Michael Egnor

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


Yes! There Is Evidence For the Intelligent Design of the Brain

If our brains were not intelligently designed, we would have no reason to believe anything our senses tell us
This is a big topic, of course. The brain, like all of biology, is obviously intelligently designed. From the elegant coordination of neural activity between neurons and brain regions to the remarkable law-like behavior of individual molecules and atoms that comprise neurons and neurotransmitters, the brain carries the unmistakable fingerprint of a Designer. But there is another common-sense way to infer design of the brain that is simple and I think quite convincing — it is based on our belief that our perceptions and concepts accord with truth. To see how this points to intelligent design of the brain, consider a very compelling argument for God’s existence proposed by philosopher Richard Taylor (1919–2003) in his book Metaphysics. Thomist philosopher Edward Feser has a

Hinduism and Social Ethics

What does Hinduism teach about social ethics issues? Is there a consensus among most Hindus, or are there a variety of viewpoints? Dr. Michael Egnor and his guest, Arjuna Gallagher address current issues such as cancel culture, abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. Show Notes 00:10 | Introducing Arjuna Gallagher00:52 | Cancel Culture02:29 | Hinduism, Abortion, and Euthanasia17:14 | Religion and Suffering Additional Resources Dr. Michael EgnorArjuna Gallagher on FacebookSubscribe to Theology Unleashed on YouTubeWhat is Hare Krishna? Podcast

Hinduism and the Beginning of the Universe

Does the universe have a beginning, or is it eternal? Are the creation stories found in Hinduism meant to be taken literally, or are their texts meant to be understood another way? Dr. Michael Egnor and Arjuna Gallagher discuss these issues and much more as they explore Hinduism’s understanding of the creation of the universe. Show Notes 00:05 | Introducing Arjuna Gallagher00:34 | Hinduism and the Creation of the Universe 02:03 | Are Hindu creation stories meant to be taken literally or are they allegories? 03:07 | Hinduism, Quantum Mechanics, and General Relativity07:28 | Hinduism and Plato’s Theory of Forms08:59 | Hinduism and Intelligent Design Additional Resources Dr. Michael EgnorArjuna Gallagher on FacebookSubscribe to Theology Unleashed on YouTubeWho

Hinduism, Metaphysics, and Free Will

Dr. Michael Egnor and Arjuna Gallagher discuss Hinduism’s unique perspective regarding subjects such as metaphysics, evil, and free will. Their conversation also addresses the question of whether or not reincarnation requires the existence of a personal creator to serve as the source for morality. Show Notes 00:07 | Introducing Arjuna Gallagher01:32 | Evolutionary Explanations for the Human Mind04:24 | Hinduism and Metaphysics08:25 | God and Evil15:01 | Hinduism and Free Will Additional Resources Dr. Michael EgnorArjuna Gallagher on FacebookSubscribe to Theology Unleashed on YouTubeBuy The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness and BlissBuy The Doors of the Sea by David Bentley HartLearn more about William Lane CraigMore about the Bhagavad Gita Podcast

Hinduism, Reincarnation, and the Mind-Body Problem

Arjuna Gallagher is the host of the YouTube Channel called Theology Unleashed and a Hindu. He discusses Hinduism, reincarnation, karma, and other religious subjects as they pertain to the relationship between the mind and the body with Michael Egnor. Show Notes 00:05 | Introducing Arjuna Gallagher01:33 | What is Hinduism?03:03 | Central Themes of Hinduism04:09 | Is God Personal?04:42 | God and Karma05:39 | What does Hare Krishna mean?06:25 | Is Hinduism Pantheistic?10:01 | Hinduism and the Origin of Good and Evil11:27 | Reincarnation16:07 | Testimonies of Reincarnation17:55 | Visions by a Demon? Additional Resources Dr. Michael EgnorFollow Arjuna Gallagher on FacebookSubscribe to Theology Unleashed on YouTubeMore on Euthyphro’s DilemmaWho was Plato?Definition of Last

Faith in God Is the Only Coherent Basis for Reason

Access to truth is always a matter of faith — the validity of reason cannot be validated by reason itself
Atheists commonly assert that there is a profound dichotomy between faith and reason. This is exemplified by atheist evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne ’s book Faith vs. Fact. He implies that we can have faith in the truth of something or we can have factual knowledge of the truth but we cannot have both. Faith and fact are, in his view, mutually exclusive. But that is not true. Faith in God provides an indispensable foundation for the power of human reason. In the perspective proposed by medieval philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), we must accept radical skepticism about the veracity of our perceptions and our concepts. One may ask: how do we know that what we perceive or what we believe corresponds to reality? The answer is that we can’t know, in the

Don’t Blame Me; I’m a Meat Robot.

