Respectful Insolence

I really, really wish the Discovery Institute would stop putting out idiocy like this:

We have blogged in the past about the growing numbers of doctors who are skeptical of Darwinian evolution to explain the complexity of life.

Those numbers are continuing to grow, and conesquently doctors are beginning to organize themselves and reach out to others who hold similar positions. Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity (PSSI) has for sometime had a website at www.doctorsdoubtingdarwin.com. Recently they have begun using the site to organize and promote conferences about Darwinian evolution around the world.

As you know, I’ve had something to say about these clowns before, as I have about a number of creationist physicians, particularly one Dr. Michael Egnor. I’ve lamented the attitude among some physicians that we don’t need as much basic science as we are taught.

As has been pointed out by me and by many others, it’s rather risible of the DI to be bragging about having “over 264 members from 15 different countries.” That’s out of–what?–tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of physicians. The silliness of bragging about such a small number of physicians as “evidence” that there is some sort of huge groundswell of support for “intelligent design” creationism among physicians has been amply documented here, here, here, and here, here, particularly if you take into account that a large number of these health care professionals “doubting Darwin” are actually dentists. As Steve Reuland pointed out earlier this year, the claims of the DI that huge numbers of physicians “doubt Darwin” is a lie, pure and simple. Indeed, the only good thing that the whole Doctors Doubting Darwin bit does is to provide a handy list of physicians and dentists who are proudly advertising their utter ignorance of biology and thus should be avoided.

But perhaps what most annoys me about this whole “doctors doubting Darwin” thing is that it gives certain abrasive scientists with an apparent superiority complex vis-à-vis physicians a convenient excuse to give free rein to their contempt for physicians in science. As a now fairly well-published surgeon-scientist with an NIH R01 grant and a large private grant thus far to support my research, seeing such gleeful mockery of physicians as a class as scientific ignoramuses based on 264 boneheads who signed the Discovery Institute’s vaguely worded petition annoys the hell out of me. The fact that it’s the Discovery Institute who is facilitating this and making it easy for such scientists to spew contempt for M.D.’s makes the whole thing even harder to swallow.

All I can say is that it’s one way to make a surgeon like me very, very angry. Perhaps a good retort would be to point out that Michael Behe is a biochemist, and he’s spread far more idiocy about evolution in a decade or so than these 264 doctors and dentists could ever hope to spread in a lifetime. And if we want to broaden our net a little bit, one only has to look at HIV/AIDS denialism to find a bunch of biological scientists, such as Peter Duesberg and Andrew Maniotis, spreading a far more dangerous form of pseudoscience than ID.

It is true that all too many doctors are not sufficiently scientific, but it’s also true that there is an aspect to practicing medicine that will never be (nor should it ever be) entirely scientific, namely the doctor-patient relationship. It is also true that I’m often frustrated when I see that a lack of scientific thinking leads some doctors to ID but far more doctors to embrace pseudoscientific “alternative” medicine. However, to me that is a reason to introduce more training in the scientific method in medical school, because, after all, one of the reasons for this problem in the first place is that little in the way of evolution specifically or scientific thinking in general is emphasized in medical school. The problem of physicians embracing pseudoscience is, in my opinion, largely attributable to insufficient emphasis on the scientific method in their training. Scientists like Behe, Duesberg, and Maniotis, among others, do not have that excuse to embrace pseudoscience, and, besides, no profession is without its cranks.

Comments

  1. #1 writerdd
    August 4, 2007

    It’s hopeless. The world is full of idiots and liars. Sigh.

  2. #2 Fastlane
    August 4, 2007

    I did a quick skim of that list for Drs. and dentists in my area, and guess what I found….one dentist listed three times.

    That was just based on a search for Kansas in the pdf, and then noticing the repeat name.

    How many more duplicate listings do you suppose are in there.

    I may have to do a little spreadsheet work…. =)

    Cheers.

