Expelled Exposed: Midweek Roundup 04-23-2008

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expelled movie exposedThe God Connection

Baylor University’s newspaper the “Lariat” reports on “Expelled”, exposing once again that Intelligent Design is a theological concept.

Robert Marks, a professor at Baylor and Intelligent Design proponent, commented

“I thought it portrayed things pretty well as they are ­– that science by decree of entrenched Darwinism has no room for a God hypothesis,” Marks said. “I on the other hand think that one cannot pursue truth without consideration of a creator.”

Marks said if science defines science as void of a creator, then it’s not a pursuit of truth.

Same with associate producer Mathis

“You have a science department that’s denying a god,” Mathis said

Box Office data shows that Expelled failed to meet the $10-12 million dollar mark which had been its measure of success.

EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED

Friday it opened in 1,052 theatres and grossed $1,208,748 or $1,149 per theatre. On saturday it was one of the few movies that saw an actual drop in revenues dropping 17.6% to $996,244 or $947 per theatre. Sunday showed another drop by 23.1% to $765,856 or $728 per theatre and monday it reached $238,804 after dropping another 68.8% resulting in a per theatre gross of $227. Tuesday the numbers dropped slightly to $225,000 or $214 per theatre.

Reviews

Expelled Incomplete, Lacks Cohesion

Although Ben Stein interviews several people whose careers have suffered as a result of their ID beliefs, Expelled fails to establish any pattern of widespread persecution of ID. Stein mentions several times that he interviewed many scientists who were unwilling to go on the record about their ID belief for fear of the consequences. That’s troubling, but we need more on-the-record stories to establish that the censorship of ideas is widespread.

No Intelligence Allowed, part 4 at the Stone Report

The critical response to Expelled, however, has been miserable: “simplistic, heavy-handed” (The Hollywood Reporter); “bizarre, hysterical” (The Village Voice); “one-sided, narrow minded and intellectually dishonest” (Slant Magazine.) I know: those are the liberal elites speaking. So here, for balance (and courtesy of the Rotten Tomatoes website), is Christianity Today: “The film shows that Intelligent Design should be on the table for discussion. But if you’re looking for ammo to argue your Darwinist friends under the table, look elsewhere.”

Dembski in Florida Baptist: Expelled’s’ long-term impact may outlast short-term explosion

Given Dembski’s uncanning abilities to predict the opposite of the future, we should take notice of the following ‘prediction’

Expelled’s impact will be felt immediately. But its long-term impact will be even greater. The film opens with documentary footage of the Berlin Wall going up and closes with it coming down. The day Darwinism and Intelligent Design can be fairly discussed without fear of reprisal represents the removal of a barrier even greater than the Berlin Wall. When future intellectual historians describe the key events that led to the fall of “Darwin’s Wall,” Ben Stein’s Expelled will top the list.

Cinematical: Fan Rant: ‘Expelled’ Is Awful, But Let’s at Least Be Honest About It

Having now watched the film – which is terrible, filled with specious reasoning, false dichotomies, and self-contradiction – I find that I did learn a thing or two. I had assumed that Creationism and Intelligent Design were the same thing. They are not. Creationism is the belief that God created the Earth more or less the way it’s described in Genesis. Intelligent Design merely holds that certain things about life on this planet are best explained by something supernatural. Where there are gaps in scientific knowledge, ID fills ‘em in.

IMDB weekend roundup as quoted here

“The Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which argued on behalf of ‘intelligent design’ – that is, the biblical view of creation – failed to bring out church groups in big numbers and settled for just $3.1 million to wind up in ninth place.”

Film Critic.com: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

And that’s the one thing that Expelled manages to expose – the rancor and malice on both ends of this issue. It isn’t an argument so much as it’s a war, complete with soldiers and battles and funding and propaganda. Expelled isn’t a thoughtfully rendered documentary about the freedom of inquiry; it’s a shot across the bow of the scientific establishment. And it just doesn’t work.

Intelligent design film far worse than stupid Ben Stein’s so-called documentary ‘Expelled’ isn’t just bad, it’s immoral

To lay blame for the Holocaust upon Charles Darwin is to engage in a form of Holocaust denial that should forever make Ben Stein the subject of scorn not because of his nudnik concern that evolution somehow undermines morality but because in this contemptible movie he is willing to subvert the key reason why the Holocaust took place — racism — to serve his own ideological end. Expelled indeed.

Slashdot: Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’ - Evolution, Academia and Conformity

‘Expelled’ fails to sell intelligent design by John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press

Now, I’m all for a good discussion. Debate exists at the heart of all healthy inquiry. But “Expelled” is slick and slimy, and anyone wanting a proper response to the onslaught of leftist documentaries – or harboring a similar viewpoint of man’s origins – likely will be put off by Stein’s smug tone and his disigenuous suggestion that not just Darwinism, but science itself is a dangerous tool of evil minds.

