Pharyngula

Ken Miller weighs in on Expelled

Guess what? He didn’t like it, nosir.

“Expelled” is a shoddy piece of propaganda that props up the failures of Intelligent Design by playing the victim card. It deceives its audiences, slanders the scientific community, and contributes mightily to a climate of hostility to science itself. Stein is doing nothing less than helping turn a generation of American youth away from science. If we actually come to believe that science leads to murder, then we deserve to lose world leadership in science. In that sense, the word “expelled” may have a different and more tragic connotation for our country than Stein intended.

That’s timely, since it’s also a theme of Miller’s new book, which argues strongly that creationism has destructive consequences for America’s scientific enterprise.

Comments

  1. #1 themann1086
    May 8, 2008

    Bu-bu-but I thought you mean nasty new atheists were going to drive off nice theistic allies like Ken Miller! The Masters of Framing told me so!

  2. #2 Mark B
    May 8, 2008

    Nicely written article by Miller. Particularly revealing is this bit from an interview of Stein:

    In an April 21 interview on the Trinity Broadcast Network, Stein called the Nazi murder of children “horrifying beyond words.” Indeed. But what led to such horrors? Stein explained: “that’s where science in my opinion, this is just an opinion, that’s where science leads you. Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place. Science leads you to killing people.”

    So Stein isn’t just opposed to modern biology, but all forms of science. If he just would follow though on his convictions and go live in a cave somewhere and wear animal skins, we would be free of his bothersome whining. Aren’t cameras against his religion, being products of demonic science? He should stay away from them.

  3. #3 QrazyQat
    May 8, 2008

    Miller’s not the only one thinks that creationism has destructive consequences for America, so does this guy:

    “12. Elevate mysticism, tribalism, shamanism and fundamentalism–and be sure to exclude educated, hardworking men and women–to an equal status with technology in the public mind.”
    – Benjamin J. Stein, “How to Ruin American Enterprise” Forbes, 23 Dec 2002

  4. #4 travc
    May 8, 2008

    Completely OT:

    The Flying-Spaghetti-Monster manifests itself for the world to see!!!!

    http://megagalerias.terra.cl/galerias/index.cfm?id_galeria=30734

    (via, digbysblog.blogspot.com)

  5. #5 Bad
    May 8, 2008

    I really can’t wait for Miller’s new book: it sounds great. I’m probably amongst the minority of non-believers who wasn’t put off by the second half of Finding Darwin’s God. It’s not that I bought his theology, but then I didn’t read it as him trying to convince me, a non-believer, of it in the first place. I simply enjoyed the spirit of someone willing to get creative with theology in light of science, rather than the other way around. And I mostly agreed with him about atheists scientists getting a little philosophically sloppy with slightly too grand declarations that strain the scope of science.

    Of course PZ, if you’d get around to writing a book already, I’m sure wouldn’t be able to wait for that either, but… tap tap tap…

    I don’t care if it’s about atheism, zebrafish, or cephalopods. It just needs to happen already. :)

    Off-topic: conservative religious journal First Things has decided that second time’s the charm, and theologically explaining away the dangerous theological implications of the tsunami can do double duty for explaining away cyclones in Myanmar as well.

  6. #6 Jaycubed
    May 8, 2008

    “Expelled” just opened here in Santa Rosa . . . Straight to the second-run budget theatre. Only two showings a day.

    Bet you a nickel it will be gone after one week.

    I’ll try to talk to the ticket-seller later today & see if anyone is going.
    .

  7. #7 travc
    May 8, 2008

    Damn, it would help if I got the link correct:
    ‘Proof’ of the FSM:
    http://bp3.blogger.com/_fxJhAju65fo/SCMuf6a_UTI/AAAAAAAAABU/F6UQywE9Ce8/s1600-h/SCL200805022038JAMM+370.jpg

  8. #8 Glen Davidson
    May 8, 2008

    Sure, but we know he’s a covert atheist, since he accepts evolutionary theory, and thus we don’t have to believe anything he says.

    See, that’s the great thing about being a loony religionist, you already know the answer to anything thrown at you.

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

  9. #9 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    May 8, 2008

    Well. There’s one theist who isn’t letting the ID lot get away with their lies.

    Now if we could only see something similar from all the other religious moderates.

    Anyone notice how China is positioning itself to be the next leader of the super powers? India seems to be heading in the same direction and will not be relying on the US for protection from China. Reference; recent stories of nuclear sub bases. There are planners in China that are quite happy to see Americans rejecting science education.

  10. #10 raven
    May 8, 2008

    Crosspost PT:

    Ken Miller Boston Globe:

    Kenneth R. Miller Trouble ahead for science

    By Kenneth R. Miller May 8, 2008 AMERICAN science is in trouble, and if you wonder why, just go to the movies. Popular culture is gradually turning against science, and Ben Stein’s new movie, “Expelled,” is helping to push it along.

    This is true.
    1. Funding has been flat for years while inflation roars along.

    2. The number of papers published by the US has also been flat. While the number of papers from the rest of the world goes up.

    3. The present administration is hostile to whole branches of science, stem cell research, ecology, climatology, etc..

    US science has always been world leading, the reason why the US is the world leader. Lose that and we are on our way to banana republic status. All civilizations fall but I was hoping the US one would hold together for my lifetime at least.

  11. #11 Bad
    May 8, 2008

    “Now if we could only see something similar from all the other religious moderates.”

    I’m not sure how, at least on this issue, that we aren’t seeing that. I mean, we’ve got most of the Catholic scientists, most of the liberal religious professors, most of the liberal Christians, and so forth. I don’t see them being particularly silent on this issue. Heck, you think all the reviewers that gave Expelled 9% were atheists?

    The problem is really that there aren’t enough religious moderates in as many of the right places to provide a seeming balance in volume to the creationist firebrands.

  12. #12 BobC
    May 8, 2008

    Ken Miller, why did you call Dawkins an avowed atheist? Do people call you an avowed Catholic?

  13. #13 raven
    May 8, 2008

    Old post on what science has done for us. If the fundies are successful, wave bye bye to our civilization. The Bush adminstration has done wonders wrecking it. If McCain/Huckabee get elected and they have a great shot at it due to the Dems inability to field an electable candidate, that might be it.

    31Presently I’m looking for a detailed account of how teaching creation/I.D. can affect a country economically.

    Not sure that you can run a program and get a value like 10 trillion dollars. But qualitatively it is correct and provable.

    1. Look at highly religious societies and where they are. Most Moslem ones are still in the dark ages. The ones that are not are due to a geographic accident, they sit in deserts floating on oil. It is estimated that the Arabs imported a trillion dollars worth of western science and technology because they don’t do their own. This estimate comes from Arabs who are now starting to put some money into science because they have more oil money than they know what to do with.

    2. The USA is the world’s last superpower, economic engine and so on. So what is our edge?
    A. Is it natural resources? No, we have our share but the former USSR has more.

    B. Climate? No. Europe is also temperate.

    C. Population? No. China and India have the cheap skilled and unskilled labor niche with 2.3 billion people between them.

    D. Is it science and technology? The USA spends between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total world R&D with 4.5% of the world’s population. Our edge is being the world leader in R&D. That coupled with a relatively free political system and an entrepreneurial capitalist economy gives us…us.

    Science + freedom + capitalism = prosperity.

    The cultists Xians want to kill science while flushing our freedoms into the sewer. This is stupid and suicidal.

    Toynbee predicted this. 18 of 22 civilizations that fell, fell from within. We might be looking at 23 here.

    Another way to look at it qualitatively. Evolutionary thought plays a critical role in medicine and agriculture. We almost had a pandemic with SARS and are now watching H5N1 bird flu. Evolution predicts that sooner or later, a new bug will kill millions or tens of millions. One already has within memory, HIV/AIDS. Evolution only matters if you eat and want to live.

  14. #14 Josh Charles
    May 8, 2008

    And in other news, Ken Miller remains completely awesome.

  15. #15 Tim Fuller
    May 8, 2008

    Little off topic, but I wanted to share this little bit of attempted videography with the group. I made it today. It is my third youtube video and at almost a minute, my longest yet.

    Hillary – Going Out of Business

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH0oJzT9WIg

    Enjoy.

  16. #16 Larry
    May 8, 2008

    Raven (#10), your points are all valid indicators that the US leadership in science is at risk at our very great peril. However, I’d like to expand your third point to include, not only the administration (and large number of the minority party in Congress), but a significant portion of our population in general who believes in fairy tales and pixie dust. As long as the voting population makes it clear through their actions that they, at best, simply don’t care and, at worst, are actively hostile to science, things will continue to get progressively worse.

  17. #17 H.H.
    May 8, 2008

    Wait, creationism has destructive consequences for science? But paleontologist Robert Bakker says the blame lies on atheists:

    We dino-scientists have a great responsibility: our subject matter attracts kids better than any other, except rocket-science. What’s the greatest enemy of science education in the U.S.?

