Minnesota medical students take ideological oath including, among other things, to “honor all indigenous ways of healing”

October 14, 2022 • 9:30 am

In the last several decades, the “white coat ceremony” has become a tradition at medical schools, with the entering students receiving their doctor’s coats and then reciting the Hippocratic Oath. There are many variants of this ancient oath, and often students write their own version to supplement the traditional one.  As you can imagine, some of these go beyond the doctor’s pledge, adding pledges of social justice, ideological belief, and so on. I’ve seen several versions of these white coat oaths; the FIRE article below mentions them at HarvardColumbiaWashUPitt Med, and the Icahn School of Medicine. But perhaps the one most distressing to scientists and advocates of science-based medicine is this one, recited at the University of Minnesota’s white coat ceremony on August 19.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), the speaker is Robert Englander, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education for the Medical School, who leads the students in what is both a pledge and a prayer. (Curiously, Englander’s university bio has disappeared from its website.)

Now this oath wasn’t written by the administration itself, but, according to FIRE and the agenda of the ceremony, by a committee of fifteen incoming medical students on the “Oath Writing Committee.”  These students may, of course, not represent the beliefs of their class as a whole; in fact, it’s likely that, as usual, it’s the activists who seek the loudest megaphone. Click on screenshot below to see the article, and I’ve put the video of the recitation below that.

Here’s the two-minute video of the oath:

Here’s the oath’s text reproduced from FIRE’s letter sent yesterday to the medical school deam (I’ve bolded the sentence that bothers me the most.)

With gratitude, we, the students of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Medical School Class of 2026, stand here today among our friends, families, peer, mentors, and communities who have supported us in reaching this milestone. Our institution is located on Dakota land. Today, many Indigenous people from throughout the state, including Dakota and Ojibwe (ooj-jib-way), call the Twin Cities home; we also recognize this acknowledgment is not enough.

We commit to uprooting the legacy and perpetuation of structural violence deeply embedded within the healthcare system. We recognize inequities built by past and present traumas rooted in white supremacy, colonialism, the gender binary, ableism, and all forms of oppression. As we enter this profession with opportunity for growth, we commit to promoting a culture of anti-racism, listening, and amplifying voices for positive change. We pledge to honor all Indigenous ways of healing that have been historically marginalized by Western medicine. Knowing that health is intimately connected to our environment, we commit to healing our planet and communities.

 We vow to embrace our role as community members and strive to embody cultural humility. We promise to continue restoring trust in the medical system and fulfilling our responsibilities as educators and advocates. We commit to collaborating with social, political, and additional systems to advance health equity. We will learn from the scientific innovations made before us and pledge to advance and share this knowledge with peers and neighbors. We recognize the importance of being in community with and advocating for those we serve.

There are the usual arguable claims, which should not be professed or vowed by the students or foisted on them by the dean and fifteen vocal students. The claims include these:

  1. The implication that the original owners of the school’s land was the Dakota people. (Note that the oath says that acknowledgement is “not enough,” but what else will they do for the Dakota people? Will they give the land back, or compensate the original owners? There is no vow to do either.)
  2. Inequities in medicine are not just rooted in past forms of oppression, but are ongoing, and reflect white supremacy as well as other forms of bigotry.
  3. There is “structural violence deeply embedded in the healthcare system”.  What, exactly, do they mean by “structural violence”?
  4. There is a “gender binary” that causes further traumas. I think they’re referring to the “sex binary”, which is real. Few people assert that there is a “gender” binary when “gender” is construed as a person’s sociosexual role.
  5. The students will “honor all Indigenous ways of healing that have been historically marginalized by Western medicine.”  ALL OF THEM?  There are a million of them if you count all forms of indigenous healing overtaken by Western medicine. Yes, a few of these treatments may be efficacious, but almost none have been subject to scientific testing using the gold standard of double-blind treatment.  “Honoring” a form of pre-scientific healing simply because it’s was practiced by indigenous people is ludicrous. Certainly you shouldn’t disparage the people themselves who use such healing, as the treatments were developed outside of science, but you shouldn’t honor all the ways of healing themselves. Most of them don’t accomplish anything; what kind of “honor” does that deserve?
  6. The rest of the oath is boilerplate social-justice jargon, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but this is an ideological/political pledge, not a medical-school pledge. As FIRE notes in its article, this is a form of compelled speech that many of the students might not agree with, but are nevertheless force to give fealty to.

