The pathetic Michael Egnor thinks the existence of stuff proves God

April 12, 2021 • 2:00 pm

I have mixed feelings toward pediatric neurosurgeon, Catholic, and intelligent-design (ID) advocate Michael Egnor. I feel sorry for him because his ID activity is simply a waste of time, much of it spent attacking atheism (mine!) rather than advancing evidence for intelligent design. Where is the evidence for ID that was supposed to convince us all about a decade ago? Egnor’s given up on that endeavor to engage in invective towards evolutionists and atheists, thinking that denigrating scientists will help his cause. It hasn’t. For that’s simply an ad hominem tactic that will convince nobody who hasn’t already drunk the Kool-Aid (or the communion wine). My other feeling is that I deeply dislike the guy because he’s simply nasty. Acceptance of ID has declined since it first surfaces a few decades ago, and teaching it in schools has been ruled a “religious activity” that violates the First Amendment.

You can see evidence of the man’s egnorance and incivility in Egnor’s latest piece at the ID site Mind Matters News (click on screenshot).  Here he argues, as the title says, that evidence for God (which God? he doesn’t say) is scientific: in fact, more scientific than any other proposition. However, Egnor’s “scientific argument” consists of mounting Aquinas’s broken-down old Nag: the First Cause Argument. To summarize, Egnor’s entire argument for God is this: “the existence of stuff proves God.” That’s truly pathetic.  First Cause arguments for God have been made for centuries, but also found unconvincing for centuries.

First, Egnor shows how offended he was by my critique of a Mormon’s claim that “we can have God and vaccines, too, ergo science and religion are compatible”.  According to Egnor, I am benighted on both the scientific and religious front:

Atheist evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne is a fountain of nonsensical arguments against the existence of God. If a scholar wanted to write a review paper on the most ridiculous arguments against God’s existence so far in the 21st century, he would need look no further than Coyne’s blog. . .

Coyne misunderstands both the nature of scientific evidence and the nature of the evidence for God’s existence.

And by my writings I have done “incalculable damage” to the world:

The real scandal is not that these New Atheists don’t believe in God — regrettably, disbelief in God is fairly common in our willfully ignorant and distracted society. The real scandal is that intellectuals like Coyne merely pretend to understand evidence for and against God’s existence. They use their scientific credibility to buttress arguments that are embarrassingly ignorant. They mislead many people who have neither the time nor the inclination to look into these questions deeply and objectively.

Their forays into issues like faith and science in fighting COVID-19 do incalculable damage to so many souls by denying the scientific fact that God exists. God’s existence is far more thoroughly proven using the scientific method than any other theory.

Has somebody not gotten their jab because of me? I seriously doubt it. And look at that last sentence! God’s existence is more thoroughly proven via science than any other theory!

How can I have gone so wrong? Well, first, says the benighted physician, I don’t understand how science works:

. . . as Thomas Aquinas. pointed out in the 13th century, nothing can be proven to exist using deductive proof because deductive proofs only work with logical forms, which are essences. Essence and existence are separate concepts. For example, to prove that wolves, dinosaurs, or unicorns exist, we would need evidence. We can’t prove (or disprove) that they exist by deduction alone.

All of science depends on inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning begins with evidence and then proceeds by a logical chain to the most reasonable conclusion. Newton used inductive reasoning when he began by studying the motion of objects in gravitational fields and applying logical and mathematical rules to arrive at his law of gravitation. Darwin used inductive reasoning by studying the diversity and distribution of species and animal breeding. Then, by using logical rules, he drew analogies to speciation in nature. All scientific theories, whatever their merit, depend on inductive reasoning.

Yes, but much of science also depends on deductive reasoning, or a combination of the two called “abductive reasoning.” In fact, a lot of modern physics began as deductive processes based almost entirely on rumination. The General Theory of Relativity is such a theory. Of course to verify a theory like that one needs evidence, but that evidence can also come from deductions from a theory. One could predict, for example, that if gravity can bend light, as Einstein posited, then light from a star passing by a big celestial body might curve in its path, giving us a false idea of the star’s real position. This is a deduction, and was verified in 1919 by Dyson and Eddington, who observed the position of stars during a solar eclipse, showing starlight bent, as predicted, by the Sun. Their result has been verified several times over.

