I don’t even know where to start with this one …

| 56 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Dr. Michael Egnor, creationist neurosurgeon and Discovery Institute blogger, has a problem. Either he hasn’t figured out that we’re way past April Fools Day, or he has just managed to produce what might just be the single dumbest anti-evolution argument that I have ever seen. We’re talking about a demonstration of absolute, rock-bottom, Kent-Hovind-eat-your-heart-out, triple-distilled essence of pure stupid.

The argument today - and I warn anyone who knows anything at all about evolution to put down all food and drinks right now - is that if evolution was right, we should see some brain tumors acting to make better brains.

No, I’m not joking. That’s his latest argument, in response to a thorough fisking delivered last month by Yale neuroscientist Steve Novella. Brain tumors mutate and are subject to natural selection, so if evolution is correct they should produce better brains:

Read more (at The Questionable Authority):

1 TrackBack

...because he's sure as heck doing his best to cause it damage with his latest antievolution "broadsides," even to the point where it needs the loving ministrations of a neurosurgeon! His latest screeds produce in me a nearly irresistible urge... Read More

56 Comments

balderdash, n. 1. Obs. A worthless mixture of liquors. 2. Senseless jargon; nonsense.

Brain tumors mutate and are subject to natural selection, so if evolution is correct they should produce better brains:

Brain tumors do mutate and are subject to natural selection. We see it all the time. This kills patients all the time.

Tumor cells often and in the case of metastatic disease, almost always develop resistance to chemo, radiation, biologicals, the treatments. A common pattern is to see treatments work and then stop working. This is why multiple treatments are developed to stay ahead of the reoccurences. When you are out of options the patient dies. Classic microevolution, well characterized to the genes involved, multidrug resistance pump, dna repair enzymes, high Km mutations, gene amplification, etc..

The medical significance of this is high. Over 1/2 million die each year in the USA. One in 4 people alive today will face this. This is basic medicine. I put brain tumor drug resistance into NLM, pubmed.gov, and got 591 hits. One such abstract is below. He is just wrong.

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2006 Nov;6(11):1585-92. Links Oncolytic viruses and DNA-repair machinery: overcoming chemoresistance of gliomas.Jiang H, Alonso MM, Gomez-Manzano C, Piao Y, Fueyo J. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Neuro-Oncology, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Box 1002, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

The current standard of care for malignant gliomas is surgical resection and radiotherapy followed by extended adjuvant treatment with the alkylating agent temozolomide. Temozolomide causes DNA damage, which induces cell death. Through changes in the DNA-repair machinery, glioma cells develop resistance to temozolomide, compromising the therapeutic effect of the drug.…

Egnor wrote:

“If random mutations and natural selection–Dr. Novella’s “two stroke engine”–is the source of all functional integrated biological complexity, brain tumors ought to help our brains evolve in some way.

Perhaps Dr. Novella has data that show real evolutionary improvements in the brain caused by brain tumors. If he has, he should show us.”

Well let’s see, an example where ramdom mutation and natural selection increase the fitness of the individual in which they occur (even though the mutations are not passed on to future generations). That’s easy. You’d think a work famous neurosurgon would have heard of the immune system!

Uhh…

Some mutations are bad (brain tumors) some are neutral (green eyes) and some are good (Einstein).

So what Egnor is saying is that if “evolution is correct” (what the hell does that actually mean, anyway?) then the bad mutations would be good.

Huh?

Egnor and Sal seem to be a ‘match made in heaven’ and are doing more for the credibility of ID creationism than one would have imagined possible

Egnor wrote:

“If random mutations and natural selection—Dr. Novella’s “two stroke engine”—is the source of all functional integrated biological complexity, brain tumors ought to help our brains evolve in some way.

Evolution is blind. The brain tumor cells don’t know they are tumor cells, in a brain, what their job is, or what a host is. What they do know how to do is divide and multiply since cancer is a loss of normal growth control processes.

So they keep dividing causing a tumor. Treatments kill off most but often enough not all cells. Cells with mutations conferring treatment resistance take over and .…keep dividing. Patient dies.