Now many of you can say—and this is likely true—that the social-justice aspects of this pledge are meaningless, and the students don’t have to live up to them.  Nor do the students have to consider shamanism, chanting, herbs, and so on as worthy of “honor.”  (These, by the way, were not historically “marginalized” by Western medicine, but were replaced by scientifically-based treatments because those treatments work.)

If, as the students also pledged, they will “restore trust in the medical system,” they can begin by refusing to honor traditional treatments that don’t work. It is no dishonor to indigenous people to reject methods they developed in the absence of science. I suspect it is the “progressiveness” of this oath that has led to widespread ridicule against it and perhaps to the disappearance of Robert Englander’s bio.

Now on to FIRE, which has legal objections to this oath. Their main objection is that this is not only compelled speech—making students swear to something that they disagree with and is not a requirement of the profession—but also that, in the future, students could be punished for failing to adhere to what they’ve sworn. This is not a fanciful scenario:

From the FIRE article:

FIRE respects students’ rights to express their views. But because only a small committee of all new students penned the statement, some of the other several-hundred students may have been compelled to express that handful of classmates’ opinions as their own. (It’s unclear whether any students dissented and, if so, whether they could opt out.)

We’re also concerned that these subjectively squishy commitments could become de facto professionalism requirements, and that students could be punished for failing to uphold them. For example, what must a medical student do to adequately practice “anti-racism”? And whatever that may be, if she does not (as UMMS understands that term), could she be dismissed for violating her oath? What if she refuses to take the oath in the first place?

FIRE has certainly seen administrators of professional programs in medicinedentistrylaw — even mortuary science — who deployed ambiguous “professionalism” standards to punish students for otherwise protected speech.

. . .More than 10% of the campus-related cases in which FIRE intervenes now concern requirements that students and faculty demonstrate their DEI commitments or contributions, or personally make land acknowledgements.

Again, while universities, students, and faculty are free to encourage or promote DEI-type values, forcing others to say they believe in these concepts is not only contrary to many universities’ legal obligations — but violates their moral obligations, too.

Consider: Even students or faculty who broadly agree with a university’s stance on DEI may believe, for example, that land acknowledgements are merely performative. Or a faculty member who studies race and gender may have highly nuanced views on DEI not reflected by the university’s stance. Students, likewise, may disagree with other aspects of a given DEI pledge.

Medical students possibly being made to read verbatim from ideological pledges if they wish to become physicians would be a new low.

I’d add that surely a lot of the students forced to say that they’ll honor all indigenous methods of healing “historically marginalized by Western medicine” certainly don’t believe that, but are nevertheless forces to vow it.  How many of those reciting students accept the curative powers of, say, shamanic rituals?

Here is the summary of the objections in the letter written by Zachary Greenberg, FIRE’s Senior Program Officer for Campus Rights Advocacy, went to Jakub Tolar, the Dean of the Medical School, as well as to the school’s President and General Counsel:

While UMMS may encourage students to adopt these views, the First Amendment bars the university from requiring them to do so. The First Amendment protects not only the right to speak, but the right to refrain from speaking. Requiring new students to “vow” or “commit” to contested political viewpoints violates students’ clear expressive rights, is inconsistent with the role of the university as a bastion of free inquiry, and cannot be enforced at a public institution.

UMMS can require students to adhere to established medical standards, but this authority cannot be abused to demand allegiance to prescribed ideological views—even ones that some students do indeed hold. Specifically, UMMS may not compel students to recite a land acknowledgment, commit to “uprooting the legacy and perpetuation of structural violence deeply embedded within the healthcare system,” or “promote[e] a culture of anti-racism.” Nor may it force students to express a commitment to “embody cultural humility,” or “advance health equity.” Even if written by a group of students, UMMS may not subsequently require all students adhere to these views.

Because students may reasonably perceive recitation of this oath as mandatory, FIRE calls on UMMS to make clear that students may refuse to say it without penalty, and that students will not have to affirm any political viewpoints as a condition of their continued education at the school.

We request receipt of a response to this letter no later than the close of business on October 20, 2022.

My prediction? UMMS will not reply. Will there then be a lawsuit? I don’t think so—unless they find medical students injured by professing what they don’t believe, and what medical student would be plaintiff to such a suit?  But I do think that in future years the school will refrain from such over-the-top vows.

