Isaac Newton Joins the Discovery Institute

It’s been two years since the Discovery Institute added to their zombie legion of long-deceased members. We’ve described their tactic as the creepy practice of retroactively recruiting dead people to add prestige to their Seattle ministry.

They already have an illustrious roster of long-deceased members, but occasionally they find a new cadaver they can dig up for display in their gruesome gallery. It’s a bizarre activity but it’s safe, because the dead can’t complain about the ignominy of being displayed in the Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestors — which must look like the lair of some mythical monster, with the bodies of victims piled high.

Here are links to their earlier body-snatching episodes, starting with Thomas Jefferson, and then Alfred Wallace (because of some foolishness he wrote in his dotage), and then Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and then they really got carried away when Charles Darwin Joins the Discovery Institute, but his resting place in Westminster Abby was too secure, and no one took that pathetic effort seriously, and then James Clerk Maxwell, and then — this one was also rather audacious — Superman, and then William Jennings Bryan (of all the carcasses they’ve stashed in their cellar, only Bryan’s belongs there, because he would have voluntarily joined the Discoveroids), and then Abe Lincoln, and then Thomas Aquinas . The last time we wrote about their macabre membership drive was Anaxagoras Joins the Discovery Institute.

Today, dear reader, the Invasion of the Discoveroid Body Snatchers continues. This just appeared at their creationist blog: Newton Understood that Nature Manifests Design of the Highest Order. It was written by Michael Egnor — that’s his write-up at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. He’s not a Discoveroid fellow. Wikipedia says Michael Egnor “is a neurosurgeon and intelligent design supporter who writes for the Discovery Institute blog. He has been a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Stony Brook University since 1991.” Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

We have much to celebrate in this season, and I would suggest that in addition to our traditional celebrations, we take a moment to give thanks for the life of a man who was born in 1642. Isaac Newton transformed mathematics and physics. He (co)discovered calculus, and discovered the principles of motion and gravitation that form the basis of most modern physics and engineering. Even the great advances of the 20th century in relativity and quantum mechanics were elaborations on, or formulated in distinction to, Newtonian mechanics.

Egnor wants to celebrate Newton during the holiday season? He’s not alone in that — see Olivia Judson: The Ten Days of Newton. Then he says:

Newton, like virtually all the great scientists who have given us modern science, was a passionate Christian.

Yes, but see Did Science Originate with Creationists? Egnor’s paragraph goes on:

He [Newton] was unorthodox; his beliefs are best described as non-Trinitarian monotheism, bordering on Deism. Yet he wrote more extensively about biblical prophecy and Christianity than about physics and mathematics, and he believed that the harmony and mathematical beauty in nature were the design of the universe from the Mind of God.

Ol’ Isaac is low hanging fruit for the Discoveroids because he spent most of his time on nonsense. Wikipedia’s article on him says “Of an estimated ten million words of writing in Newton’s papers, about one million deal with alchemy.” See also: Isaac Newton’s occult studies. It’s a wonder the Discoveroids didn’t recruit him earlier. Egnor tells us:

Newton understood that nature manifests Design of the highest order, and that science, properly understood, is the study of the intelligent design of the universe. Atheist belief — the denial of intelligent design in the natural world — is the antithesis of science. Atheistic scientism is akin to idolatry, and is an ideologically motivated refusal to acknowledge the obvious design manifest in the natural world.

Like so many creationists, Egnor equates science and atheism. He continues:

Newton’s revolutionary research was an exemplar of the indispensability of inference to intelligent design in science.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Gravity and the laws of motion are creation science! Let’s read on:

This design inference was shared by virtually all the great scientists of the past several centuries, from Copernicus to Galileo to Kepler to Faraday to Pasteur to Maxwell to Einstein.

Einstein too? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Maybe the Discoveroids will recruit him next. Here’s how Egnor ends his post:

So with the New Year I’m thankful for many blessings. In my prayers, I give our Creator thanks for the blessing of modern science, given to us through scientists like Isaac Newton who explicitly seek and reveal nature’s intelligent design.

So there you are. Although Newton knew nothing about evolution (he died more than a century before Darwin published Origin of Species), he’s the latest addition to the Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestors.

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21 responses to “Isaac Newton Joins the Discovery Institute

  1. Do they really think that, given the advances in science since Newton’s day, that he would hold the same beliefs today? His mathematics and physics do hold up but his supernatural and occult beliefs have all been debunked. It’s easy to come up with supporters of strange beliefs if you go back in time. It doesn’t work so well with true scientists today.

