The Demise of a Great Creation Scientist

Look what we found at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of of all creationists outfits, the fountainhead of young Earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Remembering Raymond Damadian: Father of the MRI and Creation Science Champion, and it was written by Dr. Frank Sherwin, an ICR Research Scientist. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Have you ever faced a health crisis that called for an MRI? You can thank Dr. Raymond Damadian for the medical and scientific benefits of this cutting-edge technology. Dr. Damadian was an outstanding American physician, medical practitioner, inventor of the first MR (magnetic resonance) scanning machine, and champion of creation science. [Ooooooooooooh! A creation scientist!] His MR invention was designed to accurately and safely scan the human body, a method now known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

We’ve written about him before — see Ken Ham Presents a Great Creation Scientist. Then Sherwin says:

Indeed, Dr. Damadian is known as the “father of the MRI.” This incredible discovery has enhanced and saved many lives. Dr. Damadian’s MRI scanner prototype — called “Indomitable” — is now on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hall of Medical Sciences.

Sounds great, but where’s the creationism? Sherwin tells us:

When he was only 15, Raymond Damadian won a Ford Foundation Scholarship, enabling him to earn a mathematics degree at the University of Wisconsin. He earned his medical degree at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and later did graduate work in biophysics at Harvard.

Again we ask: Where’s the creationism? Sherwin continues:

In 1989, Dr. Damadian was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, alongside Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright brothers, where he was awarded the respected Lincoln-Edison medal. In 1988, he received a National Medal of Technology.

Okay, okay — the MRI is a great invention. But where’s the creationism? Let’s read on:

In 1957, Raymond Damadian was saved at a Billy Graham crusade in Madison Square Garden. [Aha — there it is!] As a new Christian, he began to extensively read theology and science, specifically the evolution-creation issue. Questions he had regarding Darwinian evolution were answered [Hee hee!], and he became very knowledgeable regarding creation science, later serving on the board of ICR.

Wowie — he was a director of ICR! Another excerpt:

In a 1999 article, he stated: [I understand] what the Apostle Paul calls the renewed mind. [What?] Out of a mind renewed by Jesus came the obvious. How could a scientist achieve his goal of discovering the absolute truths that govern the natural world without the blessing of the Author of those truths? For me now the true thrill of science is the search to understand a small corner of God’s grand design, and to lay the glory for such discoveries at the Grand Designer’s feet.

Thrilling indeed! And now we come to the end:

Dr. Damadian is to be applauded and celebrated as a scientist who was willing to look at the evidence and conclude — contrary to his extensive secular education — that creation means a Creator, leading him to the feet of the Grand Designer. [Wowie!] We are saddened by his recent passing but simultaneously rejoice, knowing he is enjoying the presence of the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verily, he couldn’t have invented the MRI without creationism — don’t you agree, dear reader?

Copyright © 2022. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

34 responses to “The Demise of a Great Creation Scientist

  1. “How could a scientist achieve his goal of discovering the absolute truths that govern the natural world without the blessing of the Author of those truths?”

    In the words of the perhaps sometimes overly steroided Shia LaBeouf citing the Nike shoe company, “Just do it.”

  2. So the timeline as I understand it is:

    1. Damadian made some great scientific and technical achievements.
    2. Damadian received lots of awards.
    3. Damadian then became a creationist.
    4. Damadian contributed nothing more of value after that.

  3. Damadian didn’t invent squat, he claims he made the first MRI image by imaging one point at a time which is prohibitively slow. The real trick that makes MRI work is the use of gradient coils and Fourier Transforms to get many pixels at once. Damadian was a self-publicizing loudmouth. The fact that many web sites echo his claims is an example of the low quality of info on the web

  4. Still, if he achieved anything useful, it had nothing to do with his alleged creationism – or his religion generally. Many scientists are religious, or at least have religious beliefs, and it doesn’t prevent them from doing useful work. But the instant that any religious belief becomes an explanation for any observed natural phenomenon, science is automatically cancelled, and no scientific progress is possible.

  5. “In 1957, Raymond Damadian was saved at a Billy Graham crusade in Madison Square Garden.”

    I was at a Billy Graham crusade once as a kid and they had a guy that sang too loud and then Billy would yell at everyone and they would pass around buckets where you could put money in it and make loud Billy and presumably loud singer dude richer.

  6. @Paul D.

    Do you just make things up?

    Per Dr Frank Sherwin, Dr Damadian was ‘saved’ in 1957

    Per Wikipedia, Damadian did his research on the MRI in the 70s, receiving a patent in 1974

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_magnetic_resonance_imaging#:~:text=MR%20imaging%20was%20invented%20by,behind%20it%20in%20March%201973.

