Respectful Insolence

Where’s that Doctor Doom mask again?

As I sat down on the couch in front of the TV last night to do my nightly blogging ritual, trying to tickle the gray matter to come up with the pearls of wisdom or insolence that my readers have come to know and love, I had a fantastic idea for a serious consideration of a question that comes up in the discussion of science and pseudoscience and how to combat pseudoscience. It would be serious and sober. It would be highly relevant to the interests of my readers. It would rival anything I’ve ever written for this blog before.

I ended up writing this instead. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow. Besides, I’ve already done one serious post this week, and it’s only Tuesday.

So what happened? I was perusing the Last 24 Hours feed for ScienceBlogs, out of curiosity over what my fellow ScienceBloggers were up to, and, damn it if PZ didn’t lead me to something horrific. If you thought Gerry Spence’s statements that I “discussed” yesterday were Grade A brain dead dumb, as they say, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The source of this stupidity? It’s someone we’ve met before, although I haven’t written about him in a long time. It’s also about a subject I haven’t written about in a while. Perhaps it’s because it causes me such distress when this particular maven of pseudoscience sticks his foot in his mouth or, even worse, sticks it in some other less tolerable place of his anatomy in his foolishness. Indeed, it’s someone who, because we share a profession, has caused me no end of embarrassment because his every utterance on this particular topic is a profound embarrassment to all surgeons.

That’s right; that creationist neurosurgeon with a penchant for laying down hunks o’ hunks o’ burnin’ stupid on a regular basis, that Energizer Bunny of antievolution nonsense, Dr. Michael Egnor has spouted off on evolution again in a way that got my attention. It came in response to a post by PZ about a conference he attended entitled Understanding evolution: the legacy of Darwin, which served as a launching pad for Dr. Egnor to go right down the rabbit hole:

Re: P.Z. Myers’ recent post:

I’ll be spending my day at this symposium, “Understanding evolution: the legacy of Darwin”, most of today. It’s about to start, so I’m not going to say much before I focus on the lectures, but it is open to the public, so if you’re in the Penn neighborhood, come on down to Claudia Cohen hall, room G17 (which we have since learned is the famous old surgical demonstration auditorium), and listen in. I’ll report later on the contents of the talks.

I’m having trouble finding the program Myers is referring to (why wasn’t I invited!?), but Claudia Cohen Hall is on the medical campus at Penn, so I surmise that the presentations will be on eugenics (apologies for it, I hope), which is Darwin’s only legacy to medicine.

Here we go again. The stupid, it burns. It sears. My neurons are crying out in pain. Once again, Dr. Egnor trots out the tired old “Darwin inevitably leads to eugenics” coupled with his usual claims evolution has contributed nothing–or, as Dr. Egnor says it, nothing!–to medicine. Only Dr. Egnor could come up with something so utterly devoid of understanding, so scientifically ignorant, so full of the arrogance of ignorance. I realize that a certain degree of self-confidence is necessary to be a surgeon, even more so for a neurosurgeon, where the stakes are so high and the penalty for mistakes so dire, but in Dr. Egnor’s case it’s gone far beyond that. He has no clue what he’s talking about, and he is utterly clueless that he has no clue. In fact, that about sums up Dr. Egnor. Worse, he thinks he’s a real cut-up (sorry, couldn’t resist):

But of course eugenics won’t be mentioned, except perhaps brief exculpations (“Eugenics was the misuse of Darwin’s theory by a few rogue geneticists…”). No doubt the talks will be ‘Children Hate Vegetables Because of Ancestral Reproductive Advantage of Avoiding Toxins’ or ‘We Will Evolve Oiler Skin Because of Frequent Bathing’ or ‘X-Linked Color Blindness Evolved to Help Paleolithic Male Hunters See Camouflage.’ Believe it or not, these are actual cutting-edge evolutionary “theories.”

All he’s capable of is mockery. Unfortunately, he has no substantive basis for his mockery; he appears to have only superficially read the essay that he mocks, and he offers not a single substantive rebuttal of any of its contents. It’s probably because he lacks the understanding or imagination. He’s too busy pushing an idea that, when you boil it down to its essence is: If we can’t understand how such-and-such biological structure works, God did it.