But never mind. Had my understanding of the scientific method been so terrible, I never would have had a successful career in science, for my papers would never have been accepted and published.

But my theological misunderstanding, says Egnor, is even lamer: for I can’t grasp that the very existence of stuff around me is evidence for God. That’s what Aquinas’ First Cause argument says: “Everything has a cause; there was a cause for stuff; and all causes eventually regress to the First Uncaused Cause, which is God by definition.” To Egnor, this piece of logic is absolutely convincing:

The Big Bang, to take an example, was not an event in the natural world. It was a singularity, which means that it is undefined and undefinable both mathematically and in conventional physics. Similarly, a cosmological singularity — for example, a black hole — is also a supernatural entity. That just means it is outside of nature. We never observe black holes just as we never can observe the Big Bang. We can only infer — by inductive reasoning — the existence of supernatural entities such as black holes by their effects in the natural world.

This inductive reasoning is precisely what proofs of God’s existence do. We cannot observe God in this life because he is not part of this world. He is supernatural. But we can observe his effects in the natural world just as we inferred the existence of the Big Bang and black holes by observing their effects. It is the same sort of reasoning.

I’ll put the next bit in bold because it’s so stupid:

There is one difference though: the evidence and the logic pointing to God’s existence is overwhelmingly stronger than the evidence and logic supporting any other scientific theory in nature. Aquinas’s First Way proof of God’s existence, for example, has exactly the same structure as any other scientific theory. The empirical evidence is the presence of change in nature. Because infinite regress is logically impossible in an essentially ordered chain of change.

I’m not going to get into the claim that the existence of black holes and the Big Bang are “supernatural” entities.  In fact, we can observe the residua of the Big Bang (leftover microwave radiation pervading the Universe), and there are theories that it is not supernatural: a totally empty universe is physically unstable and the Big Bang is a naturalistic result of that. Further, we can see black holes directly: here’s a picture of one taken with radio waves (and color visualized) just two years ago. The “black hole” or event threshhold is visible in the center. Is it supernatural? Don’t make me laugh.

As for the black holes in the First Cause argument (also called the Cosmological Argument), I needn’t reiterate them; just go here or here for a quick overview. One of the objections is that even if there were a First Cause, it wouldn’t have to be a theistic God, i.e., the God who, according to Egnor, continues to interact with the world, even becoming a wafer during Mass.

I’ve wasted enough time on Egnor, for I’m actually giving him what he wants: publicity and attention. While he continues to attack me on the ID websites, I’ll leave the bugger alone except to point out that his own faith—Catholicism—has been and continues to be one of the chief religious vehicles for immorality and harm in the world.

Egnor thinks he has an airtight argument for God (he doesn’t), but he has no argument at all for his Catholic God.  Will he wave the Bible at me to prove that? Then I’ll wave the Quran back at him. What else can you say about a man who thinks that this is a scientific argument:

The evidence and the logic of Aquinas’s First Way is immeasurably stronger than the evidence for any other scientific theory — for Newtonian gravitation, quantum mechanics, relativity, the Big Bang, etc., because every instance of change in nature is evidence in Aquinas’s First Way. Every galaxy that emits light, every wave on the ocean, every leaf that turns brown in the fall, every electron that moves in an atom is evidence for God’s existence.

61 thoughts on “The pathetic Michael Egnor thinks the existence of stuff proves God

    1. Well, that certainly explains where all the huge quantities of that stuff come from! Hercules (a dude with as much scientific evidence for his existence as Egnor’s own g*d, presumably) would have his work cut out cleaning those stables…

  1. I certainly don’t follow his inductive logic. Because things exist, there must be a god is the same argument that everything must have a cause, and therefore a creator. The easy reply is then, who created the creator?

