Michael Egnor

Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and is an award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.


Mind Over Matter: Dualism vs. Idealism

On this episode, host Dr. Michael Egnor continues his conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon about a chapter he wrote in the recent volume Minding the Brain titled “Mind Over Matter: Idealism Ascendant.” In Part 2 of the conversation, Dr. Gordon reviews the strengths and weaknesses of dualism and its relationship to idealism. Different categories of dualism are evaluated, as well as challenges and criticisms of these perspectives. Egnor and Gordon explore how idealism, the belief that reality is fundamentally mental, can be compatible with hylomorphic dualism and address the question of why there is a material world if reality is mental. The discussion concludes by considering the potential blending of idealism and hylomorphism in understanding the relationship

Mind Over Matter: The Case for Idealism

On this episode, host Dr. Michael Egnor begins a conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon about a chapter he wrote in the recent volume Minding the Brain titled “Mind Over Matter: Idealism Ascendant.” Dr. Gordon makes a case for idealism, a philosophy of mind positing that all of reality is, in some sense, mental. Egnor and Gordon discuss the plausibility of idealism as a way to understand the nature of reality, particularly in relation to the mind. Gordon explains that idealism suggests that matter is not substantial in itself, but rather a phenomenological experience. He argues that a theistic understanding of reality provides a more plausible explanation for why there is a world and why we are here to experience it. Dr. Gordon also discusses other approaches to the philosophy

Debunking the Hype of Artificial General Intelligence

In this episode, host Michael Egnor speaks with Dr. William Dembski, a senior fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, about his essay titled “Artificial General Intelligence as an Idol for Destruction.” Dembski argues that the belief in the imminent arrival of artificial general intelligence (AGI) is unachievable and destructive. He points out that while AI has made significant advancements, it still lacks the universality and ingenuity of human intelligence. Dembski also expresses concerns about the potential negative impact of AI on human society, including the loss of humanity and the dangers of mimetic contagion. He suggests that AI should be seen as a tool rather than a replacement for human intelligence. Additional Resources The

Are IVF Human Embryos “Children”? A Recent Court Decision

Neurologist Steven Novella claims that the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that they are “children” under the law “essentially referenced god”
The ruling not only did not reference God, it was meticulously based on precedent. So those who seek to remove protection from IVF embryos must lobby for that.

Why Can’t Our Memories Be “Stored” in the Brain?

The image of storing and erasing memories is popular due to computer technology but it is not relevant to how the human mind works
When we talk about memory, we often use word pictures that make it seem as though memories behave like material things but they don’t.

Why Doesn’t God Just Do Something Dramatic to Prove He Exists?

The Divine Hiddenness argument for atheism, espoused by Matt Dillahunty, is that, if a perfectly loving God existed, reasonable unbelief would be impossible
Philosopher Blaise Pascal argued that God gives enough evidence for faith and leaves room for doubt because he wants our heart first — and reason follows.

The Primacy of Information Over Matter

In this episode, host Michael Egnor continues a conversation with Dr. William Dembski, a senior fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, about the relationship between the mind and the body. Dembski argues that if information is considered fundamental rather than matter, it dissolves the mind-body problem. He suggests that information is not constrained by the speed of light and can be exchanged through correlations, as seen in quantum mechanics. Dembski also discusses the concept of free will and how materialism denies its existence. He explores the idea of information as a fundamental concept in the natural world, analogous to energy, and discusses conservation of information and its relevance to Darwinian evolution. Dembski concludes by suggesting that an

My Reply to Free Will Deniers: Show Me

It is helpful to consider the question in this way—not “do we have free will?,” but rather “what does it mean to believe we don’t have free will?”
No humans live as if we doubt free will. Free will denial is just a way for materialists to advertise themselves, like a political yard sign.

William Dembski on Information and the Mind-Body Relationship

On this episode, host Michael Egnor speaks with Bill Dembski about the concept of information and its role in understanding the mind-body relationship. Dembski explains that information is a verb, representing the narrowing of possibilities and the constraining of contingency. He discusses how information can be understood in different contexts and how it relates to concepts such as meaning and communication. Dembski also introduces the concept of informational realism, which holds that information is the most fundamental aspect of reality. He argues that information is more real than matter and that even material entities disclose themselves informationally. Along the way, the interview touches on various philosophical perspectives, including idealism and Aristotelianism, and

Where, Exactly, Is Memory Stored in the Brain?

