Muslim Med Students in the UK: We Don't Need No Education

We've hit another brick in the wall. Today's big story is about a bunch of UK Muslim medical and biology students boycotting their biology classes because the lectures on evolution were inconsistent with the creation teachings of the Koran. This is not new--fundamentalist Christians have been arguing the same bunk for years. It's just that this week's flavor of wacko happens to read right to left and not left to right.


Now, I'm not a doctor, biology professor, or otherwise expert on things biomedical, but it seems to me understanding how organisms might change to become resistant to antibiotics, perhaps even during a patient's drug therapy, is pretty important stuff if any of the aforementioned is your chosen vocation. The last I checked, schools like University College London checked their shamanism at the door years ago and are generally trying to make students, well, better doctors and presumably teaching them stuff that's not just fluff and filler to boost tuition (ok, maybe that went too far).


But not to worry, I'm sure these dedicated students will not waste their new-found freed up time with un-Muslim-like activities like partying or watching football (the non-US kind, that is). No, I'm sure they're above those temptations. Perhaps instead they'll substitute their missed classes with lectures on the healing power of prayer and laying on of hands. Wait, I know, we can toss in some study on the therapeutic effects of crystals and the remarkable regenerative attributes of magnetic bracelets. Maybe we can even get a TV personality to provide a testimonial about how, this one time, he knew a guy who knew a gaffer who got cured while sleeping under a pyramid-shaped cast iron frame.


Are these students shocked that in an institution with the goal of ensuring students get the best training possible and are handed the most important information they need to be the best doctors they can be would teach evolutionary principles? Do they think this is some conspiracy of radical evolutionists taking over the ivory towers of higher education all the while ignoring the disastrous medical effects such teaching has on patients? C'mon. It is taught because it is important and will help save lives. By choosing to ignore the evidence and, more importantly, by choosing to refuse to learn the information, based on an unfounded religious belief, these students are putting the lives of their future patients at risk.


And worse, they're pissing me off.


The same holds true for fundamentalist Christian physicians who refuse necessary treatments based on their religious beliefs. In a sense, both of these groups, it seems to me, are violating at least one part of the Hippocratic Oath (I will not play God) and ignoring another--the part that says they will "apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures that are required...." Instead, I guess they'll just apply, for the benefit of the sick, just those measures a couple of ancient texts prescribe.


Anyway, here's the same sentiment, graphically.


Click the image to enlarge


This was also posted to my personal blog at

Views: 202

Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on November 29, 2011 at 9:09am

These students should be failed and kicked out of medical school.  There should be no exceptions.  If they refuse to learn material that is essential for good practice of their intended profession then they should be banned - NOW. 

It should be made clear to all students that if the essential contents of their course is contrary to their religious beliefs then the profession is not open to them unless they can intellectually and practically separate the two domains or they are prepared to modify or abandon the interferring religious beliefs.  Tough, but necessary.  Otherwise universities would be graduating shamans, not well-trained professionals and medical licensing boards might not be able to determine which graduates were properly qualified to practice the profession.

There is absolutely no room for compromise in a profession that holds peoples physical lives in their hands.

Comment by Skepticlese on November 29, 2011 at 10:44am

Thanks, Rosemary. It's like Claude Rains' scene in Casablanca: "I'm shocked, shocked to find evolution being taught here!"




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