Expelled: the controversy

There’s been a whole lot of b.s. written about Expelled, the soon-to-be-released documentary starring Ben Stein which investigates the problems that questioners of materialistic evolution are having on our college campuses. As I’ve written before (here and here) after I had a chance to talk to Mr. Stein, the controversy reached absurd proportions, even before the movie was finished. Most of the flap has been generated by the infamous ID-haters, P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins, who are apparently afraid that they’ll be made to look foolish in the movie. It’s been pretty funny over the last few months, to be honest. Both Dawkins and Myers have reminded me of schoolyard bullies, who … well, you can figure it out.

Tom Gilson over at Thinking Christian has posted the first of a series dealing with the film’s pre-release controversy, and does a pretty good job of putting it in context, with plenty of quotes and links (so you can read Myers from his own blog).

Again, it seems obvious to me that the anti-ID folks are protesting too much. I personally think it’s amusing, as in the big picture I believe it really doesn’t matter. The real issue, of course, has never been Darwinism or Intelligent Design, it’s always been about God. And, I suspect that He isn’t nearly as concerned about our science curriculum as we are. And, perhaps I am wrong to find so much amusement in the debate; but, it’s more intellectually stimulating than football (and “Go Vikings!” seems like such a waste of effort).

If you are at all concerned (or amused) by the Expelled controversy, I recommend you check out Thinking Christian and follow the various links.

On another note, if you’re interested in what Ben Stein has to say about the reality of politicians and change, check this out.

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5 Responses to Expelled: the controversy

  1. With all due respect Alden, you are completely missing the point of ID. Its main focus is to lay the seeds of doubt on the scientific method, and its proponents are attacking natural methodolgy in exploring natural phenomenon.

    Florida recently had a battle with people who are drinking the ID Kool-Aid, even if the DI was not involved directly. They are attackig the people who actually do the work as being ideologues, and while many are atheists it neither adds nor detracts from the underpinnings of science. It’s a methodology is what it is, and the students and faculty are not told what to think or say. It is when they complain that their religion is not being accepted as science that they run into trouble.

    Sternberg got into trouble by subverting the process to publish an article that wouldn’t pass review. Gonzales lost tenure because he was no longer publishing astronomy, and he wasn’t leading any grad students. He wasn’t fighting philosophical materialism, he was fighting natural methodology and there is a difference.

    Freethinking is highly encouraged, its how advances happen. But freethinking specifically refers to secular humanism; thinking without supernatural wishing. When it is used to revert to Paleyism (who would probably be embarrassed to see how his treatise is being misused were he alive now to see it) it is no longer freethinking, it is pulling back the reins of the progress made over the last 200 years. ID is a deus ex machina which may be handy in science fiction and literature but it just don’t cut the bait in science. Which is where they want to fish.

    I have seen West say “Yes, we should teach evolution, but did you know that natural selection has been used to promote eugenics?” I have seen him say that scientists are largely atheists, so we can’t trust science. If the Fellers, including Johnson want to claim they aren’t intending to teach ID in science class, they need only to look at the Disco Institute’s founding documents. Dembski thinks evolution is going to flame out, what does he intend to replace it with?

    Fire Bad!

  2. me says:

    What goes up
    Must come down
    Spinning wheel
    Got to go round

    I have to admit, I was having some heavy-duty deja vu as I was writing my comment. But, as Billy Bones said, “It’s all good fun, until someone loses an eye.” 😉

  3. Quixote says:

    I’ve followed your 2-part discussion for a while now. As far as I can see, you gentlemen continue to reiterate your own deeply-entrenched positions. I realize the fun of the discussion itself, and maybe that’s enough.

    But I wonder, do either of you feel that you have adjusted your position in any meaningful way on this issue as a result of the other’s arguments? Or is this really a case of spinning wheels that keep on spinning?

  4. me says:

    Discredit science? ID may be about discrediting materialism, but not discrediting science. As long as students – and faculty – are pressured to only think within the box of philosophical materialism, then there is no academic freedom. It’s just as bad as if the faculty were controlled by religious fundamentalists. It’s just a different brand of fundamentalism.

    Now, this has been said over and over, but it falls on deaf ears: the major ID proponents, including the Discovery Institute, do not support teaching ID as science. That’s not the issue, and aside from a few high school boards like Dover, it’s not being argued. What’s being argued is the ability to question the presumptions and conclusions related to topics like evolution and cosmology.

    There used to be a time when atheists were thought of as “free thinkers” because they dared think outside of the box. Now, the situation is reversed, and free thinking is still not encouraged. (And, saying “free thinking is encouraged, but within these limitations” is not free thinking.)

  5. I am amused that they would so egregiously play the “Academic Freedom” card when they are clearly trying to discredit science. It is unmaskably about religion, and I don’t care that Ben Stein is a nice guy. In regards to this movie, he is participating in a propaganda scam design to enhance the “persecution” of religion.

    There is no science behind intelligent design, as Wells has been so recently unmasked in twisting the results of a recent study on antibiotic resistance, the ID proponents are misstating the facts in the Stenberg case. They have invited members of the press to a press conference and cried foul when one of them showed but refused to sign a “non-disclose.” They prevented any real reporters from asking questions. They later claimed that Moore had presented himself.

    The reason that Dawkins and my friend PZ are ID-haters is that they know that ID is a lie. It is bad witnessing and I fail to understand why you continue to accept their word. While it may, for you, be all about God, you can appreciate that for me it is not.

    While you may find it amusing, I can tell you about the real-life bad effects that it has.

    If schools teach ID in science class, they are basically telling kids that science isn’t all that important if you are all ready “informed by your faith” of the capital “T” Truth.

    Go Twins!

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