Dunce cap for creationists?
Texas Tech prof won’t recommend creationists for medical school
Dr Michael Dini, professor of biology at Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas), makes no secret about his disdain for creationists. He tells them upfront that, if they ever want a recommendation for higher education, don’t come knocking at his door.
His Web site states plainly,
‘If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of recommendation, I will ask you: “How do you think the human species originated?” If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical sciences.’1
There are three simple criteria to get a recommendation from Dini: (1) get an ‘A’ in at least one semester, (2) get to know the professor, and (3) don’t be a creationist. He gives a long explanation why students’ views about human origins are so important. Basically, he says that anyone who rejects evolution is unfit to practice medicine and is sure to make ‘bad clinical decisions’ (more later).
Needless to say, Professor Dini’s inflammatory words are controversial. Because of his requirement, one student actually left the school to attend Lubbock Christian University.2 Locals weighed in on both sides of the issue. One local doctor found it ironic that Dini never went to medical school or even practiced medicine.3 Another doctor commented:
‘After 20 years in medicine, I believe the theory of evolution holds as much water as a colander. … The theory in question has no relevance to clinical medicine. I would not hesitate to recommend a good medical student who failed to share my beliefs on the theory of evolution.’4
The CEO of CMI-Australia, Carl Wieland, formerly a practising doctor, has repeatedly debunked the farfetched claim that believing evolution is essential to good medicine. (See ‘Evolution—a science that’s leading to cures?’)
Yet a columnist at the school paper rushed to Dini’s defense:
‘Dini rejects creationism because creationism requires the rejection of physical evidence. That’s the foundation of the scientific method. Scientists run experiments on physical evidence and draw conclusions based on their results. …
‘Our treatment of this issue will determine what kind of school Texas Tech becomes. Can you imagine the embarrassment if we get this one wrong? A research institution that rejects the scientific method?
‘We see a lot about respect for religion in the media these days, but what about some respect for science … and respect for Michael Dini, defending his profession against barbarians who would tear it down.’5
The school’s administrators have also sided with Dini. ‘Our position and our viewpoint on this issue is simple,’ says university spokeswoman Cindy Rugeley. ‘This has shaped up to some big evolution versus creationism issue and it’s not. It’s the issue of whether or not a university professor has a right to establish his own criteria for writing letters of recommendation and the answer to that is yes.’2
Dr Dini gives his own explanation why he thinks it’s essential that students accept the ‘fact’ of evolution (from his Web site):
‘The central, unifying principle of biology is the theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution, and which extends to ALL species. How can someone who does not accept the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a field that is so heavily based on biology? It is hard to imagine how this can be so, but it is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions. The current crisis in antibiotic resistance is the result of such decisions. …
‘So much physical evidence supports the evolution of humans from non-human ancestors that one can validly refer to the “fact” of human evolution, even if all of the details are not yet known. One can deny this evidence only at the risk of calling into question one’s understanding of science and of the method of science. Such an individual has committed malpractice regarding the method of science, for good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs. This is the situation of those who deny the evolution of humans; such a one is throwing out information because it seems to contradict his/her cherished beliefs. Can a physician ignore data that s/he does not like and remain a physician for long? No. If modern medicine is based on the method of science, then how can someone who denies the theory of evolution—the very pinnacle of modern biological science—ask to be recommended into a scientific profession by a professional scientist?’
It’s really not necessary to point out all the obvious fallacies in this defense of Professor Dini’s discriminatory policy. As is often the case with strident enemies of Biblical truth, Dini and his defenders are guilty of the very things that they attack creationists for doing:
- Dini says that creationists are rejecting ‘the central, unifying principle of biology,’ whereas Louis Pasteur and several other founders of modern biology were creationists who opposed evolution (see Louis Pasteur). And our Creation magazine has featured many interviews with highly qualified biologists who reject evolution. We challenge Dini to name one single biological or medical discovery of benefit to mankind that depends on the truth of the goo-to-you Darwinian story. (Antibiotic resistance, to which he alludes, has long been debunked as an example.)
- The Texas Tech professor says physicians who ignore the Darwinian aspects of medicine make ‘bad clinical decisions.’ Yet look at the sorry track record of clouded judgment because of evolutionists’ proven false assumptions about ‘junk DNA,’ ‘useless organs,’ etc. (see Q&A: ‘Vestigial’ Organs).
- Dini believes anyone who questions evolution calls into question his ‘understanding of science and of the method of science.’ And he claims that creationists have ‘committed malpractice’ because they ‘throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs.’ This is incredible. The issue is not one of throwing out data, but the way it is interpreted. We all have the same evidence but interpret it differently. As this admission by Harvard zoology professor Richard Lewontin shows, the evolutionary position is based on a worldview that rejects any possibility of divine creation, prior to any consideration of the data. So all evidence is interpreted within that framework. Creationists, on the other hand, interpret the same evidence within a framework based upon the Creator and His perfect revelation—the Bible.
The issue really is a clash of two worldviews. The confusion exhibited in the comments by both Dini and his supporters results from a poor understanding of both science and philosophy. Under the US Constitution, Professor Dini is entitled to his materialistic religion. But it should be labeled for what it is, and not imposed on students or used as the basis for unjustified viewpoint discrimination.
- Dini, M., Letters of recommendation; http://www2.tltc.ttu.edu/dini/Personal/letters.htm [no longer accessible] Return to text.
- Castellon, M., Controversy arises from professor’s policy, The University Daily, 24 October 2002. Return to text.
- Kitchen, S., Professor rigid on evolution, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 6 October 2002. Return to text.
- Martin, J., Believe me (or else), Boundless Web magazine, 21 November 2002. Return to text.
- Duff, M., Evolution, religion conflicting theories, The University Daily, 31 October 2002. Return to text.