Pharyngula

You have got to be kidding me

Come February, we are going to be privileged to see a brand new movie that stars Ben Stein and portrays Intelligent Design creationism as the cool rebel oppressed by the stodgy old Darwinist bullies. Did you know that “scientists are not allowed to even think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator”? I didn’t either. I think a lot of scientists have thought about it and noticed that there is no evidence for such a hypothesis, and have therefore rejected it.

This movie fits with the intelligent design strategy of declaring itself the victim of an unfair exclusion (which isn’t true, of course: they haven’t ponied up the science that would legitimize them), but interestingly, its central theme seems to be that Big Science has excluded god from the classroom and the lab … it’s a raw demand for a violation of the separation of church and state and for the inclusion of superstitious dogma in science. That’s very convenient. It’ll make it easier to use the courts to keep their religious propaganda out of the classroom.

Oh, and putting Ben Stein in short pants and playing “Bad to the Bone” does not make him a rebel. He’s a Republican apologist, and he’s not “cool” at all.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Please fix “it’s central theme” so the nails-on-chalkboard sound in my brain can go away.

    Also, Ben Stein is a painful blemish on the glory that is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

  2. #2 Troy
    August 22, 2007

    Stein had a ridiculous opinion piece recently published about how the bubble mortgage issue was containted to max $40B total in losses. Only off by an order of magnitude.

  3. #3 Steve LaBonne
    August 22, 2007

    Anybody with a clue knows that propaganda like this is not how reputable scientists promote their ideas- just take a look at the Amazon reviews of Pivar’s book for plenty of examples of how people do get that. (The funniest are the sarcastic “five star” ones.) Those who don’t have a clue aren’t reachable by definition, so let ‘em waste their money watching Ben Stein be the idiot that he is. (My favorite Ben Stein moment is the time when he felt that his undergrad economics degree qualified him to tell Paul Krugman that the latter doesn’t know anything about economics.)

  4. #4 Dawn
    August 22, 2007

    Can I just say “UGH!!!” I don’t go to a lot of movies, but really don’t think I will go to this one. I thought Ben Stein was smart enough to recognize what ID really is.

    On second thought, I’d consider going if I could root for Big Science, but I’d rather not waste my money when the movie outcome is a given.

  5. #5 Steve_C
    August 22, 2007

    The guy who says…”Visine gets the red out.” And makes a career of being a monotone dweeb who worked for Nixon.. He’s gonna make ID cool?

    Suuuuure, and Tom Cruise is going to make Scientology cool too.

  6. #6 Firemancarl
    August 22, 2007

    Heres what I wrote on the blog

    So, lemme get this straight. You equate two of the greatest scientists ever and their need to get backing ( money ) so they had to pander to the church. Never mind that they were one step in the “god of the gaps” philosophy. If it can’t be explained, “god did it”. Thus a gap in knowledge is filled by god. And every scientist that has come along after them has improved upon their ideas and succeeded where they failed. Can you imagine Dr Saulk saying that god created polio and therefore, we don’t need a vacination against it? If creationists want to be accepted as “real” sceintists, they should pony up real and I mean REAL scientific proof that there is a creator. So far they haven’t and they can’t. To quote Prof. Richard Dawkins “If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science, why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton? Of course, we know the answer. You can’t do it. You are a fake.”

  7. #7 Rey Fox
    August 22, 2007

    And he had such a great game show. *sigh*

    Somebody explain to me again how cowering before a Supreme Being is cool and rebellious?

  8. #8 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Also, here’s the press release.

    Some highlights:

    This isn’t the latest Hollywood comedy; it’s a disturbing new
    documentary that will shock anyone who thinks all scientists are free to
    follow the evidence wherever it may lead.

    Ben Stein…is on a journey to answer one of the biggest questions
    ever asked: Were we designed or are we simply the end result of an ancient
    mud puddle struck by lightning?

    Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers,
    chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and
    their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely
    no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural
    selection.

    Funny. It seems to me that, say, Ernst Mayer and Dobzhansky led pretty fruitful careers, despite dissenting with certain tenets of Darwin’s theory. Also, Darwin’s theory of random mutation? Brotha didn’t even know what DNA was yet.

    Disgusting.

  9. #9 Brownian
    August 22, 2007

    he’s not “cool” at all.

    I takes more than a cameo in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to make you cool. Look at Matthew Broderick; he starred in the damn thing and he flushed all his coolth with Inspector Gadget and Godzilla.

    Seriously, what is the right wing’s thing with appying the American Dream to science? For the most part, science doesn’t progress via plucky entrepreneurs with ‘revolutionary’ ideas fighting against some entrenched aristocracy, it progresses through consensus built on evidence collected by millions of scientists world wide.

    Or is that too communist for them?

  10. #10 Rey Fox
    August 22, 2007

    And I thought their Dawkins quote on the intro flash was great. But of course, then they made the last sentence in scary red. “Help help! We’re being repressed!” Cry me a river.

  11. #11 Loc
    August 22, 2007

    Firemancarl,

    Nothing too big…but I think its Dr. “Salk.” I’m not totally sure but I’ll look it up.

  12. #12 Ian Monroe
    August 22, 2007

    You have to admit that you want to see this movie. I mean its going to be hindered by the fact that Stein is a decent actor, but still the whole premise is so ridiculous.

  13. #13 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Also from the press release:

    The film confronts scientists
    such as Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, influential biologist
    and atheist blogger PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center
    for Science Education.

    PZ, did you talk to these crazy people? You might want to look into this…

  14. #14 Tom Foss
    August 22, 2007

    Well, damn. There goes my last bit of respect for Ben Stein. I know in recent years he’s drifted more and more from “old-school fiscal conservative” toward “Bushie neocon,” but he could usually be counted on to tow his own line more often than the party’s. Now if only someone could win the Discovery Institute’s money…

    Incidentally, I would think that Jeffrey Jones is the bigger blemish on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” what with his felony child porn conviction and status as a sex offender.

  15. #15 Felicia Gilljam
    August 22, 2007

    Watching the intro on the website, I was convinced it was just for fun. No one could possibly take this seriously.

    But … it seems they really ARE serious.

    I am terrified. And ashamed to be reproductionally (if that wasn’t a word, it is now) compatible with these people.

  16. #16 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    More fun with corporate associations: Motive Entertainment, who is marketing the film, also promoted The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia. The stink does seem to clump together, doesn’t it?

  17. #17 Andrés
    August 22, 2007

    Funny… The movie is not in IMDb.

  18. #18 Andrés
    August 22, 2007

    Funny… The movie is not in IMDb.

  19. #19 Orac
    August 22, 2007

    I wrote a comment on Ben’s blog about 20 minutes ago. It showed up immediately. I went back there after I saw that PZ had posted about this idiocy, and now my comment’s gone. I suggest we bury the blog with comments and make the webmaster work if he wants to censor comments.

    Actually, the censorship is funny given how much Ben rants in the trailer about scientists “censoring” any criticism of Darwinism.

  20. #20 Orac
    August 22, 2007

    Ah, I see now. I posted a second comment, and it says “comment held for moderation.” My other comment also shows up as being held for moderation. We’ll see if they approve them.

  21. #21 rayzilla
    August 22, 2007

    There goes my last bit of respect for Ben Stein. I know in recent years he’s drifted more and more from “old-school fiscal conservative” toward “Bushie neocon,” but he could usually be counted on to tow his own line more often than the party’s.

    Inside every seemingly rational conservative lies a wackjob just waiting to pop out.

  22. #22 hexatron
    August 22, 2007

    Orac–if your comments are being held for moderation, you have clearly made them entirely too moderate.

  23. #23 Josh
    August 22, 2007

    What Adam in #3 said…

    Who are all of these biologists who have had their careers destroyed by being dissenters of evolution? Surely, this list is available. Seriously, who are these people and how have their careers been tanked? Surely Stein et al. want this list out there for the masses to see. Is there a list of the journal articles they have published where they advocate their heretical positions against the Great Darwin? And can we see the list of rebuttal articles where these heretical scientists have been taken to task for having the audacity to question the dogmatic religion that is Darwinism? Funny, nothing seems to reveal itself during a GEOREF search…but of course they’re in on it. Is Stein instead going to put forth some other mechanism by which these inspired witnesses have been attacked by the orthodoxy (or are we to believe that Ben Stein has gotten access to all of those grant and manuscript reviews that clearly illustrate how those of us involved in the Great Conspiracy are ‘keeping down’ the righteous truth being put forth by these humble martyrs)?

  24. #24 PalMD
    August 22, 2007

    So, I guess if we are going to open the doors of science to any crackpot idea, well, I’ll submit mine.
    I insist that we teach, as an alternative, or at least as “teaching the controversy”, that I, PalMD, am the supreme ruler of the universe. Really. Prove that I’m not. I’m pretty sure others believe me, and now it’s written down, so it must be true. C’mon…i want my own chapter, or at least a sticker in the front of the book.

  25. #25 Tomas
    August 22, 2007

    Hmm, ID and Supply-side economics in one man.

    One line review:
    “Ben Stein shows his range in terms of crackpottery in this turd of a movie”

    Oh, shit, now I will be sued.

  26. Given that this film isn’t listed on IMDB or even mentioned on Ben Stein’s official website (despite having other 2007 works listed), I’m somewhat skeptical that this is in fact, legit. Especially after someone pointed out that PZ is supposedly interviewed for such a sham. I’m not thinking for an instant he’d give permission for such an interview.

  27. #27 gg
    August 22, 2007

    Quick, PZ! Call together the Secret Cabal of Atheist Scientists Who Crush Anything Which Deviates from Their Blind, Unreasoning Dogma! We can stop this ‘movie’ before it reveals its ‘truth’ to the world!

    Yep, any remaining respect I had for Ben Stein just went away. There wasn’t much left, so this film kind of vacuumed that remaining respect out of the hard-to-reach corners of my mind with a long-nosed attachment.

  28. #28 kellbelle1020
    August 22, 2007

    From the site: “In today’s world, at least in America, an Einstein or a Newton or a Galileo would probably not be allowed to receive grants to study or to publish his research [because they believed in a creator].”

    Wow. Leaving aside for a minute the total falsehood of this statement…. Holy crap that IS what happened to Galileo you fool! He was forced to recant heliocentrism and live under house arrest for the rest of his life.

    Let’s do a little comparison:
    Treatment of ID: If you come up with real evidence, any at all, (we’re really not picky) by all means share it with all of us, and if it works, then we’ll have no choice but to agree with you. Until then, however, I’m afraid you can’t teach it as science in public schools.
    Treatment of Galileo: Your observations of the universe don’t match our holy book you heathen! Recant them immediately and be imprisoned for the rest of your life!

    …and yet WE’RE the ones participating in suppression. I’m kind of sickened by all of this.

    Maybe the FSM people should make a companion film. That has the potential to wring some humor out of this.

  29. #29 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    It’d probably bomb, except that you’ll get a whole bunch of the people who thought watching a Jew get killed by the Romans was excellent entertainment doing their duty by showing up and thinking that defaming science and scientists is the height of rebelliousness.

    So it’ll rake in plenty of money, most likely, and make the IDiots very pleased that an ignorant economist can be persuaded to shill IDiocy. Gee, they’re really moving along with their research, as per the usual.

    But I think it’s curtains for Stein being seen as anything other than an old stupid (well, he’s reasonably intelligent, but wasting his intellect in this and in other ways) conservative. I mean, really, he was okay, if far from being the literary genius and political theorist that he considered himself to be. ID and the rest of creationism are hardly going to be much affected by this, yet if Stein has jumped the shark as I think he has (not that he was ever exactly cool), it’s going to be a good lesson for anyone else who thinks to shill snake oil, and it might further establish ID as anti-cool.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  30. #30 Brando
    August 22, 2007

    File this one away along with “The Reaping.”

  31. #31 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    August 22, 2007

    And we wonder how vicitimization has become so prevalent in America. We are, without a doubt, a largely Christian nation, and yet Christians are the ones persecuted against. Boo f’n woo, wallow and kneel in front of Caucasian Jesus.

  32. #32 Nullifidian
    August 22, 2007

    I signed up for their e-mail list, so I’ll at least see if they take it seriously. :-)

  33. #33 gg
    August 22, 2007

    #11: “I takes more than a cameo in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to make you cool.”

    How about doing a voice-over on Nickelodeon’s ‘The Fairly Odd Parents’? That radiates coolness! :)

  34. #34 Altabin
    August 22, 2007

    Seconding comment #15 – the quote in full reads:

    Unlike some other documentary films, Expelled doesn’t just talk to
    people representing one side of the story. The film confronts scientists
    such as Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, influential biologist
    and atheist blogger PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center
    for Science Education. The creators of Expelled crossed the globe over a
    two-year period, interviewing scores of scientists, doctors, philosophers
    and public leaders. The result is a startling revelation that freedom of
    thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly-funded high
    schools, universities and research institutions.

    They certainly make it sound like they talked to PZ, and many others (probably under false pretences, knowing these people) and that they will be appearing in the film.

    BTW, this made me laugh:

    The incredible thing about Expelled is that we don’t resort to
    manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the ‘shock
    effect’

    Yes, incredible.

    People will be stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists
    proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who
    believe in a fairy tale.

    Oh, those elitist scientists! Y’know, there’s been kind of a mismatch between what “ordinary people” make of the world and what scientists say since, oh, about the seventeenth century.

    Case in point: each year I take an informal survey of the arts students to whom I teach history of science: essentially basic facts about mechanics (which falls faster, a light weight or a heavy one, that sort of thing). Consistently, about 80% of them have a completely Aristotelian world-view. It’s like the Scientific Revolution never happened — and this in an area where there aren’t even (any more) any religious issues involved.

  35. #35 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 22, 2007

    Re: my comment in “The aggravation of Trek”…

    And so it goes in that cultural/art/science cesspool, Hollywoodland.

    Try getting a science consultant hired onto THAT baby. And if they do hire one, try persuading them to listen to her. If they do, they wouldn’t have any story left. If they don’t, they can at least claim to have hired a representative of an opposing view for the sake of “fairness”…or at least its appearance.

    That industry really IS all about cheating the audience.

  36. #36 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    Given that this film isn’t listed on IMDB or even mentioned on Ben Stein’s official website (despite having other 2007 works listed),

    It’s a 2008 movie, not a 2007 one.

    I’m somewhat skeptical that this is in fact, legit.

    Maybe it’s well and good to be skeptical of it, but it has been claimed by IDiots like O’Leary for well over a week. I would suspect that they’ve been told, since undoubtedly it’s going to be a bunch of ignorant church-goers (and I did not say that all church-goers are ignorant) who pay for the movie, and they want to get the word out to just those people.

    So I’ve thought it sounded legit. Just my thoughts, whatever they mean to you.

    Especially after someone pointed out that PZ is supposedly interviewed for such a sham. I’m not thinking for an instant he’d give permission for such an interview.

    Um, I really don’t know why he wouldn’t.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  37. #37 Stanton
    August 22, 2007
    There goes my last bit of respect for Ben Stein. I know in recent years he’s drifted more and more from “old-school fiscal conservative” toward “Bushie neocon,” but he could usually be counted on to tow his own line more often than the party’s.

    Inside every seemingly rational conservative lies a wackjob just waiting to pop out.

    Just like those parasites from the Aliens movie…

  38. #38 Dan S.
    August 22, 2007

    Inside every seemingly rational conservative lies a wackjob just waiting to pop out.

    Yep – it’s just like that scence in Alien. You’ll be having a nice dinner, making pleasant conversation with someone, and then suddenly . . .

  39. #39 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 22, 2007

    …AND, of course, the shlock-drivel will make MILLIONS

  40. #40 Dan S.
    August 22, 2007

    Well, look at that. Great minds, an’ all . . .
    (if not say great-at-spelling minds, on my part – scene, I mean, not scence . . . )

  41. #41 Greg B
    August 22, 2007

    My suggestion is to go to the site and post your logical and well reasoned arguments as to why his entire premise is wrong.

    The recent Dover case, for example, said NOTHING about disallowing the discussion of creationism. It ONLY said that ID is not a scientific process and has no business being taught in school science classes.

    Discussing ID in a class that surveys what various religions believe is a reasonable topic that is specifically allowed in the judges decision. No “freedom from religion” activist that I know of is proposing that professors get fired for discussing creationism. They are only limited from teaching dogma as if it’s science.

    His entire premise is a straw man.

  42. #42 Phila
    August 22, 2007

    I wonder if Stein’s rebellious character will counsel a student not to get an abortion, as part of his mission of “stickin’ it to the man.”

    Hell, he might even pull down the rotten edifice of poststructuralist thought, and lay waste to the Latina/o Studies department. It’s totally those stuffed shirts’ worst nightmare, dudes!

    “Bad to the Bone”…sheesh. What fucking decade is it, again?

  43. #43 Iris
    August 22, 2007

    I love how when you mouse over him in the banner, his face turns scared. “Oh no! You’re confronting me? But– special pleading! Controversy! Help!”

    Also, if Ben Stein is still in high school, perhaps he deserves to be expelled.

  44. #44 J-Dog
    August 22, 2007

    Here is my comment (Held For Moderation)

    Wah? What an IDiotic premise!

    Ben, you should feel ashamed – pandering to the IDiots. Freedom is NOT being suppressed by the scientific community! ID has nothing to show. ID is all smoke and mirrors for the credulous, it is not science, because it is not testable. ID and it’s lying backers may not admit it, but ID is all about getting the Bible and Creationism back into American schools. It’s a pipe dream backed by theocrats, and BTW – it’s illegal too, thanks to the Constitution.

    I suggest you and your religious morons that back ID move to Iran if you want to live in a theocracy. Have a good time there.

  45. #45 kristen in montreal
    August 22, 2007

    As an aspiring educator, I am in despair. Just one more reason I am not cool – now I am a square Darwinist!

    You know, I am planning to move to NYC to do a graduate degree in chemistry education. Things like this discourage me and make me want to stay in Canada, where this nonsense doesn’t touch our classrooms, even in private catholic high schools. I graduated from a secondary school and a college where nuns were still living on the top floor. I’d come out of class and see one of the old sisters going to brush her teeth! And nobody ever dreamed of intelligent design in science class. For that matter, it wasn’t even advocated in religion!

    I have had a great deal of luck in my early schooling, and I feel a sense of duty to pay that forward. This is a battle – fellow slime-snake-monkey-mutants – that we must not lose!

