Dr. Will Provine’s Brain Tumor

Over the last year, I’ve had quite a few visitors who find my blog by searching for Dr. Will Provine and his brain tumor.  I had done a review on the movie “Expelled” by Ben Stein in June of 2009 and mentioned Dr. Provine in that review.

Dr. Provine is an atheist and opponent of “intelligent design”.  He is a professor at Cornell University where he teaches courses on evolution.

During the movie, Dr. Provine said that if his brain tumor ever came back, he would shoot himself.  I have a feeling that people are trying to find out if that ever happened and if he followed through with what he said.

I did a little more research in order to satisfy my readers’ curiosity.  I wasn’t able to specifically find out if his brain tumor had returned, but I did find that as of March 2010, he is still participating in debates regarding evolution.

Here is Dr. Provine’s bio on the Debate Summit website.  Here is more information about the Debate Summit.

Let’s continue to pray for this man that someday he would understand that there is a Creator to whom he will give account of his life one day and that, regardless of how he thinks this world was made, he needs to think more about his eternity!

21 thoughts on “Dr. Will Provine’s Brain Tumor

  1. I don’t know the up-to-date health status of my old friend and dorm-mate, Will Provine. As I understand/remember it (having seen–and quite a while back–only pieces of the movie “Expelled”), Will didn’t want to duplicate the experience of his brother’s death from cancer. It certainly wouldn’t be the prospect of death/nonexistence itself that would bother him–everything dies–but I suppose the disability, dependence, and (perhaps) pain of the dying process.
    In any case, Will is a scientist. If presented with actual convincing evidence–beyond assertions and personal anecdotes, which don’t carry much evidentiary weight–of “a Creator to whom he will give account of his life one day,” I’m confident he would embrace the concept. Until then–at least as long as he’s in his right mind, which is not a given with brain tumors–I doubt that he will.

    1. Thanks so much for the extra info on Dr. Provine!

      I would assert that there is so much actual convincing evidence to back up an earth created by one Master Creator that you would have to purposely ignore it. His imprint is left on everything He created – the very order with which things consist as opposed to chaos and disorder – speaks to His handiwork.

      I would also say that it takes as much faith to believe in evolution as it does to believe in Creation, even with all the supporting evidence for it. It boils down to what you choose to believe in regard to what you can’t see. We didn’t see the beginning of it all with our very own eyes – so, we have to put our faith somewhere. Once we do that, everything else we see, we will subconsciously make sure lines up with what we believe.

      Either way, at the end of it all, no one will have any excuses before a Loving God. We’ve all had our chance and continue to have new chances every single day.

      1. Of all the ironies in this discussion, I think the most interesting is that so many (believers and nonbelievers alike!) should somehow think that accepting the scientific fact of evolution–which only tells how life has developed and diversified, NOT how it started–would necessarily be incompatible with a god-belief.
        If someone like a Sarah Palin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDrhVR8d2Gk), and many millions of others, can understand that the two issues are separate, it bewilders me that others think that the two *must* be linked.

        1. Another irony, now that I’ve read the comments again: so many people, believers and non- alike, seem to think that the “creation” of our universe would be overwhelming evidence of a “god” that’s operating NOW.

          Given the assumptions that believers start from, this notion is actually reasonable! That is, if you *assume* that there is a “deity,” always has been, and always will be; and if you further *assume* that only one being can fill all those roles; then, yes, it IS perfectly logical to think that evidence of a “creator” of our universe would be evidence for a god now.

          The unbelievers really have no excuse, yet many of them buy the same reasoning! All the time, I see/hear atheists debating the origin of the universe. Given that almost none of them are cosmologists (very few people are!), it can be painful to hear them arguing about stuff for which, frankly, they have limited (or plain *wrong*) information. [I’m no cosmologist either, btw.]

          Atheists should stop granting the believers’ unjustified assumptions and stick to asking for evidence of a deity that needs to be worshiped/obeyed NOW.

          For instance, for discussion’s sake I’m perfectly willing to posit a “creator” at the beginning of our universe. And? So? By what logic MUST that same creator be in operation today, ~14 billion (or 6,000, if you prefer!) years later, occasionally breaking our universe’s rules (that it created!) to perform miracles/grant wishes/answer prayers?

          There’s no logic for that at all–again, unless you grant the believers’ assumptions, in which case it’s perfectly logical! I think these nonbelievers should stop discussing stuff that they’re not knowledgeable about (i.e. how things started), and stick to examining the “evidence” for god(s) NOW. Otherwise you just have theists and atheists talking past each other, with not even a *chance* of understanding (if not actually agreeing with) each other’s position.