Column: ‘Expelled’: lacks valid arguments By Tanner Boyd

Regardless of where one personally stands on the seemingly endless struggle between science and religion, you can’t help but see that this documentary is flawed. While it’s portrayed as a look into the censoring of teaching, the core of the flick is mainly pro-conservative, Christian creationism. Stein’s documentary is certainly thought provoking and will likely stir a heated debate between you and your friends, but his findings do very little to offer any sort of answers.

Expelled’ takes a biased look at the evolution vs. creationism debate By CHRIS KRAPEK

The film never really looks at the other side of the spectrum with a level head. All the information presented on eugenics and those who follow Darwinism seems to be a little too contrived, or strategically and conveniently edited to look that way.

The lowdown: “Expelled” is definitely a film to see, merely because of the ideas and questions that are raised. However, the documentary and the way Stein channels Michael Moore with his bias ruins any chance of deeming Stein’s argumentative evidence credible.

Design and Dissent

Expelled was released on the eve of Passover. Stein and the many evangelicals supporting the film intended this to be the “Let my people go” moment when Intelligent Design would finally break through to be seen as more than a political movement.

“People will be stunned,” contended co-producer Ruloff before the film’s release, “to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale. Premise Media took on this difficult mission because we believe the greatest asset of humanity is our freedom to explore and discover truth.”

American Chronicle: Film Review: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Steve Shives

Despite being one of the most intellectually dishonest films I´ve ever seen, it was not quite everything I expected. One of my fears going into the film was that it would be little more than a retread of the creationist/intelligent design arguments I´m already all too familiar with. I had a naïve hope that it might have something new to offer the debate, but spent little thought on this hope, since I knew it would only break my heart. As it turns out, Expelled brings to the discussion of evolution vs. intelligent design neither the same old arguments nor anything remotely fresh. It pulls off the impressive trick of arguing for an hour and a half in favor of intelligent design, without ever actually discussing what intelligent design is, or what it says.

I saw it, so you don’t have to: Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’

Aside from its loony-fringe politics and sheer stupidity — think, for a moment, about how dumb you’d have to be to subtitle your deadly serious pseudo-science film “No Intelligence Allowed” — this movie is just excruciatingly bad from an aesthetic perspective. Imagine if the grating schoolteacher Stein played in Bueller got a whole movie to himself, and it was a holier-than-thou culture-war diatribe instead of a fizzy teen comedy, and also Stein’s character was revealed to be an ignorant creep with a penchant for wildly inappropriate Holocaust references. Now I understand why Ferris wanted that day off so desperately!

‘Expelled’ Explodes into Top 10 Box Office By Alexander J. Sheffrin Christian Post

In an impressive opening weekend, the film debuted at No. 9 at the box office, earning a respectable $3.2 million while only appearing on 1,052 screens.

Letter: Intelligent design documentary fails to find science in concept by Mark Zlojutro, graduate student in the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology

As much as Stein would like to tear down that ideological Berlin Wall he sees existing in academia, the wall needs to remain in order to keep ID and religious philosophies out of our science classrooms and laboratories.

Congress Should Investigate Educational Institutions, Museums, Parks - And Response

Some of the backlash

Visitors to the Smithsonian are informed that, “The occurrence of a flood story in … the Bible … as well as in other folk traditions, does hint that there may have been enormous flooding … in a far distant time. However, … after literally hundreds of archeological excavations … no all encompassing flood stratum has ever been found.” Apparently, whoever wrote this has never driven the stretch of I-24 between Chattanooga and Nashville and observed the evidence of massive flooding near Monteagle.

… It would appear that taxpayer funded institutions, such as the Smithsonian, do discriminate on the basis of religious belief. I respectfully request the defunding of such institutions after the appropriate investigative process.

Philip W. Haymaker, Sr. Hixson

and the excellent response

I am making an assumption that you heard about Dr. Sternberg from the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Well, with some research into the way this movie was made, there are some things that Ben Stein doesn’t want you to know. First of all, the issue with Dr. Sternberg: the fact is Sternberg was never actually employed at the Smithsonian. He was an unpaid research assistant, his departure from the Smithsonian was planned far in advance, and he knew about it, as that is the nature of the job. Many of the scientists interviewed in this movie did not know what exactly they were interviewing for. One person reports being asked the same question multiple times just for the sake of eliciting a response that Stein wanted him to give. Others point out that their words were selectively edited and their responses were twisted to mean something that they had not said. Also, Stein omitted words from most of the quote he claims that Darwin wrote—in fact, the quote that he presents as Darwin having written is about one-quarter of the size that the actual quote in the book said, and states the exact opposite of what was originally written.

There are many other fallacies in this movie that one can find with research from sources of many points of view—not just evolutionist materials. Although many of my fellow Christians find this movie to be wonderful, it is doing us all a disservice by projecting half-truths or straight-up lies about the scientific community. As with any documentary that presents itself as fact, regardless of what viewpoint it is from, please approach it with caution. Think and research for yourself before accepting it as truth.

Sarah A. Axley

Seems Sarah has taken notice of Augustine’s warning about Christianity and Science

Augustine Wrote:

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

Source: Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) “The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim)” (translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41) (as quoted here

Open Letter to a victim of Ben Stein’s lying propaganda by Richard Dawkins

Dawkins responds to a letter that states in part

Now I truly understand who you atheists and darwinists really are! You people believe that it was okay for my great-grandparents to die in the Holocaust! How disgusting. Your past article about the Holocaust was just window dressing. We Jews will fight to keep people like you out of the United States!