    1. I think other replies first cause arguments include …
      1. Say I don’t know what happened before Event X. See? Its ok to know what you don’t know! But we do have a pretty decent idea what happened after the Big Bang, down to tiny fractions of a second. And there has been no hint of anything supernatural for some 13.8 billion years. But what caused the Big Bang? One can happily say: “We Don’t Know”.
      2. There is actually more than one model for what caused the Big Bang. These are models, and I prefer to not call them theories. Anyway, the one that looks the best is called the Eternal Inflation Model, and it has considerable explanatory power. Once cool thing about it is that it provides an explanation for dark energy. But if that is what caused the Big Bang, then what happened before that? We go back to #1 and say “We Don’t Know”.
      3. I know of no reason why there couldn’t be a first cause. But I see no reason why it has to be some all-powerful super-god. That is an unwarranted leap. Maybe the source of the first cause was a great turtle carrying elephants on its back?

      1. Personally I think that there are myriad “first causes”, in that QM tells us that there are uncaused causes occurring all the time.

    2. As a reformed student of philosophy, I can tell you that your question was purportedly answered, at least in part, by Aquinas’ strict distinction between “essence” and “existence”. (Spoiler: It really wasn’t).
      What Egnor is putting on offer is a shabby and time-worn “unmoved mover” argument which can be traced back from Aquinas to Maimonides and thence to Aristotle. All of them depend on this mysterious causal agent and each give him/her/it/they a name consistent with their own superstitions.
      These systems are non-falsifiable by design and must (with apologies to Godel) appeal to a meta-system for coherence. As you quite properly ask, “Who created the creator/meta-system”?

      1. Yes, its always weird to hear Christians claiming an argument of Aristotle’s proves Jesus-God. Aristotle very clearly wasn’t talking about their God, but that never troubles them.

  2. I got to the end of your article still wondering when Egnor’s wonderful theory was going to be demonstrated. Oh well!

  3. “God’s existence is far more thoroughly proven using the scientific method than any other theory.” – what on earth is in the Kool-Aid that Egnor has been glugging? And what warped definitions of “proven” , “scientific method”, and “theory” is he using?

    And as our host points out, “In fact, a lot of modern physics began as deductive processes based almost entirely on rumination” including the relatively recently proven Higgs boson (unhelpfully nicknamed “the God particle”, of course. That’ll teach physicists to be careful with their sense of humour).

    1. what on earth is in the Kool-Aid that Egnor has been glugging

      As Jerry said, their attempt to legitimize ID failed, so they no longer even bother to pretend to do science any more. They’ve gone back to theology and negative attacks.

  4. I must say, this guy’s name almost fits the bill. He should be Ignored. If your way of proving the existence of g*d is to run down other people, especially atheist, then you have a real problem. I have always believed that religious people such as this were delusional and probably mentally unstable. I could be mistaken, however, they might just be ignorant. His scientific training would suggest the later.

  5. Wow. This is what desperation looks like. This is what being deeply delusional looks like.
    Just a passing comment to Egnor: As I understand it, singularities are not real in any ‘real’ sense. They are convenient mathematical regressions that are done on paper to a hypothetical, dimensionless point. At least that is how I’ve understood it since cosmologists have been literally saying that for decades. But I am not a pediatric neurosurgeon so whadoIknow.

    1. We don’t really know whether singularities are real, since singularities are necessarily smaller than the Planck scale, and so to know about them we’d need a theory of quantum gravity, which we don’t yet have.

      1. But I think that demonstrates the point. Toward the singularity, what is material and real becomes blurred out by quantum uncertainties. Or some such weird thing like that.

        1. If we first consider Egnor’s larger claim that the hot Big Bang started in a singularity.

          That has been considered problematic if not outright wrong for 40ish years, see my own response to the article (and references therin). More concisely, the youngest generation of astrophysicists have started to call the cosmology of our universe an inflationary hot big bang cosmology, and “an inflating Universe doesn’t begin in a singularity”. It can possibly have one, but not naturally. (And it has no connection to the hot big bang that follows after inflation.)

          Then we come to black holes and their putative singularity.

          Since black holes are extreme objects where quantum effects (such as Hawking radiation) comes in, there is much less problem in any singularities. Particles were pointlike singularities too, but quantum field theory fixed that. The conservative response is that “we don’t know” what is behind the event horizon, and that in any case general relativity is known to break down before the singularity it likes to imply.

