Is That A Beam in Egnor’s Eye? Or Two?

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With the possible exception of Casey Luskin, no Discovery Institute fellow seems more eager to embarrass himself in public than Michael Egnor. Dr. Egnor’s recent “open letter” to the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology attacked the Society for deciding not to hold its 2011 conference in New Orleans to protest that state’s enactment of legislation designed to promote the teaching of creationism in government-sponsored schools. Egnor objected that the Society is acting unethically because “most Americans are creationists,” and for the Society to take a stand against creationism is a “demand for censorship.” Worse yet, their decision is a slap in the face of American taxpayers whose tax money funds so much scientific research. It’s hypocritical, he says, for scientists to take government funding while opposing the teaching of “creationism” (his word) in government schools. PZ Myers responded to this at his blog, and now Egnor has posted a reaction at the DI’s blog.

There are two points here that really must be made.

50 Comments

Just imagine a Limbaugh/Egnor ticket for the next presidential election.

Campaign slogan: “Put your mind in Limbaugh; feel the Rush as you Egnor reality.”

“Limbaugh lower now; how low can he go?” (done to the tune of the Limbo Rock).

So the DI has officially admitted that the Louisiana legislation is specifically aimed at allowing the presentation of creationism in public schools. Well that should come in real handy in all of the upcomiing court cases. After all, that is a legal issue that has already been settled. Nice job Egnor.

Everyone is free to ignore reality, but there will inevitably be consequences. Bitching and moaning about them isn’t going to change anything.

lol he said the ‘C’ word.

The DI will claim that they have nothing to do with Egnor. After all, Egnor is not a fellow or in any way associated with the DI. The Disco boys just report the “news.” Egnor is merely a guest contributor.

Yeah, that’s the ticket! A “guest” contributor.

No relation.

Whatsoever.

Egnor is, of course, including astrologers, palm readers, crystal ball gazers, and the lot of others who readily dupe “… most Americans for whom scientific explanations in nature need not be restricted to unintelligent causes.”

“… ordinary Americans who pay their way.”??? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

“… denying other people the freedom to act in accordance with their own views of civic responsibility, which include the civic responsibility to establish educational policy for their own children in their own schools.”

Bring on the astrologers!

A few more Egnor’s (Jindals, et. al) and we’ll be learning science from China, Russia, even perhaps Iran and India if we’re not on the road to doing so now thanks to the ignorance espoused by people like Engor.

Perhaps Egnor’s comments are a response to the Templeton conference in Rome that rejected inclusion of the Dishonesty Institute and its fellow creationists to present “talks” on intelligent design at the conference: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/wor[…]/934544.html

“Most Americans are creationists”

I would not be surprised if most Americans also believed that old myth about us only using 10% of our brains. Would Egnor be willing to teach this as a fact in class, in the interests of “balance”? Christianity also teaches that madness or sickness is caused by demons (Matthew 8:16-17), would Egnor consider including exorcism in his lectures or use it in his treatments?

I would guess the answer to both questions is “No.”

Egnor’s objection to evolution is that it disagrees with what he believes, and should “most Americans” disagree with him on a matter of his own speciality, I do not doubt that he would consider their opinion uninformed and irrelevant.

Egnor is yet another lunatic-fringer who certainly needs to be told where to park it … but it still feels embarrassing to give an ankle-biter like that such a level of attention. Myers is a smart guy, he certainly knows he’s got things he’d rather do with his time than to have to go out and clean up the toilet paper some kids have strewn all over his yard.

I didn’t bother to read Egnor’s response because I already knew what it would say. “When it doesn’t smell any more, you’re in it up to the eyebrows.”

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Creationists are hypocrites. When it comes to public schools, they want evolution and creationism taught and for the children to decide which to believe in. However, in their churches they teach only Christianity. If they were honest, they would teach all religions in their churches and would let their children decide which religion to believe in.

DavidK said:

Egnor is, of course, including astrologers, palm readers, crystal ball gazers, and the lot of others who readily dupe “… most Americans for whom scientific explanations in nature need not be restricted to unintelligent causes.”

