Allen MacNeill: Expelled from Expelled

| 50 Comments

Allen_2007.jpgAllen MacNeill, who teaches introductory biology and evolution at the Cornell University in Ithaca NY, left a comment which I believe deserves more attention

Allen MacNeill Wrote:

As an interesting addition to this debate, Will Provine and I were interviewed by Mark Mathis and his crew last year. Like PZ myers, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott and others, we were lied to about both the title of the film (they said it was “Crossroads”, not “Expelled”, for which a website domain listing was acquired several months before our interview) and the purpose of the film, which they said was to present an even-handed look at both sides of the debate.

Allen MacNeill Wrote:

However, unlike PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins, the interviews with Will and I were not included in the film. Why not? Because (as many posters at this site are well aware), we regularly invite ID proponents (such as Michael Behe, John Sanford, Hannah Maxson, and Phillip Johnson, among many others) to make presentations in our evolution courses at Cornell. But this fact would clash in an unfortunate way with the premise of the film, which is that “Darwinists” unfairly discriminate against ID supporters and creationists.

In other words, “Expelled” is a propaganda piece, pure and simple, as are virtually all of the public pronouncements of the Discovery Institute and their supporters. Scientists don’t make propaganda movies (although we are sometimes invited to participate in them under fraudulent pretenses). No, we go out into the field and the laboratory and investigate nature.

This fascination with the way the universe works is the heart and soul of science, not a desire to undermine religion. If that were the case, why were many of the founders of the science of evolutionary biology (including Ronald Aylmer Fisher, Sewall Wright, Theodosius Dobzhansky) and so many current evolutionary biologists (including Ken Miller and myself, among others) members of various religious traditions?

Treating people with whom you disagree as “enemies” is the antithesis of the intellectual tradition. Just because you happen to agree with one “enemies” list and therefore eagerly participate in demonizing those with whom you disagree doesn’t absolve you of committing a heinous sin against the ancient and honorable traditions of the academy. Just the opposite, in fact. And using ad hominem arguments (not to mention resorting to agumentum ad hitleram, as did the producers of “Expelled”) are the tactics of propagandists, not scholars.

Shame on Ben Stein, Mark Mathis, and their supporters, and shame on anyone who resorts to character assassination, mendacity, and subterfuge in the pursuit of what should be an argument based on reason and evidence.

50 Comments

Well, congrats to MacNeill and Provine for a completely independent but also efficient demonstration that “Expelled” is propaganda. The more facts the merrier the outcome!

“Treating people with who you disagree as ‘enemies’ is the antithesis of the intellectual tradition.” This is a fairly rosy-coloured view of the current ‘debate’ engaged by posters on this site.

I’d hoped in vain this site would offer something akin to intellectual sharpshooting, a rational corrective to the arguments of those who identify with ‘Intelligent Design,’ but it’s just a meaningless collection of ad hominem asides. Oh well. Maybe someone could point me somewhere else.

Allen MacNeill Wrote:

However, unlike PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins, the interviews with Will and I were not included in the film. Why not? Because (as many posters at this site are well aware), we regularly invite ID proponents (such as Michael Behe, John Sanford, Hannah Maxson, and Phillip Johnson, among many others) to make presentations in our evolution courses at Cornell. But this fact would clash in an unfortunate way with the premise of the film, which is that “Darwinists” unfairly discriminate against ID supporters and creationists.

Add the fact that the scientific community has long encouraged anti-evolutionists to publish their research in mainstream peer-reviewed literature. Long before “Expelled” propaganda, none other than William Dembski admitted the real reason why anti-evolutionists are “expelled”:

William Dembski Wrote:

I’ve just gotten kind of blase about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print. And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.

What part of “thou shalt not bear false witness” do these clowns not understand?

Richard Whittall Wrote:

Oh well. Maybe someone could point me somewhere else.

Try “Uncommon Descent.” Though I should warn you that if you make the same accusation of their site as you made of this one, your comment will likely disappear. And if you persist you will likely be banned.