          So maybe quantum gravity field theory fix it, maybe not (since there are general relativistic alternatives such as GEODEs that have no singularities). FWIW, here is another, but more arguable and less consensus development, in that recently some of the more prominent field theorists have found a theory that seems to work and which they like from the perspective of effective field theories. And effective field theories are what they nowadays seem to think is the core of quantum field theory, due to a change in understanding renormalization theory [c.f. “Renormalization” @ Wikipedia].

          This is what Nobel Prize winner Stephen Weinberg said in his recent review of effective field theory, which he was one of the codevelopers of:

          “Similar remarks apply to gravitation, which I think has led to a new perspective on general relativity. Why in the world should anyone take seriously Einstein’s original theory, with just the Einstein–Hilbert action in which only two derivatives act on metric fields? Surely that’s just the lowest order term in an infinite series of terms with more and more derivatives. In such a theory, loops are made finite by counterterms provided by the higher-order terms in the Lagrangian. This point of view has been actively pursued by Donoghue and his collaborators.”

          [ ]

          “General relativity fits naturally into this effective field theory framework (Donoghue, 1994).”

          [ ]

          I’ll add that another field theorist and Nobel Prize winner, Frank Wilczek, has integrated the quantum gravity field Lagrangian into his suggestion for “Core Theory”, an effective quantum field theory of all the fields we may observe. It puts corrections onto a flat 3D Lorentzian metric space, but that is roughly what modern cosmology gives us.

  6. I clicked the link provided by Egnor on the First Cause. The argument is basically that the universe is big and complicated, and everything has a cause, therefore there must be an even more impressive first cause. He illustrates this with a stack of books, where when you pull out one book, the entire stack shifts, but the “potency” to move can only happen if a book is pulled out first, i.e. a cause is triggering the change. Why books, not dominoes, only Egnor knows. In so many words, it’s again the idea that stuff exists, and can change only because it was kicked into motion by some first cause. This first cause is God — of course.

    Let’s accept this for a moment. Say there truly exists a most-impressive deistic demiurge with a hands-off approach to humanity that rivals Yahweh’s. Egnor’s argument is true, and it made perfect sense. We believe it. And yet there is exactly zero evidence that this demiurge, our universe’s maker, is the true first mover. Maybe this entity is mover number 23137480544366 and it always, as a final act before ending a universe is to create a successor demiurge, as fiercely private as the previous one. How does Egnor know this isn’t the case?

    Then Egnor will say, no No NO! the true First Move must be truly the first. But what’s “first” exactly? How can there be a first when there is no time and space, and in the mind of an omnipotent, allknowing entity everything already happened (not to ask the obvious, who caused god). What is even “first” in space-time? Egnor’s universe is still that of an ancient Christian, looking like a map on a table, underneath a cheese dome. There’s an “above” the spheres area, heaven, and an “under” the table area, hell, and of course humankind is in the centre of the table, and the room. Of course time is a linear arrow, with a beginning and an end. This is Euclidean geometry, but that’s not our current understanding of the universe. Christians begrudgingly accepted that Rome is not the centre of the world, now they understand the features of a globe, but it’s the same story with our place in spacetime. Egnor’s medieval understanding is contradicted by physics, with nothing to say about his many of assumptions, like that the first mover is the Christian God, or that our universe is the first or only one, and so on.

    1. “Everything must have a cause. Therefore [magic agent].”
      “What caused [magic agent]?”
      “A [magic agent] need no cause.”
      “Then there are things that need no cause. I cut out the middleman and can now say the universe need no cause.”

      1. This was the gist of an anti-theistic argument that Carl Sagan was fond of exhibiting. A lovely bit of reasoning setting out the innocent, seemingly dumb first question, setting a trap that the theist happily falls into in the penultimate line, with the skeptic then announcing mate in one, and bingo, game over. It’s just perfect…

      2. “everything must have a cause”

        you have started with a false premise.

        the law of causation is that every *effect* must have a cause.

    2. There is a far more general, IMO a better (cf Larson), empirical refutation of Aquinas’s and Egnor’s “First Cause” argument.

