Re: P.Z. Myers’ recent post:
I’ll be spending my day at this symposium, “Understanding evolution: the legacy of Darwin”, most of today. It’s about to start, so I’m not going to say much before I focus on the lectures, but it is open to the public, so if you’re in the Penn neighborhood, come on down to Claudia Cohen hall, room G17 (which we have since learned is the famous old surgical demonstration auditorium), and listen in. I’ll report later on the contents of the talks.
I’m having trouble finding the program Myers is referring to (why wasn’t I invited!?), but Claudia Cohen Hall is on the medical campus at Penn, so I surmise that the presentations will be on eugenics (apologies for it, I hope), which is Darwin’s only legacy to medicine.
But of course eugenics won’t be mentioned, except perhaps brief exculpations (“Eugenics was the misuse of Darwin’s theory by a few rogue geneticists…”). No doubt the talks will be ‘Children Hate Vegetables Because of Ancestral Reproductive Advantage of Avoiding Toxins’ or ‘We Will Evolve Oiler Skin Because of Frequent Bathing’ or ‘X-Linked Color Blindness Evolved to Help Paleolithic Male Hunters See Camouflage.’ Believe it or not, these are actual cutting-edge evolutionary “theories.”
Darwin’s positive legacy to real medical science is non-existent. Darwinists append vacuous stories to actual scientific advances and claim that Darwinian fables provided indispensable guidance to the scientific breakthrough, when the opposite is true. Microbiologists, molecular geneticists, paleontologists, epidemiologists, etc. do the real science, and evolutionary biologists add the Darwinian narrative gloss. The evolutionary claim — usually part of a press release — is generally ornate (“Evolutionary Saltation Induced by Pleistocene Heterozygote Advantage…” or some such, which always boils down this template:
“Organisms that [insert actual scientific insight] gained reproductive advantage.” Survivors
Darwin’s theory was (and is) indispensable for only one thing in medicine: eugenics. Eugenics is human breeding. Eugenics has been viewed as an imperative (and still is) by many Darwinists, because if the origin of human beings is natural selection (“survival of the fittest”), then human compassion for the weak (i.e. human civilization) impairs natural selection, and a corrective is needed to avert degeneration of our race. If we are evolving animals, then benevolence must be balanced by breeding if our species is to survive. This odious ideology, based on an odious (and scientifically vacuous) assertion that natural selection is the origin of man, is the foundation of eugenics, and is Darwin’s only real legacy to medicine.
Fairy tales about the origin of illnesses and adaptations are worthless to medicine. The materialistic philosophical basis for Darwinism and the inference that humans evolved by natural selection have been catastrophic to medicine. Any genuine insight claimed by Darwinists, such as the dynamics of antibiotic resistance or of heterozygote advantage in such diseases as sickle cell anemia and malaria, is really gained by the relevant basic sciences (molecular genetics, microbiology, epidemiology), with no need for Darwinian just-so stories. For the past century, Darwin’s only legacy to medicine has been eugenics. Darwinists are hoping that the salient modern human evolutionary adaptation is amnesia.