    Militant Creationism?

    No way. It’s the loud, strident, elitist anti-creationists. The likes of Richard Dawkins and his colleagues.

    http://tinyurl.com/6mf9pj

  18. #18 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    May 8, 2008

    travc,

    Where you find the FSM, Christians can see the anti-Christ.

    http://megagalerias.terra.cl/galerias/index.cfm?id_galeria=30734

    Don’t let any Rapturists see it.

  19. #19 H.H.
    May 8, 2008

    Oops, that entire last bit was all supposed to be a direct quote.

  20. #20 Siamang
    May 8, 2008

    Brilliant piece, as usual from avowed Catholic Ken Miller.
    I especially like this part:

    ‘Puzzled, the editors of Scientific American asked Mark Mathis, the film’s co-producer, why he and Stein didn’t interview such people, like Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project), Francisco Ayala, or myself. Mathis cited me by name, saying “Ken Miller would have confused the film unnecessarily.”‘

    Ah, yes… BOTH sides of the story would be confusing. We mustn’t let the audience be confused by the opposing argument or evidence.

    This is how creationists will want to “teach the controversy”. Teach the creationism only, lest we confuse the poor children.

  21. #21 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 8, 2008

    Damn, it would help if I got the link correct:
    ‘Proof’ of the FSM: [link]

    Close, but no cigar.

    Now, where is the shower curtain on which Lenin has appeared? That was convincing.

    If McCain/Huckabee get elected and they have a great shot at it due to the Dems inability to field an electable candidate

    How, please, is Obama unelectable?

  22. #22 techskeptic
    May 8, 2008

    “Science leads you to killing people.”

    But…but… Stein is right isn’t he? I mean didn’t science lead Ted Kaczynski to killing people?

    doesnt stein look a little like Ted Kazcinski

    PZ, be wary of packages from Stein or the expelled crew… Apparently science leads them to killing people.

  23. #23 raven
    May 8, 2008

    As long as the voting population makes it clear through their actions that they, at best, simply don’t care and, at worst, are actively hostile to science, things will continue to get progressively worse.

    Yes, someone elects those morons.

    I don’t think the voters will be too happy when we are sitting in the ruins of our US civilization. While our competitors and enemies run right on by us. And then a few scientists pop up with a cheery “I told you so.”

    This could be the end of the Death Cultist perversion of xianity. While they may have to take well earned credit for destroying the US with their theocratic nonsense, they aren’t going to want it or like it.

  24. #24 Alex
    May 8, 2008

    I think Ken Miller wrote the textbook I use for my biology class. o___O

  25. #25 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 8, 2008

    Wait, creationism has destructive consequences for science? But paleontologist Robert Bakker says the blame lies on atheists:

    So what? He’s wrong. That should be obvious.

    Ken Miller would have confused the film unnecessarily.

    Wow. Just… wow.

  26. #26 raven
    May 8, 2008

    How, please, is Obama unelectable?

    Obama is a newcomer and hasn’t polled well against McCain in straw polls.

    And who is McCain. The guy is practically a real zombie. 72, cancer twice, rumored to be showing age related memory problems. He has an unpleasant past record both personally and politically and all the charm and intelligence of a zucchini.

    If Obama can’t poll well against him now, chances are the race will be a tough one.

    I would hope to be dead wrong but hope hasn’t been very useful for the last 7 years.

  27. #27 death adder
    May 8, 2008

    religion leads to killing people

  28. #28 PatrickHenry
    May 8, 2008

    Good article, but I wish Miller had spoken up a bit earlier. It doesn’t matter, really. The only people buying tickets for “Expelled” these days are perverts, who know they’ll have the entire darkened theater to themselves.

  29. #29 CL
    May 8, 2008

    ‘If we actually come to believe that science leads to murder, then we deserve to lose world leadership in science.’

    I can’t believe it, every science teach I ever had – cold blooded killers all of them. I am lucky to be alive.

    CL
    http://www.coulterlewkowitz.com/

  30. #30 Jared Lessl
    May 8, 2008

    > This could be the end of the Death Cultist perversion of xianity

    Nope. Won’t happen like that. If Americans’ continuing embrace of its death cult relegates it to third world status, the cultists will do what comes naturally to them: blame scientists, gays, and non-cultists. Look at how many of them jumped on board that wagon for 9/11 and Katrina, both disasters of our own making.

    And secondly, what makes you think they wouldn’t be perfectly happy living in a backwater theocratic caricature of the US? As long as there’s sufficient money and infrastructure for “Who Wants to Be an Inquisitor?” and “American Idolaters” to air, they’ll be just peachy.

  31. #31 Mark B
    May 8, 2008

    How, please, is Obama unelectable?

    I’m going to go with ‘What is “not white”, Alex.’

    Seriously, he’s going to have an uphill battle campaigning against the rampant racism in America today. But that’s a battle that had to be fought eventually. If not now, when?

  32. #32 Brownian, OM
    May 8, 2008

    Thanks for that link, H.H. I’ve wondered what Bakker, a minister, thinks about the whole debate.

    However, I’m disappointed. The last part of the interview, in which he manages to spout off Nisbettian apologetics (in a way even less convincing than Nisbet, if that’s possible), he totally crapped the bed.

    As many commentators have noted, in televised debates, these Darwinists seem devoid of joy or humor, except a haughty delight in looking down their noses.

    Dawkins is humourless? Maybe so, but compared to whom? The Pope? All those nuns that still haunt the nightmares of Catholic school students? Pat Robertson and his war against ‘teh gays’? Ted Haggard and his Jesus Camp? Yeah, those guys are all laugh riots, and boy, I’ll betcha you could go up to any one of ‘em and suggest that their theology is wrong and perhaps the Inca were right all along, and I’m sure they’d be happy to sit right down and investigate a few alternatives to their belief systems.

    Right. Now that’s comedy.

    Why is there pain and death among deer and lions? Why is there pain among humans? These questions are of little interest for the Dawkinsians, but trouble most Americans.

    Fuck you Bakker. You don’t know squat, asshole. You think thousands of years of handwaving about God’s ‘mysterious ways’ equates concern on the part of the religious?

    You’ve got to be kidding us.

    Damn it but my BP is going up again.

  33. #33 mona
    May 8, 2008

    travc, (#4), those photos are amazing.

  34. #34 Mark B
    May 8, 2008

    Of course, I formulated my answer in the form of a question, but forgot to use the correct punctuation. Damn you, blog commenting software. I’m in jeopardy of making a fool of myself.

  35. #35 SLC
    May 8, 2008

    Re HH

    Before lavishing too much praise on Bob Bakker, it should be noted that he is one of the last holdouts disputing the Alvarez asteroid collision theory of the extinction of the dinosaurs.

  36. #36 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    These questions are of little interest for the Dawkinsians

    hey, are you telling me that we’re no longer Darwinists?

    man, that’s progress, I tells ya!

    :p

  37. #37 H.H.
    May 8, 2008

    Brownian, I agree. Bakker’s comments were disappointing to say the least.

  38. #38 Alex
    May 8, 2008

    Mark @ #2
    “…and go live in a cave somewhere and wear animal skins…”

    Actually, I think a strong argument can be made that the human sensory experience is scientific at its core. Essentially, our brain collects data from the “outside” world. But it does this (normally) by not just using 1 data-source. It uses multiple data-sources and applies filters (reason and logic) to reduce the noise and make sense of the surroundings. The eyes cross-check what the ears detect, the nose cross-checks the food in the hands about to be eaten, etc.. So, if Stein truly sees the scientific method as evil, or the road to evil, he should poke out his eyes and ears, cut out his tongue, burn out his nostrils, and acid wash his skin. That way he can minimize all of the evil evidence gathering that leads to the scientific method. (He shouldn’t worry too much about his “filter” though, it’s already past the point of being empirically useful)

  39. #39 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    How, please, is Obama unelectable?

    considering that he regularly outpolls McCain, I’d say that’s some righty’s wet dream instead of reality.

    OTOH, most of us thought Gore had the presidency in his pocket in 2000.

    It wouldn’t surprise me (and it no longer would even shame me, since I’m bailing out of this sinking ship) if McCain won the presidency.

  40. #40 extatyzoma
    May 8, 2008

    its good to see expelled at 9% rating on rotten tomatoes.

    ok so that doesnt mean much per se but im very happy that its not there with 75% with intelligent reviewers saying ‘oh dear, i didnt realise all this was true about big science’ no, instead intelligent reviewers can see it for the nonsense it actually is. perhaps creationists really are represented by stupid people afterall, dont they generally think twinkie bars are good food also??