    Oh – and I have to say, I was not surprised that the intro to that stupid film’s website featured a quotation from Richard Dawkins. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that his scathing wit (which I so enjoy reading in his books) will only galvanize the other team.

    To speak the language of the enemy, “Thems fightin’ words.”

  46. #46 Zeno
    August 22, 2007

    Contrary to what Mike P said in #1, I think Ben Stein was perfectly cast in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. With his droning voice and general air of cluenessness, Stein was the epitome of the soul-dead teacher — and the ideal justification for a student with any joie de vivre to cut classes in favor of a day out on the town.

    And Ben Stein continues to bring those great qualities to his present-day role as a neocon Bush apologist.

  47. #47 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    This is a cinema first. It’s the first movie that’s ever made me wish, with all of my heart, for nuclear war.

    Big Science? If they wanted to take that angle, they wouldn’t have hired Ben Stein. They would have hired a scrawny effusive trendoid with thick-rimmed glasses to put on some kind of skit in front of a university, and then post the video on whudafxup. He’d probably prance around issuing something like:

    Did you know that in 1976, Big Science Executives published a manifesto for eugenics. They called it “The Selfish Gene” and tried to dismiss it later with obscure mathematics created by Garrett Hardin (who was a supporter of “The Bell Curve”). So, Big Science doesn’t support eugenics? Whudafxup?

  48. #48 dorid
    August 22, 2007

    ((sigh))

    On his journey Stein meets other scientists such as astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in spite of his extraordinary record of achievement. Gonzalez made the mistake of documenting the design he has observed in the universe [Premise Media Press Release]

    Didn’t we put that one to bed yet?

    There are others quoted. I’m just too discouraged to track it all down at this point.

    It looks like the right has stepped up the level of propaganda.

    … and they wonder why we’re angry and militant.

  49. #49 Carlie
    August 22, 2007

    it’s a disturbing new documentary that will shock anyone who thinks all scientists are free to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.

    I’m trying to remember when in my scientific training as an evolutionary biologist that I was told that I could not follow the evidence wherever it led.

    Oh, yeah. Never.

  50. #50 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    It’s the first movie that’s ever made me wish, with all of my heart, for nuclear war.

    I should say, though, that it isn’t the first movie to make me wish for the extermination of mankind. “Bratz” made me pray for a GRB from a previously undiscovered neutron star a mere two light years away.

  51. #51 mojoandy
    August 22, 2007

    Man, I’m a Canadian and this still pissed me off.

    Anyway, my comment to Ben’s blog (might still be censored, I guess I should be careful what I think):

    Not falsifiable. Not science. See ‘Sober, Elliott. “What is Wrong with Intelligent Design,” The Quarterly Review of Biology: March 2007.’

    Can anti-ID types be shrill and strident on the issue? Sure. So can pro-ID types. Doesn’t have any bearing on the truth or worth of their statements.

    The issue is: can the potential involvement of a designing force be proven or disproven in the scientific arena? The answer is no.

    Further, any approach that says “Can’t understand; God must’ve done it,” hinders scientific inquiry, feeds anti-intellectual sentiment and further erode’s America’s admirable advancements in science and technology. Also see ‘Charles P. Pierce, “Greetings from Idiot America,” Esquire Magazine: November 2005.’

    Ben, think of your country. I mean it: think. Being great with trivia is one thing, but come-on, THINK.

  52. #52 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Zeno,

    Ah, touché. It’s a touch of meta-criticism. I suppose it does add some subtle shallowness to that heinous character. Now, I propose we cast Matthew Broderick (lord knows he doesn’t have anything better to do), Mia Sara and Alan Ruck in a counter-production.

    “Anyone? Something-D-O-O biology. Doo-doo biology.”

  53. #53 Mindbleach
    August 22, 2007

    Current plan: attend this movie at a theater I won’t be coming back to (i.e., any theater that shows this dreck past the opening weekend), get in as cheaply as possible, sit in the back of the theater. Everytime Ben Stein is onscreen playing the “rebel” at a school, recite the following loudly and ad nauseum:

    “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?…. Bueller?”

  54. #54 Mrs Tilton
    August 22, 2007

    May I take a dissenting position here? This film will certainly prove to be the most awful bollocks, of course. But:

    1. Stein, pillock that he is, was perfect in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Not much to show for a life’s work, I know. But he did have his perfect 15 seconds.

    2. Neither Stein nor Jones is a “blemish” on FB’sDO. They are actors. The former turned in a very good, though very small performance. The latter was mildly good, though in a more prominent role. When away from their workplace, the former is a jackass; the latter apparently has some very serious problems and has done some some very bad things. But I am not sure what their real-life personae have to do with their work in this film. OJ Simpson is almost certainly a double murderer, and I despise him. For all that, he provided one of the funniest scenes ever filmed (and I hear he wasn’t half bad in a different area of entertainment, either). Yes, when we see Stein or Jones in FB’sDO, or Simpson in The Naked Gun, it’s perhaps natural that we’d need to stifle feelings of contempt, disgust or very severe contempt and disgust, respectively. But that’s what we need to do, if what we want to do is watch a film.

    3. I hope the people making Expelled lose their shirts. But I have to commend them for taking the trouble to make the film. If you read Roy Edroso (and if you don’t, you are criminally negligent), you’ll know he is constantly mocking the likes of Roy Medved and Jason Appuzzo for decrying “liberal Hollywood” to earn their wingnut welfare checks. If you think movies should be getting out the wingnut talking points (sez Roy), well then, make those movies. Gibson did it with his antisemitic S/M pornfest, and now Stein (or whatever moneyed troglodyte is behind him) is doing the same. Fair play to them. Let a hundred flowers bloom, because sunlight is the best disinfectant. Or something. As for normal people, our goal should not be to silence the trogs, but to expose them. And I think the truth will conquer.

  55. #55 windy
    August 22, 2007

    “BIG SCIENCE has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom”

    Interesting. When do we get to hear the SMART, NEW ideas? “Gaaaawd” is not one of them.

  56. #56 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Mrs Tilton,

    With all due respect, I don’t think anybody is saying the movie shouldn’t be made. On the contrary; I believe most of us are sharpening our claws so that we can tear it to pieces when it is released.

  57. #57 garth
    August 22, 2007

    stein’s more than just an apologist, he’s a full-fledged wingnut member. what was that deal during the last election where republicans were donating tons of dough to a green party candidate to get him on the ballot? stein was one. “i’m an independent!” sure you are, jackass.

  58. #58 PZ Myers
    August 22, 2007

    What? They claim to have interviewed me?

    I did do a talking heads thing for some documentarians earlier this summer, but they talked me into it by saying it was about the intersection of science and religion — and they had a list of other people they’d talked to, which included some of those others. They also gave me the name of their company, Rampant Films, which looked like a sensible documentary outfit.

  59. #59 Nullifidian
    August 22, 2007

    I’m irresistably reminded of the film Bob Roberts:

    “Here’s a man who has adopted the persona and mindset of the freethinking rebel and turned on itself–The Rebel Conservative. That is deviant brilliance.”

    In this political climate, I think that Tim Robbins wasn’t doing satire, he was doing prophecy.

  60. #60 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    With all due respect, I don’t think anybody is saying the movie shouldn’t be made. On the contrary; I believe most of us are sharpening our claws so that we can tear it to pieces when it is released.

    Well, I’m saying it shouldn’t be made, or shouldn’t have been made. I’m against all lies, and from what I can gather from the the promotional materials, the gist of the movie is going to be one rank lie, that the failed “hypothesis” of ID has been kept out of the lab and the classroom simply because it has “intelligent” in the title, and not because Stein and the rest of those who make God out to be a liar (ID’s premise is little different from Last Thursdayism, that God designed everything to look like it evolved by MET mechanisms) have never produced any kind of evidence worthy of the name.

    Of course it’s completely allowed for ID to do research (wonder why they almost never exercise that particular right, and why the tiny bit that is done has to be, well, pathetic and clearly not actual research into ID), to teach lies to the poor little saps put into “religious schools” (yes, I was one of them), and to put out propaganda instead of coming up with a single legitimate scientific datum. That’s not the same thing as saying that such lies ought to be told, for they are an offense to humans of all beliefs and levels of knowledge.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  61. #61 David Utidjian
    August 22, 2007

    Well it does seem a little fishy. Doesn’t mention anything about this movie in IMDB.com. Nothing on Ben Stein’s “official” website either. But it is kinda in keeping with his philosophy.
    Schmuck.

    -DU-

  62. #62 jud
    August 22, 2007

    mojoandy (#55) – Not only are you Canadian, so is Walter Ruloff, one of the two major moneymen behind Premise Films, the movie’s financial backer. I guess he’s grateful that God’s been so good as to give him a 9500-sq-ft $10.5 million estate in British Columbia: http://www.canadianchristianity.com/cgi-bin/bc.cgi?bc/bccn/0499/city

  63. #63 Physis
    August 22, 2007

    The DI’s views are up (sorry if already posted)

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/08/hollywood_gets_the_message_abo.html

  64. #64 Traffic Demon
    August 22, 2007

    Ugh, and this 500 pound pile of rotting whale placenta is supposed to come out on Darwin’s birthday… Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  65. #65 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Glen,

    Yes, lies are offensive. They ought not to be told, true. But I was not using “should” in the “ought” sense, I was using it in the “allow” sense. No one here is saying the movie shouldn’t have been allowed to have been made. At least I hope that’s not what you’re arguing.

  66. #66 rrt
    August 22, 2007

    So, I’ve been thinking. Since this is a documentary, it probably isn’t going to be a “mainstream” release, right? Even a Moore documentary doesn’t get nearly as many theatres as most A-list releases. So Motive is going to want to hype it. And how will they do that? Probably the same way they hyped Passion, with a heavy “grassroots” church-congregation campaign, which IIRC was instrumental in raising it to the success it acheived. I remember many articles at the time talking about this as a new business model.

    So, here’s my (probably too optimistic) thought: Although of course the stats among the faithful favor the IDers, the stats also tell us that there are a significant number of theists who reject typical ID. The religious (mainly Jewish) backlash against Passion was significant enough to get noticed, so much so as to help establish Gibson’s present shaky public image. Assuming a similar backlash occurs here, might we be able to use that backlash to foster a broader discussion?

    In the defense of evolution (and in other areas), we atheists have been asking our Christian allies to make their voices heard, to be noticed saying “That is not my Christianity.” Perhaps this will present them a much-needed opportunity to do so, with a public that seems increasingly interested in having this conversation.

  67. #67 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    Ben Stein is dressed just like Angus Young. How dreamy.

  68. #68 THz
    August 22, 2007

    If you do go see it, perhaps pay for a different movie and sneak into this so at least the money is skewed away from Ben.

  69. #69 Boosterz
    August 22, 2007

    They screwed up casting Ben Stein for this. If anybody goes to see it, they won’t be able to watch more then 5 minutes of it before Stein’s monotone induces narcolepsy.

    “Evolution…is…a…fraud…enforced…by…the…scientific…
    *audio from the movie becomes drowned out by the snoring coming from the theatre*”

  70. #70 Gilgamesh
    August 22, 2007

    Let’s see, the best quote for this from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

    “Bullshit? . . Bullshit? . . Bullshit? . . Bullshit? . .”

    Besides, isn’t Ben Stein an economist, NOT a scientist?

    I’m sorry, but having Ben Stein in a “crockumentary” to give it a sense of truth is like saying Alan Colmes gives Fox News legitimacy.

  71. #71 gg
    August 22, 2007

    #72: “Ben Stein is dressed just like Angus Young. How dreamy.”

    Does that mean he’s on the “Highway to Hell”?

  72. #72 Firemancarl
    August 22, 2007

    Loc,

    You’re right it’s “Salk”. Oh well. If they can get crap wrong, so can I! BTW, my comment is still there, lets see how long it is though…

  73. #73 jud
    August 22, 2007

    PZ (#63) – Different film altogether. See http://rampantfilms.com/rampantfilms.swf – click on “Properties,” then the thumbnail image for “Crossroads.”

  74. #74 Firemancarl
    August 22, 2007

    Disregard, it’s “awaiting moderation” WTF???

  75. #75 Andrea
    August 22, 2007

    I did do a talking heads thing for some documentarians earlier this summer, but they talked me into it by saying it was about the intersection of science and religion — and they had a list of other people they’d talked to, which included some of those others. They also gave me the name of their company, Rampant Films, which looked like a sensible documentary outfit.

    PZ, you may have been had. Mark Mathis of Rampant Films (which indeed lists an upcoming documentary on science and religion on their site) is also the associate producer for Expelled. Unless your interview agreement was very specific as to what they were planning to use it for, they may have taken some of the material and put it in this (likely) crapfest.

  76. #76 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    #72: “Ben Stein is dressed just like Angus Young. How dreamy.”

    Does that mean he’s on the “Highway to Hell”?

    I’ll start giving Ben Stein a call when I need dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.

  77. #77 gg
    August 22, 2007

    #82: “I’ll start giving Ben Stein a call when I need dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.”

    Well, considering he’s a diehard neocon, it’ll be more like, “Dirty deeds, done ineffectively and at exorbitant cost to the taxpayer.”

  78. #78 Graculus
    August 22, 2007

    They also gave me the name of their company, Rampant Films, which looked like a sensible documentary outfit.

    I found that film on Rampart’s Website.. “Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion”… looks sensible.

  79. #79 Blake Stacey
    August 22, 2007

    PZ Myers (#63):

    I did do a talking heads thing for some documentarians earlier this summer, but they talked me into it by saying it was about the intersection of science and religion — and they had a list of other people they’d talked to, which included some of those others. They also gave me the name of their company, Rampant Films, which looked like a sensible documentary outfit.

    Denyse O’Leary (ick, ick) says the following:

    I see where former news reporter and anchor Mark Mathis, now with his own (?) Sherman Oaks-based company Rampant Films, is the associate producer.

    All right, off I go to kick something hard and repeatedly.

  80. #80 bernarda
    August 22, 2007

    In the “got to be kidding” sphere, here is a story.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20227400/site/newsweek/

    “In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.”

  81. #81 Randy Olson, Head Dodo
    August 22, 2007

    Are you folks really this clueless? You make me think of a baseball team that finishes the season in last place, then spends the off season criticizing all the other teams, as if that will address the problem.

    I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is an excellent trailer they have produced. Not some amateurish clunky mess that you would expect from a science organization. The music cue, “Bad to the Bone,” would have cost them $25,000 at least (assuming they have paid the rights — someone might want to look into that, but I’m guessing they have). Rights for music in a trailer is more than for using it in the movie.

    Take the pain. Accept it. It already appears to be a much more powerful piece of mass communication than anything from the world of evolution for a long time (much slicker than my humble little movie, light years better than anything from PBS or AIBS). The science world is being out-gunned, both financially and in terms of cleverness.

    What are you gonna do about it? Complain it’s not fair?

  82. #82 Josh
    August 22, 2007

    If PZ was interviewed for this thing, and they use the information he provided in a disingenuous way (twist his words or whatever to promote a point he wouldn’t actually promote), I suspect he’ll be able to make a huge stink after the film is released; certainly enough verifiable text exists on the positions he actually does take.

  83. #83 phat
    August 22, 2007

    That film the Rampant did is called “Crossroads”. That’s a different film.

    phat

  84. #84 Adrienne
    August 22, 2007

    People, people, the film is coming out in FEBRUARY, for Maude’s sake. That means its distributors expect it to do crappy business. February is the cinematic wasteland for movie releases.

  85. #85 phat
    August 22, 2007

    Or is it?

    OK, this is getting a little weird.

    phat

  86. #86 Adrienne
    August 22, 2007

    Look at the other recent marvels of modern cinema relegated to February release dates: Ghost Rider, Queen of the Damned, the Hitcher, Hannibal Rising…beginning to get the picture regarding what kind of movies get released in February?

  87. #87 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    The science world is being out-gunned, both financially and in terms of cleverness.

    Oh shit. We have another of these “sell evolution with psychomarketing” Goebbels worshipping assholes. Look, Randy, I know you’re really impressed with your degree in marketing, or communications, or whatever other bullshit program you got yourself into, but you aren’t going to convince those of us with real things to contribute to science of your worth by lubing up and wandering in here to jack off. Anyway, I’m sure you’re missing a perfectly good kegger somewhere. Why don’t you go die of alcohol poisoning?

  88. #88 Adrienne
    August 22, 2007

    As one movie reviewer put it, “Despite its February release date (the month you drop the shit off in theaters), I’m kinda excited. This looks to be the first Steve Martin film I’m looking forward to seeing in a long while (1992′s Leap of Faith), and its always nice to see jean Reno working.”

    That was for the Pink Panther remake. Remember that one? Me neither.

    So stop panicking. The studio/distributor already knows the film is crap, and doesn’t expect anyone to see it anyway.

  89. #89 Andrea
    August 22, 2007

    Phat:
    Right, there are 2 docs: Crossroads from Rampant (producer Mark Mathis) and Expelled from Premise (associate producer Mark Mathis). Whether PZ is only in the first one, as he originally believed, or both is the question.

    Randy:
    We’ll need more dancing birds for sure. ;)

    Adrienne:
    they are timing it for Darwin’s birthday, plus they say they want to raise the issue for the presidential primaries. I don’t think they are aiming to make money out of it, any more than the ID advocates are really aiming to do science. It’s just PR and propaganda.

  90. #90 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    @#87

    Heeeey. You’re not the real Randy Olson!

    Anyway, dumbass, the trailer looks cheap and tacky, no matter what they spent on it. And yes, we do intend to complain about it–but not because it isn’t fair. We’re complaining because it inevitably will present an atrocious depiction of science.

    You and your filthy ilk can use the popular mediums all you want. I ain’t gonna stop you. Make all the films you want. Publish any book you please. They’re all drops in an inconsequential bucket because ID has yet to contribute anything to the real world of science. You can even boohoo about the scientific establishment keeping your dirty, slapdash attempts at science out of the big journals–I don’t care. You could write down a scientific justification for ID on a cocktail napkin, and if it had some predictive power, if it had any scientific integrity at all, I’d pay attention.

    But you don’t have that. All you have is a group of gladhanding sophists and a scorching persecution complex. So when you’re movie is panned–by the scientific community, by the media, by little children with an ounce of rationality, by everyone except you and your sycophantic cabal of stupidity–I don’t want to hear you complain. Because fair’s fair.

