Thursday, January 19, 2012

Physicians Can Be IDiots

Joseph A. Kuhn is a physician at the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. This is a Christian medical center associated with Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Joseph Kuhn published an article in a recent issue of Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings: Dissectring Darwinism.

Kuhn has an M.D. degree. He is not a scientist and he has no obvious expertise in biology and/or evolution. He is a Roman Catholic. He is definitely an Intelligent Design Creationist.

Let's look as what this IDiot has to say ...
The primary conflicts or anomalies with neo-Darwinian evolution lie in the failure of mutation and natural selection to account for the formation of DNA, the information of DNA, or the complexity of the human cell. In all fairness, many physicians, medical students, and college students have not been shown the weakness of Darwinian evolution. They haven’t been shown the failure of the Miller-Urey experiments to explain DNA, RNA, or protein formation; the paucity of fossil data; or the refutations of transitional species based on a growing biochemical understanding of complex systems and the limits of DNA mutation to account for the formation of new DNA, new chromosomes, and therefore new species.

In contrast, how is it possible that the majority of National Academy of Science members (who should know the above weaknesses) fully believe that random mutation and natural selection can explain the origin of DNA and the subsequent generation of a vast array of protein systems within complex cells? It is possible that the biologist, the paleontologist, and the anthropologist are each studying a small portion of the picture and do not have the education and training to see the full picture. More likely, their previous research relies on the established paradigm of Darwinian evolution to provide structure for their work. As the limitations of existing paradigms become apparent, adoption of a new paradigm typically requires at least a full generation, since existing practitioners and scientists often hold on to the old paradigm.
There's so much wrong here that I hardly know where to begin. First, biological evolution, whether it be the outmoded neo-Darwinian model or a more modern version, was never intended to explain the origin of life. We don't know how life originated but that has nothing to do with the truth and power of evolution as an explanatory mechanism.

Second, members of the National Academy of Science—and all other scientists in the USA and many other countries—are not stupid. The idea that they would all fail to see the truth about evolution because they "do not have the education and training to see the full picture" is silly beyond belief. The idea that they might be blind to the truth because they adhere to an incorrect Darwinian paradigm is ridiculous. The idea that a physician at a Christian university might be in a better position to recognize the truth about evolution is something that only a true IDiot could believe.

The standard IDiot talking point these days is that students and the general public are being misled because scientists won't teach all the problems and controversies concerning biological evolution. This is an attitude that completely ignores all the debate and discussion that has been taking place on the internet and in popular books, magazines, and journals over the past four decades. None of the problems and controversies have stood up to close analysis in spite of the fact they have been dogmatically defended by dozens of leading IDiots.

Of course Joseph Kuhn, the physician, knows nothing about this. That's why he writes ...
When the Texas State Board of Education voted to recognize the weaknesses of Darwinian evolution in explaining the origin of the species, it was a result of 3 full days of intense debate and scientific dispute. In 2011, when new textbooks were presented to the State Board of Education, 9 out of 10 failed to provide the mandated supplementary curricula, which would include both positive and negative aspects of evolution (44). Moreover, several of the textbooks continued to incorrectly promote the debunked Miller-Urey origin of life experiment, the long-discredited claims about nonfunctional appendix and tonsils, and the fraudulent embryo drawings from Ernst Haeckel. In essence, current biology students, aspiring medical students, and future scientists are not being taught the whole story. Rather, evidence suggests that they continue to receive incorrect and incomplete material that exaggerates the effect of random mutation and natural selection to account for DNA, the cell, or the transition from species to species.

The Texas State Board of Education guidelines do not propose teaching any other alternatives to Darwinian evolution. Rather, the students of tomorrow and teachers of today should appropriately recognize that there are weaknesses that have been pointed out by reasonable scientists. In this dissection of Darwinism, we have cut into the weaknesses of the fossil evidence for human evolution, the failure of the fossil data to demonstrate substantial transition species, and the awareness of the sudden formation of most species in a short window of time, with no significant subsequent variation. More importantly, this physician-perspective article emphasizes the extreme impossibility of the natural formation or self-formation of billions of nucleotides in a specific sequence, allowing for the coding of RNA and proteins in a complex cell with thousands of interrelated and irreducibly complex functions. The article also enlightens the reader regarding the conflicts and difficulty of using natural selection and mutation to explain the simultaneous or sequential changes in cellular DNA, involving entirely new strands of DNA and thousands of new proteins, which are necessary for the formation of new species.
It's hard to imagine what must be going on inside the head of someone who could write such drivel. Let's say that the Texas Board of Education succeeds in brainwashing students about the "weaknesses" of evolution. Is that going to change the minds of any expert who studies biological evolution for a living? Is that going to lead to a new generation of scientists who accept Intelligent Design Creationism? No, not even in Texas.

