Egnor: Science Is Christian, Not Atheist

This may be only our imagination, but it appears that the Discovery Institute is descending deeper into the muck of creationism, and they no longer care to conceal it. Take a look at the new post by Michael Egnor — that’s his writeup at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. It’s titled Atheism Is a Catastrophe for Science.

Egnor says he’s responding to Christian arguments are just as nebulous as their deity, written by P.Z. Myers. But why would Egnor even bother with PZ’s essay? The Discoveroids are always claiming that they’re scientists, not religious creationists, so why would PZ’s post bother them? It seems obvious to us that the Discoveroids are no longer even pretending to be anything but a religious ministry. Anyway, we’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Here are a few of Myers’s questions, with my answers:

[Alleged quote from PZ:] Why should I believe in any god? We don’t need an intelligent authority to explain the universe …

Responding to that, Egnor says:

Of course we need an intelligent authority to explain the universe. The universe is shot through with intelligibility. Nature is governed by astonishingly complex and elegant physical laws, and the laws themselves are written in the language of abstract mathematics. In fact, theoretical physicists must often explore utterly new mathematical theories in order to explain the behavior of inanimate matter. After all, Newton discovered calculus in order to do physics. [Several other examples.]

What does that indicate? That math is useful? Yes, but other than that, what? Egnor tells us:

It is astonishing (and beautiful) that the very retinaculum [huh?] of the universe, from the subatomic world to the cosmos, is drawn in elegant abstract mathematics. The universe screams intelligent authority.

The only screams we hear are coming from a window in the Discoveroids’ headquarters above a gym in Seattle. Egnor continues:

Another way to understand this beautiful teleology that permeates all of creation is that it is information — the restriction of possibilities in the outcomes of natural processes.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] See Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information. Let’s read on:

This information is especially striking in living things. The intricate nanotechnology that subserves cellular metabolism is governed and replicated by a genetic code [blah, blah]. The intelligent authority — the Mind — that governs the cosmos and life through information has a remarkable fondness for language as well as mathematics, and is peculiarly solicitous of man, who is endowed with the capacity to discover the exquisite logic of creation.

This is really raw stuff! Another excerpt:

Modern theoretical science arose only in the Christian milieu. Roger Bacon, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Kepler [blah, blah, blah].

We’ve heard the same argument from ol’ Hambo. This is our standard response: Did Science Originate with Creationists? Here’s more:

Atheism, in fact, has a dismal record in science. For much of the 20th century, a third of humanity lived under the boot of atheist ideology. What was the great science produced by atheist scientists in the Soviet Union? What are the scientific contributions of Communist China and Cuba and Vietnam and Albania?

[*Groan*] Those were communist regimes, and although it’s true that they suppressed religion, they also suppressed any other potential source of opposition. Science requires freedom to flourish. Someone should ask Egnor: What is the scientific contribution of the Discoveroids?

And now we come to the end:

Here is how Christians explain nature: modern science, which is the inference to intelligence and intelligibility in nature — the fruit of two millennia of Christian civilization and theology and natural philosophy. Here is how atheists explain nature: Nothing made everything for no reason and made life from non-life for no reason and made meat robots who think they have purposes but don’t for no reason.


The truth is all around us, more obvious than man’s hand in front of his face. The universe has Mind stamped all over it like a signature.

That was a truly amazing mess. Your Curmudgeon’s view is that if they are free (i.e., they don’t live in a communist or a theocratic regime), Christians and atheists can both do science — provided they know what science is and they do it properly. The Discoveroids, however — well, we don’t need to say it.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Egnor: Science Is Christian, Not Atheist

  1. Christine Janis

    If the universe really had “a mind” stamped all over it, then this would be amenable to investigation by the scientific method, and obvious to all, no matter what their religion (or lack thereof).

    The DI seem to be getting more and more shrill and desperate.

  2. Retinaculum (pl. retinacula): a band around tendons to hold them in place.

    Huh? indeed.

  3. It comes down to the same old BS! I’m scared as hell of dying, my myth makes me feel good, and I am so delusional & stoopid that anything else is GAWD!!!! I’ve read his book o’BS and his gawd is too psychotic and too dim to design anything!!!

  4. Here is how Christians explain nature: modern science, which is the inference to intelligence and intelligibility in nature — the fruit of two millennia of Christian civilization and theology and natural philosophy.