60 thoughts on “Minnesota medical students take ideological oath including, among other things, to “honor all indigenous ways of healing”

  1. Probably the most depressing mantra you’ll hear all year, and universally applicable:
    “Always a disappointment; never a surprise.”

    1. UMN? On the line of always a disappointment, never a surprise, could this be the work of a certain rogue biology professor from an outlying campus?

  2. “… not enough.”

    A common theme – one wonders if one day there will be enough. You know, since we already have tons of all that medicine stuff.

    One wonders as well if this is honoring all the tribes, or just the ones that survived, having outcompeted the ones that never made it. I mean, are those the only original H. sapiens in the Dakotas?

    I suppose the students can simply mouth the word “watermelon” over the parts they feel aren’t appropriate for a medical school.

    1. or just the ones that survived, having outcompeted the ones that never made it.

      I think the word you’re looking for isn’t “outcompeted”, it’s “killed”.
      Or is that an un-word these days?

  3. [ can’t resist – I have to check this again ]

    Bicuspid – two cusps
    Bivalve – two valves
    Binary -from Late Latin binarius “consisting of two,”

    https://www.etymonline.com/word/binary?ref=etymonline_crossreference

    So “the valve binary”, “the true-false binary”, or “the left-right binary” would make some sense.

    “Binary” without a noun refers to – I suppose two-fold symmetry or pairs.

    I thought “nary” meant number, but apparently not. Learn something new every day.

    1. “Binary” is an adjective: binary number; binary star. I think it’s the fault of us computer people that it has been nouned. i.e. we are too lazy to say the whole of “binary number”.

      Gender is a noun. So why do we not say “binary gender” or “binary sex”?

      1. Mmm. I’m fine if they call it a “binary star”, “binary asteroid”, etc. there’s no strain on the meaning. My tiny syllogismoid approach :

        Bicuspid
        Bivalve
        Binary
        Bisex
        Bigender

        … would suggest that all should be sound. But I’ve found a fly in the ointment with binary itself – vis á vis the other “bi-” words. “Code” and “number” must be added so we know we are talking about a “binary code” or “binary number”. “Binary” itself seems to float in the breeze. I plan to go ask some area linguists or etymologists about the Latin origin and the extant or new words.

  4. This is disgusting. Forcing people to declare belief in falsehoods is truly a disgrace and, is perhaps, illegal.

    I’m as much incensed by the claim that there is “structural violence deeply embedded in the healthcare system” as I am about the indigenous ways of healing nonsense. Really? My maternal grandfather was a medical doctor in a rural county that had only two doctors. He went out at night on horseback to sit with patients so they wouldn’t be alone when they died. He vaccinated children against polio, smallpox and, later, measles, so they could reach adulthood. He provided medical care to poor people, accepting payment in the form of vegetables from their farms so that they would have a sense of dignity in being able to pay for their medical services.

    There were countless doctors like my grandfather and, today, there are countless doctors who perform the 21st century equivalent, doctors with compassion who genuinely care for the well-being of their patients. Structural violence? Is that really how we are to think of the medical profession today? Is it really how we want newly minted doctors to launch their careers, stating demeaning oaths that are full of falsehoods? Is self-loathing really a job requirement for tomorrow’s doctors?

    1. You query

      I’m as much incensed by the claim that there is “structural violence deeply embedded in the healthcare system” as I am about […]

      And in the same paragraph recount a deeply egregious example of structural violence in the health-profit system :

      He vaccinated children against polio, smallpox and, later, measles,

      Truly the teaching of irony must have been dead in the Americas for a long time.
      And who gave you the right to assume that your mother was “maternal”, or even a woman? That’s gender-assumption of the worst sort.
      The pick-up crew from the re-education camp and Soylent Green factory will be around soon. Don’t bother packing.

    2. The Hippocratic Oath is voluntary.
      I never took it, but always lived up to it.
      An MD should help people, regardless of race, ethnicity sex, gender sexual orientation, criminal record , etc. I’ve been treating prisoners, victims and people in witness protection programs. You do not want to know what crime the felons have committed, for victims you want to know what happened, not really why.
      There is a beautiful film about a female brain surgeon who fails to save her rapist’s life and gets accused of doing that on purpose. Sadly I can’t remember the name of the film though.

      That ‘updated’ Hippocratic Oath is ridiculous.