The hippocampus of the brain is important for memory formation but memories are immaterial and are not really “stored” anywhere
Memories during near-death experiences, when the mind is not in touch with the brain, are often clear, precise, and comprehensive.

What Christof Koch Misunderstands About the Mind and the Brain

In his revealing interview at Closer to Truth, the Allen Institute neuroscientist, though he doubts physicalism, attributed subjective experiences to “brains”
The brain does not see, hear, feel, taste, or smell. It is the *person* who sees, hears, feels, tastes, and smells.

Leading Neuroscientist Wavers on Physical View of Consciousness

On Closer to Truth, Christof Koch said last month, “Consciousness cannot be explained only within the framework of space and time and energy, but we need to postulate something additional”
Science is as dependent on the concept of public truth as the great religions are. Thus, when private truth rapidly gains power, it is just as vulnerable.

Evaluating Popular Theories of the Mind-Brain Relationship

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the most common mind-brain theories? On today’s episode, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor concludes his conversation with Dr. Angus Menuge about the mind-brain relationship and the popular dualistic theories of Cartesian dualism and Thomistic dualism. Cartesian dualism posits that the mind and body are fundamentally different substances, with the mind being immaterial and the body being material. Thomistic dualism, on the other hand, sees the mind and body as one substance, with the mind being the form of a human being. Dr. Menuge presents some of the strengths and weaknesses of both theories. The conversation also touches on topics such as the unity of consciousness, near-death experiences, information realism, and the limitations of reductionist

From Physicalism to Idealism: Challenging Assumptions about Reality

Can the mind be understood independently of physical matter? On today’s episode, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor continues his conversation with Dr. Angus Menuge, Chair of Philosophy at Concordia University, about his book Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science. They discuss various models of the mind-brain problem, including idealism, which posits that matter does not exist and that the world is made up of minds or spirits and their ideas. They also explore dualism, which suggests that the mind and body are fundamentally different substances, and emergence, which proposes that mental states emerge from physical processes. Along the way, the pair touches on topics such as quantum mechanics, split-brain surgery, and the binding problem. The

Exploring the Mind-Brain Relationship and Challenging Materialism

Can the mind be explained in purely physical terms? Or is it something else entirely? In this interview, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor kicks off a three-part discussion with Dr. Angus Menuge about his book Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science. The book brings together contributors from various academic disciplines to challenge the dominant materialist paradigm in the study of the mind-brain relationship. Menuge explains that materialism, or physicalism, is the belief that everything about human beings can be understood in the same way as physical processes in nature. However, this view neglects the subjective and intentional aspects of the mind. The interview discusses different theories that have attempted to explain the mind in purely physical terms,

Why Free Will Denial is Self-Refuting

If free will deniers are right, their denial of free will is just a biological ink stain.
Things that are wholly determined by the laws of physics and chemistry aren’t truth claims. They’re just spilled ink.

How Could Human Consciousness “Evolve”?

Human consciousness entails a unique human ability to think abstractly .
According to Darwinian “science,” things changed, survivors survived, and the human ability to think abstractly materialized out of thin air.

Israel, Free Will, and the Problem of Evil

If determinism is true, then we have no free will. We are nothing more than meat machines.
The events of the past week in Israel have left the civilized world reeling. Hamas has killed more than 1,200 Jewish innocents in the most violent eruption of anti-Semitism since the Holocaust, and it seems likely a war will follow that will soon kill thousands more innocent people. As we ponder and pray over this mass slaughter, it is worthwhile to reflect for a moment on what these events tell us about the ideological and scientific dogmas of the 21st century — about atheism, determinism and Darwinism. Are these dogmas true, and do they provide a meaningful understanding of man and of moral action? If atheism is true and there is no God, there is no Moral Lawgiver. The concept of good and evil become merely individual human preferences — e.g., we condemn the killing of

Body & Soul: Joshua Farris and The Creation of Self

How does the body contribute to the soul? On today’s episode, host Michael Egnor and theologian Dr. Joshua Farris discuss the implications of a neo-Cartesian understanding of the human soul on divisive cultural issues such as transgenderism and abortion. Farris, author of the recent book The Creation of Self: A Case for the Soul, argues that the body supplies certain controls and powers to the soul, and that separating the body from the soul would do harm to the soul. He also addresses the question of when ensoulment occurs in human development and explores the idea of switching souls among identical twins and the challenges it poses to philosophies of mind-body dualism. He concludes by discussing the rise in popularity of metaphysical theories and their connection to cultural