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← Should Young Earth Creationists be Allowed to be Doctors?

Should Young Earth Creationists be Allowed to be Doctors? - Comments

hauntedchippy's Avatar Comment 1 by hauntedchippy

If they pass the relevant qualifying criteria then sure. Yes, one would need to exhibit a fairly large degree of cognitive dissonance to believe in a 6,000 year old Earth and evolutionary biology, but that hasn't stopped people before. What really matters is if they are good doctors, hold them to same standard as everyone else. We should not presume them to be incapable because we presume them to be committing thought crime.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:17:11 UTC | #541744

0penM1nded's Avatar Comment 2 by 0penM1nded

I have got to say absolutely yes, I don't care what they believe about evolution!

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:18:35 UTC | #541745

pkoo's Avatar Comment 3 by pkoo

Yes.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:22:19 UTC | #541748

Dantarin's Avatar Comment 4 by Dantarin

I'd have to say yes as well. Would I be right in saying that your post presumes that by not believing in evolution, these doctors may make poorer decisions medically?

While I personally find it difficult to understand how a person intellegent enough to gain a medical degree can't believe in evolution, the fact they have gained the degree in the first place should allow them to practise.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:28:01 UTC | #541750

Dantarin's Avatar Comment 5 by Dantarin

Also, if doctors then why not laywers, politicians etc.

These jobs all have serious impacts on peoples lives and require a certain amount of intellegence that we wouldn't perhaps expect of YEC's.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:30:56 UTC | #541752

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 6 by Steve Zara

I would say no. Doctors have to make decisions about life and death based on evidence. Being a YEC clearly indicates a worrying reluctance to take evidence seriously. This is not a case of religious prejudice, it's about someone who won't take science seriously.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:35:33 UTC | #541755

green and dying's Avatar Comment 7 by green and dying

As long as they know how to treat me I don't care. I care more about what they're like as a person. I'd choose a YEC who was easy to talk to over someone with a thorough understanding of evolutionary biology who I didn't like.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:36:17 UTC | #541758

Zurak's Avatar Comment 8 by Zurak

Of course. If they are competent in their job then, so what? My doctor/dentist is a YEC, yet somehow she is better then any other dentist i have ever had. =X

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:43:36 UTC | #541763

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 9 by Alan4discussion

The problem arises with issues such as evolving super-bugs: - MRSA. Cdiff.etc Clearly if medical staff do not believe these evolve, they cannot give proper advice on the control necessary to protect patients, and may not take appropriate precautions against the build up of evolving treatment resitant strains.

-Nice bed-side manner: but a ward full of dead patients has resulted from doctor's beliefs about diseases not evolving, really does not go down well with relatives, especially if the problems spread to other wards or hospitals where they work.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:51:10 UTC | #541764

hitchens_jnr's Avatar Comment 10 by hitchens_jnr

I'd be much more worried about them being teachers.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 01:02:13 UTC | #541768

T-Porter's Avatar Comment 11 by T-Porter

Yes.

Doctors are taught that the human body is a machine. Perhaps it's important to think that way when dealing with life or death?

Howver it's important for you to have all the available information about your case so they YEC must not use their beliefs to avoid offering you treatment.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 01:35:09 UTC | #541776

DctrZaius's Avatar Comment 12 by DctrZaius

Yes if they keep their opinion to themselves and separate to their work and no if it interferes with treatment. In Australia, doctors are allowed to use their beliefs to avoid offering treatment and I've seen it happen. In Canberra there's an entire hospital that refuses to facilitate pregnancy terminations for women carrying babies with disorders, solely because of their religious beliefs. Any woman in Canberra who wants to terminate a pregnancy older than 12 weeks due to medical reasons has to go to another hospital. I recently had a friend (aged 26) whose doctor would not prescribe her any contraception and would only offer family-planning type advice. If you're going to be a healthcare professional, you should not allow your belief of the Joojoo or whatever to interfere with the treatment of autonomous patients. It's medicine, not church.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 01:54:24 UTC | #541782

raytoman's Avatar Comment 13 by raytoman

Hospitals are amongst the most dangerous places in the world. Many people die there, including some with minor problems.

I think most Doctors are religious and probaly pray for patients. They don't know that one pinkie at work is more powerful than a billion hands clasped in prayer.

I like to think there are a few athiest doctors who cure all the patients but I suspect most of them are focussed on prevention and/or research into disease control and elimination. No other Doctors would waste time on questioning gods creations (aids, herpes, cholera, malaria, etc). The sufferers are either godless or bad people being punished for not praying or contributing enough.

I know that more people die in bed at home than in hospitals but, with 6 billion religious people in the world, they are probably surrounded by family praying uselessly rather than pressing for better cures, preventive measures and more humane exits when life is clearly over.