  3. #3 plunge
    August 4, 2007

    Bragging about numbers of people you’ve approached and put on a list is pretty silly to begin with. It’s like the crowds that show up at political events. Wow, 1000 people showed up to see Senator so and so speak at a coffee shop at 9am! Except the reality is that campaign staff spent three or four days calling every supporter in the area and signing them up to come, then calling to remind them to come, and so on. It’s not like these people just show up of their own accord out of the blue. Call up loads of doctors and dentists and the odds are that some are going to say yes about being put on some list.

  4. #4 Wes
    August 4, 2007

    I did a quick skim of that list for Drs. and dentists in my area, and guess what I found….one dentist listed three times.

    Actually, the list repeats three times: once alphabetical by name, once alphabetical by profession, and once alphabetical by country of origin. So that’s probably why you saw him three times.

    Looking at the list by profession is a hoot. It’s full of dentists, plastic surgeons, gynecologists, pediatricians etc. There’s no reason at all to think these people would have any special expertise in evolution. They’re “dissent” is as meaningful as the “dissent” of a plumber or an aerospace engineer from evolution.

  5. #5 laura
    August 4, 2007

    whenever i see a post about the whole ID/creationist issue i can’t help but wonder: why is it even an issue??

    how come i missed out on it when i was in high school, both in germany and the usa? despite being catholic (on paper anyway), it always appeared common sense to me that evolution took place the darwinian way and that the bible is NOT to be taken literally but rather maybe a collection of tales similar to greek mythology..

    it amuses me that the validity of evolution is still under debate, be it among doctors or any other group. personally, i’d say: let them believe what they want. but i can see how it could reflect on doctors in a bad light even if they have nothing to do with ID. as an aside, why the hostility between doctors and scientists anyway? only doctors i have a problem with are british GPs who seem to think all their patients are slightly underevolved (and give out pamphlets about constipation to someone who has had ibs for years… *bad pun withheld*)

  6. #6 Joseph
    August 4, 2007

    Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity (PSSI)

    Any relation to JPANDS by any chance?

    Also, for anyone not familiar with the Steve Project, it lists scientists named “Steve” who believe in evolution. The list is here.

  7. #7 Chris Heiny
    August 4, 2007

    You’ve got to wonder about the cluefulness of anyone who would sign on with an organization whose acronym begs to be pronounced “Pissy”, and whose members are thus presumably “Pissants”.

  8. #8 derek
    August 4, 2007

    If “Doctors Doubting Darwin” makes me think of “Garage Mechanics Doubting Sadi Carnot”, I don’t want you to think I have a low opinion of the people who fix my car. It’s just that I don’t go to them for an understanding of thermodynamics.

  9. #9 Joe
    August 4, 2007

    laura wrote “whenever i see a post about the whole ID/creationist issue i can’t help but wonder: why is it even an issue??”

    Although I have opposed creationism for decades, I only recently discovered the reason for the social problem. It is not just that creationists are deffending their religious beliefs; they think their beliefs are the only thing that holds society together. These people are opposed to other sciences; but they are less taught. Unless something has changed, most high school students studies biology.

    So, the fundamentalist preachers get their congregations to write to legislators to enact laws. The lagislators aren’t well-informed, they may even be creationists, too. When they get 500 letters asking them to ban evolution in public schools, they can please all those constituents without spending any money- so they do.

    On top of that, there is a well-funded fundamentalist group referred to in this blog post, the Discovery Institute. It seems they have a plan (The Wedge, http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/archive/wedge_document.html ) to insert Christian values into science ( http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/archive/thomas_wedge.html ). Thus, in addition to grass-roots bible-thumpers, we have a relatively sophisticated lobbying organization to contend with.

    I hope that helps.

  10. #10 derek
    August 4, 2007

    laura, it’s not “despite being catholic” that you accept evolution and are not a biblical literalist. Those are good Catholic positions from way back. Creationism is pretty much a Protestant pathology, and quite strongly an American Protestant one at that. Most places outside America that are strongly creationist can trace the rise of that position to American fundamentalist money.

