Evolution in the News - February 2003
by Do-While Jones

Letters of Recommendation

Do you have to believe in evolution to be a good doctor?

There was a FOX news story on January 30, 2003, reporting that biology professor Michael Dini of Texas Tech University is being sued by a student (and the Liberty Legal Institute) because of his policy regarding letters of recommendation for students wishing to gain admittance to a medical school. He has three criteria which students must satisfy to get a letter of recommendation.

The first two criteria are that the student has to get good grades, and the professor has to know the student personally. If professors wrote letters of recommendation for poor students, or students they didn’t know, then the letters would be useless. Nobody disputes these conditions. Dr. Dini’s third condition, however, is that the student must swear to believe that humans and apes shared a common ancestor a long time ago. Here is exactly what Dini says on his web site:

Criterion 3

If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of recommendation, I will ask you: "How do you think the human species originated?" If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical sciences.

Why do I ask this question? Let’s consider the situation of one wishing to enter medical school. Whereas medicine is historically rooted first in the practice of magic and later in religion, modern medicine is an endeavor that springs from the sciences, biology first among these. The central, unifying principle of biology is the theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution, and which extends to ALL species. How can someone who does not accept the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a field that is so heavily based on biology? It is hard to imagine how this can be so, but it is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions. The current crisis in antibiotic resistance is the result of such decisions. For others, please read the citations below.

Good medicine, like good biology, is based on the collection and evaluation of physical evidence. So much physical evidence supports the evolution of humans from non-human ancestors that one can validly refer to the "fact" of human evolution, even if all of the details are not yet known. One can deny this evidence only at the risk of calling into question one’s understanding of science and of the method of science. Such an individual has committed malpractice regarding the method of science, for good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs. This is the situation of those who deny the evolution of humans; such a one is throwing out information because it seems to contradict his/her cherished beliefs. Can a physician ignore data that s/he does not like and remain a physician for long? No. If modern medicine is based on the method of science, then how can someone who denies the theory of evolution--the very pinnacle of modern biological science--ask to be recommended into a scientific profession by a professional scientist?

There are some interesting legal issues here, but we aren’t going to deal with any of them. We take no position on the legal merits of the case.

Professor Dini’s web page illustrates some of the things we have been saying for years, and occasionally are challenged about. It also contains some interesting insight into the mind of an evolutionist, which we consider to be typical of most evolutionary thinking.

Evidence of Bias

Creationists are discriminated against when it comes to publishing papers, being granted prestigious faculty positions, and getting glowing letters of recommendation. We are grateful that Dr. Dini is honest enough to say that he will not write a letter of recommendation for the best student in his class if that student doesn’t believe in evolution.

No doubt there are history students who specialize in the study of the ancient Roman civilization. Clearly these students must learn all the Roman mythology. When taking an examination, the students might be required to name all the gods and what they did. If they answer all the questions correctly, they pass the test. History students are never required to swear that they believe in the Roman gods to pass.

Creationists can learn evolutionary theory just as well as evolutionists. On a biology test they can give all the “correct” answers. Dr. Dini requires that students must not only know the current speculation about origins, but must believe them to be true.

Double Standard

There is a double standard here. Imagine the response if Dr. Dini had this third criterion for writing a letter of recommendation:

Criterion 3

If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of recommendation, I will ask you: "How do you think the human species originated?" If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a Christian answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical sciences.

Why do I ask this question? Let’s consider the situation of one wishing to enter medical school. Jesus is the Great Physician, who is the central, unifying model for ALL healing. How can someone who does not accept the Most Compassionate Being in the Universe properly practice in a field that is so heavily based on compassion? It is hard to imagine how this can be so, but it is easy to imagine how physicians who accept the Darwinian notion of the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions. How can one truly care for people who have been made in the image of God while believing that people are no more than hairless monkeys?

Good medicine, like good biology, is based on the collection and evaluation of physical evidence. So much physical evidence contradicts the theory of evolution that one cannot seriously accept the "fact" of human evolution. One can deny this evidence only at the risk of calling into question one’s understanding of science and of the method of science. Such an individual has committed malpractice regarding the method of science, for good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs. This is the situation of those who believe in the evolution of humans; such a one is throwing out information because it seems to contradict his/her cherished beliefs. Can a physician ignore data that s/he does not like and remain a physician for long? No. If modern medicine is based on the method of science, then how can someone who accepts the theory of evolution--a theory that flies in the face of reason and science--ask to be recommended into a scientific profession by a professional scientist?

Christian Doctors

Dr. Dini believes that Christians cannot be good doctors. We find that ironic because the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital refers the most difficult cases to the (Seventh-day Adventist) Loma Linda University Medical Center. Isn’t it strange that Dr. Dini doesn’t believe that creationists can be good doctors when one of the finest medial institutions in the world is run by a Christian church that believes in a literal six-day recent creation?

