Saturday, March 10, 2007

OOPS! They did it again!

Hat tip to Pharyngula.

Oops. Dr. Egnor, Mr. Professor of Neurosurgery, doesnt seem to have learned a lesson from Mr. 99. And now hes going to get made fun of by a 23 year old girl, too. Someone get a Ziploc bag for his testicles.

Really, it’s a funny question. Think about it. Would anyone sponsor an essay contest on ‘Why I would want my doctor to study anatomy’ or ‘Why I would want my doctor to study physiology’? Of course not, because we all know that these kinds of science are important to medicine. Is evolutionary biology important? If it is, why do they have to ask the question?Because assholes like you are telling kids that they dont need to know evolution to be a physician. If there were school boards insisting that children shouldnt learn anatomy in school (wouldnt be surprised. just sayin) and neurosurgeons claiming that they never learned muscle or skeletal anatomy and they can operate on brains JUST FINE, then we would consider sponsoring such a contest.
A fantastic reason to sponsor such a contest is to encourage kids to actually pay attention in their bio classes when the teacher/prof is talking about evolution. You know, what you didnt do, Egnor. The surviving pre-med bio majors in my class were loathed to take required courses such as ecology (what does a pre-med care about deer and invasive species?), but if they took their heads out of their own butts for a second they would have realized that they were 'studying' epidemeology, aetiology, etc.

Another reason would be to get these kids to transmit this information to their parents. Like Ive said over and over and over, Average Joe Creationists slide right off that Creationist-Wagon when they realize how evolution is directly connected to their quality of life. Its not just about 'dogs turning into cats'-- its about Mom not having to go on chemo when she gets breast cancer because her genotype matches the cancer that can be treated with radiation alone. Its about inventing new drugs and vaccines to make our lives better. Get high school kids to write about these kinds of real-world benefits, and suddenly Mom and Dad dont mind evolution being in the curriculum anymore. Might even be inclined to start fighting against Creationism.

Gee, why would ID Creationists be upset at a contest like this?

Doctors don’t study evolution. Doctors never study it in medical school, and they never use evolutionary biology in their practice. There are no courses in medical school on evolution. There are no ‘professors of evolution’ in medical schools. There are no departments of evolutionary biology in medical schools.
No, honey, replace 'doctors' in that paragraph with 'you.' Not all doctors are as stupid as you, even I have to admit. Evolution was implied in all of my 'medical' courses in undergrad-- everyone had already taken intro biology courses thick on evolution, so words were used in immunology, virology, pharmacology, etc that implied you already had a firm understanding of the basics. By Egnors logic, I wasnt required to take an advanced evolutionary biology course as a biology major- therefore evolutionary biology isnt used in biology.
You know, this essay is more telling of Egnors pathetic performance as an undergrad, rather than an essay on 'Evolution in Medicine.' I read on Oracs blog that Egnor was a bio-chem major. My apologies to hard working bio-chem majors out there (hell, my boss was one), but from my experience, bio-chem majors were the bio majors that couldnt pass the evolution intensive upper-level biology courses, so they took upper-level chem instead. I know its a cliche stereotype, but Egnors fitting the bill beautifully at this point...

If you needed treatment for a brain tumor, your medical team would include a physicist (who designed the MRI that diagnosed your tumor), a chemist and a pharmacologist (who made the medicine to treat you), an engineer and an anesthesiologist (who designed and used the machine that give you anesthesia), a neurosurgeon (who did the surgery to remove your tumor), a pathologist (who studied the tumor under a microscope and determined what type of tumor it was), and nurses and oncologists (who help you recover and help make sure the tumor doesn’t come back). There would be no evolutionary biologists on your team.
Wait, you include the physicist who designed the MRI, but conveniently forgot to mention the biologists that made the pharmacologists drug design possible? Do you know what 'basic research' is, Egnor? You know, those of us that figure out what genes do, what viruses look like, etc so 'clinical researchers' can figure out how to treat diseases? Wanna show me one basic research paper that doesnt require evolution? I mean do you think clinical researchers and pharmacologists figure this stuff out through magic? What the hell? And what do you think those pharmacologists test their drugs on before they give them to humans? Why do you think animal testing (though it has its limitations) works? Again, magic?
And I take this comment personally, in particular, because as some of you might know, one of my projects (epigenetic control of ERVs) spawned an idea for increasing the efficacy of traditional cancer therapies. Yeah, Egnor, Im using evolution to help treat cancer, including brain tumors. God youre arrogant.