Wouldn’t be any point to a brain tumor making a brain better. Tumors are somatic cell mutational events and wouldn’t be passed on in the germ line. If they are real tumors they would kill the host soon enough instead.

Brain tumors mutate and are subject to natural selection, so if evolution is correct they should produce better brains:

So close to the truth! Brain tumor cells evolve to produce better brain tumors. Which sucks for the people that have them.

And this man actually sticks his scalpels in living human brains for a living. Scary.

Why has no faculty member at SUNY Stonybook spoken up to clarify that Dr. Egnor’s stupidity is not an example of SUNY’s level of academic rigor?

Am I missing something here?

waldteufel — It is not yet clear that any other member of the Stonybrook faculty knows what Egnor is doing…

raven Wrote:

Wouldn’t be any point to a brain tumor making a brain better. Tumors are somatic cell mutational events and wouldn’t be passed on in the germ line. If they are real tumors they would kill the host soon enough instead.

The exception being Sticker’s Sarcoma, which has evolved not to kill its host dog, because it does get passed on (not through the germ line, but to other dogs during mating.) The usual short-term selection pressure to monopolize the host body’s resources is apparently trumped by the long-term pressure to keep the host body healthy, so it can keep mating and infecting others.

Not true for Tasmanian devils, unfortunately…maybe because their facial cancer is transmitted during fights as well, and a starving, tumor-ridden devil is even more likely to get in a fight?

I’ve decided, as of Egnor’s latest posts, that he sooooo misunderstands evolution, genetics, and, frighteningly, neuroanatomy, that he is no longer worth our time. Non-science and Egnor’s nonsense has no place on Panda’s Thumb.

Let’s talk about real science.

The other flaws in Egnors idea is that there are too many improbable mutation selection events to make it possible. As opposed to what is possible i.e tumor cells dividing their little hearts out until the host dies.

One would need a cell capable of producing neurons that loses growth control.

But is still capable of making proper, functional neuronal connections.

Which also occurs in the right place presumably one involved with cognition.

And knows when to stop. There isn’t a lot of extra room in the skull.

Not seeing where some of the selection steps would be. The tumor cell doesn’t know in advance where it is heading.

The default pathway divide till death is much more probable.

The same argument could be applied to lung, muscle, etc.. tumors. With an equal lack of sense.

There is a way to make a “better brain” whatever that is by evolutionary processes. It’s already happened. If one means a larger brain, look at our fossil forebearers. The earliest ones had brains not much larger than a chimpanzee and were probably not much smarter. Microevolution times N plus 4 million years and here we are. Evolution is blind, it works by stepwise changes, and it is slow by our lifetime standards. Any complaints should be addressed to the designer :>).

Well, at the bottom of the page, beneath Dr. Egnor’s hooey, it does say, “The misreporting of the evolution issue is one key reason for this site.”

You gotta admit, the good Dr. delivers!

Brain tumors mutate and are subject to natural selection, so if evolution is correct they should produce better brains

That’s like arguing that, because it mutates and is subject to natural selection, AIDS ought to produce better immune systems.

Dr. Novella, for those of you don’t know, hosts an excellent podcast, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. It is my favorite. Both informative and entertaining. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should.

They have been covering the anti-evolution debate since their inception, among much other anti-science nonsense.

Dr. Egnor’s response to him is really unbelievable. I’m still shaking my head.

paul

Wow. And I thought I heard it all. Dunford is right. This is the mother of ID stupidity.

Indeed tumors do mutate and improve themselves. At the expense of the rest of the brain.

Whats next? Melanoma should improve skin?

That literally shocked me.

Someone should out this guy to all his colleagues. Surely others at his university would laugh themselves silly at his gross misunderstanding of something he is attempting to publically address. He is an embarrassment to his institution. Absolutely stunning that he’d get it so wrong. I’m surprised the Discovery Institute has left that on their site.

balderdash, n. 1. Obs. A worthless mixture of liquors. 2. Senseless jargon; nonsense.

egnorant balderdash, n. Coll. balderdash^2 (“balderdash squared”). A worthless mixture of liquors as a result of senseless jargon.