Richard Whittall:

“Treating people with who you disagree as ‘enemies’ is the antithesis of the intellectual tradition.” This is a fairly rosy-coloured view of the current ‘debate’ engaged by posters on this site.

I’d hoped in vain this site would offer something akin to intellectual sharpshooting, a rational corrective to the arguments of those who identify with ‘Intelligent Design,’ but it’s just a meaningless collection of ad hominem asides. Oh well. Maybe someone could point me somewhere else.

You don’t need a sharpshooter to hit the broad side of a barn. If you read the Evolution of the Heart post recently, can you point to anything with any remotely comparable explanatory power coming from any “alternative” viewpoint?

I mean, I haven’t had any formal bio education since I was an undergrad several geological epochs ago, and aside from having to go look up a few things, I followed along just fine.

What sort of intellectual sharpshooting, re that article, would you hope to see in order to counter the “Nuh-uh, magic did it and you can’t ask how, why or when!” side?

I’m asking seriously, what do you think is a more effective counter to people whose arguments are based on misrepresentation? If you reject the premise that ID is based on misrepresentation, can you direct me to any ID research that isn’t?

@Richard:

Lots of people are very keen to do serious intellectual sharpshooting on ID, and there are some very impressive guns out there. Not a lot is happening though, because of the absolute lack of intellectual substance in ID that they could possibly shoot at.

The ID proponents never talk about ID, only about evolution. Essentially, the argument is: “A (evolution) is broken, so B (ID) must be right!”. This is simply bad logic, since B could also be broken, and the working answer might be C, which we are not smart enough to have thought of yet.

So B must be tested for validity independently of A, and that requires a statement of what B is, and that is what the ID proponents (carefully?) never provide.

Feel free to prove different, by answering one question: What is B (independently of A)?

Regards,

YAL

“Treating people with who you disagree as ‘enemies’ is the antithesis of the intellectual tradition.” This is a fairly rosy-coloured view of the current ‘debate’ engaged by posters on this site.

I’d hoped in vain this site would offer something akin to intellectual sharpshooting, a rational corrective to the arguments of those who identify with ‘Intelligent Design,’ but it’s just a meaningless collection of ad hominem asides. Oh well. Maybe someone could point me somewhere else.

There are some excellent rebuttals of ID relevant arguments on this site as well, it does require some searching but most any claim by ID has been addressed and rebutted here.

Any specific interests?

DBC Wrote:

What sort of intellectual sharpshooting, re that article, would you hope to see in order to counter the “Nuh-uh, magic did it and you can’t ask how, why or when!” side?

Lurker #753 Wrote:

So B must be tested for validity independently of A, and that requires a statement of what B is, and that is what the ID proponents (carefully?) never provide.

The irony is that classic creationism did give some “pathetic level of detail” of their “B,” at least some basic “what happened when,” and which species shared common ancestors. Unfortunately, and completely unrelated to their troubles getting their clearly religious views taught in public schools, classic creationism found itself hopelessly deadlocked into mutually contradictory accounts, forever diverging, and all blatantly sought and fabricated. In stark contrast to evolution, the evidence for which was described by none other than the late Pope John Paul II as “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated.”

By the mid 1980s, the more astute peddlers of anti-evolution pseudoscience knew that they had no option but “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Unfortunately for us, they had, and still have, a market for their misrepresentations and baseless charges of conspiracy.

Maybe someone could point me somewhere else.

Try http://www.talkorigins.org/ Just about every creationists cdesign propnentist Intelligent Design argument is laid to waste there.

Then again, if you actually read some of the articles on this site you’d realize that your original premise was false.

Finally, pointing out blatant dishonesty is not ad hominem when the credibility of the source is one of the issues at question.