  7. @Dave Luckett:

    “Still, if he achieved anything useful, it had nothing to do with his alleged creationism – or his religion generally.”

    How can you even pretend to know that?

  8. Apparently, the MRI — like success itself — had many fathers: Dr Raymond Damadian, Swiss Dr Richard Ernst, Dr Paul Lauterbur, and likely others

    https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/sci-tech/richard-ernst–father-of-the-mri–dies-aged-87/46687642

    https://www.wshu.org/science/2018-09-05/paul-lauterbur-father-of-the-mri-receives-posthumous-engineering-award

  9. The mathemathical genius Ramanujan credited his results to a Hindu goddess. See the Wikipedia article about him.

  10. @Random, If it had anything to do with creationism then he would have invented “dinosaur MRIs”.

  11. How do I know that? Easily, by definition. Religion is a belief, or set of beliefs relating to the supernatural. Science seeks to explain the natural by natural means. The latter therefore cannot make use of the former. QED.

  12. What about when a supernatural source gives a answer to a question about nature? One prays to one’s god to the answer, and god gives the natural explanation?

  13. @Dave Luckett — No, dude — you’re simply full of baseless assumptions

    Did eating a burger at Bob’s Big Boy have
    “nothing to do” with Dr Paul Lauterbur’s ideas on MRI?

    WSHU:

    “According to his daughter Elise, Lauterbur had his eureka moment while chewing on a hamburger at a Pittsburgh Big Boy restaurant.

    ” ‘He ran across the street to get a notebook, and he wrote all of his ideas down in a notebook and at that point he actually know [sic] it could become something big. So he had a friend and collaborator sign it to prove the day and location of this hamburger joint.’

    “Elise was not surprised the realization that he could see inside a living being came to her father while biting into a burger”

    https://www.wshu.org/science/2018-09-05/paul-lauterbur-father-of-the-mri-receives-posthumous-engineering-award

    Did a day-dream of a snake biting its own tail (the ouroboros) have “nothing to do” with Dr August Kekulé’s visualization of the structue of the benzene ring?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Kekul%C3%A9#cite_note-16

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    PS: ProTip — ‘QED’ is generally used to conclude actual logical proofs not mere baseless assertions

  14. It’s all going to end up with can the guy prove his god actually exists and/or Hitler like everything else, so hurry up and get there guys.

  15. Name the baseless assumption, and show how it’s baseless.

    I repeat: religion is a set of beliefs in supernatural (ie, over or beyond natural) entities. Science requires the explanation of natural phenomena by natural means. Hence, science cannot postulate the actions or effects of supernatural entities. Therefore, religion can have nothing to do with science.

    Protip: Answering a logical argument with the Monty Python stymie (“No, it isn’t”) only demonstrates inability to think in logical terms.

    TomS: for all I know, deities might provide scientists with natural explanations. There certainly seems to be a place for inspiration in science. But the explanation must be natural, testable by natural means, or it can’t be accepted as science. I have, as you know, no objection to a belief that God created all things by the natural means He ordained. But what science studies is those natural means, not some other means.

  16. I’ve never seen any need for a god hypothesis. Full disclosure: I was a working scientist for a number of year, and since I retired I also see no need for a god hypothesis. And as the bit about Ramanujan by TomS shows, if you like a god hypothesis, the question is which of the thousands of gods do you think helped you.

  17. How about this:
    I can systematically determine the factors of a large number by consulting an oracle. Once the factors are known, the answer is easy to verify by natural means.

  18. IF you could determine the factors of a large number by consulting an oracle, AND IF the oracle’s accurate answer could be taken to be the voice of the god, then you might have something. But as my father was fond of saying in answer to many a theological hypothetical, “If the Queen of Sheba had a beard, she’d be the King.” And yes, I know about Hatshepsut. She had a beard, which was a strap-on, like all Pharaohs had, because legally and officially, she actually was the King.

  19. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonexistent-objects/ “The Problem of Fictional Discourse”

    Yet, when applied to fictional discourse, these two principles lead to consequences that seem to contradict hard empirical facts on the one hand and trivial truths about the ontological status of fictitious objects on the other. According to (EG), the sentence

    (1) Pegasus is a flying horse.
    implies

    (2) There are flying horses.
    Yet, as we all know, there are no flying horses.

    According to (PP),

    (1) Pegasus is a flying horse.
    implies

    (3) Pegasus exists.
    But Pegasus is a fictitious object; and it seems that to call an object fictitious is just to say that it does not exist.

    All very neat and tidy, but unfortunately there is (or was) a religion that thinks Pegasus is/was real.

    “Religion poisons everything.” –Christopher Hitchens

  20. @Dave Luckett:

    “Name the baseless assumption, and show how it’s baseless.”

