Search Results for "egnor"

Jun 27 2011

Egnor Is Back

Remember Michael Egnor – the creationist neurosurgeon who made a second career out of embarrassing himself with nonsensical blog posts over at the DiscoTute’s blog, Evolution News and Views? His crowning achievement on this score, in my opinion, was his argument that if evolution were true brain cancer should result in improvements in the brain.

I haven’t heard from Egnor in a while, but now I learn that he has his own blog, called “Egnorance.” The name is a nice touch on his part – some bloggers have been using the term “egnorance” to refer to Egnor’s particular brand of nonsense. It is sometimes successful to take a term meant to be derisive and adopt it as your own in order to turn it around. At the least it can take the wind out of the sails of your critics. Unfortunately, the content of the blog is a bad as ever.

This came to my attention because Egnor wrote a blog post responding to my recent post about Michele Bachmann’s creationist stance. Egnor (true to his style) thought he could get a blog post out of my use of the term “creationist” by projecting his own intellectual dishonesty. Egnor does provide an excellent example of the apologist form – exploiting any vagueness in meaning to create confusion and the appearance of sinister intent on the part of those with whom he disagrees.

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Apr 13 2010

Quietus and Homeopathy Awareness Week

This is homeopathy awareness week – and like some other science bloggers I want the public to be as aware of homeopathy as possible. I want the public to be aware of the fact that homeopathy is based upon the “law of similars” – which is nothing more than the ancient superstition of sympathetic magic. I want the public to be aware of the fact that most homeopathic solutions are diluted far past the point where there is likely to be a single molecule of active ingredient left – and therefore claims for the homeopathic “law of infinitesimals” violates the law of mass action and the laws of thermodynamics.

I also do not want to silence homeopaths, as some have suggested. I want them to speak for themselves – every time a homeopath opens their mouth they make my job easier. Right now Dana Ullman, the ultimate online homeopathy apologist, is spewing incoherent nonsense in the comments at Science-Based Medicine. You also have to see Dr. Warner’s brilliant explanation for how homeopathy works (every time someone watches this video Einstein’s corpse cries.)

And now John Benneth is becoming the energizer bunny of hilarious YouTube videos. Seriously, this is beyond parody. Nothing’s better than homeopathy explained by a raving…well, take a look for yourself. I am slightly embarrassed to have Benneth as my new nemesis. I preferred Egnor – at least he was coherent at times and didn’t come off as a drunk who just rolled out of bed. With Egnor you could play “Spot the Logical Fallacy” and it would be challenging at times. Benneth makes it too easy.

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Jan 08 2010

Ray Tallis on Consciousness

Published by under Skepticism

Raymond Tallis is an author and polymath; a physician, atheist, and philosopher. He has criticized post-modernism head on, so he must be all right.

And yet he takes what I consider to be a very curious position toward consciousness. As he write in the New Scientist: You won’t find consciousness in the brain. From reading this article it seems that Tallis is a dualist in the style of Chalmers – a philosopher who argues that we cannot fully explain consciousness as brain activity, but what is missing is something naturalistic – we just don’t know what it is yet.

Tallis has also written another article arguing that Darwinian mechanisms cannot explain the evolution of consciousness. Curiously, he does not really lay out an alternative, leading me to speculate what he thinks the alternative might be.

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Dec 09 2009

Some Craziness from the Disco-Tute

Published by under Creationism/ID

After writing my weekly post for science-based medicine, I decided to check out the rantings over at the Discovery Institute’s blog, the grossly misnamed Evolution News & Views. This anti-science propaganda blog offers a “target-rich environment” for skeptics – so much so that I must resist being drawn into their black hole of pseudoscience and maddening illogic. <obscure Star Trek reference>They could fry Norman in a nanosecond. </obscure Star Trek reference> (btw – if you combine a computer geek and Star Trek geek joke in one sentence, you get double points, sort of like scrabble.)

My problem is that the nonsense is so thick over there that it is a bit overwhelming. So I’m just going to do a quick fly-by of some of their posts.

Egnor is Back

My favorite creationist neurosurgeon, Michael Egnor, is back with a vengeance. He has written 27 blog entries in the last two weeks all about ClimateGate. Wow – I guess he has some time on his hands. These are among the most shrill and ridiculous opinions I have seen expressed on this issue, amid stiff competition. He writes:
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Nov 17 2009

Some Muddled Thinking from Bill Maher

Published by under Pseudoscience

Bill Maher has been getting a lot of heat lately and seems to be getting a bit defensive. He was particularly stung by Michael Shermer’s open letter in which Dr. Shermer thought it necessary to give Maher a basic lesson in germ theory.

Unfortunately, Maher has responded not by thoughtfully engaging his critics, but with a rambling defensive diatribe in which he simultaneously protests the criticism pointed his way while repeating and amplifying the pseudoscientific nonsense that garnered criticism in the first place.

Maher presents what we call a target rich environment for skepticism, so I don’t think I will be able to address every point, but I will hit the highlights.

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Apr 14 2009

Controversy Over Strengths and Weaknesses

Published by under Evolution

The strategy du jour of those who wish to water down the teaching of evolution, or to insert their religious creationist ideology as much as possible into the science classroom, is to ask, under the banner of “academic freedom” that schools teach the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, particularly evolution. The Intelligent Design propaganda machine, the Discovery Institute, has been hitting this theme pretty hard. This was also the focus of the recent controversy over the Texas science standards.

