The Shame of Ben Stein, Intelligent Designer

Ben Stein, yes, the Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and yes, the Ben Stein of Comedy Central's "Win Ben Stein's Money" is the host/interviewer for an intelligent design documentary entitled, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. One tagline asserts, "Big Science has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom." The "new idea" is the old argument from design for the existence of God.

Expelled basically asserts that science is intolerant of brave scientists who question Darwinian orthodoxy on the evolution of life. They lose their jobs, don't get grants, and so forth. Anyway, the New York Times is running an article today in which various supporters of Darwinian evolution claimed to have been hoodwinked into participating in the documentary.

Now it's not nice for journalists and documentarians to mislead interviewees, but it happens all the time. When journalists mislead they generally do it by not telling interviewees everything they know. The seductive aspects of reporting were controversially discussed in Janet Malcolm's famous essay, "The Journalist and the Murderer". Now people like Richard Dawkins and Eugenie C. Scott, who were both interviewed for the movie, are highly media savvy and should not be surprised by this booking technique.

In any case, I'm sure the evolutionary biologists didn't say anything they didn't believe. The real shame of Expelled is that a prominent public personality like Ben Stein would enthusiastically participate in this project. According to the Times Stein:

...said in a telephone interview that he accepted the producers’ invitation to participate in the film not because he disavows the theory of evolution — he said there was a “very high likelihood” that Darwin was on to something — but because he does not accept that evolution alone can explain life on earth.

He said he also believed the theory of evolution leads to racism and ultimately genocide, an idea common among creationist thinkers. If it were up to him, he said, the film would be called “From Darwin to Hitler.”

Stein's Hitler remark is reminescent of the comment by fundamentalist Rev. John Roach Straton in the run-up to the Scopes trial that "Monkey men means monkey morals."

If Stein were genuinely intellectually curious about the "debate" over intelligent design, he would do well to read Judge John Jones' decision in Kitzmuller v. Dover in which the judge found it unconstitutional to teach intelligent design in public school science classes. Why? Because it is a religious belief, not a scientific theory.

Whole New York Times story here.

Some of my observations about ID and the Dover decision here

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  • Edward||

    Amazing. I always thought Ben Stein was smart and sophisticated. You never know.

  • ||

    Stick to Ron Paul posts, Edward. Those are your bread and butter.

  • ||

    What Edward said.

  • ||

    Edward:

    Ditto. I met him at a FEE event in Vegas one year. He seemed pleasant and fairly sharp, with no hint of this kind of irrationality on the surface. Blech.

    Now I'm glad thoreau took some of his money.

  • LibertyPlease||

    Seems even some of our brightest have monkey minds....

  • K.||

    They lose their jobs, don't get grants, and so forth.

    How surprising. People who suck at doing science losing their scientific jobs and not getting grants.

  • ||

    Ron

    Not fair to godwin the post before we can all get our cheap shots in! ;D

  • K.||

    Amazing. I always thought Ben Stein was smart and sophisticated. You never know.

    I just lost respect for him too.

    But then, you can know a lot about economics/personal finances/acting/etc and not know much about science.

  • ||

    "Monkey men means monkey morals."

    I am trying to figure out how any aspect of this statement is negative. Can someone help me out here?

  • ||

    He was a Nixon and Ford speechwriter and has had political writing gigs since the early '90's.

  • SIV||

    Stein dismissed monetary policy as a cause of inflation and equal weighted Keynesian bs as an explanation in the Sun NYTS. He was shilling for interest rate cuts.

    I find that more troubling than his views on eveolution.

  • thoreau||

    I'm just disappointed that I only took $850 of his money. I should have taken all $5000.

  • ||

    The notion that there may have been some sort of creator is not inherently stupid. But it is also not scientific, or anything close to it. Stein really ought to know that.

  • ||

    Reality: Stein...

    (No answer)

    Reality: Stein...

    Simone: Um, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who saw Stein lose any ounce of sanity at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

    Reality: Thank you Simone.

    Simone: No problem whatsoever.

  • SIV||

    he would do well to read Judge John Jones' decision in Kitzmuller v. Dover in which the judge found it unconstitutional to teach intelligent design in public school science classes. Why? Because it is a religious belief, not a scientific theory.

    Talk about "appeal to authority" I'm supposed to let some Judge tell me what is science and what is religon? This is a libertarian blog ain't it? Judges might prefer the WoDs or a centrally planned economy (I think many do on both counts)

  • ||

    I don't know anything about intelligent design theory, but I bet 90% of the problems people have with Darwin, et al, could be solved by having scientists behave a little more honestly.

    The honest answer is that we really don't know shit. Evolution theory is undoubtedly correct in some aspects, but it isn't perfect and doesn't yet explain everything. If scientists would stop being so arrogant and just admit what they don't know, people probably wouldn't be so defensive...

    The thing is, when scientists talk to each other, they talk about all the cool stuff they don't know. When they talk to the public they are loathe to admit that there's anything they don't know.

  • JBinMO||

    Bueler....Bueler.....Bueler...

  • Timothy||

    You'll shoot your eye out, Ralphy.

  • ||

    "Monkey men means monkey morals."

    I am trying to figure out how any aspect of this statement is negative. Can someone help me out here?


    Don't you get it? The guy who said that was a creationist nutjob? So anything he said can;t be given careful consideration or a reasoned review...and as for Stein, well if he thinks he is so smart as to question that which has been concluded by smarter men then he, well, then he must be one of those fundie morons too. Science! Now with twice the certainty!

    (and I actually think evolution is prolly the best explanation we have for that which we can explain)

  • Dave B.||

    SIV -

    An appeal to authority would sound like "intelligent design is religion, a judge even said so." An appeal to reason sounds more like "read this convincing argument that supports my views." You can't dismiss something just because an authority figure says it anymore than you can trust it just because an authority figure says it.

  • QSL||

    Let me just preface things by saying that I believe in both Darwinian evolution and the notion that there's indeed a universal "intelligent realm" behind these things that lives in harmony with the science, as proposed by the likes of Gerald Schroeder, et al.

    Now having said that, Stein is wrong on this one. I'd applaud him if he wanted to write books or speak in private forums about the subject, but the ID proponents need to realize that the more they try to horn into the public school classrooms, the more scorn they shall receive (and rightly so).

  • ||

    Feeling ... baited ... into evolution thread.

    Must stop ...

  • ||

    Were there ever any questions regarding Occam's Razor on "Win Ben Stein's Money"?

  • Dave B.||

    As far as the "monkey men means monkey morals" statement goes, its negative because its supposed to mean that if evolution is true, all morality goes out the window. How can someone whe claims that evolution implies that murder is ok not be a jackass?

  • ||

    We evolved into what we are now due to pcilocybin containing mushrooms, ancient culutres that worshipped the goddess. Mother earth. check out the book food of the gods by Terrence Mckenna (deceased). A radical history of plants, drugs and human evolution. It SHOULD probably be the modern guideline for evolutionary thinking. All humanity has it's roots in indigenous cultures, and they were the shamans. Our fall from grace, the garden of eden, all symbolic of the ancient times when the higher power had a baby with mother earth. Don't beleive it? Eat magic mushrooms!
    Read food of the gods. Dear god i hope this message gets to someone with true intelligence and isn't brushed off by the ego driven, dominant men. Let go of any concept of god or evolution you have. It is false. So is mine, but at least I'm open minded!

  • shecky||

    Stein has been writing whacko stuff for a while now. Last time I read him was on WND. Should have been a clue.

  • ||

    "Monkey men means monkey morals."

    God, shmod. I want my monkey man!

  • ||

    Oh, Ralphy. Who is this "we" who doesn't know shit? You got a mouse in your pocket? Biologists know a great deal about the development of life on Earth, and the evidence all points to evolution by natural selection.