  41. #41 Sven DiMilo
    May 8, 2008

    re: Bakker:

    Dr. Bob, The Creation Scientist!
    Answers In Creation
    Dr. Bob Bakker,* famous for being one of the most recognized dinosaur experts of our time, is currently working on a theological book, tentatively titled “Bones, Bibles, and Creation.” He is most well known for two theories which have become widely accepted in paleontology. First is his theory that dinosaurs were warm blooded, and second is dinosaur to bird evolution.
    Lesser known is the fact that he is a Pentecostal preacher who believes in theistic evolution.
    * Dr. Bakker is not associated with Old Earth Ministries / Answers In Creation

  42. #42 Andrew Carnegie
    May 8, 2008

    You guys are falling into Chicken Little Syndrome. The fact of the matter is the Democratic party will fold for his candidate, Hillary and the few supporters she still has will fall back in line, because, honestly, what do you believe the polls are going to indicate when both candidates are strong in a race? McCain’s numbers have peaked, because once the democratic party begins to suture itself back together the Democrats will be on the upswing. The media is not focused on McCain now, which is the best thing for him as he has few redeeming qualities when closely examined.

    Also McCain picking Huckabee as a running mate would be extraordinarily retarded. McCain sucked enough dick over the past eight years to feel safe with the religious right, and picking Huckabee would risk him losing some of the key immigration and economically conservative constituencies which are still unsure of his candidacy.

    But in actuality, creationism is only a symbol of the greater problems with our entire education system. American middle and high schoolers are consistently outperformed in science and math by other industrialized nations on international standardized tests. Creationism is just a symptom of the greater seeping gonorrhea that is American education system.

  43. #43 ndt
    May 8, 2008

    Raven, there’s one big error in your reasoning – thinking that opinion polls mean anything.

  44. #44 Tulse
    May 8, 2008

    Yep, it appears Bakker is one of those:

    Bakker will present Bones, Bibles, and Creation: A Theological History of Digging Fossils on Thursday, May 1st at 7:30 PM in room 315 of the Martin Science Building. The lecture will examine Bakker’s latest theories on the curious, and often misunderstood, relationship between biblical theology and the discovery of fossils. Citing centuries of scholarship, beginning with St. Augustine, Bakker maintains that discoveries in paleontology go hand in hand with the best interpretations of Genesis.

    Wow, “discoveries in paleontology go hand in hand with the best interpretations of Genesis” — that should be interesting.

  45. #45 TheWireMonkey
    May 8, 2008

    [quote]Stein is doing nothing less than helping turn a generation of American youth away from science. [/quote]

    I would agree, if anybody were actually going to see it.

    Expelled BO through 4/27 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1091617/business

    Those are, by the way, really bad numbers.

  46. #46 beagledad
    May 8, 2008

    I wonder, does Mr. Stein think things were better under the theocracy that prevailed before we had science?

  47. #47 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    Stein is doing nothing less than helping turn a generation of American youth away from science.

    I would agree, if anybody were actually going to see it.

    The thought has been raised on occasion that by being so horrendously outrageous and yes, stupid, Stein is actually doing more for the other side of this issue than he is for the side he got paid to represent.

    “O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.”

    -Voltaire

  48. #48 Siamang
    May 8, 2008

    These shrill uber-Christianists come across as insultingly dismissive of any and all religious and non-religious traditions except the narrowest group of their own. If you’re an atheist, a Jew, a Muslim or even a Catholic, then you must be illiterate or stupid and, possibly, a danger to yourself and others.

    FIXED!

  49. #49 Nick Gotts
    May 8, 2008

    Raven, I think you’re worrying about the wrong approaching disaster. Resource shortages and environmental problems – most notably but by no means exclusively anthropogenic climate change – are a far greater threat to US civilisation (and of course, the rest of us), than being surpassed by China or India, both of which are going to be hit by these problems sooner and harder. Of course, that doesn’t mean growing irrationality and fundamentalism are not terribly dangerous, but primarily because they encourage denial, scapegoating and wishful thinking. And nationalism and irrational faith in capitalism are at least as dangerous as religious forms of fundamentalism – with which, particularly in the USA, they tend to overlap.

  50. #50 James McGrath
    May 8, 2008

    I received an e-mail from someone who got to my blog from here, and accused me of having “faith” in evolution and failing to understand blah blah blah. I’d invite all scientists interested in giving a chemist with little understanding of biology and the study thereof a good workover. I’ve posted his e-mail on my blog at http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2008/05/scientists-responses-solicited.html

    Have at it!

  51. #51 AC
    May 8, 2008

    Why is there pain and death among deer and lions? Why is there pain among humans?

    Because that’s how our nervous systems register physical trauma.

    If he wants a different answer, he can go sit with the small children wondering “Why is there something instead of nothing?”.

  52. #52 Jsn
    May 8, 2008

    My favorite Jurassisc Park( can’t remember if it’s I or II) moment is when the Bakker-cowboy hatted character runs out of the cave only to be eaten by a dinosaur. Bakker may be a paleontologist but he’s still a nutcase.

  53. #53 pedlar
    May 8, 2008

    Like Brownian, my immediate response to Bakker’s little quote…

    Why is there pain and death among deer and lions? Why is there pain among humans? These questions are of little interest for the Dawkinsians, but trouble most Americans.

    … was along the lines of: fuck you. But much, much worse. I’d just come away from the article linked to by Bad (#5) and found this horrific little gem. How’s this for an answer, Reverend Bakker?

    As for comfort, when we seek it, I can imagine none greater than the happy knowledge that when I see the death of a child I do not see the face of God, but the face of His enemy.

    Courtesy of David B Hart. Theologian.

    Now read that again. Especially the ‘happy knowledge’ part. Am I wrong or is this where theological handwaving actually tips over into evil?

  54. #54 Alex
    May 8, 2008

    “As for comfort, when we seek it, I can imagine none greater than the happy knowledge that when I see the death of a child I do not see the face of God, but the face of His enemy.”

    What about all the babies that died in the alleged “great flood”?

    Not only is his statement not true, it is disgustingly scary.

  55. #55 gabriel
    May 8, 2008

    For those interested, the American Scientific Affiliation has posted an invited review of Expelled on their home page:

    http://www.asa3.org

    It’s on the right under the “Expelled Exposed” link, entitled

    “From Jeffrey Schloss, Westmont College”

    Note: this is easily the longest review of Expelled to date (running over 30 pages!) but it is well worth the read.

  56. #56 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    well worth the read?

    hmm, maybe, but I tend to think he overplays his had with comments like this one, early on:

    I should make explicit two starting commitments that virtually all Christians will bring (and atheists will reject) in coming to the issues. First, along with all monotheists in the Abrahamic traditions, Christians believe that the earth and the history of humanity are not the accidental byproducts of a purposeless cosmos, but the creation of a wise and loving God. Moreover, God has not left Himself without witness, but His creation bears wondrous testimony of its Creator (in ways not all agree on).

    there are many xians who do NOT think there is “evidence for a creator in creation”; who in fact consider this as a form of idolatry.

    If the author intends to represent xianity in ‘where he is coming from’ he is not being accurate, nor precise.

    It’s like stating:

    “for the next 30 pages, here is the bias that will guide my hand”

    Frankly, there is little to be said in defense of the movie, or the tactics of those who produced it.

    period.

    It hardly requires 30 pages to determine this.

    In fact, one could rightly stop when he notes the following:

    But not so fast with a plea for moderation. If it is important to avoid the fallacy of false extremes, it is also important to avoid the fallacy of the supposedly golden median. Maybe we need, as lifetime Darwin critic Tom Bethell claims in his movie review, to “reject what might be called the diplomatic option, [which] seeks to keep everyone happy” by seeing reconcilable truths on both sides. For in so doing “it puts diplomacy before truth.”[5] It is of course possible that one side is just plain wrong, not only in claims but also in tactics.

    not just possible, but obvious.

    If he then goes on to detail the evidence in support of evolution, or discredit the thesis of darwin->hitler, that’s already been done, many times, by both ‘xians’ and non.

    Not saying this might not also be a good treatise on the subject, but I saw no compelling reason for it, either.

  57. #57 ddr
    May 8, 2008

    My nightmare is McCain picking Huckabee as VP, and then winning. McCain is old and could very well die in office. Then we would be stuck with an uber anti-science president who would make Bush look like a High School science teacher. It is my worse case scenario.

  58. #58 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    It is my worse case scenario.

    I for one, am not waiting around to find out if you’re right.

  59. #59 Elwood Herring
    May 8, 2008

    Re #10 and 13:

    ‘Prophet!’ said I, ‘thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
    By that Heaven that still eludes us – by that God we both abhore -
    Tell us now without dissention if, within the distant future,
    We shall still command attention as we did hereinbefore;
    Will the world treat US with awe?’

    Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’

    (Where’s Cuttlefish when you need him?)

  60. #60 Inoculated Mind
    May 8, 2008

    I must admit I got to preview the article, along with a couple others, particularly one person who may be in a “Beyond Expelled” talk tonight handing it out. (If they could make it.) If PZ checked his old @pharyngula email he would have seen it pre-release too!

    Good article, and right on the money. Makes me think of a few revealing questions if I ever got the chance to talk to Mathis et al.