I am a professor of neurosurgery, I work and teach at a medical school, I do brain research, and in 20 years I’ve performed over 4000 brain operations. I never use evolutionary biology in my work.
No, you dont know how youve used evolutionary biology in your work. And you dont care that you dont know. That makes you an arrogant idiot, not someone children should look up to.

Would I be a better surgeon if I assumed that the brain arose by random events?
No, you would be a better surgeon if you actually paid attention in your classes as an undergrad. Kids know stuff you dont know, Mr. Professor of Neurosurgery. Kids. 18 year old kids. Yeah, lets all listen to what you have to say.

Of course not. Doctors are detectives.
No, youre a mechanic. Sorry. PhDs are detectives. PhDs are explorers. PhDs seek out new life and new civilizations. You fix brains. PhDs tell you how to do it. Specifically, PhDs that paid attention in undergrad tell you how to do it.

I do use many kinds of science related to changes in organisms over time. Genetics is very important, as are population biology and microbiology. But evolutionary biology itself, as distinct from these scientific fields, contributes nothing to modern medicine.
Theyre all connected, if not the same damn thing. Genetics means nothing without evolutionary biology. Not a damn thing-- unless hes suggesting we create knock-out human babies to figure out what all of our genes do. And what the hell do ERVs in our genome say about evolution?
Move those goal-posts, Egnor. Good full-body workout.

Without using evolutionary theory, doctors and scientists have discovered vaccines (Jenner, in the 18th century, before Darwin was born), discovered that germs cause infectious diseases (Pasteur, in the 19th century, who ignored Darwin), discovered genes (Mendel, in the 19th century, who was a priest and not a supporter of Darwin’s theory), discovered antibiotics, and unraveled the secrets of the genetic code (the key to these discoveries was the discovery of the apparent design in the DNA double helix). Heart, liver, and kidney transplants, new treatments for cancer and heart disease, and a host of life-saving advances in medicine have been developed without input from evolutionary biologists.
Okay, ignoring the fact that all the people involved with discovering DNA is a double helix were atheistic Evilutionists, Egnor is spouting shit Ive already covered. You should read my blog, Egnor-- save you some shame! Yes, stumbling around and randomly smacking into solutions to our medical problems without understanding why or how those solutions work, nor how to improve upon those random discoveries is SO much better than using evolution. How long would it have taken us to figure out the impact of ERVs on cancer without evolution, Egnor? You want a number on how many mutations it takes to turn a 'monkey' into a 'man'? I want a number, in years, for how far back our technology would be without evolution. When would you have discovered the importance of ERVs and cancer, Egnor? Never? You think the answer might be never? Maybe? Jerk.

No Nobel prize in medicine has ever been awarded for work in evolutionary biology.
Oh now youve moved from asshole/jerk to just plain idiot. What the hell do you think siRNA is, genious? siRNA runs down to almost the root of the Tree of Life. Wow youre smart, Mr. Professor! UGH I get so damn angry when people who have more experience, who Im supposed to learn from, can teach me nothing. Worse than that-- I know things that they are supposed to know. Its pathetic.


Reed A. Cartwright said...

Egnor also forgets to include in his list the evolutionary biologists who invented the statistics that allows us to know whether any drug actually works.

ERV said...

Good one! And the need for evo-bio-math experts is only increasing, if my alma mater is any indication.

Its liberal arts school, so resources and majors were limited (no majors in immunology, theoretical physics, etc-- just the basics) but just as I was graduating they were in the process of setting up a combined biology-mathematics degree.

Jonathan said...

I like your style, ERV.

ERV said...

Thanks, jonathan!

In a world full of Paris Hiltons and Naomi Campbells, being a brat for a reason is a lost art :P

Bob Carroll said...

Holy shit! You just keep getting better and better! I'm buying stock in the ziplock outfit.

chem-major said...

"but from my experience, bio-chem majors were the bio majors that couldn’t pass the evolution intensive upper-level biology courses, so they took upper-level chem instead."

Hey. There isn't a bio class that a real chem major couldn't pass. Bio major is where chem majors, who couldn't hack it, retreated to