    I don't know of a single scientist who claims it "explains everything" -- it doesn't, for example, explain why you and Ben Stein are such hacks. Like all of science, the theory of evolution is incomplete, and it is revised constantly as new evidence arises and old evidence is re-evaluated. But there is no longer any reason to doubt the basic premise of evolution by natural selection.

    Fools like Ben Stein reject scientific evidence not because of the arrogance you so ridiculously ascribe to scientists, but because they don't like what that evidence has to say about their superstitions.

  • ||

    On the one hand, he graduated first in his class at Yale Law, on the other hand, he publicly accused Bob Woodward of fabricating the existence of Deep Throat. So, we have an incredibly smart guy who gets a wrong idea in his head and won't let it go.

  • ||

    pinko:

    Monkey men means monkey morals.

    Perhaps the good reverend was worried about the sexual exuberance of the bonobos. ;-)

    SIV: Read the judge's opinion not because he's a judge, but because he cites some scientific evidence that you might find persuasive.

  • ||

    The problem with intelligent design is that its proponents practice massive intellectual dishonesty. They are searching for questions to support the answer they already have. Working backwards from the answer is one of the easiest things in the world. You can exclude any evidence that doesn't fit your axiom based solely on the fact that it does not fit your axiom.

    (And any scientist who did this I would also call a bullshit artist.)

    BG,

    Occam's Razor fails when you have an axiom like "God exists." If the explanation with fewest assumptions always contains the "God existence" assumption, then any mystery can be solved by "God did it / must have wanted it that way."

  • ||

    Ben Stein has been a shameless partisan hack for years. He says whatever the Republican Noise Machine tells him to say.

    You think it's a coincidence that his preferred title "From Darwin to Hitler." is exactly the same as an actual documentary that came out this month denouncing evolution?

  • ||

    How can someone whe claims that evolution implies that murder is ok not be a jackass?

    Because then he would be a jackass man...and everyone who has seen 2001 knows there were no jackasses in that movie.

  • ||

    Ralphy

    There is a vast distance between saying that evolutionary theory is incomplete and saying that a religious belief is an equivalently valid hypothesis.

    One of the reasons that scientists do not like to discuss problems in evolutionary theory with non-scientists is that non-scientists interpret disagreeing over details as disagreeing over basics.

    The fundamentalists love to sieze on things like the purported* split between the "gradualists" and the advocates of "punctuated equilibrium" as some sort of proof that the disputants have a problem with evolution itself.

    *I say "purported" because it was clear to anyone who read Gould's comments on Punctuated Equilibrium that what he referred to as "sudden change" still took thousands of generation. The change was "sudden" only because it was relatively brief when compared to the interval between such changes.

  • ||

    Kyle

    Can you explain/clarify your thesis in a way that makes it easier for me to understand what you're getting at?

    Or do I just have to take magic mushrooms, at which point it will all make perfect sense? (If thats the case, I'll consider doing so. And even if its not, I'll consider doing so just for fun.)

  • ||

    Ben is not a conservative. He donated $2,000.00 to Al Franken.

    It is a little bit scary. Reagan showed early signs of Alzheimers in 1987, Bush, both of them, have shown brian degneration while in office, Buckley believs Hillary would govern as a moderate because she used to be a Goldwater girl.
    Does everybody go nuts when they get older?
    Looks like it.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    How can someone whe claims that evolution implies that murder is ok not be a jackass?

    1. I don't think the claim is that evolution implies that murder is okay.

    2. I think the claim is that if evolution explained everthing then murder would be okay, but murder is not okay so evolution does not explain everything.

    3. Ralphy nails it.

  • ||

    Ben Stein's did not do this because he's too dumb or too scientifically illiterate to know better. He most certainly is not.

    He did this because he was told that only nasty liberal Democrats deny Intelligent Design, and he falls for that trick every single time.

  • ||

    If you wanted to, you could go to the National Review Online web page, and browse the numerous political pieces he has written for them over the years.

    Yeah, THAT National Review. But he's not a conservative, despite his oft-stated views, because he donated to the political campaign of a friend he knows from his acting career.

  • ||

    Ok! In the smallest dose, magic mushrooms increase eyesight by 10%, that is in modern man. Second dosage, anything over a gram, will make you more sexually active. In the largest dosage is the profound visionary expereience. Symbols, language, halucinations. Now, monkey man can see better, he can hunt more, he can eat more, he can have more monkey kids! Ancient hindu's drank a mystical drink called soma, it is my contention that it was mushroom tea, with honey and milk. Hindus hold the cow as a sacred animal, magic mushrooms grow in cow dung. Domestication of caddle arose at the same period as mushroom use. The list goes on, eat the mushroom man! Connect to the collective overmind of the universe, the spores from mushrooms can travel through space wiuthout dying!!!!

  • Timothy||

    Democrats must be in favor of eye redness, also.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Stein clearly is terrorifed of Eugenics, and believes that Darwinism is responsible. What a tool.

  • ||

    Is Kyle really tros? Or do they just party together?

    More importantly, how much psylocibin would Ben Stein have to do before he recants?

  • ||

    Darwin and Mendel's work did kinda lead to eugenics, but the theory of relativity brought us the fucking atom bomb and we're not still using newtonian mechanics are we? Science is frequently wrong (and that shakes out eventually), but it's never Wrong

  • ||

    I'm with joe--Stein's no liberal.

    I'm in the unfortunate position of having to send a stepson to a private high school that is teaching him Creationism. I don't mind him growing up with religion so much, but this anti-science nonsense is distressing. I've told him flat out that the school is wrong, and that the ID position means that cosmology, biology, geology, and a number of other sciences are wrong, despite mountains of proof to the contrary, but I'm not sure that I'm winning this battle. It's particularly frustrating because he has some ambition to be an engineer.

    We have valid reasons for sending him to this school, but the anti-science indoctrination is the hardest part to swallow. For people with strong religious beliefs, you'd think the evidence of the universe itself would be more compelling than some words written by people long ago. Or not so long ago in some instances.

  • PirateFish||

    Do you think they cover the Flying Spagetti Monster?

  • ||

    What in ID could even be consider science? A theory alone is not science.

  • ||

    he does not accept that evolution alone can explain life on earth

    ARGH! No self-respecting scientist says it does!

    Why can't people separate the origin of life from the origin of species? Is the concept so difficult?

    Oh, if only there were an easy way to explain the RNA world to laymen.

  • UM||

    Kyle, not sure if you're serious or not, but any of the crap from Carl Ruck or Terence McKenna is just that: crap. It's an even more one-size-fits-all argument than anything H&R commenters conceive of as religion and it has even less proof...

  • ||

    Democrats must be in favor of eye redness, also.

    If Democrats were objectively pro-eye redness, they'd get a lot more libertarian votes.





    Wait, what was I JUST saying?

  • ||

    BG,

    Occam's Razor fails when you have an axiom like "God exists." If the explanation with fewest assumptions always contains the "God existence" assumption, then any mystery can be solved by "God did it / must have wanted it that way."



    I wouldn't say that Occam's Razor fails; but that people who reason the way you describe are failing to use it (or at least failing to use it correctly).

    Evolutoin by natural selection explains the diversity of complex life forms in terms of processes and entities which have been observed and scientifically corroborated. We don't need to have axioms like "DNA exists" or "genetic material, and often accompanying traits, are passed on to an organism's offspring". We know these things exist/happen based on data from observation and experimentation.

    For contrast purposes, imagine someone with an axiom like: "highly-intelligent aliens from other planets exist on earth". Imagine this person trying to explain events and phenomena by saying the aliens did it/wanted it that way. And suppose there are entities which have been demonstrated to exist (unlike the hypothetical aliens); which can explain those events and phenomena. Its clear that the person advocating the Alien Causation Hypothesis would be violating/failing to apply Occam's Razor.