Once again, he goes off on the same old BS that he always does when he says:

Darwin’s positive legacy to real medical science is non-existent. Darwinists append vacuous stories to actual scientific advances and claim that Darwinian fables provided indispensable guidance to the scientific breakthrough, when the opposite is true. Microbiologists, molecular geneticists, paleontologists, epidemiologists, etc. do the real science, and evolutionary biologists add the Darwinian narrative gloss. The evolutionary claim — usually part of a press release — is generally ornate (“Evolutionary Saltation Induced by Pleistocene Heterozygote Advantage…” or some such, which always boils down this template:

“Organisms that [insert actual scientific insight] gained reproductive advantage.” Survivors survived.

Get me that Doctor Doom mask again. I’m resisting the urge to slink away in shame once again for the stain of stupidity that Dr. Egnor spreads all over my profession. As a certain New York talk radio host used to like to say, he “couldn’t be more hopelessly wrong.” No matter how many times it’s been explained to him that natural selection explains many things in medicine, including how microbial resistance to antibiotics evolves, how single cancer cells evolve into cancers and develop resistance to chemotherapy, and quite a few other things. Indeed, how desperately Dr. Egnor tries to avoid admitting that evolutionary theory is useful for anything in medicine is pathetic in the extreme. In actuality, evolutionary theory can quantify the reproductive advantage and estimate the expected changes in gene frequency and the rate of alterations of distributions of alleles. Molecular biologists, microbiologists, paleontologists, and epidemiologists do indeed do work that supports evolutionary theory, but it’s not because evolutionists “put an evolutionary gloss” on their work but rather because evolutionary theory makes predictions which require the disciplines of molecular biology, microbiology, paleontology, epidemiology, zoology, and biologists to test. Scientists belonging to these disciplines are needed to test the predictions made by evolutionary theory, and they do. In fact, that lines of evidence from so many different disciplines support it is what makes the theory of evolution one of the best-established, most robust theories in science, if not the best-established, most robust theory. Unfortunately, Dr. Egnor seems willfully blind to this very basic observation.

He’s also willfully blind to the difference between natural and artificial selection:

Darwin’s theory was (and is) indispensable for only one thing in medicine: eugenics. Eugenics is human breeding. Eugenics has been viewed as an imperative (and still is) by many Darwinists, because if the origin of human beings is natural selection (“survival of the fittest”), then human compassion for the weak (i.e. human civilization) impairs natural selection, and a corrective is needed to avert degeneration of our race. If we are evolving animals, then benevolence must be balanced by breeding if our species is to survive. This odious ideology, based on an odious (and scientifically vacuous) assertion that natural selection is the origin of man, is the foundation of eugenics, and is Darwin’s only real legacy to medicine.

Let me repeat it yet one more time: Eugenics is not natural selection. It is artificial selection. Indeed, it is akin to animal breeding to select for desirable traits and breed out undesirable traits. Farmers and horticulturists have realized for centuries, if not millennia, that it is possible to change animals and plants, sometimes radically, through many generations of selective breeding. Indeed, Charles Darwin’s great insight, the reason he is remembered 150 years after he published his theory, is that such alterations in animals occur over many generations through natural selection by the same basic mechanism, as he described in the first chapter of Origin of the Species:

But when we compare the dray-horse and race-horse, the dromedary and camel, the various breeds of sheep fitted either for cultivated land or mountain pasture, with the wool of one breed good for one purpose, and that of another breed for another purpose; when we compare the many breeds of dogs, each good for man in very different ways; when we compare the gamecock, so pertinacious in battle, with other breeds so little quarrelsome, with ‘everlasting layers’ which never desire to sit, and with the bantam so small and elegant; when we compare the host of agricultural, culinary, orchard, and flower-garden races of plants, most useful to man at different seasons and for different purposes, or so beautiful in his eyes, we must, I think, look further than to mere variability. We cannot suppose that all the breeds were suddenly produced as perfect and as useful as we now see them; indeed, in several cases, we know that this has not been their history. The key is man’s power of accumulative selection: nature gives successive variations; man adds them up in certain directions useful to him. In this sense he may be said to make for himself useful breeds.

The great power of this principle of selection is not hypothetical. It is certain that several of our eminent breeders have, even within a single lifetime, modified to a large extent some breeds of cattle and sheep. In order fully to realise what they have done, it is almost necessary to read several of the many treatises devoted to this subject, and to inspect the animals. Breeders habitually speak of an animal’s organisation as something quite plastic, which they can model almost as they please.