    I saw a documentary about African missionary work last year that was pertty scary on the subject. The fundies are going round the world changing other people’s churches.

  11. #11 Lily
    August 4, 2007

    I remember starting medical school and being surprised by how many of my classmates were devoutly religious – it seems incompatible (to me) with a scientific background. I’m scared to know how many of those individuals would sign up for PSSI if given the chance.

  12. #12 Abel Pharmboy
    August 4, 2007

    Yup, Orac, 264 docs in 15 countries is something to be proud of? Heck, there are 921,823 M.D.s and D.O.s in the US alone (source: AMA)

  13. #13 MartinC
    August 4, 2007

    Gosh, I actually know one of the doctors (yes, a real one, not a dentist) on that list. He’s retired now and isn’t treating patients any more but it is still a surprise to see him on such a list. I know he is an outspoken evangelical christian but he never gave the impression that he was anti science (he has many published scientific papers and is still acknowledged as a world expert in his own particular disease – he still writes review articles in top medical journals).
    He always came across personally as something of a smug bigmouth (he frequently caused storms at international conferences by telling awful racist jokes at the end of conference dinners and yet it was all water off a ducks back to him and jibed his fellow coworkers regarding how his personal financial fortune considerably dwarfed theirs).
    Still, he knew his medicine (I never spoke to him about anything outside his field).
    I can only surmise that his evangelical calling outweighs the scientific evidence on this particular matter at least.

  14. #14 Dave Gill
    August 4, 2007

    Are veterinarians considered physicians? There are 7 vets on the list.

  15. #15 Felicia Gilljam
    August 4, 2007

    Whenever I encounter the “argument” that an increasing number of scientist are abandoning evolutionary theory I have one thing to say: Project Steve.

    Also, many doctors aren’t really scientists. They’re more like … engineers. And as we all know engineers tend to be creationists to a higher degree than actual scientists. Anyway, it’s a pity doctors are so poorly informed. They all should read “Why We Get Sick” by Nesse and Williams.

  16. #16 kemibe
    August 4, 2007

    “The fact that it’s the Discovery Institute who is facilitating this and making it easy for such scientists to spew contempt for M.D.’s makes the whole thing even harder to swallow.”

    That’s really the goal of the DI anyway. Their main aim isn’t to pretend that a significant number of doctors doubt evolution. What they want is to sow doubt about expertise. They think it’s great that they can help inspire a backlash by, say, biology PhDs against the medical profession on the basis of a trivial number of religious nuts with MDs.

    Remember, if no one is knowledgeable in a given field — as the DI wants everybody to think — then everyone is, and facts are relative.

    Shit-chomping slimyfucks is all they are, and they know it.

  17. #17 Sid Schwab
    August 4, 2007

    Seems to me it’s all or none, philosophically: either you accept science, or you reject it. You can’t pick and choose. So doctors (such as they are) who reject evolution and who believe the earth is 6000 years old (because it’s pretty much hand in hand) must also, in their practice, refuse to use antibiotics, and gene-based therapies, and lasers. They should limit their practices to poultices and trephanations. And, I assume, they must publically proclaim that we never went to the moon, and the Mars rovers are in fact in somebody’s basement. And they sure as hell ought not be using computers and the WWW.

  18. #18 Sastra
    August 4, 2007

    I’m a bit curious as to how many of those “doctors doubting Darwin” are also advocates of alternative medicine. I wonder because there might be a connection through a tendency towards conspiracy thinking — BIG conspiracy thinking.

    After all, in order to “doubt Darwin” today, you pretty much have to assume that the vast majority of the world’s scientists have been mistaken for over a hundred years. Depending on what form of creationism you espouse, they might all have to be so very, very wrong that it couldn’t be an honest mistake, but a massive agreement on a global level to lie.