McNeill:

“Treating people with who you disagree as ‘enemies’ is the antithesis of the intellectual tradition.”

quote from a Wesley R. Elsberry entry at antievolution.org:

Pamela Thompson, Templeton Foundation spokesperson, says in her letter to the LA Times:

We do not believe that the science underpinning the intelligent-design movement is sound, we do not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge, and the foundation is a nonpolitical entity and does not engage in or support political movements.

The DI and ID are not intellectuals engaged in an intellectual pursuit. They are a Xian Dominionist propaganda arm who do nothing but lie a lot. This isn’t even remotely what science is about.

Even the religious folks at the Templeton foundation, a group that supported them in the past pulled out. Without anything good to say about them, calling them a political movement.

Whittall is just an obvious concern troll.

Allen continues at UcD to explain to the ID creationists

Allen MacNeill Wrote:

Here is when the domain name “expelledthemovie” was registered at TUCOWS INC.:

http://whois.domaintools.com/expelledthemovie.com

That is, March 1, 2007. No domain name for “crossroadsthemovie” has ever been registered. If you have ever registered a domain name yourself, you know that it never appears in the WHOIS listing before you register it; only after. Therefore, the very latest that this domain could have been registered is March 1, 2007.

Here is the “meta: description that goes with the aforelisted registration:

“Ben blows the horn on Suppression! Science and Education has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom. What they forgot is that every generation has its Rebel…”

I was interviewed by Mark Mathis & Co. on May 3, 2007. I have a canceled check from Rampant Films (canceled on May 5, 2007, the day after I deposited it), in payment for my interview (which, as I mentioned in my original post, was cut from the film).

How much more evidence would you like that I (and Will Provine, and every other evolutionary biologist that was interviewed for this film) was lied to, repeatedly and for blatantly political (i.e. not scientific) reasons?

And BTW, the reason I did not immediately respond to the posts following mine was because I was coloring Easter eggs with my four kids. So sue me…

and

Allen MacNeill Wrote:

Jerry asked:

“Were they all after the February 12th date?”

My interview (and Will Provine’s) was three months after the domain name “expelledthemovie” was registered. Unless the video crew was on the road for several months (pretty expensive), I would guess that nearly all of the interviews were conducted in late April and early May.

Ergo, the film crew lied about the name and the intent of the film, and did so to hoodwink us into participating.

And, given that both Will Provine and my interviews directly contradicted the main thesis of the film, and were subsequently cut from the film, it should be clear to anyone what the actual intent of the film makers was from the beginning:

Propaganda, pure and simple.

Well, okay, yes there’s likely some wacko religious ideology at work behind the Intelligent Design argument, but there are some serious problems with how the debate is framed. For example, the ‘Talk Origins’ site, whilst dressed up in philosophical/logical language is just a series of puerile rebuttals to simplistic assertions about Darwin as person.

The biggest problem here is the lack of philosophical rigor on both sides, because ultimately the question of the existence of ‘God’ seems to me to be outside the bounds of demonstrative science, for or against. This point was perhaps best laid out in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations and I have yet to read a cogent argument against it since.

The reason I was led to this site in the first place was after reading David Berlinski’s piece in the most recent issue of Harper’s. I was disappointed to learn that he has associated himself with ID, because I think he raises a very important point that has been overlooked with the recent popularity of the Dawkins/Hitchens scorched-earth pop-atheism school, and was sincerely hoping he had done so without maintaining a pre-ordained conclusion about the nature of reality. Intelligent Design is so boringly wrong that to dedicate a website to attacking it is absurd, and the very fact this ‘debate’ has any traction whatsoever reveals the failure of modern scientists alongside their fundamentalist foes to understand the basics of philosophy and the philosophical method. Let me explain.

Intelligent Design first originated back in the thirteenth century with the famous ‘five proofs’ of the existence of God laid out by Thomas Aquinas. All can be refuted, although the easiest and first to go was his argument from design, that the seeming organization of the universe was proof that a divine intelligence must have created it, ‘and this all men know as God.’ Once it had become apparent that the natural organization of the world could be attributed to natural principles culminating with the development of Newtonian physics, the argument, already unfavoured by most serious philosophers, was abandoned. The Kantian critique of metaphysics was the final nail in the coffin.