  • ||

    It gets worse. He had a brief opportunity to pick his own position. He chose theistic evolution, which I thought was fine. All that really means, apparently, is that he believes in a creator but accepts evolution, etc. His teacher--this is his science teacher, mind you--said "Great, but please keep an open mind." An open mind about the Creationist dogma, of course. I almost lost it when I read that comment. Why they won't accept the world as it obviously exists is beyond me.

  • ||

    ...if evolution explained everthing then murder would be okay...



    Good luck supporting that claim.

  • kyle||

    UM, have you ever eaten mushrooms? Have you ever danced in a drum circle ecstatically with no control over your body? Have you ever had a profound mystical experience of any kind? Those theories are all encumbosing because they preach one-ness with the earth, something you've probably never felt.

  • Shannon Love||

    I think a lot of the resistance to evolutionary explanations to the origins of life springs from the adoption of non-Darwinian evolutionary theories by Communist and Fascist. I'm a committed Darwinist myself but objectively if one looks at the broad sweep of political ideologies in the 20th century, there is a powerful correlation between the degree to which a philosophy adopted some materialistic evolutionary explanation and the likelihood its adherents would go a killing spree.

    Much as I hate to admit it, I think Ben maybe onto something when he said, "Monkey men, monkey morals." Many people have used evolutionary theory as a means to undermine adherence to traditional religions in many cultures but they have not managed to replace it with a moral framework that functions as well as the religious one did.

    It would certainly help matters if people on the secular Left weren't such blithering hypocrites about the entire matter. For them, anyone who doesn't accept a materialistic explanation for life is a religiously deluded moron but any one who believes natural selection is the mechanism of evolution is a fascist.

    A pox on both their houses.

  • ||

    Kyle

    If you're thesis is that consumption of psycoactive mushrooms was common in many ancient socities, and that such consumption influenced the way belief systems and cultural practices developed, I find that fairly plausible.

    But when you start talking about grandiose things like "the collective overmind of the universe", I feel the need to refer you to my comments on Occam's Razor.

  • ||

    Jake

    we're not still using newtonian mechanics are we?

    Actually, we do use Newtonian mechanics all the time. It is perfectly valid for non-relativistic velocities and masses.

    I realize I am nit-picking here, but I think that the Newton/Einstein analogy is not a good one in this situation. Modern geology, astronomy and evolution are absolutely incompatible with Biblical literalism. Einstein refined some special cases of Newton's work, but did not invalidate it.

  • Stan Marsh||

    But couldn't evolution be the answer to how and not to why?

  • ||

    "there is a powerful correlation between the degree to which a philosophy adopted some materialistic evolutionary explanation and the likelihood its adherents would go a killing spree"

    I've found that to be the case with religions that promote intolerance of other people. Look at all the wars that have been fought throughout history in the name of religion.

  • ||

    BG, we are not in disagreement. I was only using "fails" in the sense of "if you feed faulty data into Occam's Razor you get faulty results." Any construct built to guide reason can be corrupted by the injection of faith at any point in its calculation.

    Or, to give it a snarky spin "2+2=5 if you just believe hard enough."

  • Timothy||

    Well at least Mr. Stein isn't one of the secret designers of secret designs.

  • ||

    kyle is either intentionally or unintentionally the funniest commenter in recent memory. I defy anyone to challenge me on this point.

  • ||

    "Occam's Razor fails when you have an axiom like "God exists." If the explanation with fewest assumptions always contains the "God existence" assumption, then any mystery can be solved by "God did it / must have wanted it that way."

    You are still left with the question of how did God do it? Does he have hands with which to work? Does he have a physical brain with which to think? Saying God created it solves nothing.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Humans butchering each other in the hundreds of thousands didn't start after Darwin published the Origin of Species in 1859. Indeed, it didn't even take the advent of secular ideologies to achieve that: the fact that 250,000 to 300,000 English, Scots, Welsh and Irish died in the British Civil War or that another 500,000 died in the German Peasants War (both religious conflicts in significant part) ought to tell us that.

  • ||

    SugarFree

    Very well then.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Shannon Love,

    So do "religious men equal religious morals?" Are the religious inherently more good or more moral (whatever the heck that means) than the secular? I really don't think so.

    Anyway, whatever one might say of the influence of Darwinism on Nazi ideology, Nazi ideology was suffused with all manner of mystical and religious influences. Which why things like the magical blood of Nazi marytrs existed.

  • ||

    SugarFree:

    2 + 2 = 5 for extremely large values of 2.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Shannon Love,

    I'm a committed Darwinist myself but objectively if one looks at the broad sweep of political ideologies in the 20th century, there is a powerful correlation between the degree to which a philosophy adopted some materialistic evolutionary explanation and the likelihood its adherents would go a killing spree.

    If I look over the broad sweep of human history I see millions upon millions of human beings killed over the nature of their religious beliefs. Uncompromising, unitary, etc. visions of the world seem to be the issue, not whether they are religious, materialistic, etc. not.

  • ||

    Evolution doesn't explain why I can't find my car keys in the morning. It also can't explain why bats seem so creepy. Therfore its wrong.

    The ID/creationist debate doesn't get much more sophisticated than that.

  • Shannon Love||

    Rattlesnake,

    Look at all the wars that have been fought throughout history in the name of religion.

    That's a common concept but I don't think it bears up under close scrutiny. The idea that "religion" causes war presumes that because people with religious beliefs use their religions to justify their wars, the wars would not have occurred except for the religion. I don't think that really holds water upon closer examination. I think in most cases that reverses causality. I think people want to fight wars and then use religion to justify their actions. Had there been atheistic cultures in medieval times I think they would have fought just as many wars, They would have simply justified them differently.

    Besides, the political track record on explicitly anti-religious regimes is not good, starting with the French revolution and going forward through communism.

  • dhex||

    Evolution doesn't explain why I can't find my car keys in the morning.

    lack of environmental pressures to make car key finding a selectable trait?

  • Paul||

    Ben Stein has been a shameless partisan hack for years.

    joe, calm down. He's a partisan hack the way 99.9823475% of hollywood celebrities are.

    However, I'm very disappointed with Mr. Stein.

  • Paul||

    Look at all the wars that have been fought throughout history in the name of religion.

    Rattlesnake:

    Throughout history, most cultures have been religious.

  • SIV||

    Darwin and Mendel's work did kinda lead to eugenics, but the theory of relativity brought us the fucking atom bomb

    Atomic bombs are morally neutral. Eugenics is not.

    Bronwyn,

    he does not accept that evolution alone can explain life on earth

    ARGH! No self-respecting scientist says it does!


    I haven't counted but some commenters (see Shannon for one) are under the same misconception that Darwinian evolution explains the origin of life. Personally, I don't have "faith" that 1 in 50 public school science teachers are capable of understanding evolution much less teach it (that is not an endorsement of them teaching alternatives to it).

  • ||

    I believe some religions do promote warfare when they promote intolerance of others' viewpoints. People have fought over things as silly as whether Jesus' body and blood are physically consumed at Communion.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Shannon Love,

    Also, just by way of example, check out the responses to Locke's Letter On Toleration sometime. Locke spent the good part of the last fifteen years or so of his life defending against almost innumerable written attacks his vision of what one might think of today as an Spinozan political order tolerant of religious difference.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Shannon Love,

    I think people want to fight wars and then use religion to justify their actions.

    In that you are simply wrong. Unless the mountains of material we have in which people discuss their actions are simply a form of self-delusion. Religion as community identity has been the cassus belli for many, many wars. Indeed, can you imagine a British Civil War sans Charles I trying to force through his Laudian reforms on the Scottish Presbyterian church? I really don't think it would have started without such.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    SIV,

    A lot of folks I think confuse the origins of life with the post-origin evolution of life.

  • Shannon Love||

    Syloson of Samos,

    Anyway, whatever one might say of the influence of Darwinism on Nazi ideology,...