The insight that major alterations resulting in an increase in frequency of a trait in a population of organisms can occur through successive generations of cumulative selection in which that trait gives even a slight reproductive advantage. Charles Darwin based his theory by taking his observations of animal breeders and horticulturists and realizing that nature did the same thing in which the selective pressures are unique to the environment and conditions in which organisms find themselves. In fact, as has been pointed out by me and others, if there’s one thing that eugenics can be likened to more than natural selection, it’s intelligent design. After all, it’s the attempt by humans, presumably (albeit not always) intelligent, trying to “design” the perfect human, whatever their idea of “perfect” may be.

Sadly, I’m actually beginning to feel sorry for Dr. Egnor, as he’s becoming more and more incoherent. Look at this last paragraph, if you don’t believe me:

Fairy tales about the origin of illnesses and adaptations are worthless to medicine. The materialistic philosophical basis for Darwinism and the inference that humans evolved by natural selection have been catastrophic to medicine. Any genuine insight claimed by Darwinists, such as the dynamics of antibiotic resistance or of heterozygote advantage in such diseases as sickle cell anemia and malaria, is really gained by the relevant basic sciences (molecular genetics, microbiology, epidemiology), with no need for Darwinian just-so stories. For the past century, Darwin’s only legacy to medicine has been eugenics. Darwinists are hoping that the salient modern human evolutionary adaptation is amnesia.

And apparently Dr. Egnor is hoping that the only salient modern evolutionary adaptation is ignorance. Unfortunately, when it comes to “intelligent design” creationists, he may be right.

Still, it’s pretty depressing to read that last paragraph. It’s a mess. It’s nothing more than a repetition of the same nonsense he’s repeated multiple times not just in other posts for that repository of antiscience, Evolution News & Views, but in this post. He simply asserts once again that evolutionary theory has been “a disaster to medicine” without providing one whit of evidence to support his argument. He tries to dismiss the very real contribution evolutionary biology had to make in understanding why the sickle cell hemoglobin allele is retained in human populations at such a high frequency event though it is so deleterious in homozygotes by attributing the insight to relevant basic sciences, but what led those “relevant basic sciences” to the concept of heterozygote advantage, which states that the sickle cell allele gives a survival advantage to those who possess only one copy because it confers increased resistance to malaria? It was evolutionary theory, of course. (It certainly wasn’t ID.) Ditto bacterial resistance to antibiotics. These are not “just-so” stories. They are instances in which evolutionary theory makes predictions, and, in the case of bacterial resistance and sickle cell disease, biology fits those predictions. Moreover, eugenics was (and is) a misapplication of Darwin’s theory. Attempts to breed humans for specific traits predated Darwin, and eugenics advocates latched on to evolution by natural selection as a justification of a concept that does not require natural selection–just selection.

Of course, the irony of it all is that Dr. Egnor steadfastly refuses to see that eugenics is more consistent with intelligent design, which, alas for him, has yet to make any testable predictions or explain anything about biology.

Now let me go digging in my basement for that Doctor Doom mask again to hide my face in shame as I slink away back to my office.

Comments

  1. #1 Sigmund
    November 25, 2008

    Egnor is rather unique amongst the creationist community in that he has such a commitment to rejecting every aspect of evolutionary theory he actually writes off things like the micro-evolution evident in antibiotic resistant bacteria – a point that even Kent Hovind and Ken Ham accept!

  2. #2 DLC
    November 25, 2008

    If you ask me it’s Egnor who should be required to wear the Dr Doom mask. Or at least a dunce cap.
    New word: Egnorance : one who is willfully ignorant of the theory of Evolution. see ref: Dr. Michael Egnor.

  3. #3 Chad
    November 25, 2008

    Sorry DLC, but “egnorance” has been used around here and other such blogs for a long time now. However, I say continue using it considering Egnor gives the word “ignorance” a bad name.

  4. #4 BobbyEarle
    November 25, 2008

    Egnor has painted himself into one of two corners:

    1. Egnor really does not know any of this (you might need 2
    masks, Orac!), therefore he is completely ignorant.

    2. Egnor really does know this, and must Lie For Jebus,
    therefore he is completely dishonest.

    Pick you poison, Dr. Mike.

  5. #5 Corvus
    November 25, 2008

    I was wondering (with great anticipation) if you’d snag on to that. The eugenics thing is beyond mind-blowing, and so not in a good way.

  6. #6 Zeno
    November 25, 2008

    Say, has “egnorant” become a word yet?