I know many of you will say that Doctors are good people and though they may believe in GOD, will still try to frustrate HIM be effecting treatment and cures. Yeah! Right! If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. You don't have to be a religious fundamentalist to cause harm. Just allowing yourself to be counted and not criticising idiocy is harm enough.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:00:54 UTC | #541785

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 14 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I'm sure you know about how in the US many pharmacists, particularly in the Bible belt, refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and the morning after pill. I heard a story about a woman in a rural area who was raped and had to drive a couple hours to find a pharmacy that would give her the morning after pill because her local pharmacy wouldn't do it.

I live in a religious Jewish section of Brooklyn. There's a drug store down the street run by Jews and a sign in the back says "We do not carry the morning-after pill." I don't know if it's for religious reasons or if they just don't carry it because they don't think there would really be a market for it in such a religious neighborhood. It's really hard to say. The drug store is not advertised as Jewish, but it is run by Jews. Plus, Jews tend to not shove their beliefs down other people's throats like Christians and Muslims do, which is why I haven't ruled out the possibility that the reason they don't carry the morning-after pill is because they may think that it wouldn't have a market in this area. I hope so anyway. The fact that there are plenty of pharmacies within a one-mile radius that certainly would have the morning-after pill is immaterial: if the store that I'm talking about really is not carrying it for religious reasons, then that is wrong.

Julie

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:06:32 UTC | #541790

Matt B's Avatar Comment 15 by Matt B

... a sign in the back says "We do not carry the morning-after pill." I don't know if it's for religious reasons or if they just don't carry it because they don't think there would really be a market for it in such a religious neighborhood.

What about all the other things they don't sell? Why not list those, too? I agree that this is not shoving their beliefs down throats, and I do not disagree with their choice of not carrying such an item, but drawing attention to the fact that they do not carry it seems like tooting their own righteous horn somewhat. Maybe I'm wrong, though,

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:36:51 UTC | #541803

Matt B's Avatar Comment 16 by Matt B

Or, maybe it's a form of advertising, similar (somewhat) to a deli that advertises kosher. Hmm.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:38:14 UTC | #541804

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 17 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Or maybe they started to have an influx of people asking them. And of course, if that's the case, they should start getting it in.

On a funny note, during a huge snowstorm last year, the local Walgreens had a sign that said, "We are out of the morning after pill." Hm... coincidence that they ran out during a huge snowstorm? Hey, people have to keep warm somehow!

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:48:48 UTC | #541806

DefenderOfReason!'s Avatar Comment 18 by DefenderOfReason!

I would never seek the advice or attention from anyone much less a doctor who was a complete and total denier of scientific facts. So, no, young earth creationists should absolutely not be allowed to be doctors at all, ever.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 04:32:04 UTC | #541823

Eric Blair's Avatar Comment 19 by Eric Blair

Steve Zara: You're in the minority here - no surprise there - but you seem to be shifting from your usual "hard-line" liberalism that often gets you in trouble.

If a someone can get their medical degree, avoid malpractice suits and keep their licence in tact, I'd say they're "taking science seriously."

The next question is why just focus on YECs - any religious person basically ignores certain types of evidence.

And what's the litmus test: a self-confessing questionnaire? Or investigation by a panel of peers?

Then again, why just doctors? Other professions make evidence-based decisions, too.

With any of these, you can decide to go to another professional, so I think the suggestion of introducing eligibility criteria based on someone's "rationality" is a bit over the top.

There's a thread right now on whether theists should be excluded from juries (most people say No, with similar reasoning as here). Would you kick them off?

I bet you're blowing wind on this...

EB

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 04:40:46 UTC | #541824

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 20 by Richard Dawkins

I think this is not nearly as obvious as many people here seem to think.

Suppose we change the question from law to personal choice. "If you discovered that a doctor was a YEC, would you personally avoid that doctor and choose another?" Certainly I would.

"If you discovered that your present doctor was a YEC, would you change to another doctor?" Yes I would.

OK, now back to the legal question. "Should they be allowed to practise as doctors?" Those who answer with an unequivocal "yes" put a lot of faith in the medical exam that shows them to be qualified. Suppose I were to suggest that any medical examination system that fails to detect somebody as divorced from reality as a YEC must be a bad medical examination system, and should be changed?

Should a doctor who believes the Earth is flat be allowed to practise? You may say, "Sure, if he has passed the medical exams." Or you may say, "Yes, but it's an unrealistic hypothetical." Well, I think the YEC question ought to be an an unrealistic hypothetical too. Unfortunately it isn't. I think any examination system that fails to root out a flat earther or a YEC is a failed examination system.

Richard

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 05:10:52 UTC | #541826

zengardener's Avatar Comment 21 by zengardener

Yes, They can be Doctors, but not MY doctor.

Human evolution should be a required course, of course, but passing it and believing it are two different things.

I could tell you all sorts of things about Middle Earth but...