      Quantum Mechanics, our most accurate scientific theory bar none, relies on there being no cause-effect relationship, or only a weak statistical one, in many cases. Proper cause and effect appears only at mesoscales, and because our ape ancestors only interacted with the universe at mesoscales, our brains evolved to universally assume and rely on cause-effect, which in fact is not universal.

      I’d challenge Egnor to build an analogue to his chain and bookshelf thought experiments at the quantum level. I doubt he can do it – and when he cannot, he’ll be defeated.

  7. “Arguments against the First Cause case for God have been made, and found unconvincing, for centuries.” Are you sure this reads the way you meant it? (I’d have thought it was the First Cause arguments that have been found unconvincing, not the arguments against that.)

  8. I participated in a faculty panel discussion recently where one of my colleagues made similar arguments. When I suggested that such arguments support all other alleged deities, like Apollo, Odin, and Ahura Mazda, he assured me it did not. Yahweh, he informed me and the mostly student audience, is the only capital-G deity. All others are lowercase deities.

    I now refer to this objection as The Grammatical Superiority Theory of God.

  9. I’m thinking that if Christopher Hitchens were replying to this latest from Egnor, he might say, as he’s said to many of his debate opponents, that Egnor fails to address all the many arguments against the so-called Cosmological Argument as if he’s ignorant of them. Hitch might say, as he has to Dinesh D’Souza, among others, that even if we allow for a deistic First Cause, Egnor has all his work ahead of him to prove the Christian God. But really in the final analysis, all Hitch has to do is wield his Razor: “What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

    1. ah, the famous “razor”, which cuts both ways.

      “”what can be asserted without evidence can be rejected without evidence. the difficulty with this assertion is straightforward. if it has been asserted without proof, why should it be believed, and if not, where is the proof?

      i asked hitchens about this during a break in our debate. we had retreated to a forlorn hotel loading ramp in order to have a cigarette. ‘well yes,’ he said, ‘its just a sentence'”.

      -david berlinski
      human nature, 2019

      according to “hitch” himself, you’re putting too much faith in something that is “Just a sentence”.

    1. Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide) said it was “turtles all the way down”. Maybe you’re both right, but the simpler argument is that our feeble species is uncomfortable with anything infinite, including regressions .
      Better to call it god and declare it a mystery.

      1. Douglas Adams quoted someone – I think I’ve seen “a granny at a meeting addressed by Einstein, Eddington, or some other luminary” mentioned – but I don’t think he claimed that one for himself.
        “Great Crumpled Arkle-Siezures all the way down” has a more Adams feel.

          1. I knew it had a famous name associated with it.
            Haldane, Einstein and Eddington walked into a pressure chamber and cranked up the PP(O2) to 2.0 atmospheres.
            Maybe not funny to you, but next time I pass a decompression chamber, I’ll try it there, because it’s an absolute cracker!

            (A symptom of acute oxygen poisoning is profound convulsions, which damaged Haldane’s back for the rest of his life. Very few other people have lived to report experiencing the symptom – it’s not a good situation to put people into. Broken spines have been reported in bodies recovered after suspected oxygen poisoning cases.)

    2. I can write a recursive Python program that doesn’t terminate, and let it run. I can predict the error message you’ll get each time. That’s not a logical proof, but as a programmer it’s good enough for me…

    3. There isn’t any sensible argument against an infinite regress. Attempts to rule it out usually begin with the so-called Principle of Sufficient Reason, but we lack (ahem) sufficient reason to accept the Principle.

    4. You can even fit an infinite causal regress in a finite amount of time! As long as, as you go back in time, at some point the ‘parent’ causes start acting in half the time of their ‘daughter’ causes. 🙂

  10. From the position of Bayesian logic, the fact that scientific laws are sufficient to explain and predict such a high percentage of physical events is evidence that god is not involved in the process. Just like the fact that if a patient presents with a cough, lab results that confirm the patient has pneumonia also disaffirm the hypothesis that he has a common cold. The pneumonia explains the cough, and even if the prior probabilities of having pneumonia and having a cold are completely independent, the chances of having both conditions is the product of the probability of having either one. (The formula is more complex, of course, if cold and pneumonia aren’t independent..) Knowing the patient has pneumonia effectively rules out that he has a common cold.