“… ordinary Americans who pay their way.”??? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

“… denying other people the freedom to act in accordance with their own views of civic responsibility, which include the civic responsibility to establish educational policy for their own children in their own schools.”

Bring on the astrologers!

A few more Egnor’s (Jindals, et. al) and we’ll be learning science from China, Russia, even perhaps Iran and India if we’re not on the road to doing so now thanks to the ignorance espoused by people like Engor.

I don’t know where to start with all the misconceptions in your post. Being a scientist I know the American people, including a lot of creationist hypocrites, fund my work. Tax money goes to the National Science Foundtation and the National Institutes of Health which they then divy up among worthy scientists. This is the sole source of funding for most scientists in academia. But this does not mean what we say has to be popular. The debate on stem cell research is enough to show that scientists really do not care what lay people think becuase they don’t know what they are talking about most of the time. As of the original article I would love to ask Timothy Sandfeur where he would like for scientists to get money if not from the government? The discovery institute perhaps?

Secondly and perhaps more importantly WE DO LEARN SCIENCE FROM THE CHINESE AND INDIANS! In the realm of academia in the US as an American I am a minority by far. And the more math oriented the science…means the more and more americans become the minority. Many highly qualified scientists from India and China come here to be trained and then go back home and make the discoveries there. This has nothing to do with their initial training being anything better than ours… Ok well that isn’t quite correct at the collegiate level I won’t say we are on equal footing but it’s a much more level playing field. The poor nature of science and math education in K-12 propagates the mentality that science is “stupid” or “atheist” or my personal favorite “anti-american”. So by the time you get to a collegiate setting so many are indoctrinated against science they won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Go post undergrad and many institutions are a 2:1 ratio of nonamericans to Americans. Frankly no matter what we do I don’t see this changing anytime soon becuase most people with the proper science education would rather work at McDonald’s than teach high school science in the current system of antiscience education. We aren’t on the road we’ve already arrived.

As of denying people their right to determine their child’s education, if we always taught the popular view we’d still be walking around thinking the Earth was flat and the sun revolved around it. If people don’t want their children to learn about science here’s my solution for them HOMESCHOOL THEM we don’t need their BS in our schools anyways.

Opulent Penury said:

Creationists are hypocrites. When it comes to public schools, they want evolution and creationism taught and for the children to decide which to believe in. However, in their churches they teach only Christianity. If they were honest, they would teach all religions in their churches and would let their children decide which religion to believe in.

Actually that’s not true. It’s really the wedge strategy at work. Begin to teach creationism AND evolution, then gradually further water down evolution until it’s finally eliminated. This is the ultimate creationist/ID goal. The appeal to “equal time” is just an intermediate step in the process.

Heh, I read a bit on that Freespace blog. All I can say from my non-American perspective is that I rank (more extreme) American Libertarianism right up there with American Creationism. e.g. to me, claims like “government funded science is immoral” is crackpot stuff.

Of course, being a left-leaning Canadian practically puts me in the “Communist” camp in the typical American political spectrum…

Sarah said: As of the original article I would love to ask Timothy Sandfeur where he would like for scientists to get money if not from the government? The discovery institute perhaps?

Sandefur is not an ID supporter. He supports mainstream science but as a libertarian thinks funding for science should come from private investment rather than taxes.

He and Mike Dunford recently posted a series of point/counterpoint articles on public science funding, you can read them at: http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2[…]nti.php#more

Egnor’s comments are so infuriating and illogical that it’s painful to respond to them.

Just as one example, he’s equated that idea that 80% of Americans claim in polls to have some type of belief in a higher power (and I’ll note that religious Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Hindus, and some Buddhists would probably be among that 80%), to the ludicrous idea that a super-majority would be in favor of denying science in schools and eliminating funding for some valid and important types of scientific research.

So I’ll note the positive - this type of exploding-brain verbal rage by wingnuts means fear. Egnor was immediately struck by the symbolic power of the boycott decision.

