would find it interesting to take a look at.

That is about as good as it will get.

Fundie isn’t a typical statistical category. It’s a slang term that we all know what it means. Hardly anyone categorizes their data on that basis.

Evangelical is sometimes used as a substitute. But that doesn’t really work too well. There is some overlap between evangelical and fundie, but it is getting less and less rapidly.

Part of the evangelical xian movement is evolving away from fundamentalism. The movement is fragmenting based on age, education, and geographical location. 30% of the evangelicals voted for Obama.

About the best that can be done is look at statistics where fundies live versus where they don’t.

BTW, if you want to win the internet, OK YOU WIN. I GIVE UP. Dealing with a monster like Steve P. was harrowing enough. They really do kill people and I see it a lot. It’s not something I like to think about any more than necessary and not how I’m going to spend my time today.

Dr. Hector Avalos few days ago, Des Moines Register:

Self-described evangelicals are rapidly fragmenting and shifting toward more liberal positions. deleted sentence

For the most part, the media has overlooked the fragmentation and generational shifts among evangelicals, who are often also lumped with “fundamentalists,” “social conservatives,” and “born-again” Christians.

Such fragmentation is not news to George Barna, the founder of the Barna Group, which tracks the religious beliefs of Americans. Years ago, he began noticing the widening generational gap between older self-described evangelicals and what are called the “Born-again Busters,” who range in age from 23 to 41.

On the other hand, correlational analysis is famous for detecting bullshit associations. I teach this stuff every year to my graduate students, with my favorite example being the relationship between rates of alcoholism and the number of preachers in Urban areas.

Sometimes a bit of factor analysis can extract the BS from the correlations. For example, one factor might find a cluster of associations between religious commitment, rural location, educational level, average lifespan, and per capita medical expense. Then the challenge is to determine why all of these parameters tend to be associated. Always allowing that it MIGHT be coincidence, though the closeness of the clustering is suggestive one way or the other.

On the contrary: Intelligent Design is used as an excuse not to learn, and as an excuse to reject or accept anything that the moron wants to reject or accept.

Exactly. Intelligent Design is a theory of ignorance. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said in The Perimeter of Ignorance ,

“Another practice that isn’t science is embracing ignorance. Yet it’s fundamental to the philosophy of intelligent design: I don’t know what this is. I don’t know how it works. It’s too complicated for me to figure out. It’s too complicated for any human being to figure out. So it must be the product of a higher intelligence.”

And I thought the higher rates of obesity in the lower ‘red’ states was from their habit of deep-frying everything, rather than fundamentalism. Unless fundamentalism leads to deep-frying? Or inactive lifestyles? Or perhaps inactive lifestyles lead to fundamentalism (lots of sitting around, bored, hey—what’s that black book on the shelf?). Or does fundamentalism lead to poverty and ignorance? Or do poor uneducated people tend toward fundamentalism? Or does that awful humid hot weather lead to sitting around and a craving for deep-fried foods and fatty meats, and since that diet leaves you feeling generally ill, you embrace fundamentalism? Or does those have anything to do with fundamentalism or vice-versa. Those correlations will trip you up if you’re not careful.

;)

mplavcan -

Two separate questions -

1) Does fundamentalist religion directly cause a disproportionate rate of ill health, obesity, poverty, crime/violence, substance abuse, justice system which cannot protect from crime yet which metes out brutal punishments and incarcerates/ruins lives at world historical record rates, teenage pregnancy, childhood poverty, divorce, educational failure, and economic stagnation?

Empirical answer - Not known. Certainly, voluntary rejection of modern medicine for “faith healing” is a major health risk, but whether being a self-identified creationist/fundamentalist is a significant, let alone independent, risk for any of the above, including overall poorer health, is hard to say.

2) Are the things I list above more common, on average, in southern “red states”? Unequivocally, here, the answer is “Yes”. Furthermore, the redder the state, the more extreme these statistics tend to be (for example, comparatively, that’s comparatively, moderate Arkansas and WV, although extremely high on obesity, ill health, poverty, and educational problems, have far better crime and incarceration statistics than the southern region overall).

This most certainly does not prove that fundamentalism causes these things; as I noted, it could suggest that ingrained poverty and relative lack of access to education lead to fundamentalism. Or it could be a feedback loop, in which people who are poor and uneducated are easily manipulated by televangelist con men and sociopath politicians, which in turn tends to keep them poor and uneducated.