Yet here we are at the start of the 21st century, and scientists, in their desire to rid the world of these meddlesome IDers, deign to tread where their forebears knew better not to, blithely employing the innocent empirical method to answer the question ‘why something and not nothing’ famously posed by Heidegger. It is one thing to say (quite correctly) that the theory of evolution is a sound model, in a broad sense, for explaining the origins of life on earth, if you can carefully avoid the unscientific pitfalls of reverse engineering engaged by some evolutionary zealots like Pinker and Gould. It’s quite another to draft evolution in answering the question of whether or not there is a God. I would urge scientific materialists as well as their Intelligent Design counterparts to perhaps have a look back at their undergraduate philosophy texts before making wild assertions about God and evolution.

Richard Whittal said:

“For example, the ‘Talk Origins’ site, whilst dressed up in philosophical/logical language is just a series of puerile rebuttals to simplistic assertions about Darwin as person.”

You’re kidding, right?

Well, I was being tongue-in-cheek but the ‘Talk Origins’ site is hilarious. How does an Oxford dictionary-esque discussion on how ‘fact’ and ‘theory’ are understood to mean get us anywhere closer to understanding the full scientific implications of evolution? It exemplifies the problem with this debate.

As to the whole ‘troll’ thing, this all reminds me why blog culture is ruining the standard of contemporary thought. Please have a look at Jacoby’s Age of American Unreason…

Richard Whittall said:

“It’s quite another to draft evolution in answering the question of whether or not there is a God.”

Indeed; this is precisely why I so admire both Charles Darwin and T. H. Huxley, as neither ever committed this particular sin against logical argument in their published works. Both admitted privately that they were no longer “believers” in the traditional conception of a supernatural deity, but both were careful to separate that personal conviction from their science.

Other notable evolutionary biologists have come to the opposite conclusion: they have, in their personal lives, been devout believers in the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of God. Included in their ranks are two of the founders of the “modern evolutionary synthesis”, Ronald Aylmer Fisher and Theodosius Dobzhansky, both of whom were devout Christians throughout their lives. The best selling biology text in the world, which uses evolutionary biology as the underlying logical thread throughout the book, is co-authored by Ken Miller, a devout Catholic and author of Finding Darwin’s God, perhaps the most effective debunking of ID yet written.

In other words, the question of the existence or non-existence of God is completely outside the realm of science (as Stephen J. Gould so eloquently pointed out), and is therefore also completely irrelevant to the validity of the science of evolutionary biology.

Richard Whittall:

the ‘Talk Origins’ site, whilst dressed up in philosophical/logical language is just a series of puerile rebuttals to simplistic assertions about Darwin as person.

Really? There are thousands of pages at talk origins. I selected one at random

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CE/CE001.html

No mention of “Darwin as a person”.

How about

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD610.html

No mention of “Darwin as a person”.

Well maybe

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/com[…]ICsilly.html

No mention of “Darwin as a person”.

Okay, so let’s try

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

No mention of “Darwin as a person”. Also no rebuttals.

Furthermore, I don’t even find these pages to be puerile!

I would urge scientific materialists as well as their Intelligent Design counterparts to perhaps have a look back at their undergraduate philosophy texts before making wild assertions about God and evolution.

Which is why this site and talkorigins are such excellent resources since we appreciate how science is neither materialist nor religious.

But I think we agree that the wild assertions about God and evolution are, from a scientific perspective complex. The problem is that science provide the best explanation given the evidence, while theology addresses the who and why. Whenever theology requires science to reach a particular solution, or whenever science requires theology to reach a particular solution, they fail.

Re Whittall’s description of TalkOrigins:

Why should we take anything you say seriously when you throw down bullshit like that?

Confused Richard Whittall said…”How does an Oxford dictionary-esque discussion on how ‘fact’ and ‘theory’ are understood to mean get us anywhere closer to understanding the full scientific implications of evolution?”