Daoud -

I disagree with your exaggerated stereotype of US politics, and I ought to know, as I am a dual citizen, born in the US to a Canadian mother, who has lived in multiple parts of Canada and the US. I’ll note that you must not live in Alberta to make such a comment.

However, I strongly agree with your impression of the rest of the contents of that site, as do many others here.

Timothy Sandefur -

I’m sure you didn’t post this as a sneaky way of indirectly saying “public funding of science is immoral”, but just in case you did, I’ll note that this illustrates nothing of the sort.

Reality is the opposite of Egnor’s fantasy. Attempts to insert religious denial of science into public school curricula have been quite isolated. In every case so far, such attempts have been defeated in the courts AND their advocates have been defeated at the electoral level.

Yet public support for funding of scientific research is high.

There is no evidence whatsoever that public support for science funding is tied to public demands that sectarian science-denial be included in school science curricula.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure I agree with this boycott: the ignorance behind the cretinist movement comes partly from isolation (and/or self-isolation) from the more educated sectors of society; and when educated people make a conscious decision to stay away from places where ignorance is prevalent, we contribute to the root problem, rather than solving it. The conference would have brought educated people, and their money, to NOLA (who badly need it, thanks to certain other UNeducated people); and that money would have gone in large measure to the middle class and businessmen who tend to support secular law and decent education for their children. Holding the conference in NOLA would strengthen our natural allies (if only a little), while avoiding it would not weaken our enemies – they thrive on isolation, backwardness, and poverty.

If Louisiana is where the creationist movement is making progress, then that’s where honest, educated people need to take a stand and attack it; and that’s where a dose of honest science is needed most.

Egnor’s rant is just an old movie we’ve seen before.

The scientists and Igors are working away quietly in their castles late at night. Bringing dead people back to life, cobbling together servants from spare parts, and searching for the secrets to life, immortality, and the universe.

Suddenly thre is a commotion outside. A mob of peasants are storming the gate with torches and pitchforks. Led by a disreputable MD no less, ostensibly outraged by the scientists violation of god’s will. But he is really a power mad egomaniac intent on taking over the castle for his own diabolical ends.

The creobots are just recycling old movie scripts these days, not very original. We’re done with the Dark Ages, time to move on.

Egnor writes:

I reminded its members that they have a responsibility to the millions of taxpayers who fund their grants, and part of that responsibility entails a modicum of respect and a willingness to accept an open discussion of evolutionary theory in public schools

Pure baloney, twice over. First, those ‘millions of taxpayers’ would presumably want researchers to use the money to do research. The NSF doesn’t pay scientists to accept specific local school board measures; in addition to being bribery, its a waste of research funding.

Second, SICB’s choice was to hold its meeting in the tax paying state of Utah instead of the tax paying state of Louisiana. So, as collective group, the net effect of the boycott on “American tax payers” is zero. Utahans gain what Louisianans lose, and the country as a whole is unaffected.

Raging Bee said:

Quite frankly, I’m not sure I agree with this boycott: the ignorance behind the cretinist movement comes partly from isolation (and/or self-isolation) from the more educated sectors of society; and when educated people make a conscious decision to stay away from places where ignorance is prevalent, we contribute to the root problem, rather than solving it.

You could be right. However here is an alternate hypothesis to consider:

If the Louisiana legislature’s and governor’s support for creationism comes from a vocal minority with deep pockets, able to contribute significantly to politician’s reelection campaigns, then a boycott is exactly the right thing to do. Because it would make clear to the silent majority that their politicians’ support of the creationist special interest group is not just another symbolic political token, but a bad economic decision that hurt Louisiana and Louisianans.

eric said:

Sarah said: As of the original article I would love to ask Timothy Sandfeur where he would like for scientists to get money if not from the government? The discovery institute perhaps?

Sandefur is not an ID supporter. He supports mainstream science but as a libertarian thinks funding for science should come from private investment rather than taxes.