  7. #7 tim gueguen
    November 25, 2008

    Note that Egnor is an anagram for ronge, which he is. The e is of course in this case silent, or however you describe an e after a g not resulting in a soft g sound.

  8. #8 Militant Agnostic
    November 25, 2008

    The Alberta eugenics act (which resulted in the forced sterilization of people considered to metally retarded – many of them weren’t) was passed by the Social Credit government of “Bible Bill” Aberhart – Christian Fundamentalist Creationists all. It was not repealed until 1971 when the Socreds were defeated by the secularist Progressive Conservatives.

    @Bobby Earle – I think it is a combination of both 1 and 2. Egnor is ignorant of much of the Theory of Evolution and lies about the little that he does know.

  9. #9 pinky
    November 25, 2008

    Now I am totally frightened. I just had spine surgery. I should have asked my surgeon what he thought of Darwin.

  10. #10 Dangerous Bacon
    November 25, 2008

    Idea for a column – proposed candidates for a physicians’ Hall of Shame, based on the disrepute they have brought to their profession by espousing quackery and woo.

    It could be arranged by specialty, in which case poor Dr. Egnor would not deserve top billing (Lorraine Day gets strong consideration in the surgeon category):

    http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/day.html

    Physicians’ Hall of Shame Induction Day has potential for a national event with appropriate press coverage (we need a replacement for Mr. Blackwell and his Worst-Dressed list).

  11. #11 Graculus
    November 25, 2008

    OT: But your Technorati tag keeps puking in my browser, trying to load something I have forbidden.

  12. #12 Prometheus
    November 25, 2008

    Leaving aside the ethics of eugenics – which evolutionary theory does not address – Dr. Egnor apparently doesn’t realize that evolutionary theory – in its broadest sense – shows us that eugenics won’t even work.

    Assuming that most traits that the eugenicists want to eliminate are recessive (which is generally true) and relatively rare (ditto), the only way to eliminate them (or even to reduce their frequency within a reasonable amount of time) is to “eliminate” not only the people with trait but also the much larger number (200 times larger, in a recessive trait that affects 1 in 10,000 people) of people who carry the trait.

    Sterilizing or murdering the 1 in 10,000 people who manifest a “genetically inferior” trait is ghastly enough; doing the same to the 1 in 50 who carry the trait is beyond what even the most ruthless tyrant could accomplish.

    However, even if a tyrant were ruthless enough to carry out such a massive genocide, they still couldn’t eliminate the trait, since – as current evolutionary theory shows – spontaneous mutations would keep the trait in the population despite such draconian measures.

    In fact, many of the disorders and traits that eugenicists would like to eliminate are spontaneous mutations that are not seen in the parents either phenotypically or on examination of their DNA. Ultimately, eugenics falls apart in the face of what we know about evolution.

    Additionally, evolutionary theory shows us that many of the traits that the eugenicists would like to eliminate are responsible – in combination with other genes – for useful and valuable human skills and abilities. As one evolutionary biologist once said to me, “If we eliminated all mental disorders, we would end up with a race of accountants and bank managers.”

    That Dr. Egnor is ignorant of this is, of course, not at all surprising – he has made a career of his ignorance of evolutionary science.

    It is time that people learn that – far from encouraging or even supporting the aims of the eugenicists – evolutionary theory shows that eugenics is ultimately futile.

    Prometheus

  13. #13 Joe
    November 25, 2008

    Orac wrote “Sadly, I’m actually beginning to feel sorry for Dr. Egnor, as he’s becoming more and more incoherent.”

    I have the same feeling about HIV-denialist Peter Duesberg. I felt bad as I read his papers chronologically- there must be a psychiatric diagnosis. Please, readers, don’t think I am being dismissive or insulting; psychiatric disorders are as real as broken bones.

  14. #14 Sigmund
    November 25, 2008

    Prometheus said “he has made a career of his ignorance of evolutionary science.”
    Not quite true.
    Egnor has made a career as a surgeon, and as far as we can tell he’s been pretty good at that job. His anti-evolution stance is fairly recent, within the past three or four years or so. We have to be careful about not over-emphasizing the importance of evolutionary theory to every job related to biology. There are quite a few medics and surgeons in the US that are creationists like Egnor and it doesn’t seem to affect their ability to do those particular jobs in the same way it would affect, say, a high school biology teacher or a genomics researcher.
    I even knew one anti-evolutionist in the UK who was a world famous haematologist!
    That said, Egnor is certainly a loon. He only seems to be used by the Discovery Institute for the PR value of having a ‘brain surgeon’ in their list of DI Fellows.

