T Nation

Ben Stein's 'Expelled'

from the website: http://www.expelledthemovie.com/chronicle.php?article=1

"Are Atheists Hijacking Academic Freedom?

Why some might consider Ben Stein’s new movie to be political dynamite.

The theory of intelligent design (ID), holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

Political dynamite.

There are folks working overtime to deny scientists who disagree with the core claim of evolutionary theory the right to pursue the scientific evidence for intelligent design theory. But there is more to this than meets the eye.

They don’t like the very idea of an intelligent cause because they don’t like the idea of allowing even the possibility of the existence of an intelligent “designer.” That might lead to scientific evidence in support of the unthinkable, i.e. G-O-D. But they simultaneously want you to believe that their belief in atheism has nothing to do with their persecution of scientists and educators, many of whom see scientific evidence for design or a designer. Merely coincidence. That is because they have “defined” science in such a way as to prevent the scientific exploration of intelligent design theory. They say that any evidence that suggests intelligent design in nature isn’t really science. In this manner they are able to “logically” assert that only their theories of life (which just happen to be exclusively atheistic theories) are “real” science, while intelligent design theory is conveniently dismissed as religious “creationism.”

All of this translates into a very nasty piece of business as far as academic freedom goes. "

The movie trailer:
http://www.expelledthemovie.com/playgroundvideo3.swf

LOL

Here we go again.

Evolution is not an atheist agenda. God just doesn’t have a place in science. Intelligent design, by it’s very nature of saying “well it’s too complex to figure out so god must have done it,” is not science.

If science proves GOD, God is not longer God. Awesome ain’t it?

Anyone who needs anything other than the Bible/other Holy Book as assurance that God really exists is unfaithful, and in most religions, not going to paradise.

LET’S GET IT ON! … (again)

I see this thread ending up being another “blah, blah, blah, you’re a jackass” no “blah, blah, blah you’re going to hell”.

So with that said, I am a Christian, and if anyone cares, a really good book from a Christian apolgetic is “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.

Have fun with the debate.

While were at it, what the hell is with this “Physics?”

I don’t like “Physics.”

Obviously, the theories behind physics, are atheist agenda!

I mean, if the world is round and spinning, then where is hell in all of this?

We need to teach Magic in schools not Physics, Physics is a bullshit lie.

[quote]SouthernGypsy wrote:
I see this thread ending up being another “blah, blah, blah, you’re a jackass” no “blah, blah, blah you’re going to hell”.

So with that said, I am a Christian, and if anyone cares, a really good book from a Christian apolgetic is “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.

Have fun with the debate.[/quote]

Funny, just finished reading “Mere Christianity” last week.

God and evolution are not mutually incompatible.

Beowolf is right, God has no place in science. Science is based on observation, experimentation and logic. God is an explanation using none of these, therefore not applicable (but not necessarily wrong).

so i didnt come from a monkey but really lightning.

What is funny about the whole “ID” vs. “evolution” debate is that Christians feel so threatened by evolution, but at the same time warmly embrace physics and mathematics. Modern theories in physics and mathematics are equally as damning to christian dogma.

The “big bang” theory is not some ad hoc amendment to the theory of evolution… its a theoretical result largely based on modern relativity theory and optics. As for mathematics, the development of mathematical logic in the last 100 years has made christianity’s core doctrines about the nature of god logically impossible (i refer mainly to modern formal theories of predication in first order logic). There are other things to, like modern treatments of the concept of infinity. the old “God is infinite and we cannot understand infinite things” argument lost all credibility after cantor proved a myriad of results on infinity (and all its orders… so the question now becomes, is god a countable or uncountable infinity… he better be uncountable, or else he is not the greatest… lol).

but anyway… to play the other side, i don’t think modern evolutionary theory gives us the whole picture either, some of the christian arguments against it are quite persuasive, and they do have some interesting facts that remain largely unaccounted for by evolution. so, i’m about as apt to accept evolution as i am ID.

there is one last problem to this whole debate… christians stake the deck in a way the secular scientists do not. Christian apologetics (and lets be honest, this is all most of ID theory is) makes the claim that the theory of evolution can’t account for all the facts, and is therefore bogus. Then, they further claim that because their theory of ID CAN account for the facts, it is right, and therefore god exists. Basically, the christian line goes something like this: “HA! you cannot disprove my god, and i have some evidence for him, so therefore he exists!” Which, is a silly claim.

