…and then they came for me!

There’s a movie coming out on Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution, called Expelled, and it’s narrated/hosted by Ben Stein (right), a TV/film personality who is an overall intelligent guy (and used to have the TV show Win Ben Stein’s Money), and used to be a Nixon speechwriter. Politically, he’s quite conservative (for example, immediately following 9/11 he gave a speech where he called abortion “the worst form of terrorism”), but this movie is apparently one of the worst abuses of science since What the Bleep do We Know?! came out.

The movie has an innocuous enough premise: is Intelligent Design a valid alternative to Evolution, and if so, is it being suppressed? I was curious to see it, until I started hearing about the content of the film. It’s apparently so galling that there is a website, ExpelledExposed.com, committed to exposing the lies and underhandedness in the film. Apparently, the holocaust is referred to numerous times as well, equating evolution with the final solution.

But what’s missing from the film is a definition of intelligent design, a definition of evolution, and the evidence for and against both sides. While you all know I’m not a biologist, evolution holds a special place in my heart, and I consider myself an amateur enthusiast on the topic. But what it boils down to is that ID basically states that life was created by a purposeful designer, because it is too complex to have evolved by natural mechanisms alone. Evolution states that natural selection, operating in the face of mutation, reproduction, and limited resources, chooses some organisms for survival instead of others, and that this natural process explains the world teeming with life that we have today. The evidence for the validity of evolution is overwhelming, so much so that the only “failures” one can point to are incomplete fossil records (geological gaps, basically), controversy over the exact mechanism of variations and natural selection (gradualism or punctuated equilibrium), and a failure to explain the origin of life, which is a separate theory, known as abiogenesis. But apparently none of this is stated in the movie, all that’s stated is that bigoted scientists are suppressing a real controversy. Might as well just go to The Onion for news like this.

This is actually a very personal issue for me. You see, evolution is not just a remarkable story, and it’s certainly not just a scientific theory. It’s the autobiography of the natural world. It’s the story that life tells us about itself. And what I study, cosmology, is the story that the Universe tells us about itself. If evolution is under attack for taking an active God out of the design of life, what do you think I have to look forward to, taking an active God out of the design of the entire Universe? I will not wait for them to come for me; I am speaking out now against the evil that is the perpetuation of misinformation. Intelligent Design is a hypothesis that has been scientifically falsified so far as it has been stated in a testable fashion, while Evolution has held up as the valid mechanism to explain the diversity of life in every test ever performed over the timespan of more than a century.

And I’m not going to lie, I’m curious to see the film for myself to find out just how bad it is and what we’re up against as communicators of truthful, valid information. But I cannot endorse it or support it, and instead I encourage you to follow the links set up at the site below, and to get informed about the issues. And finally, do not support this movie!

Still here? Have a hankering for more space stuff? Check out this week’s carnival of space!

Comments

  1. #1 C. David Parsons
    March 28, 2008

    THERE IS A NEW DISCIPLINE:

    The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

    The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being.

    The philosophy rejects any divine intervention. Therefore, let the philosophy of Darwinism be judged on these specifics: electron interpretation and quantum mechanics. Conversely, the view that God is both responsible for and rules all the phenomena of the universe will stand or fall when the facts are applied. The view will not hinge on faith alone, but will be tested by the weightier principle of verifiable truths – the new discipline.

    The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline.

    The Quest for Right is not only an academic resource designed for the public schools, but also contains a wealth of information on pertinent subjects that seminarians need to know to be effective: geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and in-depth Biblical studies. The nuggets from the pages of Biblical history alone will give seminarians literally hundreds of fresh ideas for sermons and teachings. The ministry resources contained in The Quest for Right serve as invaluable aids that will enrich graduates beyond their highest expectations.

    You will not want to miss the adventure of a lifetime which awaits you in Volume 1 of The Quest for Right.

    Visit the official website for additional information: http://questforright.com

    Purchase the book at one of these fine stores: Barnesandnoble.com, Target.com, Amazon.com, Borders.com, Booksamillion.com, Tatepublishing.com, and many others. Hardback. In stock.

  2. #2 ethan
    March 29, 2008

    Wow. This is so absurd I don’t know where to start. I will leave your comment up and intact as a model of awfulness posing as science. Calling Darwinism a philosophy is more unconscionable than calling gravity a hypothesis or calling matter an interpretation. The “tenet” of your argument,

    The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics.

    is so erroneous that it scares me that you’ve written a seven volume textbook. Briefly, the backbone of Darwinism is that the observed variety of life, including all extinct and extant species, can be explained by the natural processes of evolution through competition for limited resources. Darwinism has nothing to do with a connection to subatomic scales, and now that your entire premise has been falsified, I hope you will withdraw your book. Thank you for giving me a heads-up on this, so that I can use what little influence I have to make sure that this entire line of thought is quashed before it has the opportunity to warp and destroy the reasoning capabilities of a new generation.