Fortunately, I had warning in time to put down my fresh and hot coffee (barely). Now I just have to remove the saliva from my spit take.

Seems Egnor has potential to provide joy for years to come. But I expect the creationists will destroy that any day by figuring he is an evilutionist plant.

(Not that I believe that, since he is so remarkably stupid and helpful in destroying ID’s rep while giving biologists simple examples to show how evolution works and not works. But the creationists are bound to fabricate some reason that appeals to the followers in their faith to oust him soon. Very soon.)

Wow. I wonder if anyone takes Egnor seriously anymore. I do understand the thread of his thinking … if a certain percentage of mutations are positive; then some of those mutations should be positive to brain function. It’s not so much a test of evolution (I hope he’s not suggesting that cancer has led to evolution, that would be too stupid even for Egnor to suggest), but a test of random mutations having positive effects.

Of course he has ignored the fact that by their very nature, cancer cells destroy normal functioning cells, and absorb resources that are normally destined for the normal functioning of the organ; so that even if some of the cancer cells could provide a better functioning brain, any benefit would be canceled out by all of the other problems associated with the other cancerous cells.

But I think he falls into the same trap as many other people. I think a lot of people see mutations as being universally positive or negative, and evolution being directed to create “higher” and “higher” beings, whatever that may be … resulting in, of course, the crown of evolution, human beings. But positivity and negativity of mutations really only make sense in the context of the environment and surroundings. A “negative” mutation in one environment could be a “positive” mutation in another. This, among other things, is what results in the divergence of species that originally had a common ancestor. Anyone who studies evolution (really studies evolution, and is not just trying to discredit it), knows this, but outside of the scientific circles, I’m not sure how well this is understood.

But I do have a legitimate question. During someone’s life, cells in their body are continually mutating. Is that not what is responsible for aging (simplistic, I understand, but in essence correct)? Cancer would happen when cells mutate in such a way as to have runaway reproduction. Is that accurate? I don’t have any training in biology.

Doug S

Is it the case that the propensity to suffer from cancer runs in families? I know I’ve read that somewhere. I know my doctor says that certain problems like cancer, heart failure, alzheimers, and others tend to run in families enough so that knowing my family history helps give him indications of what to check for in me. *Something* about cancer is being inherited.

This would imply that at least it’s possible that forms of cancer that kill their victims too young may have been deselected, while those cancers that generally wait until after breeding years have survived. It makes sense that a truly beneficial cancer would have been co-opted long ago.

But then, I’m not a biologist.

Cancer would happen when cells mutate in such a way as to have runaway reproduction. Is that accurate? I don’t have any training in biology.

To a first approximation cancer is somatic cell mutations in humans. With microevolution towards metastasis, treatment resistance, and .….Any search engine will turn up heaps of material on it.

Carcinogens are mutagens and vice versa.

There are some that have a viral component, a few in humans such as cervical Ca.. In other animals viral induced cancers tend to be more common.

Off-topic: Prof. Steve Steve made the BBC news. Creationist Museum Challenges Evolution

Possibly the best picture that will ever be taken at this “Museum”.

‘ Nothing else intelligent about it can be said, so instead…

‘ Aaaaahhhhhhhh haaaaa haaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaa!

‘ I’m done.

Egnor Wrote:

Brain tumors mutate and are subject to natural selection, so if evolution is correct they should produce better brains

Translation: “natural selection acts on tumors”

.…so if natural selection happens…” (I assume that he refers to darwinian evolution)

“…natural selection couldn’t possibly act on tumors, because it would produce something we never observe”

That’s just brilliant!

Egnor, I suppose you meant “If brain tumors (mutate and) are subject to natural selection, they should produce better brains”. At least, the claim would be coherent. Try to make some sense next time.

raven Wrote:

There isn’t a lot of extra room in the skull.

There’s plenty of extra room in Egnor’s skull!

I’m no biologist, nor even a physician, but the flaws in Egnor’s essayette were so mind numbingly obvious that I wonder about his qualifications to teach anyone anything in a field remotely related to biology—or any field of the sciences for that matter.

