Is Evolution of Vital Importance?

Evolutionists love to claim that evolution is vital to our lives.  Why, if not for evolution, we wouldn’t have any medical knowledge at all they say.  Evolution allows us to create anti-viral drugs they continue.  If you don’t believe in evolution, then you may as well go to a witch doctor or simply pray to be healed, they conclude.

Well, color me surprised, considering that as recently as two years ago, we learned that nearly two thirds of doctors are skeptical of Darwinism.  Are we really supposed to believe that we would not be able to heal anyone without Darwin’s ideas?  Was there no medicine before Darwin hit the scene?  Would we not be able to reverse engineer viruses and figure out how to fight them if we didn’t believe that we all came from the same blob of protoplasm?  Heck, even Sam Harris talks about the therapeutic affects of meditation which in no way needs evolution.  I think we can safely say this particular Darwinist argument is a dead end.

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22 responses to “Is Evolution of Vital Importance?

  1. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Your thesis would be more convincing if you supported it by citing a few examples of biologists claiming that “evolution is vital to our lives.” (The most likely inspiration for this post would be a recent rant by Michael Egnor on the subject.)

    If your doctor doesn’t directly use theory of evolution in his medical practice it surely doesn’t prove that theory of evolution is wrong or useless. You can likewise point to the fact that engineers don’t use quantum mechanics. That doesn’t reflect so much on the validity of quantum mechanics. It just means it’s basic, not applied science at this point. Yet properties of materials are determined to a large extent by quantum physics. Semiconductors were discovered when quantum mechanics was not known, but understanding how they work is crucial for the electronics industry.

    Same with theory of evolution. It does not play an important role in medicine (applied biology, if you will) but it plays a significant role in basic biology. And furthermore, evolutionary biology is already used in medical research (though not in medical practice). Here is a popular article describing dynamics of malignant tumors in terms of natural selection.

  2. Here’s an interesting exercise, professorsmith. Pick a research problem – could be one of medical importance, agricultural, or anything else in the life sciences that impact society. Then we can each write research proposals. Yours would not be allowed to call upon anything that is informed by evolution. This includes any and all knowledge gleaned from studies of model systems, all of which has been rationalized and justified by the assumption that model systems share a common ancestry with humans (or crops, if yer a plant scientist). No evolution in the proposal anywhere.

    I’ll write a parallel one that is not so constrained.

    Any bets as to which proposal will actually have a chance of providing new and useful information?

    Fact is, evolution is so deeply ingrained into the web of science that one cannot avoid it. One cannot realistically pursue life sciences research (including medical research) without calling upon evolutionary principles or inferences in one way or another. The exercise I describe here illustrates the point.

  3. A quick PS – did y’all get your free taco today?

  4. professorsmith

    Mr. Tchernyshyov,
    Spend a little time on any evo vs. ID board and you will see the argument that without evolution we wouldn’t be able to produce any medicine, etc. It’s not that hard to find. Also, you’ll note that I didn’t say that evolution is wrong, only that the argument used is dead. Please read more carefully.

    Art,
    Yes, I bet that the proposal I write that deals in reverse engineering bacterial strains will serve me better than yours where you try and figure out what the bacteria’s last common ancestor with other bacteria was. Further, I’ve never said evolution is completely wrong. You would do well to actually learn my position before arguing such strawmen.

  5. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Again, examples of biologists claiming that “without evolution we wouldn’t be able to produce any medicine” are welcome. I bet you can’t find any.

  6. professorsmith

    Ah, how you move the goal posts. I didn’t say it was necessarily biologists, but Darwinists. And, if you don’t believe that evolutionists use this argument, I suggest that you google it on Panda’s Thumb or some other evo site and see for yourself.

  7. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    What, still no links? I’m sooo totally disappointed.

  8. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    What happened to the thread ID and Creationism, the Missing Link? Is it closed for comments? I don’t think we have reached a stalemate there.

  9. professorsmith

    Yes, it is now closed. I got bored with you spinning your wheels, unable to prove your assertions, and generally showing your inability to actually listen to something that goes against your deeply held belief system.