    But the case is actually stronger than that. The scientific laws work so well that there is no room for god in the explanation. Otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to formulate successful and reliable scientific laws- there would be an outside supernatural influence whose affect on nature could not be formulated in the laws. The success and completeness of the laws is proof against the direct intervention of something outside nature.

    So when someone says, “well, absence of evidence for god is not evidence of absence” or words to that effect, I respond “but there’s plenty of evidence. It’s just not the evidence you want to hear.”

  11. It’s pretty clear what goes wrong in the Cosmological Argument, and why so many people still find it powerful. It starts from our everyday experience of the macroscopic physical world, which really is governed by causality. Then people overgeneralize and figure that all physical things, regardless of size scale or complexity, are governed by causal chains. Then straightaway you are down to two possibilities either an infinite causal chain, or a First Mover.

    But this kind of overgeneralization about causality isn’t unique to theological arguments. You also find it in certain philosophical arguments against human free will. Just sayin’ 😉

    1. Because of my prior beliefs…
      Lots of clever and distracting arm waving…
      Therefore my beliefs are true (e.g. My God, Free Will, etc)

      No amount of contrary data can divert the clever and distracting arm waving because the clever and distracting arm waving is performance art, not reasoning.

      1. Well actually, in the free will debates, some philosophers use intuitive causal principles to “prove” that their (former) intuitive free will beliefs were false. The Sarkissian et. al. study, which I linked to, shows how those intuitive causal principles can be used to do that.

  12. It is easy to see that [omnipotent] ‘gods’ is not a theory, since you can point at anything and say the magic words “godsdidit” – the lack of constraint means it has no power and can’t be tested. (I happen to think that the natural philosophy description of science as “induction” in order to sneak ‘gods’ in is also too weak a model.)

    That doesn’t mean that religious magic can be precisely constrained away, since modern cosmology describe the universe as a complete natural system. And of course Egnor egnor the modern cosmology.

    “Among most people who study the early Universe, inflation is accepted as the new consensus theory. We might not know everything there is to know about inflation, but either it — or something so similar to it that we don’t have an observation to tell them apart — must have happened.”

    “An inflating Universe doesn’t begin in a singularity like a matter-dominated or radiation-dominated Universe does. All we can state with certainty is that the state we call the hot Big Bang only came about after the end of inflation.”

    “Inflation came first, and its end heralded the arrival of the Big Bang. There are still those who disagree, but they’re now nearly a full 40 years out of date. ”

    [ ]

  13. I’ve noticed that New Atheist gets lumped together with the whole Atheism Plus mess which was all about CRT and practically destroyed the momentum of New Atheism

  14. “God’s existence is far more thoroughly proven using the scientific method than any other theory”.

    Good old Popper said that in order for a theory to be scientific it should be falsifiable. So Egnor’s god theory, being so highly scientific, should be even more falsifiable than any other scientific theory. I would love to hear from him about the possible ways that his god theory could be falsified …

  15. Here’s a question for the professional / better physicists among you. Do quantum effects not disprove the theory that everything must have a cause? For example, in a perfect vacuum virtual particles are created, as far as I understand, “out of nothing” and without a cause (other than quantum rules). You can’t predict where or when they will appear and, while their existence is limited by the Uncertainty Principle, they can have real effects. Is this not also true for radioactive decay? We know that 50% of an element will decay in a set time but we don’t know exactly which atoms because the decay process is initiated by truly random (i.e., without a cause) quantum effects?

    1. Probably not. According to at least most interpretations of quantum mechanics, the wave function evolves completely deterministically in Hilbert space. However, we cannot observe it directly, but only certain effects of it. From our point of view, those effects are completely random, but deep down they are not.