Dawkins responds in part

Mr J, you have been cruelly duped by Ben Stein and his unscrupulous colleagues. It is a wicked, evil thing they have done to you, and potentially to many others. I do not know whether they knowingly and wantonly perpetrated the falsehood that fooled you. Perhaps they genuinely and sincerely believed it, although other actions by them, which you can read about all over the Internet, persuade me that they are fully capable of deliberate and calculated deception. You are perhaps not to be blamed for swallowing the film’s falsehoods, because you probably assumed that nobody would have the gall to make a whole film like that without checking their facts first. Perhaps even you will need a little more convincing that they were wrong, in which case I urge you to read it up and study the matter in detail – something that Ben Stein and his crew manifestly and lamentably failed to do.

Read Dawkins full response

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This doesn't happen every day: John Derbyshire writes a column that most of Winds' readership will agree with, as he covers Ben Stein's creationist movie Expelled: NO Intelligence Allowed. Now, over to Derb: "The misrepresentations... Read More

60 Comments

Excellent summary - thank you!

We need to keep harping on the easily observable fact that the only positive reviews Expelled is getting are from the religious media (and the occasional obviously deranged troll), and that they keep “exposing” the fact that ID = creationism = religion, not science.

I like to make a modest suggestion: set up a wing over at “Talk Origins” for recording and refuting the “Stein-isms” that surely is coming when this flick goes DVD for sales in church basements and fundie seminars so followers memorize quotes verbatim and troll science blogs with their so-called “zingers.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if elaborate scripts are prepared off the movie to “counter” any counter-argument one would make in defense of science. I’m beginning to see some of this over at Lawrence Auster’s “View from the Right” site.

No doubt most claims are already documented but average Stein followers would refute that it doesn’t apply to them. As quotes from this soon-to-be DVD is going to pop up over and over again for years to come, the rational mind must learn to recognize these particular phrases as being uniquely “Stein-isms” and apply the appropriate direction so there’re be a minimum waste of time for all.

Another fun review:

I don’t say the film is crap because I disagree with it. I say it’s crap because it disagrees with itself. It teems with contradictions, false dichotomies, and specious reasoning. It has Ben Stein saying “I know that Darwinism doesn’t automatically lead to Nazism” right after spending 10 minutes very strenuously implying that it does. It has a scientist saying there’s no inherent conflict between Darwinism and belief in God, or else all scientists would be atheists – and then takes several minutes to show that belief in evolution leads directly to atheism, thus negating that professor’s statement.

I could go on and on. In fact, I will.

http://www.ericdsnider.com/movies/e[…]nce-allowed/

Paul Burnett:

Excellent summary - thank you!

We need to keep harping on the easily observable fact that the only positive reviews Expelled is getting are from the religious media

Actually, some of the critical reviews above appear to be from the religious media.

From the daily figures it looks as though Expelled may have some legs. Compared with the other movies around it, its per-theater takings aren’t too bad. So it’s possible the movie could be around for another week or two before it starts getting dropped.

Not exactly great news, but probably to be expected given the steady stream of church and prayer group outings that are likely happening.

Occasionally one hears a comparison between “Expelled” and Michael Moore’s work, particularly “Fahrenheit 9/11”. As far as I can tell, this is inaccurate.

Michael Moore produces documentaries. When Moore debates with an opponent, it’s a real opponent saying his own words. Of course, Moore edits these debates heavily and to his own advantage, but he shows footage of real opponents.

I have not seen “Expelled” (I’m not much of a movie-goer … I haven’t seen any film in 2008) but the trailer emphasizes a classroom scene that is simply fabricated. The mock-teacher in this mock-classroom sends the mock-student Stein to be punished for a mock-infringement. The final scene of Stein lecturing to an adoring crowd of students is completely staged. In some parts of the trailer Stein employs Moore’s technique of editing what his opponents say, but in most of the trailer he manufactures what his actors, hired to represent opponents, say. Naturally, he puts stupid words in their mouths.

I would appreciate hearing from those who have seen the film in its entirety concerning how much of it is documentary and how much is fabrication.

Dan,

The movie doesn’t follow the lines suggested in the trailer: no mock teacher, no mock student, etc. Many of the trailer scenes are not from the movie at all. The movie does show interviews with a number of scientists. Much of the movie is, I believe potentially powerfully persuasive to a conservative religious audience (not just Christians) of people who know little about science.

The fact that ID is not explained is criticized by reviewers, but it is actually a strength of the film. It lets the audience members each assume that ID means only suggesting that God may be behind the form of the universe as it exists today, and it leaves each person to assume that his/her own particular view of God fits well with ID. Even many of the reviews that say nasty things about the movie show some indications of having been convinced that ID should be given respect in the academic world on a par with evolution.