  10. “Yes, I bet that the proposal I write that deals in reverse engineering bacterial strains will serve me better than yours where you try and figure out what the bacteria’s last common ancestor with other bacteria was. ”

    Apples and oranges. Fact is, professorsmith, you cannot write more than a paragraph of proposed experiments dealing with reverse engineering of bacteria without calling on the fruits of extensive evolution-based theory and research. Not being so constrained, my evolution-based reverse engineering project would proceed much more rapidly, entail many many more experiments, and produce a much more interesting outcome.

  11. Oh yeah – how were the tacos?

  12. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Too bad you closed the thread to comments: you didn’t provide a single example of IDer claims that were different from creationist ones. But it’s your blog and you are free to moderate it as you please.

    Just to close the subject, I did not cite Wikipedia as an unassailable source of truth (I am well aware of its limitations). However, give credit where credit is due: Wikipedia articles often contain a good number of links to original sources, so you don’t just get a point of view but also evidence supporting it. The Wikipedia entry Creation science renamed as intelligent design is well sourced and you just can’t argue with its content. There was a smooth transition from “creation science” to “intelligent design” ca. 1987, i.e. at the time of Edwards v. Aguillard.

  13. professorsmith

    Art,
    Apples and oranges? Sounds like sour grapes to me. I don’t need to know a bacteria’s common ancestors in order to reverse engineer it, to look at its genome, etc. Are you really asserting that I have to believe in evolution in order to look at the bacteria’s genome? Ridiculous.

    Mr Tchernyshyov,
    I closed that thread because you kept making claims like the one above that are simply not true. Like Mr. Darrell and others here, you can continually claim that I haven’t provided answers, but it’s simply not true. Please stop trying to argue that thread on this one, please stay on topic.

    As for wikipedia, it is wrong. Design was around long before 1987. It is simply wrong to assert that design sprung up then, so therefore is a product of creationism. Now stay on topic.

  14. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    So let’s state on topic and hear some quotes from Darwinists that “without evolution we wouldn’t be able to produce any medicine?”

    Do you stand by your word or what?

  15. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Nice try. Note, however, that Humburg’s argument does not even approach your “ if not for evolution, we wouldn’t have any medical knowledge” straw man. In that very Section 1 he writes:

    The “divide” I refer to is between the physicians who know the biochemistry behind that reaction and the doctors who are content to know only that they should give aspirins after heart attacks. Make no mistake: one can be a great doctor and simply practice to the standard of care knowing not a whit of the basic science that provides that standard’s underpinnings. But if you can know the reasons why the standard of care is the way it is, why on Earth would you limit yourself by choosing to not know it? [emphasis mine –OT]

  16. professorsmith

    So, you dispute one of the three and yet it’s only a “nice try”? You’ve got a lot of nerve. Face it, you lost.

  17. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Sorry, I didn’t realize these were three separate links. I clicked on the lower sentence and was taken to Humburg’s blog. Hence I commented on that line only.

    That doesn’t mean you have won. None of the three quotes come even close to the declarations you cooked up, “if not for evolution, we wouldn’t have any medical knowledge” and “without evolution we wouldn’t be able to produce any medicine.”

    The first quote says that theory of evolution is required to understand “modern medicine,” which I presume is a reference to latest developments in the fields such as the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, the workings of HIV and the development of cancer. It doesn’t say there’d be no medicine whatsoever.

    The second quote is fully correct. Theory of evolution is a cornerstone of biology and hence of life sciences. What’s the problem with that?

  18. professorsmith

    The problem is that the authors are overstating their cases, and basically stating what I said they state, even if not in the exact words I used – I feel justified in paraphrasing the intent. Perhaps you have never uttered such arguments, but some Darwinists have. I’ve only had to show one instance in order to be right, and I’ve done that. It didn’t even take that much time, and I didn’t even go into the comments of the blogs that Darwinists frequent. If you searched the comments, where you get even less informed opinions, you’d find it arise even more. This Darwinist argument is ill-thought and dead on the spot, as I have argued.

  19. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    I don’t think you can wiggle out of this.

    You accused “Darwinists” of saying that we can practice no medicine whatsoever without theory of evolution. Twice. It’s you who is over the top, for no one has ever said anything remotely like that. Cutting-edge medical research is not all of medicine.

  20. professorsmith

    And yet I provided evidence for my claims. Of course, you are so dead-set against anything that contradicts your worldview that you refuse to see it even when it is presented directly to you. Pity.

  21. Pingback: Council of Europe Take Down « Professor Smith’s Weblog

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