Only an IDiot could believe that forcing Intelligent Design Creationism down the throats of students in some parts of southern USA will eventually lead to a "paradigm shift" in thinking about evolution. Only an IDiot physician could believe that he knows more about evolution than the experts. In fairness, you've got to give the creationists some credit for convincing some, otherwise intelligent, people that 99.9% of all scientists are really, really stupid.

UPDATE:Jonathan Wells defends Joseph A. Kuhn, MD ["Shut up," Coyne Explained].

[Hat Tip: Jerry Coyne in Creationist paper in a medical journal.]


  1. The proceedings also contains a one page rebuttal from Charles Stewart Roberts, MD. Not as lengthy as the tripe that proceeds it, it does address several issues. The editors comments also stated that a longer rebuttal would be published in an upcoming edition.

  2. The paragraph that struck me as intellectual and scientific slander was this:

    "The 2004 transitional species between water- and land-based creatures (Tiktaalik roseae) was based on a recovered bone frag- ment representing the wrist structure that would be necessary for moving on land (36) (Figure 2). Even though this species has been disparaged by scientific circles, it is important to re- alize that any transition from a water-based organism to an air-breathing land-based organism would also require thou- sands of simultaneous mutations in the basic physiology of the eyes, nose, alimentary system, lungs, muscles, and bones. This would entail thousands of discrete mutations in the DNA, which would code for the underlying changes in the individual cellular systems and enzymes responsible for the changes. A transitional species change would also require a simultaneous change in another organism, allowing for reproduction and duplication of the markedly mutated DNA."

    "36. Luskin C. Tiktaalik roseae: where’s the wrist? (updated). Evolution News and Views, July 14, 2008. Available at http://www.evolutionnews. org/2008/07/tiktaalik_roseae_wheres_the_wr008921.html; retrieved September 12, 2011."

    There is too much wrong with that paragraph to bother discussing, but two things stand out. First, Tiktaalik has NOT been "disparaged by scientific circles." That is simply a lie, it's unethical and at the very least Kuhn should offer an apology to Shubin. Don't hold your breath.

    Second, his reference for this is Casey Freaklng IDiot Lawyer Luskin! So, Kuhn is not only an IDiot, but he's an idiot IDiot. Alas, a forgettable moment in the history of creationist lunacy.

  3. Actually, I would expect that, among people with comparable educational achievement, a proportion of theists is higher among physicians. Would be interesting to see some relevant data...

  4. Another MD know-it-all. Physicians aren't scientists (most of them aren't, anyway), but those that aren't too often fail to recognize that fact. It's their own little Dunning-Kruger.

  5. Kuhn is just regurgitating the same old 'It's all too complex for me to comprehend, therefor God.' crap.

    I find it interesting that the IDiots go on and on and on about how complex, functionally complex, and irreducibly complex organisms and "systems" are, but they have no interest in doing actual scientific research to figure out what brought about any or all of that complexity, and they just want to impose the 'simple' assertion that the designer (God) did it. They expect and demand that every intricate detail of everything in nature be found and explained by science before they will accept science's explanations, but they aren't even looking for, let alone finding and explaining, any scientific evidence of the alleged designer or anything else.

    The IDiot creationists just sit around and wait for scientists to discover things and do the research and then they attack the evidence and explanations. It's obvious that science scares the crap out of them, because science discovers and explains reality, and reality is the last thing that a god zombie IDiot wants to deal with, at least when it comes to anything that challenges or refutes their religious beliefs.

    If they can't get rid of science, or at least evolutionary science, they figure that labeling it with their ID 'inference' or 'hypothesis' or 'theory' or whatever term they're using this week will somehow make their fairy tale religious beliefs automatically true. In other words, it doesn't matter if there's any actual evidence of their god in nature as long as their god gets credit for the design and creation of nature.

  6. Aren't physicians sort of engineers? Thus the Salem hypothesis prevails.

  7. @Matti K: Well, I've always thought so. Basically, any "applied science" profession where you learn the results of research, but only a superficial appreciation of research itself, seems to be a risk factor.

  8. Both my brother and I were TAs at the University of Toronto years ago (physics and geology). We both noticed a very dominant trend in the students wanting to get into med school....... very few cared WHY such and such was the solution, all they wanted was HOW to get the answer to get the top marks. Kuhn fits right in with those pre-meds I used to TA. So, when physicians start yammering about something like they are highly educated academics, I tend to ignore them.