      1. Much of the Hippocratic Oath is a valuable statement of professional obligations and boundaries that doctors must observe in return for the privilege of self-regulation. You must keep secrets that patients tell you, treat all, friend and foe alike, according to your ability, and must not exploit them for your gain or the gain of third parties including family members. In my opinion, the Oath does not prohibit abortion or [Edit: consensual] euthanasia per se, any more than not “cutting for stone” prohibits modern doctors from practicing surgery. The big problem with the Oath is that it requires swearers to keep professional secrets and teach the art only to sons (or daughters if you like) of those who taught us, which flies in the face of scientific obligations and the meritocracy.

        What an oath must not do is obligate a practitioner, on pain of professional sanction, to a particular political or ideological viewpoint, as the UMMS oath does. This is wrong on its face, as is the obligation to support unscientific beliefs and superstitions in medical practice.

        P.S. The time for oaths is at graduation, which happens just before the graduates receive their licenses to practice as interns/residents on the supervised educational register. Only then should they be called “Doctor” in the hearing of patients or nurses.

  5. Pure performance art. If one of these students gets cancer, are they going to get chemo, or trust the “indigenous ways of healing”?

    Do indigenous peoples actually feel good when subjected to such tokenism? Do woke people actually think such patronizing behavior is helping these peoples?

    1. Chemo, please, with a side dish of humour. During my first experience with chemo, a nurse enquired about exercise. at some point shortly after I joked to my wife, sitting faithfully next to the Big Red Uncomfortable Recliner of Fate, that “my body was a temple.” As quick as a flash, the nurse rejoined “Looks like the Temple of Doom from here” and then started blushing and apologising. We assured her she had made our day, and indeed she did. Things like that, and a bucketful of ondansetron, make chemo quite pleasant, even when they come at you with the Red Death.

      1. “As quick as a flash, the nurse rejoined “Looks like the Temple of Doom from here” and then started blushing and apologising.”

        LOL, very funny. You wrote “first experience with chemo”…did you suffer a relapse? Hope all is well with you : )

    2. > Do indigenous peoples actually feel good when subjected to such tokenism?

      I’ve seen that in some regions – specifically the North Africa and Western Asia, where several of my friends work in the medical profession. Any locals with enough money still go to a Western-trained doctor, but both the patients and the doctors give ‘local knowledge’ cursory lip service the whole time. The patients who don’t know any better, or who can’t afford any better, end up with a confusing and contradictory blend of ‘treatments’ rooted in various decades and cultures.

  6. I’m curious to see which public colleges and/or universities will begin to market their campuses as “woke-free” in attempt to grow enrollments. Seems like a reasonable way to differentiate a school in a competitive market. Of course, they’d still have to maintain a campus culture of open discussion where ideas of social justice can be aired and debated, but as a marketing strategy, it has potential.

  7. Doctor: “You have sleep apnea, so I’m going to write you a prescription for a dreamcatcher. Hang it over your bed.

  8. I always tend to think, if the old ways of healing worked, it wouldn’t have been necessary to come up with the new ways of healing.

    1. In one sentence you’ve summed up pretty much the entire logic of drug (and other “treatment” options – surgery; “talking therapies”; taking a week at a state-supported spa [footnote]…) testing : measure the results of a suitably large cohort of cases, and if the “new treatment” produces better results than the previous default (or best) treatment, that is likely to become the new default treatment.
      [footnote] Popular with those arch-rationalists and poetic dreamers on one side or the other sides of the French-German border.

  9. I am increasingly distressed by the land acknowledgement statements preceding any academic meetings of our regional medical associations. It seems that any university-affiliated speakers are required to comment on who owns the local real estate in order to get on with their talks or rounds. None of them, as far as I can tell, are willing to surrender their multi-million dollar homes to the local indigenous elders. It strikes me as nothing more than hypocritical virtue signalling without any real substance.

    Our Provincial medical college, (College of Physicians of BC) signs off all of its correspondence with the following statement:
    “The College is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations.”

    The college building is located in downtown Vancouver on some of the most expensive real estate in North America. I don’t see any evidence of any intention to give that back.

    Calling out these speakers or institutions for their obvious hypocrisy and their overly simplistic position on a complex issue is not an option; unless, one is willing to be publicly scourged and shamed out of the room.

    I fear that continuing to make these vacuous statements without any intention to right the perceived wrongs, risks motivating our indigenous people to stop waiting and to feel justified in taking it back by force.

