Home » Biology, Culture, Evolution, Off Topic » David H. Gorski: Do as I say, not as I do

David H. Gorski: Do as I say, not as I do

Over at Respectful Insolence, Dr. David H. Gorski (a.k.a. Orac), goes off on a rant about how medical doctors, in this case Uncommon Descent contributor and surgeon Dr. David A. Cook, aren’t qualified to evaluate claims made by evolutionary biologists. Yet Dr. Gorski, also a surgeon, somehow believes himself qualified to evaluate evolutionary claims made by other medical doctors. Spare me. Practice what you preach, Dr. Gorski. If medical doctors aren’t qualifed to evaluate evolution claims then YOU should STFU too. Got that? Write that down. :roll:

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24 Responses to David H. Gorski: Do as I say, not as I do

  1. Orac spouted off the names of several Physicians he felt were embarrassing him. Here is one more who was past president of Association of Ameircan Physician and Surgeons (AAPS) and now a board member of the Discovery Institute: Robert J. Cihak

    Robert J. Cihak, M.D., was born in Yankton, South Dakota. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he studied under the philosopher Eric Voegelin. He earned an M.D. degree at Harvard Medical School (1962-66), and did postgraduate medical training and academic work as a surgical intern at Stanford Medical Center (1966-67), diagnostic radiology resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston (1967-70) and Assistant Professor of Radiology, U. New Mexico Medical School, Albuquerque, (1970-71). He then practiced diagnostic radiology in Aberdeen Washington until his retirement in 1994.

    Board Member and Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute, Seattle WA,
    Past President, 2000-2001, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), Tucson AZ. Board Member, Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, Tucson AZ. Academic Advisor and Founding Board Member, Evergreen Freedom Foundation, Olympia, WA. Founding National Advisory Board Member, Eric Voegelin Institute for American Renaissance Studies, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Louisiana. Member, Philadelphia Society

  2. Oh yeah… since Gorski/Orac thought it okay to research the work of Dr. Cook I think it’s fair that readers see a little bit more about Dr. Gorski.

    http://www.google.com/search?s.....orski+orac

  3. Yet Dr. Gorski, also a surgeon, somehow believes himself qualified to evaluate evolutionary claims made by other medical doctors.

    Gorski also holds a Ph.D in Cellular Physiology.

  4. The only ones not qualified to evaluate evolutionary claims objectively are evolutionary biologists. They have a nasty reputation of resisting criticism from other fields.

    In contrast, I can’t imagine physicians and engineers resisting criticism from any of the hard science or math. I can’t imagine physicists and chemists and computer scientists telling mathematicians to buzz off. That is unheard of!

    Evolutionary biologists seem to have a regular habit of resisting valid criticism from other scientific disciplines….

  5. I think most of these people have a deficit in honesty and integrity. In the post, he says the following in regards to Dr. Cook:

    COOK: I believed in Darwinian-type evolution up through undergraduate and more or less through medical school. What else was there? My church does not take a position on the subject. We believe that “Man was created in God’s image,” but how God went about it is unspecified. The spectrum of beliefs on this topic among church members spans nearly the entire range; we are only required to accept that God was involved and behind it somehow. I used to just vaguely believe
    that “evolution is how He did it.”

    GORSKI:I always know I’m dealing with a creationist when he refers to “Darwinism” when expressing “skepticism” about evolution. (It’s as if the scientific discoveries of the last 140 years supporting the theory of evolution never happened; here’s a hint, dude: It ain’t 1859 anymore.)

    Now- a few points. Nowhere does Cook discount the developments in the past 140 yrs. At least, I don’t get that from any of his comments. Gorski dishonestly claims: “expressing “skepticism” about evolution.”- Cook never expressed any such thing. He SPECIFICALLY expressed skepticism over “Darwinian-type evolution”!! (a child could understand this!)

    Further- maybe I’m wrong, but I have a feeling from his comments that Cook finds common descent acceptable and fine. (Correct me if I’m wrong). Notice that Gorski sets up the strawman argument of equating “theory of evolution” with ‘blind, undirected, purely accidental evolution in the Darwinian sense.’

    Further- MANY Darwinists use the term ‘Darwinist’ themselves. Didn’t Ruse write a book titled “can a Christian be a Darwinist?” Does that mean Ruse is a secret IDer? Thinking the evidence doesn’t fit the NDE sense of evolution does NOT equal ddenial of “theory of evolution”!

    Honesty and integrity- missing from one side of the debate. Thank goodness it exists here.

  6. Franky

    Cellular physiology isn’t evolutionary biology. Are you trying to get kicked off this thread too?

  7. Gorski also holds a Ph.D in Cellular Physiology.

    Unfortunately for Gorski, he basically said that noting credentials means nothing. Let’s face it- only the Darwinists are truly wise enough to understand the issue. Anyone who takes issue with a blind, unguided, accidental process is a fool with no credibility on the issue at all. End of story.

    Gorski’s entire post was distortion stacked on top of distortion.

