January 2022

Darwin Day in America

Darwin Day in America: How politics and culture have bee dehumanized in the name of science, by John G. West ★★★★★

Many books have been written regarding problems with the theory of evolution. Darwinism or neo-Darwinism, as the leading construct of evolutionary theory, has both its fierce supporters as well as opponents. Few topics have the capability of generating heated conversations and turning friends into fiends. Few people ever ask the “So what?” question. How does Darwinistic thinking affect the man on the street? Isn’t Darwinism an ambivalent or neutral belief? How does Darwinism affect the price of gold? Or what do I do once I wake up in the morning? It seems like whether or not you believe in evolution as a random impersonal process makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. Yet, the perceptive insights provided by Dr. West demolish the neutrality of this issue. In a nearly encyclopedic manner, John West proceeds to provide the numerous areas in the public square where Darwinism has had a distinctively destructive effect on our society. West provides a plethora of examples in each chapter of how Darwinism has affected the courts, the schools, the medical establishment, the conduct of the scientific community, and even the man-on-the-street. Darwinism is a Weltanschauung at war with the Judeo-Christian/theistic system that founded western civilization and the basis for scientific inquiry. Many of West’s examples were heretofore unheard of by me. This is news that doesn’t make the “news”. In a skillful and scholarly fashion, West unearths the contest between faith and “science”, while providing references for any claims that he has made. The book is divided into various sections, with each section oriented around a specific theme. I’ll be brief in the detailed review.

I took a psychology class while in college and wrote a 15-20 page book review and rebuttal of BF Skinner’s Beyond Freedom and Dignity. I got an “A” on that paper, and still have it in my files. This was back in the time when colleges (I attended the hyper-liberal Portland State University) still had free speech. On a recent review of this paper, I noted that I had used the nothing-buttery argument, and could not remember where I picked up that phrase since I did not reference my paper. It was thus with great surprise that I noted the title of the first chapter of Darwin Day contained the words “nothing-buttery”. Thankfully, Dr. West referenced the book which was by the same author where I gleaned this phrase and had read it first between high school and college, A Clockwork Image: A Christian Perspective on Science, by Donald MacKay. MacKay’s, as well as West’s argument, is when a “scientist” makes the preposterous (and impossible to prove) claim that the world is nothing but what we can detect and observe by science. Truly, it is science-of-the-gaps thinking which forces a pseudo-science explanation to the entirety of the world. So much of what we see and know is unprovable and so much more is simply unknowable, yet they are using science to fill in our vast ignorance of the gaps in our knowledge. Out of this nothing-buttery, scientific materialism emerged the Darwinistic Weltanschauung that is currently deconstructing our society. West, in a subsequent chapter, gives a brief summary of the rise of Darwinism in the world which is instructive, and not exactly matching what one would find in biology class at government schools.

In the next section, West addresses the issue of the courts and crime and punishment. When Dostoevsky wrote his masterpiece Crime and Punishment, there was still a Christian Weltanschauung, and he knew that his readership would comprehend the sense of guilt after committing a crime. This book probably would not pass the muster if written in today’s world, though Woody Allen’s film Crimes and Misdemeanors in the 1980s played on the residual Judeo-Christian worldview found in the society of 30 plus years ago. Through a number of examples, West shows how the Darwinian mindset removes responsibility for a crime, or turns it into nothing more than a mental illness. Rather than punishment or restitution, rehabilitation becomes the prevailing theme. Though “science” is claimed as the guiding beacon for the new management of criminal offenses, it strains the imagination to see how the absence of justice and recidivism supports a scientific approach. Yet, “science” prevails since it best fits the Darwinian paradigm for criminal management.

Wealth and poverty are next discussed on our journey through the dismal night of Darwinian conceptions; this section grasps at the work of big finance, eugenics (and though only indirectly mentioned, critical race theory) as resulting from utopianism, the world of advertising, architecture and the building of tomorrow’s world, all of the above are heavily affected by a materialistic world view born and bred from the Darwin mother. Multiple examples of precisely how Darwinism affects things as remotely as the design of a building or the focus of an advertisement are given by West. I believe that he succeeds in his argument.

The section on how Darwinism has affected education is fascinating. The establishment does NOT wish that you know how campus free speech has been stifled, and this is especially true of teaching students to grasp the controversy that still exists in Darwinian theory. Though it is a theory as leaky as a colander, educators feel that to suggest problems with the theory would be troubling to young minds, who would perhaps even dare consider an intelligent design alternative! How horrid that could be!!!!! Sex education and the new thinking on sex, including alternative sex forms, homosexuality, bestiality, transgenderism, pedophilia, and whatever sexual deviancy under the sun exists, is permissible, should we be in reality functional blobs generated by a few accidents in the primordial slime.