  61. #61 raven
    May 8, 2008

    Here is what I meant about McCain winning. The poll is the facts. It is early, anything can happen. But given the absolute horrors of the last 8 years, the fact that McCain is over 25% is cause for concern. Gas is 3.85/gallon, two of my friends are dead in Iraq, I stopped reading most US news years ago because it was too depressing, and still……IT CAN ALWAYS GET WORSE.

    Wishful thinking hasn’t been a winning strategy lately but we can hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    Poll: McCain, Obama, Clinton in dead heat in election matchup Story Highlights
    Poll: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat with John McCain

    Voters give all three high marks on the economy

    Nearly 1 in 5 voters say that the nation’s health care system is their top concern

    By Alexander Mooney
    CNN Washington Bureau

    (CNN) — Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would both statistically tie Republican John McCain in a general election matchup, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicates.

    A new poll shows either Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie with John McCain.

    1 of 2 According to the poll released Tuesday morning, both Obama and Clinton are locked in a dead heat with the Arizona senator.

    If Obama were to win the nomination, he would get 47 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for McCain — a statistical tie given the poll’s 3 percentage point margin of error. Should Clinton win the nomination, the poll suggests she would get 49 percent compared to McCain’s 47 percent — another statistical tie.

    PS And for you Euros and Canadians, if the USA sinks into theocratic banana republic status, enjoy your schadenfrude while you can. The Europeans might be innoculated against such after a millenia or two of religious rule and wars but what happens in the US tends to diffuse across our borders.

  62. #62 wtf
    May 8, 2008

    I for one, am not waiting around to find out if you’re right.

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  63. #63 Etha Williams
    May 8, 2008

    On the Scientific American interview with Mark Mathis, SA confronted Mathis about the “godly ID vs atheistic Darwinism” false dichotomy and asked why a theistic evolutionary biologist such as Ken Miller wasn’t included in the movie. The exchange is, like so many of them, simultaneously hilarious, depressing, and revealing. It starts at around 1:08 in Part 3.

    Mathis says, and I quote:

    But I would tell you from a, my personal standpoint as somebody who’s worked on this project, that Ken Miller would have confused the film unnecessarily. I don’t agree with Ken Miller. I think that you, I think that when you look at this issue and this debate, that really there’s, there’s one side of the line or the other…

  64. #64 shonny
    May 8, 2008

    Miller’s not the only one thinks that creationism has destructive consequences for America, so does this guy:

    “12. Elevate mysticism, tribalism, shamanism and fundamentalism–and be sure to exclude educated, hardworking men and women–to an equal status with technology in the public mind.”
    – Benjamin J. Stein, “How to Ruin American Enterprise” Forbes, 23 Dec 2002
    Posted by: QrazyQat

    But the Stein prostitute wasn’t paid for fellatio, or to be fucked up the ass then!

  65. #65 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    btw, before he irritates everyone on this thread too,

    wtf=Some Dude=banned

  66. #66 Christie Otching
    May 8, 2008

    Anyone see Ben Stein’s op-ed on CBS Sunday Morning a couple few weeks back? He positioned the money set aside for the mortgage bailout ought to go to the abandoned pets instead.

    They were the real victims after all.

  67. #67 wtf
    May 8, 2008

    wtf=Some Dude=banned

    Ichthyic=PZ=probably 80% of the regulars here.

  68. #68 Brownian, OM
    May 8, 2008

    Oh, and I’m a PZ sock puppet, and Kseniya and Ichthyic too.

    You can tell because we all write the same way.

  69. #69 Steve_C
    May 8, 2008

    If you hadn’t noticed yet… you’re a troll. Hump and all.

    Also you’re a fuckwit. Do you have any idea how many hits this blog gets a day???

    Shut the fuck up and go away.

  70. #70 Brownian, OM
    May 8, 2008

    Oh, look: he follows Ichthyic wherever he goes, like a little puppy. How adorable!

    Make him do a trick, Ichthyic!

  71. #71 rmp
    May 8, 2008

    A bit off topic but it is expelled related. Don’t ask me why but I decided to check out the expelled blog. The most recent entry had to do with the Yoko Ono lawsuit. Scanning through the thread, it became apparent that the conversation was much more generic than ‘Fair Use’ doctrine. Anyway, the conversation delved into why the octopus eye was better designed than a human eye. I decided to add a comment to the thread and it went into moderation. OK, I understand that I shouldn’t expect it too clear moderation immediately, but it’s been 5 days now. hmmmmmm……

  72. #72 PZ
    May 8, 2008

    If you hadn’t noticed yet… you’re a troll. Hump and all.

    Is that you too, PZ?

    I’m so confused!

    LOL

  73. #73 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    I understand that I shouldn’t expect it too clear moderation immediately, but it’s been 5 days now. hmmmmmm……

    welcome to wonderful world of trying to post on creationist blogs.

    Have you ever tried to post on Uncommonly Dense?

    the “moderation” there is even more amusing, if that’s possible.

  74. #74 rmp
    May 8, 2008

    For what it’s worth. Since I’m VERY IGNORANT about the evolution, here is what the particular discussion was about. Someone made the comment about how human eye’s are not that intelligently designed. Another comment pointed out how squid/octopus eyes are superior. Then a creationist says that why would evolution transition us from superior eyes to not so great eyes.

    OK, for a second I thought it as a valid point. Then I thought that he was implying that humans were a direct descendant of squid and that was probably bogus. I ‘assume’ that when we trace our lineage back to where it intersects the lineage that includes squid, we don’t find a the sophisticated eye that squids now have. Is this accurate?

    On another/similar note, if I were to look at my ‘inner fish’. Would I find that my fish ancestors had a more/less/similar eye to what I have now?

    Thanks for tolerating an ignorant (yet reasonably intelligent individual who will happily buy the beer if the opportunity permits).

  75. #75 PatrickHenry
    May 8, 2008

    More hot news at my place: Expelled — Dropped by More Theaters. Another 254 theaters will be dropping “Expelled” this weekend. The theater count will be down to only 402, compared to 1,052 for the film’s opening weekend. Poor Ben Stein.

  76. #76 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    Then I thought that he was implying that humans were a direct descendant of squid and that was probably bogus

    it is:

    http://tolweb.org/tree/

    which is a good place to go if you wish to see the phylogenetic relationships between various critters.

    you have to consider the fact that the last common ancestor of molluscs and vertebrates was hundreds of millions of years ago.

    I ‘assume’ that when we trace our lineage back to where it intersects the lineage that includes squid, we don’t find a the sophisticated eye that squids now have. Is this accurate?

    yes, and no. it depends on how you define “sophisticated”, the basic structures that identify something as a functioning eye (including lenses) appeared around 550 million years ago, IIRC.

    another thing you have to include when thinking about the evolution of any given trait, is that evolution has no “final goal” it is not linear. for example, if complex eyes were always selected for, we wouldn’t see blind cavefish that have lost them.

    It’s a common creationist misperception that evolution proceeds on a “ladder” each rung representing something “better” than what came before.

    it’s not like that at all. It’s more like a flowing river with many branchlets, whose individual course is shaped by the structure and composition of the earth it is flowing through.

    for a more detailed presentation of the evolution of the eye, I can’t think of a better one that what PZ himself wrote just a few months back:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/12/evolution_of_vertebrate_eyes.php

    enjoy!

  77. #77 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    just to clarify, by it is:

    I meant, yes, his claim that humans directly evolved from squid is bogus.

    if you look at the tree i posted for you, you will see that at one point, long, long ago, we shared a common ancestor.

    again, this relates to creationists thinking all of evolution is some ladder that inevitably leads to “us”.

  78. #78 rmp
    May 8, 2008

    Can’t I just take a pill and know all this stuff. I’m tired of all the reading.

    PS: Thanks Ickthyic. I am trying to come up to speed.

  79. #79 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    On another/similar note, if I were to look at my ‘inner fish’. Would I find that my fish ancestors had a more/less/similar eye to what I have now?

    yup.

    fish have eyes that are quite similar to humans, including the ‘reverse’ wiring.

    another article, written by Ian Musgrave a while back, goes into more detail:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/11/denton_vs_squid.html

  80. #80 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    Can’t I just take a pill and know all this stuff.

    lol.

    someday, maybe, or maybe something like what you see in “The Matrix”, where you can just plug yourself into the net and have all the relevant information automatically parsed directly into your brain.

    until then:

    reading is fundamental.

    :p

  81. #81 rmp
    May 8, 2008

    OK, I just checked out the http://tolweb.org/tree/ web site and came across the penis worm. For whatever reason, I find that as a signal to go to bed and find out how sleepy my wife is.

  82. #82 Etha Williams
    May 8, 2008

    @#74 rmp –

    Someone made the comment about how human eye’s are not that intelligently designed. Another comment pointed out how squid/octopus eyes are superior. Then a creationist says that why would evolution transition us from superior eyes to not so great eyes.