    From what I’ve seen, it seems that if people are likely to believe one huge, unlikely conspiracy, chances are they will believe others. The cure for cancer is being suppressed; the holocaust never happened; the Bush administration planned 9/11; NASA has secret labs where they examine the ships and bodies of space aliens; mercury in vaccines causes autism; physicists know ESP is real but they won’t admit it because they want to promote a reductionist materialist agenda … etc. etc.

    Homeopathy and energy medicine only fit into science if you assume mainstream scientists are grossly incompetent, criminally incurious, or wicked. Almost all of them, for a long time. I’ve no idea if there would then be any statistical correlation between belief in creationism and promotion of alt med among physicians. I think it would be interesting to find out, either way.

  19. #19 waldteufel
    August 4, 2007

    I would very much like to thank the Discovery Institute for kindly providing, thru Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity, a nice list of 264 physicians, dentists, and vets who should be avoided because of their obvious ignorance of modern biology.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004 there were 778,000 employed physicians, dentists, and veterinaries in the United States. The PSSI list of 264 includes 32 non-Americans, leaving 232 American physicians on the list.

    Using the above numbers, 0.000298, or .0298%, or roughly 3 physicians out of every ten thousand are PSSI members.

    Not exactly a groundswell, but enough to demonstrate that any profession is likely to have a few cranks.

  20. #20 Amenhotep
    August 4, 2007

    Don’t worry too much about the intake at med school – I was very “religious” (I wouldn’t have called it that though) in a Protestant way when I started med school, but a short elective in Israel, a good dose of reading the Bible, and a healthy spot of critical thinking allowed me to clamber out of the black hole. By the time I qualified, I was a very happy atheist. In my defence, however, I will state that I was never a creationist, and argued with the Christian Union bookstall that they should not stock crap by Ham or Morris or Gish in favour of creationism. I guess they just thought I was being weak and worldly.

    Since then, several of the former leading lights of the Christian Union are now atheists.

    Incidentally, you chaps in the USA won’t have heard that Jonathan Edwards, Olympic gold medal-winning triple jumper and former trained clincial cytogeneticist (so a good scientific chap) and former “poster boy for Christians in sport” (as I heard him described the other day) has now declared himself to be an atheist. He’s very high profile over here in UK, being a former presenter of the religious hymns programme “Songs of Praise” (which even for an atheist like me isn’t that bad a show sometimes). There is a very good interview with him on the Times website:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/athletics/article1991114.ece

  21. #21 Ktesibios
    August 4, 2007

    Reaching back to derek’s comment, comparing “Doctors doubting Darwin” to “Garage Mechanics doubting Sadi Carnot” is rather apt. Were it not for the scientific study of thermodynamics, our heat engine technology might not yet have advanced to the point where the Stanley Steamer was a viable vehicle, let alone the modern internal combustion engine. Similarly, where would medicine be without the contributions of biological science, and how important is evolutionary theory to that science?

    I’m feeling cranky today. Maybe it’s time I founded Electronics Technicians Who Think Maxwell Got It Wrong.

  22. #22 PhysioProf
    August 4, 2007

    “However, to me that is a reason to introduce more training in the scientific method in medical school, because, after all, one of the reasons for this problem in the first place is that little in the way of evolution specifically or scientific thinking in general is emphasized in medical school. The problem of physicians embracing pseudoscience is, in my opinion, largely attributable to insufficient emphasis on the scientific method in their training.”

    Absolutely. In my capacity as a scientist teaching basic science to medical students, I try my hardest to emphasize the importance of basic science and scientific reasoning, and sell it as a heuristic that will be valuable to them in their clinical practice.

    My sales pitch is as follows: “Yes, 99% of the time medicine is complicated pattern recognition. But it’s that 1% of the time when you are facing the unexpected or unfamiliar, that you will be helpless if you do not know how to apply methods of scientific reasoning to build on your store of basic science knowledge. I am here to help you effectively treat that 1% of your patients, that might otherwise remain ill or even die.”

    In my experience, this really does keep them attentive when we are discussing ion channels, G proteins, glomerular filtration rates, etc. And I make sure to cover how it is that we know the things we know about these physiological entities and processes.