Don’t the folks at the DI have even a trace of skepticism? Don’t they ever read what they draft, consider it from another perspecive, and edit it before they release it for all to see? I spent most of my life in educational publishing and were I to have ever allowed anything as remotely close to that be published, I would have spent the rest of my life doing penance. And I mean that seriously. If that’s an example of his reasoning ability, Egnor should have his license to cut permanently suspended and move to a Japanese steak house. There he could display his dexterity, a chef’s knife in one hand and meat cleaver in the other.

Don’t the folks at the DI have even a trace of skepticism? Don’t they ever read what they draft, consider it from another perspecive, and edit it before they release it for all to see?

This is why we have to keep in mind that they are a political, not a scientific, movement. Sure they read and edit their drafts. They just do so within their political agenda of wedging creationism into science classes by making it look sciency and giving it a sciency name like “intelligent design”. That’s what they are after, and the fame and fortune that comes with it, and don’t ever forget it. Sure, they have lots of sincere followers. So did Peter Popoff.

Greetings, evolutionists. I would like to inform you that God’s book says that only a fool wouldn’t believe in His existence. I also want you to know that if you continue to rebel against Him, I can guarantee that you will experience a very rude awakening when you die. If you think I’m mistaken, just remember my words when you stand before Him at the end of your lives. Perhaps you are familiar with the Ten Commandments. They include such laws as “don’t kill”, “don’t commit adultery”, “don’t lie”, “don’t steal”, etc. If you are guilty of breaking God’s perfect law, He will punish you accordingly in hell. Or if you repent by forsaking your sinful way of living, and turning to God for forgiveness, you may be spared His holy wrath. Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the price for all your sins. If you repent and place your faith in Him, you will spend eternity with Him in heaven. Don’t be fools. Eternity is a long time.

what a peculiar person who believes that evolutionists cannot believe in God. In addition, his arguments do not tell in which God(s) to believe.

Greetings, evolutionists. I would like to inform you that God’s book says that only a fool wouldn’t believe in His existence.

Peculiar Person adopted the right webname. I took a quick look at his/her/its website and it’s a weird xian site set up to peddle stuff to the gullible. Indeed the site is peculiar. Most Christians would be appalled. Incidentally the two doofuses who greet a visitor to the site promise to prove in minutes that ID is true and evolution false. I didn’t stay around to see the “proof” which is probably as scientitfic as the research done by the DI.

Keanus Wrote:

Don’t the folks at the DI have even a trace of skepticism? Don’t they ever read what they draft, consider it from another perspecive, and edit it before they release it for all to see?

We noticed the same thing several years, ago, at the conclusion of NMSR’s internet debate with the local young-earth creationist outfit, Creation Science Fellowship of NM, Inc.( CSFNM):

We are not going to spend this, our last essay, entirely on Jeff Childs’s April essay, primarily because Childs himself assiduously avoided any discussion of the actual topic, biblical inconsistencies and the literal interpretation of Genesis. CSFNM’s response dodged the issue entirely.

We thank CSFNM for agreeing to this newsletter/internet debate. After a year’s worth of essays, we have concluded that the cultures of NMSR and CSFNM are indeed very different. Within NMSR, we expect those members who represent us to the rest of the world to use good science, defensible data, and logical arguments. NMSR members are not afraid to disagree with each other on matters of science, and we often have spirited debates over issues such as global warming or cold fusion.

But CSFNM appears to operate with a different culture, one in which no internal criticisms are encouraged. Several statements in CSFNM’s essays are easily shown to be patently false, yet no internal CSFNM discussions or peer review on these issues ever seems to take place.

In Essay 1A, Roger Lenard made the unfounded claim that “Evolution alternatively claims that birds evolved from reptiles or they didn’t…” NMSR challenged Lenard to show even one evolutionist who says that birds did not evolve from dinosaurs OR reptiles, but Lenard was never able to supply any supporting data.

In Essay 2A, Lenard wrote that “the Big Bang model cannot explain the ubiquity of water as a consequence of post Bang nucleosynthesis,” but we noted in Essay 2B that “We can see enough water being created in the Orion Nebula to fill the Earth’s oceans 60 times per day.” NMSR provided a source, the McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology; but what is Lenard’s source?