It is well known that it is very hard, if not impossible to “prove” something does not exist. what christians should be concerned about is not proving the existence of their god, but rather proving the intelligibility and coherence of their doctrines about god (which are hardly intelligible without a leap of faith). This actually is what serious theologians do… attempt to piece together a coherent and consistent account of the theology. Sadly, modern christianity has all but abandoned this pursuit in favor of chasing down circumstantial evidence for the existence of their god.

Basically, the fact that evolution has holes in it no more disproves evolution then the fact that ID can account for some of those holes proves ID. The fact is that there are many parts of evolutionary theory that DO explain the facts very well… the theory is not all junk. Likewise, there are many facts that ID cannot explain. so… people on both sides of the debate should be more level headed, and drop the all-or-nothing attitude.

[quote]stokedporcupine wrote:
Basically, the fact that evolution has holes in it no more disproves evolution then the fact that ID can account for some of those holes proves ID. The fact is that there are many parts of evolutionary theory that DO explain the facts very well… the theory is not all junk. Likewise, there are many facts that ID cannot explain. so… people on both sides of the debate should be more level headed, and drop the all-or-nothing attitude. [/quote]

While I agree with the rest of your post, even beginning to compare ID to evolution is a ridiculous notion.

well, lol, i’m not trying to say they compare. Only trying to point out the fallacies of argument that are made over and over by the creationists in this debate.

here are some other small, meta-theoretical and philosophical points that are often missed in these little debates…

(1) even if creationists could come up with overwhelming evidence for the ID theory, AND create a consistent, theoretical model to base the theory on, it still would not help advance any argument for the existence of god. Basically, the line goes like this. Though one might have evidence that the universe was “created” by something that had intent while creating (ie, it was “designed”), all this still tells us nothing substantial about the designer. The fact that the universe was designed proves the doctrines of christianity no more then it proves the doctrines of islam or buddhism. Further, even if the empirical evidence points to a designer, surely the empirical evidence suggests that the designer has no current interest in the universe. (ie, god may have designed it, but he surely isn’t interacting with the world in any substantial way–at least on the empirical evidence). Thus, if one wants to use the empirical evidence, at least be consistent…

(2) the second point. Ignoring any debate about the facts, ID theory makes no attempt to rigorously define its terms. Ie, in the context of the theory, what the hell does “design” mean? how can we tell when something is designed and something merely random? (which, btw, is a double dichotomy itself. and it is arguable if the idea of randomness is even coherent in light of modern mathematics). If ID is to be taken serious, if must rigorously define its terms and set up a system of axioms and give a formal model (to get started anyway). All this humbug about the “facts” matching some intuitive notion of “looking designed” is silly–and what really makes the ID theorists unscientific.

another point while my mind is on it. conspiracy theories in general are often silly, and this one about evolutionists trying to cover up the evidence for ID is equally silly.

While i am quite sure there IS a lot of discrimination against creationists (intelligent designers, whatever)in the academic world, there are obvious reasons for it besides some grand conspiracy. The simple answer is, creationists are probably shunned because they hurt the academic credibility of the school in general.

A good case is lehigh university. they have a well known creationist on their biology faculty, and he hurts the school’s graduate program and research credibility.

While these may not be good reasons to discriminate, they are a far cry from some conspiracy theory about the atheist scientists trying to cover up the proof of god’s existence… (which is that this movie seems to hint at, and surely what most creationists try to claim).

the second other point is that most academics are probably practicing agnostics. While they might be inclined towards atheism, the matter of god surely does not play any significant role in their research. To anyone who understands the research process (everything from the uber specialization to the funding) the idea that these people are consciously trying to slant the evidence towards atheism is silly. Further, the christian idea that your either for god or against god is silly. it is quite possible to be neither–being an agnostic is perfectly consistent. Most people in the acidemic fields just don’t care either way.

Lastly, the evolution vs ID debate is not on a scientific level. The debate takes place mainly among the general uneducated (i mean those without a grad degree) public. The debate is often a mess because the people debating lack the technical background to make any real progress, and often have misconceptions about science, evolution, and theology in general. (ie, you get people who think its not science if its not observable, measurable, and repeatable… ha ha ha. will someone please observe and measure newton’s laws of motion?)