    You asserted without argument or evidence that

    “Still, if [Damadian] achieved anything useful, it had nothing to do with his alleged creationism – or his religion generally.”

    When challenged, you sought to justify your position with the following baseless assumption:

    “The latter [‘science’] therefore cannot make use of the former [‘the unscientific’].”

    I already provided two real-life counter-examples to this baseless assumption — you chose not to address them

    A third is the utilization of instinct in formulating scientific hypotheses

    Here’s some more discussion

    Elsevier:

    “It’s worth remembering, however, that some notable breakthroughs have been triggered by some unlikely sources of scientific inspiration.
    * * * * *
    “The contents of ancient books and myths are sometimes easily dismissed as fictitious, yet they might still provide intriguing ideas for new research concepts. For example, the ‘seven heavens and seven earths’ concept is profoundly described in Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Hindu religious texts. The ‘multiverse’ hypothesis, which is remarkably similar to the aforementioned religious writings, has been theorized in multiple fields of natural sciences (e.g., cosmology, physics), as well as in a variety of fictional ideas. Although the hypothesis is yet to be proven, it has kindled the embers of a few fresh ideas for explaining the mysteries of the immense cosmos.

    “Likewise, telepathy is a myth or a hoax, according to common knowledge. Yet, a few proposals for devices that convey information between human brains have surfaced based on this myth. It may appear inconceivable now, but a researcher should not forget that wireless communication technology was not available a century ago.”

    https://www.elsevier.com/connect/3-unusual-sources-for-scientific-inspiration

    Wikipedia:

    “Nevertheless, since the 19th century, numerous modern figures have argued that Buddhism is rational and uniquely compatible with science. Some have even argued that Buddhism is ‘scientific’ (a kind of ‘science of the mind’ or an ‘inner science’). Those who argue that Buddhism is aligned with science point out certain commonalities between the scientific method and Buddhist thought. The 14th Dalai Lama, for example, in a speech to the Society for Neuroscience, listed a ‘suspicion of absolutes’ and a reliance on causality and empiricism as common philosophical principles shared by Buddhism and science.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_science

    Visionlearning:

    “Science is creative in much the same way that art, music, or literature are creative, in that scientists have to use their imagination to come up with explanations. These explanations are well informed – they are not mere guesses – but there is no escaping the fact that they are ultimately products of the imagination. As Peter Medawar explained, ‘Scientists are building explanatory structures, telling stories which are scrupulously tested to see if they are stories about real life’ (Medawar, 1984, p. 133, emphasis in original). By ‘telling stories,’ Medawar does not mean that scientists are just making things up out of nothing. He means that scientists piece together bits of information in a way that makes sense, the way writers piece together characters and events. But a scientist’s job doesn’t end there. The story they’ve told is rigorously tested to see if makes sense in the context of everything else we already know.”

    https://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Creativity-in-Science/182

    In short, scientific hypotheses need NOT be based on prior science or an observation of natural phenomena — they can be supernaturally inspired or based on pseudoscience — but they DO have to be vigorously tested and undergo the scientific method before they are accepted as valid scientific theories

  21. @Random “but they DO have to be vigorously tested and undergo the scientific method before they are accepted as valid scientific theories”

    So even if inspired by their religion, it has to have nothing to do with their religion if it wants to be science. So go and read Dave’s “nothing to do” paragraph again.

  22. The whole paragraph instead of one sentence.

  23. “How could a scientist achieve his goal of discovering the absolute truths that govern the natural world without the blessing of the Author of those truths?”

    Same way as everyone else. When I go to McDonald’s I don’t go with the blessing of the McDonald bros., although they may or may not be delighted, depending on if they like Ray Kroc or not.

  24. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1–2).

    Nice backhanded self-compliment, Paul. Don’t think much of yourself do you? /s

  25. @Richard:

    “So even if inspired by their religion, it has to have nothing to do with their religion if it wants to be science. So go and read Dave’s ‘nothing to do’ paragraph again.

    So much cognitive dissonance here — SMH

  26. @Random You’re being very nitpicky about people’s sentences. That’s not a very “arguing in good faith” thing to do. 🙂

  27. Thank you, richard, but Random has lived up to his handle quite sufficiently. He can’t handle syllogism, the very first step on the road to logical thought. Poking him to see if he’ll squeak is no doubt amusing, but it gets old real quick.

  28. Are there any “Great Creation Scientists?”

    There are plenty of Great Creationist Crackpots, but that represents just a bunch of crackpot ideas.

    Hovind’s “ice canopy.”
    Baumgartner’s “runaway subduction.”
    Behe’s “irreducible complexiwhatzit.”
    Dembski’s “nixplanitory filter Mark IV.”
    Meyer’s “special sooper dooper really complex info.”
    Gish’s “gallop.”
    Nelson’s “never described ontogenetic depth thingy”

    The other Kreationist Krackpots ™ simply grouse about evolution: Morris, Wells, Abby Normal, et al

    (Srsly, I need a new hobby!)