    Another big issue, however, in my experience is that many of my medical students have such woeful quantitative science backgrounds that we have to spend substantial time at the beginning of first year making sure everyone is up to speed on material as basic as dimensional analysis.

    “OK. You’ve got 30 litres of liquid, and it is 150 mM NaCl. How many grams of sodium are in the liquid?” And this is a highly regarded Ivy League medical school.

    My senior colleagues tell me that this is a continuing effect of the shift that began several decades ago away from scientific credentials in the assessment of medical school applicants in favor of “intellectual diversity”. Lots more English, History, and Sociology majors means lots more people who are a little vague on mM.

    I am untenured junior faculty, so I keep my mouth shut about these matters, and just do my best to encourage, enthuse, and inform my students.

  23. #23 blf
    August 4, 2007

    I don’t know if the DI does a similar bit of nonsense for engineers or not (I hope not!), but with that exception, what Orac says about physicians also applies to engineers. I strongly suspect there are not a significant number of cretinist engineers. There are some, which seems to be a sufficient excuse for some people to bash an unquantified number–too easily read as all–engineers. Which definitely makes other engineers, such as myself, very very angry. So, all you people who keep equating engineers with cretinists, just stop it. Stop it. Please!

    (A quick check suggests the “engineers are cretinists” silliness has not happened, yet, in this thread. And as far as I know, Orac has never fallen into that trap. But it has, and probably will again, come up in other threads. The points Orac made apply to other professions as well, not just physicians and engineers.)

  24. #24 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 4, 2007

    The problem of physicians embracing pseudoscience is, in my opinion, largely attributable to insufficient emphasis on the scientific method in their training.

    It is a general problem. The first solid applications of formal theories and experimental procedures is found at the university, and the positives (better results) and negatives (pitfalls) are seldom explored.

    it gives certain abrasive scientists with an apparent superiority complex vis-à-vis physicians a convenient excuse to give free rein to their contempt for physicians in science.

    Not to step unnecessarily into a feud between Orac and Larry Moran but I happened to follow the link. Since I often read and comment at Sandwalk I hope that I am neutral when I note that I can’t see contempt but a claim that an M.D. degree doesn’t imply being a working scientist. A sentiment that goes to attack ID movement devaluing M.D.’s, I think.

    There is a difference between doing science and following it. I don’t know how much of the former an M.D. does. But the advent and necessity of evidence-based medicine (EBM) have given practitioners an excellent opportunity to make scientific research as I understand it.

    In fact, other scientists who often are accustomed to systems where a strong signal can be provoked, are probably in a position of catching up. High-energy physicists, where experiments are slow and expensive, have now started to do blind “black box” analyzes, more or less equivalent to (double-)blind experiments.

    The analysis method is developed and tested on neutral data, and when it works the interesting data “box” region is opened up. This has enabled fair assessments in the neighborhood of the signal strengths biological systems provides, and more or less stopped the tendency to mostly report data values consistent with earlier experiments which made for errors and slower progress.

    I would think that astronomers, geologists and paleontologists who may be forced to study unique events from perhaps a sparse data set would also benefit from the analogy to EBM.

  25. #25 Texas Reader
    August 4, 2007

    There’s only one infectious disease specialist on the list. I emailed Tara Smith over at Aetiology about this. Will be interesting to see what she has to say.

  26. #26 Orac
    August 4, 2007

    Not to step unnecessarily into a feud between Orac and Larry Moran but I happened to follow the link. Since I often read and comment at Sandwalk I hope that I am neutral when I note that I can’t see contempt but a claim that an M.D. degree doesn’t imply being a working scientist. A sentiment that goes to attack ID movement devaluing M.D.’s, I think.