Methodological naturalism invariably draws certain conclusions. One of these notions is that we have no free will, and therefore, no culpability. We are essentially puppets hanging from genetic strings. Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Joshua Farris discuss this erroneous idea, as well as other failing conclusions created by ideological science. Show Notes 00:06 | Introducing Dr. Joshua Farris00:24 | Is a Belief in God Compatible with the Practice of Science?02:51 | The free-willing self?09:11 | Can One Prove God’s Existence Scientifically?12:16 | The Definition of Science21:10 | The Prime Mover Argument Additional Resources Dr. Joshua FarrisDr. Michael EgnorBuy Dr. Joshua R. Farris’ Book: The Soul of Theological Anthropology Cartesian ExplorationWho is Thomas

The Body and the Soul

Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Joshua Farris continue their conversation about the nature of the body and the soul, starting with whether or not Thomism and Cartesianism can be blended and ending with an exploration of the Aristotelian view of the mind/body relationship.

My Challenge to Two Atheists Who Deny Free Will

There is too much of this nonsense in the science blogosphere. If Pigliucci or Coyne would like to debate free will, they can consider this a challenge from me
Of all of the materialist cults, free will denial may be the most bizarre. Nothing could be more obvious in everyday life that in a very real sense we generally have the option to choose our acts. We choose mundane things like what to have for breakfast and what clothing to wear and we make moral choices every day. The denial that we have the freedom to choose is essentially the assertion that we are robots, enslaved to our physics and chemistry and incapable of freedom. Obviously this view of humanity is deeply insulting – it’s just a slur – but is also rank nonsense. In fact, it’s self refuting and obviously so. Jerry Coyne At his blog, Why Evolution is True, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne offers a post commenting on an essay by philosopher Massimo Pigliucci on free

Why Cartesian Dualism?

Materialism is dead. There are simply too many questions left unanswered after years of studying the brain. Now, people are scrambling for a new way to understand the mind-body relationship. Cartesian dualism has become a whipping boy in philosophy, but it has advantages over the alternatives. Dr. Joshua Farris discusses Cartesianism and philosophy with Dr. Michael Egnor. Show Notes 01:27 | Introducing Joshua Farris02:36 | What is Cartesian Dualism?07:32 | Is Cartesianism is bad metaphysics?13:02 | The Cartesian View and Transgenderism19:31 | What is emergence?25:30 | The Cartesian view and God as the God’s Mind. Additional Resources Dr. Joshua FarrisDr. Michael EgnorBuy Dr. Joshua R. Farris’ Book: The Soul of Theological Anthropology Cartesian ExplorationWhat

Neuroscience, Quantum Physics, and the Nature of Reality

Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Bruce Gordon discuss quantum mechanics, the nature of reality, idealism and how to interpret the finding of modern neuroscience. Prepare to cover a lot of ground on this Mind Matter News Bingecast. Show Notes 00:00:43 | Introducing Dr. Bruce Gordon00:02:00 | Idealism00:03:37 | Plato’s theory of forms00:05:08 | Kantian idealism00:09:17 | Panpsychism and cosmopsychism00:12:31 | What is a mental thing?00:18:12 | The mind-dependent character of reality00:24:08 | What counts as a measurement?00:29:29 | The phenomenon of non-localizability of individual particles00:31:25 | The quantum Cheshire Cat phenomenon00:34:08 | The idealist perspective00:38:01 | Wrapping in Aristotelian and Thomistic thought00:41:00 | Idealism as the most satisfactory metaphysical

“Woke” Comes Back to Bite the Darwinists — and They Deserve It

Intelligent design people stood up not only for our colleagues and those who think as we do but we also stood up for freedom for people
Darwinist Jerry Coyne has been at the forefront of efforts over the past couple of decades to censor advocates of intelligent design and anyone who questions the Darwinian paradigm.

Political Website’s Christmas Gift to Readers: Promoting Abortion

FiveThirtyEight asked readers to share their abortion stories and got something it hadn’t bargained on: Many were glad it didn’t happen
If you want to understand the mindset of the abortion lobby, note that this plea for accounts of killing of children in the womb appeared on Twitter on Christmas Day.

Does Superdeterminism Resolve Dilemmas Around Free Will?

