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Elf M. Sternberg - Creationist Michael Egnor rejects germ theory of disease, advocates demonic intereference instead.
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Creationist Michael Egnor rejects germ theory of disease, advocates demonic intereference instead.
PZ Myers recently attended a symposium on "Understanding evolution: the legacy of Darwin," which sounds kinda neat. At the pro-Intelligent Design website "Evolution News and Views," creationist neurosurgeon Michael Egnor reacted with a screed entitled, "Is PZ Myers Attending a Conference on Eugenics?" Egnor has exactly zero evidence that anything on eugenics was presented on the symposium, and nothing vaguely like it appears on the schedule; this is just another unfair attempt by Egnor to once again hang the faux anvil of eugenics around Darwin's neck, something he's done fairly regularly.

But PZ, having an ego the size of a planet, spends his time focused on what Egnor said about him and eugenics, and in the process misses the absolutely insane 'graf at the bottom:
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.
If there's any evidence than an alternative worldview to one of straightforward materialism leads to bizarre conclusions, Egnor's is it. How are we going to understand the mechanism of adaptation that leads to the emergence of new infections if we have to consider a constant, deliberate interference by conscious mechanisms?

The basic consequence of Egnor's dismissal of human evolution by natural selection is this: we have no reason to believe animal studies are worth anything. If common descent with modification by natural selection is not valid, then any commonalities we have with any other species is pure coincidence. Animal models work because... well, just because. We don't know why they work.

Egnor's dismissal leads us to this dismal conclusion: we are subject to infection and disease because some conscious demonic influence is constantly at work, making diseases nastier and more effective.

At least one creationist has been honest enough to admit this: Michael Behe, in his latest book, actually touts malaria as being too "exquisite" to have evolved, and therefore all of the suffering malaria inflicts on human beings is proof that an "intelligent designer" exists.

For Behe and Egnor, the designer is wicked beyond redemption.

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jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: November 25th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)
The basic consequence of Egnor's dismissal of human evolution by natural selection is this: we have no reason to believe animal studies are worth anything. If common descent with modification by natural selection is not valid, then any commonalities we have with any other species is pure coincidence. Animal models work because... well, just because. We don't know why they work.

Indeed. The problem with denying evolution in biology is that evolution is at the root of practically everything in biology. It's like trying to discuss physics while denying gravity.
_candide_ From: _candide_ Date: November 26th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, they try that, dude.

Haven't you ever heard the Fundies claim that there's "no evidence" for the Big Bang? Einstein's theory of General Relativity, the best model we have for gravity, predicts that the Universe began as a point-object. And this is supported by observable evidence.

But there's something else in GR that I recall reading about, something that lets you directly show that light from certain very distant objects has been travelling for over a billion years (and therefore, the object must be more than 6000 years old).

Now, most distance measures in Astrophysics are based on a chain of, "standard candles." (The basic idea is that you use parallax to measure nearby stars, then use technique-B to measure both nearby starts and further stars that you can't use parallax on, but can use other physical properties. Then you employ technique-C … and you get the picture.) I vaguely recall reading, however, that there's a technique that jumps past the regular chain of standard candles, all the way to direct measuremet on intergalactic scales. It use some of the features of Gravitational Lensing to directly compute the distance to the lensing object. Or the object being distorted by the Gravitational Lense. (Like I said, I only vaguely recall it.)


So, yes, Yes They Do try to talk about physics while denying gravity.
gromm From: gromm Date: November 25th, 2008 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
What I really don't get, (besides the blazing obvious, that creationists are flaming morons) is how exactly these types can't easily reconcile their faith with the scientific proof at hand. For example:

Start with these three assumptions, which for the sake of argument we will say are true:

1. God created the universe.
2. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and immortal.
3. The universe (and the earth too) is obviously billions of years old.

Several corollaries burst forth:

Since God created the universe, he also obviously created the rules by which it operates.

Since God is immortal, he does not care about time. It is either irrelevant to him, or he is infinitely patient too.

This means that it is entirely possible that, having created the perfect universe in which life will evolve inevitably, all God has to do is wait for a few billion years (if he even has to wait - see the possibility that time is irrelevant to God).

Another corollary is that were all that true (and it's certainly a good argument), and God could talk to Moses, what would he say to a copper-age sheepherder out in the middle of the desert who can't conceive of numbers beyond say, a thousand? If you start laying down stuff about physics or chemistry or biology, his eyes would glaze over before you could say 'boo'. And of course, God would know that even before tapping the guy on the shoulder. But Moses *would* understand a little parable that fits nicely into a timeline that fits into something a human could understand. A fuller understanding could come later. God seems pretty sure of that too.

While technically still a creationist theory, it sure as hell holds up better in any school of actual thought ("because the bible tells me so" isn't thought), nevermind the obvious final corollary that no matter what science discovers, it can still hold up. It already fits well with the facts that we already know to be true.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 25th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
The problem is that most creationists (or at least most of the vocal ones) are biblical literalists, and come to the party already knowing what they believe. Consistency and intellectual honesty aren't important to them; their goal is to convert people to their religion, not to pursue the truth. They already know the truth, you see, and no further investigation is necessary.