In Essay 3B, Lenard claimed that thousands of gigajoules are required to form information-bearing sequences in an unspecified amount of DNA. This claim is preposterous – why didn’t someone in CSFNM call Lenard on this error?

In Essay 5B, Lenard said that “Fisher’s analysis shows that if the SV [selection value] is 1% the probability of survival in a single generation is 2%.” We pointed out that this statement is flat wrong, and that Fisher really said that the value is 63.58% for a single generation[1]. When Lenard wrote “Simpson estimated the SV at 0.1% or 1/500 successful selections (births),” that was also wrong: Simpson claimed that a .1% selection value means 1,000 out of 1,999, slightly over 50%[2]. Where is the peer review?

In Essay 6A, Childs wrote about a “violation of logical equivocation if the creation were anything other than seven literal days.” Doesn’t anyone at CSFNM know what “equivocal” really means?

NMSR could never produce essays like those coming from CSFNM. We insist on defensible sources and, most importantly, accuracy of our statements. We are amazed and dismayed at CSFNM’s apparent disregard for the Truth.

Some things never change! Dave

Hey, Peculiar Person, would claiming that brain tumors should make your brain better be considered breaking the THOU SHALT NOT LIE commandment? I mean, after all, a world famous neurosurgeon certainly knows better than to make such a blatantly ridiculous argument.

Perhaps you are familiar with the Ten Commandments. They include such laws as “don’t kill”, “don’t commit adultery”, “don’t lie”, “don’t steal”, etc. If you are guilty of breaking God’s perfect law, He will punish you accordingly in hell.

This doesn’t seem relevant to evolution, except that Creationists pretty regularly violate the third one on your list.

I think Egnor is engaging in a social experiment, and that he really doesn’t believe the things he says. (I also think the same thing about Ann Coulter though …)

I always try to see the best in people.

Keanus - you should watch the evolution thing. It’s hysterical. It’s got quotemining, Piltdown, Nebraska man, Neanderthals as old arthritic people and Kirk Cameron - who looks dead at the camera and says “… if you circumnavigate the intellect the subject of evolution disappears…” (Cameron also calls Thomas Huxley “William Huxley”). It’s a classic presentation of all the half-baked and debunked idea’s creationism has to offer. The opening bit where they try to prove evolutionist are making stuff up by interviewing undergrads (clearly not biology undergrads either) on the subject is funny as well.

It is willing suspension of disbelief.

Having the same problem everyone has in seeing how anyone can buy this mythology. The creos decided to steal the dinosaurs. So now Noah had a boat full of dinosaurs, a pair of everything. Presumably synapsids, giant devonian centipedes, and pterosaurs as well; the 99% of life now extinct. Must have been a dream time to be a paleontologist. The supercontinent broke up soon after the Ark landed and Australia et al, rafted away in a process called super-accelerated plate tectonics.

To make this work one has to pile up countless ad hoc miracles. Still trying to figure out why post landing, 99% of the animals died out. A big oopsy there. What happens when 8 people try to take care of a billion years worth of terrestrial life.

I do think I have it though. It is willing suspension of disbelief. This is what one does when watching TV, reading books, or watching movies. It allows one to empathize with Yoda and Luke and dislike the Emperor and Darth Vader. IMO, the more self aware, intelligent, and educated of the creos have simply decided to suspend disbelief and enter into a fantasy world for religious, sociological, and political reasons.

By itself this would be relatively harmless especially in a free wheeling democracy. People take Star Trek very seriously as well. No big deal. The problem is, they want to force this on everyone by sneaking it into biology classes of all things. This is morally wrong, illegal, and foolish. A successful attack on science would make the USA a banana republic on a good day and usher in a new Dark Ages on a bad day. Just say NO!