    1. Why stop there?

      How about the land where the tarmacs are? Surely someone owned that land.

      How about the oceans where the crude oil was extracted?

      How about the hospital where the speaker was born? Surely they were using land that didn’t belong to them.

      How about the farm land where their meals came from?

      It’d be easier to start like this :

      “Thank you for the introduction. Let us pray. [ head bow in reverent silence ]”

    2. “I am increasingly distressed by the land acknowledgement statements preceding any academic meetings of our regional medical associations.”

      I just want one indigenous person to jump up during one of these “acknowledgements” and say “right then, so you’ll be giving back all of this land now? When can we move back in?”

      1. When can we move back in?

        After the demolition rubble has been removed from the native soil we were evicted from? We don’t want your concrete and bricks.

    3. I think if the eventuality in your last paragraph came to pass, the United States would invade us, so as not to have to deal with a failed state on its long undefended northern border.

  10. This “white coat” nonsense irritates me. In the UK, you do two years (maybe three if an ‘intercalated’ degree is on offer) of intensive preclinical study before you don a white coat—with no ceremony, merely a nod from the little man in the laundry— for a further three years. During my final year I did, as was normal, an ‘elective’ period of three months study outside the normal parameters. I did it at a teaching hospital in north America, To save the embarrassment of the guilty, I won’t say where, but second year students were poncing around with tiny Boston Bags and introducing themselves to patients as ‘Doctor So-and-So’. My jaw dropped. I was taught to say I was a student and would the patient consent to help me with my studies? Oaths? I’ll give you a few! We had no silly nonsense about oaths at the outset, merely congratulations from the dean, who indicated we had done the difficult part by getting in, and that if we behaved ourselves and worked honestly then qualification was pretty much a given. The Hippocratic Oath was not mentioned once during medical school, and at that time was not administered to anyone, anywhere in the UK. It was a curiosity from antiquity, no more. “I shall not give a pessary etc.” I believe it has been reintroduced in a few places as some kind of theatrics, but if you read it, you wouldn’t want it to guide your doctors. An oath in which you promise to do nothing to aid the termination of pregnancy in any circumstance? Not for me, nor for my patients.

    Quite frankly, the only thing that beginning medical students should be told is that they must come to terms with the fact that it will take thirty years or so before they stop killing people through ignorance, and yet they must continue to work and do their duties no matter how much this might distress them. And after that point they must guard against killing people through laziness and disinterest. If they are very lucky they will retire without a legal action against them, and if luckier still, with the good opinion of the public they served. They should be told they can expect to make an adequate living, but that they have come to the wrong place to get rich. Most of all, they are about to be initiated into a restricted club of honoured individuals who will be given access to the lives and bodies of others. They will be given insights unavailable to others, and they must learn wisdom from them, and not disclose what they see. It is not, as you might gather, something to entrust to the callow, the immature and the stupid. No wonder we have no idea how to pick suitable people to become medical students!

    1. Are any interns, residents – whatever their moniker in the UK – (like their confreres in the US) taking umbrage at having to actually show up on time for hospital rounds?

      1. Housemen and registrars. I am given to believe that since the European Working Time Directive, they barely show up at all. Not that there is the American surgical culture of showing up for rounds at 6am in those parts. I’m going by what I’ve heard, since I moved to Canada in 1985.

    2. Excellent! I totally agree. I’m a practicing MD, and I much prefer your “oath” above to the bilge spouted by the UMMS students.

  11. Can we expect UMMS physicians to also honor ways of healing that were Indigenous to Europe in the middle ages, such as astrology, charms, and bloodletting by leeches?

    At a serious level, it would be worth inquiring into the origin of this particular white coatery. One would like to know more, not only about Associate Dean Englander, but also about what Med School offices were involved in creating and pushing the new oath’s wording. If the UMMS is like others I know, it is well furnished with offices for the Promotion of DEI Virtue and the Prevention of non-DEI Vice.

    1. In woke-speak there was no such thing as an “indigenous” population of Europe. Because that would be white, and “indigenous” is an antonym of “white”. It’s only non-whites and their myths that get dignified by the label “indigenous”.