    OK, for a second I thought it as a valid point. Then I thought that he was implying that humans were a direct descendant of squid and that was probably bogus. I ‘assume’ that when we trace our lineage back to where it intersects the lineage that includes squid, we don’t find a the sophisticated eye that squids now have. Is this accurate?

    Yes, the human/octopus eye is a well-studied case of convergent evolution. Interestingly, a large number of highly conserved eye-related genes are shared by the two organisms, indicating a common evolutionary process involved in the development of both eye types:

    Although the camera eye of the octopus is very similar to that of humans, phylogenetic and embryological analyses have suggested that their camera eyes have been acquired independently. It has been known as a typical example of convergent evolution. To study the molecular basis of convergent evolution of camera eyes, we conducted a comparative analysis of gene expression in octopus and human camera eyes. We sequenced 16,432 ESTs of the octopus eye, leading to 1052 nonredundant genes that have matches in the protein database. Comparing these 1052 genes with 13,303 already-known ESTs of the human eye, 729 (69.3%) genes were commonly expressed between the human and octopus eyes. On the contrary, when we compared octopus eye ESTs with human connective tissue ESTs, the expression similarity was quite low. To trace the evolutionary changes that are potentially responsible for camera eye formation, we also compared octopus-eye ESTs with the completed genome sequences of other organisms. We found that 1019 out of the 1052 genes had already existed at the common ancestor of bilateria, and 875 genes were conserved between humans and octopuses. It suggests that a larger number of conserved genes and their similar gene expression may be responsible for the convergent evolution of the camera eye.

    (Abstract for Ogura et al’s 2004 Comparative Analysis of Gene Expression for Convergent Evolution of Camera Eye Between Octopus and Human)

  83. #83 James F
    May 8, 2008

    #75

    More hot news at my place: Expelled — Dropped by More Theaters. Another 254 theaters will be dropping “Expelled” this weekend. The theater count will be down to only 402, compared to 1,052 for the film’s opening weekend. Poor Ben Stein.

    It has gone from 4 to 2 theaters in all of Massachusetts.

    Thanks for posting earlier about the Alabama antievolution bills dying in legislature – it’s good to see that these bills aren’t getting a bump from this blockbuster turkey.

  84. #84 JimC
    May 8, 2008

    I don’t agree with Ken Miller. I think that you, I think that when you look at this issue and this debate, that really there’s, there’s one side of the line or the other…

    In some ways Mathis is right here. Miller’s blending of the two ideas is really muddled and creates allot of problems you don’t have otherwise. Needless problems.

    That said for the sake of honesty they should have interviewed him.

  85. #85 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    Miller’s blending of the two ideas is really muddled and creates allot of problems you don’t have otherwise. Needless problems.

    agreed, but there is little need to even address that at this point in time and at this level of debate.

    Miller is quite able to separate a clear and concise attack on creationism as utter bunk, while exploring his own demons.

    there will be time for that, later, I hope, after the creobots finally are relegated to the fringe they so rightly belong to.

    I’d rather start with Collins’ cognitive dissonance first, anyway (and have, actually, many times).

  86. #86 Patricia C.
    May 9, 2008

    Expelled starts here in Fundie, Oregon Friday. I’m going to watch the parade of just how many show up for it vs. Iron Man. If the parking lot isn’t full of church busses I’ll be shocked.

  87. #87 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#84 Jim C –

    [Mathis said]: I don’t agree with Ken Miller. I think that you, I think that when you look at this issue and this debate, that really there’s, there’s one side of the line or the other…

    In some ways Mathis is right here. Miller’s blending of the two ideas is really muddled and creates allot of problems you don’t have otherwise. Needless problems.

    True, but the movie was supposedly about the current academic/scientific environment, and as such should have included Miller’s position. It’s muddled and problematic, but it’s still a view shared by many members of “Big Science,” so IMO not including it was rather dishonest.

    Of course, honesty in any number of areas would have “confused” the film, so…..

  88. #88 OctoberMermaid
    May 9, 2008

    I want a shirt that reads “Ken Miller has confused me unnecessarily!”

  89. #89 Brownian, OM
    May 9, 2008

    If the parking lot isn’t full of church busses I’ll be shocked.

    What’s really shocking is that Christ himself condemned those who rode in church buses.

    Well, I defy any theist to prove he didn’t.

  90. #90 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    I rather think the only types of buses carrying people to watch “Expelled” would be of the short variety.

  91. #91 Kseniya
    May 9, 2008

    Ken Miller, why did you call Dawkins an avowed atheist?

    Oh, that’s nothing. Here’s the full unedited quote:

    The movie also uses interviews with avowed atheists like Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion” and possessor of eyes the size of dinner plates, several razor-sharp teeth, and a tie the length of a football field, to argue that scientific establishment is vehemently anti-God.

  92. #92 Michael
    May 9, 2008

    Ken Miller’s remarks…Viewers are told that Dr. Richard Sternberg lost his job at the Smithsonian Institution because he edited a paper favorable to Intelligent Design. Wrong.

    Sternberg wasn’t even employed by the Smithsonian (he had no job to lose), and had resigned as journal editor six months before the paper was published.

    No Ken Miller, your wrong as you been reading too many atheist blogs…lol….Published back in Jan 28, 2005 by the WSJ…”Richard Sternberg, a research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The holder of two Ph.D.s in biology, Mr. Sternberg was until recently the managing editor of a nominally independent journal published at the museum.”

    Richard Sternberg…filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that he was subjected to discrimination on the basis of perceived religious beliefs. A museum spokesman confirms that the OSC is investigating. Says Mr. Sternberg: “I’m spending my time trying to figure out how to salvage a scientific career.

    Why would the OSC investigate if Richard didn’t work at the museum? Why didn’t the museum at that time in 2005 deny that Richard ever worked there? The reason being Ken Miller, is because he did work there! Also, Mr. Coddington nor Mr. Sues didn’t wanted to issue any version of their own of what happened to Sternberg.

    Expelled the movie just brought this up again in 2008, as it was a widely public case. It might have been one of the inspirations for making the movie…

  93. #93 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    did you ever consider that Sternberg’s position with the Smithsonian wasn’t a paid one?

    oh, you’re so smart, you figure it out.

    http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/sternberg

  94. #94 OctoberMermaid
    May 9, 2008

    If you haven’t yet, be sure to click Michael’s name to see that link. It’s hilarious. He must be a troll.

  95. #95 raven
    May 9, 2008

    Michael the Death Cultist Liar:

    Richard Sternberg…filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that he was subjected to discrimination on the basis of perceived religious beliefs. A museum spokesman confirms that the OSC is investigating. Says Mr. Sternberg: “I’m spending my time trying to figure out how to salvage a scientific career.

    If the US Office investigated, where is the report? Did they find for Sternberg? Is he getting his unpaid nonjob back? Is the staff of the Smithsonian in a Xian reeducation camp getting water boarded every day? Were they crucified on the Washington mall? Probably the OSC made a phone call and decided Sternberg was a kook and they had no probable cause.

    Michael read your bible. Jesus doesn’t like liars at all. He also is a hardcore science fan who said one day a wise man would explain things. Opinions differ on who he meant. Some say Darwin, Wallace, Gould, or Mendel. You do realize that god made human brains for a reason?

  96. #96 Kseniya
    May 9, 2008

    Michael’s not a troll, but he’s just somewhat deluded. YEC, anti “government schools” – you know, all the usual stances. Give him a nice muffin and a chair in the corner, and don’t expect little things like facts will get him to change his mind about anything.

    You do realize that god made human brains for a reason?

    Yes, so that Men would be smart enough to know not to use them, apparently. O.o

  97. #97 Iain Walker
    May 9, 2008

    Bad (Comment #5)

    I’m probably amongst the minority of non-believers who wasn’t put off by the second half of Finding Darwin’s God. It’s not that I bought his theology, but then I didn’t read it as him trying to convince me, a non-believer, of it in the first place. I simply enjoyed the spirit of someone willing to get creative with theology in light of science, rather than the other way around.

    Right there with you. I rather liked Miller’s embrace of contingency in evolution, with the implication that his God would have been just as happy with a race of intelligent velociraptors as with a bunch of naked, bipedal apes.

  98. #98 ReV. BigDumbChimp
    May 9, 2008

    Yes, so that Men would be smart enough to know not to use them, apparently. O.o

    Mrs. BigDumbChimp have you taken over Kseniya’s login?

  99. #99 Kseniya
    May 9, 2008

    LOL! Really, I capitalized it to imply “mankind”… :-)

  100. #100 Steve_C
    May 9, 2008

    Wasn’t Sternberg the guy that got a job at Wood’s Hole?
    Didn’t the courts just rule against him?

    Might wanna check that out.

  101. #101 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2008

    nah, Sternberg’s the Smithsonian guy, Nathaniel Abraham’s the Woods Hole guy. It really wasn’t difficult to check that out.