He and Mike Dunford recently posted a series of point/counterpoint articles on public science funding, you can read them at: http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2[…]nti.php#more

Yes I am rather aware of that. It was a sarcastic comment. As many academic scientists *I won’t say all but a majority* feel like getting support from pharma or other industry for our work is selling our souls to the almighty dollar, I would just like to know where else he proposes we get money. Investors are not going to be interested unless there is potential payout and in basic science that is just not the business we are in. Selling our research to the NIH and government isn’t easy either but we know that what they want in return namely knowledge of how life works or in the case of NSF progress towards a greater understanding of the universe we live in is a much more likely target than what investors want in return namely money. Sandfeur’s comments that taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for projects without a definite return is as antisicence IF NOT WORSE than the discovery institute’s wedge theory. There is no way to tell which projects will give great advances and financial payouts and which will not. While fiduciary relationships between the governmental agencies like NIH and NSF have never been ideal they are necessary as non profits cannot fund all the research out there and maintain outreach to the community and investors cannot be trusted to support science for gains in knowledge that may not necessarily lead to monetary gain. In the current climate I believe we have all seen this with the number of big budget large market drugs getting pulled off the shelves for major risks. Big Pharma investors really don’t care if a drug that will help someone with a risk for heart disease will damage the kidneys (especially if they’ve already funneled 100 million dollars into a project) because frankly they benefit because someone with kidney and heart problems BUYS MORE DRUGS. Their number one priority is selling, agencies like the FDA do their best to stifle these types of releases but we all know how much big companies can be trusted. Would you trust Haliburton to have environmentally sound measures in place if they weren’t mandated and cost them 3 dollars a quarter? I don’t think so. Making science a slave to the almighty dollar of investors would inevitably lead to more Hwang Woo-Suk type of scandals and would inevitably destroy what little trust the american people has in science. Sandfeur has many misconceptions about the private sector economy in general. No private sector company is going to research how its spewing toxic waste into the watershed is effecting the people in its community much less the wildlife. Because if they prove it ONLY then are they liable. He also claims in the 1950’s *quite a time to be a molecular biologist* most scientific research was funded privately and we became the scientific and technological leader of the world before then. First of all in the 1940’s and 1950’s much of the major breakthroughs ie the structure of DNA, development of nuclear technologies were funded not only by the US government but by collaborations supported by the US government. Even if it were the case that a lot of research was privatized and lead to major discoveries those types of discoveries are now in publically funded labs. The human genome was credited incorrectly to Craig Venter and the for profit Institute for genomic research. In reality however the publically funded Human Genome Project had a much higher quality sequence and Venter admitted to using much of their public domain data to get to his mappping of the genome. Venter now is a pariah in research. Venter’s goal was to charge for use of genomic sequences, even to see them initially. This blockade of free knowledge exchange exists in the private sector research and would be a certain consequence of privatization of all research, as all work becomes proprietary information to the investor. This would undeniably stifle the ability of scientists everywhere to make breakthroughs as their ability to discuss it with their colleagues from other institutions and to form collaborations would be destroyed. In essence destroying science in the US putting us in the ranks of Iran in scientific advancement. So Sandfeur might as well be a creationist, his ideals will have just as horrible an effect on science as some religious zealot’s wack-job fundamentalist ideals.

harold said:

Egnor’s comments are so infuriating and illogical that it’s painful to respond to them.

It’s an embarassment to even be forced to pay attention to him. It’s like having to clean up “tagging” that’s somebody’s spraypainted all over the walls – “academic freedom” in action.

As Mike Elzinga likes to point say, anyone who conducted business transactions the way Darwin-bashers run their game would be immediately busted for fraud. I’m not really suggesting that people be locked up for spreading braindead ideas – we’d have to lock up a lot of people – but one can appreciate the principle.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Sarah,

You might want to remind those of us posting here how much important scientific progress has been made here in the USA since the end of World War II due to government support of science (Unlike Tim Sandefur, I happen to be someone sympathetic to libertarian issues who recognizes the importance of government funding of basic scientific research.).

As for Egnor, he has erred egregiously in assuming that since most Americans are creationists that science ought to be run as though it was a popularity contest like “Dancing With the Stars”. If you did that, then you’d change the very definition of what science is - though of course this EXACTLY what Egnor and his fellow DI mendacious intellectual pornographers wish.

Regards,

John

Sarah said:

eric said:

Sarah said: As of the original article I would love to ask Timothy Sandfeur where he would like for scientists to get money if not from the government? The discovery institute perhaps?

Sandefur is not an ID supporter. He supports mainstream science but as a libertarian thinks funding for science should come from private investment rather than taxes.

He and Mike Dunford recently posted a series of point/counterpoint articles on public science funding, you can read them at: http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2[…]nti.php#more

Yes I am rather aware of that. It was a sarcastic comment.

*snip*

Just wanted to say that I strongly agree with everything you said Sarah. When I was looking at this Freespace blog I was very surprised. In my opinion, the philosophies he promotes are *just as horrible* for science and scientific knowledge as ID/creationists if not worse. What is *worse* for science and the pursuit of knowledge: Idists trying to push “teach the controversy” into public schools, or extreme libertarians closing all public education and abolishing all publicly-funded science?

And all the truly significant, largescale scientific endeavours can only be funded by government-sized funding. Bakesales are not gonna pay for Cern. Church tithes are not gonna make fusion power a reality. Sandfeur lives in a rich and powerful US whose wealth and power has a lot to do with publicly-funded science.

Sarah’s deeply ignorant comments demonstrate that she has not bothered to actually spend time read my writing on the subject, so I will likewise not spend my time responding. I will say, however, that my point here is not to raise again my debate with Dunford, but to point out that Egnor’s attempt to paint so-called “Darwinists” as people who want taxpayers to foot the bill is ludicrously misplaced, because (a) even those of us who don’t want taxpayers to foot the bill can recognize pseudoscience when we see it, and (b) the evils associated with government funding are dramatically worse in the case of creationists who are trying to use taxpayer money to promote religion in direct contradiction to the First Amendment. Since recognizing that point doesn’t take more than a few sentences of reading, I’m sure Sarah will join me on that much at least.

Sarah Wrote:

This blockade of free knowledge exchange exists in the private sector research and would be a certain consequence of privatization of all research, as all work becomes proprietary information to the investor.

You make many excellent points.

As someone who has worked in academia, in private industry, and on classified government projects, I can report that, in my experience, private industry is far, far worse at suppressing and abusing new knowledge than any of the others.

Industry will deliberately buy up and kill any new knowledge that the executives perceive might compete with their own jealously held position in the market place. I’ve watched it happen from a front row seat.

Even the most highly classified work for government agencies eventually works its way into the public sector. This has been especially true for almost the entire period of time since WWII. Most people would be surprised to know just how much of the technology they use daily originated in or was spun off from secret research projects for the government.

As annoying as it is to many working scientists, secrecy in certain types of research is absolutely necessary. When one learns of the circumstances under which secrecy is imposed, it is often very understandable.

On the other hand, secrecy in research can also lead to the protection and inadequate vetting of some really bad projects that fall clearly into the category of pseudo-science.

There may be a general rule that we can take from diverse ecological systems. The diversity is generally healthy and more stable. If research funding came down to only one source, you can bet that source would eventually be infected with a killing disease.

Relatively minor point: A distinction needs to be drawn between “bad science” and pseudoscience. Bad science is when I draw a hasty conclusion from one set of cell culture immunofluorescence staining. It can be published, argued about, and eventually get me embarrassed. Its part of the process. Pseudoscience is where you basically make stuff up. Scientific creationism/ID is pseudoscience.

Major point: Relying on the First Amendment to protect science education will not work any better than removing government funding would promote science research.

The problem of the anti-science education campaign is not a struggle between atheism and believers. Science is not the product of atheism, and is not conducted to promote atheism. There are two narrow minority groups who insist that it is: anti-science evangelicals, and proselytizing atheists. Neither group can legitimately claim to represent the majority of theists, or atheists. That leaves the majority of the uninformed population just plain confused, and that’s all the anti-science education campaign needs really. All they need is just enough discomfort to encourage students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and politicians to consider the “alternative”, and the propaganda of the “alternative” has been honed for half a century now. That’s enough to destroy a clear understanding of the scientific process. Mission accomplished.

Good science education has nothing to do with atheism. Insisting that it does simply helps the anti-science education campaign. There isn’t enough money in the coffers of the ACLU to fund even a small fraction of the lawsuits that would be necessary to turn this around in court.

Timothy Sandefur said: Egnor’s attempt to paint so-called “Darwinists” as people who want taxpayers to foot the bill is ludicrously misplaced, because…

…the vast majority of Americans of all religious and political views want taxes to go to scientific research.

There, fixed. :)

…as Thomas Jefferson said, that “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.”

Uh, I’m on the side of science, but this quote cuts both ways.

midwifetoad said:

…as Thomas Jefferson said, that “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.”

Uh, I’m on the side of science, but this quote cuts both ways.

Midwifetoad, are you suggesting we should not collect school taxes from people who disagree with something - anything - schools teach?

IMO Mr. Jefferson’s quote falls afoul of the ‘Churchill clause.’ Involuntary taxation may indeed be the most sinful and tyrranical system possible - except for all the others.

midwifetoad said:

…as Thomas Jefferson said, that “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.”

Uh, I’m on the side of science, but this quote cuts both ways.

In my opinion we should simplify Jefferson: “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions is sinful and tyrannical.”

It is not the role of government to propagate opinions, no matter how valuable we might think those opinions are. I have certain opinions about beauty and grace and the character of a good life, and I don’t want the government to demand that other people share those opinions.

It’s easy to see that the posters here are not interested in propagating opinions … they are interested in propagating facts, theories, and attitudes, not opinions. Dr. Egnor, however, seems to want to propagate his own opinions.

Mike Wrote:

All they need is just enough discomfort to encourage students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and politicians to consider the “alternative”, and the propaganda of the “alternative” has been honed for half a century now. That’s enough to destroy a clear understanding of the scientific process. Mission accomplished.

But that is also its Achilles heel. It’s all over the internet, it’s been debunked, it’s wrong, and now they can’t take it back or distance themselves from it.

Now we can elaborate the sleazy tactics used to advance this propaganda. I would hope that this could eventually put some of these jackals in jail. Of course, they might scream religious persecution, but then the jig is up for them.

I think we just need to keep hammering away at them. Never take the spotlight off their tactics and misinformation. Not only is this an opportunity to teach science, it is also an opportunity to show how scams are perpetrated by idiots claiming to be “Christian”.

Midwifetoad, are you suggesting we should not collect school taxes from people who disagree with something - anything - schools teach?

No. I’m saying that quote mining is hazardous to rational health. The Jefferson quote, out of context, supports the position in your query. I’m kind of twitchy when it comes to supporting arguments with isolated quotes. Even when I agree with the argument.

midwifetoad said:

No. I’m saying that quote mining is hazardous to rational health.

Exactly. That quote is from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, authored by Jefferson, and the only meaning of it was to prevent collecting of taxes to support any, “religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” To use the quote to support anything else is disingenuous.

Well Mr. Sandefur, First of all I apologize for the multiple mispellings of your name. (Small text and I do not get along). If you wanted to keep this to Egnor’s attempts maybe you should have kept your conservative rhetoric out of it. And I will apologize for not reading all your previous writings but your circular logic on many of the points and infrences about the abilities of the american people made my head hurt (you can expect a response on my blog in a few days). In no offense at all to Mr. Dunford as the internet is a good example of government money put to good use I can offer many many more that haven’t been capitalized on and never would have by the private sector. And really I think all of us know plenty of bad things the private sector has done to the net… None of us needed 2 girls 1 cup.

Exactly. That quote is from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, authored by Jefferson, and the only meaning of it was to prevent collecting of taxes to support any, “religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” To use the quote to support anything else is disingenuous.

Then it sounds like the context was correct in using it to oppose creationism in science classes.