  91. #91 Physis
    August 22, 2007

    First, it’s being released in February because of Darwin’s birthday, not merely becuse it’ll bomb. Second – Documentaries aren’t known for their stunning success at the boxoffice, and it’ll be an uphill struggle for the movie to do anything beyond preach to the faithful. Thirdly, surely this movie pisses all over the new ‘brand ID as evolution’ strategy?

  92. #92 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    you’re = your. Naturally.

  93. #93 kellbelle1020
    August 22, 2007

    Shorter Dustin: That’s because the science world puts its money and cleverness toward useful research instead of propoganda, and that’s the way it should be (jerk!)

  94. #94 Kseniya
    August 22, 2007

    (My favorite Ben Stein moment is the time when he felt that his undergrad economics degree qualified him to tell Paul Krugman that the latter doesn’t know anything about economics.) ~S. LaBonne

    Steve, did you happen to see Krugman on O’Reilly’s show during the campaign run-up of 2004? As I recall, Blowhard Bill saw fit to lecture Krugman on economics, and after contradicting himself (and denying it) several times, Krugman called him a liar – which, of course, gave Bill all the excuse he needed to bail on the question and play the victim. Classic and pathetic.

  95. #95 frog
    August 22, 2007

    Isn’t association with Nixon proof that you are an evil, megalomaniacal, pseudo-intellectual, self-interested prick who will say anything to make a buck and gain power? We can start with Ben Stein, and work our way up to Rumsfeld, Rehnquist, Cheney, Kissinger…

    Every last one of them thinks he’s a genius, and not one of them is anywhere close. Read Kissinger’s “Diplomacy” to see his shoddy short-term thinking (he thinks that Stalin was the greatest politician of the 20th century).

    What really shows their true nature – here we have Stein and Kissinger, both Jewish (and Kissinger a victim of the holocaust), cavorting with Nixon, a notorious anti-semite. We have Stein getting in bed with Fundamentalist who fantasize about a final war which will kill most Israelis, saving just a converted remnant. What kind of disingenuous asshole do you have to be? It’s like Condi getting in bed with the Southern strategy – a woman who as a child had her classmates killed by segregationist terrorists becoming a political ally of that very movement.

    A pack of amoral monsters, every last one of them. I’d bet that Stein, in private, thinks that ID is a bunch of nonsense, but it’s just such a convenient tool…

  96. #96 windy
    August 22, 2007

    What are you gonna do about it? Complain it’s not fair?

    Or we could make up a funny name for it, like the “Ben Stein Noise Machine”. Then we’ll point out that the message is too polarizing and will only succeed in alienating the swing voters, and thus the whole thing is bound to fail!

  97. #97 Janine
    August 22, 2007

    Kellbelle1020 back up at 28 touched on this and I just wanted to expand some more.

    This is from the site; “In today’s world, at least in America, an Einstein or a Newton or a Galileo would probably not be allowed to receive grants to study or to publish his research.”

    Ben Stein or whomever wrote this up has no idea about the history of any of these men. Kellbelle1020 took care of Galileo so I will take the other two.

    As most of you must know, Einstein was not funded by any government nor institution when he came up with his ideas. He was merely a patent office clerk. His fame and fortune came when his ideas started changing how others approached physics. His coming to the US was the reaction of the Nazis hounding anyone who was Jewish. Even than, Herbert Hoover kept a huge file on him. Such a progressive humanist could be trusted.

    As for Newton, he was of the English ruling class. For a time he headed the currency office. He had the leasure to follow his ideas. Yes, he developed a theory of gravity and was one of the inventors of calculas. He also spent even more time working on alchemy. In a lot of ways, Newton was a classic crank. He was a brillant and world changing figure but alsoin some ways, crazed. Most of us just remember the good aspects of him.

    It would be nice if Ben Stein would be intellectually honest but using those figures as part of his argument show either great ignorence or he does not care about any form of truth except for a neo-com “truth’.

    Changing directions here, Randy Olson’s claim that “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is an excellent trailer they have produced.” is plain wrong. Yeah, it is slick. But the use of ‘Bad To The Bone’ for the last twenty years is proof of lazy film making.

  98. #98 Graculus
    August 22, 2007

    So stop panicking. The studio/distributor already knows the film is crap, and doesn’t expect anyone to see it anyway.

    Yes on the first, no on the second. They are pushing this puppy to “students and educators”, not the general public.

    Captive audiences.

  99. #99 Samuel
    August 22, 2007

    SHIT GUYS THEY’VE GOT BONO. WE’RE DONE FOR. DONE FOR.

  100. #100 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Samuel

    I read that in a End of the World French-guy voice and it was hilarious. Try it.

    “Shit guys… zey got Bono… FIRE ZE MISSLES!”

  101. #101 A Hermit
    August 22, 2007

    Still no comments appearing on Ben’s shiny new blog. Could it be that Pharyngula readers are the only people visiting him?

  102. #102 Alex Taylor
    August 22, 2007

    So I posted the following comment on the blog of that advertisement page. It is interesting that the URL of my comment was #41 but no comments at all were visible. I wonder why.

    - “You, sir, are quite possibly the most misguided propaganda hound I have ever encountered. ID ‘theories’ are rejected not out of hand, merely because the concept of a creator is somehow offensive, but simply because they are not theories. A hypothesis has two main attributes neccessary to qualify it as a hypothesis and not merely speculation;

    1) the hypothesis must predict a result – ie, I hypothesize that if I eat something when I am hungry, I will no longer be hungry… or, more abstractly, I hypothesize that the lack of food for a period of time can cause hunger. Thus predicting that a) if I eat, my hunger will subside, and b) if I don’t eat, my hunger will appear or get worse

    2) a hypothesis must be falsifiable, able to be proven false. example, if I hypothesize that if I am hungry, and I drink water, my hunger will subside. I then proceed to drink water and my hunger remains, thus proving my hypothesis false, I must then create a new hypothesis that accounts for this new information, ie, I must eat food to satiate my hunger.

    ID theories contain neither of these elements – one cannot disprove the existence of a creator, therefore it is not a hypothesis, merely an unfounded belief, superstition, or opinion – as the creationist faction has a tendency to say, it is wrong to teach an opinion as a fact.”

  103. #103 BlueIndependent
    August 22, 2007

    I love how religious types have this obsession with trying to ape popular culture by applying its marketing tactics to their stuff, especially this crap. Countless examples that have fallen by the wayside for trying to enter pop culture and spread the Jesus. Stryper? HA! Please.

    What I find supremely ironic about their attempts is that they have to go out of their way to utilize the very things their predecessors railed against (Rock-n-Roll for one) years ago to be popular, and to be considered relevant. Name any one thing pop culture – from actors to death metal – and there’s been a religious group that’s tried to fit that mold to sell their agenda to a wider audience.

    Ben Stein looks like he’ll play more of a bumbling American Rowan Atkinson in this than a straight-shootin’ evolution killer (whichi would be an interesting feat if it was even possible for them to pull off). Hopefully there’ll be plenty to pick this thing apart and get the opposing word out when this thing hits theatres.

  104. #104 frog
    August 22, 2007

    Randy:

    Are you folks really this clueless? You make me think of a baseball team that finishes the season in last place, then spends the off season criticizing all the other teams, as if that will address the problem.

    Yup, life is a baseball game. Winning or losing is all that matters, by any means necessary.

    You do realize that with such a philosophy, it is inevitable that the group with the biggest lie, marketed best, will win? The problem ain’t that the truth doesn’t have good enough marketers/pr guys, the problem is that Americans don’t line up all the marketers/pr guys against the wall.

  105. #105 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    Changing directions here, Randy Olson’s claim that “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is an excellent trailer they have produced.” is plain wrong.

    As his is claim of Randy Olsonhood. Unless it isn’t. It’s actually a little hard to tell — the real one is a bit of a jackass, too. But, I suppose I’m being a little hard on the probably fake Randy Olson and, in the interest of fostering better relations between the adults and the Luntz-is-Jesus-Christ framers, I’m off to cobble some sentence fragments together so that I can frame q-deformations on Heisenberg Manifolds in such a way as to make the unwashed, poor, and stupid masses think they’ll remove stains from their whites. Or maybe I could take the Garnier approach, and insinuate that C*-Algebras lead to awesome bohemian lifestyles in trailers in the desert with lots of men from the Abercrombie and Stench catalogue to wash my hair. Woo-woo! (Piano riff)

  106. #106 Marcus Ranum
    August 22, 2007

    “In today’s world, at least in America, an Einstein or a Newton or a Galileo would probably not be allowed to receive grants to study or to publish his research [because they believed in a creator].”

    It’s ironic, isn’t it? At the same time that the federal government has channelled $3 billion toward “faith based initiatives” …

  107. #107 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    It’s ironic, isn’t it? At the same time that the federal government has channelled $3 billion toward “faith based initiatives”

    Come to think of it, that makes their Newton claim wrong. He’d be the first in line to get his alchemist’s fingers in the pie that used to belong to energy research.

  108. #108 Adrienne
    August 22, 2007

    Ooooh, the move site uses a phrase that sends chills down my spine: “the anti-theist elite”. I like it!

  109. #109 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    Are you folks really this clueless? You make me think of a baseball team that finishes the season in last place, then spends the off season criticizing all the other teams, as if that will address the problem.

    Well, dumbass, why don’t you produce an anti-ID film and get it into the theaters? I don’t have the money, but no doubt you do, so shut the fuck up and fund a movie that’ll blow this shambles of a film out of the water.

    We criticize because if no one answered these lying pricks, they’d get away with it completely. It’s what those of us without your colossal salesmanship can do.

    I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is an excellent trailer they have produced.

    Most of us didn’t say otherwise. I haven’t seen it, but I’m more inclined to respect the opinions of those who have and call it a piece of crap than the opinion of the guy who’s attacking strawmen.

    Not some amateurish clunky mess that you would expect from a science organization.

    You mean that instead of respecting the evidence and working within the budget of science, it’s propaganda that doesn’t care about evidence or the proper process. That was our complaint, dillhole.

    The music cue, “Bad to the Bone,” would have cost them $25,000 at least (assuming they have paid the rights — someone might want to look into that, but I’m guessing they have).

    Ooo, yeah that’s not going to seem incongruous with a bunch of preachers of the gospel dishing out their swill. I’m sure that’s going to convince the cool kids that they’d best go over to the ID side.

    Xians of the evangelical kind have tried to co-opt pop culture for their pathetic rags for a long time. Hasn’t worked yet, except for making piles of money from the sheep who offer their skins up to be sheared again and again.

    Rights for music in a trailer is more than for using it in the movie.

    That convinces me that it’s going to all work. And yes I’ll sign up for your course in falling for pathetic nonsense.

    Take the pain. Accept it.

    No one has claimed that this isn’t going to do some good among the dolts. There is some pain in that it’ll give some support to ID, but it’s hardly going to make a big difference, may even backfire in the long run because it’ll provide a whole lot of coverage of the film’s lies. A few idiots being convinced by Stein is a small price to pay for making it even more plain that ID is nothing but a propaganda shell, which has provided exactly zero substance to be taught in the schools. IOW, smart people will be turned off by it, no matter what effects it has with the stupid.

    It already appears to be a much more powerful piece of mass communication than anything from the world of evolution for a long time (much slicker than my humble little movie, light years better than anything from PBS or AIBS).

    Maybe you don’t understand what we’re fighting for. We’re fighting for non-glitzy science to be practiced and taught, not for science to be turned into a media presentation. I’ll be happy if you want to foot the bill for a good media presentation of what science is and what it concludes, as well as if science organizations might finally recognize their obligation to teach the public. However, we’ll never win by hiring the ignorant Stein or some other ignorant figure to rant about the “other side”, distort the very issue being discussed, and to lie about the openness of science (not perfect, but probably as good as it gets in our society).

    The science world is being out-gunned, both financially and in terms of cleverness.

    The truth is that no matter the lies and perversions coming out of the ID side, they’re making little or no headway. And anyhow, what’s your advice, to take monies away from science and resort to sheer propaganda like the liars do?

    We’re on these forums because we can only make a small difference, and we’ll at least do that. One of the ways of doing so is disagreeing with Randy that merely throwing money at the problem is the solution. More money should go into it (Paul Allen and Bill Gates owe science more than they’re giving to it), but the kind of BS being put out by Stein and company is not at all the way to go.

    What are you gonna do about it? Complain it’s not fair?

    We’re going to shred the lies, and some of us will get onto TV in order to do so. It’s never easy, because making false claims like Stein is doing already puts the honest people into question in the minds of much of the public. But it is not within our ethics or our interests to come up with the sorts of lies being promulgated by the DI and Stein. We will have to work with our opportunities to tell the truth and, yes, to complain about the sordid lies of the IDiots.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  110. #110 rjb
    August 22, 2007

    Randy’s got a point though, regarding the infamous “f-word” that many here have debated. This movie may flop, but I do have some concerns that it is focused on a group that previously hasn’t been the center of attention in the ID wars… namely, the college undergrad. The website has links for students and student leaders to register and get info, press releases, etc. In my experience, most of the college level influxes of ID have come from the various christian groups on campus, and while quite ubiquitous, have stayed somewhat limited to that domain. I think this is an attempt to “frame” the debate in a way that the average college student will find interesting.

    Now, whether Ben Stein can pull it off…

    One thing that Ben Stein has, regarding the framing issue, is that he is not afraid to make fun of himself. That self-deprecating style has some pull.

    So what do we do about it? Maybe we should hire someone to do a nice and funny counter-documentary. How about something narrated by David Duchovny? But seriously, if this gets any media play, address it head on. Those of us in college environments, talk to the students. Who knows? maybe even arrange a viewing sponsored by some science students, and let the students take the lead in beating back the lies.

  111. #111 Steve Reuland
    August 22, 2007

    PZ:

    They also gave me the name of their company, Rampant Films, which looked like a sensible documentary outfit.

    It’s the same people. Rampant Films’ website has the same flash animation format as the movie. If you look on the “Inside Rampant” page, it lists Mark Mathis as one of their producers. He’s the guy listed as the producer for the Ben Stein film.

    It looks like we’ve just uncovered their first lie. After claiming not to have mucked about with the interviews, it turns out that they fundamentally misrepresented who they were and what they were doing to the interviewees.

  112. #112 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    Glen D,

    Well, dumbass, why don’t you produce an anti-ID film and get it into the theaters?

    Um, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, and judging from the post I’d say not, but the person Randy is claiming to be did, in fact, produce an anti-ID film and get it into theaters. It’s called Flock of Dodos.

    Though I have some pretty grave doubts that this poster is actually Randy Olson.

  113. #113 phat
    August 22, 2007

    Yes, there is something fishy going on with this Rampant Film company.

    phat

  114. #114 Kseniya
    August 22, 2007

    (reads entire comment section now)

    Oh my. Please don’t tell me that Randy is actually the answer to the question, “What do you get when you throw Leni Riefenstahl, Socialist Realism, and The Invisible Hand into a blender?” How disappointing that would be.

  115. #115 William
    August 22, 2007

    Has anyone else noticed the release date, by the way? I thought that I saw 12 February 2008 when I was looking, which, of course, would be a nice little attempt at a slap in the face (can’t find it now, might have been a bad dream). Sounds like parties or “Expelled”-shredding might be in order on the day, along with a healthier-than-usual dose of Darwin Day celebrations. As to the idea of credibility that the film *might* have had, they also link out rather blatantly to the IDiots at the DI on this page (click the Kitzmiller v. Dover link).

  116. #116 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    In today’s world, at least in America, an Einstein or a Newton or a Galileo would probably not be allowed to receive grants to study or to publish his research.

    Yeah, right, Princeton would never hire Einstein, since he believed in “Deus sive Natura” (close as I can render his “religion”). Oops, they did (and the only issue that might have gone against him was that he was Jewish, somethign the Bible believers didn’t like. Nice going, Stein).

    Christ, Gonzalez received grants. True, his support for IDiocy is probably partly why his ‘productivity has trailed off’ (it isn’t clear that he hasn’t tried to do research), with foundations and his peers being reluctant to pour money into religion. But of course Collins, Miller, Newton, and the religion-persecuted Galileo would all be funded, so long as they stuck to science.

    Stein’s a parrot for the IDiots, merely ranting the claptrap that has been handily answered on these forums without even a clue that he’s been handed a load of catshit by the DI. Randy needn’t worry, someone saying such stupid shit as Stein does can hardly threaten science among the non-committed. The more this swill gets publicity, the more Stein and company are going to be shredded to bits among those who can think.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  117. #117 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    Randy’s got a point though, regarding the infamous “f-word” that many here have debated.

    He does not. His “point” is the same one smug HR directors like to bring up while expressing mock bafflement over the fact that the engineer or mathematician they’re interviewing doesn’t have better self-marketing skills. That “point”, as near as I can tell, is that we should all concern ourselves with vacuous, flippant, and loud advertisement long before we care about getting results, and letting them speak for themselves. And, no, what’s happening with the public doesn’t suggest, in any way, that we should try to launch the same cynical blitzkrieg of adspeak as the DI. Atheism is on the rise in the West, and there’s still the outcome of Dover. They’ve been sent packing, and it’s because facts, not endearing emotionally charged language delivered by someone spawned in the MTV cloning vats, get permanent results. Advertising doesn’t, it does only what its name implies.

  118. #118 mf
    August 22, 2007

    Jease, 118 comments here and yet I was STILL the first person to publish a comment on Stein’s “Expelled” blog… I think everyone is missing out.

  119. #119 mf
    August 22, 2007

    ooooh, it showed up for me, but it’s really “awaiting moderation” hmmmmm

  120. #120 Mike P
    August 22, 2007

    mf

    Well then, friend, you didn’t read too many of those 118 comments because loads of people here have mentioned that their comments are awaiting moderation :)

  121. #121 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    Um, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, and judging from the post I’d say not, but the person Randy is claiming to be did, in fact, produce an anti-ID film and get it into theaters. It’s called Flock of Dodos.

    Though I have some pretty grave doubts that this poster is actually Randy Olson.

    Gee, you think I might be able to read?

    I know perfectly well that this “Randy Olson” claimed to have produced a movie (I didn’t know which), but if he’s complaining that all of the countermedia has been lame and he’s bitching at us for not doing anything about it, I’d say it’s up to him to make a better film. Why should I give him a pass on a movie that he’s putting down, when he (or the person he’s impersonating, anyway) has much better opportunities for making movies than I do?