    Isn’t this taken directly from the Discoveroid’s Wedge document? Nothing original, but only an attempt to take credit for everything science has done and attribute it to the christian religion, though religion itself has contributed zip.

  5. Curmie, michael, he’s probably using retinaculum to mean “that which holds all together.” of course, what he’s really doing is showing off with big words.

  6. Here is how Christians explain nature: modern science, which is the inference to intelligence and intelligibility in nature — the fruit of two millennia of Christian civilization and theology and natural philosophy.

    And of course the pagan Greeks and Egyptians, the heathen Chinee and the infidel Arabs had nothing to do with it.

  7. @Eric Lipps:

    And of course the pagan Greeks and Egyptians, the heathen Chinese and the infidel Arabs had nothing to do with it.

    How long before (ahem) certain people demand that they not be called “Arabic numerals” but “freedom numerals”?

  8. I am sure Egnor learned retinaculum in medical school – too bad there’s not one holding his “argument” together.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    Here is how Christians explain nature: modern science, which is the inference to intelligence …

    There goes that new wiggle-word, inference, again. In this situation, building his whole argument on it. Pathetic.

  10. There something here I don’t understand.

    An omnipotent deity capable of whipping up an entire universe ex nihilo, down to the most minute detail, could change anything at anytime. Such a deity could create objects or events at will without regard to any forces of nature. In fact, if one believes that miracle occur in defiance of what we think we understand as laws of nature, then why does one believe that “the universe is shot through with intelligibility?” Anything can happen anywhere, anytime, and what does happen can be for any reason at all. The universe cannot be intelligible if a “mind” controls it and alters it at will.

  11. Charles Deetz,

    Yes, I do believe you are right. In fact, from that I think that we can infer the first few verses of the Book of ID:

    In the beginning were the Words: complexity, information, and inference. The Words were with ID, and the Words were ID.

    Through the Words all things were made; without the Words nothing was made that has been made.

    Egnor is just carrying out his divine mandate to spread the Words.

  12. Once again, if the universe is designed to be understood, then our inferences about what happens are reliable, and it is justifiable to infer that all life on Earth is related by common descent.
    The only way to deny that is the way the young Earth creationists resort to, by doubting the intelligibility of the world of life, “how do you know, were you there?”

  13. Ed, of course a deity, a God as defined by the Abrahamic religions, could do anything. That does not mean that God must do everything miraculously. He ordained what we call the laws of nature; they are his will. He might also set them aside to cause a miracle in specific instances, if that be his will.

    You can object – I object, myself – that this is pure omphalos: God can do anything; therefore anything is explained.

    The Royal Navy used to have a charter consisting of numbered articles. The first thirty-four covered what you would think was every possible disciplinary situation whatsoever. But there was yet a thirty-fifth: “All other crimes (…) not mentioned in this act, or for which no punishment is hereby directed to be inflicted, shall be punished by the laws and customs in such cases used at sea.” It was known as “The Captain’s Cloak”, because it covered everything.

    The omnipotence of God is the theist’s Captain’s cloak.

  14. God can do anything; therefore anything is explained.
    Rather, God can do anything; therefore nothing is explained.

    For example, William Paley observed:
    “Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power.”
    Paley had a way around this, he didn’t think that this was an insurmountable difficulty, he did not lack an explanation. My point, though, is that omnipotence does not explain contrivance. One must resort to something else to explain design. Omnipotence does not explain everything.

    For example, we are told that the universe is designed so that that life is possible. Yet, then, the Earth is an exceptional, privileged place, where life is possible, and life is not possible elsewhere. So the design of the universe does not explain life on Earth. Yet, again, we are told that life is vanishingly
    improbable on Earth so that it needs miraculous intervention. So the privileged planet does not explain life. Omnipotence alone does not account for life.

    For example, from the point of view of omnipotence both X and not-X are equal. Omnipotence does not distinguish between X and not-X, and therefore omnipotence does not explain X (if that happens to be the case).
    Omnipotence does not explain everything.

  15. “Another way to understand this beautiful teleology …”
    Atheism may or may not have a dismal record in science, teleology has even a worse one. Its incapability to contribute anything to our understanding has made scientists throw it out of the window more than 200 years ago. Only apologists stick to it.
    There is a reason why the term egnorance was coined. This is a fine example; Egnor doesn’t even recognize that he has admitted abandoning the scientific method.

  16. Sorry, but I eschew sesquipedalianism.

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