    Nazi and Marxist alike were not Darwisnist but rather believed in another once widely scientifically accepted idea of evolution called orthogenesis (correct creation). Orthogenesis holds that unknown perfecting forces drive species along a predetermined path. In this view, competition merely functions to execute those individuals who deviate from the preordained path.

    The primary driver of evolution in Darwinism is diversity/variation. Its easy to see how both Marxist and Fascist would be uncomfortable with that idea.

    Uncompromising, unitary, etc. visions of the world seem to be the issue, not whether they are religious, materialistic, etc. not.

    I agree. I simply object to the idea that religious i.e. belief in non-materialistic causations, beliefs in an of themselves trigger violence. I lot of people make the de facto argument that since they are not religious, their ideologies won't be dangerous.

    More to the point of this thread, people who base their acceptance of evolutionary theory on watching the real-world actions of ideologies purporting to spring from it, have real cause to believe that evolutionary theory leads to dangerous philosophies. That idea is I think wrong because no one has actually based on political ideology on actual natural selection and all it implies. However, only people with a specialist knowledge of evolutionary theory and the history of the idea of evolution itself can clearly see that. For the laity it really looks like evolutionary theory presents real dangers.

  • Jim Lippard||

    The intelligent design people at the Discovery Institute already do have a book titled "From Darwin to Hitler."

  • ||

    Rattlesnake Jake,

    "silly as whether Jesus' body and blood are physically consumed at Communion."

    Silly?? Watch your back! Your on my list!

  • ||

    Rattlesnake Jake,

    Did they fight wars over whether the body of Christ was physically consumed?

    Or did they fight wars over whether some group of people should be subject to the edicts of some authority?

  • ||

    Look at all the wars in Great Britain in which Syloson mentions one. Queen Mary wasn't known as Bloody Mary for nothing. She was Catholic and persecuted Protestants. Protestants would get their sweet revenge when Comstock came to power.

  • ||

    "Did they fight wars over whether the body of Christ was physically consumed?"

    "Or did they fight wars over whether some group of people should be subject to the edicts of some authority?"

    The latter, but the edicts were of a religious nature.

  • ||

    Did they fight wars over whether the body of Christ was physically consumed?

    Or did they fight wars over whether some group of people should be subject to the edicts of some authority?


    And now we also fight wars over our weapons...real or imaginary. Science and technology win!

  • ||

    Also, Communists rejected the notion that biology determined human history, and was the source of conflict between human groups. They were materialists, to be sure, but they were not biological materialists.

    Culture-as-an-expression-of-power-relations was the motive force in Marxist thought. The idea that the material functioning of the natural world drove human history was the polar opposite of communists' theory of history.

    There just isn't any way to reconcile the communists' ideas about the malleability of the human character and the cultural foundation of who survives and who perishes with the principles of evolution.

    In a sense, the communists were the ultimate partisans of the "nurture" side of the debate, and the Nazis the ultimate partisans of the "nature side."

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Evolution doesn't explain why I can't find my car keys in the morning. It also can't explain why bats seem so creepy. Therfore its wrong.

    (Your point is obviously sound but just saying) actually, you probably can come up with an explanation for either of those phenomena that relates to evolution. I'm not saying there's adequate evidence now for those explanations to succeed, but it doesn't seem implausible --

    Why can't I find my keys? The cognitive functions that enable tasks like finding my keys were rarely necessary for the survival or reproduction of individuals in the early evolutionary environment, and thus no selection pressure was exerted in that direction.

    Why are bats creepy? What we're really saying here is, why do humans find bats creepy? Humans find bats creepy because in the early evolutionary environment, being in the presence of bats or creatures that resembled bats in some relevant way was a detriment to survival or reproduction. People attracted to bats (or something resembling bats) were more likely to die or otherwise fail to reproduce (perhaps due to bat-transmitted disease); people who found bats repulsive and fled were more likely to survive and pass on the genes that give a propensity to believe "bats are gross". Over time, the "bats are gross" crowd grows while the "aww, I think I'll try to hug those adorable bats; hey, why do I have rabies?" crowd died.

  • ||

    A lot of folks I think confuse the origins of life with the post-origin evolution of life.

    A lot of folks also confuse evolution within a species with trans-species evolution.

    Though, if you're trying to get ID into public schools, I think you're shooting yourself in the foot. If experience has taught us nothing, it's that the public schools inevitably fail at what they try to do.

    I mean, seriously, schools have been teaching evolution only for decades and overwhelming majorities of Americans still believe in some form of creationism.

    If they start teaching ID, I think in another generation or two, the country would be almost 100% atheist. ;)

  • ||

    And for the record, human beings don't need much of an excuse to kill, maim, murder, defraud, steal, rape or pillage one another. It seems to come fairly naturally to our species.

  • ||

    Ben Stein is not well liked or even really accepted among conservatives. I once had an e-mail exchange with a fairly prominant conservative opinion writer about Herb Stein, Ben Stein's father and an accomplished economist and someone whome we had both met. The topic of Ben Stein came up and this guy at least was of the opinion that Ben Stein was about the worst human being on earth and said that pretty much everyone in the conservative establishment agreed.

    Stein to the extent that he is a conservative is of the paleo kind closer to Pat Buchananon than anything else. He used to write some awful things in Front Page magazine about how wonderful the antebellum South was, how horrible Lincoln was and how the North winning the Civil War ruined the country. It was just appalling stuff. I think he is pretty much a media whore and I am sure he did this documentary for the money if nothing else.

    The Darwin to Hitler idea bugs the hell out of me. I really object to the idea that religion or lack of religion create a better world. Bullshit. Man is what he is. From a Christian perpective, Where did Jesus ever promise anything on this earth to his followers but ridicule and scorn? The purpose of Christianity is to save our sinful souls from eternal damnation in the next life, not create paradise in this one. If we could do that, we wouldn't need Jesus to return would we? It drives me crazy when bible thumping Christians, some of whom write for your magazine, talk about how wonderful the world is because of religion. Well, that is true insofar as billions of souls have been saved from eternal damnation in the next life because of Christianity. As far as this world goes, regardless of religion man is still in a horrible fallen state away from God and cannot help himself but to sin and generally make a mess of the place. To claim Christianity can stop that is no different than believing God will pay off your credit cards if only you pray hard enough.

    The same can be said for lack of religion. Man is in a fallen state and cannot help himself but to make a mess of things. That will happen regardless of what he beleives.

  • ||

    Baisically, the Nazis didn't happen because of Darwinism, the Nazis happened becaus that is what man does.

  • ||

    Rattlesnake Jake,

    I used to live in a city called Fitchburg. It was a mill town, with a big river running through it.

    Originally, in colonial times, it has been the western section of a town called Lunenberg. Then somebody realized that he could build a grist mill on the river. Then a store. Then an inn. A pretty good commercial district got going in the center of Fitchburg.

    A few years later, the mill owners and store owners and some of the more prosperous farmers got together and petitioned the legislature to allow Fitchburg to incorporate as its own town.

    The reason they gave was that the ride to the meeting house in Lunenberg center for services on Sunday morning was too long and arduous for the women-folk. Upon winning the vote, these petitioners became the first generation of Fitchburg's poitical leaders.

    I suppose one could say it was about religion. I'll bet a pretty good number of the farmers who were asked to support the seccession on the grounds of religion did so, passionately, so that they could have a meeting house closer to their homes. Heck, some of the mill owners and merchants might have convinced themselves of that, too.

    But it seems to me that it is pretty rare in human history that anything political happens solely in the name of God, without somebody having some sort of a decidedly earthly angle.

