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Doctors, evolution, and genomics

May 29, 2015

It is not surprising that many doctors reject core science that conflicts with their religious views. As with engineers, many doctors are less scientists than highly-trained professionals in particular areas of applied technology.

But the ability to shield oneself from underlying science becomes less as the technology one uses more confronts the practitioner with results from that science. Genomics will play an ever increasing role in various fields of medicine in the decades to come. The same methods that direct which cancer treatments to use for particular individuals and that tell the origin of their grandparents also tell how ancient populations mixed. And that our own species separated from — though still sometimes interbred with — related hominid species tens of thousands of years past. The evolutionary history of the human family tree is captured in our genes, and it will be ever more difficult for anyone trained in the use of genomics to deny that.

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