      1. Just wait until people start claiming that white (White?) people are not indigenous to Europe. Look how easy it would be to frame the idea that the Neandertals are indigenous Europeans, and Aryans moved into Europe, colonized, and extincted them (yep, ‘extinct’ is a verb). We see similar word games when talking about other regions where there have been multiple waves of colonization (how the ‘native’ Japanese treat the … native-er Ainu, as well as the waves of colonists in Britain decimating and absorbing the Celts…). And then there was the colonization of Greenland by North Americans and Europeans, both in a similar timeframe… And the Maori only colonized New Zealand 150 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

        The whole question of indigeneity is an exercise in goalpost-moving. Did someone’s ancestors have to live there in 1492? In 1 BCE? When? And what about itinerant populations?

        1. The population of Europe has turned over many times. We know a lot about it thanks to Svante Paabo and his associates.

          Neanderthals were the original humans of Europe. They were replaced by an out of Africa expansion (these indigenous people had dark skin and light eyes – ancient DNA tells us so). Then came the farmers from the fertile crescent beginning ~10,000 ya. Followed by people from the Eurasian Steppe who quickly rolled over Europe ~5,000 ya – possibly assisted by plague they brought or that cleared the way. These four groups are the major contributors to present day European DNA. This says nothing of the minor turnovers involving Romans, Goths, Vandals, Vikings, Celts, Picts, French, English, etc., etc.

          1. Neanderthals were the original humans of Europe. They were replaced by an out of Africa expansion . . . .”

            Were the Neaderthals no less an out of Africa expansion?

            1. Neanderthal ancestry originated in Africa – Homo Erectus is an ancestor to al humans, archaic and modern. But the out of Africa event leading to Neanderthals and Denisovans was at least half a million years before the one by Homo sapiens. Where the evolution to archaic humans took place is controversial, but that it happened in Eurasia is the most prevalent theory.

              Of course all science is subject to correction (as is second hand recounting by non-experts like me), but paleo-genetics is extremely young and we can expect new evidence and theories at any time.

          2. All continents except Australia and partly the Americas had many turnovers.
            The people “from the Eurasian steppe” were themselves Europeans. The part of the Eurasian steppe they came from is normally called Eastern Europe, indeed, much of it is now Ukraine. I assume the early papers on the subjects obfuscatingly and imprecisely called this “Eurasian steppe” to avoid being called racists (Aryans=Europeans was an uncomfortable truth). The early farmers who came to Europe have been localized to Western Anatolia, directly adjacent to Europe. The farmer impact was strongest and the Eastern European Steppe impact weakest in the Mediterranean. Central, Northern and Eastern Europeans still have a heavy genetic imprint of mesolithic Europeans.
            “Indigenous” really makes sense only in the sense of “a population with a premodern lifestyle who speaks a different language/is of a different ethnicity from the of the state they reside in, and was incorporated in the state without having been asked”

            1. The people “from the Eurasian steppe” were themselves Europeans.

              The people who replaced much of the European population ~5000 years ago were of the Yamnaya culture. Before expanding over Europe their homeland was in Eurasia, specifically an area stretching across the Europe/Asia boundary, north of the Black and Caspian Seas. Accuracy, not political correctness, is the reason for referring to the Eurasian Steppe. Yamnaya DNA can be distinguished from early hunter-gatherer and Anatolian farmer DNA.

          3. Neanderthals were the original humans of Europe.

            That’s … pretty unlikely.
            Neanderthals comprise the oldest genetically-identified remains in Europe. but there are skeletal fossils (“Swanscombe Man“, who was probably a woman) and trace fossils (Happisburg) from the previous interglacial which can’t be clearly identified as Neanderthal, H.sapiens sapiens, or H.erectus, but from their age – 400kyr old and more – they’re more likely to be erectus than anything else.
            There was this pesky glaciation thing that wiped out most of the record from north of the Alps. That doesn’t mean there weren’t people living in Europe before the last glacial period, just that we haven’t found clear evidence of them. Yet.

            (these indigenous people had dark skin and light eyes – ancient DNA tells us so)

            One such example being “Cheddar Man”, skeletal remains found in what is now a show cave in Cheddar Gorge, SW England. There was a modest amount of foaming at the mouth, wailing and gnashing of teeth from the racist bigots of Olde Englandshire when those results came out in the mid-20-zeros. (Most of the bigots couldn’t read well enough to know about it though.)

            possibly assisted by plague they brought

            They, or their farm animals. Not that it matters that much.

        2. Ukraine officially recognizes the Crimean Tatars as the indigenous people of Crimea, even though they arrived there in the Middle Ages as conquerors and one of their main occupations was trading in (white European) slaves they caught in raids, and then sold to the Ottomans.