  • Shannon Love||

    Syloson of Samos,

    Unless the mountains of material we have in which people discuss their actions are simply a form of self-delusion

    Why not? As a species we do seem very prone to self-delusion. Beside, many scholars operating from a perspective of Marxism or cultural materialism have identified many non-religous factors such as economics, class and ethnic conflict in many supposedly religious wars. People might believe they fight for religious reason when in fact they have other concerns they might not want to admit to themselves they are willing to kill for.

    I am sure that religious disagreements have caused wars. I am not sure, however, that on the whole, we would have seen fewer wars overall if people held strictly materialistic beliefs.

    For one thing, we have built in biases in history. Prior to circa 1792, no widespread materialistic ideologies existed that possessed the power actually needed to fight wars. We can't say with any factual basis for example that an atheistic medieval Europe would not have been a land of incessant warfare or that a mass military campaign such as the Crusades would not have occurred. We have no data.

    Secondly, we can't see the wars that religion headed off. A war that never happened is largely invisible to history. For all we know, based on available data, religion might stifle more wars than it triggers.

    Religion hasn't played a major role in the wars of the last two hundred years yet one cannot say it has been a non-violent era. Even the current War on Terror is relatively minor compared to the secular wars of WWI,WWII and the Cold War.

    I think the sad truth is that humans seek overarching explanations for reality and that they are willing to kill to defend those explanations. I don't think it matters whether the explanations have roots in religion or materialistic doctrines.

  • SIV||

    Ron,

    I skipped the pdf and went to your article
    where, if I'm skimming correctly, it states that the judge didn't rule on ID, but on the wackiness proposed by the Dover school board.

    Meanwhile, the Discovery Institute, the chief promoter of the ID movement, claims to have been dismayed by the Dover School Board's activities. They say they had advised the board not to mandate the teaching of ID.

    As I stated above, I don't think 1 in 50 Public School science teachers are capable of understanding (much less teaching) Darwinian evolution.I wouldn't expect any better ratio on ID.I have a great appreciation of subversive ideas and skepticism. ID has driven evolutionists ballistic. Whereas "Scientific Creationism" was laughably absurd and easily proven BS there seems to be a "fear" of ID catching on as a philosophical idea.

  • ||

    "Whereas "Scientific Creationism" was laughably absurd and easily proven BS there seems to be a "fear" of ID catching on as a philosophical idea." That's nuts. Respectable scientists don't "fear" that their grad students and tommorrows future great scientists will suddenly see the brilliance of ID (which as Bailey and others note is largely the same as "scientific creationism"), they are worried, as they were with creationism explicit, that it will be forced on generations of students via politics.

  • ||

    I find claims of religion as a strongly civilizing force improbable in the sweep of history. The claim that religion is a prerequisite for moral action is absurd on its face. You are really going to tell me that Bertrand Russell was killing people off and eating babies in his spare time? If just he was a broadly decent person, doesn't that invalidate the entire claim?

  • ||

    Treat others as you would like to be treated.

    Many of us have found ourselves on the dissent end of a consensus, such as global warming or passive smoke, and whenever that rolls around we all say "consensus is not part of the method" and other things asserting the right of the skeptic.

    No matter how rediculous the dissent we must allow people to have their say, after all, with fair honest application of the scientific method there is no danger intelligent design will win out.

    Lets just not go the path of the global warming eco-fascists.

  • ||

    But it seems to me that it is pretty rare in human history that anything political happens solely in the name of God, without somebody having some sort of a decidedly earthly angle.
    (emphasis added)

    Maybe religious motives aren't the sole motivating factor in many aspects of human affairs; but there is alot happens that would be extremely difficult or impossible to pull off without getting alot of people to cooperate based on their religious views. Some examples:

    - The Inquisition: I'm sure some people who claimed to have seen their neighbors contracting with the devil or engaging in saucery(sp?) just did it to settle a grudge or get their property. And some torturers were merely sadists. But plenty of people participating didn't benefit from it, and many participants were at least theoretically at risk of being denounced themselves. It would be much harder to get away with something like that if there weren't significant numbers of people who thought there was something to the catholic church's metaphysical claims.

    - Prohibitions on consenting-adult sodomy: Some people may support such prohibitions just because it grosses them out and they don't care about the freedom of others. And some uber-paternalists might be willing to throw out all sexual liberty due to sexually transmitted diseases. But naked intolerance is a much tougher sell if you can't convince some people with an argument like: "God says so and divine orders trump any human interest in freedom or pleasure".

    - The Temple Mount: The intensity of each side's desire for juristdiction or access to this piece of land, and the extent to which it has hindered the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, is clearly out of proportion to its economic value.

    There are undoubtedly other examples, but I think its clear that people's beliefs are a significant motivation factor in many human affairs.

  • ||

    "The problem with intelligent design is that its proponents practice massive intellectual dishonesty. They are searching for questions to support the answer they already have"

    much like nearly every 'social scientist' in the sociology, women's studies, ethnic studies, etc. dept's i might add. same syndrome, different idiots. see, for example, what happened when larry summers mentioned research about cognitive differences between men and women. i totally agree that ID'ers are (to a large extent) people working backwards (ok, we have the theory. now lets get the right evidence to support our theory and ignore everything else... syndrome).

    derb, at national review has done some GREAT pieces just skewering ID'ers. simply put, whether or not ID'ers are right is irrelevant. it's not SCIENCE. ID is not science. it's really THAT simple. thus, it should not be taught as science.

  • ||

    "In that you are simply wrong. Unless the mountains of material we have in which people discuss their actions are simply a form of self-delusion. Religion as community identity has been the cassus belli for many, many wars. Indeed, can you imagine a British Civil War sans Charles I trying to force through his Laudian reforms on the Scottish Presbyterian church? I really don't think it would have started without such."

    which isn't the same thing, of course, as saying that religion was the cause of these wars, or more importantly, that we wouldn't have at least as many wars (and govt. sponsored violence w.o religion)

    the fact is that (especially in the timeframe mentioned) most people were religious. therefore, it would be surprising if we didn't see them using religion so often as a causus belli.

    however, if there is one thing the 20th century made abundantly clear, it is that the rise of "official state mandated atheism" and numerous nation states that were officially atheist, were at least as (if not more) prone to fight wars. they just didn't use religion as an excuse. they used other stuff.

    i think that prior to the 20th century, it was a reasonable assumption (even if incorrect) that religion was the cause of so much war and strife n stuff, and if only (see: john lennon) we got rid of these mythologies, we would all be living in a much more peaceful world.

    i don't think any rational student of history can believe that after digesting the rapacious murderous warlike recent history of the world.

    the fact is that man is a churlish, selfish, aggressive, warlike beast. it's not religion's fault.

  • ||

    There are eye conditions, retinopathies, where blood vessels in the retina leak. Sometimes, in various parts of our anatomy, the body limits the damage caused from leaking blood vessels and saves organs and functions by growing new blood vessels. But with some retinopathies, the new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina as well, causing blindness.

    It's easy to see the mechanisms of adaptation and selection (evolution) at work here. It's rather harder to see design, unless the designer is thought to be malicious or not too intelligent.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Religion as a community institution (and that has been one of its primary roles) has been one of the most significant forces in the sweep of human history. As such its role in the wars that humans undertake has been quite significant.

    Shannon Love,

    Religion has played a significant role in many wars over the past two hundred years, and that includes wars like the American Civil War and WWI where religious language by the participants was often at a fever pitch.

    I am not sure, however, that on the whole, we would have seen fewer wars overall if people held strictly materialistic beliefs.

    I don't think anyone made such an argument. Then again, it is hard to me to imagine a the French Wars of Religion taking place without the community religion based strife between the two confessional communities of France. Certainly the savagery of those wars is hard to imagine without such - St. Bart's Day being a good example of such. In this case (and the other wars associated with the Reformation) we're talking about conflicts which saw the slaughter, starvation, etc. of hundreds of thousands of people in nations which had far smaller populations than they had in the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • ||

    he would do well to read Judge John Jones' decision in Kitzmuller v. Dover in which the judge found it unconstitutional to teach intelligent design in public school science classes. Why? Because it is a religious belief, not a scientific theory.

