Search Results for "egnor"

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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Jan 15 2009

I’ll be on NPR

Published by under Uncategorized

Quick note for those who are interested, I will be interviewed on NPR Friday morning 9:30-10:30 Eastern time. The topic will be about dualism and the evolution of human consciousness. They tell me that Michael Egnor may also be on – should be interesting.

Update!

The interview went well, it was a 1 on 1 for about an hour. It was being recorded for future broadcast. I was told it will come out around Darwin’s birthday (Feb 12th) either on Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

As soon as they let me know exactly when I will post another update.

Urgent Update:

This is actually unrelated, but I was asked to be on JPR, a local Oregon NPR affiliate, right now!!!.

That is – 12:00-1:00pm Eastern Today.

You can stream live from here: http://www.ijpr.org/ (go to The Jefferson Exchange under News). Here is the link to the show description: http://www.ijpr.org/ProgramGuide.asp?StationID=3

Download the podcast here (http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=5593976)  – my interview is the second hour.

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Jan 15 2009

Sorry, Egnor, Your Pillars Are Still Shattered

Published by under Uncategorized

Michael Egnor, the creationist neurosurgeon who blogs over at the Discovery Institute, has been a busy beaver lately. He has written several entries on his side of the materialism vs dualism debate we’ve been having. I have been reading them, waiting for him to say something new I need to respond to, but mostly he is just reiterating the same points I have already refuted. Putting an old argument in a new form, or citing a new source, does not change the argument nor is it a response to refutation.

But now he has specifically responded to my previous post on the topic (although still not really addressing my points), and so a response from me is in order.

In a post titled, “It’s Time for Me to Unshatter My “Three Pillars of Neuroscience Denial,” Egnor tried and failed to refute my summary of his core logical fallacies.

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Jan 07 2009

SETI vs Intelligent Design

Published by under Skepticism

Blogging for the Discovery Institute, Michael Egnor repeats the already debunked canard that the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is analogous to the search for Intelligent Design (ID) in nature. This time he is responding to a recent blog entry of mine on SETI. He doesn’t actually respond to any of my points – he is just using my entry as an excuse to repeat the SETI false-analogy.

Egnor writes:

One is struck by SETI supporters’ speculative extravagance. The most cogent critique of SETI, in my view, is that it is akin to an article of faith. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life. SETI is surely a shot in the dark, perhaps literally, but I do believe that it is a worthwhile scientific venture. Methodologically it is certainly science, even good science. The reception of signals with specified complexity or the discovery of artifacts apparently crafted by intelligent non-human agency would be clear evidence for extraterrestrial intelligent agency. Carl Sagan’s example in “Contact” is entirely valid. The reception of a signal repeating prime numbers would be very unlikely to have a non-intelligent natural source, and the most reasonable scientific inference would be that it was generated by extraterrestrial intelligent life.

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