Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Plain Truth

Michael Egnor:
'Cheryl' wants to Expel me...

Commentors on atheist blogs often provide the clearest insight into atheist nastiness. Here's a snippet from one "Cheryl", a dyspeptic materialist commenting on my observation that materialist theories of the mind are gibberish and not the least consistent with neuroscience.

If [Egnor] weren’t a practicing neurosurgeon, I’d have compassion for him. But as it is, I’m appalled he’s still licensed to practice medicine.
Now please understand that all I've done to incur Cheryl's compassionless wrath is to disagree with her. I present evidence that materialism is an inadequate theory of the mind. That has enraged Cheryl so much that she objects to the fact that I'm licensed to practice medicine.

She presents no evidence that I'm unqualified to practice, or that I'm an incompetent surgeon, or that my patient outcomes are anything but good. Actually, I'm a tenured professor of neurosurgery and vice-chairman of my department. I'm an active scientist and educator, and have a good surgical practice.

Nothing objective about my qualifications would lead Cheryl to be 'appalled' that I'm still licensed to practice medicine. She just despises me, apparently, because I question her ideology. That is, she's appalled that I haven't lost my livelihood merely because I don't accept materialism.

Is the practice of medicine dependent on acceptance of doctrinaire materialism? Does science presuppose hard materialism?

Well, I'm in no danger of losing my career, despite the fact that I piss off materialists. But imagine if I were a graduate student in biology, or a young post-doc, or an assistant professor and didn't have tenure or seniority or a long track record of accomplishment to protect my livelihood. I would be in significant professional peril for not towing the materialist line.

The scientific world is full of little brownshirts like Cheryl. If you tow the line-- if you pay lip service to materialism-- you have a job. I have friends who are biologists-- several quite accomplished scientists-- who don't believe the materialist cr*p for a minute. But they stay silent. As one told me: "I gotta feed my family, Mike, and if I spoke out, I'd never get a job or a grant again"

Unless you're bullet-proof, you've got to be careful in science, especially in biology. There are a lot of Cheryls out there. A lot of them have titles like 'chairman' or 'grant reviewer' or 'journal editor' or are just colleagues who can make your life hell. There is an ideological ticket that you gotta get punched, and if you don't get in line, well... they'll find a way to.. um... Expel you.

Thanks, Cheryl, for making it so clear.

1 comment:

IlĂ­on said...

What are the odds that 'Cheryl' asserts of herself that she is rational, scientific, open to evidence, and (my favorite) open-minded?