Expelled -- No Intelligence Allowed

Ben Stein exposes the forces that dominate American academia in his new movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

His thesis: Proponents and opponents of intelligent design are separated not by scientific discovery but by their faith-based worldviews. In particular, adherents of the Darwinian faith impose their beliefs on the rest of the scientific community by "expelling" anyone who even hints at intelligent design.

I appreciate the fact that Stein's concern is for the well-being of America in general. It would be disastrous if Darwinian morality came to dominate our government.

Darwinism erects walls between those who believe correctly and those who believe incorrectly. This resembles the efforts of the Nazi party, who used walls to separate themselves from anyone they deemed unacceptable or (in honor of their Darwinian roots) insufficiently evolved. This helped them weed out the weak and imperfect (or anyone who didn't support their cause). The holocaust was Hitler's proud attempt at speeding along the evolutionary process.

There is obvious conflict between mainstream science and the faith-based community. Stein points out that this is very much like a war. Richard Dawkins, who makes several appearances throughout the movie, describes his book The God Delusion, as a "frontal assault against religion."

Expelled reminds me of how fond people are of labeling anyone who believes differently from themselves. Expelled demonstrates how Darwinists use labels to stave off anyone who dares to mention intelligent design. Like lawyers who seek to discredit unfavorable witnesses, Darwinists utilize labels to stifle anyone who even even hints that intelligent design might serve as an alternate theory for "the way things are."

At one point Richard Dawkins suggests that it might have been aliens who injected the earth with its first forms of life. Another leading expert in evolutionary guesswork states that maybe proteins piggy-backed on growing crystals, which then stretched and twisted those proteins into living cells. Testimonials such as these make it obvious that the leading spokesmen of Darwinism understand a lot about the complexity of life, however they will do anything to avoid arriving at God (Yahweh) as an explanation for life.

The overarching issue here is intentional disbelief. Darwinism is nothing more than a convenient distraction for those who want to run away from God. People always have and always will clench their fists around anything that helps them deny Him. The inability to see God in creation is not a random phenomenon... it is a conscious choice.

Stein makes a point of singling out religion as a central causes of conflict in the debate between intelligent design and Darwinism. Indeed, it is old news that men have used religion as an excuse to rape and pillage. However, as one of Stein's interviewees very astutely points out, religion is only a red herring. It is a convenient distraction for anyone who wants to write off faith in God.

Another of Stein's interviewees points out the much neglected value of self-criticism. Sold-out followers of Darwinism are quick to snuff out every last hint of creationism. The infrastructure of modern science is designed to ostracize anyone who mentions God in their scientific publications or in their lecture halls.

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Thanks to Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, I realized that it is OK and even healthy to assume the universe is intelligently designed. If we value intelligence as much as we claim, this should affect our worldview accordingly. If intelligence is our means to discovery, it makes sens that intelligence should also be our our beginning and ultimate end.

***

If you disagree with what I have written here and you would like to respond, then great.

I would love to hear from you as long as you:

First: Take a deep breath.
Second: Try to express some kind of original and/or enlightening insight (something more than "you're wrong and i'm right").

Anyone takers? Please speak up.

8 comments:

test said...

I notice that this blog is moderated. I wonder if you will accept this comment, or if I will be "expelled". I mean, if you demand that creationists should be allowed to be heard, should you not allow the same courtesy to others to avoid being a hypocrite?

Anyway, it's too bad to see that you have been deceived by the film:

"It would be disastrous if Darwinian morality came to dominate our government."

There is no "Darwinian morality". Evolution is a model which explains observations. It says nothing about right or wrong, what to do or not to do, etc. It is not a moral framework.

"Darwinism erects walls between those who believe correctly and those who believe incorrectly."

If this is the case, then it is true for all of science.

"The holocaust was Hitler's proud attempt at speeding along the evolutionary process."

This is incorrect. Hitler rejected Evolution:

http://my.opera.com/WayOfTheDodo/blog/2008/04/21/expelled-no-honesty-allowed-part-1

"There is obvious conflict between mainstream science and the faith-based community. Stein points out that this is very much like a war."

Stein is a liar. Many religious people accept Evolution, including the Pope himself! When asked why they didn't interview Roman Catholic biologist and Evolution proponent Ken Miller, one of the Expelled producers said that it would have "confused the message of the film unnecessarily":

http://my.opera.com/WayOfTheDodo/blog/2008/04/21/expelled-no-honesty-allowed-part-3

The film is dishonestly trying to set up a false dichotomy between Evolution and religion.

"Expelled demonstrates how Darwinists use labels to stave off anyone who dares to mention intelligent design."

ID is not science. It is religion. As ruled by the conservative christian Judge Jones in the Dover trial. Jones was appointed to office by Bush on recommendation from Creationist Senator Rick Santorum, by the way.

"Darwinism is nothing more than a convenient distraction for those who want to run away from God."

Again, this is a lie. Many christians accept evolution.

Expelled also claims that questioning Evolution gets you "expelled". This is the central message of the film. Again, it is a lie:

http://my.opera.com/WayOfTheDodo/blog/2008/04/21/expelled-no-honesty-allowed-part-2

As you can see, lots of people question Evolution without getting "expelled". It's just that they do actual science, while people like Ben Stein resort to anti-scientific lies.

Matt said...

I totally missed hearing anything about this movie until I saw it on this weekend's top 10 box office.

Sounds like it was pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Hi....

You guys keep forgetting that ID depends on the 'White Christian God' using magic to describe their views.

In the sciences that you rail against...magic is not allowed.

If you have to depend on magic to explain your 'science', that automatically disqualifies it from the real science club.