    Frankly, if it is the real Randy Olson, it’s time that he face reality, and not bitch and whine about those of us who have no chance at all of making a movie.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  122. #122 mf
    August 22, 2007

    Mike P,

    doh!

  123. #123 Kseniya
    August 22, 2007

    (Kseniya ponders what it means when the White House and the Military, and a significant chunk of the Congress are in the hands of Christian Fundamentalists, yet the phrase “anti-theist elite” is bandied about as if it actually means something.)

  124. #124 Dustin
    August 22, 2007

    This is why PZ is much better than Ben Stein. PZ holds my comments for approval, and my comments really need that since I neglected them when they were young. Ben Stein just makes them await moderation.

  125. #125 Steve_C
    August 22, 2007

    Maybe I was the second.

  126. #126 rjb
    August 22, 2007

    Dustin,

    I’m not saying that we should stoop to the same level and do hype and PR first. My reading of Randy’s post doesn’t give me the feeling that he is saying that either. The point is, this is a serious attempt to push ID, with a lot of money behind it. The people who are doing this seem to know what they are doing (at least in the area of PR and hype). I stand by my suggestion that we face it head-on. If this does seem to get some publicity, hold a campus viewing, sponsored by a biology honorary society. Have the students, the best biology students, address their fellow students. Have them explain why it’s a piece of crap. Maybe show it together with a good evolutionary biology film (something from David Attenborough, perhaps??). Have a Q&A session. Use it as an opportunity to educate.

  127. #127 rjb
    August 22, 2007

    Oops, OK, reread Randy’s post again, it looks like he IS saying we need to step up the marketing. I guess I too disagree here. But, if some hollywood types want to take this on, they could probably do a good parody of the whole ID movement. But I still feel the best place for us in science to address this is in our own backyards.

  128. #128 changcho
    August 22, 2007

    W.r.t. all this mentioning of Einstein: I’d like to point out he was an agnostic/atheist. Newton, on the contrary, was quite religious. Not sure about Galileo’s religiosity.

  129. #129 Andrea
    August 22, 2007

    The point is, this is a serious attempt to push ID, with a lot of money behind it. The people who are doing this seem to know what they are doing (at least in the area of PR and hype).
    That’s exactly what they have been doing it for the past 10+ years. They have also put out slick documentaries before, and shown them to students.

    If anything, this documentary is not even about “science”, but about some highly questionable (if not completely made up) cases of academic ostracism, all well publicized before. None of this is a new story, likely to attract media attention, and if it does it won’t withstand any serious scrutiny.

    For instance, note that the fools who set up that site are linking to an article about Carolyn Crocker in which she openly teaches fundamentally and demonstrably wrong stuff about biology to her students. That alone would be sensible ground not to renew the contract of an adjunct professor, and would likely put even a tenured faculty member into trouble. And we all know about Sternberg’s closet full of Creationist skeletons, and that repeated partisan investigations could not uncover any actual wrongdoing from the Smithsonian or anyone else.

    See how these folks fare under actual reporting and non-softball interviewing. Just like Dover did for ID “science”, this thing may just be the spotlight that shows how fake the ID “martyrs” are.

  130. #130 tinyfrog
    August 22, 2007

    Is this the first you’ve heard of this film? Because according to one article (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/08-22-2007/0004649742&EDATE=):

    “The film confronts scientists such as Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, influential biologist and atheist blogger PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education.”

  131. #131 Bob
    August 22, 2007

    Strange. For Behe’s page, they’ve linked to this story about how scientists feel pressured to teach creationism in their classes.

    But doesn’t the story go against the intentions of the movie?

    I must be missing something.

  132. #132 lunartalks
    August 22, 2007

    As the trailer page says: ‘Ben blows the horn…’

    Quite.

  133. #133 gg
    August 22, 2007

    #135: “W.r.t. all this mentioning of Einstein: I’d like to point out he was an agnostic/atheist. Newton, on the contrary, was quite religious.”

    It’s also worth mentioning that 90% of what Newton published was not science, but alchemy and religious texts. He was at the real beginning of the scientific tradition when the principles of science hadn’t really been consistently formulated.

    It could very well be true that Newton wouldn’t be accepted, with his publication proportions, in a modern university. If he was accepted, though, it’s probably arguable that wasting time sifting through and credulously accepting his 90% nonsense would cause more harm to science than the 10% brilliance would help it.

  134. #134 rjb
    August 22, 2007

    That’s exactly what they have been doing it for the past 10+ years. They have also put out slick documentaries before, and shown them to students.

    I agree, but this is a new tactic. Put together a feature length documentary, publicize it a la Michael Moore and get it played in theaters. Bring out a well-known, if second-rate, actor/celebrity to front it, and market the crap out of it. New venue for the same ol’ BS.

  135. #135 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 22, 2007

    Randy Olson, Head Dodo says, “What are you gonna do about it? Complain it’s not fair?”

    Who’s been complaining “its not fair”? But it IS yet another in a long line of stereotypical attacks on science and scientists that the mass market culture has promulgated for a long time, for purely mercenary reasons. Nothing whatsoever wrong with saying so. It happens to be true. Its not a question of “unfairness” Screw that. Its a question of honesty (or rather the lack of it), pure and simple.

    But what makes you think nobody here hasn’t been or is doing something about it? Are you blessed with clairvoyance or something?

  136. #136 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 22, 2007

    Ben Stein:

    Some of the greatest scientists of all time, including Galileo, Newton, Einstein, operated under the hypothesis that their work was to understand the principles and phenomena as designed by a creator. Operating under that hypothesis, they discovered the most important laws of motion, gravity, thermodynamics, relativity, and even economics.

    Yup, no intelligence allowed.

    I notice that Premise Media Corporation was founded 2005 and claims to have worked 2 years on the interviews. This is AFAIU their only project.

    I guess we now know what secret project in ID “research” creationists were so happy about. A token effort to try to meet the exposure of biology from the Darwin Year was expected. But this fell far short of my expectations.

  137. #137 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 22, 2007

    Ben Stein:

    Some of the greatest scientists of all time, including Galileo, Newton, Einstein, operated under the hypothesis that their work was to understand the principles and phenomena as designed by a creator. Operating under that hypothesis, they discovered the most important laws of motion, gravity, thermodynamics, relativity, and even economics.

    Yup, no intelligence allowed.

    I notice that Premise Media Corporation was founded 2005 and claims to have worked 2 years on the interviews. This is AFAIU their only project.

    I guess we now know what secret project in ID “research” creationists were so happy about. A token effort to try to meet the exposure of biology from the Darwin Year was expected. But this fell far short of my expectations.

  138. #138 Bert Chadick
    August 22, 2007

    Forgive me if I don’t have the time to read all the comments. My feeling is that they will do a viral marketing campaign through all the fundie churches. The same sort of grass roots campaign that made a blockbuster out of Mel Gibson’s Jesus porn flick.

    In the end we will get a good public discussion on Evolution that will be a teachable moment for the 50% of Americans who self identify as young earthers.

  139. #139 stogoe
    August 22, 2007

    “Randy’s” criticisms seem very DLC in a way – ‘Come on, you guys, we need to be Republican Lite if we want to come close to beating the Republicans!’

    Nevermind that 2006 was a victory for Democrats because they were pressured into, you know, being Democrats and standing up for what they believed in.

    “Randy”, I’ll let you handle the brain-melting Zazz if you want. I’m not going anywhere near it.

  140. #140 frog
    August 22, 2007

    changcho:

    W.r.t. all this mentioning of Einstein: I’d like to point out he was an agnostic/atheist. Newton, on the contrary, was quite religious. Not sure about Galileo’s religiosity.

    That’s a bit of an anachronistic reading of Newton. He was a non-trinitarian who was trying to reduce religion to a material study (and therefore he was primarily an alchemist). Given the almost universal assumption of the 17th century that there was a “God”, Newton was much closer to being an atheist than religious. His work (both in physics and outside it) ultimately led to the realization that the “God assumption” could be dropped.

    Calling Newton religious is like calling Giordano Bruno religious. You can’t expect them to abandon everything that was known/believed in one fell swoop. They were searching for an empirical basis for reality and abandoning the most obvious “superstitious” elements as they went along. Another example is Thomas Jefferson – as a deist, he was on the atheist fringe, but no one every caught him outright announcing atheism even if there is evidence that his Deism evolved to the point that his “God” was almost indistinguishable from Einstein’s.

    Or even Socrates who was tried for “atheism,” even though he appears to have announced his belief in the Gods, he just doubted that all of material reality was a direct incarnation of a god (such as, the moon not actually being a god).

  141. #141 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    It could very well be true that Newton wouldn’t be accepted, with his publication proportions, in a modern university.

    He’d almost certainly fare at least as well in a modern university as he did in God-smacked (yes, I know that’s not the original phrase) England. That is, if he waved his crackpot nonsense in their faces, he’d likely be out on his ass in either case.

    I’d guess that he could discreetly peddle his religious nonsense (alchemy would be very badly tolerated, for the same reasons ID is badly tolerated) today more safely than he could then, since writing the wrong things about religion was still a crime in Newton’s England. It wouldn’t endear him to the university today, either, yet if it didn’t intrude into university life Newton might very well be granted tenure with his religious writings being known.

    One should note that actual intellectual religious writings wouldn’t be a problem for scientists in most universities, but Newton’s writings wouldn’t be deemed as such even in his time.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  142. #142 frog
    August 22, 2007

    Glenn,

    Are you seriously saying that alchemy was more “crackpot” in 17th century England than what everyone else was believing? In virgins giving birth to men who were resurrected, in the magical power of prayer, in the oncoming apocalypse (even educated people thought that 1666 was to be the end of the world), and so on?

    If anything, alchemy was a much more serious and empirical attempt to understand the world. They were looking for the “essence” of God in the material world. Specifically, in what material sense God influenced the material world. Of course they didn’t find it, but given the assumption that a magical being was somehow directing every detail of the world, the scientific approach is to go and look for the material basis for this effect (rather than the much more crackpot idea of Descartes, which sadly is not dismissed out of hand like alchemy).

    If Newton were to work today and present alchemy, of course it would be laughed out of academia, because we’ve abandoned the assumption that the universe is micromanaged by magical beings. But Newton’s alchemy wasn’t attacked in the 17th century for that – it was attacked because it was an empirical approach to the assumed God; it was blasphemous at the time to even suggest a “scientific” approach to ultimate reality.

    Newton would also be laughed out of academia today if he presented Newtonian physics. Someone would point out that it had all been worked out centuries ago by that German Leibniz, and had been found in the 20th century to have been wrong due to incorrect assumptions about the nature of space and time. But it’s safe to assume that a “Newton” today would neither present alchemy nor Newtonian physics – raised in today’s world, he’d have to have significant cognitive deficiencies to think that either one is an answer to current questions.

  143. #143 John Marley
    August 22, 2007

    Here’s something a bit disturbing, PZ.

    This page on the ‘Expelled’ website uses the poster image from ‘Crossroads’. So Mark Mathis isn’t the only thing connecting these films.

  144. #144 frog
    August 22, 2007

    One more point: 17th century alchemy was less crackpot than ID. In alchemy, there were developed technical methods to attempt to ascertain the exact mechanism by which God worked his wonders. In the process, they developed many of the essential techniques of early chemistry.

    ID has no associated “techniques”; ID does not attempt to explain how their magical being somehow directs evolution. For ID to come up to the level of alchemy, they would have to present a program to positively develop a theoretical and empirical basis for how the big fairy in the sky comes up with organism designs and then implements them in the real world.

    Give the alchemists their due – they may have been wrong, but it was an honest attempt to answer questions. They never claimed that the philosopher’s stone would be found by “faith”; they never said that simply by interpreting a sacred book they could understand the nature of mercury; they spent a huge amount of time actually studying chemical reactions and trying to link them into some theoretical structure. No such honesty is part of ID.

  145. #145 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    Are you seriously saying that alchemy was more “crackpot” in 17th century England than what everyone else was believing?

    I would have said it if I had been saying it. What are you, the strawman-making counterpart to IDists?

    I didn’t come close to saying what you’re suggesting I said. Quit making things up.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  146. #146 dwarf zebu
    August 22, 2007

    As the trailer page says: ‘Ben blows the horn…’

    Quite.

    Posted by: lunartalks | August 22, 2007 04:59 PM

    Is that like jumping the shark?

  147. #147 Ash
    August 22, 2007

    RE: ID having the best PR machine.

    No.

    We have Pokemon (which evolve) = We automatically win.

    Actually, someone should incorporate facts from cladistics, natural selection principles and real ecological data into a Pokemon style trading game for kids. Don’t even bother explaining that is is “science”. That would be an easy way to teach them the principles of Evolutionary Biology. I have met 10-year olds who can remember over a hundred monster evolutionary lineages and their “ecological” niches.

  148. #148 Randy Olson, Head Dodo
    August 22, 2007

    Strange discussion here. Not sure how it got off on questioning whether I am “the real” Randy Olson. Or hurling insults as though I am an intelligent design advocate. In case you don’t know, I made a film called, “Flock of Dodos,” (www.flockofdodos.com) that so enraged the Discovery Institute they created their own website to attack it, http://www.hoaxofdodos.com.

    And because I believe in calling things as I see them, I would have gladly heaped praise on them had they done a good job of attacking me — but they didn’t. Everything they produced was embarrassingly amateurish. So my opinion of them is that much lower.

    But this Ben Stein film looks to be an impressive adversary.

    What we already know is that Flock of Dodos lays out the facts very simply — that intelligent design is not science, what it is, is a piece of intution, and the only reason it has gotten the sort of traction it has in the media is because the people behind it have a better understanding of mass communication today (in America) than the science community.

    One thing that can be done about the release of the Ben Stein movie is to organize another round of Dodos Darwin Day screenings as we did last February at 50 museums and universities, accompanied by panel discussions with local experts who use the movie to entertain and interest a large audience, then present the live experts to actually deliver the depth and substance that the subject needs.

    The key point of it all is that effective communication is a two step process — arouse, then fulfill. Arouse the interest of the audience, then fulfill their expectations. Flock of Dodos works well in arousing the interest, but it really needs to be followed by a panel discussion to have full effect — film simply isn’t a great medium for detailed information. The fact that Dodos “worked” as a piece of arousing media is proven by the fact that it is now airing on Showtime. But it still needs further support.

    I’m very busy with a new project right now, but Flock of Dodos comes out on home DVD on Sept 10 (at last, you can order it now on Amazon) from New Video and will have 80 very good minutes of extras, including sections with Eugenie Scott of NCSE and a panel discussion from Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As PZ pointed out in his other post, it was produced with no support from the science world — there simply isn’t the interest, understanding or support for such non-traditional communication. But hopefully there will be someday. And that is how things like the Ben Stein movie can be countered.

  149. #149 Glen Davidson
    August 22, 2007

    Strange discussion here. Not sure how it got off on questioning whether I am “the real” Randy Olson. Or hurling insults as though I am an intelligent design advocate.

    Learn to make an intelligent case. I don’t care if you’re an ID advocate or just an smarmy jerk with an attitude, all you were doing was bitching and moaning.

    In case you don’t know, I made a film called, “Flock of Dodos,” (www.flockofdodos.com) that so enraged the Discovery Institute they created their own website to attack it, http://www.hoaxofdodos.com.

    Why didn’t you do a better job? Huh? I mean you, who actually have the capacity to make a film, sit around criticizing those of us who don’t for doing what we can. Hypocrite.

    [snip]

    But this Ben Stein film looks to be an impressive adversary.

    Can you not see that Stein is just mouthing ancient and very bad arguments, at least at his website? It is not likely that he’s going to be able to speak to college students or whoever else he’s targeting, if he’s making the most flagrantly stupid arguments of creationists and IDists. One can point to hordes of religious scientists welcomed at the universities, and Einstein wasn’t religious in the sense that IDists typically mean. He doesn’t even have the sense to recognize really stupid arguments when they’re fed to him.

    What we already know is that Flock of Dodos lays out the facts very simply — that intelligent design is not science, what it is, is a piece of intution, and the only reason it has gotten the sort of traction it has in the media is because the people behind it have a better understanding of mass communication today (in America) than the science community.

    See now, that’s probably true, all right, the problem is that you don’t face the difficulties caused by the fact that propaganda is about all that the IDists engage in, nor the fact that we have to actually be honest, while they don’t cavil at lies.

    One thing that can be done about the release of the Ben Stein movie is to organize another round of Dodos Darwin Day screenings as we did last February at 50 museums and universities, accompanied by panel discussions with local experts who use the movie to entertain and interest a large audience, then present the live experts to actually deliver the depth and substance that the subject needs.

    So, marketing’s your angle? Not that I didn’t suspect as much beforehand.

    I’d prefer a more academic source at the universities. Dodos might be fine for museums and other venues, despite the fact that I’m not keen on your marketing.

    The key point of it all is that effective communication is a two step process — arouse, then fulfill. Arouse the interest of the audience, then fulfill their expectations. Flock of Dodos works well in arousing the interest, but it really needs to be followed by a panel discussion to have full effect — film simply isn’t a great medium for detailed information.

    Yes, that’s what I pointed out.

    The fact that Dodos “worked” as a piece of arousing media is proven by the fact that it is now airing on Showtime. But it still needs further support.

    Does it? Why not the PBS series on Evolution that aired a few years back?

    I don’t know if Dodos was so spectacular a success. Thanks to the ID attempts at taking over the schools, a lot of science types praised it, but I have yet to see any evidence that it was highly successful with the uncommitted public.

    I’m very busy with a new project right now, but Flock of Dodos comes out on home DVD on Sept 10 (at last, you can order it now on Amazon) from New Video and will have 80 very good minutes of extras, including sections with Eugenie Scott of NCSE and a panel discussion from Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As PZ pointed out in his other post, it was produced with no support from the science world — there simply isn’t the interest, understanding or support for such non-traditional communication. But hopefully there will be someday. And that is how things like the Ben Stein movie can be countered.

