Pharyngula

Fusty nonsense from a creationist loon

Michael Egnor must be fishing for traffic to the graveyard of rotting ideas that the Discovery Institute calls a blog. He claims to honestly want to understand what positive values the New Atheists have, so he posted a quiz for Larry Moran and invited the authors of various blogs — all of which get more traffic and are livelier than his, and also, by the way, allow comments, making his request rather disingenuous.

His questions are so far out of it that I’m not really interested in answering them. It’s like a particularly crusty and dogmatic alchemist stirring beneath the cobwebs of his dead discipline to query a 21st century scientist about chemistry, and all he can muster is quaint questions about platonic solids, the four elements, and the philosopher’s stone.

1) Why is there anything?
2) What caused the Universe?
3) Why is there regularity (Law) in nature?
4) Of the Four Causes in nature proposed by Aristotle (material, formal, efficient, and final), which of them are real? Do final causes exist?
5) Why do we have subjective experience, and not merely objective existence?
6) Why is the human mind intentional, in the technical philosophical sense of aboutness, which is the referral to something besides itself? How can mental states be about something?
7) Does Moral Law exist in itself, or is it an artifact of nature (natural selection, etc.)
8) Why is there evil?

My fast and flippant answers:

1) Nothing is unstable.
2) Nothing caused it.
3) We wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t.
4) Material & efficient. How bizarre to think Aristotle is even relevant, except as a historical factor, or that ancient categories are apposite.
5) An epiphenomenon of the fact of instantiation.
6) Because minds aren’t isolated, but a product of brain+environment.
7) It doesn’t.
8) Evil is simply anti-human, and most of the universe is against us.

Egnor claims to want to learn what New Atheists really believe. He’s lying. He also won’t learn it by simply imposing the cracked and cloudy lens of his superstition to views that are clear and unmarred, and mostly not even concerned with the nonsense that clutters his head.

Go ahead, you can answers his comments in this thread, too. Just keep in mind every time you do that if he were honestly interested, Egnor would have allowed you to comment over there.

Although, if you want to have fun, it might be more entertaining to summarize IDiots. Egnor also writes down his “New Atheism Cliff Notes”:

1) There are no gods
2) Theists are IDiots
3) Catholic priests molest children.

The best three-line summary of Intelligent Design creationists gets its own post with credit to the author.