  102. #102 Rich Blinne
    May 9, 2008

    I am an ASA member and I would like to explain the context of the quotes of the commissioned ASA review. The section quoted above is actually being critical of my and Ken Miller’s position. Namely, Expelled is crap because it promotes the “warfare model” and that it is truly possible to be true to science and faith simultaneously — ID is true to neither, BTW. What Schloss is countering with is that our position may be a fallacy of the “golden mean”. It may be that there is an intractable difference. What he doesn’t consider is that he makes his own fallacy of the golden mean by not considering in enough detail that science and ID have intractable differences. I will give him credit he does consider the question what if ID is just a steaming pile of dog dung but in attempt to be “fair” he suspends judgement and that was a mistake in my opinion.

    This blog takes that position in that faith — no matter how moderate – is untenable. I happen to disagree. But, what Schloss, Miller you and I all can agree is Expelled is crap. We just differ on how much it stinks. I would also like to add I have never been “bounced” from your blog but I have been from Uncommon Descent. This exposes their hypocrisy. As much as they say they want academic freedom and free and open debate, it’s not true. The latter means that you are free to call me a blithering idiot. ID has simply no clue what real scientific debate looks like because of this sheltered cocoon they have created for themselves. O! the humanity they told me to “Shut up”. Get a life. People like Ken Miller and many within the ASA like myself are ID’s inconvenient truth. Not only atheists like yourself oppose ID but many people of faith do too because it is both bad science AND bad theology. I would add even more so with the ASA than Ken Miller because many of us are evangelicals. Expelled has pitched this to the evangelical community as how you all are trying to persecute us poor, little, defenseless Christians. This is utter nonsense and many of us Christians like Ken Miller (along with much of the ASA) have had enough and are speaking out.

  103. #103 Steve_C
    May 9, 2008

    I was being lazy.

    They’re both LOSERS, that much I knew already.

  104. #104 Kseniya
    May 9, 2008

    Mr. Blinne: Bravo!

  105. #105 Michael
    May 9, 2008

    Michael’s not a troll, but he’s just somewhat deluded. YEC, anti “government schools” – you know, all the usual stances. Give him a nice muffin and a chair in the corner, and don’t expect little things like facts will get him to change his mind about anything.

    Thanks for the “troll” defense…Interesting assumptions on the rest of it, no I’m not really anti-government school, although I believe private schools teach better in some cases with less money than what government schools gets, also private schools have more freedom of what to teach than government schools. Having said all that, not all privates schools are good, there are some bad ones.

    I have a female friend who says she “works” for Children’s Hospital. She had talked numerous times about her work there and the type of kids she “worked” with. Is she lying because she doesn’t get paid for her donated services? Come on, would you really call her a liar for saying she “worked” at Children’s Hospital? Making statements about “working” at a non-profit organization in donated a role is more common than what Ken Miller thinks it is or anyone else.

    I don’t think anyone in here would call her a liar for saying it even knowing that she is only donating her services. Since she wasn’t being paid by the Hospital, she isn’t protected by the “Fair Labor Standards Act.” Meaning she could be let go for any reason, even for the color of her skin. So in the case of Richard Sternberg who donated his services to the Museum, it was mostly the same thing. I say mostly because the Museum would not allow anyone to have access to certain things in the Museum for research. You have to have a pretty good background for the Museum to allow you to donate your services in that area. So being able to “work” at the Museum like the Smithsonian Institution does have an impact on careers.

  106. #106 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 9, 2008

    PS And for you Euros and Canadians, if the USA sinks into theocratic banana republic status, enjoy your schadenfr[e]ude while you can. The Europeans might be innoculated against such after a millenia or two of religious rule and wars but what happens in the US tends to diffuse across our borders.

    Oh, it won’t, don’t worry about that.

    Now, a true believer with his finger on the big red button, that’s something to worry about.

    I ‘assume’ that when we trace our lineage back to where it intersects the lineage that includes squid, we don’t find a the sophisticated eye that squids now have. Is this accurate?

    Yep. Even the nautilus doesn’t have a lens.

    On another/similar note, if I were to look at my ‘inner fish’. Would I find that my fish ancestors had a more/less/similar eye to what I have now?

    Yes. Except for secondary reductions (cave fish etc.), all vertebrates have eyes with a lens and all. It’s not “the human eye”, it’s the vertebrate eye.

    Our last common ancestor with squid most likely had a pigment-cup eye (as seen in flatworms), if that. It did, however, have two types of light-receiving cells: ciliary and rhabdomeric… ah, just read PZ’s post linked to in comment 76. :-)

  107. #107 James F
    May 9, 2008

    #102

    Well said! We desperately need more evangelical Christians like Rich Blinne.

  108. #108 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Interesting assumptions on the rest of it, no I’m not really anti-government school, although I believe private schools teach better in some cases with less money than what government schools gets, also private schools have more freedom of what to teach than government schools.

    I find it interesting that you use the term “government school” at all. It sounds like indoctrination by a dictature. Why not “public school”? Or “public-owned” or “publicly financed school” if you want to emphasize that most private schools are open to anyone who can pay?

    So in the case of Richard Sternberg who donated his services to the Museum

    Not the other way around? As in, Sternberg wanting to do research, and the museum offering the possibility?

  109. #109 James F
    May 9, 2008

    Sternberg violated editorial policy. Science is typically one-strike-and-you’re-out when it comes to misconduct; he’s lucky to be working at all.

  110. #110 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#105 Michael –

    So in the case of Richard Sternberg who donated his services to the Museum, it was mostly the same thing. I say mostly because the Museum would not allow anyone to have access to certain things in the Museum for research. You have to have a pretty good background for the Museum to allow you to donate your services in that area. So being able to “work” at the Museum like the Smithsonian Institution does have an impact on careers.

    With the “work” quibbling, you are putting words into Miller’s mouth. Miller wrote:

    Sternberg wasn’t even employed by the Smithsonian (he had no job to lose)…

    (Emphases mine.)

    At no point here did Miller make a claim about whether Sternberg “worked” at the Smithsonian, so your argument about use of the word “work” is irrelevant. If your friend claimed that she was “employed by” or had a “job at” the Children’s Hospital, her claim would be confusing at best and misleading at worst.

    In fact, the only person who has used the word work in this discussion is you, in #92:

    Why would the OSC investigate if Richard didn’t work at the museum? Why didn’t the museum at that time in 2005 deny that Richard ever worked there? The reason being Ken Miller, is because he did work there!

    So your quibbling over this word is not only sophistic, but dishonest as well.

  111. #111 Longtime Lurker
    May 9, 2008

    Sad to read that Bakker is such a fundie-loon, I loved “The Dinosaur Heresies”.

    Funny to read:
    “He is most well known for two theories which have become widely accepted in paleontology. First is his theory that dinosaurs were warm blooded, and second is dinosaur to bird evolution.”

    So, Bakker is “most well known” for riding on the coattails of the late, great John Ostrom.

  112. #112 Tom
    May 9, 2008

    I haven’t really been paying attention. Has Expelled reached its predicted $750,000,000.00 in revenue yet?

  113. #113 Tulse
    May 9, 2008

    Has Expelled reached its predicted $750,000,000.00 in revenue yet?

    As of Thursday, it has yet to break $7 million, and it is going into this weekend with 62% fewer screens than it opened. It won’t make $8 million before next weekend (it may not even make it to $7.5 million), and I think it unlikely that it will stick around in theatres for much past that.

  114. #114 raven
    May 9, 2008

    Michael the creo liar:

    So in the case of Richard Sternberg who donated his services to the Museum, it was mostly the same thing.

    Sternberg wasn’t donating his services to the Smithsonian. They aren’t desperate for manpower and if Sternberg has anything to offer to science, no one has seen it.

    He was unemployed and looking for a job. Some places will give people like that a courtesy appointment meaning they can apply for grants, soft money positions, and list it on CV. It looks better than, “paperboy, Mom’s basement”.

    They were doing him a big favor. And he repaid them by violating procedures at the journal he was editor of, and dragging the journal and the Smithsonian through the mud. A process that continues.

    Now about that US prosecutors Inquisition investigation. It should be done by now. Have any Smithsonian officials been burnt at the stake? Were they cruxified on the Washington mall? In a dungeon somewhere being waterboarded?

    Anyone can make false claims of persecution or crimes being committed against them. In many jurisdictions that is a crime itself. First rule of screwups, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Sternberg comes across as a no talent idiot. A creo perhaps. Like Michael the troll.

  115. #115 apk
    May 9, 2008

    Slightly off-topic, but PZ has sometimes pointed us to Darwin/Evolution exhibits and I’d like to return the favor in the spirit of countering the claims of “Expelled” by mentioning one going on at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, “Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure.”

  116. #116 Kseniya
    May 9, 2008

    Tom:

    I haven’t really been paying attention. Has Expelled reached its predicted $750,000,000.00 in revenue yet?