If we lack free will, we have no justification whatsoever to even believe that we lack free will
The conventional view of nature held by materialists, who deny free will, is that all acts of nature, including our human acts and beliefs, are wholly determined by the laws of nature, understood as the laws of physics. We cannot be free, they assert, because all aspects of human nature are matter, and the behavior of matter is wholly determined by physical laws. There is no “room” for free will. It’s noteworthy that physicists who have studied determinism in nature (specifically, in quantum mechanics) have for the most part rejected this deterministic view of free will and implicitly (if not explicitly) endorsed the reality of free will. There are two reasons for this. First, experiments that have followed from the research done by Irish physicist John Bell (1928–1990)

Phenomena of the Mind

Endless mysteries dwell inside and outside the brain, and it’s hard to know where the brain ends and the mind begins. Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Andrew Newberg discuss near death experiences, speaking in tongues, and many more mysteries of the mind. Show Notes 00:23 | Near Death Experiences 04:17 | Limitations of the Brain 08:06 | Negative Encounters within the Brain 12:10 | Relationship Between the Brain and Mental Disorders 16:03 | The Brain and Speaking in Tongues 17:41 | The Brain and Schizophrenia 20:57 | The Brain and Psychedelics Additional Resources Andrew Newberg’s Website Buy Andrew Newberg’s book: Why We Believe What We Believe More Information on Thomistic Philosophy More Information on Thomas Aquinas Buy

Finding God in the Brain

Materialism insists that God is just a figment of the imagination, but there are some interesting phenomena in neurotheology that suggest otherwise. There are also certain methodological challenges when it comes to trying to find evidence of God in the brain. Michael Egnor discusses these issues with Andrew Newberg, who is a pioneer and authority in the field of neurotheology. Show Notes 00:48 | The Methodological Challenges to Finding God in the Brain 05:11 | Is There a Dark Night of the Soul? 09:21 | Theistic vs. Non-Theistic Contemplation 13:13 | The Thomistic Understanding of the Soul 17:14 | Otherworld Journeys Additional Resources Andrew Newberg’s Website More Information on Thomistic Philosophy More Information on Thomas Aquinas More

Neurotheology: Spirituality and the Brain

Neurotheology is the study of the relationship of our religious and spiritual selves and our brains. How can studying our brains give us insight into our minds? Dr. Michael Egnor interviews Dr. Andrew Newberg on neuroscience, methods of studying the brain, and how our minds and brains are related. Show Notes 00:08 | Introducing Andrew Newberg 05:17 | Methods to Study the Brain 08:31 | The Current Understanding of Spirituality and the Brain 15:19 | The Relationship Between the Mind and the Brain 20:04 | A Nun and an Atheist Study the Brain Additional Resources Andrew Newberg’s Website Buy Andrew Newberg’s book: Why We Believe What We Believe The Brain Prosperity Gospel: Can “Neurotheology” Be Real Science? More about Nuclear

Does Science Disprove Free Will? A Physicist Says No

Marcelo Gleiser notes that the mind is not a solar system with strict deterministic laws
One of the most disturbing implications of materialism in modern science is the inference that science disproves the existence of free will. Of course, this is not actually the case, but even the mistaken denial of free will has profound and very disturbing implications for our social structure, our criminal justice system, and our way of government. People who are assumed to lack free will are ultimately little more than cattle to be herded and, as philosopher Hannah Arendt has observed, the denial of free will — and the denial of individual responsibility that follows on it — is a cornerstone of totalitarianism. Marcelo Gleiser At Big Think, physicist and philosopher Marcelo Gleiser points to the fallacy that physics and neuroscience disprove free will: he mind is not a

Define Information Before You Talk About It: Egnor Interviews Marks

Has anyone ever given you some useless information? What does it even mean for information to be meaningful? This week, on Mind Matters News, guest host Dr. Michael Egnor interviews our own Robert J. Marks about information, as well as the creative limits of artificial intelligence, and why evolutionary algorithms aren’t the magic bullet they’re often presented to be. Show Notes 00:00:09 | Introducing Dr. Robert J. Marks 00:01:02 | What is information? 00:06:42 | Exact representations of data 00:08:22 | A system with minimal information 00:09:31 | Information in nature 00:10:46 | Comparing biological information and information in non-living things 00:11:32 | Creation of information 00:12:53 | Will artificial intelligence ever be

Theists vs. Atheists: Which Group Has the Burden of Proof?

Because Dillahunty refuses to debate me again, I’ll address his claim that atheists have no burden of proof in the debate over God’s existence in this post
A common refrain from those atheists who are willing to debate theists is that theists, not atheists, have the burden of proof in the debate over God’s existence. Internet atheist Matt Dillahunty made this claim in our recent debate. Regrettably, it looks doubtful that Dillahunty and I will debate again. He didn’t fare well—he had no real understanding of any of the ten classical proofs of God’s existence— and in the wake of his confused and rambling attempts at exculpation he refuses to debate me again. His reluctance is understandable—he was clearly shaken by the revelation that his rejection of the proofs of God’s existence isn’t based on any actual understanding on his part of the arguments. Like all other internet atheists I’ve encountered, Dillahunty is