    Cook never denied “the theory of evolution.” Only the specific Darwinian, blind, unguided type, as far as I can tell.

    In Gorski’s mind- that’s ALL it takes and you’re suddenly a “creationist.” Worst- a “creationist” is evil in his worldview- a full, a cretin, a moron to be ridiculed. How did science get here? This isn’t science, this is childish politics.

  8. ‘STFU’, DS?

    I disagree with the sentiment in the initial post; Gorski is perfectly reasonable to say that physicians are not properly qualified to evaluate claims of evolutionary biology as long as he doesn’t try to evaluate those claims either (although it would probably be okay for him to cite evolutionary biologists in establishing an evaluation). I hold a fair amount of circumspection about whether such a claim is really true, though, and in that respect I agree with the last few comments.

  9. I’m struggling greatly in trying to understand how physicians, who are experts in anatomy, are somehow unqualified in assessing the mertis of Darwinian Evolution. Somebody throw me a frickin bone here.

  10. Thanks for the heads-up.
    Sigh.
    Unfortunately, since I began occasionally writing on the subject of evolution (a couple of columns in the local paper, some posts on another Board) I’ve gotten used to this sort of attack. It’s very similar to a response I got from a Biology professor at the local college after one of my newspaper columns.

    I just left this response on Dr. Gorski’s site:

    “Nice to meet you too, Dr. Gorski.
    It’s easy to see where the “insolence” of your site name comes from, but I’m wondering about the “respectful” part.

    I wonder if you have misunderstood the point and purpose of the piece at Uncommon Descent: I was asked for a summary account of my disillusion with neo-Darwinian dogma, which is what I provided. I was not asked for, nor did I provide, a treatise on molecular biology. Nor have I claimed particular expertise in that area. I do hope you had fun, however, knocking over that straw-man.

    I’m sorry you found the 99th percentile bit offensive. I was asked “not to be shy.” You may ignore it.

    I was not aware that any of my papers were available online, thanks for the links. I agree that none have been earth-shakingly impressive, though one you do not link has been cited a number of times by other authors.

    Your rant boils down to three tiresomely familiar accusations:
    1. You’re a creationist
    2. You don’t understand science
    3. All the really smart people believe in Darwinian-style evolution.

    I used to go into more detail in my answers, but frankly it’s getting old.
    Very briefly:

    1. Define the term “creationist” and I’ll tell you if it applies to me; don’t just use it as an epithet. Name calling ill-becomes someone who wishes to appear to be presenting a rational argument.

    2. I understand science as well as anyone with my credentials and years of post-graduate self-study could be expected to. If I don’t find neo-Darwinian dogma believable or understandable, how do you expect the “rubes,” as you so charmingly call the people you’re trying to convince, to understand it? Take your word for it, maybe? Because of your superior credentials, perhaps? Maybe by the sweet reasoning tone you use to make your arguments?
    I did believe it as an undergraduate. Why would I change my mind? Hmmmm…that’s a hard one. Convinced by a fuller understanding of the evidence perhaps?

    3. I agree that most scientists believe in the standard dogma. But there are plenty of really smart people who don’t. More all the time. Don’t you just hate that?

    Perhaps you can explain, in molecular biological terms, listing the stepwise sequence of DNA changes (simplified, of course, so my poor moronic brain can grasp it), which occured to bring about the development of a hand, finger, or knee from, say, the paw of a lemur-like precursor (or whatever form you wish to posit as mammalian (making it easy on you; no need to go back to jellyfish) ancestor to humans.

    I have a colleague who works at the same hospital I do who is a committed Darwinist (as the term is commonly used, I know it’s imprecise). We have some good discussions. I enjoy it. I enjoy it because we share a mutual respect for the other’s intelligence, reasoning powers, and points of view. Something to think about while you’re composing your next rant.

    David A. Cook, M.D.”

    After I hit the “post message” button a window came up saying: “Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.”

    It will be interesting to see if it’s approved. I’m thinking it will be.

  11. Well said, Dr. Cook.

  12. By the way, the comments over on Orac’s blog are incredibly demeaning; Dr. Cook is essentially accused of “memorizing facts” rather than being able to synthesize information. This isn’t necessarily a bad criticism except that none of these commenters have likely read anything that demonstrates Dr. Cook’s knowledge, and I find it very hard to believe that MDs “memorize” information that they will need to know in practice (not theory), especially when they need to solve complicated situations with human anatomy. In my opinion, the comments were totally unwarranted and really nothing more than individuals spewing off their opinion of the dumb creationist doc.

  13. As much as I agree with the post, it seems that STFU is a term that UD should be above. If you won’t write it out, don’t abbreviate and expect it to be more professional.

  14. If even MDs are unqualified to examine the evidence and evaluate the claims of NDE, then what is the point of all the popular books trying to persuade the great unwashed that NDE is true? Are all these books just appeals to the authority of evolutionary biologists? Or do they present reasoned arguments that we are supposed to evaluate?