West then enters a section near and dear to my heart, having had to deal with it on a continuous basis, which entails matters of life and death. This issue involves not only abortion and pre-birth issues, but also euthanasia, various forms of assisted suicide, and every moment in between birth and death. As a surgical oncologist, I was surrounded by the possibility of death on a daily basis. Death will eventually happen to everyone, and the prolongation of the dying process can be as ethically evil as the acceleration of the dying process. As a physician, it was easy for me to identify those colleagues who had a low view of human life, with their callous disregard for the patient as a person. In the academic setting, the unnecessary prolongation of life in order to support the effectiveness of an experimental treatment plan, or perhaps in order to improve hospital statistics, or to increase federal reimbursements, was the norm and not an exception. But, this is a book review, so I will climb off of my soapbox. First, I’ll talk about abortion.

It seems bewildering that there would be perplexity as to when life begins. Such perplexity would not exist if it were the breeding of a racehorse or in the gestation of an endangered species embryo. So, what’s the trouble with the human embryo? There is trouble only when a superseding ideology fogs the cerebral function of the Darwinist. If humans really are the product of some incredulous events occurring in the primordial slime, then I guess it doesn’t matter how we treat each other. Odd that so many Darwinists demean humanity feeling that as humans represent the pinnacle of “evolution”, with the “evolving” of speech, superior intelligence, ingenuity, and creativity, these are all to be trashed in order to spare the lower forms of “evolution”. Stranger is the fact that only humans are sentient and able to appreciate the lower forms of beings that exist on planet earth. Beauty does not exist in the mind of an endangered yellow-legged frog as he glances at a flower-covered meadow, or foliose lichen growing on the side of a tree that overlooks a majestic mountain scene. Dr. West provides multiple examples of how the pundits of this age have excused the slaughter of the unborn, even the point of justifying the slaughter of younger children who have a Leben unlebenswertig secondary to some defect of the child, a defect in the parents, or a defect in the society that surrounds the child.

The chapter on death is a difficult one that I have troubled feelings about. The Shiavo and Cruzan cases are presented with discussion. These are two exceptional cases, both of which were mismanaged (in my estimation), and neither of which should set a precedent for medical ethics. The main point that West is trying to drive home is that the personal worth of the individuals Shiavo and Cruzan were devalued by those who saw that the termination of life was the most viable option for their care. Does this mean that virtually every effort must be extended in order to prolong life? Sadly, that sometimes also becomes the case; I mentioned above that the prolongation of death can be as immoral as the prolongation of life. In addition, the patient quality of life becomes a confounding issue that muddies any discussion. Respect for life remains of utmost consideration. In a world where the survival of the fittest selects out who shall live, the law of the jungle (West’s term) becomes the prevailing issue. Financial, social, personal, and other concerns rise to more value than the person in the medical “dock”.

West offers a succinct and well-written summary conclusion to his thesis, and it would have been the best chapter in his book had he not have added a later addendum. West lapses into a defense of intelligent design, an argument that hardly needs a defense owing to the weakness of all other explanations for our existence, save for perhaps the solipsistic argument.

The afterword, titled “Scientism in the Age of Obama—and Beyond” shows John West as a prophet of things to come. We now see “science” as defending any sort of nonsense and untruth imaginable. In my years as a doctoral student in the cell biology laboratory, I had many lectures on integrity in research. This was because the notable academies of science were finding evidence for a troubling huge instance of fraud in research. This was in the 1980s, and it is assuredly much worse in today’s world. Yet, fraud is a perfect example of Darwinianism in the performance of science. The publish or perish mentality of academics is simply another form of survival of the “fittest”. Before the onset of the Enlightenment, Theology was known as the Queen of the Sciences. Rather than being in competition with science, theology was the foundation for all science. Indeed, science did quite well as long as there was a theological basis for doing science. With theology stripped of its foundation place, we must not be surprised that the house of science is crumbling around us. West wrote this afterword before the advent of the Covid crisis, where “science” is being wistfully tossed about as the defense for any sort of government oppression, and the mega-media complex aggressively strips the population of free speech, all in the name of defending the edicts of those who call themselves scientists. West was able to see all of this coming a few years before it happened. But, prophets most often go without honor, and I don’t expect West to get the acclaim that he deserves. The best that can be done is for you to purchase this book and read it. It should be on the NY Times best-seller list.

