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Friday, February 07, 2014

Why is a brain surgeon afraid of evolution?

Michael Egnor is a brain surgeon who doesn't like evolution. Egnor isn't a scientist so why does it matter so much to him?

Listen to this podcast where Casey Luskin interviews Michael Egnor: Dr. Michael Egnor on Debating Intelligent Design. You may want to turn off your irony meter.

Egnor is afraid of evolution for exactly the right reasons. It's because evolution (and science) threaten his worldview. Science tells us that we don't have free will—at least not the kind of free will that Christians demand. Science tells us that there's no such thing as moral absolutes that are dictated by god(s). Science is materialistic and it may be the only valid way of knowing.

No wonder he's scared. Michael Egnor is a Roman Catholic and he knows that evolution threatens his religion.

You'll probably enjoy hearing Egnor and Luskin talk about atheist blogs and about the high quality of science writing on Evolution News & Views. Casey Luskin (lawyer) and Michael Engor (physician) are responsible for some of that high quality science writing.

David Klinghoffer really likes the podcasts. Here's his review at: Listening to Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor on the Brain and Intelligent Design, Rubik's Cube and Jerry Coyne's Blog.
I've exchanged many emails with brain surgeon and ENV contributor Dr. Michael Egnor, but I had never actually heard his voice till now. It's a good voice, which is vital for a physician, mellow yet authoritative, with the correct pitch and timbre. Egnor's stellar academic and medical background aside, I've often thought that, if you had no other information about a healthcare provider, what you don't want is a doctor with the wrong kind of voice.

Now you can hear Egnor as I just did in this fascinating new series of podcasts in which he is interviewed by Casey Luskin. Their themes include evidence of intelligent design in the complexity of the brain, but no less so in the simplest creature, a bacterium. Dr. Egnor compares that design to the solution of a Rubik's Cube. It doesn't happen by chance.

Egnor also talks about the unusual window that Jerry Coyne provides into the mind of a materialist, which is why his name comes up here often. Coyne, unlike many Darwin apologists, doesn't self-censor. You don't have to wonder: What does he really think about, for example, personal responsibility. Because he tells you! Whatever else Coyne may be, he's no weasel. For that, Egnor expresses his gratitude and -- yes, appropriately.
I'm disappointed that Egnor said nothing about me even though he posts quite a few comments on Sandwalk. Guess I don't get much respect.

I wonder why David Klinghoffer didn't mention Casey Luskin's voice?


  1. I have to say, this is first time I have heard of someone being recommended because of the timbre of his voice. I was not previously aware that it was considered a factor. I'm still not convinced it is the number one consideration when choosing a health care provider.

  2. ["Guess I don't get much respect.']

    I respect you a lot, Larry. You're a stand-up guy, regardless of our differences.

    And don't get too jealous of Coyne.

    1. In mathematics we would say that relationship does not possess the commutative property.

      Larry, you may want to go and dip yourself in bleach.

  3. Brain Surgeons are intelligent people. Many would think more then average.
    Who says a scientist is intelligent unless they do something cool. Anyone can memorize things in their late teens and early twenties.
    if its just scientists that count for head counts on evolution belief THEN why not just the scientists who study these subjects!?
    Why do OTHER scientists get in the vote? Rocket scientists don't know more then brain surgeons ! Or its about anybody who puts their mind to these subjects and is smart.
    Its possible many evolutionary biologists are not that smart and so their opinion should be questioned.
    How many people get paid to study origin subjects that are in question in the origin struggle?
    I think mere thousands.

    1. Dearest Robert, is this in the nature of a personal testimonial ?

      Are you the product of Dr. Egnor's craft ?

      A new twist on the Frankenstein meme indeed ...

    2. "Its possible many evolutionary biologists are not that smart and so their opinion should be questioned." By deluded fools who think an ancient piece of fiction trumps modern science?

    3. Brain surgeons are like automobile mechanics. An automobile mechanic doesn't have to know anything about the thermodynamics of internal combustion engines to work on car engines. Similarly, a surgeon doesn't have to know much about biology or evolution to perform his surgical tasks. I don't anything about Egnor's reputation as a brain surgeon. However, I do know something about creationist Ben Carson's reputation as a surgeon which is exemplary. However, Carson proves the claim because, on evolution, he, like Egnor, doesn't know his posterior orifice from an excavation in tierra firma.