Boyce Williams suggested

I like to make a modest suggestion: set up a wing over at “Talk Origins” for recording and refuting the “Stein-isms” that surely is coming when this flick goes DVD for sales in church basements and fundie seminars so followers memorize quotes verbatim and troll science blogs with their so-called “zingers.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if elaborate scripts are prepared off the movie to “counter” any counter-argument one would make in defense of science.

Try Expelled Exposed.

There are two point-by-point critiques of the “Leader Guide” available, Troy Britain’s two-part post here and here, and RationalWiki’s.

Expelled Exposed has a listing of various reviews as well as new material, including videos.

This from Dembski’s piece is a keeper:

Controversy surrounds this film. Reviews tend to be extremely positive or extremely negative. Who likes it? People who think God may have had something to do with our being here and therefore find it reasonable that God may have left tangible evidence of His involvement in creation. Who hates it? A science, education and media elite who prefer that God had nothing to do with it and think that nature must do all its own creating.

So ID is an attempt to discover the tangible evidence of God’s involvement in nature? Just how does one go about that scientifically, anyway? Would it look any different than apologetics?

Bobby:

Paul Burnett:

Excellent summary - thank you!

We need to keep harping on the easily observable fact that the only positive reviews Expelled is getting are from the religious media

Actually, some of the critical reviews above appear to be from the religious media.

All the positive reviews are religious, but not all the religious reviews are positive.

All rabbits are hares but not all hares are rabbits.

It’s called a “subset”.

John Pieret said: This from Dembski’s piece is a keeper:

“Controversy surrounds this film. Reviews tend to be extremely positive or extremely negative. Who likes it? People who think God may have had something to do with our being here and therefore find it reasonable that God may have left tangible evidence of His involvement in creation. Who hates it? A science, education and media elite who prefer that God had nothing to do with it and think that nature must do all its own creating.”

If this is truely what Dembski said, then this whole charade that ID has nothing to do with religion or god or any other supernatural power the ID folks might try to invoke to explain their position is falsified, right? They don’t know their left from their right, and it’s okay to lie, cheat, etc. ‘cause you’ll be forgiven in the “afterlife.”

Totally off topic, but what’s the diff. btw. a hare and a rabbit?

JuliaL:

The fact that ID is not explained is criticized by reviewers, but it is actually a strength of the film. It lets the audience members each assume that ID means only suggesting that God may be behind the form of the universe as it exists today, and it leaves each person to assume that his/her own particular view of God fits well with ID.

I agree with Julia here. I was discussing the movie with our school librarian, who was under the mistaken impression that just because she believed in God, she was also an adherent to the idea of ID. Of course, when I tried to explain to her exactly what ID is, I was at a complete loss for words. There’s nothing there - I can explain creationism better than I can explain ID.

Good overall review, just a nitpick : how about uncanny instead of uncanning?

I personally don’t like the term “Stein-ism”, how about “Faulty-Stein-Line”, or FSL for short?

GvlGeologist, FCD: Totally off topic, but what’s the diff. btw. a hare and a rabbit?

“Rabbits are born naked and with closed eyes; hares are born furred and with open eyes” -see http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia[…]rabbits.html

…but were they both Intelligently Designed?

teach: I can explain creationism better than I can explain ID.

Take the first half dozen chapters of Genesis, replace “God” with “Intelligent Designer,” remove all references to Adam, Eve, talking snakes, Noah and Noah’s Flood, etc…piece of cake.

DavidK:

If this is truely what Dembski said, then this whole charade that ID has nothing to do with religion or god or any other supernatural power the ID folks might try to invoke to explain their position is falsified, right? They don’t know their left from their right, and it’s okay to lie, cheat, etc. ‘cause you’ll be forgiven in the “afterlife.”

Honestly, I wish. When he was at my undergrad 2 years ago, he was asked about his “Design theory is the logos of information theory with the Gospel” quote about whether or not it contradicted his statement that ID was not inherently religious. His response was that he’d written that statement while wearing his “theologian hat”, and that he studies ID with his “ID theorist hat”. This is old-hat to him.

JimNorth:

I personally don’t like the term “Stein-ism”, how about “Faulty-Stein-Line”, or FSL for short?

No, not FSL. That would go before FSM, which is clearly blasphemous.

‘Expelled’ Explodes into Top 10 Box Office By Alexander J. Sheffrin Christian Post

I think he’s saying that Expelled bombed.

”…Who hates it? A science, education and media elite who prefer that God had nothing to do with it and think that nature must do all its own creating.”

Dembski is sounding just like Ray Mummert: “We’re being attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.”

Teach,

Try this explanation for the librarian:

ID is a form of creationism that best supports not Christianity, but the teaching of Moon who has declared himself the new Messiah.

1. The ID materials prepared for school children is largely written or deeply influenced by Jonathan Wells (who appears in the movie Expelled). Wells has made plain that Moon paid for his education and sent him to get a graduate degree specifically to make him more credible in his efforts to spread Moon’s teachings.

2. As do many other justifications of ID, Expelled tells/implies lies (for example, Sternberg wasn’t actually fired from anything). Moon has been quoted as saying that it’s OK to lie to help improve people and that even God lies for that reason.