  15. #15 trrll
    November 25, 2008

    if the origin of human beings is natural selection (“survival of the fittest”), then human compassion for the weak (i.e. human civilization) impairs natural selection, and a corrective is needed to avert degeneration of our race. If we are evolving animals, then benevolence must be balanced by breeding if our species is to survive.

    The stupidity of this argument beggars the imagination. I can’t imagine anybody with an understanding of natural selection reasoning in this way. Natural selection will necessarily favor improving the survival and reproductive success of organisms in the environment in which they exist. So if it is an environment of compassion, then it will make human beings more fit to prosper in such an environment. It would only potentially be a problem for “survival” if you expect everybody to suddenly be dumped into the woods to function as hunter/gatherers.

    Eugenics is thus a rejection of evolution and natural selection–the assertion that we need to artificially breed humans in order to prevent the action of natural selection and to preserve traits that are evolutionarily unfavorable–traits that reduce fitness in the actual social environment in which we exist.

  16. #16 Dave W.
    November 25, 2008

    Orac wrote:
    “Farmers and horticulturists have realized for centuries, if not millennia, that it is possible to change animals and plants, sometimes radically, through many generations of selective breeding.”

    It’s worse than that. I present to you Genesis 30:31-43 (emphasis mine):

    And [Laban] said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock. I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.

    And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.

    And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. And he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

    And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

    And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban’s cattle.

    And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.

    And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

    Jacob, in other words, was practicing artifical selection with Laban’s livestock, eugenically ensuring that the strong ones had certain colorings (via a bizarre Lamarckian magic), and the feeble ones different patterns. It’s right there in the Bible, so it must be true that eugenics very much predates Darwin, right?

  17. #17 Liesl
    November 25, 2008

    “I even knew one anti-evolutionist in the UK who was a world famous haematologist!”

    Please tell me it isn’t Graham Hughes.

  18. #18 mandydax
    November 25, 2008

    It burns so bad. Also? I almost broke my nose doing the facepalm so many times. :( I hope I never end up on this guy’s table.

  19. #19 NP
    November 25, 2008

    Egnor has been repeating the same old nonsense for years. The ID propaganda machine can’t even come up with anything new. So they continue to misappropriate the Holocaust and feign moral outrage. The real outrage here is that use a real tragedy to distract from a lesser tragedy – the waning of their silly culture war. Their leading light(weight)s don’t even understand evolutionary biology – Egnor’s essay is so full of strawmen, I find it hard to believe it is anything but willful ignorance or outright deception.

    Biomedical research could not have reached its current level of progress without the use of model organisms. Their use dates back to before the concept of common descent gained traction, e.g. William Harvey’s studies of the cardiovascular system using deer. One could suppose that things that serve a common purpose would be designed using common parts by a hypothetical designer. However, not only is the idea untestable, but it is also superfluous once the evidence for common descent is factored in. It would also be a stretch to assume using an intelligent design framework that the molecular pathways that control cell motility in yeast would be important to understanding cancer. Evolutionary science provides a rational framework for studying fruitflies, yeast cells, and nematodes not simply out of interest and curiosity of these intringuing creatures, but in order to discover something about our own biology.

  20. #20 natural cynic
    November 25, 2008

    Eugenics must be older than Darwin, at least according to that prescient prognostigator Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder:

    The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way — because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs. This goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trading, the owner — the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.

    Just about as sensible and sensitive as Egnor.

  21. #21 BobbyEarle
    November 27, 2008

    Not only that, Jimmy’s picks never covered the spread.

  22. #22 Ginger Yellow
    November 27, 2008

    “Microbiologists, molecular geneticists, paleontologists, epidemiologists, etc. do the real science, and evolutionary biologists add the Darwinian narrative gloss.”

    Um, Dr Egnor? Microbiologists, molecular geneticists, and paleontologists are evolutionary biologists.

    What exactly does Egnor think is going at academic journals? Are scientists submitting creationism-friendly papers only for mysterious “evolutionary biologists” to insert “Darwinian narrative gloss” before publication? Doesn’t he think these not-at-all-evolutionist scientists would be complaining noisily if that were so?

