Why do doctors deny evolution?

Yesterday was a long day, starting in the operating room and finishing at a dinner reception for our visiting speaker today. As a result, when I arrived home, I was sawing the proverbial logs within five or ten minutes of hitting the couch, more or less without realizing it. I was going to just skip today, making it a rare weekday where I don’t provide you, my loyal readers, with a dose of the Insolence, be it Respectful or not-so-Respectful, to which you have become accustomed. But then I saw an article that reminded me of a topic that I haven’t revisited for quite a long time. I’m referring to a topic that I used to discuss fairly often. View it as a subtopic of Medicine and Evolution. I’m referring to the question of why there are so many doctors who deny evolution. We’ve met many of them before over the last decade, although probably Dr. Michael Egnor is the one whose creationist nonsense I’ve discussed and refuted the most. He’s a neurosurgeon, and apparently he’s still at it.

Well, there’s another creationist neurosurgeon in town, and unfortunately he’s running for the Republican nomination for President. I’m referring, of course, to Dr. Ben Carson, a guy who was a really brilliant neurosurgeon in his day but in his retirement appears to have embraced multiple forms of right wing pseudoscience, including, of course, evolution denial. His ascent led a reporter to wonder why some doctors reject evolution and even publish a story about it in Pacific Standard, entitled, appropriately enough, Why Do Some Doctors Reject Evolution? The article is a good primer on the topic, and not just because it features some quotes from someone who is near and dear to this blog. It’s worth reading in full, and (I hope) discussing here. It also reminds me that I really should revisit the topic of evolution in medicine and physicians denying evolution. Apparently I’ve become so wrapped up in discussing quackery like antivaccine pseudoscience, alternative cancer “cures,” homeopathy, and quackademic medicine (the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia) that I’ve neglected other interesting areas of the interface between science and medicine and pseudoscience.

And, thus, Orac demonstrates his logorrhea by using over 400 words just to link to an article he likes. Truly, it does take me nearly 500 words just to “clear my throat,” so to speak. In any case, maybe I’ll have to talk about evolution denial in medicine again sometime soon. It’s one of those topics that keeps popping up and irritating me, but somehow other things manage to distract me, much like Dug the Dog.