Creationists misuse the two words to create confusion and mislead the public.

“It is one thing to say (quite correctly) that the theory of evolution is a sound model, in a broad sense, for explaining the origins of life on earth,…”

Origins of life on Earth? Oh, you mean abiogenesis! Don’t go around confusing abiogenesis with the theory of Evolution. That’s what the uninformed and creationists do.

“I would urge scientific materialists…”

What on Earth is a ‘scientific materialist’? As opposed to what? A ‘scientific spiritualist’?

Wouldn’t it just be easier to say ‘scientist’?

Frank J:

William Dembski Wrote:

I’ve just gotten kind of blase about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print. And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.

Interesting quote, for sure. Do you have the source for it? Thanks!

Concern Troll Alert! Concern Troll Alert!

The problem is that science provide the best explanation given the evidence, while theology addresses the who and why.

So long as there isn’t any evidence about the who and the why. But if there is some evidence about the who and why, then I think maybe science should handle that one. :D But if there is anything anywhere about absolutely anything at all for which there is no evidence whatsoever period, then yeah theology is good to go. Happy Easter!!

I’ve just gotten kind of blase about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print. And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.

- -William Dembski in Darwinism under Attack The Chronicle of Higher Education Dec. 21, 2001

Ironically Dembski describes the Design Inference well as an argument from ignorance

Dembski puts it nicely: “An argument from ignorance is still better than a pipe dream in which you’re deluding yourself. I’m at least admitting to ignorance as opposed to pretending that you’ve solved the problem when you haven’t.”

Richard Whittall:

Very interesting post. At least for me personally, you bring up a number of interesting philosophical topics. But in labelling this site as puerile, you completely and utterly miss the point. This particular site is devoted to monitoring and discussing the political movement know as “creationism”. ID is merely the latest manifestation, and it is most certainly not philosophical. The issue here is the rhetorical and political attack on biological science aggressively pursued by by a small but powerful and vocal group of people, directed to a largely ignorant and ideologically conservative American public. The goals are clear…1) eliminate the teaching of evolution in public schools, 2) undermine the public’s confidence in the “authority” of science, 3) cast doubt specifically on evolutionary biology as a science, 4) where possible, introduce the teaching of sectarian religious doctrine in American public schools to any degree possible.

The discussion on this site is often not scientific and sometimes devolves into derision and name calling (usually prodded by trolls). As an active scientist, I can say with great confidence that the debates here are largely irrelevant to the day to day operation of evolutionary biology, even though some wonderful scientific findings are posted as relevant to the ID talking points. The likes of Behe, Dembski, and Johnston are so insignificant as to be completely irrelevant to science. Their towering egos are diametrically opposed to their reputation in the sciences.

But as a concerned scientist who is a citizen and member of the community at large, the discussions here are critical to exposing the latest tactics and talking points of creationists.

It is indeed unfortunate that philosophy gets left behind in these debates. Sadly, though, in the same way that this discussion does not really concern the operation of science, neither does creationism contribute to philosophy or theology. However, a number of folks have occasionally pointed out that ID and creationism is as a great a danger to Christianity as it is to the public perception of science.

Expelled writer Kevin Miller has a different take on Allen MacNeills Expulsion:

As for your buddy McNeil, he got cut from the film b/c it was a boring interview. No offense to Alan.

Uh-huh. Doesn’t support the bogus premise of our film ? Boooooooooriiiiiiiiiiiing! Hat tip to Rich for prompting that one.

Given the accounts I’ve seen of Expelled, Ben Stein and company probably wanted to reserve the boring stuff for themselves.

Look on the bright side. No one is ever going to trust the Expelled players agains, Ben Stein, Mathis, Kevin Miller, Rulhoff etc. This lying creos with a camera stunt is a one off.

Once everyone knows you are slimy dishonest morons, the game is up.

