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Today we constantly hear warnings that evolution is necessary for science. Without evolution, modern medicine wouldn’t be possible. Oh, really? Rather than speaking in generalities, let’s consider some specific examples.
Do you need to believe in evolution to be a good physician? Some claim that belief in evolution is necessary to truly understand science. They assert that evolution is the basis of biology and therefore of medicine—the ultimate in applied biological science. And they claim that acceptance of amoeba-to-man evolution is the key to understanding disease and the foundation of medical breakthroughs.
Experimental science, however, involves making observations, developing and testing hypotheses, and devising possible solutions for the world’s medical and environmental challenges. These activities do not rely on acceptance of untestable beliefs about the origin of life. In fact, evolutionary beliefs historically have led many doctors astray. The belief that some organs are useless vestigial leftovers, for example, resulted in removal of countless healthy appendixes despite evidence that the appendix serves as part of the immune system.
Evolution also does not help us combat bacterial disease. Antibiotic resistance is falsely touted as evolution in action. Ordinary genetic mechanisms are at work when antibiotic-resistant bacteria become dominant in populations exposed to antibiotics, but the bacteria do not evolve into non-bacteria or even into new kinds of bacteria. The survival of resistant bacteria is not evolution. The mistaken notion that bacteria are evolving and producing new genetic material has not helped physicians in their fight against the infections that ravage humanity.
Treating birth defects is another area where evolution does not help. The respected Johns Hopkins surgeon Benjamin Carson, who does not accept evolution, is an expert in craniofacial defects. Attributing embryological processes that produce birth defects to some sort of evolutionary aberration would not improve Dr. Carson’s ability to treat them at all.
In fact, understanding why there is disease requires acceptance of biblical truth. Disease and death entered God’s perfect creation because Adam and Eve sinned. Destructive mutations, degenerative processes, developmental abnormalities, and deadly accidents are the legacy of sin, not allegedly “bad designs” by God or “wrong turns” in evolution.
A physician who truly understands that God is the author of life is best equipped to make ethical decisions rooted in the sanctity of human life. In contrast, evolutionary dogma extols “survival of the fittest,” so from an evolutionary point of view, doctors aren’t doing humanity any favors by helping the weak to survive. The concept of helping the infirm is, however, consistent with Christianity, a manifestation of Christian morality and Christian love. Thus not only is belief in evolution not needed to be a good physician, evolutionary dogma stands in opposition to the heart of good medical practice.