    I'm not sure how impressed Stein (J.D. Yale, 1970--and first in his class, according to Wikipedia) would be by Judge Jones's (J.D., Dickinson School of Law, 1980) opinion.

  • ||

    Ben Stein, yes, the Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and yes, the Ben Stein of Comedy Central's "Win Ben Stein's Money"

    Ben Stein is also the son of Herb Stein, who was A. Willis Robertson Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia (where I believe he may have taught economics major Ronald Bailey).

    Interestingly, Regent University founder and intelligent design supporter Pat Robertson is the son of former Senate Banking Committee chairman A. Willis Robertson (D-Va.).

  • ||

    Gaijin, Dave B., Bart Simpson, Ron Bailey et al,

    I meant that monkey morals are fine by me. Monkeys, and their morals, don't even come close to being as troublesome as homo sapiens, and morals.

  • ||

    Um their morals...that's all

  • ||

    If we were intelligently designed, I wouldn't have hair on my tucchus, and my member wouldn't drip after taking a leak

  • Bad||

    I've been following this movie for awhile now. Short version: Intelligent Design is so intellectually bankrupt that it's now moved almost exclusively to kvetching about persecution and oppression. We can pretty much already map this movie out: lots of one-sided claims about abuses on ID people without any honest accounting of what actually happened + carefully selected "scary" quotes from atheists + Darwin = Hitler. Wrap that puppy up in a faux outlaw chique, hire the "Last Temptation of Christ" PR team to market it directly to churches, and make boku moola... as well as lots of people more angry AND more stupid.

  • ||

    Intelligent Design isn't new. Stein showed his ignorance right from the start. This originated with Paley among others before Darwin even started working on his theory. This is over 150 years ago. In that time, it has gone absolutely nowhere. It gets resurrected from time to time. Sorry, once a zombie, always a zombie.

    Stein IMO isn't all that bright. I once read a pop financial piece a year ago that was so dumb, I made a note of the author who I had never heard of. His name was.....Ben Stein. Funny how he showed up in Expelled. Maybe he isn't quite that dumb. Presumably he got paid for this propaganda film.

  • Bad||

    Oh, but Ben IS a genius. A short lived second blog post on the official movie site said so... at least until the authors thought better of it and yanked it down. It read, in part:

    "And if we re-read Ben Stein's words here again and again (as I have)…we may still not quite comprehend the full implications of his thoughts. But keep trying, if you misunderstood them…it's worth it."

    As I wrote: the emphasis was, incredibly, actually in the original.

  • Joe||

    Food for thought: Neither theory of the origin of the universe is scientifically provable. Why? Because science is the study of what we can observe. The scientific method deals with observable results. We cannot prove either scientifically wrong or right because neither can be observed because they are things of the past.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Everyone has to believe in something so I believe I'll have another glass of wine. It isn't ID, Big Bang, or Evolution.

    Clearly, wine is the Only Answer.

  • Donut||

    You people who believe in "evolutionism" have simply been brainwashed! I wonder if any of you would have ever come up with the THEORY without the powers that be pounding it down your throats for the past century?

    Look up evolution in the dictionary and you will get six different definitions. Evolution is not a science it is a belief system, a religion unto itself. I believe in micro evolution which is simply adaptation. I do not believe that you can get a totally different creature out of another creature and that is what evolution teaches. Did anyone ever see a Banana give rise to a Monkey?

    Let's sum up what evolution really is: Four point five billion years ago our planet was a rock. It started raining on the rock and all life sprung from the prebiotic soup created by the rain and the rock. That is truly what all of these "Scientists" believe in and that is all evolution is after you remove all of the clever sophistry and rhetoric.

    One more thing...The human eye is an amazing piece of engineering, though people who argue for evolution are always saying God did a horrible job by putting the blood vessels in front of the optics...If the blood vessels were behind the lens the suns ultra violet rays would fry it and we'd all be walking into trees and falling off cliffs!

  • ||

    I don't have the energy to explain the problem with Donut's argument right now. If this thread is still active tomorrow I'll continue the debate. For now I'll just link to a very good general rebuttal that I've read.

    http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/pearly/htmls/gop-evolution.html

  • ||

    Don't worry about Donut's argument.

    That was the hole talking.

  • Kyle||

    This is some of the best debating i've read in awhile, some guy said i was funny! Another guy said I'm full of crap. The truth is i'm both!
    Keep in mind that we did in fact come from the earth in some way. Now what was the catalyst in our evolution? And BG, it isn't MY thesis, it is one Terrence Mckenna's, look into his book Food of the gods. Some guy said Terrence Mckenna and some other guy are full of crap, I bet that guy who talked crap about my crap works for the government or is somekind of tool. I'll look into the Occams Razor dealy.
    Economic progress is an illusion. We live in a finite planet. World war 3 is already happening. :P

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    ...if evolution explained everthing then murder would be okay...

    Good luck supporting that claim.

    Resident secularist, and starter of this fine thd, Ron Bailey came out in favor of the Iraq War. I wonder how he feels about bombing the genetically homogeneous people of Iran.

  • MartinM||

    The scientific method deals with observable results. We cannot prove either scientifically wrong or right because neither can be observed because they are things of the past.



    Events in the past leave observable results in the present.

  • MartinM||

    Excising those parts of Donut's screed which don't even attempt to imitate a coherent argument, we're left with:

    Look up evolution in the dictionary and you will get six different definitions.



    Dictionaries define common usage. Plugging dictionary definitions of 'energy' and 'mass' into E=mc^2 would produce some fairly ridiculous results. That's not a problem with relativity, but rather with the person who thought getting their science from a dictionary was a good idea.

    I do not believe that you can get a totally different creature out of another creature and that is what evolution teaches.



    No, magically jumping from one creature to another totally different one is saltation, not evolution. Evolution is a gradual process of descent with modification.

    Did anyone ever see a Banana give rise to a Monkey?



    Case in point. Monkeys are not descended from bananas, nor did anyone claim so. It would help if you understood evolution before attempting to criticize it.

    Let's sum up what evolution really is



    Let's not. Childish simplifications are the stock in trade of pseudoscientists unable to deal in substance.

    If the blood vessels were behind the lens the suns ultra violet rays would fry it



    Actually, UV is largely absorbed by the cornea and the lens. Furthermore, other species have more sensible arrangements, and somehow manage to avoid going blind nonetheless.

    In any case, arguing for physical constraints on design hardly makes sense when said designer supposedly designed those very same physical constraints.

  • ||

    "Resident secularist, and starter of this fine thd, Ron Bailey came out in favor of the Iraq War. I wonder how he feels about bombing the genetically homogeneous people of Iran."

    He probably supports it because of his support for Israel, but Israel doesn't need our help. Israel has plenty of nukes to take care of itself. Iran would never attack Israel.

  • ||

    "Resident secularist, and starter of this fine thd, Ron Bailey came out in favor of the Iraq War. I wonder how he feels about bombing the genetically homogeneous people of Iran.'

    Wow, we have some seriously recessive genes expressing themselves here.

  • ||

    "Don't worry about Donut's argument.

    That was the hole talking."

    That is the funniest ad hominum attack I have seen in a long time.

  • ||

    Ben Stein has always been a buffoon who seems in over his head when talking about any issue. If he didn't have the funny voice nobody would pay even listen,

  • ||

    wayne

    Give yourself some credit. "Wow, we have some seriously recessive genes expressing themselves here." was pretty funny.

    Kyle, I'll see about looking into Terrence Mckenna's argument at some point. Here's a link to an overview of Occam's Razor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_Razor

    And other commenters done a good job of refuting Donut's agrument so I'll just say "bravo people".