    Thanks for the advertisement. You might have saved some harsh words if you’d just come out with it in the first place, instead of faulting us for not being rich or in the movie industry.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  150. #150 Dave Godfrey
    August 22, 2007

    From what I recall Newton actually published very little on alchemy, while he spent most of his time working on it he wrote it down in notebooks which weren’t widely examined until after his death. Newton wasn’t exactly very good at publishing things anyway- he sat on his optics work for ages, and the whole calculus/fluxions debate occurred because he didn’t publish it and Leibniz tried to. (A similar thing almost happenned with Darwin and Wallace, but as Darwin wasn’t quite so secretive about his work, and was generally a nice guy a convenient compromise was worked out).

    Newton’s Arianism would have prevented him from taking up any post at Cambridge because he would have had to take holy orders. He was exempted because just before his appointment to the Lucasian Chair the King was petitioned to change the rules, so post-holders didn’t have to become memebers of the clergy.

    Even after he left the post the various toleration acts that were passed around this time specifically did nothing for Catholics and Anti-trinitarians. Indeed in 1710, Newton’s successor William Whiston was dismissed for pointing out “errors” in Anglicanism.

  151. #151 Randy Olson, Head Dodo
    August 22, 2007

    Listen, Glen Davidson, whoever you are — read the reviews of Flock of Dodos on our website. Notice that it is airing on Showtime, reaching large numbers of non-PBS audience members. And please be aware that we are deeply in debt financially from making this film. And much of the reason for that debt is that film distributors looked at the film and decided it was “too academic” to play in movie theaters. It kind of sucks to go to such lengths to make a film that is accurate and useful to educators, only to have people like you come around and attack it here with some sort of tone of self-righteousness. Have you even seen the movie? Contact us and we’ll send you a copy. There are 25 published reviews in everywhere from the New Scientist to Reason Magazine. They are all favorable and none of them match the tone of your comments.

  152. #152 Randy Olson, Head Dodo
    August 22, 2007

    Oops — one more positive review of Flock of Dodos I forgot to mention — on a blog called Pharyngula by its author P.Z. Myers who appeared on the panel discussion accompanying the Darwin Day screening at the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis last February.

  153. #153 PZ Myers
    August 22, 2007

    There’s even a review on this very site!

    Now it is correct that Stein is just droning out the same old stupid and false arguments. The problem is that we need to find new ways to respond — he can lie in one sentence and it takes us a couple of pages to explain why he’s wrong.

  154. #154 frog
    August 22, 2007

    Glen D:

    That is, if he waved his crackpot nonsense in their faces, he’d likely be out on his ass in either case.

    Are you seriously saying that alchemy was more “crackpot” in 17th century England than what everyone else was believing?

    I would have said it if I had been saying it. What are you, the strawman-making counterpart to IDists?

    Maybe all you needed have said is that wasn’t what you intended, even though it can clearly be read that way.

    Or is anachronism your specialty?
    “If Pythagora’s waved his “crackpot” nonsense about numbers being the true nature of things, he’d likely be out on his ass in either case.” See how that doesn’t make a lot of sense? How that would be implying that we’d think he was a crackpot for the same reasons that the ancient Greeks thought he was a crackpot?

    They would have thought he was an atheist, replacing the Gods with mathematics (and so the Pythagoreans kept their beliefs secret, like Newton); we would think that he was overly religious, giving numbers a mystical significance (we should just think that he was a cutting edge man of his time and place, with archaic ideas that he advanced towards our contemporary position).

  155. #155 rrt
    August 22, 2007

    Randy: Look, I want to be nice and supportive and koombayah and all that…but Glen’s right. Your attitude sucked and he called you on it. You scornfully lambast us as sore losers wallowing in our misery with no clue about how to address the problem, then act indignant when some of us respond in kind. And your Nelson Muntz “HAH-hah” with an unspoken invitation to ask your advice reminds me of another curmudgeonly Pharyngulite I hate to love.

    I’m happy to fight the good fight along with you, within my quite limited means, and that includes discussing the best way to do so. And I’m sorry if you feel like the organized institutions of science let you down and landed you in debt through lack of support. I’ll get right on fixing that once I’ve paid my own. But if you want to gripe about tone, then in the immortal words of 8-year-olds everywhere: “You started it!”

  156. #156 Nullifidian
    August 22, 2007

    I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is an excellent trailer they have produced.

    So Ben Stein walking to a lectern like they’ve just ripped off the opening of Bob Roberts, the context-free clips from SCARY ATHEISTS, and the use of the most clichéd music since “O Fortuna” is an “excellent trailer”?

    The website’s great too. Ben Stein looks like a superannuated perv playing a Strict Headmistress Spanking Game.

    If this is your standard of excellence, then for all our sakes please never make another movie. And yes I did see your last (or two-thirds of it before walking out) at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

  157. #157 Leon
    August 22, 2007

    Alex, in your 1) you meant to use “e.g.”, not “i.e.”.

  158. #158 Randy Olson, Head Dodo
    August 22, 2007

    Yep, you’re right, I did start it. Just felt the need for a little devil’s advocate voice on this blog. But what I’m saying about the trailer is the difference between substance and style. I’m saying I’ve spent today forwarding the link to filmmaker friends of mine in the business who work on television shows and big budget movies. They have no clue of this issue — they are disconnected with the substance that academics are trained to analyze. And they are the ones who are calling it excellent, or at least good. None of them are saying it looks amateurish. So though you are all tearing it to pieces here based on the substance of what it says, the broader audience isn’t so offended by it. And that’s all I’m saying — you are up against formidable communications forces here — something much more powerful and savvy than PBS. I’m not endorsing them or saying they are right, my position on the issue is clear enough. I’m just saying the discussion should be focused on how to communicate as effectively, or more effectively, than what they are doing. And yes, it is possible to do this without resorting to distortion or dishonesty. It just requires that you start by agreeing that effective mass communication is important. Something that traditionally has not been the case in the science world.

  159. #159 rjb
    August 22, 2007

    I have to again side with Randy on this one. I am concerned that this could make a big impact in the public sphere, particularly with young adults/college students. Nillifidian, I think you’re missing the point about how the website looks. Of course Ben looks stupid and pervy in the schoolboy outfit. That’s his schtick. The whole “Win Ben Stein’s Money” thing, his Ferris Bueller appearance, all were incredibly self-deprecating. However, he is good at this schtick, and he’ll slide his points in to the audience while they’re laughing at it (remember, we’re talking about an audience that doesn’t know all the details about the ID bait-and-switch). I am concerned that this will have an effect, and I think Randy’s idea about how to counter this (show it, followed by a panel discussion of experts, open it to the community) is a great idea. If this does come out with some notable press, it’s exactly what I will plan to do at my college.

  160. #160 matthew
    August 22, 2007

    RE: Randy Olson, Head Dodo #166

    How about a movie on the issue starring my childhood hero Bill Nye?

  161. #161 rrt
    August 22, 2007

    I agree, Randy. I’ll even agree that some of us do seem to be underestimating the film’s potential, not that I dislike optimism about general human intelligence. I’m sure we all agree effective mass communication is very important and that we need lots more for science. Maybe we could have started there.

  162. #162 windy
    August 22, 2007

    As PZ pointed out in his other post, it was produced with no support from the science world — there simply isn’t the interest, understanding or support for such non-traditional communication.

    Don’t “panel discussions with local experts who use the movie to entertain and interest a large audience” constitute interest, understanding, or support?

    I guess you mean that your movie received no financial support from the science world. I am sorry that the producers are in debt, but it is not a trivial task for individual researchers or research groups to divert money into film projects. How to proceed? Should I include “$25000 for the movie rights for ‘Bad to the Bone’” in my next research proposal?

  163. #163 Nullifidian
    August 22, 2007

    However, he is good at this schtick, and he’ll slide his points in to the audience while they’re laughing at it (remember, we’re talking about an audience that doesn’t know all the details about the ID bait-and-switch). I am concerned that this will have an effect, and I think Randy’s idea about how to counter this (show it, followed by a panel discussion of experts, open it to the community) is a great idea. If this does come out with some notable press, it’s exactly what I will plan to do at my college.

    That’s fine if you like doing their work for them.

    I’m looking at it like a regular member of the public. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is incredibly dated, Win Ben Stein’s Money hasn’t been on for years, and the only other notable role he’s ever played was a minor role in Soapdish. Who’s going to care about what this man has to say about anything? He’s the Visine guy now. Seeing him in short pants and a blazer is not going to amuse anybody in their right minds.

    The trailer has no hook in it. It’s Ben Stein ripping off Bob Roberts spliced together with an over-repeated vamp and a lot of supposedly scary quotes out of nowhere from people who aren’t identified (and whom one probably wouldn’t recognize even if they were identified). If this came on my television during an advertising break, I’d hit the mute button out of annoyance.

    There’s only one group which would find this incoherent pile in any way intriguing and that’s the fundamentalists. They’ll organize a handful of church screenings and then it will disappear from view.

    They want it in universities. If you go through with your plan, or Randy Olson’s plan, you’re going to be doing their work for them. I would say that you’re better off just recruiting a group to go mock the damn thing.

  164. #164 frog
    August 22, 2007

    Randy:

    It just requires that you start by agreeing that effective mass communication is important. Something that traditionally has not been the case in the science world.

    But Randy, that misses the point. Good science is inherently not about effective mass communication. It’s about learning, and actual learning is a painful process, just like training in any sport. Effective mass communication is about making an idea easy.

    It is of course possible to get people to believe the current scientific consensus via mass media approaches – but does that solve the problem? It just shifts their faith, and then simply depends on “let the mightiest win”. That’s a losing proposition for science – there will always be more bucks in getting people to believe delusions rather than reality. Scientifism is easier than actual science.

    The only mass communications that’s worthwhile would be to try to convince people that thinking hard is just as valuable as working out hard; and we can see how that even more obvious idea has lost out to McDonald’s.

    I don’t know what the solutions is – but it’s not a PR solution, and it’s not a marketing issue. It’s not about whose movie is sexier and better. It’s about convincing people that “sexier” is actually worse, that intuitive only applies to your family, that the easier an idea is, the more likely it is to be wrong (and even if right, it does you little good).

    Eat your carrots, work out every day, read a “hard book”, turn of the TV set: “don’t be an idjit” just won’t win out in a marketing battle.

  165. #165 rjb
    August 22, 2007

    Nullidifan,

    I think I am more in agreement with you. If this film turns out to flop, then you’re right. Any attention given to it in a university setting only helps their cause. If, however, it gets press, gets run in mainstream theaters, and gains a following, then I would show it at my college. I guess where we disagree is whether or not it will be successful. Clearly, it’s way too early to tell, but it does seem that there are some deep pockets behind this who are trying to push this beyond the typical church group crowd.

  166. #166 rjb
    August 22, 2007

    oops, Nullifidian, sorry for butchering your name…

  167. #167 Randy Olson, Head Dodo
    August 22, 2007

    Mr. Frog – Science, from the beginning of time, has consisted of two parts — the doing of science, and the communicating of science. You can gather all the data you want, but if you don’t write it up in a manner that reaches an audience, you really didn’t do science. We all know this. I was a scientist for 15 years. I watched many fine colleagues do good work, but communicate it so poorly people actually thought it wasn’t very good work.

    There’s just no doubt about that. But what I think is new is a situation in which increasingly there are people looking to communicate your resarch for you in ways that suit their agenda. This is a fact. You can read about it all over the place now for many fields of science.

    This is a new dynamic. Communication wasn’t that big of a deal 30 years ago. It is today. Things have changed. There is a need to address this change. Hoping will go away won’t do it.

  168. #168 frog
    August 22, 2007

    Randy,

    What is the audience? Obviously scientists have to communicate in a manner that reaches other scientists – otherwise all your work goes to nil. But what we’re talking about here is something completely different – communicating to non-scientists.

    So the question is, should science be made ‘palatable’ to non-scientists or not? And in what way? The idea of turning science into something that can be mass-marketed is not a question of effective scientific communication, in a scientific sense, but a question of propagandizing the population.

    Let’s put it another way: should semi-conductor design be mass-communicated? Obviously, any mass-communication without the necessary background is not communicating semi-conductor design, but something else – how semiconductor design is good, or beautiful, or useful.

    If what people need to know is how science works, and not simply be convinced to acquiesce to science, there’s only one way that I see that it can be communicated: by actually teaching them how to do and analyze science. That is not something that can be done by propaganda. That can only be done by doing science in some amount at some level of education.

    It doesn’t take a genius to do science, to understand what the words basically mean and how to, in general, judge scientific work. It’s not much different from doing plumbing or electrical wiring, which a big chunk of the population does all the time. Unfortunately, science is taught like crap – read the textbook, memorize the facts, regurgitate. “Scientific Method” like some kind of magical incantation, instead of the simple explanation: you try something and you see if it works; if not, repeat.

    Movies aren’t going to get us there. Slick campaigns will only legitimize the idea that “it’s all about slickness”. It’s the wrong kind of communication, even when done with the best of intentions.

    I’ve seen it so many times. Folks who were basically bright, but didn’t connect everyday problem solving with science – they saw science as basically another industry or church making dogmatic claims about “Truth” by bureaucracy. They didn’t know the difference between a hypothesis and a theory.

    All that would have been eliminated not by a beautiful movie showing how quantum physicists are cool nice honest guys trying to figure out reality (which will make them think this is just one more con job at worst, or that they’re prophetic geniuses we must follow at best), but in elementary school: grab a big rock and a little rock, drop them from the roof, figure out what’s going on. Try with some other weights. Get exposed to Galileo and Newton in a very cursory fashion. Try again with paper and feathers.

    Communication has always been a big deal. What’s changed is that the masters of mass communication have succeeded in thoroughly propagandizing us to the point that many of us don’t believe anything anymore, we see everything as just one more attempt to manipulate us, we see the whole world as a “might makes right” kind of place, because we know that the slickest campaign comes from the deepest pockets. Just take sides with the guy you think will win. It’s been an ongoing process since the ’20s and only gets worse and worse.

    Mass communication is unfortunately not the solution, it’s the problem. Just ask the Zen guys.

  169. #169 Jennifer Jacquet
    August 22, 2007

    Randy’s points about the investment into this film are well taken. The main point is that this film was made because someone out there knows there is a market for it (I recently learned that the documentary genre leads ALL genres of film with the highest ROI; 377% return on a documentary as compared with a 52.5% for comedies and 17% for drama). In all the squabbling, has anyone considered the bottom line and called for a boycott of the film?

  170. #170 kellbelle1020
    August 23, 2007

    Jennifer, I don’t think the ROI figures are so high on documentaries because of the wide audience – it’s because they’re so freaking cheap to make. No celebs, sets, special effects, etc.

    In other words, a boycott probably wouldn’t be too much help. Besides, if it does get sponsored by churches and stuff (thereby increasing the audience) – well, they won’t listen to a call for a boycott anyway.

  171. #171 mena
    August 23, 2007

    Randy, Glen, etc.:
    Another way the cretinists defeat us is that they don’t bash each other over stupid shit.

  172. #172 dougmoran
    August 23, 2007

    Mike P: “you’re = your. Naturally.” (from comment 100)

    Any 5th grader knows this isn’t true, moron. Perhaps you’d like to contribute something meaningful, significant, or otherwise not obnoxious pseudo intellectual dribble. That’s right, I said “pseudo”. Do you know what that means? If you expect anyone to take “you’re” science seriously you might want to use proper grammar, nitwit. Or better yet, stop whining and make “you’re” scientific argument.

  173. #173 RBH
    August 23, 2007

    Randy, Glen, etc.:
    Another way the cretinists defeat us is that they don’t bash each other over stupid shit.

    I myself would address that solely to Glen.

  174. #174 Laurel
    August 23, 2007

    Never thought I’d see the day I’d be posting Ben Stein quotes to Fundies Say the Darnedest Things!

  175. #175 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 23, 2007

    The idea of turning science into something that can be mass-marketed is not a question of effective scientific communication, in a scientific sense, but a question of propagandizing the population. Let’s put it another way: should semi-conductor design be mass-communicated?

    frog made excellent use of that analogy, but we could take it one step further. Obviously communication between scientists and towards education and financiers are established and vital interests for scientists.

    But entering the mass market of todays media is selling a product. And in no other circumstance are scientists necessarily involved in developing and selling products outside the confined “market of ideas” in peer review. This is why we have science journalism, while science blogs et cetera is more like a pleasant conversation with equally interested.

    I’m not sure mass communication is a problem or a solution. It is an opportunity that suits a subset of scientists. Now denialism, that has always been a problem.

  176. #176 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 23, 2007

    The idea of turning science into something that can be mass-marketed is not a question of effective scientific communication, in a scientific sense, but a question of propagandizing the population. Let’s put it another way: should semi-conductor design be mass-communicated?

    frog made excellent use of that analogy, but we could take it one step further. Obviously communication between scientists and towards education and financiers are established and vital interests for scientists.

    But entering the mass market of todays media is selling a product. And in no other circumstance are scientists necessarily involved in developing and selling products outside the confined “market of ideas” in peer review. This is why we have science journalism, while science blogs et cetera is more like a pleasant conversation with equally interested.

    I’m not sure mass communication is a problem or a solution. It is an opportunity that suits a subset of scientists. Now denialism, that has always been a problem.

  177. #177 David Marjanovi?
    August 23, 2007

    Perhaps you’d like to contribute something meaningful, significant, or otherwise not obnoxious pseudo intellectual dribble. That’s right, I said “pseudo”. Do you know what that means? If you expect anyone to take “you’re” science seriously you might want to use proper grammar, nitwit. Or better yet, stop whining and make “you’re” scientific argument.

    Wow, what a case of word rage.

    Dude, it’s not even a matter of grammar, it’s just a matter of spelling, and English has the worst orthography of any language that uses an alphabet or syllabary, so you’ve picked a very bad opportunity for making an ad hominem argument.

  178. #178 David Marjanovi?
    August 23, 2007

    Perhaps you’d like to contribute something meaningful, significant, or otherwise not obnoxious pseudo intellectual dribble. That’s right, I said “pseudo”. Do you know what that means? If you expect anyone to take “you’re” science seriously you might want to use proper grammar, nitwit. Or better yet, stop whining and make “you’re” scientific argument.

    Wow, what a case of word rage.

    Dude, it’s not even a matter of grammar, it’s just a matter of spelling, and English has the worst orthography of any language that uses an alphabet or syllabary, so you’ve picked a very bad opportunity for making an ad hominem argument.

  179. #179 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    Yes, David, particularly when, in his own rant, he made a similar error. (Of course he did! It’s a Law! Not to mention his apparently willful misunderstanding of the correction itself.)