  23. #23 GHitch
    November 29, 2008

    The unknown Orac states, “My neurons are crying out in pain.” Well there’s nothing new there from what I’ve read of poor Orac!

    With logic like his it’s no wonder his poor helpless neurons continue to cry in pain. (remember Orac, “you are nothing but a pack of neurons” so who cares what your neurons do vs anyone elses?)

    Neurons usually suffer whenever confronted by logic and facts one doesn’t want to hear.

    Should make a movie on this Orac dude, call it “Lame and Lamer” starring Orac and PZ – the wannabe scientists without a clue. Should be real funny.

    Darwinists are scrambling, looking for a sorely needed savior, but none comes. Certainly not in the unreasoned mind of Orac.

    The Darwinian edifice is coming down all on it’s own rotted weight of inane drone pseudo-logic.

  24. #24 GHitch
    November 29, 2008

    The unknown Orac states,

    “My neurons are crying out in pain.”

    Well there’s nothing new there from what I’ve read of poor Orac!

    With logic like his it’s no wonder his poor neurons continue to cry in pain. Remember poor Orac,

    “you are nothing but a pack of neurons”

    so who cares what your neurons do vs anyone elses? It’s all just matter and energy working for no purpose but survival, according to Darwinism.

    Neurons usually suffer whenever confronted by logic and facts one doesn’t want to hear. Yours is a classic case. Deep inside the inevitable outcome of the purposeless pulses in you your neurons are crying, “I don’t want to hear anything that may abate my faith in St Charles lest it undo my materialist world view!!”

    Darwinists are scrambling and getting truly fanatical, looking for a sorely needed savior, but none comes. Certainly not in the unreasoned, feckless mind of Orac.

    The Darwinian edifice is coming down all on it’s own rotted weight of inane drone pseudo-logic such as we witness from Orac’s fustilarian pen.

  25. #25 Bronze Dog
    November 29, 2008

    so who cares what your neurons do vs anyone elses? It’s all just matter and energy working for no purpose but survival, according to Darwinism.

    Uh, you do realize Orac’s assigned purpose to his life, and has people who care about him, right?

    Also, do you reject Newtonism because it just says you’re nothing but an attractive mass with inertia?

    Of course, I find the divine command theorists to be a rather depressing lot: They say nothing has value except what their god, who randomly popped in from nowhere, was randomly granted power and authority from nothing, randomly determines to be valuable. Or he’ll torture you for eternity for disagreeing.

    Neurons usually suffer whenever confronted by logic and facts one doesn’t want to hear. Yours is a classic case. Deep inside the inevitable outcome of the purposeless pulses in you your neurons are crying, “I don’t want to hear anything that may abate my faith in St Charles lest it undo my materialist world view!!”

    Projection, thy name is woo. How about you point out one defensible argument from Egnor and debate about that?

    As for Darwin: He’s just a historical footnote now. The modern synthesis of evolution has replaced it, since it has even more explanatory power. I don’t see any reason whatsoever for a biologist to assign a reading of the Origin of Species, other than for the historical value.

    As for materialism: I don’t see any coherent reason to believe in stuff that doesn’t do anything at all. Materialism inherently expands whenever something new is found to have effects on the world. The “supernatural” only shrinks.

    Darwinists are scrambling and getting truly fanatical, looking for a sorely needed savior, but none comes. Certainly not in the unreasoned, feckless mind of Orac.

    You slept through science class, didn’t you? The scientific method is the rejection of such messianic, revelatory model of American Idol Epistemology. The evidence is what matters, and it keeps piling up on our side.

    Meanwhile, IDers and dualists are still playing word games to stall talking about what they’re gibbering about.

  26. #26 tresmal
    November 29, 2008

    GHitch sez:

    The Darwinian edifice is coming down all on it’s own rotted weight of inane drone pseudo-logic such as we witness from Orac’s fustilarian pen.

    Can you back that up?
    Rhetorical Question. Obviously the answer is no.

  27. #27 JGG
    November 30, 2008

    Orac,

    Since you write in the manner of an adolescent brat, I have to wonder why you expect anyone (aside from the Pharyngula amen chorus) to take you seriously?

  28. #28 trrll
    December 2, 2008

    Since you write in the manner of an adolescent brat, I have to wonder why you expect anyone (aside from the Pharyngula amen chorus) to take you seriously?

    Most of us take Orac seriously on the basis of the content, rather than the politeness, of his writings.

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