I don’t even know where to start with this one …

Dr. Michael Egnor, creationist neurosurgeon and Discovery Institute blogger, has a problem. Either he hasn’t figured out that we’re way past April Fools Day, or he has just managed to produce what might just be the single dumbest anti-evolution argument that I have ever seen. We’re talking about a demonstration of absolute, rock-bottom, Kent-Hovind-eat-your-heart-out, triple-distilled essence

I think the best place to start is to ask him how old he thinks the Earth/Universe actually is. This worked for Richard Dawkins in a BBC Radio Ulster programme on creation/evolution when he encountered YEC Prof. Andy MacIntosh of Leeds university. Dawkins had to ask him (MacIntosh) the question (“how old did he think the Earth was”)four times before he eventually admitted that he believed it to be only 6-10,000 years old. Dawkins had a field day after that.

Suspension of disbelief, would that be the same thing as circumnavigating the intellect? If you want evolution to disappear all you have to do is ignore all the evidence.

How to describe creationsts like Egnor? In the words of Jack Nickelson: I think of a real biologist and then take away reason and accountability.

I agree with Peter. Ask Egnor, in a very public forum, how old the Earth is. There is no answer he can give that will not make him look bad. If he says the earth is 6011 years old all real scientists will immediately dismiss him. If he says the earth is 4.5 billion years old all YECs will immediately dismiss him. If he says he doesn’t know or won’t answer the question both of the above will assume he is an idiot and both will immediately dismiss him. By the way, this is probably a good strategy to use when dealing with creationist of any stripe.

From the BBC article referred to above, this thread.

“Indeed, he speculates that two of each may have been taken aboard the Ark (newly hatched dinosaurs are quite small so fitting them in would not have been a problem).

And what about the animals from other continents? Did Noah sail to Australia to drop off the kangaroos?

No, the flood waters lubricated a process called runaway subduction in which the continents subsequently drifted apart at a sprint!”

Sprinting runaway subduction explains how the continents all ended up separated by oceans. And why kangaroos and marsupials mostly ended up in Australia instead of the middle East. Presumably the marsupials but not the placentals all happened to be standing on the Australian plate when it sprinted away. As well as the highly endemic Austalian flora.

Ask Egnor if he believes all the dinosaurs and associated now extinct animals were on a big boat and then rafted away in a few years on a speeding continental plate. And why the animals sorted themselves by clade geographically. This really is as believable as Star Trek or Star Wars.

It is willing suspension of disbelief, just like going to a movie.

Re Willing Suspension of Disbelief:

I’ve had interesting conversations with others about the writings of Isaac Asimov, Barbara Hambly, Anne McCaffrey, Dick Francis, Robert Heinlein; about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, Star Trek (in its many permutations) (Yeah, I’m a geek; what of it?), and many other authors of and examples of fiction. In pretty much all cases it was possible to have a willing suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy the books/movies/TV shows and to appreciate any messages contained within.

But never did I or any of the people with whom I spoke think or say that it was reality. That, and the insistence by IDCers and other creatinists, that others learn and accept their stories as truth, are what differentiate ordinary suspension of disbelief from IDCers. It’s not just like going to the movies, it’s self-delusion.

My usual alternate take is that Egnor understands at least one aspect of natural selection perhaps even better than most of us critics. Here’s why:

He knows what he says is utter nonsense, after feedback from the DI’s editors if not before. And let’s all remember that the DI gave this nonsense their full blessing. The DI chiefs, if not Egnor, know that most replies would shoot down the idea easily, but they also know that their target audience will either not understand the replies, or if they do, ignore them in favor of the feel-good sound bites. Thus Egnor’s rant has a main, if not sole, objective of instigating enough replies that a few bad ones can be mined (including quote mined) to the DI’s advantage. Think of it as that rare “beneficial mutation” that gets greatly amplified after generations of “natural selection.” That tactic is very common in anti-evolution articles, regardless of how clueless the author seems.

It’s not just like going to the movies, it’s self-delusion.

It is the same principle just taken further. They have decided to suspend disbelief and enter into a fantasy world of recent dinosaurs running around, sprinting continental plates, and 29,000 feet of mysteriously appearing and disappearing globe covering water.

Unlike the movies they have no intention that the suspended disbelief state will be temporary. And they want to impose this on everyone else whether they like it or not.

Peter Henderson Wrote:

I think the best place to start is to ask him how old he thinks the Earth/Universe actually is.

