Flunk This Movie!

Ben Stein's new anti-science movie Expelled is all worldview and no evidence.

"This is not a religious argument," asserts Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman in conservative Hollywood gadfly Ben Stein's new anti-science propaganda film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The movie opens this Friday in 1,100 theaters, the largest theatrical release ever for a documentary, according to Expelled's producers.

The movie's basic point? To quote a transcript from a Rush Limbaugh show posted to the movie's offical website: "Darwinism has taken root, taken hold at every major intellectual institution around the world in Western Society, from Great Britain to the United States, you name it. Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God."

Yet despite its topic, the film is entirely free of scientific content—no scientific evidence against biological evolution and none for "intelligent design" (ID) theory is given. Which makes sense because biological evolution is amply supported by evidence from the fossil record, molecular biology, and morphology. For example, the younger the rocks in which fossils are found, the more closely they resemble species alive today, and the older the rocks, the less resemblance there is. In addition, molecular biology confirms that the more distantly related the fossil record suggests species lineages are, the more their genes differ. 

Instead of evaluating this evidence, Stein spends most of the movie asking various proponents of evolutionary theory, including Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, Michael Ruse, and Daniel Dennett, for their religious views. Neither the producers nor Stein understand that offering critiques of a theory with which they disagree is not the same as proving their own theory.

Stein and the film's producers maintain that belief in evolutionary biology makes societies more likely to succumb to totalitarianism. The flick is replete with grim black-and-white shots of Soviet armies, Nazi thugs, Stalin, Hitler, and concentration camps. The filmmakers portray opposition to teaching ID in universities and public schools as a threat to freedom on a par with Communist and Nazi repression. But ID proponents in the academy are not being dragged off to concentration camps by goose-stepping Darwinist thugs—the worst thing they suffer is the loss of their jobs. That's not fun, but it's not the gas chamber either.

This silly, duplicitous film features one associate after another of the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based "think tank" that has been at the forefront of campaign to smuggle intelligent design into science classrooms and public discourse. This campaign was outlined in the Discovery Institute's infamous "Wedge Strategy" document in 1998. That document begins with the sentence, "The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built." The Wedge document goes on to complain: "Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science."

The Wedge document makes it crystal clear what comes first for intelligent designers, and it isn't evidence. Under activities to popularize intelligent design, the Wedge document mentions "documentaries and other media productions." Expelled is just part of that propaganda strategy.

The film is being bankrolled by Walt Ruloff, a Christian evangelical software millionaire. A resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Ruloff hooked up with another Expelled producer, Logan Craft, when Craft was studying with evangelical theologian J.I. Packer at Regent College in Vancouver. Ruloff claims that he was shocked when one of the leading genomic researchers in the U.S. told him that as much 30 percent of research in his field is never published because it points toward intelligent design theory. Just how this much research is hidden from view goes unexplained.

The film begins with moody shots of Ben Stein backstage before he addresses an unidentified audience on the alleged suppression of scientific research in the name of Darwinian orthodoxy. Stein stalks onstage and declares that freedom is the essence of America. So far, so good. Then he muses, What if our freedom was taken away? In fact, Stein asserts that this is already happening. We are losing our freedom in one of the most important sectors of our society—science.

As evidence of this loss of freedom, Stein trots out a small parade of intelligent design martyrs. Let's look at a few cases. In 2004, Richard Sternberg, who was editor of the scientific journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, published an article by Stephen Meyer arguing that the "Cambrian explosion" 570 to 530 million years ago in which most of the body types of animals developed was evidence for intelligent design. Meyer was then a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University where all "trustees, officers, members of the faculty or of the staff, must believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments; that man was directly created by God."

Sternberg was serving on the editorial board of the Baraminology Study Group, a group of young-earth creationists. Baraminology is the study of biblical animal "kinds." Sternberg argued that he was a friendly outsider advising them against their young-earth views. Meyer is now the head of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and Sternberg is a signatory of the Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.

Many of Sternberg's colleagues reacted with dismay and the journal retracted Meyer's article. In the film, Sternberg says he lost his office at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, was pressured to resign, and had his religious and political beliefs questioned. Yet, he still has office space in the Museum and has been reappointed for three more years. To be sure, probably some of his colleagues are unhappy with him and don't want to hang out with him anymore. This is far cry from the concentration camps, or what Stalin did to proponents of evolutionary biology in the name of Lysenkoism.

In another case of alleged persecution, George Mason University (GMU) did not renew a teaching contract with Caroline Crocker, an adjunct biology lecturer who believes in ID. She says that she only wanted to teach students to question scientific orthodoxies. "I was only trying to teach what the university stands for—academic freedom," she says in the Stein's film. Since GMU let her go, she says that she can no longer find work. In the film, Crocker insists, "I did not teach creationism." Interestingly, Crocker apparently delivered the same offending lecture at a local community college later. It didn't turn out to be a "balanced" presentation of evidence for and against biological evolution. Why not? "There really is not a lot of evidence for evolution," Crocker said.

Assistant professor of astronomy
and ID proponent Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure at Iowa State University in 2007. In 2004, Gonzalez was coauthor, with theologian and Discovery Institute fellow Jay Richards, of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery. The publisher's press release claims that the authors "demonstrate that our planet is exquisitely fit not only to support life, but also gives us the best view of the universe, as if Earth—and the universe itself—were designed both for life and for scientific discovery." Gonzalez is arguing that the Earth is precisely positioned to enable researchers like him to make scientific measurements. But is this so? An Iowa State colleague, associate professor of religious studies Hector Avalos, disagrees and neatly skewers this conceit. To wit:

This rationale is analogous to a plumber arguing that if our planet had not been positioned precisely where it is, then he might not be able to do his work as a plumber. Lead pipes might melt if the Sun were much closer. And, if our planet were any farther from the Sun, it might be so frozen that plumbers might not exist at all. Therefore, plumbing must have been the reason that our planet was located where it is.

Did Gonzalez fail to get tenure because of his ID views? Although the university denies it, my guess is probably yes. Why? On the evidence of The Privileged Planet, Guillermo's colleagues could reasonably worry that his ID views weren't likely to lead to fruitful research results. Gonzalez was not thrown into a concentration camp for his views. He just didn't get tenure.

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  • Bingo||

    Thank you! I was wondering when this was going to show up here. The movie sounds so bad that it's a must-see.

  • Elemenope||

    Darwinism has taken root, taken hold at every major intellectual institution around the world in Western Society, from Great Britain to the United States, you name it.

    LOL!

    Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God.

    WTF?

  • ed||

    My, my, where to begin? Let's just cut to the chase and declare that if god designed the world,
    he is either a sadist or a retard.

  • ||

    For example, the younger the rocks in which fossils are found, the more closely they resemble species alive today, and the older the rocks, the less resemblance there is.

    That's because the devil was smart enough to arrange it that way when he conceived his whole "carbon-dating" scam.

  • ||

    What a bunch of dishonest hacks.

  • Elemenope||

    Let's just cut to the chase and declare that if god designed the world, he is either a sadist or a retard.

    I always thought the ancients (Greek, Hindu) were on to something when they declared the formation of the Earth as a committee project.

  • ||

    Perhaps we could do an episode of "Win Ben Stein's Money" with only questions on evolution. Poor Ben would quickly become...well, poor Ben.

  • ||

    Fucking pathetcic.

    NO, I haven't seen the movie.
    NO, I'm not going to see the movie.
    NO, I don't feel any obligation to refute such nonsense.

    I feel much the same way about astrology, for the same reasons.

  • ||

    Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God.

    The hallmark of a successful species in natural selection is adaptability. The development of omniscience and omnipotence would certainly make one more able to adapt to the environment. I don't see a problem here at all.

  • ||

    Darwinism does not allow for a literal interpretation of the Bible.

    Once that crack is breached, the fundies' case swiftly falls - apart as the Bible, including a physical resurrection, is deemed metaphorical in nature.

    But much like the "originalist" view of the Constitution a firewall must be constructed so as to prevent Modernity from sticking its nose under the tent.

  • Bingo||

    they plan to use the movie as part of a campaign to roll out legislation in states - so-called "freedom bills" - that would forbid anyone from "punishing" teachers and professors who question "Darwinism."



    Wonderful, can't wait for this.

  • ||

    Ben Stein what a character. He was allowed to sit at the cool table but chose to be a giant douche anyway.

    It raises the question. Did anyone associated with the Nixon Administration not use their powers for evil?

  • ||

    J sub D: I feel much the same way about astrology, for the same reasons.

    Wait, you don't believe in astrology?! What part of "Do something adventurous today--it will pay off!" is at all wishy-washy or ambiguous? Astrology is real dammit!

    /Never read a horoscope in my life

  • the innominate one||

    Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God.

    Darwinism doesn't have anything to say about a supreme being, any more than does chemistry or physics. There may or may not be a god or gods, but in either case it is inappropriate to try to explain what you see in any sort of supernatural terms. "God did it" isn't a valid scientific explanation any more than "Satan did it" or "Santa did it".

  • ||

    Wah wah wah, teh elites iz pickin on me!

    Doesn't seem to be very good year for that message.

  • Naga Sadow||

    I had a girlfriend once who checked her horrorscope daily. She would sit for roughly ten minutes attempting to ponder "the meaning of the stars". I thought it was stupid until I read some of them and realized I could help her "interpret" the meaning. Thats where the fun started.

  • Guy Montag||

    I am finding it difficult to pry my mind away from the old impression I had of Mr. Stein even as these new facts keep rushing in. Okay, RB's article is opinion, but when I watch Mr. Stein on the FOX money shows talking like an FDR Socialist I just want to turn the sound off and play his part from Ferris Beuler.

  • stuartl||

    Darwinism has taken root, taken hold at every major intellectual institution around the world in Western Society, from Great Britain to the United States, you name it.

    I've heard that geometry and algebra have taken root as well.

    Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God.

    The problem for the early creationists was that most pre-Darwin biology required God for the origin of species, evolutionary theory does not. Modern creations have warped this to: Evolutionary theory does not require god, I believe in god, therefore evolutionary theory is wrong. That creationists use this level of argument gives a pretty good idea of their intellectual abilities.

  • stuartl||

    Modern **creationists** have...

  • ||

    Naga Sadow | April 16, 2008, 12:39pm | #
    I had a girlfriend once who checked her horrorscope daily. She would sit for roughly ten minutes attempting to ponder "the meaning of the stars". I thought it was stupid until I read some of them and realized I could help her "interpret" the meaning. Thats where the fun started.


    Hehe, related story. My wife used to read Tarot cards and the vast majority of the people she read to came back to tell her how "right on" she was.

    So we had this friend who was going through some personal shit and refused to listen to good advice from friends. One day she asks my wife for a Tarot reading and my wife seeing the opportunity to offer advice without personally offering advice did so. Magically, the cards told this friend the exact same thing all of her friends had said, only this time she heeded the advice since it was "divine". Aaah, good times.

  • ||

    What bugs me about this is the fact that Ben Stein is no "run of the mill" bible thumper. He is a relatively intelligent fellow. To take a hard tack position like this is very disconcerting. Makes me wonder what he has up his sleeve.

  • ||

    The fact that Stein talks like an "FDR socialist" yet is an unabashed conservative strengthens the argument that the GOP has become predominately the domain of the religious right.

    I know that there is a right-wing bias among Libertarians but you people have been duped (and are still being duped).

    After watching the justice department become completely politicized by Liberty U hacks and this constant Fox News bullshit about "originalist" SCOTUS appointees there can be little doubt about it now.

    Face it, "liberalism" has become synonymous with Modernity.

    The fundies don't like that shit!

  • Neil||

    "Wah wah wah, teh elites iz pickin on me!

    Doesn't seem to be very good year for that message."

    Hey Joe did you see that McCain is now ahead 10 points of Obama in PA? LOL pathetic. Guess the messege works after all.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Kwix,

    Damn! I never thought about the Tarot card angle. The cards would have said "You should have your friend Rebecca join in next time you have sex with your boyfriend."

    I have the best ideas only after the time to use them is long past . . . *sigh*

  • Elemenope||

    Makes me wonder what he has up his sleeve.

    Money. A lot of it. Made primarily from shilling for pieces of crap like this.

  • Salvius||

    I feel obligated here to plug my own entirely theological argument against Intelligent Design theory. Creationists don't seem to want to listen to scientific arguments, so let's see what they do if we start throwing Bible quotes at them, and explaining that by their very advocacy of ID, they are serving Satan.

  • ||

    I know that there is a right-wing bias among Libertarians but you people have been duped

    Says who? Libertarians and conservatives once had a fair amount of common ground. But it was Nixon that necessitated the Libertarian break from the GOP. Reagan was a fusionist, but really it was Reagan who first rode into office on a wave of libertarian rhetoric and promptly fucked us once his ass hit the chair. Since then things have only gotten worse. To the point where what now needs to be conserved are the those New Deal policies conservatives once opposed. I for one, and I'm not alone, have equal contempt for the left and the right.

  • ||

    Interesting to note that the victim complaint is being raised by the victimizers (extracted from The Panda's Thumb):

    Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

    I've discovered that this list really bothers fundies. Truth to them is like a cross to a vampire.

    There is a serious reign of terror by Xian fundie terrorists directed against the reality based academic community, specifically acceptors of evolution. I'm keeping a running informal tally, listed below. They include death threats, firings, attempted firings, assaults, and general persecution directed against at least 11 people. The Expelled Liars have totally ignored the ugly truth of just who is persecuting who.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I'd post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Up to 11 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven't even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.


    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  • ||

    Neil,

    Stay on topic. Try some ritalin, see if it helps.

  • ||

    "equal contempt for the left and the right."

    I respect that, Warren.

    My post dealt with those who hang on to the conservative bias.

  • ed||

    Wait a minute. The text teaser above calls it a "shoddy new documentary" while the main text of the article describes it as an "anti-science propaganda film". Which is it? Isn't all film propaganda? Won't it be delicious irony when Michael Moore blasts it as "propaganda"?

  • ||

    when I watch Mr. Stein on the FOX money shows talking like an FDR Socialist I just want to turn the sound off and play his part from Ferris Beuler.

    Good call. If I remember correctly he was lecturing about the folly of Smoot-Hawley. Too bad he was such a dry boring schmuck. If those kids had been paying attention, we might not be where we are today.

  • Ska||

    Darwinism has taken root, taken hold at every major intellectual institution around the world in Western Society, from Great Britain to the United States, you name it.

    Unless he left the UK and headed east, this is one of the stupidest things I have read in a while.

  • Les||

    He is a relatively intelligent fellow.

    I haven't seen any evidence for this. He's relatively knowledgeable a variety of subjects, as we saw on his game-show, but that's got nothing to do with intelligence. He's always been a partisan loyalist, and few things interfere with intelligence more than a devotion to loyalism.

  • GILMORE||

    Neil | April 16, 2008, 12:55pm | #

    "Wah wah wah, teh elites iz pickin on me!


    "elites" = people with capacity for reason

    poor baby

  • ||

    our planet is exquisitely fit not only to support life, but also gives us the best view of the universe...

    I've always felt that our view would be a bit better were the Earth slightly higher.

    "The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built."

    And a diet that entered my body through my navel was one of the bedrock principles of my early development, but that doesn't mean I can't now flourish on mouth-food.

  • GILMORE||

    I am profoundly disappointed at a lack of some form of disclosure here. Ron... why....why!!! We needs it.

  • ||

    Here's a good retort to the people trying to tie Darwinism with Nazism.

    The simple falsehood at the heart of Expelled

    Basically, social Darwinism is really a horrible version of selective breeding. Selective breeding (artificial selection) had been practiced by humans for ages. Darwin's insight is that selection also happens naturally, albeit very slowly.

  • ||

    Somewhere along the way, Ben Stein's dinosaur lost a wheel.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Will Mr. Stein's next movie try to help me cling to my guns?

  • GOD||

    Oy Vey! How much more evidence in favor of evolution and science in general can I give you people? I want you to succeed on your own, you poor schmucks! Please, please, stop using me as a crutch!

    Oh, and I should let you know: I had nothing to do with the writing of the Bible. A bunch of Old Jews got together and wrote it. Deal.

  • Kolohe||

    It raises the question. Did anyone associated with the Nixon Administration not use their powers for evil?

    William Safire?

  • Loupeznik||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGgpGLxLQw

    Anyone here seen this video about Expelled?
    I am not sure where the author stands but it is funny!

  • Kolohe||

    "elites" = people with capacity for reason

    Drink?

  • ||

    This is an excellent observation. I have noticed the same thing both on the liberal left and the conservative right. It appears that their approach to science is ass backwards. They start with the conclusion and then try to prove it, and if the observable facts contradict their conclusions then too bad for the facts.

    I don't know if Benny really believes this stuff or maybe he just wants to be liked - but he is way off on this one. I don't think that most people want to deny his freedom to believe in what ever he wants, but what about our freedom to be taught science when we take science class instead of silly superstitions and old mythologies.

  • ||

    our planet is exquisitely fit not only to support life, but also gives us the best view of the universe...

    I've always felt that our view would be a bit better were the Earth slightly higher.

    If we were located outside of the galactic plane, cosmology would have been much easier, wouldn't it? Nonsense like that only impresses the rubes.

  • ||

    I for one, and I'm not alone, have equal contempt for the left and the right.


    Aye, count me in that group laddie.

  • ||

    Won't it be delicious irony when Michael Moore blasts it as "propaganda"?


    Delicious, no. Predictable, oh yeah. I haven't spent a dime towards any of Moore's efforts and I sure as hell am not spending a dime towards this piece of crap.

  • ||

    Sounds like Stein tried a bit too hard with coming up with "gotcha" moments and trying to imitate Moore than actually trying to tie together some loose ends, i.e. the argument being advanced that Darwinian evolution disproves the existence of a higher power (it doesn't), the notion of Darwinian evolution being completely proven (it never will be, and neither will ID, but many underlying concepts appear to be true, while others have their issues), and that there is no room for debate on the subject (of course there is).

    I am an evangelical Christian, but I feel as though there are some serious holes with trying to pass Intelligent Design as a serious scientific endeavour at present. The proponents of ID are best served trying to objectively investigate and challenge current evolutionary science rather than trying to strike an argument on theology, just as those who support the theory of evolution as it is currently stated scientifically should back off of a claim that it disproves the existence of God, as neither side is making any headway (or sounding particularly insightful) when straying off of the path of science.

  • Russell||

    Poor Ben- seems the PA of his second banana in the flick has been caught on video at an honest-to-God neo-Nazi rally

    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2008/04/sticks-nix-hick.html

  • ||

    Did Andrew Jackson read Darwin? Did Cortez? Torquemada? What about Gengis Khan? I'm sure someone can check the historical record and sort out just how it was that Darwin influenced their bloodthirsty ways.

  • ||

    I wish this film weren't getting so much the publicity.

    Now every time I argue with a Creationist*, I will have to refute it in detail.

    Ron, I know you mean well, but now that you'v given this stuff a hearing, I am going to have to SEE the stupid thing in order to discuss it.

    *As a rule, I can see a Creationist coming and run the other way. Sometimes, however, I'm spoiling for a verbal donnybrook.

  • Windypundit||

    "If we were located outside of the galactic plane, cosmology would have been much easier, wouldn't it? Nonsense like that only impresses the rubes."

    That was the first thing I thought of when I read that "gives us the best view of the universe" nonsense. We can't even see the core of our own galaxy in visible light, for God's sake! That's just bad planning...

  • ||

    the argument being advanced that Darwinian evolution disproves the existence of a higher power (it doesn't)

    Agreed.

    the notion of Darwinian evolution being completely proven (it never will be,

    What do you mean by "completely" proven? Evolution itself is an observable fact. The theory of evolution is Natural Selection and that has been corroborated in many different ways. How much evidence is needed to completely prove anything?

    and that there is no room for debate on the subject (of course there is).

    Well, there is certainly room for debate on how evolution happens. But debating whether evolution happens is a waste of time.

    just as those who support the theory of evolution as it is currently stated scientifically should back off of a claim that it disproves the existence of God

    I'm sorry, but who exactly is making this claim (other than, ironically, IDers themselves)?

  • ||

    I knew we were in trouble when I saw the trailer, in which Stein poses the question, "but where did life come from in the first place?" (We then see the strawman "Darwinist" professor turn away in a huff)...

    Hello...the theory of evolution is not designed to address that question; it's about how life developed once it got here. How it got here is, pun intended, a whole different kettle of fish.

    That the producers chose to ignore that inconvenient little fact shows they're either woefully misinformed or intellectually dishonest. I vote for the latter...

  • the innominate one||

    Most evolutionary biologists use Popperian philosophical approach to their science, and therefore are not attempting to prove anything, but seek to advance knowledge by disproving null hypotheses. In this view, only mathematics has absolute proofs, because math proofs can be based in pure logic.

    Nonetheless, evolution is a fact (that is, it exists), and natural selection is one of a few different mechanisms that can result in evolutionary change, although speciation is not always the result. (Many people conflate evolution with speciation. Evolution can lead to speciation, but does not always do so.)

  • ||

    Soda

    If one makes the claim that God's existence is proved by the Bible and asserts further that the Bible is His/Her/Its literal and infallible word, then an argument for the existence of God based solely on the Bible collapses. In that limited respect, one could say that Darwinism - and Newton, Galileo, Erasthenes and any other researcher whose work does not agree with the bible - disproves the existence of God.

    However, as we are all aware, it is impossible to disprove the existence of God in a generic sense*, so Stein's argument is, as you suggest, a straw man.

    (*Does Walmart sell Generic Gods? /snark)

  • modd||

    Religion & politics is the arena where even the brightest minds disappoint.

  • ||

    If one makes the claim that God's existence is proved by the Bible and asserts further that the Bible is His/Her/Its literal and infallible word, then an argument for the existence of God based solely on the Bible collapses. In that limited respect, one could say that Darwinism - and Newton, Galileo, Erasthenes and any other researcher whose work does not agree with the bible - disproves the existence of God.

    However, as we are all aware, it is impossible to disprove the existence of God in a generic sense*, so Stein's argument is, as you suggest, a straw man.


    Agreed. One key element here, and this is what I think really pisses IDers off, is that the theory of natural selection makes God (even a generic God) optional. You can always tack God on evolution after the fact (sophisticated religious people do this) and say "Well, that's just how God does his work." But I think deep down IDers know that that opens a philosophical door they want closed.

  • ||

    Hello...the theory of evolution is not designed to address that question; it's about how life developed once it got here. How it got here is, pun intended, a whole different kettle of fish.

    Actually, I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Now, it may very well be the case that the origin of life is a phenomenom apart from evolution. We certainly don't have an explanation now for the origin of life, sure.

    But I think a lot of the mistery of the origin of life arises from our definition of what life is. When talking about this subject people seem to gravitate toward the idea that the moment life began was an instant (life is not there, now *poof* life is here). I have a feeling though (biologists please correct me if I'm wrong) that the set things that are alive is actually fuzzy (is a virus "alive"?)

    I think once you agree that the set of things that are alive is fuzzy, then gradual evolution by natural selection could explain how life emerged. It doesn't necessarily mean it's the correct explanation of course, but the possibility seems to be there.

  • ||

    This is indeed their "wedge" attempt to put creationism into school. What Ben Stein leaves off of course is most Christian paleobiologists and mainstream Christian churches denounce not only creationism and ID. Stein et la wants everybody to think that Richard Dawkins is the finally say on religion and evolutionists when in fact Simon Conway Morris, a leading paleobiologist in Britain is not only a devout Christian but a Darwinist. Stein don't mention that the offical stance of the Roman Catholic church is that Darwin is not threat to Christianity, never has and never will be to intelligent Christians.

  • Atheist Libertarian Thug||

    Please comment on this kook libertarian Creationist Article here: http://www.nolanchart.com/article3015.html

    Thanks

  • stuartl||

    ...just as those who support the theory of evolution as it is currently stated scientifically should back off of a claim that it disproves the existence of God,...

    madmike, who are you arguing with? Can you provide an example of a scientist saying evolution disproves the existence of God? Evolution does not require God (no real science relies on the supernatural), but that is very different from disproving God's existence.

  • ||

    From Townhall -- (their agenda),

    "One of the biggest obstacles to people coming to Christ in Western culture is the impression that science has disproved the Bible and Christianity," he said. "ID therefore helps to correct this false impression by showing that our best science supports belief in a higher intelligence responsible for life. ID does not give you the Christian God as such, but it puts you in the right ballpark." - Dembski, who was featured in the film.

    Tranlation = "I can't change the Bible so I will change "science".'

  • ||

    I will check it Atheist Libertarian. ID and creationists are more of a threat to Christianity then Darwin or Richard Dawkins. Young earth creationist people make us look like ignoramus.

  • ||

    What would they teach anyway? If i'm in a class talking about the posssiblity of an intelligent designer, I am asking the who, what, when, why, and how. You can't have a class based in attacking another theory, you have to have something to teach.

    It's a losing bet for christians too but they haven't figured it out. It's very easy to question the intelligence of a being that would only create one male, one female, then use incest to populate. It opens the possiblity that the IDer is not the one the bible claims.

    At least for christians, evolution does not debate the existance of God as the creator of the universe, ID will. I'm not sure how that's suppose to promote the existance of God. Seems to me the religous folk are barking up a very dangerous tree. Teaching ID may be against the 10 Commmandments since it would consider the existance of other gods.

  • ||

    Andrew Murphy: Spot on. To use the ancient analogy of God as watchmaker, a divine presence could wind the clock however it saw fit, including evolution. The argument to try to come up with a "new Earth" explanation is pretty much destroyed by scientific evidence, but the discerning scientist would have to also admit that Dawkins' proclamations on religion are almost equally absurd (and, even if directed panspermia were the cause of life on Earth, where did the aliens come from?).

    We may be getting a pretty good grasp on the "how" of life, but the "why" is something that seems perpetually elusive.

  • Yes, Sir, a Utah Man I Am||

    FWIW, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not have a problem with evolution.

    But they also think that God cares about what kind of underwear you wear and that BYU deserved to win the 1984 national championship.

  • ||

    but the discerning scientist would have to also admit that Dawkins' proclamations on religion are almost equally absurd

    I have to aks again. What Dawkins' proclamations are "equally absurd"

    (and, even if directed panspermia were the cause of life on Earth, where did the aliens come from?).

    You do realize Dawkins was trying to put forth the best possible scenario for ID and that he doesn't believe in panspermia himself right?

    Incidentally that same exact issue of "infinite regress" is brought up by Dawkins' himself when talking about not just exogenesis but also when addressing the concept of a pre-existing complex entity creating the universe.

  • ||

    That was a fantastic takedown by Bailey. I loved the plumbers argument for design. It's the best takedown of a religious argument since Russell's teapot. Also illuminating is the link about dostoyevsky's fear.

    What I dislike most of christian whining about being "persecuted" in America is that it is almost the exact opposite of what is true. Just look at congress. There is exactly one "non-believer" (Pete Stark) in the bunch, and even he is some sort of unitarian.

  • ||

    We certainly don't have an explanation now for the origin of life, sure.

    We are getting there though. I confidently predict the origin of life riddle will be essentially soved in < 50 years. These biology guys and gals are friggin smart cookies.

  • ||

    Please comment on this kook libertarian Creationist Article here: http://www.nolanchart.com/article3015.html

    Thanks


    I'm shocked, shocked to find that kooks are in the libertarian party.

  • ||

    Soda,

    My probelm with Dawkins as well as with Sam Harris is that they are way to sanguine about the death of God.

    Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Camus were more honest when they admitted that nihilism is all that can come about from the lack of God.

    Dawkins is a great scientist and terrific author. He and the creationists are similar but on different ends. Creationists claim Darwinism is atheism and Dawkins claims "yes, indeed"

    Whereas, Darwin himself was not so cocky and was an agnostic.

  • ||

    I don't know if Benny really believes this stuff or maybe he just wants to be liked

  • ||

    Stuff like this makes me wanna side with the Left.
    Then I remember that with the Left, "Pro-Trade+Anti-Affirmative Action = 'RACIST!! FACIST!!'"

  • edna||

    damn tubes ate my comment.

    maybe, just maybe, ben stein (love the initials) made the movie because he knows his target audience and likes the idea of making money.

    i sure would.

  • ||

    There's a word in Yiddish for someone like Ben Stein. The word is "putz".

    -jcr

  • ||

    " nihilism is all that can come about from the lack of God."

    What utter nonsense. I don't need an imaginary friend to have a full and happy life.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Andrew Murphy -

    Over 99% of all the creatures that ever lived are nihilists/existentialists. We know how lucky we are.

    I once read an essay (in a book) by Clarence Darrow wherein he called our Earth, "the wart" - which was the epitome of this philosophy.

    Can't find it now - even wit der Google.

  • ||

    " the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not have a problem with evolution."

    Neither do the Anglicans, the Catholics, and many other religions. The Anglicans figured out sometime back in the 1800's that a creator who's able to make a universe where we developed without further intervention was even more wonderful than one who's constantly juggling everything to hold it all together.

    -jcr

  • ||

    ...nihilism is all that can come about from the lack of God...

    In the immortal word(s) of Jean Paul Sartre, merde...

  • ||


    John C. Randolph | April 16, 2008, 6:00pm | #

    " nihilism is all that can come about from the lack of God."

    What utter nonsense. I don't need an imaginary friend to have a full and happy life.

    -jcr



    Beat me to it.

    Nor do I need to believe that the universe has a purpose to lead a happy, meaningful and moral life.

  • Kenobi||

    Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Camus were more honest when they admitted that nihilism is all that can come about from the lack of God.

    They may have 'admitted' it, but that doesn't make it true. It can be a result, but it is hardly the only one.

  • ||

    John C Randolph wrote,

    "Neither do the Anglicans, the Catholics, and many other religions. The Anglicans figured out sometime back in the 1800's that a creator who's able to make a universe where we developed without further intervention was even more wonderful than one who's constantly juggling everything to hold it all together"

    Yes indeed, in fact one of the first people to come to Charles Darwin's defense was Frederick Temple, Bishop and latter Archbishop of Cantebury

    http://anglicanhistory.org/england/ftemple/bampton/04.html

  • Chamdar||

    Doesn't seem to be very good year for that message."

    Hey Joe did you see that McCain is now ahead 10 points of Obama in PA? LOL pathetic. Guess the messege works after all.


    It's "message", not "messege", you moron.

    But then I should expect as much from a creationist.

  • Gahan||

    Intelligent Design is so last year. This is the wave of the future:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512

  • ||

    Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Camus were more honest when they admitted that nihilism is all that can come about from the lack of God.

    I'm not sure there is a polite way to respond to this. If you need to believe in a God from Bronze Age Palestine to keep yourself and others from falling into nihilism then I'm not sure what to tell you.

    What a load of crap.

    He and the creationists are similar but on different ends.

    This is the type of statement that really drives me up the wall. Just because two ends of a spectrum in arguments are equally loud doesn't mean the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Dawkins, Harris et al keep getting hammered with accusations of being "just as fundamentalist" as their antagonists etc.

    I guess we libertarians are similar to totalitarian communists. Just, you know, at different ends of the spectrum.

    Creationists claim Darwinism is atheism and Dawkins claims "yes, indeed"

    Smell that straw burning! Dawkins does not equate Darwinism to atheism. Darwinism did drive him to atheism but he would never say they are equivalent or that one follows the other in any rigorous sense. At least, not that I'm aware of.

  • ||

    Andrew Murphy...I know that Darwin claimed to be agnostic, but quotes like this by him don't suggest any intellectual openness on the matter-
    "I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind."

    What that indicates to me is a stubborn resistance to any possible counterevidence.

  • ||

    Soda, Dawkins is a atheist fundamentalist. First off, as a scientist he should no better then to make flat out statements that there can be no God. Second he said many times that Darwin made it possible to be a fully functioning atheist. Darwin did no such thing. As I have stated, contrary to the creationist revisionisn, many of the first people to come to Darwin's defense were Christians like Bishop Frederick Temple and Cardinial John Henry Newman. Dawkins insists that even Darwinists who believe in God, there must be something wrong with them. That is fundamentalism, my friend. I am on his side on the evolution debate, but he doesn't want my meger help in the intellecutal debate because I believe in God, so somehow my Darwwinism is tainted

  • ||

    Soda, do you read Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Heraclitus,Cicero,Marcus Aurelius, ? Based on your argument the Bible is too old for us modern folks, then the Greek and Roman classics must not hold any value either since they were written near the same time period.

  • ||

    lab, how do you then address Darwin's letter to Asa Gray Nov 28, 1860, he writes that he can't be sure whether or not a God made the earth or it was all just a materialistic chance. He tells Gray that he is in a "hopless muddle" about the whole issue. To bad Dawkins doesn't have Darwin's humility and scientific agnosticism.

  • ||

    My son is now considering majoring in biology - an interest that was sparked when he took the subject in high school... a Catholic high school. Funny how they didn't have any trouble teaching evolution.

  • Gahan||

    I'm pretty sure the Vatican has officially rejected Intelligent Design. It's just a bunch of fundamentalist dinosaurs who continue to cling to it.

  • ||

    Soda, do you read Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Heraclitus,Cicero,Marcus Aurelius, ? Based on your argument the Bible is too old for us modern folks, then the Greek and Roman classics must not hold any value either since they were written near the same time period.

    Where did I make the argument about the worth of anything based on how old it was?

    Is this about calling the God of Abraham "God of Bronze Age Palestine?" I was commenting on atheism vs. nihilism, NOT on whether God exists or not. If I did I certainly wouldn't use age as an argument, pro or con.

    Since you brought it up though, the Bible is indeed old. Although I wouldn't say it's worthless because it's old. There are many other reasons for why it's worthless.

  • ||

    We must not forget that Ben Stein was a speech writer for America's favorite crook president, Richard Nixon.

    He is of the same fabric as Roger Ailes, the Karl Rove to Nixon. It was Ailes who founded the neo-con's news channel known as Fox news.

    Don't drink their Kool-Aid, dawg.

    The ID folks are just plain scary because their view is so narrow.

  • ||

    Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Camus were more honest when they admitted that nihilism is all that can come about from the lack of God.

    Actually, neither one of them practiced nor preached nihilism. Both Nietzsche and Camus were strong advocates of humanist ethics and both argued that the lack of inherent value in our lives imposed upon us the responsibility to define our own meaning and value.

  • ||

    Quick, order your FREE! "Age of the Planet Earth" disk from Dr. Dino. Makes a great coaster for your favorite alcoholic beverage. If you overindulge, you can put it in the player and see if it makes sense.

    http://www.drdino.com/expelledoffer/?gclid=CP-z7ZOy4ZICFQ8qIgodtAwQ6Q

  • ||

    I've gotta weigh in on this. I went to a catholic high school. Somehow they had no problem with evolution.
    I'm not particularly religious (going to a catholic high school will do that to you). What I always argue to an IDer is basically this.

    ME :"So you think god is retarded?"
    Them: "No. We believe that God is all powerful and all knowing and created life, poof."
    ME: " so what you're basically saying is that God couldn't pass grade school biology?"

    I don't understand how darwinism doesn't enhance the whole Omniscient part of God's title. If a supreme being where really "all knowing" wouldn't he have to set up a set of rules in order to make sure that life actually kept on developing as not having those rules would destroy faith. That is to say that if there were any concrete proof of God then faith would collapse and there would be no need for church because people would be unable to "choose"( seeing as concrete evidence of God would validate only one line of decision making) and without the ability to choose right from wrong the whole concept of salvation falls on it's head.
    Isn't all religion based on free choice? or supposed to be at least....

    To quote Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Paraphrasing "Scientist around the universe have pointed to the creation of the babel fish as an evolutionary impossibility. the theory being that God's existence is based on the fact that he refuses to prove he exists so scientists say 'but the babe; fish is a dead giveaway.' To which god responds "oh" and vanishes in a puff of smoke." (close as i can remember)

  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4iIo1tUtW0

    i was close. God bless youtube.

    This is basically the greatest use of logic I have ever seen.

    Basically by trying to prove intelligent design Ben Stein is trying to KILL GOD!

  • LarryA||

    Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God.

    I think that the "problem" with "Darwinism" (evolution) is that if God set up a world that natural laws run pretty much automatically, without him having to constantly tinker, (How else would God intelligently design it?) then He doesn't need the help of the Intelligent Design folks to keep things on the straight and narrow.

    What do you mean by "completely" proven? Evolution itself is an observable fact. The theory of evolution is Natural Selection and that has been corroborated in many different ways. How much evidence is needed to completely prove anything?

    In the true scientific process nothing is ever "completely" proven. There's always room for more data, for next year's discoveries to disprove theories, modifying our understanding. That's the difference between science and dogma.

  • stuartl||

    In the true scientific process nothing is ever "completely" proven.

    True, evolution is only about as well demonstrated as universal gravitation. Although evolution and gravitation are real phenomena, both theories may require slight modifications in the future.

  • ||

    In the true scientific process nothing is ever "completely" proven. There's always room for more data, for next year's discoveries to disprove theories, modifying our understanding. That's the difference between science and dogma.

    Bingo.

  • Zeb||

    If God had created man as his ultimate creation, he would have done a better job designing knees and backs. QED.

  • Salvius||

    ...if God set up a world that natural laws run pretty much automatically, without him having to constantly tinker...

    I'm an atheist, but my girlfriend, who is religious, says that creationists' refusal to consider this possibility amounts to them limiting God's powers/abilities. It reduces God's creation to a conjuring trick: "Hey, Rocky, watch me pull the universe out of this hat!"

    God is not obligated to do everything in a way that is comprehensible to you.

  • Fitz||

    There's an interesting account fo dealing with the pre-release media relations folks for "Expelled" at

    http://www.process.org/discept/2008/02/25/expulsion/#more-23

  • DannyK||

    Man, what is it with Jewish conservatives lately? Ben Stein, Jonah Goldberg, just Godwinizing right and left.

    It was bad enough when Saddam/Ahmedinejad/Osama/whoever was the new Hitler, but to hear these guys tell it, the U.S. is at least 25% Hitler already. Maybe 30%.

  • ||

    It is a shame that a "Science Reporter" should have such a dismissive view of creation. Not only is ID correct but most of the major scientific minds today can't agree on which form of evolution they want to believe in. I was hoping for a more objective view point but instead was presented someone who can laugh at another's plight as long as his small environment is not affected.

  • zoltan||

    Hey Joel, guess that means Ron Bailey is shilling for Big Atheist, huh!?!? Might you want to give any evidence of which "major scientific minds" can agree and what the different forms of evolution are? ID is a joke with no published papers in peer-reviewed journals--how does this lead you to your conclusion that it is correct?

    "Soda, Dawkins is a atheist fundamentalist. First off, as a scientist he should no (sic) better then to make flat out statements that there can be no God."

    Dawkins knows that science can't disprove any gods. That's why he uses philosophy and logic to do that. He says science can help, in that it allows for an explanation without a god, but science in itself can never prove or disprove a supernatural entity, just as it cannot prove or disprove invisible pink unicorns or flying spaghetti monsters.

    "Second he said many times that Darwin made it possible to be a fully functioning atheist. Darwin did no such thing."

    Dawkins never says that Darwin actually said that. He said he made it possible for people to believe in a view of the world that does not have to include a god. Meaning, since there is a natural, non-religious process of the development of life, then any gods can be factored out of the equation. Dawkins never says that Darwin actually intended that as a consequence, but it is a pretty joyous part of evolution, whether Darwin was agnostic or not.

    "Dawkins insists that even Darwinists who believe in God, there must be something wrong with them. That is fundamentalism, my friend.
    I am on his side on the evolution debate, but he doesn't want my meger help in the intellecutal debate because I believe in God, so somehow my Darwwinism is tainted"

    Not that Dawkins needs your help (with what exactly?) but thinking there is something wrong with someone because they believe a certain thing is not fundamentalism. I think that those who think the state should be more involved in everyone's lives has something wrong with them--it is an indication of the way they think and sheds light on their mental processes. And surely, to think there is something wrong with that is not fundamentalism, it is judgment. Sound to me, but not to all.

    As for the age argument:

    Maybe if Soda believed in Zeus and Apollo your argument against him might hold water; otherwise, it's just a strawman. He said to believe in a Bronze Age Palestinian god to be happy is somewhat depressing, not that the Bible is worthless due to its age.

  • ||

    To those who think that GOD created man & woman only in the forms of Adam & Eve and therefore are descended from them, I give you this:
    Genesis Chapter 1 Verses 26 & 27; Then God said,"Let us make man in our image, in our likeness".
    So God created man in his own image,in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
    (Holy Bible New International Version 2001.)
    Remember these verses are before the verses concerning Adam & Eve.
    I have 2 questions reletively tounge-in-cheek: 1)If mankind was made in God's image, does He also have an appendix? and; 2)If indeed mankind was unchanging per God's creation, dose that make God a statist?

  • ||

    Wow, all u atheists and evolutionists must be getting worried. When you're on your deathbeds and sinking fast, will your known "evidence" of evolution be enough assurance that you were right about the non-existence of God? Think about it.

  • ||

    And I'd agree with Stein. We might not have men in jackboots marching us off to gulags over this, but when we wonder how mass deception got put across on an intelligent people like the Germans, we are very unwise to assume that the same can't happen to us just because of all the freedoms we've got. The way the theory of evolution has got established is a classic illustration.

    Trouble is that most people involved in the "science" aren't in it to find evidence for the scripturally-based faith point of view. It makes your faith look weak if you are anxious to be looking for evidence to back it up. Nevertheless, there are enough honest men in the game, including the odd "lapsed atheist" scientist here and there, that the Christian doesn't have to look far for the flaws in the theory. If you're pinning your faith on the theory of evolution, you are one very much more irrational person than the religious faithful who you disparage now.

  • Ian M||

    You can't safely start with an ancestral tale such as the Book of Genesis, search for 'scientific' evidence to support it, and expect to stay out of trouble logically.

    The Darwinian theory arose and took hold precisely because of serious inadequacies in the preceding creationist paradigm, despite its having a monopoly in universities and educational institutions everywhere, and with its supporters having power to have heretics at least expelled, if not worse.

    The current proponents of ID accuse Darwinists of precisely that. But it is the ID school that has the record of censorship and brainwashing, not the Darwinists or neo-Darwinists.

  • ||

    don't panic. this is only happening America. In New Zealand it counts against you if you try and appeal to a 'christian' constituency. i think i'll stay.

  • Troy Camplin, Ph.D.||

    I wonder if, in that legislation, they will also make it illegal to discriminate against someone FOR believing in evolution. I use evolutionary theory in my humanities work, and that hasn't exactly enamored me with humanities departments, which are typically postmodernist and thus anti-science. If there's going to be affirmative action laws for IDers in science departments, shouldn't there be affirmative action laws for pro-science, pro-free market humanities Ph.D.s in humanities departments?

  • ||

    Good lord! I just lost any respect I had for Ben Stein, not that I had much to begin with, but I at least thought he was more intelligent and was one of few celebrities that championed reason and intelligence over baby bumps and scientology. How irresponsible of him to make this ridiculous film. Well with creationist progaganda gearing up all Michael Moore style lets just sit back and let them discredit themselves.

  • Norman||

    "the film is entirely free of scientific content"

    This article is entirely free of scientific content.

  • Elohim Jehosaphat||

    I am working in areas of computer pattern recognition using models of intuition and autistic "idiot-savant" behavior. If all you "hard" scientists will come down from the trees long enough to provide a non-derisive answer, I'd very much like an explanation of how a thought ("will" if you will) causes my finger to move. No, you can't skip the part where the "word" becomes "flesh"- we already have infinitely detailed studies of what happens AFTER the thought becomes electro-chemical-mechanical(flesh). Tell me about its existence in my mind as intention (if you pull the P.T. Skinner behaviorist crap of telling me I have no mind, I may have to track you down and shoot you). Give me that wiring diagram between thought and action and then I'll race you to the patent office- it's worth billions.
    No one's found it yet? could it be because it might be "Magic?"( the world as a product of consciousness- not vice versa)?
    The problem with any entrenched authority is "I am the authority, and I LITERALLY cannot Imagine the answer as anything outside my knowledge Therefore I will not allow any of these questions because they are a waste of time ( and they insult my intelligence/ Authority)? - sound familiar? it would to Copernicus and Gallileo. So have fun and make fun, just remember that I can accept both evolution and the mind of god, and if your world-view of evolution demands "objectivity ", (i.e. ignorance of intuitive process and your complete "objectification" by turning into a soulless automaton with no personality or identity) do you wonder that people of consciousness pity you and find you every bit as aggravating as you find them?

  • ||

    Funny how several leading scientists who appeared in the film that have given interviews say that this film is backed by science yet liberals who never seen the film try to say otherwise. Remember liberals want to tell you what to think and believe like Al Bore's lies, yet when challeneged with the facts will still lie first, shout you down second and then say you don't know what you're talking about. Just like with global warming they want no discussion so they say the discussion is over. Guess what, the discussion is still going on but like spoiled children who take their bat and go home, you don't want to participate. Instead of being the open-minded insdividuals you claim to be you are narrow minded, spoiled brats you act like. I will see this movie and along with Kent Hovinds DVDs use them to teach people the fallacy behind the "Darwin Theory" of evolution.

  • charles||

    Just because I may believe in things unsupported by science, like the existence of unicorns, it does not follow that it is discriminatory to claim discrimination for the lack of Faculties of Single-Horned Equine Mammals.

    I used to think Ben Stein was a smart guy. I am so disappointed.

  • ||

    As usual both sides on this forum are spewing out venom and not talking much "issue".

    ID proponents can't simply refer to Al Bore as one did, or accuse liberals of lying w/out interacting w/ evidence. And please, he is Al Gore, not Al Bore. What do you accomplish w/ such juvenile behavior?.


    And Darwinists must at least come clean and admit Darwin has been proven wrong in numerous ways.

    So, to both sides:
    Are we willing to discuss honestly?
    Or does our fear prevent us from doing so?

  • the innominate one||

    PhilWorst:

    Do not conflate "evolutionists" with atheists. Plenty of "evolutionists" are Christians, they just tend not to be "young earth creationists".

    "...the Christian doesn't have to look far for the flaws in the theory..."

    Please enlighten us. But before you post anything, feel free to check a "evolutionist" website, such as pharyngula, to see if your claims have been refuted. It is likely they have.

    "If you're pinning your faith on the theory of evolution, you are one very much more irrational person than the religious faithful who you disparage now."

    No faith needed for the theory evolution, it is backed by empirical evidence. On the other hand, Christian belief is deeply steeped in irrationality, both historically and in modernity. Christian philosopher Tertullian wrote "I believe because it is absurd" (in Latin, of course).

    Norman, your mind is free of scientific or any other content.

    Elohim Jehosophat: ask a neurologist or a neurophysiologist. Your question doesn't have anything to do with whether or not evolution is real.

    Ozark_Sunshine: please furnish the supposed facts, but first, check your claims against an "evolutionist" website to see if they've been debunked. Maybe you will learn something and not waste our time. Creationist and IDers claims about evolution have been answered repeatedly, but because those answers do not conform to a certain interpretation of the bible, they are ignored, and more answers and debates are demanded. What positive, objectively verifiable evidence, independent of the bible, do you have for your version of creationism? Trying to shoot down evolution does not prove creation by default.

    electric:

    Let's have a list of your strawman claim of the ways Darwin has been proven wrong. I suspect you'll find the ways in which Darwin was proven wrong, was proven by a scientist. The parts of Darwin that could not be reconciled with modern understanding of inheritance resulted in the Modern Synthesis (aka the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis). Other ideas have been promoted, notably by Steven Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, who promoted punctuated equilibrium as an alternative to Darwinian gradualism.

    Most of the claims about evolution and evolutionists are wrong on several levels. But keep on repeating those strawman and ad hominem arguments! They're all you've got!

    As an alternative, you could try reading what evolutionary biologists actually claim about evolution, instead of getting all your (mis)information from evolution's opponents, who will not accept any amount of empirical evidence if it contradicts their reading of the bible.

  • Elohim Jehosophat||

    Elohim Jehosophat: ask a neurologist or a neurophysiologist. Your question doesn't have anything to do with whether or not evolution is real.


    dear innominate one {(he) who may not be named? Ywh?}

    You sound as if you may have enough sense to make a worthwhile discussion.
    So. I have asked neuro-biologists and the long and short of their answer so far is- we don't know- we suspect a quantum level connection. Ask a quantum physicist.
    I am a quantum physicist. Answer-it appears to some that reality is caused by the collapse of probability functions by the intervention of consciousness- in short, consciousness may very well create reality, rather than reality creating consciousness- Why would that be such a shock? Because it's very difficult to maintain the primacy of "Objectivity"(the cornerstone of authoritarian science) if it turns out that reality is by definition "Subjective". Someone's ox is being gored- (Actually, it's been being gored in tremendous slo-mo since about the turn of the century) It disturbs me not a bit to conclude that consciousness is the stuff of reality, and it disturbs me not a bit to recognize that to say "consciousness is reality" is basically no different from "Magic" ( consciousness controls reality) More to this point, if you wish to call the universe "The mind of God" I find no real objection- though I do anticipate quite heated discussions about who or what "God" is. I also see no relevance to the existence of the Mind of GOD whether Darwin was or was not correct about evolution.

    Hence - the point of Ben Stein's movie was not whether evolution is real or not, it was that Authoritarian Science ( one might say a- theist/no god) Science has taken he same authoritarian measures against those who dare to question the correctness of its primary beliefs- (objectivity?) that all entrenched authority does- it denies the legitimacy of the inquiry and seeks to marginalize and discredit those who make such inquiry. Authority does this in all good conscience because it is ridiculous to waste time, thought or energy on things that it literally cannot imagine.

    I couldn't care less about evolution except to note that it is a better basis for understanding science and the earth sciences as they are today, than is the notion of magic. I am simply amused at contemplating the day the Scientist is confronted by the Wizard- and noting that, as a fairly "objective" referee, Ben Stein is correct. I've seen all too many cases of inquiry into Intelligent Design("Magic") stifled by threats to career or reputation. Is intelligent design correct? That's not the point. Authoritarian stifling of inquiry is wrong, whether it's done by the Vatican or M.I.T.

  • elohim jehosophat||

    Just finished a trial and checked this post- I noticed I should make a couple corrections:

    1.dear innominate one {(he) who may not be named? Ywh?}
    ( sorry innominate one- I really do know that the Tetragrammeton is YHWH - sloppy typing.

    2."Authoritarian stifling of inquiry is wrong, whether it's done by the Vatican or M.I.T"

    Let me rephrase that to make it clearer that I do recognize that intellectual intolerance is a two way street:

    Authoritarian suppression of inquiry is wrong, whether it's done by East Jesus Tech, M.I.T. or Easterbrook Elementary School ( For the Vatican and I.B.M it's just a business decision.)

  • ||

    Bailey seems to think loss of tenure, loss of lab space, loss of ones job, ostracism, etc are no big deal. It is true these are not equal to the rack, but in modern times these are serious. The movie did not make much of a case for intelligent design, but that is because it was aiming at the censorship of ID and not the case for ID.
    If Bailey is so sure there is no scientific merit to intelligent design, I challenge him to a debate. I will be happy to take a position favoring ID. I think your readers would be astonished how strong is the case for ID and how desperate is the opposition.

  • Berthajane Vandegrift||

    No one questions that evolution occurred; many people question that evolution is driven by random mutation and natural selection. I saw the film. The argument here seems to be that no one is killed or imprisoned for discussing the possibility that the universe is designed; people who question neo-Darwinism merely lose their jobs if they publicly wonder how "natural selection" might somehow turn a series of genetic mistakes into biological adaptations.

    If a sufficient number of people reach the subjective judgment that the universe is not a meaningless mechanical device, intelligent organization will be discussed as an alternative. I hope non-materialists don't then try to impose their views upon everyone by intimidation and appeals to the courts for protection from criticism. However, if non-materialists ever start behaving like today's neo-Darwinists, I personally would probably try to find a way to argue the other side. Academic freedom is more important to me than any individual theory or concept.

    Questions about Materialism
    http://30145.myauthorsite.com/

  • ||

    David Moshinsky--I agree that Mr. Bailey was a bit dismissive of the impacts of failing to be tenured, losing a job, etc. However, most of these alleged "persecutions" did NOT happen to the people featured in the movie. For example, here is no indication that Dr. Gonzalez (despite Mr. Bailey's "guess") failed to get tenure because of his ID writings. He simply did not have a tenurable record during his time at Iowa State, where he was well below the departmental standard for all the important criteria, such as number, quality, and independence of publications, grant money obtained, and grad students mentored. The actual facts in all these cases are documented at http://www.expelledexposed.com.

  • ||

    If Bailey is so sure there is no scientific merit to intelligent design, I challenge him to a debate. I will be happy to take a position favoring ID. I think your readers would be astonished how strong is the case for ID and how desperate is the opposition.

    Case for ID? Consider this: peer-reviewed scientific literature represents a truly vast body of knowledge - there are about SEVENTEEN MILLION individual papers indexed at the National Library of Medicine's online public database (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/). Not a single research paper refutes evolution, and not a single research paper provides data in support of intelligent design. Not one. The reason that there isn't a single peer-reviewed ID research paper is that ID does not provide falsifiable, testable hypotheses: it can be boiled down to "this is so complex, it can't be explained by natural laws and processes, so there must be a designer working in supernatural ways." This cannot be tested, and it predicts nothing. Furthermore, a central concept of ID, "irreducible complexity," has been throughly debunked. I refer you to Prof. Ken Miller's excellent lectures on the subject here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW_2lLG9EZM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQQ7ubVIqo4

    What damns Intelligent Design even further was that it was never about scientific inquiry: it was conceived as a way to impose a specific, fundamentalist religious view into education and society in the guise of science (see the Wedge Strategy http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.pdf ). It is very telling that the definition of intelligent design used in the pro-ID textbook Of Pandas and People was EXACTLY the same as the definition of creationism in an earlier edition. Even the intellectual godfather of Intelligent Design, retired law professor Phillip E. Johnson, had this to say:

    "I also don't think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that's comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it's doable, but that's for them to prove…No product is ready for competition in the educational world."
    http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/articles/issue10/evolution.pdf

  • ||

    This guy's editorial is a crock. Whether ID is true or not was not exactly the point of the film. The point was that people are being fired for asking uncomfortable questions. The atheists were left looking like total fools. It was pretty hilarious. Though I am an evolutionist, I can also hold a view simultaneously that something larger caused the process. Small minds have a hard time with this, and fire folks who don't hold to their ideology. Reason used to support various points of view. The magazine has declined in quality.

  • ||

    Scratch "uncomfortable" -- make that "imponderable" questions. Which puts the subject outside the realm of science and squarely into the realm of faith, myth and dogma.

    Maybe some individuals believe their persistence in presenting, in a formal educational setting, Intelligent Design as a plausible alternative explanation of the origin of life has lead to a form of persecution (job loss), but they unreasonably escalate their victimhood. They're paying a price for introducing nonsense to the classroom.

    Ben Stein appeared on the Laura Ingraham show this past week. He illustrated the movie's intended point by suggesting academics couldn't even state 'how thermodynamics "came to be", much less how life came to be.

    Huh? How a physical law "came to be"? THAT IS AN IMPONDERABLE. It belongs to the realm of faith, myth and dogma. IT IS NOT A QUESTION THAT SCIENCE CAN ANSWER.

    Yet Stein (and this film) wishes to suggest that as evidence academics know nothing of truth.

    Yet it was science that discovered the laws of thermodynamics -- and has effectively harnessed and employed them, presenting them in multitudinous forms which have greatly benefited mankind. KNOWING THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS (i.e. knowing why & how they work) IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWING "HOW THEY CAME TO BE".

    Same with 'knowing the origin of life': it is an imponderable outside the realm of science. Stein's mission in this film is silly.

  • ||

    I wonder why Mr. Bailey is so upset over Ben Stein's movie. Seems to me the point of the movie is that some have lost their jobs over an innocuous point of view which is frightening. Note that Richard Feynman the physicist admits that science does not answer why but only seeks to observe and catalog. From this predictions and what will happen if we do certain things can be made. H mm, why did life originate? I have as yet to see ashes unburn. Just as I feel threatened by Osama the terrorist, so do I feel threatened from Mr. Bailey.

  • ||

    The evidence for evolution is pretty solid in my mind, I think Ben Stein DOES make a good point in that science can in fact become a dogma, like global warming. It is total bull but god help you if you are a scientist and say it. You will be burned as a witch. (for which they can buy carbon credits to off set the exhaust of your flaming body.

  • ||

    "The filmmakers portray opposition to teaching ID in universities and public schools as a threat to freedom on a par with Communist and Nazi repression."

    I saw the movie. The filmmakers portray opposition to DISCUSSING ID in universities and public schools as a threat to freedom on a par with Communist and Nazi repression.

    This issue isn't an attempt to teach ID, but to discuss it. Most of the scientists that I speak with - similar to the writers that I see on this blog - can't differentiate between evidence of design and religious creationism tied to biblical concepts. They get so freaked out that any concept of a higher being might be "slipped into" their atheistic worldview, that their brains snap to the "off" position. I've seen it over and over.

  • ||

    The movie is not about proving ID, but documenting the crude thought control efforts to squelch legitimate scientific inquiry. As biology begins to merge with the frankly more rigorous disciplines of physics & chemistry, it's sociological approach to experimental science is coming under scrutiny from within the scientific community. Physicists are beginning to ask evolutionary biologists, 'yeah, but where's your actual proof?' with increasing insistence. This movie is about how political correctness kills science.

  • ||

    Intelligent Design is "legitimate scientific inquiry"?

    Pray tell, how does taking 'safe harbor' (for one's religious tenets) in unknowables & purported gaps in human knowledge constitute 'scientific inquiry'?

    It's more akin to a child hiding behind his mother's apron.

    Intelligent Design attempts to prove a negative (i.e. that God didn't *not* do it), which is impossible. But it *does* make the faithful feel empowered when it creates & snatches some 'moral high ground', thereby meeting a market demand.

  • ||

    Let me state it a bit differently.

    Intelligent Design isn't 'legitimate scientific inquiry' -- it is (baseless) "inquiry" aimed at de-legitimating science.

  • ||

    Whether ID is true or not was not exactly the point of the film. The point was that people are being fired for asking uncomfortable questions.


    Then the point is made badly, considering none of the featured martyrs for ID were actually fired.

  • ||

    You wrote in the article that "biological evolution is amply supported by evidence from the fossil record, molecular biology, and morphology. For example, the younger the rocks in which fossils are found, the more closely they resemble species alive today, and the older the rocks, the less resemblance there is. In addition, molecular biology confirms that the more distantly related the fossil record suggests species lineages are, the more their genes differ." This does not argue against ID. current evolution theory assumes that this progression took place randomly. ID offers an alternate explanation of how it took place. Science history is replete with examples of advances taking place because major scientists questioned their predecessors. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton questioned the Ptolemaic theory. Einstein and Planck questioned the Newtonian-Maxwellian view. In fact, all scientific advance has taken place because scientists have not been satisfied with the theories of their times. So, why is it unscientific to question the currently accepted theory of evolutionary development, that is, that it takes place randomly, when there is evidence that the changes have not been random? Finally, the problem with Dawkins's extraterrestrial explanation is that it just pushes back the problem one step. Did the extraterrestrials come about by chance or by design?

  • ||

    "why is it unscientific to question the currently accepted theory of evolutionary development, that is, that it takes place randomly, when there is evidence that the changes have not been random?"

    Unscientific inquiry, like ID, relies upon asserting an unfalsifiable (i.e. untestable) construct.

    Further, you mischaracterize natural selection as being "random". Can't you discern some "intelligence" (i.e. reason & logic) behind the process of natural selection? Even in a world characterized by much randomness?

    Why would a certain evolutionary 'path' emerge -and be reinforced- if it 'didn't make sense' within the governing environmental parameters?

  • ||

    "Unscientific inquiry, like ID, relies upon asserting an unfalsifiable (i.e. untestable) construct."

    I believe that a significant progression will take place in the next few decades in which physicists, mathemeticians and biologists will create a measurement for "complexity". Once established, a consistent measure will be established to distinguish different levels of complexities between inorganic material (rock, sand/silicon), organic material, living organisms (cellular), complex living organisms (animals, vision, etc) physical constructs (buildings, airplanes, etc.) and universes with energy influences that are still perplexing.

    At that point, all objective observers will acknolwedge that observed objects above a defined "complexity measurement" must have an intelligent source behind their development. The debate on the origin of this intelligent source (Dawkin's aliens, Judeo-Christian "God, etc) will continue, but the recognition of an intelligent source will be irrefutable.

  • ||

    So, you look forward to a man-made threshold of complexity, as a 'score' by which to discern intelligent design? You are joking, are you not? Will the U.N. adopt this threshold? Where does human fallibility enter into setting such a standard?

    You expect that this will lead to "the recognition of an intelligent source will be irrefutable"?

    Your simple inclusion of the word, "the", in that statement speaks loudly to your implicit belief in such, a belief for which there is no evidence except what ID'ers conjure up in their (and your) mind.

    Your faith notwithstanding, complexity is not proof of the hand of an intelligent designer. Complexity merely reflects the workings of rules of the physical universe, rules that are rational, orderly and logical -- and which have been at work here on Earth for ~4 billion years.

    Indeed, without those rules, there would be no universe, nor would there be a StealthSpeak. It -and you- just couldn't happen. Those rules are "the intelligence" you seek.

  • ||

    A good read to feed a desire to learn of some astrophysical rules that have enabled life on Earth. (Should be able to find this at your local library.)

    "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe" by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee

  • ||

    I saw the movie over the weekend and rather enjoyed it.

    My take:
    I don't think that the movie was about proving ID or disproving Evolution but was about opening a dialogue about both ideas in some sort of reasoned fashion.

    IMHO, the anti-ID crowd came off, oftentimes, as arrogant elitist know-it-alls, with their condescending remarks that anyone who believed in ID must be ignorant and stupid - maybe that is because I live close to PA and cling to my guns, religion and bitterness. Oops, wrong story :-) - and also believe in Fairies, Angels and unicorns - not a direct quote but you should get the idea.

    Realizing that this could be due to careful editing by the filmmakers, nonetheless, the anti-ID crowd came across as fearing an open and honest debate.

    Also, just because none of the proponents was ... thrown into a concentration camp for views..., does not mean that they and people like them have not been treated unfairly for their science and their beliefs.

    Also of note, unlike "An Inconvenient Truth," or any number of documentaries from the left, plenty of face time was give to the opposing view point. And, if I remember correctly, the proponents of ID did not dismiss completely, the ideas of Darwin and Evolution. In fact, I came away with the idea that proponents supported evolution but felt it was somehow incomplete and that ID might be able to enhance evolution in some manner. I don't see that as unreasonable.

    I understand that the film makers have an agenda. So does every other film maker.

    Just my 2cents

    Dan

  • ||

    The movie is very good. And if you think Ben Stein isn't educated then you haven't done your research on the man. The movie was not about promoting the idea of intelligent design, it was about allowing the debate. I thought I was going to see a pro-intelligent design movie, but instead I came out feeling like there was not meat to the movie. Then I realized it was about opening this subject up for discussion between scientists instead of shunning those who think differently. Evolutionists are just connecting dots and by their own admission have no idea where life came from or how it started, as long as it wasn't by intelligent design. I won't say that intelligent design people aren't connecting dots either, but that is why it should be open for debate. Watch the movie, do your own research, and promote open debate in a free society on a topic that has not been settled by anyone.

