Baby Fae – the cost of creationism


I recently came across this, a case where it is very clear what the cost of creationism is.

An infant had a critical heart disease, and needed a heart replacement. A doctor gave her a baboon heart. The baby died after 21 days. When asked afterwards why he had used a baboon heart, considering the long evolutionary distance between the two species, this is what the moron answered:

“Er, I find that difficult to answer. You see, I don’t believe in evolution”

That, in a nutshell, is why NO ONE who sets their belief in an invisible magician before actual facts should ever be allowed to have any serious job whatsoever. Accept facts, or accept that you won’t be able to get any qualified job; that is how society should be arranged.


11 responses »

  1. I’m sorry are you suggesting that he should have used a closer evolutionary relative? Is there data that suggests higher survival rates using another primate donor?

  2. I am suggesting that not even taking that into consideration, because of being an idiot, makes you highly unsuited to have any power over the life of another person. Or, indeed, any power to do anything at all.

  3. What does this have to do with Creationism?!

    Obviously, that was a malpractice case, and it had nothing to do with believing in Creationism!

    Reading the article, I believe the doctor’s reference to not believing in evolution meant that he did not base his medical decision on evolution! He did not choose that cross-species heart transplant in an effort to contest evolution!

    Again, that was simply a malpractice situation! Therefore, asserting that it was a cost of Creationism is completely farfetched!

  4. Then obviously we read the article differently. I totally agree that it was medical malpractice, but that is only *one part* of what’s wrong with it (and I have not stated that he did this to “contest evolution”).

    The review mentioned in the article allegedly says (I haven’t seen this review) that there had been xenografts from baboons to humans before, but that they were all rapidly rejected. There could be many causes for this, of course, and not having read the, I could not possible know what these reasons actually are. It may be that Bailey was correct, and that sufficiently young humans *would* be able to accept a baboon heart; I understand, from a book on the philosophy of immunology I’m reading, that this may actually be the case, as at least part of the immune system needs to be “trained” and can be “trained” to accept anything that is part of the body sufficiently early on in the development of the individual (though I am not an immunologist, and don’t know the circumstances under which this would happen).

    It may also be for perfectly good evolutionary reasons, as it’s been millions of years since we diverged from what evolved into the Cercopithecids. I am not a surgeon, either, and don’t know how surgeons do things, but if I were to do such an xenograft, the first thing I would do would be to consider the evolutionary distance between the two taxa, and if that is sufficiently large (whatever that is), I would assume that it would *not* work, and, if I still wanted to test this, would do so on a much smaller scale than trying to transplant a heart from a baboon to a baby.

    This cautious approach is based entirely on an understanding of evolution, an understanding that, in general, the longer two branches have evolved independently of each other, the less reason there is to assume that *anything* is even remotely similar in the two branches, let alone aspects that can be assumed to be under such a intense selection as vital organs and immune systems.

    But if you don’t “believe in evolution”, there is no reason to take that into account at all. Perhaps it is rash to say that Bailey is a creationist; he could simply be an idiot. But being American, an idiot, and saying that he “doesn’t believe in evolution”, when combined, are strong indicators that he *is* a creationist.

  5. I appreciate your analysis; however, I believe that no medical doctor, whether a creationist or not, is obligated to base his/her medical decisions on evolution!

    Here is about evolution:

    “Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, (why) do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?”

    Charles Darwin

    • I am so very tired of the argument, that complexity somehow is incompatible with statistical physics, when the opposite is true. Complex systems arise whenever more than a couple of more than trivial components interact, and of those there is an abundance even in pre-biotic or a-biotic systems.

      That selection can occur between such systems is also a trivial consequence from statistical physics, and if it can occur for non-living things, it should come as no surprise that living things — where the process of selection is so vividly apparent — can also undergo evolution.

      • A favorite is Minsky’s Theorem:

        “”The Process of Evolution is the following abstract idea:

        There is a population of things that reproduce, at different rates in different environments. Those rates depend, statistically, on a collection of inheritable traits. Those traits are subject to occasional mutations, some of which are then inherited.

        Then one can deduce, from logic alone, without any need for evidence, that:

        THEOREM: Each population will tend to increase the proportion of traits that have higher reproduction rates in its current environment.” — Marvin Minsky”

        From this follows that if we can only show that the premises are true, and that there are no vital premises left out, the conclusion is true. Is this the case?

        1. We know that organisms reproduce.
        2. We know that they do so at different rates in different environments.
        3. We know that, statistically, those rates depend on inheritable traits.
        4. We know that these traits are subject to occasional mutations.
        5. We know that these mutations are or can be incorporated in the inherited structures.

        It is therefore up to the creationist to show that:

        1. Any of these premises are not true;
        2. The conclusion does not follow from the premises;
        3. There are other premises that are not included in the theorem, but which destroy the argument.

        Instead, we usually get quotes from Darwin (irrelevant), assertions that, for instance, there are no transitional fossils (false), or other forms of nonsense.

        I’ve debated these kinds of idiots for the last ten years, and even though their arguments have not changed, more or less, since *before* Darwin, it never really gets boring.

    • Science CAN NOT even find the Origin of Matter! That’s why the Scientific Community is “DESPERATE” to find the “ELUSIVE” Higgs Boson Particle, aka “God Particle,” which is believed to give matter its mass, as well as the Higgs Field. Without those, the origin of matter is “UNKNOWN” as far as Science is concerned, and The Quantum Physics Standard Model is rendered “INCOMPLETE;” mind you what’s missing is the “CORE!” That’s in a nutshell!

      Here is the latest about that (Particle Physics, Higgs Boson, Higgs Field, Ordinary Matter, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy) :

      Evolution Is So Improbable That It Is Biologically Impossible! Mathematically, anything less probable than 10^49 IS IMPOSSIBLE!