However, Raven does make a valuable point. The mainstream media barrages us, or at least, it barrages me, in my subjective opinion, with claims that right wing Christians are morally superior. Not only does the data not support this, if anything, the data, although not definitively conclusive at the most rigorous possible level, points in the opposite direction.

Flint said:

On the other hand, correlational analysis is famous for detecting bullshit associations. I teach this stuff every year to my graduate students, with my favorite example being the relationship between rates of alcoholism and the number of preachers in Urban areas.

Sometimes a bit of factor analysis can extract the BS from the correlations. For example, one factor might find a cluster of associations between religious commitment, rural location, educational level, average lifespan, and per capita medical expense. Then the challenge is to determine why all of these parameters tend to be associated. Always allowing that it MIGHT be coincidence, though the closeness of the clustering is suggestive one way or the other.

As can partial correlations and path analysis. The key is having a model a priori, and collecting data that not only test the model, but can control for confounding factors.

Daniel said -

And I thought the higher rates of obesity in the lower ‘red’ states was from their habit of deep-frying everything

Naturally, we’re all familiar with this stereotype, but living in a northeastern area with moderately low obesity, and having recently spent a lot of time in Texas, I can’t say that I saw a lot of difference in the rates of deep fried food consumption. I suspect the problem is more complex.

Incidentally, it wouldn’t surprise me if fundamentalist Christians exercise less, on average. For better or for worse, the “fitness industry” often promotes itself with highly sexualized images which may be offensive to fundamentalists, and also, time spent in church can’t be spent exercising. I have no statistical data to support this hypothesis, but it’s not unreasonable.

harold said:

mplavcan -

Two separate questions -

1) Does fundamentalist religion directly cause a disproportionate rate of ill health, obesity, poverty, crime/violence, substance abuse, justice system which cannot protect from crime yet which metes out brutal punishments and incarcerates/ruins lives at world historical record rates, teenage pregnancy, childhood poverty, divorce, educational failure, and economic stagnation?

Empirical answer - Not known. Certainly, voluntary rejection of modern medicine for “faith healing” is a major health risk, but whether being a self-identified creationist/fundamentalist is a significant, let alone independent, risk for any of the above, including overall poorer health, is hard to say.

2) Are the things I list above more common, on average, in southern “red states”? Unequivocally, here, the answer is “Yes”. Furthermore, the redder the state, the more extreme these statistics tend to be (for example, comparatively, that’s comparatively, moderate Arkansas and WV, although extremely high on obesity, ill health, poverty, and educational problems, have far better crime and incarceration statistics than the southern region overall).

This most certainly does not prove that fundamentalism causes these things; as I noted, it could suggest that ingrained poverty and relative lack of access to education lead to fundamentalism. Or it could be a feedback loop, in which people who are poor and uneducated are easily manipulated by televangelist con men and sociopath politicians, which in turn tends to keep them poor and uneducated.

However, Raven does make a valuable point. The mainstream media barrages us, or at least, it barrages me, in my subjective opinion, with claims that right wing Christians are morally superior. Not only does the data not support this, if anything, the data, although not definitively conclusive at the most rigorous possible level, points in the opposite direction.

To answer any of these questions we need data on risk factors (health care, diet, habits etc) and some measure of “faith”, including details about beliefs, what people pray for, who is praying for whom, did people get religion before getting sick or after, etc etc. You would probably want temporal data, and certainly you would need controls across demographic and socioeconomic classes. It would be an extraordinary data set, but incredibly hard to generate. Off the top of my head, you would be dealing with sample sizes in the thousands. And of course HOW to get reliable data on a lot of things (how do you quantify “faith”?) would represent a major obstacle.

To answer any of these questions we need data on risk factors (health care, diet, habits etc) and some measure of “faith”, including details about beliefs, what people pray for, who is praying for whom, did people get religion before getting sick or after, etc etc. You would probably want temporal data, and certainly you would need controls across demographic and socioeconomic classes. It would be an extraordinary data set, but incredibly hard to generate. Off the top of my head, you would be dealing with sample sizes in the thousands. And of course HOW to get reliable data on a lot of things (how do you quantify “faith”?) would represent a major obstacle.

I completely agree with this statement.

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