"A preference for natural explanations could be reasonable. But it is impossible to prove the contention that "miracles may not happen" or that there is no supernatural realm. Therefore, a willingness to adopt such an a priori position, and hold that as superior to facts, reflects a philosophical fundamentalist position as rigid as a religious fundamentalist position." - Lawrence Selden
I went to the opening night of the movie: Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed. The last showing at the local Kerasotes theater was half-filled with viewers and, at the end, applause broke out through the theater while a few folks seemed to smirk or scowl in response. It appeared that true believers, the unconvinced and the diametrically opposed all showed up.
I think Expelled is the flipside of Al Gore's deliberately deceitful movie. Gore and his ilk seek to shut off debate, calling those opposed to his views "global-warming deniers" and seeking to paint them as ignoramuses unable to see the truth. Even green-friendly folks have big problems with the whole man-made global warming premise on the basis of science:
There is no Greenhouse Effect as defined in An Inconvenient Truth. Greenhouse gases are not being trapped, they’re being released. When surface temperatures do rise, they’re not rising due to man-made causes because nothing is trapping them.
Al’s examples of impending doom both on his web site and in the movie, tend to be snap shots of normal, cyclical environmental behavior that, when grouped together, paint a foreboding picture. Professor Phillip Stott of the Univesity of London noted that, when these 'snap shots' are placed in the context of history, over 10, 30 or even 50 years, these events are quite ordinary.
But why are Glaciers in northern most latitudes receding? Is this normal? If it is, why? Is it cyclical? If so, what's the cycle? Unless Al Gore, his proponents and all his Carbon Footprint programs get out of the way and allow these climate conditions to be exposed to real scientific analysis, we may never know. That’s the great Environmental Crime here.
Expelled is not a creationist-apologist movie. It is not an attack on science. It will surprise you, just as it surprised Brent Bozell III:
"...Evolution is another one of those one-sided debates. We know the concept of Intelligent Design is stifled in academic circles. An entire documentary to state the obvious? You can see my reluctance to view it.
I went into the screening bored. I came out of it stunned.
Ben Stein's extraordinary presentation documents how the worlds of science and academia not only crush debate on the origins of life, but also crush the careers of professors who dare to question the Darwinian hypothesis of evolution and natural selection.
Stein asks a simple question: What if the universe began with an intelligent designer, a designer named God? He assembles a stable of academics — experts all — who dared to question Darwinist assumptions and found themselves "expelled" from intellectual discourse as a result. They include evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg (sandbagged at the Smithsonian), biology professor Caroline Crocker (drummed out of George Mason University), and astrophysicist Guillermo Gonzalez (blackballed at Iowa State University).
That's disturbing enough, but what Stein does next is truly shocking. He allows the principal advocates of Darwinism to speak their minds. These are experts with national reputations, regular welcomed guests on network television and the like. But the public knows them only by their careful seven-second soundbites. Stein engages them in conversation. They speak their minds. They become sputtering ranters, openly championing their sheer hatred of religion.
PC liberalism has showered accolades on atheist author Richard Dawkins' best-selling book "The God Delusion." But when Stein suggests to Dawkins that he's been critical of the Old Testament God, Dawkins protests — not that Stein is wrong, but that he's being too mild. He then reads from this jaw-dropping paragraph of his book:
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
Dawkins has a website. Its slogan is "A clear-thinking oasis."
It's understood that God had nothing to do with the origins of life on Earth. What, then, is the alternate explanation? Stein asks these experts, and their very serious answers are priceless. One theorizes that life began somehow on the backs of crystals. Another states electric sparks from a lightning storm created organic matter (out of nothing). Another declares that life was brought to Earth by aliens. Anything but God.
The most controversial part of the film follows Stein to the Dachau concentration camp, underlining how Darwin's theories of natural selection led to the eugenics movement, embraced by Adolf Hitler. If there is no God, but only a planetary lab waiting for scientists to perfect the human race, where can Darwinism lead? Stein insists that he isn't accusing today's Darwinists of Nazism. He points out, however, that Hitler's mad science was inspired by Darwinism.