          Peace to all–

    2. The problem is that empiricism can’t stand on its own. Empiricism, which is what science uses, only works as long as you deal with empirical realities(the material universe: matter and energy). But some things cannot be proven by empirical means alone. That’s where logic and reason comes into play. Science does great so long as it deals only with empirical questions, the day-to-day questions of science. But it can’t deal with a more fundamental question that way, such as the very nature of science, what science is, what it does, and why, what makes science possible, etc. Scientists rely on empirical evidence because they’ve tested it and found it reliable, but it’s only reliable within its bounds. You can’t give empirical evidence for belief in the reliability of empirical evidence. When you start dealing with non-empirical realities-things that are not matter nor energy-empirical evidence is inadequate. That’s why the basic principle of empiricism, that a statement is meaningful only if it is empirically verifiable, is nonsense. It doesn’t stand up to it’s own test. You can’t give any empirical evidence for it, because it isn’t a statement about empirical things. It’s a statement about ultimate reality and ultimate truth, and it isn’t open to any kind of empirical testing. Still, in regards to evidences, it all goes back to our interpretive framework, based on our presuppositions which are determined by our worldview. Imagine you set a fossil on the table. A biblical creationist will stand on one side of the table, and an evolutionist on another. Both will look at the fossil and come to completely different conclusions about it’s age, how it got there, etc etc. The only infallible thing is the fossil itself. We all have the same evidence. We simply interpret that evidence differently…

    3. Will Prof. Provine may have yet to endorse the existence of an external conscious creator, because of his very integrity a true scientist and honest intellectual he has conceded the possibility at least once. Some 25 yrs or so ago, as a SUNY Buffalo biology graduate student, and newly-awakened Rasta Dread attending a dept seminar featuring Prof. Provine as the visiting speaker, I was inspired to ask him whether he considered the mere apparent absence of evidence as rigorous evidence of absence. His equally-inspired reply was a warm, sincere smile and the admission/admonition that as scientists we can only honestly comment on that which we have, or at least can, directly measure and thus the existence of the divine is intrinsically beyond the scope and purview of legitimate empirical science.
      In that statement and at the following reception, Dr. Provine did more to clarify for me the true power of my long-chosen profession and to dispel as contrived its seeming conflict with my growing faith –so validating my own PhD. candidacy– than any other mortal before or since.
      The man and his teachings are a true blessing to this world.

  2. As a former atheist myself, it’s easy to look back and see how I was confused, lost, prideful and selfish.

    All you have to do is be open to the possibility that a creator exists and weigh all the evidence. It is obvious to me know how this wonderful existence was the work of an all-loving being. It’s even more obvious that all the pain and suffering in the world is the result of man’s evil.

    I hope and pray that Will as well as atheists all over the world open their minds to the possibility of a loving creator. Will, I hope your health improves so you can relax and enjoy live as nature intended. We don’t have to know everything, we just have to appreciate it.

  3. I’m sorry for that pain Dr. Provine, hope everything is gonna be okay and I will pray for your complete healing. God Bless You..

  4. I only reccently saw the movei Expelled – and have to say Provine struck me as just another hateful, angry secular progressive. I see that in a lot of atheists, can’t honestly say I see that in anyone who is of Christian Judeo faith.
    I wish him the best, but only pity him for going thru life that angry – what a horrible way to live.

  5. The most telling thing I took from Dr. Provine’s statement in the movie “Expelled” with Ben Stein was that the young student Will Provine must not have been very grounded in a religious belief at all if the very first encounter he had with Darwinian evolutionary theory completely changed his mind by reading one book on the topic. . . or that he was extremely naive and very malliable with respect to his world view as a college student. It makes me cringe to think what power the institutions of higher learning might hold over the minds of our youth in general.

  6. Having watched Ben’s documentary, and reading numerous books on the issue of evolution versus creation, I must say that I agree strongly with Ray Kopp’s sentiments.

  7. I watched Expelled for the fourth time last night, and was struck by how sad Dr. Provine’s situation was. I will be praying for his health, both physical and spiritual.

  8. Hi folks. I still exist. Look for a book from me from the University of Chicago entitled now as “Random Genetic Drift: Fallacy.” Still the atheist, and never to change, unless God appears before me (zero chance). Best wishes, Will

  9. Praying for Dr Provine is good, we all need the practice. Getting him to believe in something that is unbelievable will be impossible. God determines (via personal revelation) who gets to know Him. We can make a decision to seek God, but we cannot make God reveal himself to us! In Gods time Dr Provine will get to know the truth. At that moment he will drop all he holds dear to the floor and accept his savior like a drowning man klinging to a life preserver. This has been my experience.

  10. The most powerful weapon a believer can use against unbelief is personal testimony. Tell them how Jesus walks and talks with you and answers prayer. then ask them to take the atheist challenge at escapingfromatheism.com

  11. Watched “Expelled” again tonight, it’s even MORE relevant today than it was when it was new and we have a front row seat to witness the spiral of depravity in America. It’s like a runaway train.
    Dr. Provine is no longer an atheist, he passed on Sept 1 of this year, Wiki said his death was a result of complications from his brain tumor.

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