IIRC, Egnor admitted having no problem with common descent, so I doubt that he has any reason to object to a 4.5 billion year old Earth. The only reason to ask such a question is to look for signs of evasion, which is more likely now that the DI has coached him. The evasion will not be because he has any personal doubts, but because he is now more aware not to say too much in the presence of YEC followers.

In comment 170035 above I note how IDers “fish” for “bad replies.” One of them is the baseless assertion that IDers are closet YECs. IDers don’t mind admitting an old Earth if it means having a critic some across as ignorant or closed-minded.

Whether Egnor is pretending to be clueless or is clueless is hard to tell. Poe’s law.

I don’t think he and the creos care one way or the other. Their target audience isn’t scientists who just look at his nonsense with a mixture of horror and humor. It is the true believers.

If you can believe the earth is 6010 years old, Noah had a big boat full of dinosaurs, and continental plates cruise around the world in years, you can believe anything. Even Egnor.

“It is willing suspension of disbelief, just like going to a movie.”

I recently saw a scifi movie where Phobos had significant gravity, an atmosphere and wind. The alien had breasts and green blood and was assumed to be royalty because she had hemophilia! She actually turned out to be an egg-laying vampire who drank the red blood of humans.

As bad as it seems, nowhere did the movie claim that brain tumors should be beneficial, so I would still rather get my moral lessons from a “B” movie that the DI “A” list.

raven Wrote:

Their target audience isn’t scientists who just look at his nonsense with a mixture of horror and humor. It is the true believers.

Sure, but a large, and I think growing, % of that audience is not so much “true believers,” like those YECs who simply tune it out when their heroes occasionally admit an old Earth or common descent, but people with no committment to Genesis either way, but who don’t have the time or interest to sort out good refutations from those that only give the activists what they want. These are people who really think that they are open-minded, and would not appreciate it if they knew that they were deliberately being misled.

One thing I don’t understand. Wouldn’t ID-ists who subscribe to micro-evolution (such as Behe-ists) implicitly accept that random mutation and natural selection can increase the information content in a genome? For instance, if they accept the explanation that the finches on the Galapagos started with a few seed species, and radiated to the various species seen today; the total information content of all of the finch species today must be greater than the few seed species. So why all the arguments for or against small scale information addition, since they must accept it already?

Doug S

Raven and David Stanton,

Where did you guys get that 6010 years?

Certainly not from the creationists out there.

KNOW THY ENEMY before you go to battle.

I think that many have Egnor’s motivation wrong. Most Creos and Paleyists would have given up by now knowing that their counter arguments are looking sillier and sillier. Most of the DI guys may reply once to give the idea to the faithful that they can reply to criticisms.

Growing up around nurses (The only women who would talk to engineering students) I know that there is a certain type of very competent Surgeon who think that they are God’s gift to the world and nobody dares disagree with them. I think that Egnor is furious that his words are being questioned, he is not used to it. I don’t think he is replying to the faithful but is actually replying to these blogs and wants the final word.

Michael

Carol,

The date comes from the analysis of the Bible by Archbishop Usher. He concluded that 4004 BC was the date of creation.

Note that I didn’t say that anyone actually believed this, just that it was one possible answer that Egnor could give to the question.

It also doesn’t matter what the exact date is. Thousands is six orders of magnitude less than billions. You must ignore vast amounts of evidence in many diferent fields to come up with an answer this wrong.

David,

You implied that Egnor would come up with the typical creationist response. The illustrious gentleman from Arinagh notwithstanding, the creationist response would be 5767 years.

Comment #170129 above was NOT posted by me.

Carol,

No, I didn’t imply that he would give a typical creationisrt response. What I wrote was that any response he could give would make him look bad to someone. I also specifically stipulated that the exact date was not important.

Sorry about the fake poster. That can be really annoying. It was not me.

#170129 was unpublished because it was a forgery.

Do NOT do it again.

Doug S:

The short answer is “because ID is a scam, not a belief.”

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on April 13, 2007 6:14 PM.

Best American Ringing Defeat of Religion Masquerading as Science was the previous entry in this blog.

SMU Daily: The Discovery Institute: harming us with pseudoscience is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter