The more that the producers of Expelled talk, the more they demonstrate their abject idiocy. Chris Heard transcribes part of producer Mark Mathis’s discussion with Scientific American:

[SciAm editor] Mirsky: Why not also include comments from somebody like Ken Miller?

Mathis: Uh?

Mirsky: who is famously religious?

Mathis: well? [Laughs.]

Mirsky: and an evolutionary biologist.

Mathis: I would tell you this. And this is keeping in mind who you?re talking to is an associate producer. I don?t make decisions about who gets interviewed, and, and I don?t make decisions about if they?re interviewed, what makes it into the film.

[SciAm editor] Rennie: Mm-hmm, sure.

Mathis: 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, and you, it?s, it?s hard to stay, I don?t think you can intellectually, honestly, honestly intellectually stand on a line that I don?t think exists?

Rennie: I mean, I think, listen?

Mathis: so?

Rennie: there are, there are obviously plenty of people, I mean as you mentioned, P.Z. Myers, Dawkins himself, a lot of them would make exactly that same argument?

Mathis: Mm-hmm, yeah.

Rennie: that somebody like Ken Miller is wrong. But I mean, you say he would have, his presence would have ?confused the film.? The point is what, it would actually had, I mean, it would have, it would have considerably undercut the major point that is made, that really that belief in, in evolution obliges you not to believe in God, and to?

Mathis: No, I don?t think so, because, uh, the form of Catholicism that Ken Miller accepts and practices is, is nowhere near the form of Catholicism that is followed by Catholics who are members of the Catholic church, who believe in Catholic doctrine. What he believes is certainly out of?

[There are a few seconds here that are garbled as several people speak at once.?RCH]

In short, they only interviewed atheist scientists because they think that theistic scientists who oppose creationism aren’t really theists, perhaps reinventing the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. To dismiss theistic scientists who oppose ID creationism (including many members of the American Scientific Affiliation, a group of evangelical scientists) because they “confuse” things is either a demonstration of a very low threshold for confusion on the part of the producers, or the very low opinion they have of their audience. People can handle the idea that there are theistic opponents of (ID) creationism, and there could have been real value in exploring the reasons why theists would oppose treating theology as a scientific endeavor.

Instead, the producers are reduced now to belittling the religious belief of scientists, and hiding an important part of this social debate merely because they find it inconvenient.

(N.B.: Ken Miller has discussed his take on evolution and creationism with Catholic bishops, etc., and they agree that his view is entirely concordant with Catholic teaching. As Chris Heard notes: “Agreeing with two popes is hardly an aberrant in Catholicism.”)


  1. #1 Tony P
    April 10, 2008

    I’ve corresponded with Miller via email several times. I will say this, Catholicism in Rhode Island is something truly unique.

    In essence they’re cafeteria Catholics here. Of course Bishop Thomas J. Tobin regularly rails against homosexuality, infidelity, abortion, and the things he has to squawk about.

    I was brought up Catholic, did twelve years of Catholic schools and am now an atheist.

    I’d always had an inkling since eight years old that there wasn’t any sky fairy watching over us.

    The thing that did it for me is not only did the Catholic schools try to instill dogma, they taught critical thinking skills. Once you applied critical thinking to the dogma guess what happened. Uh huh.

    If I ever have a kid, he or she is going to a Catholic school. I’ll pay that $4K a year because I know that coming out the other end, with my guidance of course, I’ll have another disbeliever in this world.

  2. #2 Orac
    April 10, 2008

    No, I don�t think so, because, uh, the form of Catholicism that Ken Miller accepts and practices is, is nowhere near the form of Catholicism that is followed by Catholics who are members of the Catholic church, who believe in Catholic doctrine.

    Mathis is full of shit. Although lapsed, I was raised Catholic. I attended Catholic schools for for 9 out of my K-12 years. There is nothing in Catholic doctrine that precludes accepting evolution. Indeed, in high school (and, I note, this was in the late 1970s), the Catholic high school I attended taught evolution in biology class pretty well.

    The biology teacher was a priest, by the way.

  3. #3 Cheryl Shepherd-Adams
    April 11, 2008

    The film’s producers don’t want any of the faithful viewing audience to know that (gasp!) there are faithful, devout Christians who do accept evolution as God’s method of working in the world.

    Just more evidence that this is a conflict between sects of Christianity, not between science and religion.

  4. #4 Jason Failes
    April 11, 2008

    So, imagine this:

    The “Star Trek” history of the galaxy turns out to be correct. A few billion years ago, aliens seeded our planet with the first bacteria. Then evolution continued unabated until the present, us, and all other modern species.

    Wow, ID and evolution, side by side, and completely compatible!

    Not that this is the history of the Earth (there’s no evidence that we were seeded nor that aliens engineered our genetics at any point), but it makes one thing very clear: If ID was science, it would take place within the framework of established science, including evolution, and not set itself up in opposition.

    Indeed, there’s no reason to think there is any problem with evolution at all, nor any contradiction between evolution and the idea of a designer or designers, unless you ascribe to the same basic theological assumptions as the Creationists that you are absolutely in no way associated with, right?

  5. #5 DaPrez
    April 11, 2008

    The cafeteria lines for every religion are so long its a wonder anyone even gets to eat. But compared the prix fixe menus from the same religions will stuff you so full your head explodes. That is why I choose to do my cooking at home!

  6. #6 PvM
    April 15, 2008

    Check out the recently launched website Expelled Exposed which discusses the many flaws in the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

    More information at PandasThumb

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