          1. Oh, so they took over from the Scandinavian slave traders operating on the same route? (As well as down the Iberian coast into the Med.)

    2. “Promotion of DEI Virtue and the Prevention of non-DEI Vice.”
      Brilliant, Joe, top notch. I intend to steal it – like a thief. 🙂
      D.A.
      NYC

    3. Modern medicine is the indigenous healing of Europe. It was mostly developed by people who are indigenous to Europe and people who are indigenous to Europe but who have colonised other continents. The only reason why it works and other indigenous healing systems mostly don’t is that Europeans were the first ones to come up with the idea of testing it.

  12. Western medicine has learned many (if not most) of its traditional healing practices were ineffective to downright lethal. For example, the neuro toxin mercurous chloride is no longer used in medicine, though it is used as an insecticide. George Washington was likely killed by doctors who drained half his blood attempting to cure his pneumonia.

    It’s not only dangerous to promote “ways of healing” we know to be quackery, but condescending – like a pat on the head.

    1. Not so simple, as per this old chemistry rhyme.

      “Auntie Jane fed Baby Nell
      What she thought was calomel.
      But alas what Baby ate
      Was instead corrosive sublimate.

      Not much difference I confess.
      Just one electron, and one baby, less.”

  13. It’s funny how the wheel turns and turns, over time.

    Rousseau’s notion of the “noble savage” was, not so long ago, excoriated by those currently susceptible to “wokism” as grossly offensive.

    Now, we’re supposed to pretend that all things “indigenous” are gloriously equal, or superior, to the crass “achievements” of Western “civilization.”

    Now *that’s* offensive. It’s a mirror image of tarnishing a large group of people as inferior.

  14. Funny, I don’t see anything in the oath about treating, healing, or curing. Nothing about doctoring at all, really.

  15. These kids are just idiots, and the adults in the room should just say “no”. Medical education is about learning evidence-based knowledge and learning how to apply such knowledge to better the health of their patients. The teachers in medical schools need to speak up and criticize this kind of thing. Don’t be mean to the medical students, but have enough respect for them that you don’t refuse to train them.

    Say an indigenous practice involves cutting the aorta to allow evil spirits to escape. Should the attending physicians thank these kids for telling them about this practice and then stand idly by while the students actually do it? Why is there even a committee to come up with a new oath? Don’t ask them what they want in these kinds of things! They don’t know enough to be writing an oath.

    1. I can’t see an indigenous practice being so obviously as bad as cutting a patient’s aorta. I think, for any practice, there has to be, at least, some chance of recovery. Blood letting might be a better example.

    1. Well?

      They are probably historically centered peoples, having benefited the most from available care.

      Historically marginalized peoples will not have had such free access, and are hurt and harmed by lack of medicine, on a generation-over-generation basis.

      And there is only so much medicine to go around at any given time. Just think of what we learned from 2020. There is a case to be made that historically marginalized peoples need it more.

      So an antiracist policy would be forgoing medical care such that historically marginalized peoples get it instead.

      1. I would argue that, in the USA, the historically marginalised people are poor people of all races. So even if you were planning to do something like that, you wouldn’t call it “anti racism”.

        Furthermore – and I apologise if I am mischaracterising your argument – denying somebody treatment in the future because some other people in a different category were denied it in the past is morally repugnant. If you have to deny somebody medical treatment due to lack of resources, you should base your choice on the circumstances of those people and not on any ideology.

        1. I was arguing as a Devil’s advocate – or is it straw man – Halloween messes with my outlook.

          I took Kendi’s antiracist policy v. racist policy rhetoric and tried it here. Presumably that is what the speaker means – to counteract racism with a antiracist policies.

          As you point out – we need to know who the racists are – presumably to fulfill the objective of antiracism.

          I brought in some familiar terms I heard recently, to see how it works – the “historically marginalized”.

          I find it funny how it takes some thinking to grasp that historically marginalized people include “whites” – in particular, the poor (as you immediately pointed out). Are whites racist? One wonders, with writing like Robin DiAngelo’s.

          Anyway, I tried that augmentation out – as an exercise – I’ll find something else to do now.

  16. the offical page of the univeristy has the oath they really took hidden but the one that looks nice and normal you can access, nothing to see here move along eh?

Leave a Reply