3. ID presents God as a sort of floating intelligence, a view that will remind teenagers of the villains in some of the science fiction films they watch. ID refuses to include Jesus and refuses any inclusion of God’s love or forgiveness.

4. One of the main arguments of ID is that, while evolution may have indeed occurred and we may indeed all be descended from the same original organism, God’s original plan is so incompetent that God is forced to keep meddling with it to make it work. Moon’s teaching is that God and Jesus have not succeeded in doing what is necessary to save sinners, so now Moon must do that.

5. ID argues that it is possible for human beings to catch God out the same way police use forensics to catch criminals so that we can tell just where God had to come back and make specific adjustments to life forms. Moon teaches that we have now in some ways exceeded God, who, like a good human parent, is pleased to see his children become better than himself.

6. While such structures as the eye, the cell, and the immune system are suggested by ID as some of these structures that God specifically created because of the scientifically false claim that nature (as God made it) could never have developed them, ID’s primary examples are of God stepping in deliberately to make even more deadly both malaria and the bacterium that causes babies to die horribly of diarrhea. Again, this suggests that we must need Moon to save us all from a God who would do such things.

7. ID argues that if any system acts in such a way that human-made mathematics cannot predict its future behavior, God must be incompetent either to predict or influence it either. Thus, they say that the random-mutation element of evolution (only one part of what is overall a non-random process) prevents God from being part of that system. Thus they imply not just that God DID NOT use evolution to create, but that God CAN NOT use it. Of course, this reasoning also means that just by making any choice random, as in a lottery, people have the power to lock God out. Again, this prepares schoolchildren to hear Moon’s message that God has so far not succeeded in a salvation plan, and therefore they should follow Moon.

So ID is not at all just inserting a generic God-created-the world-in-some-way-or-other belief into science; it is specifically inserting Moon’s teachings into science. If you are yourself a follower of Moon and believe that he is the Messiah, then you will be glad to see ID in the classroom. If you have any other religious belief, you would probably prefer not to have ID taught to your children or your students.

But are they the same kinds?

Paul Burnett:

GvlGeologist, FCD: Totally off topic, but what’s the diff. btw. a hare and a rabbit?

“Rabbits are born naked and with closed eyes; hares are born furred and with open eyes” -see http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia[…]rabbits.html

…but were they both Intelligently Designed?

Oh, and thanks! :^)

Paul Burnett:

GvlGeologist, FCD: Totally off topic, but what’s the diff. btw. a hare and a rabbit?

“Rabbits are born naked and with closed eyes; hares are born furred and with open eyes” -see http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia[…]rabbits.html

Plus, of course, hares chew the cud. ;-)

Paul Burnett:

teach: I can explain creationism better than I can explain ID.

Take the first half dozen chapters of Genesis, replace “God” with “Intelligent Designer,” remove all references to Adam, Eve, talking snakes, Noah and Noah’s Flood, etc…piece of cake.

Ohhhh - NOW I see!

Hares are not rabbits, actually, and rabbits are not hares. Different species. :)

Robert Marks, a professor at Baylor and Intelligent Design proponent, wrote, “I on the other hand think that one cannot pursue truth without consideration of a creator.”

Scientists should concede that they are NOT pursuing truth but are instead simply looking for the natural causes of natural events. So if you want to pursue the ultimate “truth,” take a philosophy class.

I don’t think “concede” is the right word. I’ve never seen science defined as the search for truth, “truth”, or “TRUTH” by anyone in the science community.

Mark’s quote is just an an example of one of the hundreds of straw men ID uses regularly.

OK, a Hare and a rabbit are two different species, I get that, but what of the Wild Hare?

Is that a subspecies of the *regular* Hare, and why is it so frequently found up in asses (people’s asses, or the donkey kind)? And are these asses the ones Jasus rode into town on, or the kind you have to move when the Sarge catches you loafing?

Of course, when I tried to explain to her exactly what ID is, I was at a complete loss for words. There’s nothing there - I can explain creationism better than I can explain ID.

I haven’t had to for some time - not since Dover - but when I need to explain the difference between ID, versus merely being religious but otherwise accepting scientific reality, I merely state various claims that “ID theorists” have made.

1) ID theorists have claimed that “the designer” could be an alien, and that ID isn’t religious. Although they seem to contradict themselves at times, they have made this claim repeatedly.

2) ID theorists have claimed that the bacterial flagellum is an example of something that could not have evolved, but had to be magically created by the designer. The designer deliberately and magically created all flagellated bacteria, by implication, including many pathogenic ones.

3) Another thing ID theorists have claimed as an example of something that could not have evolved is the blood clotting system - not just of humans, but of most other animals that have a blood clotting system. The blood clotting system of rats did not evolve but had to be specifically created by the designer.

4) Another line of reasoning that ID theorists have used is that, if we can recognize the designs or known designers - e.g. we know that a bee hive was made by bees if we see one - that we can therefore surmise that living cells must have been designed, albeit possibly by an alien. I point out that ID theorists have repeatedly used examples of obvious human designs like sand castles and Mt Rushmore, and claimed that since we know that Mt Rushmore was “designed”, living cells must also be “designed”. I point out that I disagree with this logic.