But what about the doctors at the secular Ridgecrest Regional Hospital? We haven’t taken a poll, but we suspect many of them are Christians, too. All of the physicians I know personally are Christians. What is your experience?

Last September we responded to the U.S. News and World Report article 1 which bemoaned the fact that, “doctors don’t learn about evolution in medical school.” If, as Dr. Dini says, the theory of evolution is central to medicine, why isn’t it taught in medical school? There is a very good reason!

Imagine a professor in medical school giving a series of lectures on the human eye. He talks about how complex it is. He explains how critical the size and shape of the various parts of the eye (the lens, iris, retina, etc.) are, and how critical the index of refraction is. Then he describes the diseases that upset that delicate complexity, rendering the eye useless. Presumably the professor would then discuss treatment which could counteract the effects of the diseases of the eye.

If Dr. Dini had his way, this professor would then have to explain to his students how the human eye evolved by random changes filtered by natural selection, because “physicians who ignore or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions.” So, the professor would have to give a lecture based on chapter 5 of Climbing Mount Improbable by (evolutionist) Richard Dawkins, explaining how eyes have evolved independently by chance 40 to 60 times in different kinds of living organisms. Imagine the professor fielding questions from his students after this lecture. It would make a great Bob Newhart comedy monologue!

Bacterial Resistance

Dr. Dini makes a big deal about bacterial resistance, citing many valid references, as if creationists don’t believe in microevolution. The leaders of every important creationist organization (and Science Against Evolution, too, smiley face) agree that microevolution gives rise to populations with bacterial resistance. We all agree that when drugs kill certain varieties of bacteria, and not other varieties, you are left with the variety that is immune to that drug. Not only is that variety still a bacteria, it is still the same kind of bacteria that it was before the drug was administered. The makeup of the population evolves, but the individual bacteria themselves don’t. You just have more resistant bacteria than non-resistant bacteria. Drugs don’t turn bacteria into worms, or fish, or people, or even different kinds of bacteria.

When Dini lumps microevolution together with macroevolution we wonder, does he not understand the difference? or is he being intentionally dishonest and unethical? Microevolution is the very real process by which bird beaks, dog sizes, and rose colors change through selective breeding, allowing certain existing genes to predominate. Macroevolution is the imaginary process by which new genes are created (by chance, environment, diet, exercise, drugs, or who-knows-what) which cause apes to turn into people and dinosaurs to turn into birds.

He says, “The current crisis in antibiotic resistance is the result of such decisions [which ignored Darwinian aspects of medicine].” Doctors have used antibiotics to kill so many weak bacteria that the remaining bacteria are very strong, and resistant to the traditional antibiotics. This is the “current crisis” he refers to. Why is that crisis the result of ignoring Darwin? What would doctors have done if they hadn’t ignored Darwin? Would they have decided not to use antibiotics, and let the weaker bacteria kill people? Would they have taken a “holistic approach” which included making the patient healthier overall, and not just poisoning the disease (like some Christian doctors do)? It appears to us that doctors generally prescribe the treatment they feel will be the most effective for treating the disease regardless of whether or not they believe apes turned into people. If that treatment doesn’t work, then they prescribe a different one. Evolution has nothing to do with it.

Dr. Dini asserted the “fact” that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. But although he cited references for bacterial resistance, he didn’t cite any references for human evolution. We aren’t surprised.

Discarding Evidence

Ironically, Dr. Dini talks about how terrible it is to discard scientific evidence which is inconsistent with a deeply held personal belief. He apparently doesn’t see that he is doing exactly that. The professional journals he should be reading (Science and Nature) contain articles nearly every week presenting new problems for the theory of evolution. (That's where we get most of our material.) The authors of those articles make valiant attempts to show how their new data is compatible with evolution; but anyone who reads them critically can see that the new scientific facts they have discovered fit with creation better than they fit with evolution.

When it comes to discarding evidence that doesn’t fit the theory, evolutionists are world champions. The 914 page book Forbidden Archaeology documents case after case of discoveries pertinent to the theory of human evolution which evolutionists ignore because they don’t like the implications that one has to draw from them. These discoveries consist mostly of tools and anatomically modern humans found in unexpectedly old geological contexts. The authors of that book say, “the primary point we are trying to make in Forbidden Archaeology … [is] … that there exists in the scientific community a knowledge filter that screens out unwelcome evidence.” 2

We want to promote free and open discussion of data Dr. Dini rejects. That’s why the full title of our newsletter is, “Disclosure of things evolutionists don’t want you to know”. Evolutionists don’t want you to know that science is against evolution.

Follow-up news story

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Footnotes:

1 Hayden, U.S. News and World Report, July 29, 2002, “A theory evolves”, page 50 (Ev+)
2 Cremo and Thompson, 1996, Forbidden Archaeology, Bhaktivedanta Book Publishingm Inc., page xxxi