Category Archives: Egnorance

Once again, Egnor and Tautologies

As you’ve probably heard from other ScienceBlogger’s, that paragon of
arrogant ignorance, Dr. Michael Egnor, is back at it again – and he’s abusing
the language of logic in a way that really frustrates me. I’ve written
about this before, but the general topic recently came up in comments, so
I thought I’d bump it up to the top, along with another slap aimed at Egnor.

For those who don’t know, Dr. Egnor is a brain surgeon at SUNY Stonybrook – an excellent school, and Dr. Egnor is, from all information I’ve heard, an outstanding surgeon. In his free time, he blogs for the Discovery Institute, using his
status as an accomplished brain-surgeon to try to boost the bullshit spewing out of DI.

One of Dr. Egnor’s favorite attacks in his anti-evolution screeds always makes me think of a line from one of my favorite movies: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die”. Oops, no, not that one. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) The real line is “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means”.

You see, what Egnor keeps doing, over and over again, is arguing that
evolution is just a tautology, and that therefore it’s meaningless. He
defines evolution as the statement “that which survives, survives”. He almost never gets through one of his posts without that accusation in one form or another: evolution is a tautology, and that implies that it’s meaningless and worthless as an explanation of anything.

Leave aside for the moment the fact that he mis-states the key premise of evolution. That’s a huge, obvious, and deliberate mistake, but let’s just ignore it for now. Instead, I’d like to just look at the problem with his statement about tautologies. What exactly is a tautology? And does
criticizing something as “just a tautology” actually make any sense?

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Dazzling Egnorance: Egnor vs. Experimental Science

I’m jumping into this late, and it’s at least somewhat off topic for this
blog, although I’ll try to pull a few mathematical metaphors into it. But Michael
Egnor, that paragon of creationist stupidity, is back babbling about evolution and
bacterial antibiotic resistance. This is a subject which is very personal to me:
my father died almost a year ago – basically from an antibiotic resistant infection.

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Dr. Egnor reaches a new low

Michael Egnor is at it again. The guy is pretty much the energizer bunny of anti-evolution bullshit. This time, he’s purportedly refuting an article by Dr. Steven Novella, a Yale professor of neurology.

So, why am I butting my nose in to a discussion between two doctors? For two reasons:

  1. First, because once again, Egnor pulls out his gibberish about information theory – and that’s definitely my turf.
  2. Second, because ultimately, the argument that Dr. Egnor makes comes back to the silly way that he reduces to evolution to a tautology. As I’ve discussed several times before, Dr. Egnor formulates a trite, foolish tautology out of a description of natural selection, and then pretends that the entire theory of evolution is nothing more than his foolish tautology. Apparently, he’s convinced himself, and as a result, he creates arguments from it without
    ever bothering to consider whether or not they make the slightest bit of sense. This latest
    screed of his is the worst example of this that I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying a lot!

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Todays tautology: "Egnor writes idiotic things" and "All people who write idiotic things are idiots", therefore "Egnor is an idiot"

Apparently, Michael Egnor just can’t get enough of making himself look like an idiot. His latest screed is an attack on me, for criticizing his dismissal of evolution as a tautology.

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