My apologies to Dr. West for this book review being as much my personal commentary as being a straightforward review of the book. I’m sorry. Your text generated the vivid activity of my thoughts, and its thought-provoking nature forced for a very slow read. At the beginning of reading this text, my wife and I came down with Covid, which stalled any further reading for over a month. No, we were not hospitalized, but slept for 16-18 hours a day, and lost any resemblance of an appetite. After two weeks of that, we felt better, but I remained somewhat brain-numb for another month, keeping my reading activity at a very low priority. Now that my cognition and senses have returned, my favorite hobby (reading) is also returning slowly to pre-Covid levels. Thankfully, I did not succumb to “science” and still have a pulse and blood pressure with normal respirations and all body functions preserved, and can now boast natural immunity. And Fauci will be going somewhere very south of here; I pray for his soul as well as that of his hench-mate Francis Collins.

What’s Wrong With Medicine

Welcome to the year 2022! I initially wished to summarize the year 2021, but then realized that my post “The Move” essentially accomplishes that. Today I encountered a very well-written critique of health care in the year 2021 by Paracelsus, which can be found here. My only criticism of this article is that it doesn’t go far enough. So, my blog site allows me to add all that I wish as I will now do. I strongly encourage you to first read the article by Paracelsus before reading this blog page. I noted a number of areas of concern that were not mentioned in the linked article, though I’m sure you all might add many more.