    The word “feud” is a bit strong. However, Larry did piss me off to the point of my wanting to apply to him at least a mild dose of Respectful Insolence. He sarcastically lambastes “IDiots” for thinking that having an MD makes a person a “science professional” which is a different connotation than the “working scientist” term you used, and he does it in such a tone as to imply that to him the very thought of linking M.D.s with being a “science professional” is so completely idiotic that a creationist would find it credible. What is medicine, after all, other than, to a large extent, the application of biology to the treatment of human disease? Even if most physicians aren’t research scientists, it’s a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys to dismiss them as not even being “science professionals.”

    No, I don’t think I misread Larry. His attitude comes through loud and clear.

  27. #27 GAC
    August 4, 2007

    I just checked and was quite surprised and pleased to see that there are no doctors listed in that PDF practicing in West Virginia. That’s something to bring out next time someone brings up the stereotype of West Virginia as a state full of stupid and backward hillbillies.

    Of course, it may also reflect the fact that we’re driving doctors out due to high malpractice insurance costs — but that’s another issue and this can’t really be used to say anything about it.

  28. #28 Bob O'H
    August 5, 2007

    GAC – you’re just asking for a comment about illiteracy in West Virginia, aren’t you? :-)

    Bob

  29. #29 hoary puccoon
    August 5, 2007

    There is one sense in which most doctors can’t be considered ‘science professionals’– most of them aren’t contributing to research currently being published in peer-reviewed journals. That’s where the real work of basic science is going on. Of course, I realize MDs do sometimes do peer-reviewed basic research. And there are plenty of people with PhDs in, say, biology, who are teachers and administrators, not active research scientists.
    My point is, the whole PSSI list is aimed at people who really have no idea what scientists do, or how science operates. It’s just a vague, ‘oh, well, they have a lot of education, that makes them scientists.’ Personally, for information on evolution, I’d go to a humble grad student in molecular evolution before a practicing MD (or for that matter, a PhD in sub-atomic physics)seven days a week.

  30. #30 MartinC
    August 5, 2007

    Just to go back to the doctor on the list that I know, I think a couple of points need to be brought up. First he is not a US based doctor but his brand of evangelical christianity is fairly clearly the US based evangelical christian sort. Second he is a good doctor. He is a specialist in one branch of medicine and as such gets patients referred to him, by local general practitioners, who need expert advice and treatment.
    To do this in a medical context does not require scientific simply requires a deep knowledge of this disease and the appropriate treatment of highest efficacy. I actually found a blog by this doctor that is an amazing mix of alternative posts of correct science (discussing the latest research in his disease along with the results of clinical trials and advice to patients) and comments on gospel segments that wouldn’t be out of place in your average happy clappy church sermon. One very illuminating post, however, mentioned that readers should not discount the results of Henry Morris and his genesis flood theory.
    It is clear, to me at least, that there is some serious compartmentalization going on here. Remember, this doctor IS an expert in his field, IS knowledgeable on the best treatment strategies to follow and IS keeping up to date (and indeed adding) to the latest results in the field. On the other hand he is obviously a believing christian with creationist leanings.
    The message to me is that its not always so clear cut that creationist doctor = bad doctor.
    True, I’d prefer one who didn’t believe in fairytales but if I’m referred to a specialist who will treat me in the best way possible for that particular disease this can be done with or without a belief in evolutionary theory. As many have said, medicine at the doctor patient interface is a bit like engineering – or more aptly car repair. The mechanic doesn’t need to know the history of how cars came about from previous transport modes to be able to recognize the current problem and fix it.

  31. #31 Bob, DVM
    August 5, 2007

    Interesting related discussion over at Pharyngula: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/08/the_next_question_is_how_many.php#comments

    Regarding the question “Are veterinarians considered physicians?”, I chuckled. Not to my knowledge, but this veterinarian does get tired of hearing about “doctors, dentists and veterinarians” instead of “physicians, dentists and veterinarians.”

    And on the subject of medical professionals of all stripes who buy into the Fairy Tale, don’t get me started…

  32. #32 Prometheus
    August 6, 2007

    I’d have to say that most physicians are not scientists – they lack the training and temperment to be scientists. That said, there are many physicians who are scientists. Having an MD, DO, DMD, DDS, DVM etc. degree does not make someone a scientist – a fact that many in those professions are proving every day.