  3. #3 Tarbo
    March 29, 2008

    Creationist horse manure is not a NEW DISCIPLINE!

  4. #4 Olorin
    March 29, 2008

    You need not retain C. David Parsons’ post, even for entertainment value. He deposits the same fecal matter at every science blog on the Web over the past few months.

  5. #5 Olorin
    March 29, 2008

    Here’s the true rationale behind “Expelled.”

    Whereas science proceeds by gathering physical facts and analyzing them to generate a theory, Intelligent Design proceeds by gathering quotations from authorities, and interpreting themto fit a preconceived result . That is, ID is more like Biblical exegesis than like scientific research.

    In science, you falsify a theory by finding contrary evidence. In ID, you can disprove something by showing that the “authority” is in fact an evil person. Therefore, ID can prove that Darwinian evolution is incorrect by showing that supporters of evolution are evil people, and that the theory may have been invoked for evil purposes.

    The only problem is that most people are more comfortable with the ID method than they are with the scientific method. If you tell them that Roman chapter 1 verse 23 tells you that a fact is true, they will accept it. If you show them a lanb experiment that produces a new species, they will not accept it.

    Thus you can probably convince most people that evolution is false by telling them that it led directly to the Holocaust. Depressing, but true.

  6. #6 C. David Parsons
    March 29, 2008

    “The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics.”

    The end of the matter will be summarized from the outset so that the reader may better understand why the term absolute, as pertaining to the dating systems, has been duly labeled a “scurrilous invective.” In concert, the dating systems have been scathed by the determination that they represent the “greatest hoax to have ever been perpetuated upon an unsuspecting public.” As previously exposed, the obstructionist union thought to establish absolute geological ages by applying the tenets of quantum mysticism; hence, a federation of mystics was formed. By this guise, the federation attempted to persuade the innocents within the classrooms that biblical histories are patently false, period. Considering the foregoing, the reader should not be overly surprised to learn that the absolute dating ruse incorporates several dominos previously toppled…

    Read more at lenth in Volume 3.

    AN IRONY: WHY DID DARWIN HATE A GOD WHOM HE DID NOT BELIEVE EXISTED?

    The following dissertation on Darwin is lifted from Volume 1 of –=={ Advertising Removed }==–, a series of seven books on origins based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

    On the outset, the reader should be aware that Darwin was a self-proclaimed agnostic; he did not deny the possibility that God exists but believed it was beyond one’s mental ability to decide if there is, indeed, any divine force. Darwin, in response to an invitation to become a Patron of the Cat Show (September 18, 1872), lightheartedly referred to himself and cronies as “atheistical cats.” By definition, an atheist either does not believe in, or denies the existence of God. Regardless of the profile, agnostics and atheists alike believe that all questions concerning origins, being, and the like may be explained fully by material phenomena and logic; scientists have since added a third dimension, the orderly application of mathematics, called electronic interpretation—read the matter in detail in Volume 1.

    A cultural note: a marked distinction separates men who profess to be disciples (followers) of Christ and adherents of the Bible and those who profess to be outside Christianity (called unbelievers). Regarding the current definitions of agnostic and atheist, the text of the New Testament refutes the associated attributes, specifically the possibility that man (for whatever reason) either does not believe in the existence of God or else believes it is beyond one’s mental ability to decide if there is a God. Countering the claim, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, “For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [men who 'hold the truth in unrighteousness'] are without excuse” (Romans 1:20-22). The things God created are aptly referred to as “the glory of God.”

    In deference to the biblical precept, the eternal power and Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are clearly evidenced (seen and understood) by the things that God created and made. One only has to observe his or her surroundings; for instance, a wilderness setting with stately trees reaching skyward, colorful wildflowers dotting the meadows, wood ducks by a pool, and animals scurrying about in the underbrush, to realize the knowledge of the existence of God. There are, however, men who do “not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28), and cast down every thought of God. Regrettably, the course of action is not without due penalty: “Because when they knew God [everyone has known God at one time in his or her life], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21, 22).

    In light of the foregoing scriptures, the current definitions of agnostic and atheist are wholly inept: men who hold the biblical precept to be patently false, professing either not to believe or know that there is an eternal power, are neither agnostic nor atheist, but willfully disobedient—willful, “done on purpose; deliberate.” The comprehensive assessment will be fully justified; please read on.