    Tom, no, it has not. As of Wednesday, May 7th it had grossed $6,827,768 in 20 days, or $341,388.40 per day. At that rate, it will take 2,197 days – that’s just over six years – to reach 750 million.

    However, receipts are declining fast. In the past week, the film has pulled in only $150,149.71 per day. At that rate, it will take 4,995 days – that’s about 13.6 years – to reach 750 million.

    These are best-case scenarios, folks. If we start applying rate-of-decline, it gets downright surreal.

    The film raked in $3,902,920 during the first week. Receipts are declining at a rate of about 50% per week. At that rate of decline, it will take… well, forever. At week 30, the weekly receipts will fall below $0.01, freezing the gross at $7,805,839.98, just over 1% of KEaton’s projected $750M.

    If we’re a little more charitable, and speculate that the rate of decline will itself decline by 10% per week, then after about 2.5 years the receipts stabilize at around 10k per week – At which point it’s just a matter of time before the magic number is reached during week 68,036. That’s about 1,308 years.

    If we’re a lot more charitable, and allow for a more drastic decay in the rate of decline (that is, more stability and less attrition in the weekly receipts) – that is, a 50% decline in the rate of deline – the receipts flatten out at about $1.12 million around week 20, and it still takes 662 weeks, or 12.73 years, to reach $750M.

    Of course, none of this takes into account the astronomical amounts of money to be made from the film’s inevitable release into the bargain DVD bins or from the passionate interest that foreign audiences will surely have for the subtle outrages of American creationist propaganda.
    :-)

  117. #117 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    Yes, so that Men would be smart enough to know not to use them, apparently. O.o

    *ahem*

    just one name fer ya:

    For The Kids

    oh what the hell…

    Michelle Bachman
    Katherine Harris
    … and what was the name of the good congressperson who felt that atheists didn’t deserve a seat at the table?

    there might be *some* sex bias in this issue, but not much.

  118. #118 Kseniya
    May 9, 2008

    Re: Men.

    Please see my comment #99. :-)

  119. #119 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    Please see my comment #99. :-)

    ah.

    well…

    phhht.
    ;)

  120. #120 Kseniya
    May 9, 2008

    Heh. Really, though – I may joke about “testosterone poisoning” from time to time, but misandry is definitely not my thing.

  121. #121 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2008

    Nor mine–too unfair to the other half of the targets of my misanthropy.

  122. #122 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Tom, no, it has not. As of Wednesday, May 7th it had grossed $6,827,768 in 20 days, or $341,388.40 per day. At that rate, it will take

    Math put to good use — who’d'a’ thunk it?

  123. #123 Nova
    May 9, 2008

    raven:
    B. Climate? No. Europe is also temperate.

    Just the EU alone has a larger economy than the US according to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the CIA.

    raven:
    Science + freedom + capitalism = prosperity

    This the wrong perspective, the US success isn’t based on some magic formula for success. Science plays a big part in the US success but its really more simple – developed countries are normally not that huge and have few resources within their borders – France, Britain, Germany and big countries with many resources in their borders aren’t normally that developed, India, China (not for long though with its fast development rate!) the US is the only one which is both big with many resources in its borders and developed (Canada and Australia are big in land area but small in population). This is shown in the fact that the US has about five times the population of Britain, and Britain’s economy is about one fifth of the US economy, same with France and Germany. Science has a big role because a big part of being developed is having the latest science.

    raven:
    = prosperity

    Theres a difference between which country tosses the most money around and funds the flashiest army (US) and which cares for its people best, the US comes 7th here, according to the UN HDI (Human Development Index). Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Canada – they score high on this one, Norway has been first for many years running because it has lots of oil but unlike Arabia it knows how to use it.

    I have to take issue with many saying that the US is ”the” world leader in science. How are you measuring that? In terms of gross science output yes the US is but that is simply due to size, in terms of Science per capita I think Japan probably wins, definitely it does in terms of how much science is actually getting to the people. Even in terms of gross science output the EU is a contestant, I’ve already said how it has a bigger economy than the US and with CERN probably about to discover Higgs boson and all that…

    raven:
    capitalism = prosperity

    Capitalism is necessary for prosperity but not laissez-faire capitalism. As I’ve said the Scandinavian countries top the UN HDI and they all have well established welfare states and Social Democracy (Socialism that accepts the capitalist system).

  124. #124 raven
    May 9, 2008

    Just the EU alone has a larger economy than the US according to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the CIA.

    If you just keep lumping in countries together, eventually the USA looks smaller.

    With 4.5% of the world’s population, the largest economy is the US with 23% of the total output.

    As you ignored, the US spends between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total world R&D funds. Way out of proportion for its size. The result is an impressive scientific lead. Number of Nobel prize winners, number of first rate scientific institutions and universities. We are the ones with a probe around Saturn and robots on Mars, biotechnology started here, computers were developed here (Intel, IBM, Apple, Microsoft), even the internet is largely a US creation.

    No doubt the rest of the world will catch up. Nothing wrong with that. What is possible with the antiscience bias of the Xian Nihilistic fundie cults, the world could rush right by us. Instead of the world’s last superpower, we could be on our way to the world’s first temperate zone banana republic.

  125. #125 thalarctos
    May 9, 2008

    I have a female friend who says she “works” for Children’s Hospital. She had talked numerous times about her work there and the type of kids she “worked” with. Is she lying because she doesn’t get paid for her donated services? Come on, would you really call her a liar for saying she “worked” at Children’s Hospital? Making statements about “working” at a non-profit organization in donated a role is more common than what Ken Miller thinks it is or anyone else. I don’t think anyone in here would call her a liar for saying it even knowing that she is only donating her services.

    It’s misrepresentation, because there’s a perfectly good phrase–”does volunteer work”–for what she does, and if she’s a native speaker of English, she should know that Americans interpret “work” to mean “paid work” by default.

    So yeah, she’s misrepresenting herself–how big a deal it is depends on the context. At a party, I’d think she was just seeking self-aggrandizement for some reason. If she’s applying to health professional schools, some of which weight paid work experience more than volunteer work experience when choosing who to admit among competitive candidates, she’s actually committing fraud, technically. She’d probably get away with it, as they probably wouldn’t check, but personally, I wouldn’t want to get caught lying on an application, nor would I want to know I got into school only through inflating my resume.

  126. #126 James F
    May 9, 2008

    #116 Ksenyia,

    Looks like it may take even longer to reach the magic $750 million mark. Monday’s total was the low point at $66,912, and today it dropped from 656 to 402 theaters.

    WATERLOO!!!!

  127. #127 Kseniya
    May 10, 2008

    So “Darwinism” will be dead in… uh… six years, is it?

    OH NOES!

  128. #128 Michael
    May 10, 2008

    Michael the creo liar:

    So in the case of Richard Sternberg who donated his services to the Museum, it was mostly the same thing.

    Well Hi to you too…I hope your day is going alright…Let me fill you in on some details…It shows your position on this issue is wrong, as the evidence bares out…

    UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
    COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
    DECEMBER 2006

    INTOLERANCE AND THE POLITICIZATION OF SCIENCE AT THE SMITHSONIAN

    It states the following, In November of 2004, Dr. Sternberg filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC)…The OSC eventually found evidence to corroborate Dr. Sternberg’s complaint, concluding that “[i]t is… clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing” Dr. Sternberg out of the Smithsonian. The staff investigation has uncovered compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated by Smithsonian
    officials.

    Most recently, Burke and Small have allowed NMNH officials to demote Dr. Sternberg to the position of Research Collaborator, despite past assurances from Burke that Dr. Sternberg was a “Research Associate in good standing” and would be given “full and fair consideration” for his request to renew his Research Associateship. 2 The failure of Small and Burke to take any action against such discrimination raises serious questions about the Smithsonian’s willingness to protect the free speech and civil rights of scientists who may hold dissenting views on topics such as biological evolution.

  129. #129 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    *pokes Michael the moron on shoulder*

    you still have a couple of years of catching up to do.

    I’d post a direct link to Ed Brayton’s blog that tracks the actual issue for you, but for some reason the link breaks.

    instead, I again direct your (lack of) attention here:

    http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/sternberg

    and then to scroll down to the appropriate section regarding the Souder report.

    you’re rehashing ground that has been covered ages ago.

  130. #130 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    …and for fuck’s sake, man, stop… using ellipses… in the middle of… your sentences, eh?

    or did you want to advertise even more clearly that you’re bugfuck nuts?

    if so, might i suggest adding all caps and lots more exclamation marks?

  131. #131 raven
    May 10, 2008

    Michael the Creo liar:

    Well Hi to you too…I hope your day is going alright…Let me fill you in on some details…It shows your position on this issue is wrong, as the evidence bares out…

    Ed Brayton’s blog:

    1. What little ill-treatment Sternberg may have gotten (in fact, all of the comments expressing distrust and anger at Sternberg and urging his dismissal were made not to his face, but in private emails that he never saw) was largely self-inflicted, the result not only of his violation of procedures in regard to the Meyer paper, but in regard to several other instances of professional malfeasance and prior examples of poor judgement as PBSW editor.