I noted during the Dover trial that ID defenders themselves used the same strategy, for the reverse reason that I have used it. They showed up with presentation after presentation on the bacterial flagellum. However, although their motivations were opposite, the results they achieved were about the same. They caused people to reject ID.

Many people have concerns about human souls, human ethics, and so on. Very few are interested in claiming that disease-causing bacteria could not possibly have a natural explanation.

Some help.

Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do other Leporidae, but rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection, relative to that afforded by a burrow, by being born fully furred and with eyes open. They are hence able to fend for themselves very quickly after birth — that is to say, they are precocial. By contrast, the related rabbits and cottontail rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless.

All rabbits (except the cottontail rabbits) live underground in burrows or warrens, while hares (and cottontail rabbits) live in simple nests above the ground, and usually do not live in groups. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with longer ears, and have black markings on their fur. Hares have not been domesticated, while rabbits are often kept as house pets. There is a domestic pet known as the “Belgian Hare” but this is a rabbit that has been selectively bred to resemble a hare.[1]

The hare’s diet is very similar to the rabbit’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare

dpr

e.g. we know that a bee hive was made by bees if we see one - that we can therefore surmise that living cells must have been designed,

One could also say that a multi-celled organism was built by the cells of which it’s made (or their ancestors).

Henry

The roundup would make more of a visual impact if you showed the positive vs negative review in a tabular format, with positive on the left, negative on the right. Just a thought.

Greg Esres said: The roundup would make more of a visual impact if you showed the positive vs negative review in a tabular format, with positive on the left, negative on the right. Just a thought.

Go for it, mate! We look forward to seeing your results. ;^)

From Real Detroit Weekly, here’s an interview with Mark Mathis and a short review (bottom of the page):

Unevolved: Mark Mathis

A must-read!

James F:

From Real Detroit Weekly, here’s an interview with Mark Mathis and a short review (bottom of the page):

Unevolved: Mark Mathis

A must-read!

I loved this part:

Jay Davis: Proponents of ID are fond of saying that it’s not the same as creationism (read: creationism sans the talking snake and the magic rib). But if ID isn’t creationism, then oral sex isn’t sexual relations. Beyond semantic nuances, the underlying argument of creationism and ID is the same: If there is any phenomenon that science has yet to provide an explanation for, there clearly is no scientific explanation—God did it.

dpr

JuliaL, your analysis is brilliant. I am not sure that anyone has ever connected all those dots in just that fashion. I intend to cite your points - with full credit, of course - as often and as forcefully as possible.

Thank you very much.

fusilier James 2:24

when I tried to explain to her exactly what ID is, I was at a complete loss for words.

I.D. = the claim that 100,000+ biologists can have studied their subject for decades, yet know less about it than a few lawyers, mathematicians, and preachers.

Also, since those 100,000+ come from a wide variety of religions and the same accusation is made against all of them, that shows that I.D. is not inherently religious, as it attacks nearly all religions equally. :p

Henry

ID claims that the immune system was designed because all of the peer-reviewed literature, as well as all of the articles and books that they haven’t read are not very persuasive. Therefore, magic.

Or something like that, anyway.

Bill Gascoyne:

Bobby:

Paul Burnett:

Excellent summary - thank you!

We need to keep harping on the easily observable fact that the only positive reviews Expelled is getting are from the religious media

Actually, some of the critical reviews above appear to be from the religious media.

All the positive reviews are religious, but not all the religious reviews are positive.

All rabbits are hares but not all hares are rabbits.

It’s called a “subset”.

Bill, yeah! We should have Venn diagram capability in the comments! :-)

teach:

JuliaL:

The fact that ID is not explained is criticized by reviewers, but it is actually a strength of the film. It lets the audience members each assume that ID means only suggesting that God may be behind the form of the universe as it exists today, and it leaves each person to assume that his/her own particular view of God fits well with ID.

I agree with Julia here. I was discussing the movie with our school librarian, who was under the mistaken impression that just because she believed in God, she was also an adherent to the idea of ID. Of course, when I tried to explain to her exactly what ID is, I was at a complete loss for words. There’s nothing there - I can explain creationism better than I can explain ID.

Good points, both.

Teach, in case you were wondering, the ID proposal is simply this:

There exists in nature physical evidence of God’s tinkering with his creation, and we can detect this evidence.