I wouldn’t be surprised, however, to see it used to support an anti-science position. Postmodern thought is widespread, not just on the right wing. The left has its proponents of the concept that everything is just opinion.

When dealing with Limbaugh and Egnor, don’t forget that Father Coughlin was wildly successful.

I was in the Alaskan Libertarian Party for years, trying to reason with extremely stupid people with a profound Dunning-Kruger effect, making up the rank-and-file and polluting the government-created internet with absurd trolling and flame wars, and with people who were business-parochial to a psychotic and inhuman extreme, who ran things. The Tim Sandefurs always, always, always express themselves like he does:

“Sarah’s deeply ignorant comments demonstrate that she has not bothered to actually spend time read my writing on the subject, so I will likewise not spend my time responding”

They are irredeemable dittobots and always have a script. When they call a radio show, they start out by saying “let me finish.” They have every single thing you’re supposed to say in their strawman script already pre-said for their purposes.

The only difference this time? The libertarian dittobot admits he’s not responding. Unresponsiveness is the basis of libertarianism. And the principle unresponsiveness is to reality, which von Mises said you could never know, anyway, so it was only important to believe a set of axioms on faith and then make sure your deductions never left the reservation and were all derived from the cult dogmas.

They are, in fact, fundamentalists who make the snake handlers and 6000 year old Earthers look like Doogie Howser.

mrg -

Obviously, if I ever make an unfair association between engineers and creationism, you can remind of Egnor, medicine’s proudest contribution to the cult. [Actually, there was a crackpot pathologist (my own specialty) at a private hospital in Nebraska, about ten years back, who had some sort of web site. He even used the old “these diseases are caused by mutations so there must be no favorable mutations” argument. But he didn’t become a public figure.]

Daoud -

I almost said the same thing about crackpots who want to defund basic research being arguably as dangerous to science as creationists.

Timothy Sandefur -

Sarah’s deeply ignorant comments demonstrate that she has not bothered to actually spend time read my writing on the subject, so I will likewise not spend my time responding

Lame, Timothy. Very, very lame.

Sarah’s deeply ignorant comments demonstrate that she has not bothered to actually spend time read my writing on the subject, so I will likewise not spend my time responding.

Nice ad hom there.

There’s a reason Timothy typically posts with comments closed …

Sarah said:

Secondly and perhaps more importantly WE DO LEARN SCIENCE FROM THE CHINESE AND INDIANS! In the realm of academia in the US as an American I am a minority by far. And the more math oriented the science…means the more and more americans become the minority.

My wife is an actuary, and has been in the position to hire other actuaries. She has grown extremely frustrated; she finds it hard to hire actuaries who are from the US. Some come from other English-speaking countries (at her last company, out of less than two dozen actuaries, two were from Ireland), but most come from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Their work is good, but you can’t deal with customers if you can’t be understood.

So many people in the US have a bad view of math. They’re almost proud to be bad at it. I dealt with a cashier who had troubles making change. He laughed and said, “I’m an English major.” I wanted to say, “That’s OK, my wife’s a mathematician, and she’s illiterate.”

As of denying people their right to determine their child’s education, if we always taught the popular view we’d still be walking around thinking the Earth was flat and the sun revolved around it. If people don’t want their children to learn about science here’s my solution for them HOMESCHOOL THEM we don’t need their BS in our schools anyways.

Only then their family has complete control over them, and they never learn anything other than the party line. At least in the public school there is a chance that the kids might learn to think for themselves.

harold said:

He even used the old “these diseases are caused by mutations so there must be no favorable mutations” argument.

I know the general argument only too well but that precise phrasing is new variation on me. It’s one of those things where I break out laughing and try choke down: “But they were favorable to the PATHOGENS, weren’t they?!”

Alas, the problem with asking a lunatic-fringer a question is that it’s inviting them to answer when the goal is to get them to SHUT UP!

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Raging Bee said:

If Louisiana is where the creationist movement is making progress, then that’s where honest, educated people need to take a stand and attack it; and that’s where a dose of honest science is needed most.