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    He probably supports it because of his support for Israel

    A lot of people think that Jewish people are a genetically inferior group. I don't think it is their religion Mr. Bailey so much digs.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    Bad typo. What I meant to say:

    --A lot of people think that Jewish people are a genetically SUPERIOR group. I don't think it is their religion Mr. Bailey so much digs.--

    I was trying to say that I suspect that Mr. Bailey holds Jewish people in high esteem for genetic reasons, not that he thinks they are inferior.

  • ||

    Dave Woycechowsky

    I don't suppose you have any evidence for your belief that Bailey thinks that.

  • Bad||

    "You people who believe in "evolutionism" have simply been brainwashed!"

    I'd rather be brainwashed than an utterly ridiculous liar and BS artist, which is what it seems most creationism seems to involve.

  • Jim Lippard||

    SIV: "I skipped the pdf and went to your article
    where, if I'm skimming correctly, it states that the judge didn't rule on ID, but on the wackiness proposed by the Dover school board."

    No, Judge Jones ruled that intelligent design is not science, but religion--that it is, in fact, just the same old creationism repackaged under a new name. The plaintiffs showed in court that the main book involved in the Kitzmiller case, _Of Pandas and People_, referred to creation science in earlier drafts. They substituted "intelligent design" for "creationism" and "creation science" after losing at the Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard.

  • Steve Reuland||

    In any case, I'm sure the evolutionary biologists didn't say anything they didn't believe.



    They didn't say anything directly relevant to the film's premise either, because they thought they were being interviewed for a completely different film. This is worse than simply withholding certain bits of information; the interviewees were actively lied to about the film's subject.

    Consider the difference between what the film is about and what the interviewees were told it was about, and you understand why the filmmakers resorted to this deceit. The filmmakers claimed the film was about the intersection of faith and science -- a worthwhile subject to be sure, and one which could benefit from thoughtful analysis. But Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers at least are outspoken atheists, and will gladly opine that they think religion is for the birds. Those statements will then be juxtaposed with the film's real premise, which is that ID advocates are being persecuted, and the audience will be led to believe that Dawkins and Myers are okay with that because of their atheism. Had Dawkins et al known the actual premise of the film they would have answered it directly, but the filmmakers deliberately prevented them from doing that. The filmmakers didn't want scientists to answer the film's ludicrous charges, they wanted to collect anti-religious statements in order to make those charges look more credible.

    This is not the sort of thing that you can write off as a mere matter of sneaky journalists misleading interviewees in order to get their story, this is simply bad journalism. Not because they lied to the interviewees, but because they are lying to the audience.

  • Bad||

    Steve is correct: the subterfuge employed was specificaly so that the interviewees wouldn't be able to respond to any of the accusations and arguments the film was going to make, and so that they could collect quotes on what the interviewees thought was a different subject.

  • ||

    Number 6 said:

    The notion that there may have been some sort of creator is not inherently stupid.


    No, the notion that there may have been some sort of creator is inherently vacuous. The arguments used to prop up this fruitless notion are inherently stupid.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    I don't suppose you have any evidence for your belief that Bailey thinks that.

    Well, that comment was in response to Rattlesnake Jake who said:

    He probably supports it because of his support for Israel

    So, if Rattlesnake Jake is correct, and I think he is, then there is some evidence. I mean, I don't think it is the theocratic aspect of Israel he prefers, and it has to be something about the nation.

    He never comes out and says that he prefers the genes of the people of Israel over the genes of the people who would remove that genetic group to Europe or America. But, I think, deep down, that is exactly how he thinks, as a secularist with a belief that evolution is the be all and end all of human existence.

    I mean, I think some people supported the Iraq War for cheap oil. I put Dick Cheney in this category. I think some people supported the Iraq War for religious reasons. I think some people supported the Iraq War because they thought the Iraqis had done 9/11. I don't think Mr. Bailey supported the war for any of the reasons set forth in this paragraph. I think Rattlesnake Jake called it correct and it came down to the genes for Mr. Bailey.

    Does he want to bomb Iran?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Joe | September 27, 2007, 11:06pm | #

    Food for thought: Neither theory of the origin of the universe is scientifically provable. Why? Because science is the study of what we can observe. The scientific method deals with observable results. We cannot prove either scientifically wrong or right because neither can be observed because they are things of the past.


    This is a common misinterpretation of what science does. Science actually doesn't prove things, it disproves them. Science works by falsification, not by verification. No amount of specific observations (unless that amount is "all") prove anything. So science functions by setting up and performing tests that might disprove whatever theory is being proposed. The results of the test don't definitively give us correct theories, they eliminate incorrect ones. Biblical creationism, by the way, routinely fails these sorts of tests (by testing the age of the universe, the age of mankind, evidence of the mass destruction of all but two members of every species by flood, etc.).

    If you take the specific ID claims divorced from the usually soon-to-follow Genesis claims, science can't disprove them because much like past unfalsifiable claims (as those of Freud), the bar keeps shifting any time a testable claim is made. (In the case of ID, I can't actually recall any testable claim that might disprove it ever being made.) Creationism, unless it engages in this same "bar-shifting" practice, is easily falsifiable. ID is almost content-free enough that it can't be falsified, at least 'til its supporters finally come out of the closet enough to admit they're actually creationists. This is what makes ID unsuitable to be taught in any science class: not that it's wrong, but that it doesn't have the ability to be tested and potentially falsified that scientific claims do.

    ID is, I guess, if it's anything, philosophy, rather than science. (I'm not sure it's even that, actually.) If most of its proponents were real scientists, they might focus on creating tests for the parts of evolution that they find unlikely. However, the usual method of an ID proponent is simply a claim: "This couldn't have happened. These blood coagulants could have served no use if not in tandem. A part of this flagellum or this eye would not be useful." No tests are proposed, and so none are completed. Science is not advanced.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    This is what makes ID unsuitable to be taught in any science class: not that it's wrong, but that it doesn't have the ability to be tested and potentially falsified that scientific claims do.

    I perhaps should have said:

    This is what makes ID unsuitable to be taught in any science class: not that it's wrong, or even that it's religious but that it doesn't have the ability to be tested and potentially falsified that scientific claims do.

  • ||

    Dave Woycechowsky

    I have not read anything in which Bailey endorses bombing Iran.

    But even if he does support that, it does not follow that he wants to do so out of support for Israel. He might have other reasons (for example, he might buy the idea that a nuclear armed Iran is a sufficient security threat to justify airstrikes to prevent them from getting such weapons). I don't support bombing Iran, but I'm just throwing out some other possible reasons.

    But even if he supports bombing Iran out of support for Israel, it does not follow that he subscribes to some kind of Genetic Jewish Supremecy Theory. Maybe he is concerned about the rights of Israeli citizens out of a general concern for human rights. Maybe he regards it as important to preserve Israel's existence because, whatever its faults, it is a freer country than what those who derise Israel's abolition would likely create in that territory.

    I'm not saying Bailey is right to support bombing Iran (if he even does support that, he may not); but you're skipping some big steps in your reasoning.

  • ||

    Another reason he might support Israel:

    Does he own stock in any Israeli companies? Has he ever disclosed such ownership? :)

  • ||

    Evolution by natural selection absolutely should be taught in school (obviously). But I have a few other helpful suggestions.

    Perhaps 'science history' should be taught (I've found books like Bryson's "Short History of Nearly Everything" and Bodanis' "Electric Universe" to be helpful) as well. Science literacy and mathematical literacy are invaluable, but for many students perhaps it would be helpful if they were also introduced via philosophy courses to the writings of Descartes and Spinoza.
    Gaining perspective for mathematics and science within the larger framework of traditional Eastern and Western thought would assist students in understanding that evolutionary theory, etc., are far from arbitrary and in fact grounded in the soundest principles of empirical observation.
    I think a grounding in philosophy could even help scientists better communicate with the public. For instance, if one can understand the natures of the Brothers Karamazov, one can gain some understanding to the impediments to human concensus on 'spiritual' matters.