Now that the film is complete, the evolutionist prophets featured in the film are on the warpath inveighing against it, and the alleged idiots who would lower themselves to watching it. Richard Dawkins laments how the film will solicit "cheap laughs that could only be raised in an audience of scientific ignoramuses." Minnesota professor and blogger P.Z. Myers predicts the movie is "going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant —— which means they're going to draw in about 90 percent of the American market." Myers and Dawkins now both complain they were "duped" into appearing in the movie (for pay).
Everyone should take the opportunity to see "Expelled" — if nothing else, as a bracing antidote to the atheism-friendly culture of PC liberalism. But it's far more than that. It's a spotlight on the arrogance of this movement and its leaders, a spotlight on the choking intolerance of academia, and a spotlight on the ignorance of so many who say so much, yet know so very little. "
The segment where Stein interviews Dawkins is particularly telling - Dawkins actually agrees that intelligent design could be true, if the designers were an alien race that had seeded life on earth, a race that had evolved elsewhere in the universe by some means agreeable to evolutionists. So if you peeled the layers off, Dawkins is not afraid of the idea that life was designed, as long as it wasn't by a Higher Being. He reveals in this that it is his worldview that rules his opinion, rather than the science.
Algebraic rendering of the workings of the Dawkins brain:
ET + Spaceship + One-celled-organism = Science
God + Noah's Ark + Animal Kinds = Fantasy
It is telling that people like P Z Myers and Dawkins are now complaining about being "deceived" into doing interviews for the movie:
"...three scientists — Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion; Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education; and P.Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris — told the Times that they felt deceived by producers of Expelled.
Premise Media Corporation, the makers of the film featuring television personality Ben Stein, responded Thursday to accusations, denying any wrongdoing.
"There is some serious mistreatment and downright reprehensible behavior going on here,” said Executive Producer Walt Ruloff, “but I can assure you it's not coming from us.
“We're just the ones exposing it.”
In Expelled, Stein – best known for his role in Visine eye drops commercials – highlights the long-standing controversial debate between supporters of Darwinism, which suggests the universe was created by chance, and Intelligent Design, which argues that the creation of life and the universe are results of an intelligent “designer.”
Through interviews with both Intelligent Design and Darwinian Evolution proponents, the movie is said to expose “the intimidation, persecution and career destruction that takes place when any scientist dares dissent from the view that all life on earth is the mere result of random mutation and natural selection,” according to producers.
“When our audience sees the stories of the real victims of scientific malpractice they're going to be outraged,” said Ruloff.
Dawkins, who has earned the label “Darwin’s Rottweiler” from the media, protested that makers of the movie did not inform him that they were representing “a creationist front,” in an e-mail written to the Times.
He also shared similar complaints with fellow atheist Meyers over the film’s title change from Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion to of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Both Dawkins and Meyers claim that changing the film’s title amounted to deception.
Mark Mathis, one of the film's producers, countered their allegations and said that they were a “bunch of hypocrites.”
According to the makers of the film, even Dawkins admitted that the title of his anti-religion documentary (Root of all Evil?) was chosen as a replacement for the original title late in the process. They maintain that movie's title was changed on the advice of marketing experts.
Furthermore, Expelled producers pointed out that Dawkins is involved in a documentary that attacks Intelligent Design theory. It is the makers of A War on Science who are deceptive, according to Expelled producers, since they approached Discovery Institute as objective filmmakers and then portrayed the organization as religiously-motivated and anti-scientific.
Mathis, who set up the interviews for Expelled, said the scientists who were interviewed were well-informed beforehand.
“I went over all of the questions with these folks before the interviews and I e-mailed the questions to many of them days in advance,” said Mathis. “The lady [and gentlemen] doth protest too much, methinks.”"The problem is that Dawkins thinks a balanced look at ID versus evolution would be pro-evolution. He cannot abide the idea that he could possibly be wrong. Besides, the movie isn't primarily about science. IT IS ABOUT FREEDOM!!!!
Expelled uses images of the Berlin Wall very tellingly in the opening and then interspersed throughout the movie. There truly is a Berlin Wall of thought that has been erected in the arena of origins, a wall that stretches throughout the scientific and academic community and, sadly, America's classrooms.