With that in mind, they're not interested in evidence or rational arguments, except insofar as they think some cherry-picked data points might lend them a little pseudoscientific credibility, or cast doubt on the scientific orthodoxy -- both useful weapons against their target audience's innate skepticism. Your compromise, while certainly a little less irrational than young earth creationism, is still objectionable to them because it denies some of the fundamental tenets of their religion.

Anonymous Blog Reader #127
gromm From: gromm Date: November 25th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps, but why muck around with Intelligent Design? To suggest that evolution is directly affected by God is still to suggest that evolution exists.

The other thing is that technically they *are* using a rational argument. They just start out with assumptions (as I have) that have already been proven to be false. Namely, that the bible and the story of Genesis is true to the last letter. They can then construct a very good, strictly logical argument based upon that foundation, but at the same time, because part of its foundation is false, the entire argument is false. Any philosopher or theologian could tell you that. It's one of the basic tenets of logic. As you point out however, they cling to that flawed foundation irrationally.

My entire point however, is that their own belief that There Is No God In Science, And That Must Stop is also moot. Most scientists are not atheist. Even the Catholic Church does not deny science. And then there's the Jesuits...
_candide_ From: _candide_ Date: November 26th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, but which story of Genesis.

There are two different ones, one right after the other, at the very beginning of Genesis. Why literally-interpret one and not the other?

Even if you look at their (il)literal interpretation, it's theologically-flawed. And their parrotted date for the creation of the universe? Based on estimation.

Bishop Ussher, using both the Bible and historical texts, made a not-that-unscientific go at it, given the limited data he had (and his personal biases). The only mistake I feel he made: not providng error bars. I feel that, had the Bishop known of the idea of providing a range to one's estimations, he wouldn't have specified a fixed day, but given a range.

And wouldn't that make a mess of the idiot-literalists, who blindly believe what they are told by their Pharasee-ministers.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)

The Catholic Church does not deny science.

LOL! Of course, the Roman Catholic church accepts science's theories. They're a pack of hypocrites who don't even acknowledge Jesus Christ.

The Roman Catholic church proclaims loudly that Jesus is dead and unable to help you. Walk into any Roman Catholic church and you will see a dead Jesus on a cross and a dead Jesus in the arms of His mother. The Roman Catholic church declares that you must bow before and display acts of worship unto a man called Pope.

The very words of these Popes are such that they proclaim themselves "God on earth" for all Roman Catholics to adore.

"The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, he is Jesus Christ himself" - Roman Catholic National, July 1895.

The Vatican has become the centre of all Christianity -- curious isn't it, since Jesus never even stepped foot in Rome.

Like most phony organized religious sects, monetary gain and control is what the Roman catholic church worships.

I'm not going to argue about whether life was created by a divine being or by evolution because it's a moot point. It's all speculation, as it is with the theory of relativity, gravity, or global warming.

There is no undisputed proof, for if there were, the debate on all these issues would be over. Scientists will argue that emperical evidence is on their side and that it's illogical to believe in something that can't be perceived with the eyes. Well, I'm pretty sure there's a myriad of gases surrounding me even though I can't see them.

In reality, how much does science really know about the universe... how the brain works or what energizes the heart to pump 35 million times a year? The scientist's credo is "who needs to have faith in an imaginary Creator when you can create a god-like status of your own?"

Besides, who wants the potential outcome of having to answer for their transgressions one day? The atheists "faith" is that the rejection of a God will free them of accountability.

If that weren't the case, why are so many adamant that the theory of Intelligent Design is an impossibility? What's the harm in believing in an after-life? Nothing to lose if you're wrong -- everything to gain if you're right.

Holding the beliefs of an atheist is actually a religion or cult unto its own. It's logical to state that if you're against Christ, you must be the Anti-Christ. Too bad you lose in THE END.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 18th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Egnorance

Joe the Plumber just dissed physicists, "I don't need no pointyheads to tell me that water flows downwards, and gases flow up...Relativity and q mechanics, now that is nonsense." No wait that didn't happen, it was just the ignorant Egnor - a mechanic of a surgeon - dissing biology. The geezer doesn't realise what he is talking about.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)

scientific animal studies

"Animal models work because... well, just because. We don't know why they work."

Doesn't sound like a logical explanation to justify the torturing of millions of animals. Maybe if these brilliant scientists could at least cure the common cold, you could say that there was some benefit to all the pain and suffering their "research" causes.

Of course, "cures" aren't something they actually seek because any cure would be a threat to their own existence. Any scientist with a lick of sense knows that animals have totally different molecular and cellular structures than man, and thus their studies amount to nothing more than "junk science". In the world of the scientific mind, the need for economic health rises above all else.
elfs From: elfs Date: September 29th, 2009 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: scientific animal studies

Huh. So medical science has never cured anything. Ever?
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: scientific animal studies

That's correct. If it had, we still wouldn't have cases of polio, smallpox, malaria and typhoid fever, to name a few, still in existence.
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