I myself am surely not qualified to talk on any real level about evolution as a formal theory. I do not have the background. but, the thing is i know enough of science to understanding that… many people seem to think a high school education in science is enough to speak meaningfully.

(disclaimer: I am not referencing anyone in this thread. my comments are purely general, and from my previous experiences with the debate)

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:

God and evolution are not mutually incompatible.[/quote]

That sums it up.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:

God and evolution are not mutually incompatible.

That sums it up.[/quote]

well, in strict fundamental christian doctrine they are. obviously though i agree with the point in general.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:

God and evolution are not mutually incompatible.

That sums it up.[/quote]

Of course they aren’t. God is (supposedly) everything, he CAN’T be incompatible with something that exists.

However, evolution and the dogma of almost every religion ARE mutually incompatible, hence the conflict.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:

God and evolution are not mutually incompatible.

That sums it up.

Of course they aren’t. God is (supposedly) everything, he CAN’T be incompatible with something that exists.

However, evolution and the dogma of almost every religion ARE mutually incompatible, hence the conflict.[/quote]

The Catholic Church believes in evolution. I have yet to see anything in the Bible that counteracts it. God took six “days” to create the universe in a stepwise manner.

Evolution and even the Big Bang Theory are not at all incompatible with the Bible. It is only people making interpretations that seem to have a problem with it.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:

God and evolution are not mutually incompatible.

That sums it up.

Of course they aren’t. God is (supposedly) everything, he CAN’T be incompatible with something that exists.

However, evolution and the dogma of almost every religion ARE mutually incompatible, hence the conflict.

The Catholic Church believes in evolution. I have yet to see anything in the Bible that counteracts it. God took six “days” to create the universe in a stepwise manner.

Evolution and even the Big Bang Theory are not at all incompatible with the Bible. It is only people making interpretations that seem to have a problem with it.[/quote]

Nobody seems to remember that the Big Bang Theory was actually devised by a Catholic Priest.

I think the biggest problem with this debate is that everyone claims to be right, but nobody can back either side with sound proof.

The smartest thing that can be said about this are three little words that man is all too self-centered to utter.

I don’t know.

[quote]tedro wrote:
The smartest thing that can be said about this are three little words that man is all too self-centered to utter.

I don’t know.
[/quote]

Bingo.

[quote]tedro wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:

God and evolution are not mutually incompatible.

That sums it up.

Of course they aren’t. God is (supposedly) everything, he CAN’T be incompatible with something that exists.

However, evolution and the dogma of almost every religion ARE mutually incompatible, hence the conflict.

The Catholic Church believes in evolution. I have yet to see anything in the Bible that counteracts it. God took six “days” to create the universe in a stepwise manner.

Evolution and even the Big Bang Theory are not at all incompatible with the Bible. It is only people making interpretations that seem to have a problem with it.

Nobody seems to remember that the Big Bang Theory was actually devised by a Catholic Priest.

I think the biggest problem with this debate is that everyone claims to be right, but nobody can back either side with sound proof.

The smartest thing that can be said about this are three little words that man is all too self-centered to utter.

I don’t know.
[/quote]

But I can say:

Whatever this is, it is not science.

And that is all that is needed when it comes to ID.

[quote]Sikkario wrote:
While were at it, what the hell is with this “Physics?”

I don’t like “Physics.”

Obviously, the theories behind physics, are atheist agenda!

I mean, if the world is round and spinning, then where is hell in all of this?

We need to teach Magic in schools not Physics, Physics is a bullshit lie.[/quote]

Sik,

That was actually pretty funny.

If there is a god what would make humans ever think they could know what it is? Even with the ability to “speak to god” how does one convey infinite wisdom without possession of that same infinite wisdom?

The truth is, god is only knowable in the context of literature and fable. All knowledge of god comes from mythology (think about that term) told in third person perspectives of people who have spoken to god – not direct writings of those that spoke to god. These myths at best are just hearsay and rumors of these people who have claimed to speak to god. Think about how people get treated when they claim to have spoken to God or to be the Son of God.

Jesus…? David Koresh, anyone?