Monday, March 27, 2017

Did you know Doctors can read God's Mind? I Didn't Either!

There is a small group of MD's who support Intelligent Design (ID), although it is hard to track them down.  Originally they called themselves  Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity (PSSI), and they were formed by the Discovery Institute (DI)!  However their website no longer works.  Here is what you get if you click on it:

It's an Internet site selling the domain.  Unless the group changed names, I'm not sure it's still active.  At its last update in Wikipedia, as of 2007 they had 264 signatories.  Yes, 264 over 15 countries -- out of how many MDs, Dentists, Osteopaths, and Veterinarians in the US alone? Over 800,000 MDs, over 60,000 Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, over 140,000 dentists, and over 50,000 Veterinarians.  So let me get this straight, this PSSI had 264 signatories over 15 countries out of a possible number, from the US alone, of well over 1,050,000 possible signers.  And the Discovery Institute thinks this is brag worthy?  The percentage is approximately 0.025%, is that even statistically significant?  Although if you want to get technical, since the US is only 1 country, I guess the percentage is actually more like 1/15th of 0.025% -- talk about statistical insignificance.

Which I do find sorta funny because in 2006 the DI had a press release claiming that '60% of U.S. Doctors Skeptical of Darwinian Evolution', and yet provided little information about the survey, like what was asked and who the audience was that was asked -- both of which are common tactics used to spin survey results in a specifically-desired direction.  So 60% of US doctors skeptical of Evolution -- but during the same time period only a minuscule amount joined this PSSI.  Don't you just love marketing statistics.

Since this organization is no longer active, why do I bring it up? Well, a post just the other day on the usual site, the DI's Evolution news and Views (EnV): "Why Understanding Intelligent Design Helps Us to Understand Physiology".  You can read it if you want, basically it's nothing more than one doctor's opinion that ID offers an easier way to understand physiology that evolution.  Here is a quote:
"The candidate I was questioning tied himself up in knots trying to remember and explain what factors shift the curve left and what factors shift it right. He had been taught that hemoglobin had evolved by randomly mutating genes and that this amazing molecule was undesigned. But if he had taken a design perspective in physiology, he would have thought, “If I were to design a molecule to do this job, what properties would it have?” He would have known that a designed molecule would have greater affinity for oxygen in a milieu where it is most advantageous for the body to extract oxygen from its surroundings, and decreased affinity in a milieu where it is most advantageous for the body to receive oxygen, despite there being no advantage to the molecule itself. From a design perspective, it would be common sense to know what would shift the curve left or right."
So the key to 'using' design is to put yourself in the driver's seat and play God.  That makes it easy to understand things . . . However . . .

When you look up Physiology on Wikipedia, one line just jumped out at me:
"Much of the foundation of knowledge in human physiology was provided by animal experimentation." (Wikipedia: Physiology)
So, much of what we know about Physiology came from animal experimentation, and why did that help us learn about human physiology?  I'll give you a hint, but I bet you won't need one . . . Evolution.  Common Descent, which is part of Evolutionary Theory, is why we were able to use animals to learn a great deal about ourselves.  To use this example, Evolution taught us the answer, the 'curve left or right'.  But this particular doc thinks it's easier to understand if you think like a designer Deity.

So what is really happening here . . . at least how I see it . . . is the subject at hand is studied, documented, and understood using Evolution and then -- after the fact -- a design proponent comes in and lays claim to everything that is learned.  It's like a mathematician who solves an incredibly complex problem and writes it across three blackboards and circles the answer at the bottom of the third crowded backboard.  Then a design proponent walks into the room and points to the circled answer and says "Look, I found the answer!"

So claiming that you can understand anything better through ID seems a bit of a non-starter.  What has ID done to solve any problem?  What research into the subject was done based on ID? What has ID done to educate and elucidate on a particular subject?  Three questions with three very similar answers:  Nothing, None, and Nada!  No problems solved using ID, no research, no education -- unless you believe that 'thinking like a Deity' is an example of education.  Did this doc learn what he knows about Physiology based on ID or did he learn it through Evolution?  The example here seems to be take what is learned through actual scientific means and then just label it as ID.

What this also shows is that no matter how well educated doctors are assumed to be, you can always find a few that would rather put their religion ahead of their knowledge and training.  There's always a few, but this also shows you how few there really are -- 1/15th of 0.025%.  If you think that number is low, and I admit it might be, let's also remember how long (16 years) the DI has been collecting signatures for their 'Dissent from Darwinism' petition, they've managed to collect a bit over 800 -- with only about 25% in a biology-related field.  Don't forget that it was determined the difficulties these signatories were agreeing too had little to do with science and much more to do with their religious beliefs.

Of course, if we want to talk numbers, don't forget that during the Dover trial (2005) a grassroots effort called 'A Scientific Support for Darwinism' over 7700 signatures were collected in four days! Plus that grassroots effort had a much higher percentage of actual scientists working in biology-related fields (25% v. 68%).

So bottom line is now ID proponents are making claims about research based on real science and trying to somehow claim ID does it better -- and yet we have yet to see an example of ID doing anything at all!  If this doctor's statement were factual, wouldn't there be tons of textbooks and research done from a design perspective?  Wouldn't that have been how he, himself, had learned all about Physiology?  But no, there aren't any textbooks, there is no research.  There are only claims just like the one this doctor makes -- unsupported by anything other than his opinion.  While he might link to think that Evolution had nothing to do with Physiology, nearly everything he learned about the subject can be traced back to Evolution and Common Descent -- he just doesn't like to admit it.

No comments:

Post a Comment