Critical Thinking

Cherry Picking – The Perfection of the Human Body

I’ve known many doctors in my life. Not because I’m sickly or anything, it’s just that both of my parents and both of my grandfathers are doctors, so it’s simply logical for me to know a lot of them. In my eyes, they’re just regular people with whom you can chat, joke, go out to eat, etc. Completely normal beings. That’s exactly why it’s such a shock for me when I see others having the utmost respect for them as if they were godly beings healing them with their graceful touch, or aliens who come down to Earth to help us with their superior technology.

Now, I’m not undermining their work. What they do is, quite literally, vital for us. Still, how come it is seen as more vital than the architects, engineers and construction workers who built the building you’re sitting in right now, which could collapse and crush you under tons of debris if it weren’t well built? How about the people who purify the water you drink (or produce the water purifiers in your home) and who make sure you don’t poison yourself with it? They’re all saving your life on a daily basis, doctors will generally just be there when you’re sick, when you’re at your worst, when you’re most vulnerable and scared, when you’d do just about anything to save your life. The same moments as when most people truly want to believe in healing deities and altruistic aliens.

But medics are just as liable as anyone else to believe in magical beings. Too many of the doctors I know are quite religious, perhaps not fanatics, but still believers, which is amazing as you’d expect them to have an excellent understanding of how living beings function, how their systems fail and collapse, how flawed we really are. And yet, they constantly talk about how perfectly created we are. How God put everything where it should be, how it is all perfectly designed.

I heard this from one of my mom’s best friends. Both my mom and her are pediatricians and we were all talking about the differences between natural birth and C-section. They were going on about the pros and cons of both procedures and how natural birth seems to give babies a better intestinal flora than C-section, probably because of certain bacteria present in the birth canal which the baby might swallow as it pushes itself towards the light. That’s when she said it, “It’s amazing how God designed it all so perfectly.”

I was stupefied for some seconds. After that I barely listened to what they were saying and just pondered on what she had said. In my mind I could only think, “Is this for real?” I mean, she sees birth defects on a day-to-day basis, congenital disorders, babies with their umbilical cords wrapped around their necks or babies that are in the wrong position to come out and would most probably die if they were to be birthed by natural birth.

That’s cherry picking in a nutshell. That’s exactly what people do with the Bible or with the beauty of our world. There is something very wrong with how people are being taught to think if they can simply ignore what they don’t like or can’t explain and see only what they like and adapts to their preexisting world view. There will be no real progress until people are willing to challenge their own mind and see that what is really beautiful and fascinating in this world is what we don’t know, what we still have left to discover.


Image by CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Mauricio Gago

Mauricio Gago

Mauricio Gago teaches chemistry at the University of Costa Rica. He is interested in the comprehension of science and how it helps you identify what's pseudoscience (or not science at all) and what actually lets us understand our world.

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