    In other words, the context in which an education is couched is nearly as important as the education itself.

    Just my $.02

  • ||

    Someone Who Doesn't Want to Lose His Job said: This is what makes ID unsuitable to be taught in any science class: not that it's wrong, or even that it's religious but that it doesn't have the ability to be tested and potentially falsified that scientific claims do.

    Absolutely true. But it seems some people can't tell the difference between a philosophical hypothesis and scientific theory.

  • ||

    It is funny to see all of you criticize Ben, if you all had only 10 % of his brains, you would be very fortunate!
    Go Ben
    !

  • ||

    Ironic that the reasoned minds on this blog are criticizing a movie they have not even seen yet!

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Golani:

    As to Ben's brain:

    A law degree is OK if you aren't smart enough to get your Ph.D. in something serious. I mean, it's certainly better than an M.B.A. or a Ph.D. in Political Science or Comparative Literature.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Sorry, I get arrogant when I'm drunk and communicating through the wondrous anonymity that is teh internets!

  • Bob||

    So let me get this straight: Ben Stein makes a ridiculous Hitler comparison and he is an idiot, but some moron at the Cato Institute compares Roosevelt to Mussolini and states the Depression worker programs are in the same spirit as Auschwitz and he is lauded by people on this site as a genius and is actually defended. Hypocrisy is too much of an understatement for this situation.

  • ||

    Bob said: Hypocrisy is too much of an understatement for this situation

    I actually cannot disagree more with this. I do not agree with the ad hominem arguments against Mr. Stein. I was not even criticizing the movie, or really even the article. I was simply pointing out that I feel the 'intelligent design vs. evolution' debate is moot if educators consider philosophy and the actual work of science within their proper context. It is not the imperative of scientists to see or not to see the 'Hand of God' at a quantum level or what not. The scientist must make empirical observations and use the scientific method.
    Whatever metaphysical views the scientist may hold, they are immaterial when observing the physical world.
    As for the article on FDR, I thought both the author and reviewee took great pains not to equate FDR with said authoritsrians, but make a 'reasoned' comparison.
    I haven't watched the movie, so I can't be sure, but it seems Stein has made a similar error in reasoning as many ID proponents. If you're going to present the idea of God in a classroom, it should be within a parallel philosophical discussion, not within the context of hard science. Or at least not without mentioning the Anthropic principle or something.

  • ||

    H. Humbert said: No, the notion that there may have been some sort of creator is inherently vacuous

    It depends, I suppose on whether one is predisposed to put an idea that is so unscientific out of one's mind.

    For me the Deist idea of Monus Monadus is not so easily removed from metaphysics (as distinguished from epiphysics), unnecessary as the concept is within physics.

    I don't believe such mystical feelings are always utile, but I believe they're related to a reverence for nature that science can help nurture within people.

    But I believe the only difference between Deists and Atheists, and Agnostics for that matter, is an arbitrary conceptual azimuth for predilection.

    Look at me trying to justify my Deism. :)

  • ||

    What's interesting is that the domain name expelledthemovie.com was registered on March 1th, PZ Myers was contacted about an interview in April. And Dawkins too was contacted around that time I believe.

    So why did they decide to do the interviews from Rampant Films claiming the movie was going to be called Crossroads when expelledthemovie.com was already registered? It seems they just used Rampant Films and the seemingly made-up movie Crossroads to fraudulently obtain the interviews. So this wasn't just a misunderstanding or a name-change but more like a well thought out plan to deceive.

    Here's the tool I used to investigate when the domain names were registered:
    http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp

  • Bad||

    Damn, really good point there Roger.

  • ||

    Mickey Klein writes:
    "Many of us have found ourselves on the dissent end of a consensus, such as global warming or passive smoke, and whenever that rolls around we all say "consensus is not part of the method" and other things asserting the right of the skeptic.

    No matter how rediculous the dissent we must allow people to have their say, after all, with fair honest application of the scientific method there is no danger intelligent design will win out."

    Yes, and while we're at it let's let alchemy into chemistry class, and astology into physics class. Let science sort it out! Again! What an excellent use of class and laboratory time!

    Btw, evolution is a *fact*, an actual observable phenomenon that occurs in the real world (that includes speciation, for you crypto-creationists who like to make a spurious distinction between 'micro' and 'macro'), and there is a theory of evolution to describe and explain its mechanism, just as gravitation is a fact, a phenomenon that has a theory of gravitation to describe and explain it.

    Also btw, current consensus theory of evolution shouldn't be referred to as 'evolution by natural selection'. Natural selection is just one driving force, genetic drift is another, founder effect yet another, and of course mutation is required as well.

    This is all Evolution 101, a course few 'skeptics' seem ever to take. One could do much worse than to read the various FAQs on the talkorigins.org website

  • ||

    It has been many months since I watched his documentary, so I will not be able to go into detail here. But I will say that you idiots amaze me. We are talking about Ben Stein, for one, who is very, VERY, intelligent. But, let's forget about the subject matter for one moment and step back and take a look at the REAL point of the story.. THERE IS NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH. When you loose your job, begin to receive threatening letters, calls, etc., And, in some cases, RUN in fear for your life, something is catastrophically wrong!!! And, even bigger than that, if the idea of intelligent design is so ridiculous, as some of you say, then why is it the world's best kept secret? Why is there no mention of it? Why are people scared to death to talk about it? If it was such non-sense, then why would anyone care who is talking about it and what they have to say? The ignorance of most Americans absolutely floors me. It is as though most of you are born with zero logic. This is about a subject that the scientific world, for some unexplained reason(although, I have an idea), will do practically anything to keep secret. Including infringing on our basic human rights, including, but not limited to, FREEDOM OF SPEECH. How can you people ignore that simply because you don't agree with the subject matter. There are far too many experts believing and agreeing with the idea of Intelligent Design for the matter to be totally disregarded........ If you ask me, I believe that in order to be able to leave comments on this site, or any other, for that matter, should have to pass an IQ test. It is so disappointing and heart-breaking to be forced to realize how many stupid, idiotic fools we have here in the US. It's an embarrassment. And all it takes is a little common sense- LOGIC!!!

  • sathi2000||

    It is absolutely clear that the dishonest producers thought they could get away with an illegal act without anyone noticing, and with their usual audience being rather overtly credulous, you can see why.
    http://www.mirei.com

  • sathi2000||

    They lose their jobs, don't get grants, and so forth. Anyway, the New York Times is running an article today in which various supporters of Darwinian evolution claimed to have been hoodwinked into participating
    http://www.mirei.com

  • دردشة يمنية||

    goood

  • chat||

    They lose their jobs, don't get grants, and so forth. Anyway, the New York Times is running an article today in which various supporters of Darwinian evolution claimed to have been hoodwinked into participating
    http://www.mirei.com

  • Austin Remodeling Contractors||

    My favorite prosecutorial motto "It is easy to convict the guilty. When you convict the innocent you have really accomplished something..."

  • Austin Remodeling Contractors||

    Cheers on such a great article! It was very interesting, down to earth, and enlightening. I’ll be sure to comment more from now on, this looks fantastic!

  • ||

    How surprising. People who suck at doing science losing their scientific jobs and not getting grants.
    Austin Roofing Contractor

  • ||

    You have to change the duties we charge cops with first. Right now they are expected to do way too much that should be left to personal discretion. There's not enough money to hire that many perfect cops.
    Abilene Roofing Contractors

  • ||

    Cheers on such a great article! It was very interesting, down to earth, and enlightening. I’ll be sure to comment more from now on, this looks fantastic!
    Round Rock Door Companies

  • ||

    Stick to Ron Paul posts, Edward. Those are your bread and butter.
    Mother's Day Flowers

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