  180. #180 Dave Wisker
    August 23, 2007

    Randy,

    I enjoyed your film for the most part. In fact, I’m going to arrange a showing of it to the biology faculty and grad students at my university. One thing did disappoint me about it, however: near the end you ask which group you would rather play poker with, the pleasant, polite Iders, or the nasty, obnoxious evolutionary biologists? My problem with that is, would the evolutionary biologists have been as rude and obnoxious on film had they been sober (they were all shown drinking alcohol)? Would the Iders been as pleasant and polite had they been drunk (I think the strongest thing any of them had was a lemonade, other than Jack Cashill’s beer)? It seems to me you set up the evolutionary biologists to catch them at their worst, and arranged for the Iders to look their best, then asked for us, the viewers to judge them. That doesn’t seem quite right, in my opinion.

  181. #181 guthrie
    August 23, 2007

    Frog, I am interested in the phraseology you use to characterise 17th century Alchemy. It is somewhat outside my own interest (being medieval technology, “science” and alchemy) therefore I find it interesting that you are describing alchemy in the 17th century as:


    “If anything, alchemy was a much more serious and empirical attempt to understand the world. They were looking for the “essence” of God in the material world. Specifically, in what material sense God influenced the material world.

    Now, whilst alchemists frequently evoked God at various times, and what they were doing was certainly to find ways of involving heavenly influences in changing the nature of materials, I do not remember reading anything putting it in the rather god centred way you have put it above. This essence of God- are you not talking more of the Quinta essentia, which I do not believe translates into essence of God, rather it is closer to Platonic ideals (although I could be wrong on that) and as such is more to do with the precise ordering and workings of Gods kingdom, rather than the actual means that God worked.
    Remember also that at this period material and spiritual things were not separated the way they are today, and I am not sure this comes across in what you are saying.

  182. #182 Glen Davidson
    August 23, 2007

    Randy, Glen, etc.:

    Another way the cretinists defeat us is that they don’t bash each other over stupid shit.

    Tell Randy to learn some manners, some truthfulness, and to quit coming in here solely to bitch, whine, and bash us while preening himself.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  183. #183 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Perhaps the most useful service provided by Pharyngula (and similar sites) is to demonstrate beyond dispute that evolutionary science has devolved into dogmatism. Anyone who thinks that Darwinism is pure science will be quickly disabused of that notion by reading postings like those above (except, of course, for those who already worship at the altar of Darwinism). PZ Myers is especially helpful in demonstrating that Darwinism has become dogma and that Darwinists have become intellectual tyrants. Keep up the good work, PZ.

  184. #184 Glen Davidson
    August 23, 2007

    Maybe all you needed have said is that wasn’t what you intended, even though it can clearly be read that way.

    It could only be read that way by misreading what I wrote.

    Other than that, ‘nough said. I don’t think we have any reason for a flame war, since we really are mostly in agreement.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  185. #185 Steve_C
    August 23, 2007

    Jim.

    You’re an idiot.

  186. #186 Glen Davidson
    August 23, 2007

    Listen, Glen Davidson, whoever you are — read the reviews of Flock of Dodos on our website. Notice that it is airing on Showtime, reaching large numbers of non-PBS audience members.

    Which hardly answers what I was writing about, which was whether or not it has the effects on the uncommitted public that you suggest that it does.

    Showtime shows movies. It’s showing Dodos. I’m glad for you, since it’s no doubt the kind of movie that ought to be made and viewed. Just don’t pretend that your non sequiturs answer what I was discussing.

    And please be aware that we are deeply in debt financially from making this film. And much of the reason for that debt is that film distributors looked at the film and decided it was “too academic” to play in movie theaters.

    Well, I’m sorry for you, genuinely. But I don’t really wonder at the film distributors’ decisions, and this brings even further into question your bitching about us not doing anything similar to it, and to the Ben Stein movie. I’m wasn’t faulting you until you came in here self-righteously berating us without a modicum of real facts behind your charges.

    It kind of sucks to go to such lengths to make a film that is accurate and useful to educators, only to have people like you come around and attack it here with some sort of tone of self-righteousness.

    It kind of sucks when one is well-disposed toward Dodos, then to have this dishonest shit thrown at him. Self-righteous? Christ, that’s a mirror your looking at, not me in the window.

    Learn some manners, and quit attacking your allies.

    Have you even seen the movie? Contact us and we’ll send you a copy.

    No, I haven’t seen it. Not rich, you know (nor particularly needful of something on that level, fwiw), just as I was telling you, and which you never quite seem willing to acknowledge in those of us who do what we can.

    I’d certainly be happy to see it, however.

    There are 25 published reviews in everywhere from the New Scientist to Reason Magazine. They are all favorable

    As I implied in my comments. I was not putting down the movie, I’m awaiting the evidence that it will do what you say it will do. Don’t put words in my mouth.

    and none of them match the tone of your comments.

    The only “tone” of my comments is that I am skeptical about its effect on the non-committed public. Since I’m on the side of science, I cannot see any excuse for me to pretend that it must have a wonderful effect when I have absolutely no evidence that it does. Whether or not I had seen the movie really would not change that fact, nor the soundness of skepticism in the face of non-evidence.

    And I don’t like your suggestions that I am rubbishing Dodos. I am not, and would not at this time (and, I expect, not when I’ve seen it), particularly since I haven’t seen it. I’m skeptical of your claims as to its effects, which skepticism was enhanced by you faulting us for doing what we can, and not what we cannot do. Don’t change the subject.

    And btw, I do recall that some reviews were skeptical as to Dodos’ effects on the non-committed public. Reuland on PT is hardly effusive about Dodos, for example, and seems to think that a whole lot of ID baggage was left alone (like refusing to affirm the age of the earth, or even common descent, which appears to be optional in ID). And of course, the whole attempt to put scientists in a bad light for being scientists and not communicators was part of his beef.

    So if the reviews to which you’re referring were indeed quite positive, at least some scientists in the field have the same problem with Dodos that I have with your complaining that we’re not doing what we cannot do. Yes there are problems, and more communication attempts and skills need to be found among scientists, but your attacks on your allies are not appreciated, nor are they constructive.

    Then too, you do backhandedly admit that your attacks weren’t entirely justified, which they weren’t. But you just keep up the unfair attacks, acting as if I’m rubbishing Dodos when I never once did, while ignoring the questions about how truly effective it is among the uncommitted public. If you really feel that it is your calling to play devil’s advocate, don’t expect reactions to your unjustified attacks to be positive.

    If I were so down on Dodos as you want to make me out to be, I wouldn’t have written that it may be a good choice of movie for museum presentations, another fact that you conveniently bypass in your rush to tar me unfairly. Even a devil’s advocate ought to play closer to the truth than you have here.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  187. #187 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 23, 2007

    Basically, what frog says (#176, 172, etc).

    Whenever someone offers “solutions” utilizing slick-gimmick schtick manipulation to “aid” communication I get a whiff of that foul odor I always detect whenever I see a movie that attempts to portray the appearance of authenticity and realism. It gets especially noisome, for example, whenever they “recreate’ news-team/reporter/journalist scenarios with breathless hyperactive acting. (My first unambiguous notice of it was in the disaster flicks of Irwin Allen, who was a master at it). Its equally evident in so-called “reality tv”…which, of course, is anything but.

    As an aside, I have observed that the stench is dreadfully enhanced when viewing a movie so afflicted in the context of a public place, such as a theater or in-flight on an airplane, compared to viewing the very same flick alone in the privacy in one’s home, where it still stinks but not nearly as badly.

    Its an odd sensation. What a curious phenomenon – same movie with different viewing context yields different stench intensities. I have no doubt that the manipulator tendencies of the media (and by commercial interests generally that are mediated by everything from professional ad agencies to political campaign strategists) are experts at cultivating what I call, “The Reek”. And they seem to be onto the idea that the fumes are best appreciated from within a herd.

    Of course, none of those fancy tricks enhances the effectiveness of conveying a message (as ‘advertised’). As if there was any message to convey. But that’s not their purpose either. They are employed in order to create a “popularization environment” better suited for mass-marketing, the better to make profits by. They are in the BUSINESS of the SELL, that’s all. Many succumb to the gas and think it divinely fragrant and are compelled to buy more of the “perfume”. The rest of us simply get nauseous. While the Reekmasters rake in the profits, nobody gets any worthwhile information or communication out of it.

    Don’t think that this garbage will inform anyone, and don’t automatically equate box office success with effective communication. The idea that the science is somehow being seriously “outgunned” by this crap is worthless hysteria. Its not slick at all, Randy. Its crap. Crap is just crap, even when it makes lots of money. That’s not communication. That’s just pretending to reach people with a label to lure them to an empty box. Once its sold, its sole purpose has been fulfilled. There’s no nutrition in it. Believe it or not, the world really does not operate on appearances and stylish promotion.

    Oh…and Jim? Fuck you too. You really enjoy sticking your nose up people’s butts, don’t you? You’ll really enjoy the crap when it comes out: its saturated with Eau de Reek. Afterwards you’ll still be an idiot.

  188. #188 frog
    August 23, 2007

    guthrie:

    Remember also that at this period material and spiritual things were not separated the way they are today, and I am not sure this comes across in what you are saying.

    Wasn’t the medieval ideal one of absolute differentation between the spiritual world and the material world? They inherited from gnosticism this idea that the material world was essentially delusional and irrelevant. God was outside the world, transcendent and not immanent. The Greek and Alchemical idea, as I understand it, included both transcendence and imminence (since without transcendence you might as well drop the God label).

    It’s tough to isolate the Platonic ideals from the “God” idea, due to the syncretism of Christianity and Islam. But I think that by actually looking for meaning (to be generic) in the material world rather than solely through “inspiration”, the alchemists moved us away from the medieval world (and in some ways back to the ancient world). Why else was Bruno so harshly attacked? He advanced the idea that spiritual truths were to be found by studying the world of the senses – an infinite universe of infinite worlds, isotropic and therefore amenable to empirical study. He also had an “unusual” number of contacts with alchemists and hermeticists.

    OT: It’s kind of funny how protestantism was born as a revolt against Catholic spiritualism and intellectual hierarchy, and yet now works for intellectual authoritarianism and mystical mumbo-jumbo. Funny, but not ha-ha.

    It’s not my field of study, but the evolution of science greatly interests me as a scientist and as a human being. How did we get from a immanently sacred world, amenable to some empirical study, to a purely spiritual world only accessible by inspiration, to the universal quintessence which opened a crack for our currently completely material world? Why do we still carry the ghosts of Descartes, even though his ideas are so thoroughly medieval (even if he was a good mathematician); they still disrupt our understanding of science and mathematics.

    Glen D:

    Other than that, ‘nough said. I don’t think we have any reason for a flame war, since we really are mostly in agreement.

    Ah, killing my fun!

  189. #189 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Jim.
    You’re an idiot.
    Posted by: Steve_C

    Oh…and Jim? Fuck you too. You really enjoy sticking your nose up people’s butts, don’t you? You’ll really enjoy the crap when it comes out: its saturated with Eau de Reek. Afterwards you’ll still be an idiot.
    Posted by: Arnosium Upinarum

    Thanks, guys. It’s always gratifying to me that Darwinists are so quick to resort to name-calling. Nothing more clearly demonstrates the bankruptcy of their position than such childish polemics. Keep up the good work.

  190. #190 frog
    August 23, 2007

    Jim:

    Perhaps the most useful service provided by Pharyngula (and similar sites) is to demonstrate beyond dispute that evolutionary science has devolved into dogmatism.

    You really shouldn’t use words that you don’t understand.

    Here’s dogma from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    But according to a long-standing usage a dogma is now understood to be a truth appertaining to faith or morals, revealed by God, transmitted from the Apostles in the Scriptures or by tradition, and proposed by the Church for the acceptance of the faithful. It might be described briefly as a revealed truth defined by the Church — but private revelations do not constitute dogmas, and some theologians confine the word defined to doctrines solemnly defined by the pope or by a general council, while a revealed truth becomes a dogma even when proposed by the Church through her ordinary magisterium or teaching office. A dogma therefore implies a twofold relation: to Divine revelation and to the authoritative teaching of the Church.

    Science has no faith, no revelation, no general council or magesterium. It has no authoritative character whatsoever. Consensus is a completely different animal: “everyone” (with sense) believes that if a piano fell on your head, you’d die. That’s not dogma. If you ran around saying you were like Bugs Bunny and would simply get flat and then inflate yourself, most employers would request that you move along. That’s not authoritarianism.

  191. #191 Rey Fox
    August 23, 2007

    A childism polemic post deserves childish polemic responses, Jim.

  192. #192 Firemancarl
    August 23, 2007

    Here’s my comment awaiting moderation for today.

    Hey, with passages like Ezekiel 23:3 And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity. & 23:20 For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

    And

    Mal 2:3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.

    Or maybe even

    From the “Song of Solomon” or Song of Songs depending on which book you read….Notice how it’s one of two books in the bible that don’t mention god???
    5:4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him
    5:5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
    5:6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

    This bible sounds like a really hott book to read. Who needs porn???

    Since the “bowels were moved for him” I’m guessing this is tacit approval of anal sex????

  193. #193 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 23, 2007

    the evolution of science greatly interests me as a scientist and as a human being.

    Ditto. For example, I used to dump on Newton because he preferred an “absolute” space when a relative would be more general and oriented towards modern science. Little did I know that he had to more or less invent the idea of an abstract and uniform space himself.

    So he had likely to stop there in any case, he would only confuse his contemporaries profusely by moving frames. His meaning of “absolute” differed from the modern use. As they say, we are sorely prepared to understand earlier generations world views.

  194. #194 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 23, 2007

    the evolution of science greatly interests me as a scientist and as a human being.

    Ditto. For example, I used to dump on Newton because he preferred an “absolute” space when a relative would be more general and oriented towards modern science. Little did I know that he had to more or less invent the idea of an abstract and uniform space himself.

    So he had likely to stop there in any case, he would only confuse his contemporaries profusely by moving frames. His meaning of “absolute” differed from the modern use. As they say, we are sorely prepared to understand earlier generations world views.

  195. #195 guthrie
    August 23, 2007

    Frog- I didn’t think that the medieval ideal was complete separation of spirit and matter, that doesn’t sound like anything i know about at all. That many thought that matter wasa pure relation of spirit, and could be made up to more spiritual being is I think true enough, but is not by any means the whole story.

    In fact were’nt entire wars fought about whether God was in the wafers and the wine or not? Hence not outside the universe at all, but part of it. I’m afraid that this is an area which I am not entirely knowledgeable about yet. But I can bore you to death on castles, swords, armour, and metallurgy and furnaces.

    As for looking for meaning in the material world, I think the Alchemists were not in fact opposing many threads through Christianity. I am pretty sure some of the Saints were advocating nearly that thing, by contempltation of teh Nature that God had created.
    I assume you mean Giordano Bruno?
    By his time Alchemy had indeed become entwined with Hermeticism, but here we come back to my original problem with what you said:

    “If anything, alchemy was a much more serious and empirical attempt to understand the world. They were looking for the “essence” of God in the material world. Specifically, in what material sense God influenced the material world.

    This is rather too broad a statement, specifically the section to do with the essence of God in the material world. I have had a quick scan through some of the material on Alchemy that I have here at home, and it seems that some alchemists were in combat with Platnonists in the 17th century, others were more interested in Gold and how to make it, others were by this time taking Alchemy as being purely symbolic means of phsychic change. Certainly it was not just a matter of finding the essence of God, and I still cannot find anything about that, so I am interested in finding where you got the idea from.
    Some Alchemical texts are available online, here:

    http://www.levity.com/alchemy/texts.html

    Take for example “THe triumphal Chariot of Alchemy”, definitely an early 17th century text,
    http://www.levity.com/alchemy/antimony.html
    Despite all the cries to God for help and commands to prayand be of good Christian virtue otherwise you will not success in your endeavours, I cannot find anything about actually looking for the eseence of God. Trying to take on godlike powers would be blasphemous to many alchemists of the time.

    Also, your comments about looking for meaning in the natural world miss the fact that alchemy in the last thousand years and more, has looked upon older texts are being more important, i.e. that the world has decayed, and that the Alchemists job is to re-create some of the old knowledge and by purifying themselves and their work, to regain some of the powers and sanctity of the olden days, specifically a variety of holy and wise men, from Abraham to Mercury. Thus, although Alchemists used symbols of ecveryday life, this was in fact to code their supposed ancietn wisdom, rather than make meaning from the natural world.

    By contrast, people like Agricola and Biringuccio were writing the first real textbooks in areas such as mineralogy and chemistry, with scathing references to Alchemists and no mention of Spirit in the world. They are as much the true forefathers of modern exploratory chemistry as the alchemists, maybe more so.

  196. #196 Nullifidian
    August 23, 2007

    Mike P: “you’re = your. Naturally.” (from comment 100)

    Any 5th grader knows this isn’t true, moron. Perhaps you’d like to contribute something meaningful, significant, or otherwise not obnoxious pseudo intellectual dribble. That’s right, I said “pseudo”. Do you know what that means? If you expect anyone to take “you’re” science seriously you might want to use proper grammar, nitwit. Or better yet, stop whining and make “you’re” scientific argument.

    Posted by: dougmoran

    I have only one thing to say to that:

    Get a BRAIN! Morans

    Note: This post is not directed at other Morans who not only have brains, but senses of humor.

  197. #197 frog
    August 23, 2007

    guthrie, you’re clearly more of an expert in this area (and thanks for the refs)…

    But, I think there’s a line to be drawn between what is explicitly said (and therefore in contention), and the underlying assumptions of a world-view. Why was self-flagellation so popular in the medieval world? Why did it make sense to kill the man to save him? Why was there such a bias against technical innovation, particularly in the medical fields?

    I suggest this has to do with the problem of immanence. Is God in the material world, or is he outside the material world and solely manipulates our world? You see the heresies of the middle ages, and they all posit following the exclusion of God from the world to it’s logical end: gnosticism and antinomianism; that was the disease that grew from the medieval pathology.

    The whole point of the communion wafer is that God is not in the world, not naturally. Only through a miraculous occurrence can God enter the world and redeem it. If God was coterminous with the world, if the natural world where an extension of God, no magic wafers or wine would be necessary.