Anyone who has dealt with the media before quickly learns to be very careful and very wary. Even when they aren’t being actively malevolent, things tend to go wrong. In the case of PZ and the camera crew, someone media savvy would have known something was up before they got within a thousand miles.

author = “Richard Wittall”> I would urge scientific materialists as well as their Intelligent Design counterparts to perhaps have a look back at their undergraduate philosophy texts before making wild assertions about God and evolution.

I think many of us have not only looked at our undergraduate philosophy books, but have gone considerably beyond that. One doesn’t get to work at the frontiers of science without encountering deep epistemological questions about how one goes about defining and measuring things; especially when one has to design and build detectors and instruments that have never existed before. And the issues of interpreting evidence and data are always in front of us. We have to use many tools, including statistics, direct and indirect measurements, and cross-checks. We deal with both random and systematic errors, confounding variables, sorting out cause and effect from correlation, pattern recognition, and the list goes on and on.

If anyone has a problem with these ideas, it would be the “fellows” at the Discovery Institute with their agonizing scholastic contortions of well-studied and well-understood concepts in philosophy and science. None of those who work there spend any time in real research, and it shows in their general naïveté about how scientists actually go about it.

The people at the Discovery Institute have very muddled ideas about how to hitch their supernatural sectarian dogma to science. In the process of attempting to convince their followers, they have ignored and/or mangled nearly every major philosopher and scientist in their effort to re-define concepts, stretch the meanings of words, and sew general confusion about science, philosophy, and religion. Ultimately they seem to want the cachet of science to bolster their sectarian beliefs.

Unfortunately they have also poured millions of dollars into propaganda (never on scientific research) causing many in the public think the discussion should be on DI’s terms and with their definitions and mischaracterizations of nearly everything in science, philosophy and religion. So there is a lot of misinformation and confusion for scientists to try to straighten out in the small amount of time most of them have to divert from research. It has been an asymmetric war from the beginning.

Talk Origins attempts to throw the spotlight on some of their abuses. Panda’s Thumb frequently gets overrun by malicious trolls, which makes the “discussions” a bit “lowbrow” at times. But we still try.

raven:

Once everyone knows you are slimy dishonest morons, the game is up.

What about the Republican Party?

raven:

Once everyone knows you are slimy dishonest morons, the game is up.

Stanton:

What about the Republican Party?

Ouch!!! So what is wrong with wishful thinking?

raven: Anyone who has dealt with the media before quickly learns to be very careful and very wary. Even when they aren’t being actively malevolent, things tend to go wrong. In the case of PZ and the camera crew, someone media savvy would have known something was up before they got within a thousand miles.

Then what is Richard Dawkins excuse? This was not the first time he had been burned by lying creationists.

Then what is Richard Dawkins excuse? This was not the first time he had been burned by lying creationists.

You will have to ask Richard Dawkins.

He might have just shrugged his shoulders and let the chips fall where they may. From the film reviews, Dawkins says he is an atheist. This isn’t news.

And Expelled could very well backfire on Stein, Mathis, and affiliates. They’ve shown themselves to be highly dishonest to make the film, lied about such subjects as the causes of the Holocaust and communism, and equated science in general and evolutionary biology with atheism. When Xian becomes synonymous with lying, stupid bigot, who would want to be one?

The problem is that science provide the best explanation given the evidence, while theology addresses the who and why.

I see several problems with such a claim.

First, it is IMO a bit inconsistent to push “explanation” onto science while removing “who’s” and “why’s”.

With that I mean that science isn’t in the business to provide explanations or cater to common sense or provide truths, or any other synthetic context following from anthropomorphizing it. It can provide observable facts and theories, and the shortest description of a theory is perhaps that it describes its data in (ideally) the most parsimonious way when predicting it.

Whether a description is a satisfying explanation is up to the individual. For example, I’m not sure that QM explains much of its basic level or rationale to me, especially since one can make many consistent interpretations of it. Sure, it is nice that it works on a basis of a minimal amount of information and variables. But what does that explain to me, with my context, or to you with yours?

