My ability to teach Biology on a college level without special training resulted from two concomitant factors. Foremost is the good training MDs obtain in Bulgaria. The least significant yet necessary factor is my own ability to draw from all available resources and to be able to see the big picture.  And biology is the big picture that helps medicine be a healing practice.

American physicians are trained differently: they are not given clues that would enable them to see the big picture. Instead, their education has very pragmatic goals. Which possibly makes them skillful doctors but deprives them from seeing the human individual as a biological unit. The most astonishing flaw of the American medical education is how it teaches the future physicians anatomy. Because gross anatomy does not provide topics for research anymore, and research is what helps any professor in the medical school have a successful career, anatomy is in most cases taught by cell biologist and molecular biologists or left to be taught by people who are not interested in research, that is, have lower intellectual curiosity than a college professor should possess. My observation is that, for the above reason, medical students are not exposed to the continuity between the molecules that make up the human cells and the visible human body physiology. In such a situation, only a few inquisitive minds would go to understand this continuity by themselves and, later on, to apply it to their practice of treating patients.

Biology is the discipline that overlooks all phenomena in the biosphere in finding the common traits and universal laws. Evolution is the overriding paradigm of biology, to which any scientist and normally thinking person must subscribe. I’m not among the people who would go in defense of evolution, since I believe that it does not need a defense. It is obvious! Those who don’t see the obvious are either desperately uneducated or desperately blind for the truths of the world. Yet, I’m in awe of those of my peers who stand up against religious prejudices and political manipulations by religious fanatics and pseudo-scientists. I just have no patience for that.

And now, look at an American physician who has religious beliefs and doubts evolution. While he would still successfully treat and cure his or her patients, especially if in surgery, he or she will never be able to see the patient as a whole: as a complex organism subordinated to the laws of biology. Moreover, such a disbeliever in biology would use the latest scientific achievements–in understanding how the cell works, new sophisticated technologies, and statistical approaches to chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular—to treat and counsel patients not as unique individuals but as statistical units. Well, I couldn’t call this the best medical care in the world.

Money in medicine is only one visible flaw of the American health care system. A deeper, insidious factor leading to degrading the sacred relationship between doctor and patient, resides in misinterpretations of biology and the religiosity that is uniquely characteristic for this country.

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