    4. Right. Brain surgeons are technicians. Very skilled ones, but technicians and that doesn't make them scientists.

      Science doesn't depend on someone's intelligence alone, it depends on process and analysis and all of the factors that go into answering hypotheses in a reliable, testable way. Egnor doesn't have to do that, and this is why he doesn't get a pass just for being a brain surgeon.

    5. Byers is an artist of Poe's law. Please let him be.

  4. I wonder why David Klinghoffer didn't mention Casey Luskin's voice?

    That's arguably a low blow, but I must admit it made me laugh very, very hard.

  5. Reasons why brain surgeons are not technicians.
    They don't get the big bucks.
    They operate while the engine is working unlike technicians.
    everybody thinks brain surgeons is a big intellectual accomplishment. Even if not very good!
    Technicians learn over a semester.
    if he was just a technician there would not be here a discussion about him.
    Oh brother.
    Sciency types ALWAYS stress they are smart and this matters. You can't classify a surgeon of the headjuices as not smart or smarter then chemists or physics people who just memorize stuff and read bios on other chemists and physicists who did cool things. Very little thinking involved in memorization.
    surgeons don't start thinking until after graduation. Thats what surgery means.
    Engor is another intelligent person who simply put his mind to origin subjects and found it wrong and unlikely.
    Is evolution a product of high intellectual investigation or just a desirable result ?
    I say if all surgeons paid attention they all would be shocked at the lack of evidence for a fantastic conclusion.
    This is why the late debate hurt evolution so much. Bringing attention drops its credibility in all thinking people.
    They just otherwise trust authority on these matters.

    1. I will be generous and assume that Booby was not partaking of lefty luckies or generous helpings of Canadian Club when he made this preposterous comment. However, I don't know what Booby means by the "big bucks". Obviously, Egnor and his creationist colleague Ben Carson don't make the kind of money that Larry Ellison makes. On the other hand, their compensation makes for a nice comfortable upper middle class life style. They ain't standing in bread lines.

    2. What? Whooooo is Larry Ellison???
      I'm just pressing home that if intelligence is being brought up then one is raising the stakes.
      I think creationists, who think about origin matters seriously, are more intelligent then the opposition who think about these things seriously.
      however this is a sensitive subject always so lets mutually keep it quiet.
      Every man prove his ability to keep up intellectually in these matters.

    3. Re Booby Byers

      Just for the edification of Booby, Larry Ellison is the CEO of Oracle, Inc. and is the 4th richest man in the world.

  6. I knew two fellows both of whom had very sonorous voices with excellent timbre.- captivating & almost mesmerizing.
    They both were great with the "glad handshake,"
    One was a used car salesman & the other a very "successful" lawyer.

  7. It's a good voice, which is vital for a physician, mellow yet authoritative, with the correct pitch and timbre.

    When David Klinghoffer's own copy reads like something out of The Onion, it is mystifying why he should want to publish anything.

  8. Tweeted from DiogenesLamp0:

    "@d_klinghoffer lauds creo Egnor: has voice "authoritative. . .w/correct pitch & timbre." Sex-y! But y no mention of Luskins voice? h/t Moran"

  9. Robert, as usual you only have your own thoughts on a subject : "I think creationists, who think about origin matters seriously, are more intelligent then the opposition who think about these things seriously." What do you think: Creationism makes people more intelligent - or the more intelligent people prefer thinking before studies? What is your IQ, you a member of Mensa?

    No matter how seriously you think you are thinking about "origin matters", the people that we should listen to are the people doing more that just "think", they spend a lifetime career studying the subject and the problems involved.

    How does your leisure time thinking about rockets and space exploration compare with the work done by the pople who land people on the moon and getting them back again as well?

    No amount of thinking no matter how serious beats hard, dedicated study of the real world.

    Do you know why YEC geology is useless for oil exploration? Do some thinking and tell us what you think.