    Then the question of alchemy is one of contrast. Not “Was alchemy clear of this mindset?” but did it at least have the seeds of a more Spinozan view of God’s nature, one where the substance of the world was not a delusional and tattered cloak, but a real expression of the “real world”? Most medieval thinkers seem to argue that there really is no point, at all, in science – that all your studying is the Fall, a pale reflection at best of a separate spiritual reality. It’s a heathen exercise (heathenism always being “pantheistic” in some sense).

    But if you spend all day trying to transmute lead into gold, at some level you believe that the nature of reality is reflected and can be discovered through the natural world. Whichever particular explicit ideology you advance, it must to some extent recognize the real world as “sacred” in a sense. The quintessence is in there and can be purified, rather than the quintessence being of a foreign nature and can only enter matter through grace.

    From there, it is just a small step (which takes a millenia) to simply drop transcendence completely and focus on Einstein’s God which is no God. Magic is closer to science than theology.

  198. #198 frog
    August 23, 2007

    Certainly it was not just a matter of finding the essence of God, and I still cannot find anything about that, so I am interested in finding where you got the idea from.

    Guthrie, wasn’t the quintessence that some alchemist searched for the ancestor of the “vital essence” that stalked biology for centuries? And wouldn’t that animating principle have to be a direct reflection of God, the image that God put into dust to make man in the garden? Wouldn’t then the underlying motivation of (some) alchemy be to find God through material research?

    Alchemy reminds me a lot of Taoism – I assume that there was lots of unrecorded interchange across Eurasia that went along with all the trade across the continent. The ultimate goal of Taoist alchemy was to bring oneself into harmony with the Tao. The physical means were also symbolic, and by improving your health, etc, you would put your body and mind in harmony with the Tao. Ultimately the spiritual was not separate from the material, it just got out of whack from time to time. In European language, this would translate into the search for the essence of God in the material world; in some contexts in symbolic sense (sacred texts), but rarely without some grounding in the material world, in actually doing a chemical reaction.

    From what I’ve read on late Roman magic, it seems very similar. Technological innovation was the same thing as spiritual innovation, not opposed to spiritual innovation. Of course, a few had the sense to drop the entire idea of a magical being driving it – but those individual were outliers who couldn’t have transmitted their ideas without someone who bridged the gap between a scientific view and a purely theological one.

  199. #199 Derp
    August 23, 2007

    Dembski sure seems to love Randy’s comments in this thread.

  200. #200 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Jim: “Perhaps the most useful service provided by Pharyngula (and similar sites) is to demonstrate beyond dispute that evolutionary science has devolved into dogmatism.”

    Frog: “You really shouldn’t use words that you don’t understand. Here’s dogma from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    >…according to a long-standing usage a dogma is now understood to be a truth appertaining to faith or morals, revealed by God, transmitted from the Apostles in the Scriptures or by tradition, and proposed by the Church for the acceptance of the faithful….<

    No one should be surprised that the Catholic Encyclopedia defines dogma by reference to matters of faith that the Catholic Church holds to be true. But when I spoke of the devolution of evolutionary science into “dogmatism,” I had in mind the definition of the word used by Webster, to wit: “positiveness in assertion of opinion esp. when unwarranted or arrogant.” To witness a demonstration of Darwinist dogmatism, one needs to simply read the writings of, say, PZ Myers, or the writings of his amen chorus (see many of the above postings). A mind in the grip of dogmatism refuses to utter the words “I might be wrong.” By insisting that the arguments of ID theorists must not be heard, and by demanding that teachers, professors, researchers, etc. who make those arguments must be shunned, terminated, denied tenure, etc., Darwinists unambiguously signal the dogmatic condition of mainstream evolutionary science. I think Darwin would be appalled by the tactics of modern Darwinists. In “The Origin of Species,” he wrote: “I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of the debate.” As modern Darwinists make so clear (on web sites like Pharyngula and elsewhere), the last thing they want is the fair result Darwin had in mind. One couldn’t ask for a better demonstration of a science that has devolved into dogmatism.
    Thanks again to PZ Myers and friends for making the demonstration (over and over again).

  201. #201 frog
    August 23, 2007

    And it’s no surprise Jim, that you would use an inflammatory word which implies authoritarian suppression of thought, and then claim you only meant “positiveness in assertion of opinion esp. when unwarranted or arrogant.” Yeah, that’s what you meant, that scientists are too positive about their position, that their position might not be fully warranted.

    That’s the ticket!

    The debate has been over for a hundred years. Do you also want us to reopen the question of heliocentricity? You know, the physicists have been suppressing that discussion for 300 years! Only a healthy debate with balanced representation of both sides can help resolve this burning question.

    Is Jim an asshole, idiot or assholish idiotic propagandist? You make the call.

  202. #202 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    I vote “propagandist”.

    You know, Frog, maybe in the spirit of fairness and in the name of skepticism and every time a child is born and looks up at the moon in wonder, we should re-open the question of whether or not the moon is a goddess, a balloon, a cookie, a cheese puff, or some other thing that doesn’t really belong up there. After all, to positively assert that the moon was in fact a ball of rock and dust the size of a small planet would be… dogmatic.

    A mind in the grip of dogmatism refuses to utter the words “I might be wrong.”

    Jim, can you utter those words in the context of the assertions you have made here?

    How conveniently you overlook the countless times that geologists, paleontologists, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have admitted that there are still many details of earth history, of lines of descent and mechanisms of evolution, that are unknown or not completely understood. You close your eyes to the controversies that exist within the discipline. Still you assert dogmatism in the scientific community.

    I conclude, then, that you are arguing from a position of either a) ignorance or b) disingenuousness. Which is it? You tell me, for I am unable to read your mind.

  203. #203 guthrie
    August 23, 2007

    If only I could edit my own posts. I messed up the I tag, and ran a quote on into my own writing, which should be thus:
    So, she seems to support your supposition to some extent, although the passage is clearly a summary of some prior knowledge, whereas I am trying to get back down to the original texts, or translations thereof. She seems to treat it more as a matter of working through things leading to a more Christian self, which is not quite the same as how God influenced the material world, but still it’s getting there.

  204. #204 frog
    August 23, 2007

    Kseniya,

    Well, my young daughter after having been exposed to my atheism and ecophilia in addition to outside explanations of “God” and how he makes everything grow, came to the conclusion that the sun must be God.

    That’s good enough for me. You’ve got to let rationality develop, and part of that is letting children come to conclusions for themselves and then reform those conclusions as they go along. There’s a time for “The moon might be a goddess,” or “it may be made out of cheese.”

    Jim, however, doesn’t seem to have the excuse that he’s three. Well, maybe intellectually… but I figure he doesn’t care about the truth, since the Big Cheese is above the truth. What’s a few lies to save a friend’s eternal soul?

  205. #205 Steve_C
    August 23, 2007

    Is anyone else getting that woo feeling?

  206. #206 Mena
    August 23, 2007

    Is there a law describing people who go to web sites full of people who are well trained in their field and know what they are talking about and accusing them of being dogmatic, and “amen choir”, etc? How many times have we heard that mantra? It couldn’t possibly be that we are agreeing that certain arguments make more sense than others and some make no sense at all (eg the Talking Snake Theory), it has to be because we don’t believe the stuff that he has read and believes because it reinforces his beliefs.
    BTW, how does this sound as a scientific method for the ID crowd:
    1. Observe that humans, animals, and natural phenomena exist.
    2. Do some wishful thinking.
    3. Go to holy book to find ways to justify wishful thinking and read books on the subject that were written without peer review.
    4. Correspond with people who believe the same way over the internet. Memorize arguments so that you can repeat them verbatim because they must be absolutely true. People like Behe are experts because they agree with you and research is overrated anyway.
    5. Feel anger toward anyone who disagrees. Make sure to spew your arguments ad nauseum, don’t worry if they don’t make sense to anyone but you and if it is mentioned that those arguments are as old as Darwin. You are the expert, not some pinko elitist liberal professor or researcher. They are the brainwashed ones, not you. Don’t even worry if you talk to people who publish peer reviewed papers based on their original research. They are part of a conspiracy.
    6. Make sure to remember that you are right. You are *always* right. Heck, even on other subjects you are always right. Make sure to keep up your righteous anger at this stage. The heathens will love you for it.

  207. #207 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    There’s a time for “The moon might be a goddess,” or “it may be made out of cheese.”

    Jim, however, doesn’t seem to have the excuse that he’s three.

    Why Frog, I believe you have apprehended my point! :-)

    We don’t reopen the scientific question of what the moon may or may not be for the benefit of those who do not, will not, or cannot understand or accept the conclusions drawn from the facts we DO have about the moon.

  208. #208 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Frog: “Is Jim an asshole, idiot or assholish idiotic propagandist? You make the call.”

    Are there any adults who regularly participate in this forum? If not, I’m going to quickly lose interest in it.

    Kseniya: “You know, Frog, maybe in the spirit of fairness and in the name of skepticism and every time a child is born and looks up at the moon in wonder, we should re-open the question of whether or not the moon is a goddess, a balloon, a cookie, a cheese puff, or some other thing that doesn’t really belong up there. After all, to positively assert that the moon was in fact a ball of rock and dust the size of a small planet would be… dogmatic.”

    There’s nothing dogmatic about positively asserting a verifiable fact (like the size and composition of the moon), but it’s utterly dogmatic to insist that a scientific theory (like Darwinism) is so unassailable that no doubts, dissent, or theoretical competition can be tolerated.

    “A mind in the grip of dogmatism refuses to utter the words ‘I might be wrong.’”

    Kseniya “Jim, can you utter those words in the context of the assertions you have made here?

    Yep. I might be wrong. But the preponderance of evidence offered by the writings of PZ Myers and the like suggests that I’m right.

    Kseniya: “How conveniently you overlook the countless times that geologists, paleontologists, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have admitted that there are still many details of earth history, of lines of descent and mechanisms of evolution, that are unknown or not completely understood. You close your eyes to the controversies that exist within the discipline. Still you assert dogmatism in the scientific community.”

    The “scientific community” tolerates controversy and dissent with regard to the “details” within the Darwinian paradigm, but (as PZ Myers and the like repeatedly demonstrate) it will not tolerate dissent that questions the Darwinian paradigm. Intolerance of that kind is the essence of dogmatism.

    Kseniya: “I conclude, then, that you are arguing from a position of either a) ignorance or b) disingenuousness. Which is it?”

    Neither.

  209. #209 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    Mena: BINGO.

  210. #210 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    Jim, ok, I understand what you’re saying, but I still contend that you’re overlooking the fact that “evolutionists” would (and do) entertain doubt, dissent, and competing theories IF those theories met a minimum standard of rigor. (Not sure if I put that quite right). That may be intolerance, yes, but it’s intolerance of mediocrity, not of a meaningful challenge to the status quo.

    ID isn’t rejected simply because it’s competition, it’s rejected because it brings virtually nothing to the table (not to mention that it’s already been exposed as a wedge strategy for creationism) and I think those who realize that are sick to death of hearing incorrect or dishonest claims to the contrary. That’s how it looks to me, anyway. I could be wrong. ;-)

  211. #211 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Kseniya: “ID isn’t rejected simply because it’s competition, it’s rejected because it brings virtually nothing to the table (not to mention that it’s already been exposed as a wedge strategy for creationism) and I think those who realize that are sick to death of hearing incorrect or dishonest claims to the contrary.”

    If dishonesty bothers you, you ought to be bothered by the persistently dishonest portrayals of ID theory peddled by poorly informed critics, most of whom seem to be incapable of distinguishing ID theory from its theistic implications (hence the bogus charge that ID is simply “creationism in disguise”). I wonder: Have you formed your opinion of ID by actually reading the works of ID theorists (I’ve personally read some two dozen of their books and many of their essays), or are you allowing your opinion to be informed by the writings of critics, who – for the most part – simply echo and re-echo one another’s misrepresentations of ID? How can we know that ID brings “nothing to the table” until it’s been given a fair chance to succeed (or fail)? Rejecting it out-of-hand is a sign of, well, dogmatism.

  212. #212 PuckishOne
    August 23, 2007

    Quoth Jim: The “scientific community” tolerates controversy and dissent with regard to the “details” within the Darwinian paradigm, but (as PZ Myers and the like repeatedly demonstrate) it will not tolerate dissent that questions the Darwinian paradigm. Intolerance of that kind is the essence of dogmatism.

    If there were true scientific dissent on this matter, it would be more than tolerated: it would be researched, dissected, re-researched, tested and re-tested until answers were found. But, of course, there is no such thing. Scientists (by which I mean those who deal in the scientific method, not just people who self-label because of degree or imagined expertise) do not disagree on whether evolution is and has occurred, just like there is no disagreement in the scientific world about water being comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, the Earth being the third planet from the sun, and trees being made of wood. It is nothing but a straw man and, unfortunately, an insidious one in light of the general ignorance in this country about science and the scientific method.

  213. #213 PuckishOne
    August 23, 2007

    Quoth Jim: “How can we know that ID brings “nothing to the table” until it’s been given a fair chance to succeed (or fail)?”

    Another insidious straw man. “Fairness” is not the issue; evidence is. Until the type of repeatable, falsifiable evidence that props up every accepted scientific theory is found to be supportive of the ID hypothesis, there is not only nothing brought to the table, there is no table.

  214. #214 OxyCon
    August 23, 2007

    “Win Ben Stein’s Propaganda”

  215. #215 frog
    August 23, 2007

    Jim,

    It’s always put up or shut up. If you want to claim intellectual honesty (and stop whining about getting called names, as if this was an elementary school playground), actually present an alternative to “Darwinism” that better explains the facts.

    Explain the evolutionary history of the earth, without waving a magic wand: “The IDer did it that way.” Tell me how the IDer works – what laws he follows, how we can predict what he’ll do next… You know give me a theory, instead of just pointing saying “Darwinism” doesn’t explain every last detail today.

    And you know how I know you won’t put up? That you’ll weasel out, like the con-man you are? You use the word “Darwinism”. The current theory has been called “Neo-Darwinian Synthesis” for a hundred years now. Because you don’t know that natural selection is just a subset of evolutionary theory, and that evolutionary theory has been intensely and critical looked at, particularly non-Darwinian selection, and is constantly being extended.

    No, you won’t come back with the IDer equation, because you just don’t have the brains to understand the issues at all. You’re trying to smuggle in theism and faith, and that will only work with the ignorant or brain-dead. It is highly immoral to take advantage of either state to advance a political agenda.

    Put up, bitch.

  216. #216 PZ Myers
    August 23, 2007

    Jim, as one of many active anti-creationists on the net (you can find many more at the Panda’s Thumb), I can say that you have got it completely wrong. We know your creationist literature quite well — I’ve read Behe’s books, and Dembski’s, and far too many others — and in addition we keep up with the scientific literature. We actually have the experience and the knowledge to compare them side by side, and let me tell you, Jim, Intelligent Design creationism is like the most delicate, flaky, feather-light puff pastry in comparison…and that pastry is filled with slimy wet dog turds.

    Watching you ‘defend’ your version of creationism with more ignorance is just too typical.

  217. #217 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    PuckishOne: “Scientists (by which I mean those who deal in the scientific method, not just people who self-label because of degree or imagined expertise) do not disagree on whether evolution is and has occurred, just like there is no disagreement in the scientific world about water being comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, the Earth being the third planet from the sun, and trees being made of wood.”

    It may surprise you to learn that few, if any, ID theorists question whether evolution has occurred. What they question is whether Darwinian mechanisms suffice to explain all of life’s diversity and complexity.

    Your remarks bring to mind the oft-made claim that Darwinism (a theory that purports to explain evolution) is as well-established as, say, the theory of relativity. Tellingly, one never hears physicists say that the theory of relativity is as well-established as Darwinism.

    PuckishOne: “Until the type of repeatable, falsifiable evidence that props up every accepted scientific theory is found to be supportive of the ID hypothesis, there is not only nothing brought to the table, there is no table.”

    I’d be interested in hearing about the “repeatable, falsifiable evidence” that supports the notion that unguided Darwinian mechanisms (principally, random mutations and natural selection) fully explain life’s systemic and structural complexities. Where, for example, is the “repeatable, falsifiable evidence” showing that Darwinian mechanisms brought forth sexual reproduction from the relatively primitive, asexual organisms that first populated the earth?

  218. #218 frog
    August 23, 2007

    Jim:

    Where, for example, is the “repeatable, falsifiable evidence” showing that Darwinian mechanisms brought forth sexual reproduction from the relatively primitive, asexual organisms that first populated the earth?

    So, you still a sniveling bitch? Give me your explanation, then we can compare which one is better. We can then compare the evidence. But to ask us to repeat all the work on gene-shuffling over the last century so you can knock it down – well, that rhetorical device will only trap children.

    Tell me how sexual reproduction developed: what’s the theories, which equations describe the process, show me models of how sexual reproduction evolved and is kept stable, just as long as you don’t wave your hand and say “The IDer did it.”

    I could easily advance another alternative: it’s all just random. Any hole in any theory is evidence for randomness. How did it happen? Just random. It could be that way, it is conceivable, but of course I can’t use it to explain anything, because any time anyone asks me, I say “It’s Random!”

    So give up the actual theory. You know, theories with equations that predict something.

  219. #219 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Frog: “Tell me how the IDer works – what laws he follows, how we can predict what he’ll do next…”

    I’ll make you a deal, Frog. You tell me how Beethoven composed his 9th Symphony and I’ll tell you how “the IDer works.” To state the obvious, intelligence is creative, not predictable.

    Frog: “You use the word ‘Darwinism’. The current theory has been called ‘Neo-Darwinian Synthesis’ for a hundred years now.”

    Actually, if I can be allowed to follow you into petty pedantry, the neo-Darwinian synthesis came about some 70 years ago. Also, a number of evolutionary biologists – Ken Miller comes to mind – routinely refer to neo-Darwinian theory as “Darwinism.”

    Frog: “No, you won’t come back with the IDer equation, because you just don’t have the brains to understand the issues at all. You’re trying to smuggle in theism and faith, and that will only work with the ignorant or brain-dead. It is highly immoral to take advantage of either state to advance a political agenda.”

    Actually, what I don’t have is the patience to put up with your childishness and presumptuousness. On the basis of the few paragraphs I’ve written here, you presume to declare me stupid and ignorant. And on the basis of my utter silence on matters of theism and faith, you presume to declare that I’m pursuing an immoral political agenda.

