What would medicine be like in an Intelligent Design world?

I’m probably abusing the term, but thread titles are only so long after all. What I mean is a world in which one of the prime engines of natural section–mutation–is stymied. Genes always replicate perfectly. Also, there is a sharp line between species; horses & donkeys, tigers & lions, chimps and bonobos absolutey cannot interbreed. (All races of humanity are part of the same species.) In short, all the crap Michael Behe spouts is true.

Here are a few more stipulations.

  1. This world–call it Counter-Earth–was created ex nihilo by an omnipotent but not prescient–or even especially benevolent–deity, to see what would happen. This deity doesn’t care one way or another how much or little suffering occurs; he just wants to sit back with a really, really big tub of popcorn and watch. Pray all you want, but he ain’t picking up the phone. (But at least he’s not smiting anybody either.) This God also doesn’t care whether you worship him or any other deity or not. Counter-Earth orbits Sol in an orbit exactly opposite ours, kept stable and hidden from us with a miraculous cloaking device.

  2. Counter-Earth began as an exact duplicate of our world as it was on at midnight on 23 October 4004 BC. Thsi includes copies of every person, animal, plant, geographic locale, and human artificat that existed at that time. There is one exception: Couch Potato God made sure every fossil, from apatasaur bones to microfossil, is entirely unrecognizable as such. The inhabitants of Counter-Earth are supplied with phony histories and memories matching those of the people they are based on.

How would you expect medicine to have developed on this world?

I imagine it would develop among the same lines, albeit maybe a bit slower. People could still find out what works through trial and error.

That is assuming, of course, that biological healing works in the same way. If not, then all bets are off.

I don’t see why medical science would progress differently. Not having the study of genetics (other than the changes available within your scenario, i.e., slight variations in height, weight, and coloration) would probably prevent the development of new cures for old diseases, but if there’s no variation, then the old cures should still work, and there will never be any new diseases unless we move to where they are (or they move to where we are, e.g., smallpox coming to North America).

Not medically-oriented, but the less hospitable regions would probably have fewer animals living in them, and they would most likely be migratory on a climatological scale–if it gets too cold for them for a few generations or twenty, they’d have to move to warmer climes.

Why would there be any disease at all? Without mutation to create new variants of old diseases, they’d all be cured in short order.

No cancer, either, if we assume the “genes always replicate perfectly” rule is true in somatic cells, too.

Lots of drugs that are carcinogenic on Earth are going to be options on Counter-Earth. Smoking and heavy tanning could be benign. (Watch as I get distracted from medicine. I knew I would.) Everyone could have a nuclear reactor in the basement, and the radiation wouldn’t be an environmental hazard to anything.

On the other hand, agriculture might suck if the genetic diversity is limited to 4004 B.C. levels. It’s going to be awfully hard to breed for higher yields or increased hardiness without an influx of new mutations once in a while, so maybe Counter-Earth can’t support industrial societies. In that case, medicine is going to be rather primitive.

In a world without mutations, life would’ve had to have come out of some supernatural process. In that case, all bets are off for how things would work.

So I’m guessing you didn’t read the rest of the OP then, as a supernatural origin is explictly given.

Amen. :slight_smile:

Malnutrition would be pretty common, & large urban societies would be hard to create, for want of efficient crop yields.

Also, would smallpox vaccination work?
Wasn’t the virus strain used a weaker mutation?

Doesn’t matter. The mechanisms of life and genetic inheritance are so different in this world that it’s not possible to draw reasonable conclusions.

(For what it’s worth, you also have to posit that the supernatural being who created this world is continually mucking around with gravity, or else we’d be able to see it. So even basic physics might look very different there.)

The original smallpox vaccine was cowpox (vaccinia), which was recognized as a separate disease. So it depends if the vaccinia virus was distinct from smallpox 6000 years ago. If so, we have a handy vaccine that should work just like it does on Earth. If not, we wait for somebody to invent a killed-virus vaccine using real smallpox. Either way, the vaccine is going to be more effective for a longer time, because the virus population has less genetic diversity to work with.

I’m surprised to be the first poster to mention The Doctrine of signatures - the idea that foods or plants that resemble human body parts are good for or heal that body part. For example, walnuts look like and are good for brains, tomatoes are chambered like and are good for the heart, a carrot slice resembles and is good for the eye.

If there were an intelligent designer, you would think He would have made our knee joints more durable.