Joseph A. Kuhn, MD
John Hunter, the acclaimed “father of scientific surgery,” understood human anatomy through a process of careful dissection. From 1750 to 1793, he revolutionized modern surgical anatomy through the dissection of thousands of human samples derived from fresh human cadavers, which came from fresh graves (1). He was credited with educating over 2000 surgeons globally based on the doctrine of observation, experimentation, and application of scientifi c evidence, rather than a reliance on potions, humors, and superstitions to manage disease. The early American surgeons who attended these highly desired anatomy courses included Philip Syng Physick, William Shippen, John Morgan, and many others who helped establish the foundations of American medical education.
John Hunter was also a brilliant biologist and naturalist, having dissected and stored thousands of animals and plants. His considerable samples represented the entire initial display of the Royal College of Surgeons Museum. In two lengthy volumes, entitled Essays and Observations on Natural History, Anatomy, Physiology, Psychology, and Geology, he identifi ed the remarkable similarity of muscles and organs between various species. John Hunter proposed a gradual formation of species through mutation 70 years before Charles Darwin published his observations in On the Origin of the Species. Th erefore, history reveals that surgeons are uniquely capable of gathering information, making observations, and reaching conclusions about scientifi c discoveries.
As the scientific community is faced with new challenges to time-honored conclusions regarding the origin of the species, the origin of humans, and evolution, it is appropriate to dissect this new corpus of information with fairness and modern knowledge. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to review the arguments that have been leveled against the concept of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin and John Hunter, surgeon and biologist extraordinaire.
Since this review is offered by a physician and surgeon, it might be appropriate to provide evidence of qualification and credibility for such a scientific endeavor. Medicine is a field that attracts some of the brightest minds, based on competitive test scores and undergraduate performance. Modern premedical education commonly includes a typical bachelor’s of science degree in biology, chemistry, mathematics, biochemistry, or molecular biology.
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