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 05:21:12 UTC | #541828

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara

There would be a continual concern with a YEC doctor about what new medical treatments they would accept or reject. Being a doctor is not just about passing a set of exams, but also about keeping up with new therapies. Suppose some treatments involving stems cells became available to the public?

The next question is why just focus on YECs - any religious person basically ignores certain types of evidence.

It's true. But YEC is an extreme case. It's someone positively flaunting their rejection of mainstream science and evidence-based reasoning.

You're in the minority here - no surprise there - but you seem to be shifting from your usual "hard-line" liberalism that often gets you in trouble.

I have the same objection to a YEC being a doctor as I had to Francis Collins' appointment recently. There is a serious possibility of conflict of worldviews. I'm happy to say that Collins seems to be working out, but I don't feel the concern was mistaken.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 05:44:11 UTC | #541834

venton's Avatar Comment 23 by venton

Stopping people taking their chosen jobs due to differing religious beliefs would be outrageous. Evolution is a very interesting subject of study, but let's not get too carried away, it doesn't affect a medical diagnoses. Evolution gives such a convincing illusion of design, that you can work perfectly well on the theory that the body is designed.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 07:05:45 UTC | #541842

mmurray's Avatar Comment 24 by mmurray

Comment 27 by venton :

Evolution gives such a convincing illusion of design, that you can work perfectly well on the theory that the body is designed.

Surely not. The human body is packed full of features that were clearly not designed unless by a complete incompetent. Not least of these is the old joke about putting a waste outlet in the middle of a recreation area.

Michael

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 07:19:26 UTC | #541843

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 25 by mirandaceleste

Comment 27 by venton :

Evolution is a very interesting subject of study, but let's not get too carried away, it doesn't affect a medical diagnoses.

Of course it has an effect. As Steve said, an individual who denies evolution is someone who rejects scientific fact and who shows a flagrant disregard for evidence-based reasoning and decision making.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 07:20:04 UTC | #541844

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 26 by Richard Dawkins

Stopping people taking their chosen jobs due to differing religious beliefs would be outrageous. Evolution is a very interesting subject of study, but let's not get too carried away, it doesn't affect a medical diagnoses.

My doctor believes in the Stork Theory of Reproduction. But it's OK, he's not an obstetrician, so he's perfectly qualified to practise the rest of medicine.

Richard

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 07:56:12 UTC | #541856

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 27 by hungarianelephant

In an ideal world, we wouldn't have any YEC doctors, or anyone else with seriously suspect critical faculties.

Then again, in an ideal world, all doctors would have got 100% on their medical exams. This doesn't happen. All doctors are imperfect in the real world. Some are very imperfect indeed.

Given the choice, I'd take the YEC who passed the medical exam with flying colours over the undeluded doctor who just barely scraped through. It is not even a matter of compartmentalisation. It is simply about taking the least bad alternative in the circumstances.

Of course, the better solution would be to replace most of the front line with computer diagnosis and human sounding boards. Then we could justify tougher exams which would filter out more of the silliness.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 08:17:54 UTC | #541859

venton's Avatar Comment 28 by venton

Comment 29 by mirandaceleste :

Comment 27 by venton :

Evolution is a very interesting subject of study, but let's not get too carried away, it doesn't affect a medical diagnoses.

Of course it has an effect. As Steve said, an individual who denies evolution is someone who rejects scientific fact and who shows a flagrant disregard for evidence-based reasoning and decision making.

There are plenty of very highly qualified and successful doctors and surgeons who practice a religion which denies evolution. If the doctor's track record as a surgeon was impeccable, I would not object to being operated on by one. It really wouldn't cross my mind to ask if my surgeon believed in evolution. But, I must say while my views on this particular narrow point are lenient, I would find it horrifying if my local school's head of science didn't believe in evolution.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 08:25:57 UTC | #541861

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 29 by Stevehill

I'm not so much worried about them being YECs. But if they are, they probably also believe in a heaven where there is no more pain and you get to play a tambourine and sing happy clappy songs at god's right hand for all eternity.

And that would make me worry about whether they were likely to go the extra mile to stop me ending up there.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 08:31:01 UTC | #541863

venton's Avatar Comment 30 by venton

Comment 30 by Richard Dawkins :

Stopping people taking their chosen jobs due to differing religious beliefs would be outrageous. Evolution is a very interesting subject of study, but let's not get too carried away, it doesn't affect a medical diagnoses.

My doctor believes in the Stork Theory of Reproduction. But it's OK, he's not an obstetrician, so he's perfectly qualified to practise the rest of medicine.

Richard

I actually formed my ideas after watching a program you made. I seem to remember a very bright young muslim lad who wanted to be a doctor,and his teacher didn't believe in evolution. I thought about it and concluded that if he passed all his medical exams why should I object to him practising? I couldn't come up with any.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 08:40:28 UTC | #541866