Second and third, science provides the who and why of natural agents, such as “organisms” and “altruism”, while theology provides the who and why of nothing. Or at least there is no evidence for the agency theology posit, making the claim meaningless as stated.

OTOH, I don’t think there is any complexity between religious claims on a theory or vice versa at all. Theories doesn’t depend on religious claims. It can’t be much simpler IMO.

Interesting: I was expelled from “Expelled” because my interview was “boring.” Surprising, then, that my students have twice nominated me as the outstanding lecturer at Cornell University and that I was given a special award for my teaching by the Cornell Learning Skills Center.

But maybe I was a little boring in that interview. After all, I didn’t use ad hominem attacks against my opponents, nor did I try winning a Godwin Award (for most egregious application of Godwin’s Law), nor did I lie from the beginning to the end of the interview the way the film makers did. Silly me!

And all of that beside the point, it still doesn’t explain why Will Provine’s interview (with essentially the same content, but probably a little more pizazz) was also omitted. It couldn’t possibly have to do with the fact that he and I invite IDers and YECs to make presentations in our evolution courses, and that this fact totally undermines the basic premise of “Expelled”?

Oops, sorry, I forgot: as Ben Stein (a towering intellect in political history, philosophy, and science) has said repeatedly, “No Darwin, no Hitler.”

Or, to put it even more succinctly,

“No integrity, no credibility.”

Dembski describes the Design Inference well as an argument from ignorance

Wow, that’s quite a find PvM.

Let me see:
- Johnson admits IDC having no science at the current time, years ago, implying it is a barren field.
- Dembski admits to IDC being based on an argument from ignorance, thus not ever going to be science and not even evidential.
- Behe admits that speciation occurs, thus contradicting IDC wrongly stated dogma of “no ‘macroevolution’”, conceding evolution as process and major mechanisms.

If any creationists can keep score even the “academic freedom” scam is up for grabs on account of consistency. Pity the scam takes precedence over honesty.

Jacob, please explain…

PvM:

Jacob already derailed one thread, and is now operating on this and several others. I vote to move all his comments to the BW.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM Wrote:

Behe admits that speciation occurs, thus contradicting IDC wrongly stated dogma of “no ‘macroevolution’”, conceding evolution as process and major mechanisms.

Even those who deny common descent admit some speciation (it has been observed in the lab and in the wild, so they have no choice). While Behe at least admits that the processes occur in vivo, he makes sure that the “edge” where evolution leaves off, and some other mysterious mechanism takes over, is not anywhere where it could be easily tested. If I read the reviews of “Edge of Evolution” correctly, he never quite states whether the origin of modern humans was “just evolution” or required a design actuation event like the first flagellum presumably did. While that could seriously undermine ID’s PR, it in fact does not, because his target audience is so hopelessly compartmentalized that they just tune out his admissions and uncertainty, and seize on his incredulity arguments to validate their childhood fairy tales.

Same for all the other candid, but scattered admissions that ID is bogus. The target audience simply tunes them out.

Richard Whittal scores a hit and a miss in a single comment. He hits with

…ultimately the question of the existence of ‘God’ seems to me to be outside the bounds of demonstrative science, for or against.

but misses widely with

…the ‘Talk Origins’ site, whilst dressed up in philosophical/logical language is just a series of puerile rebuttals to simplistic assertions about Darwin as person.

Perhaps the most scholarly discussions are in print, in such works as “Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics,” “Tower of Babel,” and “Creationism’s Trojan Horse.” The decision in Kitzmiller v Dover is another good source.

PvM:

Ironically Dembski describes the Design Inference well as an argument from ignorance

Dembski puts it nicely: “An argument from ignorance is still better than a pipe dream in which you’re deluding yourself. I’m at least admitting to ignorance as opposed to pretending that you’ve solved the problem when you haven’t.”

