|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 68-69
Medicine and Science Versus Darwin
Summit Dev Bloria
PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
|Date of Submission||31-Dec-2019|
|Date of Decision||12-Feb-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||20-Feb-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Apr-2020|
Dr. Summit Dev Bloria
c/o 3245/15d, Chandigarh-160012
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Bloria SD. Medicine and Science Versus Darwin. MAMC J Med Sci 2020;6:68-9
The theory of evolution and natural selection proposed by Darwin was a landmark one. It emphasised upon the ability of individuals with better heritable traits to survive. Because resources are limited in nature, Darwin proposed that organisms with heritable traits that favour survival and reproduction tend to leave more offspring than their peers, causing the traits to increase in frequency over generations. Over the period of time, the theory of evolution has been established as one of the best substantiated theories in the history of science, supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including palaeontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology.
Famines and epidemics were major causes of mortality in earlier times. The average human life expectancy at birth was 31 years in 1900. On the other hand, in last two centuries, medical science has grown by leaps and bounds. Many diseases that were incurable have been overcome. Cholera epidemics would kill millions in 1900s but now have become a thing of past. The average life expectancy in 2017 according to an estimate was 72.2 years. There is constant invention of newer medicines and treatments that prolong survival in yet undefeated diseases. The result is an army of people who would have perished owing to unfavourable survival traits but now have been saved by the modern medicine. So instead of having ‘smarter’ and ‘more survivable’ next generations, are we producing people with ‘inferior survivor skills’ using modern medicine? Are we looking for the ‘short-term’ benefits and neglecting ‘long-term’ consequences? Said another way, is the modern medicine acting against the laws of nature? What will be the long-term result of this?
Taking diabetes as an example, diabetics now spend years on medication and lead long lives. Hence Diabetes has become an epidemic and there is evidence that the off-springs of diabetics are more predisposed to develop diabetes. So, is modern medicine also contributing to the epidemic of diabetes? If that is true, all modern medicine has done is replacement of one epidemic with another, and nothing else. One could argue that the modern diabetes epidemic may have more to do with the modern stressful and sedentary lifestyle rather than modern medicine. I don’t know if that is correct or not, but even if it were true, the fact still remains that in spite of all this development and use of science, humans are perhaps not evolving to a better race; it is basically some unfavourable traits leaving the genome while other unfavourable genomes find their way inside the gene pool.
Add to this the effect that modern science has had on the environment. The earth is becoming more and more inhabitable with each passing day. The negative effects of modern development are known to everyone and I do not wish to repeat them here. So basically, while our survival skills are eroding, the habitat is also becoming more ‘unfriendly’ to our existence. What would be the result of this ‘double disadvantage’ that we are presently having? Can we do something about it?
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Lippi D, Gotuzzo E, Caini S. Cholera. Microbiol Spectr 2016;4
Thomson P. Health, history and hard choices: Funding dilemmas in a fast-changing world (PDF). World Health Organization: Global Health Histories. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
Life expectancy at birth, total (years) − Data. Available at data.worldbank.org