Egnorance and stupidity…

Dr Mike Egnor is a neurosurgeon, famous for his notoriously fallacious arguments and bad logic when trying to support the fairy tale that is intelligent design. He contributes to a ridiculous blog in which he often comments on news around evolution -a well of fallacies, misunderstandings of even basic evolutionary concepts, and just plain silliness. Actually, it is not even a blog: Egnor doesn’t allow comments on his posts, probably in fear of armies of people ridiculing him for his outrageously stupid way of “thinking”. Steven Novella has exposed Egnor a number of times already but he just doesn’t seem to notice… Everyone else though, has already acknowledged the vacuity in his argumentation… The term “Egnorance” was promptly and rightfully coined and is in wide use today.

Egnor’s latest rant is about the scientists’ response to the Academic Freedom bill that was recently passed in Louisiana. On paper, this law simply allows teachers to bring material and discuss controversies and weaknesses of scientific theories in the classroom without the fear of being “punished” somehow for this. In reality, this bill is of course a weasel’s way of introducing intelligent design and creationism into science classrooms.

To their honour, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) has actively opposed this ridiculous bill, and now that the bill was passed, they (along with many other science societies) have decided to boycott the State of Louisiana and organize their conferences in other states, more open to science and proper education.

Egnor however, thinks the SICB is just promoting censorship in the classrooms (what an irony from a guy that doesn’t allow comments in his blog!). You see, Egnor thinks that academic freedom is about discussing a scientific theory in a science classroom. He believes that science is done in the highschool classrooms:

Your attempt at censorship and your boycott are a sneer at the citizens of Louisiana. They will no doubt draw the obvious inference that you wish to insulate your scientific viewpoints from public scrutiny and that you endorse censorship in their schools because you think that the citizens of Louisiana don’t have the same right to educate their children in their schools as you have to educate your children in yours.

And they [citizens of America] think that they ought to be able to ask questions about evolution in their own public schools. They don’t share your passion for ideological purity in science classes. They have a quaint notion that science depends on the freedom to ask questions, and their insistence on academic freedom is catching on.

Well, sorry Dr. Egnor, but no: science is not done in the classrooms and neither the students nor the teachers are qualified to critically evaluate the evidence, discuss “weaknesses”, or promote science in any way. The teacher’s only responsibility is to explain the current state of affairs and provide a simplified model of the current scientific consensus to the children. And they should stick to it*). Otherwise, and under the academic freedom bill, personal ideologies and belief systems can easily creep into the educational system. But then I forgot that this is exactly what the creationists want, right Dr. Egnor? You want a backdoor that will allow creationist teachers to promote intelligent design as a valid scientific alternative to evolution (what a laughable idea really).

No creationist has ever complained about the gaps or open questions in other scientific theories: Newton’s gravitational laws fail in many contexts; Einstein’s Relativity theories fail in subatomic scales; scientists are still working on a hell of a lot research issues in biology, medicine, particle physics, and, of course, evolution. But creationists only really care about evolution -because it shatters their ridiculous religious ideas to pieces.

Egnor also thinks that creationists are funding the scientists in the US:

Your grants to study evolution don’t really come from NIH or NSF. They come from creationists, the ones you take to court and censor all the time.

Again, sorry Dr. Egnor, but no: the defining characteristic of the people funding all sorts of activities in the US is that they are American citizens. If a majority of them is creationists, that’s just a misfortune. You cannot use yet another fallacious tactic to work your way towards such a ridiculous argument! Besides, there are really many creationists of some form that support science and care about their children’s education and their country’s advancement. And what about all those other people who are not creationists? Are you just going to egnore them (hehehe)? Remember that the US is supposed to be open to and indifferent to every possible religion. So why should the religious (or ideological) beliefs of a group of people dictate policy making and public funds distribution?

But then, really, what do you expect from someone who puts more value to a theological meeting or the visits of god-fearing people than important scientific conferences?!

Folks in Louisiana don’t actually care if the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology cancels its convention in New Orleans. There are a lot of other organizations that will be delighted to hold their conventions in cities you boycott. There are a lot of big organizations out there who don’t exactly like you. The National Association of Evangelicals represents 40,000,000 people and represents 40,000 churches. The Society for Comparative and Integrative Biology has 2300 members. Just one organization of evangelicals has 17 times as many churches as you have members. There are thousands of churches that are larger than your organization, and I’m sure many members would be happy to come to New Orleans for tourism or meetings. [emphasis mine]

Hear that SICB? We have way more Christians than you have scientists! We would rather be visited by our fellow sheep than listen to your devilish science! We win by numbers! Take that science!

Anyway, just to show you the advanced level of Egnor’s stupidity, he is now an icon in Sneer Review: “The Argument from Egnor Rants“:

Dr Egnor, a neurosurgeon based at the University’s department of pediatrics, has for a number of years captivated the field of evolutionary biology with his original and thought provoking arguments against the modern theory of evolution.
Who can forget such classics as the unforgettable ‘gene duplication doesn’t add information to the genome because its the equivalent of plagiarism‘? [emphasis mine]

Oh, the stupidity… it burns!

  1. * (Don’t get me wrong: students should of course ask questions about anything they wish. But singling out Evolution just makes students think there are some sort of serious flaws in the theory! But still, it is not up to them to advance science in the classroom. []