  2. “Discoveroid Body Snatchers” seem to have a preference for white males. I’m not sure what we should make of this peculiarity.

    “will recruit him next”
    I’d like to suggest Niels Bohr because of the Periodical System and the following exchange.

    Einstein: God doesn’t play dice!
    Bohr: Einstein, don’t tell God what to do!

  3. Oops – forgot to add the clue. Bohr became an unbeliever (and Einstein probably too, given the Gutkind letter).

    https://hollowverse.com/niels-bohr/

  4. Voltaire was a believer in the watchmaker analogy.

  5. Michael Fugate

    Scientists look for patterns. The DI is their usual bastardization of language –
    makes pattern a synonym of design. Design then implies purpose. Purpose then implies intelligence. In the end, they conclude an intelligence is doing everything and nature nothing – science is a sham.

  6. The irony is that, as a non-trinitarian, Newton would be considered a heretic by most of today’s Christians, just as Jehovah’s Witnesses and other sects are. Most DI members would reject any pro-ID statements from Newton on that basis alone.

  7. Michael Fugate

    Just take a look at their recent book “Theistic Evolution” – they believe those the souls of those who accept the scientific view of evolution are in mortal danger.

  8. siluriantrilobite

    …And his intelligently designed brother Fig.

  9. There is the opinion called Occasionalism (see the Wikipedia article) which says that natural laws are just the appearance of causes. What realy is hapening is the actions of God. This is, so I have heard, the majority of opinion in Islam since Al-Ghazali.
    Is this what the Creatonists are saying?

  10. Michael Fugate

    TomS, In their heart of hearts – I think so. It overturns science as we know it, but Stephen Meyer’s “Return of the God Hypothesis” is a plea for such a view. Their god is not only the creator, but the sustainer of the universe – necessary for anything. Randomness is not real.

    Consider Luke 12 “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

    I think they believe their god is tracking every molecule, every atom, every atomic particle… And yet they reject the idea of computer simulation…

  11. @Michael Fugate
    The occasoinalism of A-Ghazali is said to be a major reason for the downfall of Islamic culture. I don’t know. I have also heard that that is not true.
    )

  12. Ross Cameron

    Note that the Hemorrhoids–oops–Discoveroids failed to mention the contributions of those infidel Muslim alchemists.

  13. Well I’m pretty sure Newton’s been Mormonized by now, so why not this too?

  14. Stephen Kennedy

    As a young man Newton had some brilliant insights into Physics and Mathematics and wrote them down in what would later be published as the Principia. The rest of his life he was basically a kook.

  15. Michael Fugate

    I think it was when he stopped sitting under apple trees…
    There is good evidence that spending time in nature will improve one’s mental health.

  16. Cynic asks “Do they really think that, given the advances in science since Newton’s day, that he would hold the same beliefs today?”
    Answer; Yes they do. And they’re willing to twist his expression of faith to suggest he was a creationist.
    None of his work contains any god variables or exponents in his equations.

  17. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Remember! Like Klingy says, Wikipedia is wrong because ID is totally not a religious argument for the existence of their god!

  18. Poor Tooters! Their take is half of ICR and a quarter of AIG.

    They are literally the lowest of the low.

  19. Richard Bond

    Egnor displays his egnorance by failing to realise that Newton only resorted to his god as designer when stumped by the three-body problem, which he found to be non-computable and a source of the instability of the Solar System. Up to that point, he had no need of any god hypothesis.

    The great irony is that Newton worked out how tides work, and tidal effects in solid bodies (yes, they exist) stabilise planetary orbits and render them nearly circular.

  20. @Stephen Kennedy
    I think that you exaggerate. After the “Principia” there was the “Optics” and the invention of the reflecting telescope, and further important work on mathematics.

  21. Newton understood that nature manifests Design of the highest order, and that science, properly understood, is the study of the intelligent design of the universe. Atheist belief — the denial of intelligent design in the natural world — is the antithesis of science. Atheistic scientism is akin to idolatry, and is an ideologically motivated refusal to acknowledge the obvious design manifest in the natural world.

    (1) If Newton were alive today, he’d be suing the Discovery Institute for attaching his name to their quackery.

    (2) “Science, properly understood, is the study of the intelligent design of the universe. Atheist belief — the denial of intelligent design in the natural world — is the antithesis of science.”
    No stacking of the deck here, folks, no sirree! And anyone working at, for or with the Discovery Institute is by definition ill-equipped to define science.