Recently Michael Egnor has taken up this banner over at the DicoTute’s blog. He is responding to a blog post by Timothy Sandefur, and in typical fashion Egnor seems to have missed the fact that Sandefur has completely dismantled his position. In Egnor’s latest reply he resorts to his playing of semantic games and grossly misinterprets Sandefur’s position, while whining about his own position being misrepresented.

A Creationist By Any Other Name

The First point of contention is the use of the term “creationist” to refer to Egnor’s position – Egnor has made this complaint about others, including myself. He writes:

The term creationist in this debate refers to young earth creationism. I’m not a young earth creationist. Therefore when Mr. Sandefur calls me a “creationist,” he’s misrepresenting my views.

Egnor completely ignores Sandefur’s actual characterization of his views, and rather focuses on a single term. It seems Egnor has unilaterally (he provides no reference or other justification) and quite arbitrarily decided that henceforth, and retroactively, the term “creationist” only refers to members of one particular subset of creationism formerly known as “young earth creationists”.  Also henceforth the term “bear” will now only refer to black bears, and the literature will be altered to reflect this.

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Feb 25 2009

Egnor Sinks to New Lows

Published by under Evolution

This is low, even for Dr. Michael Egnor, who has been an active apologist for the nonsensical anti-evolution propaganda over at the Discovery Institute. Egnor cannot seem to resist when he thinks he has caught someone in an error, and so he throws whatever faint whisper of logic or scholarship he has overboard (hardly noticeable, really) and sinks to new lows of intellectual buffoonery.

In this case he is responding to my discussion of the evolutionary tree of life – the fact that the fossil record and genetic evidence support the conclusion that all life is related through a pattern of branching descent. He refers to my summary of the current consensus of scientific opinion as an “astonishing gaffe.”

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Feb 21 2009

Mind and Brain on NPR

Published by under Uncategorized

NPR finally aired the segment they recorded with me last month. The segment is called Doubting Darwin: Debate Over The Mind’s Evolution, and features interviews with me and Dr. Egnor. The interviews were recorded separately – it was not a discussion or debate. Of course we are each very familiar with the other’s arguments, and readers of this blog will recognize most of the points made.

The segment was well produced and fair (at least from my perspective, I can’t speak for Dr. Egnor) – they used my points in context, chose reasonably representative segments, and did not sandbag me with counterpoints I was not aware of. (These are all risks when being interviewed, especially by lower quality outlets.)

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Feb 10 2009

Creationists are so unimaginative

Published by under Evolution

Recently, a creationist blogger left the following comment on a recent thread here. He is very long on rhetoric and very short on facts and logic.  He does not raise any new points that have not already been demolished many times over (hence the title of this post). But, this week I want to blog about creation and evolution since it is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species.

Here is the comment, posted under the name “truthseeker” but who blogs under John Andrew.

Dr. Egnor addresses you guys as “Darwinists” because there’s no better name for you. Darwinists are really atheists who justify their atheism by attributing everything but the kitchen sink to Darwin. What other explanation could there be for the manic pursuit of a dogma that is attributed to a mere human being. Darwin was not a god, yet he is revered as such by you guys. As a mere man, he erred. Yet you geniuses seem unwilling to acknowledge that as a possibility. You are unreasonable, and unreasoning. You are incapable of respectful dialogue with those who have differing views. There’s a saying that if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Could that be the reason the evidence SEEMS to stack up in your favor?

I am not a scientist, but I have read a bit, and I am very much interested in evaluating all ideas according to their merit. I have uncovered questions and challenges to the scientist/naturalist/atheist/whateveryouwanttocallyourself dogma. I wrote a series on my blog, and I was challenged a few times. Yet each time I responded with calm reason, asking questions that seemed to challenge Darwinian dogma, my challengers simply disengaged. All they seemed interested in was yelling, cursing, deriding and name-calling. Once I challenged them to defend their positions rationally, they simply disappeared.

Drop on by and take a look. See if you can answer my questions in the spirit of truth-seeking. That means reason with me. If you think I don’t get it, explain it to me. http://andj4613.wordpress.com

Always be suspicious of those who try to grab the mantle of “truth.”  It seems to be a reliable red flag for nonsense.

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Feb 06 2009

Egnor in Forbes on Evolution

Published by under Evolution

Our favorite creationist neurosurgeon, Michael Egnor, has published his ill-informed and logically-challenged opinions on evolution in a business journal. Darwin’s day is just around the corner (February 12th is the 200th anniversary of his birth and this year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of the Species), and so it’s a good time for a creationist smack down. As usual Egnor gets everything wrong. He clearly does not understand evolutionary theory, or simply does not care if his straw men are accurate or not as long as he gets to regurgitate the standard anti-evolution propaganda.

In his article he makes a number of wrong or misleading statements, some in question form. He substitues assertion for evidence, and fallacies for logic. His objections to evolution begin with this:

The fossil record shows sharp discontinuity between species, not the gradual transitions that Darwinism inherently predicts.

Wrong.  First, I must point out that Egnor insists on referring to evolutionary theory as “Darwinism.” As many others have pointed out before, this is a propaganda tactic to attempt to diminish evolutionary theory to the quaint ideas of one guy. It is also misleading, for the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory differs in significant ways from strict Darwinian theory.

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