    Frog: “Put up, bitch.”

    Nah. I only “put up” for people who earn respect by showing respect. I’ve got no more time for you.

    PZ Myers: “Jim, as one of many active anti-creationists on the net (you can find many more at the Panda’s Thumb), I can say that you have got it completely wrong. We know your creationist literature quite well — I’ve read Behe’s books, and Dembski’s, and far too many others — and in addition we keep up with the scientific literature.”

    It’s clear to me, PZ, that you don’t know the ID literature well (either that, or you can’t honestly represent it). If you knew it well, you’d know that ID theory has no stake in the Genesis account of creation (which helps to explain why so many creationists are either lukewarm towards, or actually oppose, ID theory). Certainly theistic ID theorists (like Dembski and Behe) openly discuss the theistic implications of ID, but those implications are no part of the theory itself. Richard Dawkins routinely draws on the atheistic implications of Darwinism to pooh-pooh theism. Does that mean that Darwinism is atheism in disguise? Of course not. Any non-scientific implications that might flow from a scientific theory are simply that: implications. ID theory is undeniably congenial to theism, just as Darwinism is undeniably congenial to atheism. So what? A scientist is supposed to follow the evidence wherever it leads, not turn away from evidence that might lead to a conclusion he’d rather not reach.

    PZ Myers: “Intelligent Design creationism is like the most delicate, flaky, feather-light puff pastry in comparison…and that pastry is filled with slimy wet dog turds. Watching you ‘defend’ your version of creationism with more ignorance is just too typical.”

    I’m delighted to hear you say this, PZ. Rhetoric of this kind, which is so typical of the Darwinist faithful, ensures that skeptics (that is to say, most Americans, according to surveys) won’t be won over to Darwinism. While you guys are patting each other on the back, you’re insulting the skeptics. It’s a losing polemical strategy, which is why I encourage you to stick with it.

  220. #220 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    which is why I encourage you to stick with it.

    Why? So people will be lead away from a conclusion you’d rather they not reach?

  221. #221 Rey Fox
    August 23, 2007

    “To state the obvious, intelligence is creative, not predictable.”

    To state the obvious: cop-out.

    “Rhetoric of this kind, which is so typical of the Darwinist faithful blah blah blah”

    Obviously, different strategies should be put into play in different situations. We would not insult people honestly curious about evolution and intelligent design. However, it is a perfectly acceptable part of the strategy to tell sarcastic gasbags like you where to stick it.

  222. #222 frog
    August 23, 2007

    Jim:

    I’ll make you a deal, Frog. You tell me how Beethoven composed his 9th Symphony and I’ll tell you how “the IDer works.” To state the obvious, intelligence is creative, not predictable.

    Well I guess you are an ignorant and foolish, in addition to being a disingenuous scammer. If I were to be so bold as to claim a theory about Beethoven’s creative process, my answer would not be “Well, it’s creative!” That’s not a theory at all.

    What you now explicitly state is that if a neuroscientist were to study Beethoven’s work, his psychology, a panoply of musicians under MRI’s under different conditions and come up with an actual theory of the production of the Ninth Symphony, here would be your answer: “Nah, that’s wrong. It doesn’t explain every last neuronal action. It doesn’t predict every note on every page. So ‘Beethoven was creative’ is a better theory. And if you dismiss that as a meaningless statement, it’s only because you’re a dogmatic authoritarian out to oppress poor little ol’ me.”

    What an absurd cop-out. What a childish answer. “I don’t have a better answer, but my non-answer that it’s unknowable is better than any partial answer that it may be possible to give.” Well disprove my “it’s all random, so anything is possible theory.” It makes just as much sense as creative – in essence it’s the exact same statement.

    Yup that’s the kind of imbecilic response I’d expect from an apologist for for authoritarian politics – that’s always the underlying motivation for these kinds of non-answers, to justify traditionalism and therefore an authoritarian regime.

    You deserve nothing better than to be outed as a scumbag, a liar, and trash. My statements regarding you are not childish outbursts – they are accurate and objective descriptions of the kind of amoral cretin you must be to advance such positions.

    See, I combine evidence of this particular case and historical evidence to predict, via a theory of human psychology, exactly what kind of person you are; it’s possible I’m wrong, but it will require empirical evidence to show that. I’d be willing to put out cash that one day you will be revealed as a child-molester, a wife-beater, a closeted homosexual drug addict who advances an anti-homosexual agenda, a thief, a killer, or some other kind of pervert who ultimately believes that might makes right, and is willing to say anything to protect his privileged life-style.

  223. #223 Caledonian
    August 23, 2007

    Most Americans are skeptical?

    Hell, I doubt most Americans can even spell ‘skeptical’, much less put the concept into practice. We can’t even manage a respectable rate of literacy, and logical thought is even harder to learn and apply than reading.

  224. #224 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    C’mon, Frog, tell us what you really think.

    Aspersions aside, I’m curious as to why Jim continues to completely ignore all references to this.

  225. #225 Mena
    August 23, 2007

    I’m delighted to hear you say this, PZ. Rhetoric of this kind, which is so typical of the Darwinist faithful, ensures that skeptics (that is to say, most Americans, according to surveys)

    As they say, there’s a sucker born every minute. Look how many people believe in UFOs, crop circles, and ghosts. Wanting it to be so doesn’t make it so, sorry. The majority of Americans used to believe that blacks and women were second class citizens. Majority consensus didn’t make that true either.
    By the way, by “skeptics”, do you mean people who believe that there is an invisible guy/force directing the cosmos without any sort of evidence for that? Open a dictionary and look up the word “antonym”.

    (Not that you care or are even paying attention to what other people are telling you but here goes…)
    Jim, why is this so important to you? You have taken the time to memorize the mantras and post comments here, it would be more constructive for you to go to the library and check out a biology textbook. You haven’t really addressed any issues here, you have merely complained that Darwinists are childish and are being mean to you. People here have heard all of what you have put forth many times before, you aren’t bringing anything new to the table. Why don’t you learn what the Darwinist arguments are for yourself instead of letting other people tell you what they are? You are being conned by people with an agenda. They want money. Period.

  226. #226 frog
    August 23, 2007

    Kseniya,

    Good reference. It’s all a con, and somewhere sometime someone’s gotta say it and stop acting as if these people are arguing in good faith. Every public discussion gets derailed by people who in actual reality are the moral equivalent (and political if not cultural equivalent) of Nazis. If only someone had screamed louder, been more belligerent 80 years ago, rather than being polite and tolerant of the “minority political viewpoint”. If only the center-right had bothered to actual read the publicly available, self-published pamphlets of the radical right, instead of acting as if the Nazis were just another political party within the system.

    There’s no point in “arguing” with them – at best they can act as a foil, because they will never be intentionally honest about their agenda. If you keep at it long enough, from time to time they slip up and reveal their true views. Or you can just cut and paste it from their web sites.

    This is not to say there aren’t really a large number of people who are simply ignorant of scientific language and methods and so are prime targets for conning by the likes of Jim. Ignorance is not a sin, in and of itself. But folks like Ratzi, Haggard, the not-lamented Jerry Falwell — they are moral monsters I wouldn’t leave alone with my children under any conditions. It’s not a disagreement about viewpoint, it’s a disagreement about whether being a decent human being is valuable, or whether human decency exists at all.

    At the end of the day, the “might makes right” crowd has to be called on it, every time or we will legitimize their phony propaganda.

  227. #227 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Mena: “You haven’t really addressed any issues here, you have merely complained that Darwinists are childish and are being mean to you.”

    I’ve made essentially no effort here to defend the scientific legitimacy of ID theory. The only “issue” I’ve even attempted to address is the sadly dogmatic condition of evolutionary biology and the accompanying intellectual bullying of Darwinists. I’m gratified that respondents have rallied to confirm the point I was making. With that, I’ll let you all stew in your own bile. I’ve got no time (or respect) for people who dismiss ID proponents as “the moral equivalent of Nazis.”

  228. #228 PZ Myers
    August 23, 2007

    You do realize that there’s a whole slew of creationist apologists, from Kennedy to Johnson to Weikart, who routinely accuse biologists of being Nazis and of inspiring the Nazis, don’t you? To be consistent, you should have no time or respect for ID.

    Man, the irony is thick around these creationists, isn’t it?

  229. #229 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    A parting afterthought: Mena referred to those who “read books on the subject that were written without peer review.”
    If peer review is the sine qua non of science, then Darwin’s
    “Origin of Species” was not scientific. After all, Darwin published his masterpiece (and the rest of his work) without submitting it to peer review.

  230. #230 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    Jim continues to ignore my questions, while retreating under the translucent cloak of presumed (but not demonstrated) moral and intellectual superiority.

    Once again, Jim: What is your agenda? To bend people away from “Darwinism” and towards ID regardless of the facts? Some of your statements betray this. Am I wrong? If so, why? It will not suffice to simply say so.

    And why do you persist in ignoring the implications of the Wedge Strategy? You refuse even to acknowledge its existence! How can you fail to address this while complaining about the intellectual honesty of those who support evolutionary theory?

    Really. You could do better. Or so I suppose. So far, by your own admission, all you’ve done is criticise experts in a well-established theory for failing to give equal time to something that has already been discredited as a load of nonsense. Am I wrong? I would think that defending the legitimacy of ID would be YOUR FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT STEP in any such argument.

  231. #231 frog
    August 23, 2007

    PZ:

    Well, you’re right that I have no respect for ID intellectuals. I’m softer towards folks who are just ignorant – just like most Germans were bamboozled, so are most of the common people who support ID. They just don’t know what they’re getting us into.

    But time? Well, it’s fun to play whack-a-mole. And I really should be working on a presentation for tomorrow… so instead I put of my work till 3am in the morning with any possible excuse.

    And of course, Jim chimes in just in time to prove my point with further intellectual dishonesty. He pretends not to know what the point of peer review is, and since Darwin’s book wasn’t peer-reviewed (book!), he pretends he doesn’t know about the massive criticism Darwin went through til the 20th century. He pretends it hasn’t gone through the scientific slicer that we all meet, and instead is just like the vanity press/propagandist printers booklets he prefers.

    Scum, scum, scum… not an ounce of good-faith.

  232. #232 Jim
    August 23, 2007

    Another parting afterthought…

    PZ Myers: “You do realize that there’s a whole slew of creationist apologists, from Kennedy to Johnson to Weikart, who routinely accuse biologists of being Nazis and of inspiring the Nazis, don’t you? To be consistent, you should have no time or respect for ID. Man, the irony is thick around these creationists, isn’t it?”

    These remarks helpfully illustrate my complaint that you either don’t know or can’t honestly represent the positions of ID proponents. For example, at no point in his book “From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany” does Richard Weikart (a historian who has a favorable view of ID theory) “accuse biologists of being Nazis” (except, of course, for those who actually were Nazis). Weikart’s actual position, as he clearly stated in his book, is this: “When I draw connections between Darwin, German Darwinists, eugenicists, racial theorists, or militarists, I am not thereby endorsing their logic…. Nor am I making the absurd claim that Darwinism of logical necessity leads (directly or indirectly) to Nazism.”

    By the way, if a “creationist” is someone who interprets biological data through a literal reading of Genesis (the usual meaning of the word), I’m not a creationist. Neither are any of the design theorists whose works are familiar to me.

    With that I bid you a final farewell. My patience with the childish argumentation that dominates this forum is at an end.

  233. #233 Kseniya
    August 23, 2007

    By the way, if a “creationist” is someone who interprets biological data through a literal reading of Genesis (the usual meaning of the word), I’m not a creationist. Neither are any of the design theorists whose works are familiar to me.

    Jim, I suspect you know this, but what you describe is a Young-Earth Creationist (YEC), as opposed to, say, Old-Earth Creationists or Progressive Creationists. The design theorists to whom you refer might be better described as Evolutionary Creationists, or perhaps as Theistic Evolutionists.

  234. #234 Mena
    August 23, 2007

    Jim, it was obvious that you were here to rant and not to hold a discussion but I thought that I’d try anyway. Most of us like to continue learning throughout our lives. I thought that you might enjoy it too, plus it would have helped you in your debates. Toodles.

  235. #235 Badger3k
    August 23, 2007

    Wow. This was almost as bad a reading the 9/11 conspiracy cooks over the History Channels debunking. My favorite:

    Jim: With that I bid you a final farewell. My patience with the childish argumentation that dominates this forum is at an end.

    Sproing! There goes my irony meter again.

  236. #236 Rey Fox
    August 24, 2007

    “Once again, Jim: What is your agenda?”

    Isn’t it obvious? To goad the “Darwinists” into insults by showing up on an evolution blog and acting like an ass, then claiming the moral high road as if anyone who cared was watching. It’s a common pastime for the shallow, petulant, and intellectually bankrupt.

    Nitpicking is another. Via Wikipedia, here’s Weikart on evolution and the National Socialists:

    “The philosophy that fueled German militarism and Hitlerism is taught as fact in every American public school, with no disagreement allowed.

    And again:

    “Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism, especially in its social Darwinist and eugenics permutations, neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy. Darwinism – or at least some naturalistic interpretation of darwinism – succeeded in turning morality on its head.”

    Oh, but he doesn’t CALL evolutionary biologists NAZIS. Sure he spuriously attacks a scientific theory because of some contrived appeal to consquences, but he didn’t actually come out and STATE that Stephen Jay Gould was a Nazi. So of course he’s on a higher moral standing than those of us who give long-discredited ideas their critical due!

    “I’ve made essentially no effort here to defend the scientific legitimacy of ID theory.”

    So you admit you’re a tool. Now I’m gratified.

  237. #237 frog
    August 24, 2007

    Nahh, Rey, it’s practice. See if he gets called on any obvious mistakes, makes the attack on the sheep so much easier. That’s why it’s best to just call him an ass and be done with it. There’s always a chance someone without the proper background (jargon-wise) will stumble here and see: Oh that Jim! He sounds Reasonable! There is an Argument to be made!

    Of course, I never follow my own advice.

  238. #238 Kseniya
    August 24, 2007

    Rey, yeah, I guess it was obvious, but I wanted him to confirm/deny/defend/refute… SOMETHING. Anything. I wanted to hear it, whatever it was, from him.

    Regarding Weikart, it’s even more interesting when you take note of the fact that he wrote the book while in the service of the Discovery Institute. Nope, not trying to crack the foundations of “Darwinism”. Nope. Nope. Oh look, a hummingbird!

  239. #239 Christopher Heard
    August 24, 2007

    I am really, really embarrassed that part of this “mockumentary” was shot in an auditorium at the University where I teach. There’s even an outside chance some of my students were extras in that auditorium scene in the trailer. Yuck.

  240. #240 PuckishOne
    August 24, 2007

    Quoth Jim: If you knew it well, you’d know that ID theory has no stake in the Genesis account of creation…

    And with this, I nearly lost my breakfast cereal out my nose. As much as I’d love to post the entire transcript of the Dover trial, I won’t.

    Ah well, I’ve no doubt that he’ll be back for more “mature discussion” at some point. Now, over to today’s cephalopod…

  241. #241 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 24, 2007

    Jim:

    I had in mind the definition of the word used by Webster, to wit: “positiveness in assertion of opinion esp. when unwarranted or arrogant.”

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Biology is a science.

    I’d be interested in hearing about the “repeatable, falsifiable evidence”

    Somehow I doubt that. But here is a primer for non-biologists, a summary on repeatable, falsifiable evidence. The science has published 100′s of 1000′s of papers during the last 150 years, and you are welcome to dig into that as well.

    Um, gone already? Thought so.

  242. #242 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 24, 2007

    Jim:

    I had in mind the definition of the word used by Webster, to wit: “positiveness in assertion of opinion esp. when unwarranted or arrogant.”

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Biology is a science.

    I’d be interested in hearing about the “repeatable, falsifiable evidence”

    Somehow I doubt that. But here is a primer for non-biologists, a summary on repeatable, falsifiable evidence. The science has published 100′s of 1000′s of papers during the last 150 years, and you are welcome to dig into that as well.

    Um, gone already? Thought so.

  243. #243 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 24, 2007

    Mr. Jim, #196, in his limitless wisdom, says,

    “Thanks, guys. It’s always gratifying to me that Darwinists are so quick to resort to name-calling. Nothing more clearly demonstrates the bankruptcy of their position than such childish polemics. Keep up the good work.”

    Well, thank you so very much! We will indeed keep up the Good Work, you ignoramus.

    As for the name calling? Nope. Its not just name-calling when the subject actually deserves the characterization. Its rather more like a devotion to accuracy and detail. That’s all. Its rather simple: YOU characterize “Darwinists” as somehow dimwitted flakes, and WE respond in kind. Get it? Its really very simple – even you might be able to grasp the to-and-fro of it.

    But sincerely? I tend to doubt it.

    Those of us who have actually worked hard to understand the basis of the question know full well whats at stake. You can’t even bring yourself to remove your (erstwhile scientific) thinking processes from the contamination of religious superstition. That makes you a Grade A ignoramus. Your comments indicate that you are a champion-class asshole on top of it. Its not OUR fault that you don’t agree with nature, you consummate schmuck.

    There. Get the picture now, bub? Or would you like even more input?

  244. #244 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 24, 2007

    Kseniya on Mena #213: “Bingo.”

    I second that.

  245. #245 Keith Douglas
    August 25, 2007

    changcho: Newton and Galileo were religious or at least theists. Both were heretical in many ways, not just the one that got Galileo nearly killed. Newton lived much later in a slightly more tolerant place and was also more circumspect with announcing his views.

    frog: Why is Descartes more crackpot? Newton thought that god was literally everywhere, that in some sense matter was a “concresence” of god. Descartes only thought that the nonmaterial interacted at specific places – and not in a divine way. Newton and others reacted against this radical “atheistic” proposal as being exactly that.

    Rey Fox: Actually, better than cop out would be “begging the question”. Why do the IDers think that psychology is impossible?

  246. #246 prefabrik
    April 5, 2008

    If only I could edit my own posts. I messed up the I tag, and ran a quote on into my own writing, which should be thus:
    So, she seems to support your supposition to some extent, although the passage is clearly a summary of some prior knowledge, whereas I am trying to get back down to the original texts, or translations thereof. She seems to treat it more as a matter of working through things leading to a more Christian self, which is not quite the same as how God influenced the material world, but still it’s getting there.

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