That’s it. Everything else (verbiage about complexity, information, the inability of science to provide step-by-step details and the concurrent inability of ID to even aspire to a similar “pathetic” level of detail) is:

1. Arguments from ignorance (God of the gaps, or “science cannot [yet] explain X, therefore design”).
2. Arguments from personal incredulity (“Well, that sure looks complicated to me, and I cannot imagine a mechanism whereby it might arise through natural processes, therefore design”).
3. A false dichotomy (“Evolution is wrong [because I say so, cf. 1 and 2 above], therefore design”).
4. Misrepresentations of science (“Evolution cannot explain how life started, therefore it is wrong” [whereas, in fact, abiogenesis is a separate field of investigation, and evolutionary theory can comfortably accommodate a single event of special creation in the distant past]).
5. Lies (“Science leads to atheism” / “Science leads to X or Y or Z activity that I define as evil” [this is the “poisoning the well” logical fallacy - even if science did lead to atheism or whatever, this does not invalidate evolutionary theory]).
6. Strawman attacks on science (“If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” etc. etc. etc. seriously ad nauseum).
7. Bait-and-switch tactics (e.g. get a scientist to respond to a specific statement, then move the goalposts and claim that the science is invalid).
8. Rhetoric.
9. Equivocation / obfuscation / sophistry (e.g. continually eliding between definitions of terms [like “information” and “complexity”, both of which have been defined by Dembski as improbability], conflation of different aspects of science [e.g. the fact that evolution has occurred with the theory of evolution that explains how it has occurred], perpetual failure to define “design” and so on).
10. Arguing from only an eliminative perspective (i.e. Dembski’s “explanatory filter” requires that one can consider or dismiss all possible explanations for a phenomenon, but Dembski has never commented about how one would either find all possible explanations or reasonably dismiss the ones that have not yet been thought of) and hence requiring the existence of a false dichotomy, cf. 3 above.

Scott:

Robert Marks, a professor at Baylor and Intelligent Design proponent, wrote, “I on the other hand think that one cannot pursue truth without consideration of a creator.”

Scientists should concede that they are NOT pursuing truth but are instead simply looking for the natural causes of natural events. So if you want to pursue the ultimate “truth,” take a philosophy class.

I disagree with this. If you think about what is meant by “truth”, you can end up in one of two different places. One is that there is some kind of fundamental truth that we may or may not be able to apprehend. However, the nature of this “truth” is entirely subjective and open to interpretation. A more pragmatic approach is simply that something is true if it can be verified. This is the route that science takes. It says, essentially, that what matters is what can be observed repeatedly and verified. The ideas and proposals of science must be accessible to verification by comparison with reality. Only in this way can two or more people firmly agree about what is or is not true.

Oh, hey, I missed a couple out:

11. ID requires that God was not capable of working through natural processes, and therefore denies that God is omnipotent.
12. ID requires that God had to tinker with his creation after the first moment of creation, and therefore denies that God is omniscient.

Note that 11 and 12 combined lead to ID being Bad Theology.

Nigel D wrote, “The ideas and proposals of science must be accessible to verification by comparison with reality. Only in this way can two or more people firmly agree about what is or is not true.”

Nigel: I agree that, “The ideas and proposals of science must be accessible to verification by comparison with reality.” However, I disagree with your assertion that, “Only in this way can two or more people firmly agree about what is or is not true.” Two or more people can agree that the contents of an old book are true because their favorite god said so.

When it comes to the “truth,” supernaturalists tend to be absolutists (god said so and that makes it true), while scientists tend to regard truth as a warrantable assertion, given the current evidence. I think that it is unproductive to debate the truth with supernaturalists/absolutists. We should just let them have the “truth” on the condition that they stop annoying us scientists.

Scott, you are right. I was assuming that seekers of truth are both honest with themselves about what they do not or cannot know, and able to apply logical reasonaing. This is an invalid assumption when dealing with religionists (although I grant it may apply to many, it cannot be taken to apply in general).

Nigel D,

Good summary of ID!

Nigel

Thanks for the list and definition - it has actually helped quite a bit to have it all so succinctly in one place.

I think it’s rather funny that none of the trolls who normally post here bothered to respond. I guess they don’t understand it either.

Scott: When it comes to the “truth,” supernaturalists tend to be absolutists (god said so and that makes it true), while scientists tend to regard truth as a warrantable assertion, given the current evidence. I think that it is unproductive to debate the truth with supernaturalists/absolutists. We should just let them have the “truth” on the condition that they stop annoying us scientists.

Ignoring religionists who claim to have THE truth is precisely why creationists have been able to gain the power and numbers that they now enjoy. One cannot “concede” that the bible is the literal and inerrant word of a living god and then expect believers to let scientists determine the historical record. It just doesn’t work that way. They KNOW they are correct because they have god’s literal and inerrant word on the matter, the very thing which you have just conceded to them in the misguided hopes that it would make them go away.

You are correct that creationists tend to be absolutists, but that’s precisely why it has to be a zero sum game with them. Concede nothing. Explain that what they call truth is nothing of the sort, it’s faith, and will never count as truth.

As horrifically bad as ‘Expelled’ is, it is not a financial flop. Already, it sits at #22 all-time. It will probably end up in the top 10 money makers for documentaries, and that’s before it becomes the must have Christmas gift for the homeschooled.

#22 All-time what? Documentaries? It’s not a documentary, it is a propoganda film directed at a taylor-made audience. You can’t compare it to real documentaries.

You also can’t call it a money-maker until it, you know, makes money. They spent a small fortune making this steaming pile.