    As for the Discovery Institute’s claim that there are “…growing numbers of doctors who are skeptical of Darwinian evolution to explain the complexity of life.”, my response is:

    “So what?”

    There are “growing numbers” of people who believe in all sorts of nonsensical garbage. Reality, sad to say, doesn’t obey opinion polls and science is not a popularity contest or some sort of “American Idol” program.

    DI’s obsession with numbers only serves to highlight the fact that they are not interested in whether evolution is reality, their only interest is to promoting their narrow religious agenda.

    After all, their truth was revealed to them – all they have to do is convince the rest of us.

    Prometheus

  33. #33 Antiquated Tory
    August 6, 2007

    @MartinC:
    Speaking of compartmentalization, I have a friend whose father is one of the preeminent molecular biologists in the country. He is also a Seventh Day Adventist and has a magical world view in regards to the universe as a whole. He just also believes natural processes work where God or little demons aren’t interfering.
    The man does excellent work on obscure genetic illnesses, using models based on evolutionary theory. And is a YEC. His son was a pretty confused chap for a while too, but seems better now.

  34. #34 Bronze Dog
    August 6, 2007

    Reality, sad to say, doesn’t obey opinion polls and science is not a popularity contest or some sort of “American Idol” program.

    As I’ve been saying to a lot of trolls out there, “American Idol is not a model of epistemology.”

  35. #35 Ky Sanderson
    August 7, 2007

    Orac wrote:

    And if we want to broaden our net a little bit, one only has to look at HIV/AIDS denialism to find a bunch of biological scientists, such as Peter Duesberg and Andrew Maniotis, spreading a far more dangerous form of pseudoscience than ID.

    Let’s get this straight. Duesberg is a member of the National Academy of Science, who this year published a major piece on cancer in Scientific American.

    Maniotis is major cancer researcher, who recently published the lead article in the American Journal of Pathology.

    And you, Orac, are a 40-something year obscure surgeon who publishes…… an anonymous blog.

    I’m laughing my ass off, Orak:)

  36. #36 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 7, 2007

    Back from the weekend and commenting again FWIW.

    He sarcastically lambastes “IDiots” for thinking that having an MD makes a person a “science professional” which is a different connotation than the “working scientist” term you used, and he does it in such a tone as to imply that to him the very thought of linking M.D.s with being a “science professional” is so completely idiotic that a creationist would find it credible.

    I didn’t and still don’t see any “tone”. I see what you mean with a different connotation, which is why I used mine version which is more close to the facts than the ID term. (Mind, Moran was quoting O’Leary.)

    Either way, I think Moran is protecting M.D.s from devaluing by ID by noting that not all contribute to science. Other interpretations seems emotionally colored to me. But it’s no big deal really.

    Ky Sanderson:

    The real laughable thing is that a purported oncology researcher thinks he has anything to say on viruses that works on the immune system. If Duesberg confined himself with cancer mechanisms, it would be more believable.

    That it is pseudoscience is clear by now.

    So I guess this means you can’t find your ass. :-P

  37. #37 MartinC
    August 7, 2007

    Ky Sanderson,
    I hope, for your sake, that your comment was meant as a joke.

    Antiquated Tory, speaking of compartmentalization I was the perfect example of this the other day on another site (the Steorn forum – a nice mix of skeptics and believers in the perpetual motion machine purportedly invented by that company).
    It was in a discussion of evolution where one member commented that it was clear that there was enough evidence around to convince him that the earth was billions of years old and that evolution had occured. However, he said, he was a believer in Jesus and as such there must have been an Adam and Eve and a Garden of Eden where ‘The Fall’ had happened – as otherwise there was no reason for Jesus to come back and die on the cross to atone for that original sin. The fact that is is so much harder to reconcile the Garden of Eden story into a materialistic evidence based history was not an issue for him because it MUST have been true for Jesus sake.
    End of story.

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