The crocodile icefish.

The biochemist Michael Behe distinguishes between evolution, the idea that organisms derive from their ancestors, and the process by which evolution occurs. There is almost universal agreement that evolution does happen. The debate is whether changes develop by random mutation, as in Darwinian evolution, or by the addition of designed units, as in the theory of intelligent design.

It is becoming clear that a mutation can cause only limited changes, such as those Darwin saw in Galápagos finches. Intelligent design is the only mechanism powerful enough to cause complexity. Only intelligent design explains the origin of the Antarctic icefish, which…


These cigarette advertisements from the 1950s are examples of medical advice that aged poorly.

In their book Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2015) Vinayak Prasad, M.D. and Adam Cifu, M.D. write:

If you have followed the news about prostate cancer screening, mammography for women in their forties, hormone replacement, cholesterol-lowering medications [many trials found that lowering cholesterol levels had no impact on heart disease], and stents for coronary-artery disease, you might think doctors cannot get anything straight. These common practices were … found to be ineffective…. You might be worried that some medical practices are nothing more than fads. In some cases, you might be right.

This…


Confront your fear and prolong your life with the dietary strategy known as “calorie restriction”

Photo by Alejandro Duarte on Unsplash

Many Americans fear food. I’m not referring just to those with eating disorders, for whom food is deadly, or fashion models who must watch their figures to stay employed. I’m referring to health-conscious Americans who don’t know what diet is healthiest. This fear is stoked by headlines such as “Excess salt blamed for 2.3 million excess deaths” and “Sugary drinks may explain 180,000 deaths worldwide.”

We live in an age in which nutritional superabundance threatens our health. The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries increased the standard of living in industrialized countries, allowing a transition from a plant-based…


A greater quantity of low viscosity fluid accumulates in the same amount of time because it flows more rapidly. Courtesy of Anton-Paar.com.

One of the extraordinary medical aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the high rate of blood clotting in critically ill patients. In one study, blood clots, or more properly “thrombi,” developed in 49% of patients in intensive care units. Clotting in COVID-19 is also unusual because it occurs in younger patients and despite the preventative measures which had largely controlled abnormal clotting in intensive care units prior to COVID-19.

As evidenced by Ebola and dengue, bleeding, not clotting, was the most common blood problem in severe viral infections before COVID-19. Clotting by viruses mainly occurred in science fiction books like…


Posters promoting food rationing during World War I. Courtesy of The National Archives Catalog.

One hundred years ago, most deaths in the U.S. were caused by infections, and life expectancy was in the low to mid-fifties. Before immunizations, childhood infections like diptheria and whooping cough were real threats and workplaces were less safe. One might think a person who ran the gauntlet of childhood illnesses, occupational hazards, and sub-optimal nutrition to reach the seventh or eighth decade would have had a good chance of dying from a heart attack, the most common cause of death today. That was not the case.

Heart attacks were so rare at that time they weren’t even discussed in…


The naked mole-rat.

Mother Nature sometimes shares her secrets in the form of fun facts. For example, mammals usually have roughly the same number of heartbeats in a lifetime, approximately one billion. With a heart rate of 550 beats per minute, a mouse exhausts its supply in 2 to 2.5 years. At the other extreme, a whale lives about 30 years with a resting heart rate of only 30 to 35 beats per minute. Is this observation an oddity or the key to an important physiological principle? A straightforward interpretation of these observations is that death occurs when an important component of the…


What Do Paradigm Shifts Look Like?

H. pylori. Courtesy of Yutaka Tsutsumi, M.D. Professor Department of Pathology Fujita Health University School of Medicine -

How often is the mainstream proven wrong within the span of a single lifetime? We no longer believe the sun goes around the Earth, but the Copernican revolution took hundreds of years. The widespread acceptance of the groundbreaking work of several other scientists such as Gregor Mendel, who described several basic principles of genetics, Ignaz Semmelweis, who proposed that physicians disinfect their hands before examining patients, and Alfred Wegener, the father of continental drift, was also delayed until after their deaths.

In fact, the interdisciplinary scientist Moti Nissani argues that resistance to new ideas…


Scientific Hubris and Global Warming

Preformation, drawn by N. Hartsoecker 1695

Notwithstanding portrayals in the movies as eccentrics who frantically warn humanity about genetically modified dinosaurs, aliens, and planet-killing asteroids, the popular image of a scientist is probably closer to the humble, bookish Professor, who used his intellect to save the castaways on practically every episode of Gilligan’s Island. The stereotypical scientist is seen as driven by a magnificent call, not some common, base motive. Unquestionably, science progresses unerringly to the truth.

This picture was challenged by the influential twentieth-century philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn, who held that scientific ”truth” is determined not as much by…

Gregory Sloop

Associate Professor of Pathology, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine. Always fighting the power. Thank you for reading my work.

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