Yeah, saying Expelled is number #22 on the all time highest grossing documentary list is saying absolutely nothing, since it’s an anemic category with historically low box office takes. It’s like saying your book is in the Top 10 highest selling winter gardening books. Set the bar low enough, and you’ll be at the top in some category.

But Expelled is hardly a typical documetary, making comparisons to other documentaries misleading. Traditionally, documentaries are made on a shoestring budget with zero money spent on advertising. They rely primarily on positive word of mouth. Expelled, on the other hand, spent millions on advertising. They heavily promoted the film to church crowds in the same manner, and using the same PR firm, as The Passion of the Christ. While probably dreaming of a TPOTC type hit, the filmmakers have said they would consider Expelled a success if it made the conservative expectation of $15-20 million. It made nowhere close to that.

Some people have said it is unfair to compare Expelled to the wildly successful (by documentary standards) Michael Moore pictures, but that’s clearly the mark the makers of Expelled were aiming for. They promoted it as if it were a huge movie and not a low budget documentary, and its success or failure should be judged by that metric. The bean counters in Hollywood don’t look at all time lists, they look at bottom lines. Since Expelled has failed to come close to turning a profit, it’s a dog with fleas in the industry. By no honest criteria can this movie be judged a success.

teach:

Nigel

Thanks for the list and definition - it has actually helped quite a bit to have it all so succinctly in one place.

No worries, teach. Glad to be of service.

I am well aware that documentaries, tradtionally, don’t make money and that ‘Expelled’ is probably the worst example of a documentary I’ve seen. That says quite a bit, because I’ve seen Moore’s pseudo-docs. For someone to actually top him is something I never expected in my lifetime.

As far as documentaries go, it will be a financial success. There is a demographic that eats this crap up. It will make 15-20 million dollars at the very least before it leaves theatres.

Heck, I would love to be wrong and have this film be as bankrupt financially as it is intellectually. I actually expect that this film will spawn sequels.

Krydor Wrote:

As far as documentaries go, it will be a financial success. There is a demographic that eats this crap up. It will make 15-20 million dollars at the very least before it leaves theatres.

Have you accounted for the copyright-infringement lawsuits in your calcs? I suspect that a good portion of those $15-20 million may well end up in lawyers’ pockets.

Nigel D said:

If you think about what is meant by “truth”, you can end up in one of two different places. One is that there is some kind of fundamental truth that we may or may not be able to apprehend. However, the nature of this “truth” is entirely subjective and open to interpretation.

Truth to be told, I don’t think it is productive to call this “truth” outside of theology. The nature of reality is a mainly philosophical discussion that, as you say, doesn’t deliver much in the form of facts or truths.

Nigel D said:

A more pragmatic approach is simply that something is true if it can be verified. This is the route that science takes.

I am more restrictive here too. Facts are verifiable, but verification means adhering uncertainty to the subject. Truth values can be well defined in formal theories, but that means there is again a disconnect between an absolutist view of truth and the restrictive and contingent truth that is used to predict facts - obviously such a “truth” can be found to be wrong or uncertain at the time, replaced later, and so on.

Facts are commodities, truths are inflatable currencies.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Nigel D said: A more pragmatic approach is simply that something is true if it can be verified. This is the route that science takes.

I am more restrictive here too. Facts are verifiable, but verification means adhering uncertainty to the subject. Truth values can be well defined in formal theories, but that means there is again a disconnect between an absolutist view of truth and the restrictive and contingent truth that is used to predict facts - obviously such a “truth” can be found to be wrong or uncertain at the time, replaced later, and so on.

Facts are commodities, truths are inflatable currencies.

You have a point, Torbjorn. I was trying to be concise, but it looks like I over-simplified the situation.

Are you not proving Ben Stein right by continually obsessing about the movie? This site has more Ben Stein content than all the John Hughes movies from the 80’s put together. Get a life.

Why do this people have to make the argument of God v Science? The rules to analyze and understand the natural world were put in place to avoid the multitude of possibilities innate to human creativity. We can come up with millions of responses to any natural phenomena and in fact did by the creation of myths, fantasies and many other means. The rules were not put in place to negate the existance of God (any God for that matter). But to separate fiction from reality.

Tyrannosaurus said:

Why do this people have to make the argument of God v Science? The rules to analyze and understand the natural world were put in place to avoid the multitude of possibilities innate to human creativity. We can come up with millions of responses to any natural phenomena and in fact did by the creation of myths, fantasies and many other means. The rules were not put in place to negate the existance of God (any God for that matter). But to separate fiction from reality.

Some people were taught that a specific interpretation of a particular holy text was THE TRUTH (c), and that any dissenting opinion was not only wrong, but evil.

Some people were taught that a specific interpretation of a particular holy text was THE TRUTH ©, and that any dissenting opinion was not only wrong, but evil.

Not to mention that if the universe was created by God, then the universe itself is much more the “word of God” than is any book(s) written, copied, and translated by human beings, especially human beings who didn’t have the technology to examine the very small (microbes, atoms), the very big (planets, galaxies), the very fast (light, sound), the very slow (movement of glaciers or continents), or the very far away (planets, or even just other continents).

Henry

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 23, 2008 7:15 PM.

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