    Concurring with the biblical principle, Darwin may be charged with being willfully disobedient, as observed in his criticism of the tenets of Christianity. Of one certainty the reader may be assured, Darwin did not speak objectively when it came to Christianity—objectively, “uninfluenced by personal feelings, prejudices or agendas.” In a bitter denial of Christianity, Darwin complained that he “could hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Why was Darwin so embittered? Read Revelation 20:11-15; 21:7, 8.

    –=={ Advertising Removed }==–

    Darwin once confessed to being a theist, the belief in the existence of a god or gods, in particular the belief that God both created and rules all earthly phenomena. After the publication of the Origin, Darwin charged his original belief in God to the “constant inculcation” (instruction or indoctrination) in a belief in God” during his childhood, which was as difficult to cast down as “for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.” With self-assurance, Darwin purposed in his heart that he would no longer retain God in his knowledge, resolving instead to become an “agnostic.” The reader is, therefore, cautioned that, whenever reading books and articles about Darwin, most, if not all, biographical authors are predisposed to depict him in a favorable light, oftentimes allowing pro-evolutionist sentiment to prejudice their work.

    The Old Testament did not escape Darwin’s inflamed rhetoric; concerning the validity of biblical histories (in particular, the Genesis account of creation), Darwin pointedly declared that “the manifestly false history of the earth….was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos (sic), or the beliefs of any barbarian.” Thus, Darwin likened the creation of the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7-25), to a mere fairy tale. As an alternative to the counterfactual history, he summarily disposed of both creationism and God by declaring in the Origin that, once the reader entertains the “volumne (sic) on the origin of species…light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history,” meaning that man and apes diverged from a common ancestor through the agency of evolution without the aid or influence of God—there is no God.

    –=={ Advertising Removed }==–

  7. #7 ethan
    March 30, 2008

    Well, it sounds like if you were to have had a conversation with Darwin, you wouldn’t like him very much. (You probably would have liked his buddy Huxley even less.)

    But the dating systems, by which you refer to radioactive decays (or radiometric dating), have nothing wrong with them. There are occasional statistical errors, which can cause your measurements to be off by 1 or 2 half-lifes, and there are occasional systematic errors in determining how rich in a certain isotope is in terms of its elemental ratios. Want to see a simple video detailing how it’s done? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8Ii-dpRrXM&feature=related

    Geologists have known that the Earth is around 4 billion years old since before the time of Hubble, and while that number has bounced around a bit, it now sits firmly at 4.5 billion years, +/- 0.1 billion years. There is no conspiracy, and the problems that do exist, we know about, and account for them.

    If your criticism is that evolution allows for the appearance of man from animals through natural processes, I can’t help you. Because natural processes successfully explain how man has come to exist without necessitating any sort of supernatural intervention. Your quoting of scripture fails to convince me; I’m not quoting from Darwin to convince you. But I am explaining to you how we know, through evidence, what happened. If you can do the same for me, we can have an interesting conversation.

  8. #8 benhead
    April 1, 2008

    I.D. proponents spend all this time, effort, and money trying to prove that God exists. But the foundation of religion is faith, which is defined as belief in the absence of proof. Ironically, a subtle tweaking of ID could yield a belief system that allows for God’s will AND evolution to both be true. That system would, however, not be testable or provable (that is, not science), so they’d have to take it on faith. I think the refusal to do so shows a lack of faith on their part.

    Anyway, it’s not like there haven’t ever been any religious scientists. There’s plenty of room for God beyond what can be explained by science. Personally I don’t feel a need for God to give me a purpose, or a moral compass, or a sense of value, but for those who do…ok, what do those things have to do with science? Their insistence on seeing religion as being in competition with science is as antiquated a notion as strict belief in creationism.

  9. #9 dave
    April 3, 2008

    In my mind ID is another form of intellectual tyranny dumped on the masses who are not able to understand the complexity of life, the universe and everything. The churches have been doing this for centuries and will continue to do so. It is pretty pointless to argue with ID’ers because their arguments all revolve around that nebulous thing, “faith”, which allows one to discount any logical argument based on beliefs. Yet they pack some hokey “science” with it, call it a text book and expect the real scientific community to fall in lock-step with them. Keep after them Ethan!!!
    Oh, and Ben Stein can kiss my ass. Because I believe he should and I have faith that he will.

    (great comment benhead, you struck the nail firmly on the head :) )