      Need not mention the flawed Fossil Record! Here is a clue:

      “As is now being admitted by my evolutionary colleagues, the fossil record gives no clue that any basic type of animal has ever changed into another basic type of animal, for no undisputed chain of in-between forms has ever been discovered.”

      (Note: People who presented their arguments in the above linked to articles are Scientists and Professionals with High Academic Credentials!!!)

      Life CAN NOT simply spring out of inorganic matter without a Creator!!!

      Can science animate matter, create a single living cell or even reverse engineer evolution?!
      Read about Cell Biology, DNA and Why Abiogenesis Is IMPOSSIBLE!

      God created everything and gave it a jump start and the Nature it has and set it in motion! The Natural Process is “Automatic” thereafter on every level of this existence!

      This Universe is intricately designed (Science Shows Design) and fine-tuned that its Anthropic Constants are accurately measured to enable Life here on Earth.

      !!!This Universe and Life in it have “Prima Facie” Revelation about God!!!

      And speaking of Logic, here is Scientific Logic:

      The Occam’s Razor Scientific Principle postulates that the simplest of competing hypotheses should be chosen! Therefore, Creation should be chosen over Evolution!

      • I will address your various lies and misunderstandings later, as I have work to do (I work as an evolutionary biologist, no less!), but to start with:

        1. Quotes of people’s opinions are *irrelevant*, especially when these people are professors at a creationist institute. It also happens to be the case that not only is the quote from your creationist irrelevant, it is also incorrect. We have long and very beautiful series of transitions between different “basic types” (whatever that is), such as:
        – Landliving perissodactyls to whales;
        – Moetherium to elephants;
        – early rhinoceroses to modern rhinoceroses;
        – dinosaurs to birds;
        – Jawless fish to jawed fish;
        – Fish to amphibians;
        – Amphibians to reptiles;
        – “mammal-like reptiles” to mammals;
        – early primates to humans.
        And that’s only within the vertebrates. The fossil records of groups such as ammonites, gastropods, trilobites, orthoceratites, bryozoans, and other invertebrate groups are even better.

        2. Occam’s razor does *NOT* say that the simplest solution should be chosen. That is a flat-out lie, either perpetrated or regurgitated by you. Occam’s razor and the principle of parsimony states that “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity”. This, in more accessible languages, means that whichever of several competing explanatory models requires the fewest unevidenced premises is *most likely* to be the correct one. This can not be emphasized enough, because it is something that not only creationist idiots like you, but even educated people like, say, scientists commonly misunderstand.

        The simplest explanation is *ALWAYS* “The cause is unknown”. The second most simple explanation is magic (including creationism). If your understanding of the principle of parsimony had not been moronic, you would have know the following:
        – A less parsimonious explanation may be preferable if it potentially explains more of the data, and the unevidenced premises are testable;
        – A “simpler” explanation that does *not* explain some data — such as creationism — is never preferable to a less parsimonious explanation that explains all data;
        – An explanation that does not offer any testable claims whatsoever — such as creationism — does not even qualify to be compared with models that do.

        3. You cannot calculate these probabilities, as you have a sample size of one.

        4. Just glancing at tour post, I can spot the following logical fallacies:
        – Argument from false authority;
        – Argument from ignorance;
        – Affirming the consequence;
        – False dichotomy:
        – Strawman fallacy.
        There are probably more, but I have lice to attend to.

        5. I don’t accept that the authors of those articles are “Scientists and Professionals with High Academic Credentials”, as neither of them return ANY HITS WHATSOEVER when I search for their names of google scholar. Please provide evidence that these are “Scientists and Professionals with High Academic Credentials”. Know, also, that if “Scientists and Professionals with High Academic Credentials” is a valid criterion, then the two people who wrote the articles you linked to are VASTLY outnumbered by the amount of “Scientists and Professionals with High Academic Credentials” who actually understand evolutionary theory.

      • Vic: Are you offended by the Higgs Boson being called the God Particle? If so, I may offer you some consolation in that so are most physicists, including Peter Higgs, but he’s not comfortable naming it Higgs Boson either (or maybe that’s false modesty; as Jack Horner noted: scientists like to name things). It’s a silly nick-name.

        As for the idea that Science would somehow collapse if it were not found, which seems to be what you are implying, wherever did you get that from? Journalists like to paint CRISIS all over everything, but the fact of the matter is that most scientists love being wrong — the unknown is an opportunity for discovery, and falsifying theories is how we move forward! (It’s an evolutionary process, if you will.)

        And finally, regarding the article quoting Dembski, I’m sure you already know that Dembski is not a qualified mathematician, but a layman with an ego and an agenda. You can read an enlightening account of some of his mathematical misstakes here:

  6. They are if what they are doing includes other animals as well. Anything else is reckless nonsense. It could be argued that they would be required to take it into account in other cases as well (evolution of pathogens, for instance), but definitely if the procedure they are contemplating involves multiple animal species.

    Also: that quote is 150 years old (give or take). We have found the transitional forms now, and evolutionary theory is much more sophisticated, so that we now have an understanding of how transition work that is clearer than anything in Darwin’s time. We now understand that every fossil is a transitional fossil. Linking to the homepages of liars and idiots like the ICR does not really show anything, other than what the state of creationism was in the 19th century.

    (ETA: I hope you do realize that quoting Darwin — or any scientist — is really rather pointless in science, as the models we use are not based on people and what people say, but on data. Even quotes not taken out of context — and quotes that are linked to ICR and similar clubs for idiots usually are — are irrelevant, especially if they are 150 years old. That is how science differs from religion: new data means that old opinions are not necessarily relevant any longer.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s