  29. @richard:

    “You’re being very nitpicky about people’s sentences. That’s not a very ‘arguing in good faith’ thing to do.”

    What you might call ‘nitpicky’ I think I would call taking people’s words at face value — I am always open to their clarifications

    I always try to argue in my understanding of good faith — if I have somehow failed here, please enhance my understanding by showing me how (given my position of taking people’s words at face value)

    @richard, Dave Luckett:

    It seems to me that to assert that a scientific hypothesis which was inspired by, say, a religious dream has “nothing to do with” that religious dream scales the heights of cognitive dissonance and is, frankly, a counter-factual, contradictory and self-negating assertion, a flawed conclusion and an illogical argument to put forth

  30. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

    Taken at face value:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

    Congress can make laws disrespecting an establishment of religion, for example a fine burger establishment, but not respecting one.

    “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    People are allowed to go on their exercise machines and not pay for it if they don’t want to.

  31. @Random Do you really think that Dave thought that science can’t be inspired or motivated by religion or other non scientific things, or do you think maybe he could have meant meant something else.

  32. Dave Luckett

    Science cannot have anything to do with religion, that is, cannot postulate any religious (ie, supernatural) principle or proposition whatsoever. That principle is sovereign.

    But the Universe is coherent, and subject (at least on a macro scale) to invariable relationships and interactions that we call “laws”. It is argued,inter alia, that that proposition is itself a religious principle, being evidence for an organising mind. Further, that this coherency is all that makes science possible.

    I would answer that if the Universe were incoherent, then matter, energy, time and space could not exist, not could we be available to observe them and their relationships. Is that evidence for intent? Hardly. One might as well assume that the intent of the landslide was to obliterate the village. Our ancestors did make that assumption freely. They were wrong. There is no need to assume intent. The same principle applies to the Universe overall.

    But suppose we simply assume intent, although we need not. What difference does that assumption make? I would submit that it makes no difference to the practice of science whatsoever. Science cannot ever assume a supernatural cause for any observed phenomenon. The intent or action of a deity or any other supernatural entity is, by definition, such a cause.

    Hence, no proposition concerning supernatural entities, their actions, intentions, policies, will or nature, can ever be invoked in the practice of science. But such propositions are necessarily part and parcel of all religion. Therefore, religion has nothing to do with science.

    It was urged that Buddhism, being devoid of a personal God, and assuming only a disinterested set of principles, is potentially more productive of science than other religions. Perhaps so, although I think you’d have trouble demonstrating that proposition from historical evidence. But if you’re arguing that religion can be productive of scientific inspiration, it seems odd to urge that the less we assign to God, the more science we achieve.

    “Instinct” evolved for the purpose of staying alive and having progeny that did the same on an African savannah. It is not in the slightest concerned with anything beyond those needs. Instinct might be credited with creating a need to know – because the knowledge might be useful – but it is never a way of knowing.

    Imagination, now. Scientists must use imagination to produce explanations. True enough. And what is this imagination? I would answer that it is the evolved ability of the human mind to interpolate and extrapolate, conducted at a subconscious level. Certainly it is needed, but any assumption that it is the gift of a deity or is supernatural in nature or effect can have nothing to do with the science itself. By all means let the scientist (or mathematician) assume that the inspiration is the gift of God, or gods, or spirits. The inspiration must be demonstrated to be a correct interpretation of the evidence by reference, not to any action or intent of any supernatural entity, but to the evidence itself and to nothing else.

    I repeat, science cannot have anything to do with religion. Damadian’s contributions to science, whatever they were, had nothing to do with his religion.

  33. @richard:

    “Do you really think that Dave thought that science can’t be inspired or motivated by religion or other non scientific things . . .

    Yes, I would think that this position would logically be included in his following blanket assertions:

    “Still, if he achieved anything useful, it had nothing to do with his alleged creationism – or his religion generally.”

    “Science seeks to explain the natural by natural means. The latter therefore cannot make use of the former.”

    “Therefore, religion can have nothing to do with science.”

    and finally

    “I repeat, science cannot have anything to do with religion. Damadian’s contributions to science, whatever they were, had nothing to do with his religion.”

    (How can he even pretend to know that?)

    “. . . or do you think maybe he could have meant something else.”

    That’s for him to say — as I said earlier I am open to clarification — but I’m not going to guess and I’m not going to ask again at this point

  34. @Dave Luckett:

    “Science cannot have anything to do with religion, that is, cannot postulate any religious (ie, supernatural) principle or proposition whatsoever.”

    Thanks for the clarification