  1. Loss of ethics
    I have written frequently about my concern that health care has totally lost its ethic, and I will not repeat what I have previously written. On the Feuchtblog.net site, one will find articles that I have written regarding physician assisted suicide and the abandonment of the Hippocratic Oath. Indeed, when I ask physicians as to what the Hippocratic Oath really means, I get nothing but jibberish. They don’t have a clue. Medical ethics has morphed into a creature from the Black Lagoon, something that destroys the meaning of medical ethics. If ethics means nothing more than a common consensus (and not transcendent law), then we are all doomed.
  2. The purpose for hospitals
    The the 4th century, the Cappadocian fathers in central Turkey noted that the tradition in Roman culture was to put the sick and hopelessly infirm out into the woods to die, probably by being eaten by the wolves. They decided that a Christian solution was to reincoporate these people into society, and they provided the outcast what little healthcare there was, nurture, and community. Many of these folk died, but many survived. This was the start of hospital, springing out of monasteries, and providing to the sick perhaps nothing more than community and comfort in death’s hour. We’ve since removed hospitals from the monastery, and we’ve also removed the main objectives or purpose of the hospital from the hospital. Hospitals are now places where the sick go because they are a trouble to their family, where families are often forbidden to see their dying loved ones, where abandonment of the patient to a large impersonal system occurs.
  3. Advertising in medicine-the commercialization of medicine
    Historically, it was considered unethical for a physician or a hospital to advertise. The American Medical Association stood strongly in opposition to physician advertising, that is, until the Supreme Court (sic!) in the 1970’s declared that the AMA was forbidden to forbid physician advertising. This opened up a can of worms. Physicians took to the airwaves and print. Hospitals everywhere, regardless of how incompetent they were, boasted of providing the best healthcare in the state, and drug companies promoted their latest elixers with elderly folk dancing across the boob tube, offering genuine lies regarding the miracles their latest, greatest, but unaffordable new potion. Medicine turned into a commercial industry, and agencies all the way up to the NIH lost their health care focus, and turned instead to profits as the highest good.
  4. Research-blinded trust in science
    During my research years, Dr. DasGupta and Dr. Carl Cohen reminded me incessantly of the need for integrity in research. It indeed was a serious problem in the biological sciences world, the problem of fraud in research often being discussed by Nature or Science as critical issues, involving a large percentage of published papers. Since the 1980’s when I did my research, I can be reassurred that research fraud is more, and not less prominent. Publish or perish is a theme that has intensified in the academic and research world. Yet, we are asked to blindly “trust” science. Is fraudulence in research the reason why standard-of-care recommendations are so frequently changing? Is it why so often public experience doesn’t match the promises of treatment? Is it why prevailing paradigms are so hard to break, even when the paradigms don’t seem to fit reality, and that evidence contrary to the paradigms are soundly rejected simply because it offends the current paradigms?
  5. The curse of statistics
    In the same vein as #4, statistics can be used even in valid research to support an illigitimate claim. I have seen it in cancer care, where a new, expensive but marginally better therapeutic drug (and often with significantly higher toxicity) becomes the standard of care norm. How do they do that? It’s all about how one does statistics, and (as the Paracelsus article above mentions), failure to present data focused on the individual survival benefit mislead the patient to the therapeutic benefits. If Big Pharma were forced to provide data which detailed the number of people required to treat in order to accomplish one favorable outcome, most drugs would go off the market as they would be rejected by patients as worthless. Big Pharma most often looks at surrogate outcomes, which are illegitimate in my book. As an example, statin drugs may lower cholesterol (surrogate effect) yet have minimal to no effect on actual deaths from hypercholesterolemia. True story. As an aside, in medical school, I had a community mentor (physician) who would be presented patients with unsolveable symptoms. His first action would be to stop all the medications that the patient was on. The physician noted that most patients would then proceed to get better. Statistics be damned; physicians are often making patients sicker.
  6. The Flexner Report as a failure
    I am not promoting the Flexner report, as much evidence exists that it was an entire fraud. The Flexner report was produced early in the 20th century with the prolific rise of of medical schools in this country with widely divergent standards of training. The report was correct that many physicians lacked proper training and were devoid of any standard evidence of competence. The Flexner report attempted to provide some means of setting a standard of competence among physicians. I don’t have a complaint about that. My complaint is that our society has essentially trashed the impact of the Flexner report. We no longer require competence among many, and we have abandoned the used of the word “physician” and replaced it with “health care provider”. Nurse practitioners can now play doctor, and though they carry the word “doctor” after their name, it is from a mostly bogus “PhD” that they obtain by doing research substandard by any other standard, though legitimized by the nurse practitioner schools that now exist everywhere. Now, there are physician assistants which abound but who have very marginal training, yet serve the function of a physician in many settings. These extenders are offered standard of care flow charts that define their therapeutic agenda. Health care providers no longer think. Thinking, and personalized care has been thrown out the window.
  7. Insurance debacle
    The insurance industry has a speckled history, starting as a means of providing for the most extreme emergencies in health care. After the insurance industry became self-focused, various physicians joined together to create the “Blues” system (Blue Cross and Blue Shield) to provide a more equitable system for the physician and the patient. Ultimately, what started as a protection against emergencies became the primary means of paying for health care. Costs meanwhile skyrocketed. In the 1950’s, the cost of a night in a hospital bed was commensurate with the cost of staying in a nice hotel room. Now, the cost of a night in the hospital would purchase an insanely luxurious and expensive hotel suite accompanied by servants and abundant frills. A week in the hospital without extraordinary care now will cost the price of an expensive Ferrari or a small home. Without the insurance industry operating as a giant Ponzi scheme, it is inconceivable that anybody could afford health care. I find it especially laughable when some argue about the importance of a free-market system. The free-market system was lost long ago to anybody but the most slickster physicians and a few of the independent family practice doctors. It is likely that independent (not-employed) physicians will soon become as plentiful roaming the earth as the Tyrannasaurus Rex. I realized when I first started a surgery practice that it was a joke establishing a fee for a service that I provided. I was told what I would be paid by the feds and by the insurance companies, who based their reimbursement in proportion to what Medicare paid. Private practice is nearly dead and in 10-20 years will be a historical novelty. The significance of this is that instead of receiving health care from a person, your health care is rendered by a corporation—a big, non-caring corporation whose corporate survival is more important than your survival.
  8. Quacks
    Alternative health care has become a public reaction to the absence of trust in the health care community. During my tenure in a surgery practice, I have occasionally referred patients to chiropractors, and certainly feel that they are an important aspect of the health care community. These practitioners argue that they are scientifically based and are able to provide research papers justifying their practices, yet unbiased review by critical analysis shows weaknesses in the data that cannot be ignored. Because insurors will cover many alternative health costs, the pie of the health care dollar going to conventional medicine is greatly reduced. This might not be all bad, since conventional medicine has departed from its original objectives. Alternative care, regardless of the science, provides solutions that conventional medicine are unwilling or forbidden to explore, and is most fitting for certain types of diseases or as wonderful adjuncts for other diseases best treated in the conventional setting, such as cancer. Even still, alternative care has served as a confounding factor in rendering of health care, and mostly acts as a gadfly to conventional medicine in identifying how they have been deficient in providing true health care to their patients.
  9. Legal issues
    The claim of the legal community is that lawyers are important in preserving the quality of health care. I would argue that the current malpractice environment massive drives up the cost of health care, while simultaneously driving down the quality of health care. This is a long discussion that I’ve discussed in detail in the past, though lost to the graveyard of digital ones and zeros. Suffice it to say that a true market system of health care would provide a much greater impetus for quality health care than the negative threat of a lawsuit.

I am most glad to be out of medicine, which now uses the euphemistic title “health care”. My arguments and those of Paracelsus indicate the loss of the system that once provided real (though sometimes ineffective) care of a patient. I would far rather die in the personal domain of a family, or on a mountain top, than to die in the sterility of a hospital with masked and gowned, over-worked and (often) under-caring physicians and nurses who provide for formulaic treatments of the signs and symptoms that my body happens to be expressing at the moment. Such repulsion of the health care system causes me to seek health care as minimally as possible, and to be as terse as possible when in the health care domain. As Paracelsus noted, the current COVID “crisis” serves to make clear how healthcare has degenerated into the impersonal beast, a henchman of the state, that does not serve the patient’s best interest. Though we can’t live without the healthcare community, it is becoming harder and harder to live with the health care community.