  16. “God is, after all, a Person…” – Michael Egnor

    “That God is a person, yet one without a body, seems the most elementary claim of theism.” – Richard Swinburne (The Coherence of Theism, p. 101)

    Theism is a philosophical nonstarter because the very concept of a bodiless (incorporeal/immaterial) person who doesn’t even live anywhere inside the natural, spatiotemporal world is nonsensical. The theistic god is a mathematical point (i.e. a 0D thing) with a supermind and magical mental powers that doesn’t occupy any point of physical space/spacetime. If you cannot wrap your intellect around the absurd idea of such an entity, you’re not alone, and it’s not your fault!

    1. “…the very concept of a bodiless (incorporeal/immaterial) person who doesn’t even live anywhere inside the natural, spatiotemporal world is nonsensical”

      This is why Thomas Hobbes argued in Leviathan that God must be corporeal. Afterward many people accused him of being an atheist pretending to be a Christian. This might have been true; at the very least Hobbes’s religious beliefs, if genuine, were very eccentric.

  17. Egnor: “I’m afraid of death, therefore God.” Not much more to it than that. Not that I blame him for being afraid of death or of death-causing illness. Nobody relishes it, but “therefore God” is childish and lazy.

    I wonder, when he examines a baby born with hydrocephalus, if he doesn’t think that “god” could have done better. He would say, of course, that “god” doesn’t interfere and lets the chips fall where they may when it comes to the human world. How bloody convenient. But not so convenient for the kid with a shunt stuck in its head.

  18. My take on it is this: because the scientific method requires examination of physical evidence which can be quantified and tested, IF THERE IS A GOD which exists, it has always been said to be “outside of the natural world.” Therefore you cannot “test” for it. People like to believe all kinds of things. My father, who is a very successful engineer, finally admitted to me when I was in middle adulthood that he had been “abducted by aliens” and he swore up and down that it was not a lucid dream or the result of some sort of medication interaction. People believe that if they don’t wash their socks all season, they will win the championship. Some people also believe if they practice their breathing correctly of often enough that they can levitate.

    I don’t care what others wish to believe, as long as they are competent at their job, or competent as scientists or STEM related employees. The lack of belief in a higher power is also threatening to many people, and used to get you nixed from certain social groups or positions. If you think it’s bunk, then don’t waste your time on it. Consider also that some of those articles might have been written as an attempt to persuade those who would be reluctant to take vaccines to take them, or also to persuade individuals who believe that religion is incompatible with science to maybe study some science!

  19. Egnor supplies the evidence against his own argument in the form of his own claim about deductive reasoning, and saying that “deductive proofs only work with logical forms” and the existence of things can not be proven by deduction alone. And that’s because the fact that all things have a cause is only deduced by us, based on what we observe. Everything we see currently in the universe seems to have a cause, and we _deduce_ based on that, that everything must have the cause.

    However, if we really accept Egnor’s argument about deductive reasoning only being valid in logical forms, and being able to prove anything 100% in the real world, then that also applies to our deductive reasoning about everything in the universe having a cause. So, in essence we have no proof for everything having or even needing a cause, including for ex. the Big Bang, or the beginning of the Universe. And if those don’t need a cause, his argument for God also goes poof, as there’s no First Mover needed – or at least he can’t prove that there’s a need for that, because he can’t prove that everything needs a cause.

    In short: the guy debunks his “best” (?) argument for God with his own argument, and the only task he leaves with us is to merely point that out to him.

  20. Egnor supplies the evidence against his own argument in the form of his own claim about deductive reasoning, and saying that “deductive proofs only work with logical forms” and the existence of things can not be proven by deduction alone. And that’s because the fact that all things have a cause is only deduced by us, based on what we observe. Everything we see currently in the universe seems to have a cause, and we _deduce_ based on that, that everything must have a cause.

    However, if we really accept Egnor’s argument about deductive reasoning only being valid in logical forms, and NOT being able to prove anything 100% in the real world, then that also applies to our deductive reasoning about everything in the universe having a cause. So, in essence we have no proof for everything having or even needing a cause, including for ex. the Big Bang, or the beginning of the Universe. And if those don’t need a cause, his argument for God also goes poof, as there’s no First Mover needed – or at least he can’t prove that there’s a need for that, because he can’t prove that everything needs a cause.

    In short: the guy debunks his “best” (?) argument for God with his own argument, and the only task he leaves with us is to merely point that out to him.

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