Discoveroids: Evolution Is Self-Refuting Nonsense

There are few things as fundamental as Epistemology. Wikipedia says:

Epistemology studies the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief. Much of the debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, (2) various problems of skepticism, (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification.

One thing you don’t want to do is learn epistemology from a creationist, because they believe things that aren’t true and reject things that are well supported by science. But it can be entertaining when they try to lecture us. For example, look at this new post from the Discovery Institute: Descartes’s Blunder, written by Michael Egnor — that’s his write-up at the Encyclopedia of American Loons.

The last time we wrote about one of his posts was Discoveroid Post Beyond Description. This one today is in that grand tradition. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

What is it that we are most sure of? It’s a fundamental question, the object of philosophical analysis for millennia. Our modern answer to this question was provided by René Descartes in the 17th century. Descartes’s answer is the answer most modern men would give. But Descartes got it wrong.


He concludes, famously, that he can be certain only of this: that he exists. Cogito ergo sum. Because even to doubt his own existence presupposes his existence.

Skipping an ark-load, he says:

The law of non-contradiction, not cogito ergo sum, is the foundation of knowledge.

You’re probably familiar with the Law of noncontradiction. It’s certainly fundamental. You can review Egnor’s discussion up to that point, but it’s essentially irrelevant. He should have started with non-contradiction. Anyway, this is where it gets interesting. He tells us:

It’s worth noting that modern atheists and materialists have a particular problem with non-contradiction. Consider a number of atheist and materialist claims in this light.

Egnor’s expression “atheist and materialist” means anyone who accepts the theory of evolution. In other words, he’s talking about you, dear reader. He provides several examples of your “problem” with non-contradiction. We’ll give you a few, starting with:

Materialists and atheists claim that ID is scientifically wrong, and claim that ID is not scientifically testable. But of course, in order to be scientifically wrong, ID must be scientifically testable.

[*Groan*] ID isn’t testable because it’s unsupported by evidence. And it denies evolution which is so supported. Egnor continues:

Materialists and atheists believe that our minds evolved by natural selection. But if we evolved wholly by natural selection, we evolved to maximize reproductive success, not to discern truth, and thus we could not trust our belief that we evolved by natural selection.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! There is no natural advantage to being able to distinguish reality from nonsense. Let’s read on:

Materialists and atheists believe that the universe spontaneously came from nothing, and they define nothing as the laws of quantum mechanics.

[*Groan *] No comment necessary. Another excerpt:

Materialists and atheists believe that the existence of evil disproves the existence of God, yet if there is no ultimate Source of right and wrong, there is no evil and no good; there are merely circumstances we like or dislike.

Ah yes, the Problem of evil. The Discoveroids can’t blame it on Adam & Eve, so what do they do? They declare that it’s the advocates of evolution who are inherently evil. Here’s Egnor’s brilliant conclusion:

Again and again, materialists and atheists hold opinions that violate the law of non-contradiction. In this sense, atheism and materialism aren’t even really metaphysical theories. They’re just self-refuting nonsense.

So there you are, dear reader. You are the purveyor of nonsense, and the Discoveroids teach The Truth.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Discoveroids: Evolution Is Self-Refuting Nonsense

  1. People who accept evolutionary biology and other sciences include theists as well as agnostics, atheists, deists, pantheists and others.
    As long as ID is vaguely described, it is to be expected that there are differing reactions to ID. Some try to make some sense of it, some confine it to denial of evolution. Some conclude that insofar as it denies evolution, it is falsely denying a well-supported phenomenon of life. Some conclude that insofar as it does not have any positive substance, it is just empty nonsense.

    As far as the reliability of human thought, let us note that individual humans have thoughts. It is a Fallacy of Composition or Division to speak of the species Homo sapiens, let alone the so-called "kind" of humans, accepting or rejecting evolution.

  2. Here’s another gem:

    Materialists and atheists believe that determinism is true and that free will is not real. But if determinism is true and we lack free will, then our opinions are determined by physical processes, which are not propositions and which lack truth value. Chemical reactions are neither true nor false, so a materialist’s opinion that determinism is true and free will is not real has no truth value.

  3. @Ted Lawry – This just in, yet another IDist is hazy on the difference between words and things.

  4. Michael Fugate

    What makes me laugh is they think the brain is too complex to have evolved, but gender and sexual orientation are so simple that the presence or absence of a small genetic element is absolute. Human development is complex and the environment plays an enormous role. Many chemicals present in small amounts as specific times can dramatically change the phenotype.