Source” First Things Orthodoxy and “Parallel Monologues”

Remember that Darwinism may be a pipe dream in the mind of our confused Christian friend, but that is infinitely better that what ID has to offer as a scientific explanation.

Ironically, it is indeed ignorance which is guiding Dembski here.

”How does an Oxford dictionary-esque discussion on how ‘fact’ and ‘theory’ are understood to mean get us anywhere closer to understanding the full scientific implications of evolution?”

The Talk Origins Archive isn’t set up to give anyone an ‘understanding of the full scientific implications of evolution’. It is expressly set up to respond to creationist claims, hence the subtitle: “Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy”. The front page makes this clear.

Hmm. Do we know of any other interviewees for “Crossroads *wink wink nudge nudge* who were Expelled? Or just folks who were interviewed for the film in general? I think it would be interesting to see some viral videos popping up on YouTube about being Expelled from Expelled going over all the dishonesty that the film’s producers are going through to protect their eggshell egos and their paper-thin premise.

Richard Whittall:

Well, okay, yes there’s likely some wacko religious ideology at work behind the Intelligent Design argument, but there are some serious problems with how the debate is framed. For example, the ‘Talk Origins’ site, whilst dressed up in philosophical/logical language is just a series of puerile rebuttals to simplistic assertions about Darwin as person.

I gather this is all very new to you.

There really isn’t any doubt whatsoever that IDC is ENTIRELY a religious proposition. It is not ‘likely’. The certainty that IDC is inspired religiously is absolute.

IMO, The best summary you’ll find in this regard is the Kitzmiller decision by US district judge Jones.

There really isn’t any complex or interesting philosophy to go over here, either. If you what you’d really like to do is have a wide ranging philosophical discussion, you’d do better to find some topic other than IDC v evolution.

The IDC v evolution controversy is not one of philosophy, but is about political and religious culture.

raven:

Then what is Richard Dawkins excuse? This was not the first time he had been burned by lying creationists.

You will have to ask Richard Dawkins.

He might have just shrugged his shoulders and let the chips fall where they may. From the film reviews, Dawkins says he is an atheist. This isn’t news.

And Expelled could very well backfire on Stein, Mathis, and affiliates. They’ve shown themselves to be highly dishonest to make the film, lied about such subjects as the causes of the Holocaust and communism, and equated science in general and evolutionary biology with atheism. When Xian becomes synonymous with lying, stupid bigot, who would want to be one?

Touche.

Is it possible to ask for a complete, unedited copy of your interview?

I imagine the producers would want to charge a fee for it. I wouldn’t be averse to chipping in a donation to get those interviews. Send them on to NCSE to add to their ExpelledExposed website.

We need to get al these things out in the open. I’m adding this link to a flyer I plan on printing and handing out to people if the movie actuallyopens here.

Cheers.

Now DaveScot has “expelled” me from Uncommon Descent as well. Looks like I’m in good company here — just another one of the boys in the banned…

Yes, DaveScot does not handle well informed arguments that well. What a disgrace.

Allen MacNeill:

Now DaveScot has “expelled” me from Uncommon Descent as well. Looks like I’m in good company here — just another one of the boys in the banned…

Just for the record, Provine was not cut from the film. And here’s what Mathis has said about Provine:

“What I can’t say about most of the people I interviewed is that Will Provine is something of a model of what we should be seeing in most of the universities today. He believes that Neo-Darwinism is a fact and there is no God, but he allows people who disagree with him to speak in his classes. It’s very healthy for science, and it forces his students, who think like he does, to sharpen their arguments. That’s what science should do.”

For example, the ‘Talk Origins’ site, whilst dressed up in philosophical/logical language is just a series of puerile rebuttals to simplistic assertions about Darwin as person.

A series? You should be able to come up with three specific pages that establish this “series” easily if your assertion has merit.

Prediction: Crickets chirping.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on March 22, 2008 2:59 PM.

Intelligent Design Movie Is Not for Heathens was the previous entry in this blog.

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