"Dr. Paul A. Nelson, a biology professor at Biola University in La Mirada, lauds the documentary, and not just because he’s one of the Intelligent Design advocates interviewed by Stein.
“Long before there were any Christians by name, people were debating the issue of design,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Chicago. “It’s a question that’s as deep as humankind.”
Nelson, a fellow with the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, said he believes the issue of academic freedom often collides with First Amendment issues, giving alternative science theories a distinct disadvantage.
“It creates this funny, tilted playing field,” he said. “So we have this weird asymmetry in American high schools, especially, which is quite unnatural. All theories are equal, but not as equal as others.”
The result, he believes, short-circuits inquiry and could ultimately be counterproductive to Darwin enthusiasts.
“They need to recognize that something has gone tremendously wrong,” he said. “The open-ended inquiry of science has been distorted.”
Despite the attempt to thwart Intelligent Design in higher education, Nelson said students “get a little inoculation” and learn just enough to become skeptical about evolution.
“The educational establishment has failed to persuade most Americans that they are right when it comes to evolution,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he’s hopeful the documentary will serve to keep the debate before the public and, by default, on school campuses.
“At the end of the day I am encouraged,” he said. “Human curiosity is so powerful that it will win out. Intellectual freedom will win out the day. The message of ‘Expelled’ is that the Berlin wall did come down.”"
Tellingly, the opponents of the free discussion of ideas use derision rather than evidence to try to counteract this movie. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune labels the movie, "propaganda" and says:
"A hard-core, fundamentalist bit of right-wing propaganda, "Expelled" slyly appropriates its style from liberal and left-wing sources, sending Ben Stein out to do deadpan interviews of a grab-bag of experts and wack jobs, while intercutting old movies, new animation and newsreel footage."
I wonder who are the "wack jobs", the degreed scientists who advocate the discussion of ID, or those who are opposed? Virtually every interviewee on both sides is a degreed scientist. The Star-Trib has nothing worthwhile to say but certainly screeches while saying it.
We are sure to soon hear cries of outrage from evolutionists who will decry the way the movie demonstrates the links from Darwin to Eugenics to Hitler to mass slaughter. I hope to address that issue in my blog later on. It is a valid argument to be discussed. But it is not the main focus of the movie.
The Tragedy of Higher Education in America is this: In the field of science, free discussion of ideas is not only discouraged, it is banned! As Ben Stein says, "There are people who want to keep science in a little box where it can't possibly touch God." These are the people who are so afraid of the evidential consideration of Intelligent Design because it might cause people to consider that God exists. It is all about worldview rather than science.
The Darwinian Fundamentalism blog writes the following:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.
What distinguishes this statement is how forcefully he insists on not being open to the possibility that there may be a supernatural realm or that miracles may happen. A preference for natural explanations could be reasonable. But it is impossible to prove the contention that "miracles may not happen" or that there is no supernatural realm. Therefore, a willingness to adopt such an a priori position, and hold that as superior to facts, reflects a philosophical fundamentalist position as rigid as a religious fundamentalist position." Empiricism is subservient to philosophy. Facts are subservient to a priori presuppositions.
Empiricism is subservient to philosophy. Facts are subservient to a priori presuppositions.
In the two or so years I have published this blog, I have raised all sorts of questions relative to origins and never have I gotten a truly reasonable response from any Darwinist on any subject. Darwinism has no explanation for the origin of the Universe, or the origin of life, or the amazing complexity of living organisms, nor the fine-tuning of Earth and the Universe or the remarkably uniform rock layering found around the globe or any other major question.
In terms of religion, it isn't about whether religion is part of the discussion, but rather will only one religious worldview (naturalistic materialism) be allowed to stifle all other lines of inquiry?
Darwinism is The Great and Mighty Oz. They fear that we will look behind the curtain, so the Darwinists are working hard to ban the curtain from being investigated. Some are simply brain-washed idealogues and some, small-minded and fearful zealots. But I believe and hope that many are just people who haven't really taken the time to truly consider the situation from more than one point of view. Someday the scientific community will have the guts and the integrity to let real science back into the study of origins and the instruction of our young people. It cannot be one minute too soon!