I agree with this. Here in central WA, creationism has the region in a stranglehold. I, for one, have decided to start being more vocal in defending real science.

Isn’t Egnor able to sit back comfortably and write his rants because he receives a salary funded by taxpayers? How much of his tax-funded research deals with Creationism?

Egnor is Ann Coulter with a(nother) penis. To quote him is to satirize him.

Mike Elzinga said:

Just imagine a Limbaugh/Egnor ticket for the next presidential election.

Campaign slogan: “Put your mind in Limbaugh; feel the Rush as you Egnor reality.”

“Limbaugh lower now; how low can he go?” (done to the tune of the Limbo Rock).

That’s pretty good. I still like my GOP slogan for the 2004 campaign:

“Put a Dick in office, Vote Bush”

So many people in the US have a bad view of math. They’re almost proud to be bad at it.

Make that math and science. And leave out the “almost.” For decades I’d tell people that I’m a chemist, and get that look as if I had just told a Biblical literalist that I’m an atheist and “evolutionist.” And when I mention events that occurred millions of years ago, I often get - from non-fundamentalists, many of whom even accept evolution (or a caricature of it) - that look that says “How do you know, where you there?”

What is Egnor talking about. It have been clearly demonstrated that creationism is not science, but a religious view.

Anthony said:

What is Egnor talking about. It have been clearly demonstrated that creationism is not science, but a religious view.

Oh, he knows that. These days it’s not that they try hard to say that ID is “not creationism” or “scientific, not religious” but rather that they try to have it all both ways, all to please their target audience. If they can distract critics into saying “ID is too creationism” or “ID sneaks in God,” they score even more brownie points.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at how pathetic the scam artists have become. 40 years ago they had bold, testable hypotheses that not only challenged the “tree of life” but estimated that the ages of earth and life were too high by a factor of nearly a million. With all that thoroughly refuted - even by other creationists! - all they have left is purely negative “weaknesses” of evolution. But even those arguments have been so thoroughly discredited that they have no choice but to increasingly resort to mudslinging. Hence the whining about how those who refuse to conduct or teach science correctly are “expelled,” how “Darwinism” leads to Nazism, and (Egnor’s rant) how learning evolution is not necessary for a career in medicine.

Now if we could only get the general public to see how pathetic it has become.

Frank J said:

And when I mention events that occurred millions of years ago, I often get - from non-fundamentalists, many of whom even accept evolution (or a caricature of it) - that look that says “How do you know, where you there?”

Yet, these same people tend to accept what their history textbooks said what happened 10 to 200 years ago, AND still look at you funny when you ask them, “Do you believe that crimes without eyewitnesses don’t exist?”

I often get … that look that says “How do you know, where you there?”

My answer is “I firmly believe that both of us had great-great-great-grandparents, who probably lived somewhere in the Old World, probably sometime in the 18th century, though, of course, I wasn’t there and have no direct evidence they ever existed. Still, why do you think wrong?”

Any answer, of course, leads directly to the idea that it certainly is reasonable to accept indirect proof for subjects that we know enough about.

stevaroni Wrote:

Any answer, of course, leads directly to the idea that it certainly is reasonable to accept indirect proof for subjects that we know enough about.

Stanton Wrote:

Yet, these same people tend to accept what their history textbooks said what happened 10 to 200 years ago, AND still look at you funny when you ask them, “Do you believe that crimes without eyewitnesses don’t exist?”

I don’t think many people really think it through, that the same evidence-based methods are used regardless of whether in their lifetime, early in our civilization, or early in life’s history. In fact I get the distinct impression that many people seem to place the Bible stories in the same “fairy tale” category as dinosaur stories. Meaning that they react with the same “I guess something like that happened,” while clearly trying to chance the subject to something more recent.

In case you wonder why diseases being caused by mutation isn’t beneficial to them, it’s because of the myth of germs.

Diseases are not caused by inbreeding or radiation or by tiny animals.

They’re the result of curses and sinning.

Focus on the basics and you won’t get the complex stuff very far wrong!

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on March 5, 2009 7:38 PM.

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