    2. The evidence does not support the conclusion that Sternberg was discriminated against in any material way. At absolute worst, he was greeted with professional mistrust and anger on the part of some of his colleagues, who were upset that his actions in regard to the Meyer paper brought disrepute to the Smithsonian and to them as associates. Disapproval and criticism, of course, are not the same thing as discrimination nor are they a violation of his civil rights.

    3. Sternberg has grossly exaggerated several alleged instances of “retaliation” in the early days of the scandal. In particular, he claimed that he had his keys taken away, his access to the Smithsonian’s collections taken away, and lost his office space. In reality, the keys and office space were exchanged as part of larger museum changes and he retains the same access today that all others in his position have.

    4. The accusations, in particular, against the National Center for Science Education – that they conspired with Smithsonian officials to “publicly smear and discredit” Sternberg – are not only not supported by the evidence in the appendix, they are completely disproven by the emails contained therein.

    5. All of that leads to the only possible conclusion: that this is a trumped-up report orchestrated by political allies of the Discovery Institute, particularly Rep. Mark Souder and former (I love saying that) Sen. Rick Santorum. They have put out a report that simply is not supported by the evidence and was designed, intelligently or otherwise, to support the disingenuous PR campaign that includes the attempt to position themselves as victims of discrimination.

    Citing a congressional report by Theocratic party cultists isn’t convincing. Theocrats and creos always lie.

    Sternberg was before my time. The fact remains he was not fired from his nonjob at the Smithsonian.
    http://www.expelledexposed.com has an exhaustive link farm on Sternberg. Sternberg looks worse the closer one examines the facts.

    He seems to have a very toxic personality. He is a jerk. At his unpaid, nonjob at the SI, he apparently had 50 library books out and missing and wasn’t following the rules on specimen handling. This may sound trivial but if you are a scholar whose entire work involves scientific literature and museum specimens, it is central.

    Add in his abuse of his editorship of the journal. And some of his accusations that turned out to be lies. Any place I’ve worked Sternberg would have been fired unless he had tenure. For disruptive personality traits and activities not conducive to a normally functioning work environment. This is why Dembski was thrown out of Baylor twice. There is such a thing as being too crazy and obnoxious to put up with.

  132. #132 ShemAndShaun
    May 10, 2008

    @Raven
    As you ignored, the US spends between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total world R&D funds. Way out of proportion for its size. The result is an impressive scientific lead. Number of Nobel prize winners, number of first rate scientific institutions and universities. We are the ones with a probe around Saturn and robots on Mars, biotechnology started here, computers were developed here (Intel, IBM, Apple, Microsoft), even the internet is largely a US creation.

    The “brain drain” from Europe and elsewhere towards the US has largely been due to the availability of research funds. A friend of mine left here to work at Intel’s advanced research facility for that reason. The computer industry may be a largely US invention, but the US is importing a lot of foreign expertise to keep it rolling. For how much longer will US companies be able to import the educated?

  133. #133 James F
    May 10, 2008

    raven @131,

    Check out Sternberg’s web page devoted to his “side” of the story.

    http://www.rsternberg.net/smithsonian.php

  134. #134 raven
    May 10, 2008

    The computer industry may be a largely US invention, but the US is importing a lot of foreign expertise to keep it rolling. For how much longer will US companies be able to import the educated?

    True. The US educates many foreigners who then stay. And imports a lot of foreign knowledge workers. A lot of Indians, Chinese, and Europeans.

    We will be able to skim off the world’s brains as long as the money holds out. LOL. There is more to good R&D than just money, an entreprenurial capitalist culture helps a lot. As well as a long term commitment to science. But, money goes a long, long way. Science is expensive but pays off in the long run.

    What it comes down to. If you pay them, they will come.

  135. #135 raven
    May 10, 2008

    Ed Brayton’s blog again:

    Update: Let me add one more thing. It seems to me that it’s awfully difficult for a guy who showed up in the place every few months after hours when everyone was gone, and who was so disconnected from the others at the museum that he didn’t even know who his supervisor was, to claim a “hostile working environment.” He and the staffers who made this report seem to believe that having others not like you or judge you for your unethical behavior is discrimination.

    raven @131,

    Check out Sternberg’s web page devoted to his “side” of the story.

    http://www.rsternberg.net/smithsonian.php

    Might do it later. Today is starting out OK, don’t want to ruin my lunch hour. Sternberg is coming across as a rather disturbed toxic personality sort of jerk. We all know a few of those in science. Dembski is the same way, a destructive, bizarre, hostile personality. Look what he did to Eric Pianka.

    The Smithsonian was doing him a big favor giving him space and access to their collections for free. He bit the hand that was feeding him. Real smart.

  136. #136 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    The “brain drain” from Europe and elsewhere towards the US has largely been due to the availability of research funds.

    considering how funding levels have dropped per lab for basic research over the last 30 years here, that’s some rather sad commentary, actually.

    *sigh*

  137. #137 Nova
    May 10, 2008

    raven:
    As you ignored, the US spends between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total world R&D funds. Way out of proportion for its size. The result is an impressive scientific lead. Number of Nobel prize winners, number of first rate scientific institutions and universities. We are the ones with a probe around Saturn and robots on Mars, biotechnology started here, computers were developed here (Intel, IBM, Apple, Microsoft), even the internet is largely a US creation.

    In response to “If you just keep lumping in countries together, eventually the USA looks smaller” I call hypocrisy because you where the one who first included lumped them together “B. Climate? No. Europe is also temperate”. Could you give me a cite for those US R&D figures? Again, you don’t say how you are measuring an “impressive scientific lead” again How are you measuring that? In terms of gross science output yes the US is but that is simply due to size, in terms of Science per capita I think Japan probably wins, definitely it does in terms of how much science is actually getting to the people. Even in terms of gross science output the EU is a contestant, I’ve already said how it has a bigger economy than the US and with CERN probably about to discover Higgs boson and all that…

    Many other countries have space programs, but the special US one is mostly down to size, being able to pool large amounts of money into projects which other space agencies can’t afford, though it is true the US has a lead in space but this is because of the Cold War Space Race and is boosted because of this. “Number of Nobel prize winners, number of first rate scientific institutions and universities” didn’t you take note of me talking about how the US has the largest gross science output simply due to size? A proper measure of how scientifically proficient a nation is would be number of nobel prize winners per ten million people per decade or some such size disregarding measure and number of first rate scientific institutions and universities per 100 institutions and universities (have to define first rate objectively).

    Admittedly the US pioneered the personal computer and greatly contributed to the computer in general but Europe also contributed hugely to the computer in general. Britain had the first fully programmable digital computer – known as Colossus and Alan Turing, the father of modern computing. Plus this is picking from many technologies – Japan for example is miles ahead than any other country in robot technology at the moment. The internet originated as a US defense project and then a US networking of universities but all before computers even had graphical user interfaces (GUIs) later these expanded to universities in other counties (and similar smaller scale networks in other countries). In terms of a modern style internet, France got there first, its service Minitel was launched in 1982 and offered shopping, travel information and reservations, financial data, instant messaging and even pornography and this was all before people had access to any internet in the rest of the world. The internet as we know it today is the World Wide Web, this unified the way the internet worked and was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee working in European CERN. Please cite your biotechnology claim. “PS And for you Euros and Canadians, if the USA sinks into theocratic banana republic status, enjoy your schadenfrude while you can. The Europeans might be innoculated against such after a millenia or two of religious rule and wars but what happens in the US tends to diffuse across our borders.” In terms of economics yes, but I live in Britain and the American fundamentalism information that drifts over here just makes people more inoculated.

    The US is a world leader in technology but saying it is the world leader is too much and very hard to rate objectively in todays world, unless you do it simply based on size “Number of Nobel prize winners, number of first rate scientific institutions and universities” in which case the US will obviously win simply due to size and not just scientific prowess.

    You haven’t answered my argument that your equation Science + freedom + capitalism = prosperity is far too simplistic if you use it to explain why the US is a prosperous (12th on 2007 UN HDI) superpower though advanced science is definitely a vital part of any prosperous or powerful country.

  138. #138 James McGrath
    May 13, 2008

    Thanks to everyone who came over to my blog to give replies to the antievolutionist who e-mailed me. He has apparently now come out of the woodwork and has posted a series of “replies” to various earlier comments in a way that can only be described as spam. But although it hardly seems worth the effort in such cases, anyone who wants to continue trying to get through to this arrogant crackpot is cordially invited to do so! :)

    Thanks, too, to everyone who has been willing to entertain the notion that Ken Miller could have a genuine religious faith, at the same time really accept the evidence for evolution, and simultaneously be a decent and even intelligent individual. I know some of you find it hard to believe such a combination is genuinely possible, but the evidence is pretty strong! :)