  • Professor T||

    Ben Stein has demonstrated that Creationists and ID proponents don't need to get into public schools to get Creationism and ID teaching materials into the hands and minds of Jr. High, High School, and College age students. Creationists and ID proponents can circumvent the public education system go directly to these students. Darwinists can't do anything to stop students from either reading Creationist/ID books or watching Creationists/ID DVD's at home, or from going to see movies like "expelled," which I guarantee will NOT be the last movie of it's kind to hit the theaters. Whether the Darwinist thought police like it or not, more and more of our young people will be exposed to Creationist/ID teachings as time goes on. And there's not a "damned thing" they can do to stop it.

  • ||

    Science has told us about the Big Bang Theory, which says that just before the bang! all matter, all time and space, all the physical laws were encapsulated in a piece of matter thousands of times smaller than an atom.

    What science cannot explain is: where did that small piece of matter reside? I mean there was no universe, no space and time, so where did it reside?

    Science would have to tell us that it was located in another universe or a different dimension, but they can't explain what that was or where it was or why it was. This was before anything as we know it.

    Could it have resided in the imagination of a supreme being? could this have been the moment this higher authority "designed intelligence" - which is just another word for our universe since it does not, I repeat, does not act randomly in any fashion.

    How long had that piece of matter been sitting there before it banged!? why did it explode at the moment it did? why did it explode?

    Get back to me when science explains offers an answer to these questions. Oh, never mind, many scientists who reject any notion of ID will just tell you that those questions are of no value.

  • ||

    "the anti-ID crowd came across as fearing an open and honest debate"
    --

    How can one debate about an UNKNOWABLE? How would you *know* what 'open' and 'honest' would be? C'mon, now, use your head....

    Besides, why would scientists "fear" the views of others? Especially views on the UNKNOWABLE? I think what you saw as "fear" was simple annoyance perhaps with a dollop -or heap- of disdain. I mean, really, how would you feel if cornered by some persistent teen-aged nag?

  • ||

    "Oh, never mind, many scientists who reject any notion of ID will just tell you that those questions are of no value."
    ---

    Well, obviously, they are of value to you. And, sure, they're of great interest to some small subset of scientists. But why would they be of practical import to mankind? Will those conditions repeat themselves? Will we face them again?

    What, exactly, are you *seeking* in answers to the UNKNOWABLE?

  • ||

    Thank you, Ron Bailey, for an even-handed and frankly courageous review.

  • ||

    What I have always found interesting is they call it Darwinism and treat it like a religion that tries to explain all living things everywhere. I am not a biologist and have never studied evolution. I know however that it is not perfect and there are issues with evolution I however also know it exists and is happening. That is an irrefutable fact and to claim that because we don't know everything about evolution it must not exist is just plain stupid. No matter how you dress up some of the ID idiots "theories" they are still religion with no direct evidence so they are not science and do not belong in a classroom.

  • ||

    To T Heller,

    How can one debate about an UNKNOWABLE? How would you *know* what 'open' and 'honest' would be? C'mon, now, use your head....

    I believe I am using my head.

    First though, I am no scientist, just a regular guy. I have no axe to grind fir either side in any of this So, trying to use my head, here I go;

    I am guessing that we, today, know things in science - and other disciplines as well, that were, in earlier time periods, considered to be "unknowable." I could be wrong about this but do think it to be a reasonable thought.

    Luckily for humanity, people had the inclination to look ahead, past the unkown of the day.

    Was "fear" the right word to use? Maybe not. But not much different than your take of...simple annoyance perhaps with a dollop -or heap- of disdain.

    The anti ID crowd did indeed, from my view of the movie, did indeed come across as childish in their responses. So while they may not be afraid, there does appear to be something underlying their responses. Maybe they are just smug and pompous. And if that is the case, that is okay. Being smug and pompous does not take away from ones abilities in their field, but it does make one question their sincerity in being open about things with wich they disagree.

    Forget for a moment, ID/Evolution - by the way, I personally do not have any contempt for or issues with Evollution - for me, to restate, the movie was about the open and fair exchange of ideas. I think that you would agree that that fair exchange is a good thing.

    Dan

  • ||

    I think Ben should stick with being a Juggy University Professor on the Man Show. He displays more logic there than at the Discovery Institute.

  • ||

    Sorry to have been away. Internet problems, you know.

    They (i.e the origin of life and the origin of the universe) are UNKNOWABLES because they cannot be tested nor proven.

    Yes, "fair exchange" *is* a good thing. But gypsys, charlatans and such often don't engage in it.

  • ||

    To all those who have praised this movie; None of the ID proponents in the movie were persecuted for their beliefs. The only scientists who have lost their jobs in the US for their religious beliefs, have lost them for not supporting creationism.

    As for opening some kind of dialogue, should there also be a dialogue with astrologers? ID is not a scientific theory. Its basically the equivalent of saying, "I don't understand this, so it can't be understood, so God did it."
    If you allow ID into the science classroom, you may as well give up teaching science at all. To allow ID would lead to situations like this,

    "There are two acceptable explanations for exam questions on the diversity of life on Earth: Yo could say evolution, a scientific theory which fits all of the evidence to date, makes useful testable predictions, and is supported by mountains of experimental data and observations, or you could say that Invisible Magic Underwear Goblins did it."

  • ||

    Evolutionist think that they have the answer,then why is it they with all this knowledge are NOT able to create life, even the most simpliest cell in their laboratory, They have at their disposal every element ,every advanced apparatus, tons of know how,plus personnel?
    Why ,because they do not have any answer!

  • ||

    "This guy's editorial is a crock. Whether ID is true or not was not exactly the point of the film. The point was that people are being fired for asking uncomfortable questions. The atheists were left looking like total fools. It was pretty hilarious. Though I am an evolutionist, I can also hold a view simultaneously that something larger caused the process. Small minds have a hard time with this, and fire folks who don't hold to their ideology."

    Really...

    So it was only by sheer thundering coincidence that Ben Stein used evolution and not some other science [or heck, science in general] as his example of "people are being fired for asking uncomfortable questions"?

    Would you like to buy a bridge?

    "Evolutionist think that they have the answer,then why is it they with all this knowledge are NOT able to create life, even the most simpliest cell in their laboratory, They have at their disposal every element ,every advanced apparatus, tons of know how,plus personnel? Why ,because they do not have any answer!"

    So for you to believe that Darwin was correct we have to create life in the laboratory?

    How many times must it be said: evolution deals with life ESTABLISHED. Not how life got here in the first place.

    We don't NEED to create life in the laboratory to prove evolution to you, because that's not what the theory of evolution even deals with.

    Here. Let me help you understand that.

    Evolution: Noun. Gradual change in the characteristics of living things over successive generations, especially to a more complex form. [Colins Canadian English Dictionary]

    For us, these characteristics are the genes of the organism. Changes in the DNA changes the characteristics of the organism.

    Nowhere does it say ANYTHING about life originating, just about what happens to life after it's established.

  • dre||

    First, theories are not proven to be true as theories are generalizations that seek to explain particular phenomena. It follows that evolutionary theory is not "true," rather it is the best explanation.
    Second, even developments in string theory do not negate the existence of a god.
    In "The Hollow Men," T.S. Eliot wrote "Between the idea / And the reality / ... Falls the Shadow". Perhaps both sides of the intelligent design and Darwinism debate should consider that the texture of reality is far more rich than we perceive.

  • ||

    It follows that evolutionary theory is not "true," rather it is the best explanation.

    Well I suppose that means theories like the theory of gravity, atomic theory, the theory of relativity, etcetera, aren't "true"; they're "just the best explanation".

    Right?

    Second, even developments in string theory do not negate the existence of a god.

    The point of science is to find a NATURAL cause to NATURAL events.

    "God" has no real bearing on science, since how can you test for *A* god? Let alone the CHRISTIAN God?

    Perhaps both sides of the intelligent design and Darwinism debate should consider that the texture of reality is far more rich than we perceive.

    Is this an oblique effort to try and convince scientists that they should "consider God" as an explanation for what they're observing?

    Again. How does one test for any sort of god? What mechanism could we use?

    If you want to see something "divine" in the world around you, please, be my guest.

    But you'll get no credibility [except amongst creationists] by using "god did it" as an answer.

  • ||

    Again. How does one test for any sort of god? What mechanism could we use?

    Well, you could sacrifice a goat and ask your favourite God to make an amputated leg grow back out. If it does, and if even James Randi can't find anything suspect, I'd say that's a pretty darn positive result.

    Or you could search Mt Ararat and find the remains of a huge wooden boat and enormous mounds of fossilized feces.

    You could search the Sinai Desert and find evidence that a couple million Hebrews wandered around there for a few decades.

    You could send up a spaceship and discover that Earth is a flat disk resting on 4 giant elephants.

    Just a few examples from the top of my head. Most "holy" scriptures make distinct claims about historical events, cosmology, etc. These claims can be tested.

    I really don't understand this idea that religious claims can't be tested. Sometimes they can, sometimes they can't. Only the most consistent form of Deism can never be tested.

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