  15. It’s interesting how certain topics induce an emotional response from some people. Religion and politics, for example. This supports the assertion (which really gets them mad) that atheism is a religion.

    Gorski’s fuming isn’t nearly so malignant, however, as the reaction I got a few years ago to a column on water fluoridation.
    The issue of whether to fluouridate the public drinking water was on the ballot. With a dentist friend of mine I wrote a column for the local newspaper in support of the proposition. We took the position that yes, fluoride was good for children’s teeth, and no, it didn’t cause ugliness or the decline of civilization and it wasn’t a communist plot.

    The hue and cry from a certain segment of the local populace was truly astonishing; you’d think we’d killed and eaten all their babies.

    A group of Concerned Citizens, led by a lawyer, petitioned the state Board of Professional Licensing to revoke our licenses to practice medicine and dentistry! For an opinion piece in the newspaper! Right here in the land of Freedom of Speech!

    We laugh about it now, but for awhile it wasn’t too funny; we had to talk to lawyers ourselves (always a distasteful experience) (I’m joking if there are any lawyers reading this. Mostly.).

    Fortunately we received strong support from the newspaper’s main editorial board and several columnists, as well as many letters to the editor.

    The proposition to fluoridate passed by 1%. I like to think I can take some of the credit for the narrow victory.

    That little story doesn’t have anything to do with the evolution debate except to demonstrate another example of an emotional response to a challenge to someone’s worldview. This happens all the time when materialism is challenged.

    To be fair, it also happens a lot when believers in god are challenged on their particular beliefs.
    And for the same reasons, I think: in my experience it’s often when the believers aren’t totally confident in their beliefs, and/or are not open to the possibility that they may be wrong. Insecurity or a closed mind (sometimes both) are behind this sort of response.

  16. We took the position that yes, fluoride was good for children’s teeth, and no, it didn’t cause ugliness or the decline of civilization and it wasn’t a communist plot.

    Come on, you ought to know that telling people something isn’t a communist plot is enough to make them suspicious of a communist plot.

    It’s funny how serious people can get over things like that. “Disagree with me, eh? I’ll get you!” Good on you for sticking to your guns against irrational opponents.

  17. 17

    Did anyone notice the new comments? They’ve taken to arguing bad backs and knees proves no design!

    You just can’t talk to some people.

    For some reason, they’re all under the impression they’re the gold standard of civility and reasonable discourse!

    You can’t discuss an issue when the other side refuses to even accept that you even have a working brain. I don’t think they realize it, but their arrogant, self righterous, know-it-all attitude turns even more people away from their side of the argument,

  18. 18
    sagebrush gardener

    dacook wrote:

    I agree that most scientists believe in the standard dogma. But there are plenty of really smart people who don’t. More all the time. Don’t you just hate that?

    Beautiful. ROFL. :-)

    I heart Dr. Cook.

  19. Dave,

    I am convinced unlike wolves and German Shepherds, you cannot be domesticated.

    Once a Marine, always a Marine. Semper Fi!

    OK, I’m just a civy, but its fun to say in support. Not that I approve personally Marine language in a response to elitist scientist, but old dogs… you know ;-)

  20. STFU stands for Shut The Flap Up.

    What’s the problem?

  21. It is unreasonable and illogical for anyone to state that one must have such and such a degree to evaluate NDE theories.

    Since little in the theory is, strictly speaking, “scientific fact” – outside that mutations and selection occurs – anyone with a brain can evaluate it’s prime directive and tenets from simple logic and a well informed data basis.

    NDE biology is hardly a “hard” science.

    It is largely narrative in nature – not that data-factual. And nothing at all like math.

    You can literally take any number of the typical Darwinian narratives that attempt to explain the data from the NDE stance and explain it better using an ID stance. Period.

    90 something % of human DNA matches chimps? NDE says that means we descended from primates. The conclusion does not follow the premise.
    We also share 50% DNA with bananas. Does that mean bananas are 50% human? Or humans are 50% banana? (Well I can think of a few… L. Moran for ex.)

    No degree is needed to see the many logical, factual, smoke & mirrors flaws in that kind of junk logic at all. Just a good mind for critical analysis using the rules of logic.

    NDE logic cripples the mind. It’s pretzel logic. High in fiber, makes great dung – nothing more.

  22. Well. I just looked at the link posted above by DaveScot. I should have done that in the first place, before I wasted a lot of time trying to reason with those people.
    I’m going to post once more over there and include some excerpts from the site. It will be interesting to see if they’re deleted.

  23. Dave,

    “STFU stands for Shut The Flap Up.

    What’s the problem?”

    The problem is that with only a few, fairly probable, minor mutations, and a repetitive addition, “Shut the Flap Up” can evolve into something a bit more agressive.

  24. LOL…

    But Douglas, since we too are just accidents after “billions and billions” of years of random accidents how are we to know what is aggressive and what is moderate? Let alone acronyms of a symbolic language?

    I thought it was, “Stand TFU” as in don’t be such an ape and use your brain.

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