    ID is too incoherent to be scientifically testable.

  5. Egnorance is boundless.

    “Descartes’s answer is the answer most modern men would give.”
    Nope. It’s well known that Cogito ergo sum is a non-sequitur.

    “in order to be scientifically wrong, ID must be scientifically testable.”
    No contradiction here. As far as IDiocy is testable – the Irreducible Complexity of a mousetrap for instance – it’s wrong. However IDiots always refuse to admit it and their reaction invariably is making their claim untestable. The best example is “life cannot come from non-life”. There are still IDiots who maintain this and bring it up as evidence for their IDiocy. However some of the smarter ones (albeit no less dishonest) suspect that it’s only a matter of time.before it does happen in a lab. They already claim it’s also evidence for their IDiocy.

    “thus we could not trust our belief that we evolved by natural selection”
    More Egnorance. This modest lack of trust is exactly the foundation of methodological naturalism. Every scientific hypothesis is always tentative. The more evidence the less tentative, but there is always room for distrust.

    “Materialists and atheists believe ….. quantum mechanics.”
    This should be put into a frame, with the title Egnorance and IDiocy. Then any museum on evolution can hang it in some remote corner.

    “Materialists and atheists believe that determinism is true and that free will is not real.”
    Plenty of materialists and atheists don’t believe that. This is a gem indeed.

  6. Egnor is right, twice, but this hardly helps his argument.

    ”Materialists and atheists claim that ID is scientifically wrong, and claim that ID is not scientifically testable. But of course, in order to be scientifically wrong, ID must be scientifically testable.” What actually happens, as discussed by Behe in Darwin’s Black Box (section: A Hole in the Eye) is that the scientists points out an engineering defect, thereby supplying evidence against ID considered as a scientific theory. The ID defender then says (and here I quote Behe) “The argument from imperfection overlooks the possibility that the designer might have multiple motives… Features that strike us as odd in the design might have been placed there for… some unguessable reason.” It is at this point that ID ceases to be scientifically testable. So yes, not both wrong and untestable at the same time, but, depending on context, one or the other.

    As for the argument, copied from Plantinga, that evolved intelligence would be unreliable, one need only point to the ways in which our intelligence actually is unreliable in ways that are explainable in terms of survival value, such as seeing false positives, seeking (unless trained to do otherwise, and even then it’s tough) corroboration rather than refutation for our opinions, revering the leader of the pack, and accepting pack dogma.

  7. Terrific ! A philosopher who ignores data. He can go anywhere he wants to with that and, he does. How’d you like to have him operate on you ? Yeah me neither.

  8. @Paul Braterman
    evolved intelligence would be unreliable
    There are two fallacies which permeate all of the anti-evolutionist arguments exemplified in this statement:
    1) False Dichotomy. If evolution fails, then creation/design is not the only alternative. If our mind is created by God, this does not guarantee reliability.
    Just because something is designed does not mean that it is well designed for any particular purpose.
    2) Composition and Division. Confusion between what is true of the population, species, or kind and what is true of the individual. Confusion between what is evolved and what is developed. The species Homo sapins does not have opinions, individuals do. The individual is created,
    the species is a concept. The individual has a soul, the species does not. Developed intelligence of the individual is unreliable.

  9. @Michael Fugate
    D is too incoherent to be scientifically testable
    No reason to specify “scientifically” or “testable”.
    ID is comparable in incoherence as dealing with a cable company.

  10. Egnor is a real piece of work. I used to think his religious delusion was deep enough to be classified a mental illness (what do I know?) but now I am leaning to another hypothesis: Egnor’s loss of faith. Like Mother Teresa before him, he calls out but nobody answers. Egnor has finally concluded that he is an ape, science is knowledge and his religious mutterings are so much fairy dust in the wind. (Old punchline: I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.) That’s Egnor.

    So, what to do? Overcompensate, of course. Blare loud and proud hoping for some solace. Alas, poor Egnor, we knew him well. A man of infinite emptiness. I find the greatest irony, however, is that the drowning Egnor latched onto the least religious idea in all of crackpotdom, “intelligent design” creationism, a marketing concept created by a propaganda “charity” run by a bunch of con artists. Hmmmm, on second thought, maybe that’s not so far from his original position after all!