ID is religion...not real world science

Patrick Roberts said...

hello "test"

your response goes like this:

a) a quote from my post
b) why i'm wrong and you're right

... this pattern repeats until the end of your response. this is unoriginal, unproductive and unenlightening.

Oh yes, and if you study something a lot of course it's going to affect your morality/worldview. if you are convinced that people are super-evolved animals, for example, you won't see any harm in "weeding out the herd" as the Nazis attempted to do.

heidianne jackson said...

test, you forgot to mention that the majority of "religious" people who believe in evolution believe in MICRO evolution, not MACRO evolution.

as for your claim that hitler was NOT about evolution, then clearly you have never read mein kampf. hitler couldn't make up his mind WHAT he believed (other than he wanted to be in charge). check out this link (http://www.icr.org/articles/view/285//) for a more indepth discussion rather than your link to a link that links to wikipedia. now there's a strong reference site. whatever.

Liz said...

I've got to track down a theater playing this movie--as a blogger/critic, I don't want to write about it (especially since it's pretty controversial--have you Googled the reviews? Wow.) without seeing it, but a) I do think Ben Stein's an interesting guy, and b) my mom saw it and liked it.

I'll have to check it out.

slutbucket said...

I don't want to be overly argumentative as other commenters have said what I would. I just want to point out the inherent hypocrisy here: "Expelled reminds me of how fond people are of labeling anyone who believes differently from themselves. Expelled demonstrates how Darwinists use labels to stave off anyone who dares to mention intelligent design."

So having started off on the right foot by observing that labelling people and making generalizations about them is bad, you conclude with a gross generalization about "Darwinists".

Leave the labels off. Let's not get into what Hitler might or might not have believed. I mean, at various times Hitler claimed to be a Christian too. And to have the solemn desire to live in peace with the world. After all the dirty Jews were removed, that is. Did you know today is Yom HaShoah, the Day of Remembrance?

Anyway, what matters for science and honest scientists is one thing-- the search for truth. The theory of evolution and evolutionary science have led to many thousands of discoveries and an overarching framework for almost all work done today in biology, genetics, even archeology! If there IS a scientific theory of intelligent design, let its proponents demonstrate how their predictions are bourne out by experiments. If so, the scientific world will abandon the outmoded theory of evolution and start using the new, more accurate theory of intelligent design to predict results.

Zombie said...

Yeah, and the Fascists made the trains run on time. :-)

I very much appreciate your presentation here - it is rare to come across a Creationist or proponent of Intelligent Design that can form coherent sentences and/or at least try to provide a sound argument.

That being said, I'm right and you're wrong, and what follows are a few reasons why. ;-)

1.) Evolutionary theory does not disallow for a creator/architect deity of any stripe. It does not tell us how we got here, it only tells us what we did after we showed up. If the main concern of Creationists or ID supporters is that they feel evolution does not provide a sufficient explanation for the origins of life, then they are entirely right - it doesn't.

But that doesn't make it wrong, simply because it never suggests it can explain that in the first place.

If you want to argue against a scientific solution to the origins of life, then you would do better to take that particular issue up with abiogenesis and leave evolution alone.

2.) Evolutionary theory does not deal in morality. Morality is a societal construct, not the product of science, and as such, has no place in it. Simply believing A or B to be moral or immoral does not automatically make A or B moral or immoral. Assigning morality to something is based on society and culture, and it varies across the board depending on where you live and how you were raised.

3.) You said, "Like lawyers who seek to discredit unfavorable witnesses, Darwinists utilize labels to stifle anyone who even even hints that intelligent design might serve as an alternate theory for "the way things are."

"Darwinists" do not need to stifle anyone trying to hint that ID is a plausible alternative theory to that of Evolution, because ID in its current incarnation is just not science.

In fact, ID isn't even a proper theory. Popular usage has served to misrepresent the meaning of the word "theory" in a scientific sense. You can call it that in a colloquial sense, if you like, but it does not stand up against a proper scientific theory like Evolution.

Evolutionary theory is based on evidence that we can see, touch, quantify, test and reproduce. And due to its nature as a scientific theory, we can revise our current position if and when new information comes to light that may necessitate such revisions, which we would do were empirical evidence of an architect deity to make itself known.

ID fails immediately because it cannot be observed without first assuming the initial premise to be true - i.e. "The universe looks like it was designed, therefore it was designed." This argument is known as a teleological argument, with two well-known applications of it being Paley's Watchmaker and Behe's Irreducible Complexity. It suffers from the logical fallacy of petitio principii - begging the question.

Our ability to observe design in an object's structure is based on it being contradistinct from the way structures are presented in the "natural" realm.

For example, we know that a potted, plastic ficus was designed by a person because there is no other explanation for its existence or mechanism - it's not something that occurs naturally in nature, you can't grow one in your backyard. Compared to an actual ficus, we can easily determine the difference.

The insertion of a sentient creator/architect deity into the mix as a means of explanation actually does nothing more than render the differences between man-made objects and natural objects meaningless. If all is designed, then nothing is natural.

We cannot test the ID process. We cannot observe it. We cannot see it in action, and we cannot reproduce it. One would imagine that if ID really were truth, then it would be no problem to provide sufficient empirical evidence of it. After all, if it's truth, then it's truth, and we would all be able to recognize it when we see it.

If ID supporters want the scientific community to recognize ID as an alternate theory, then it must prove itself by using the same methods to reach its conclusion.

4.) Your use of the behavior of the Nazis to prop up your assertions also fails. This is a red herring fallacy of the highest order, and is used so often that it ended up with its very own name - Reductio ad Hitlerum. Playing the Nazi card is effective as emotional rhetoric, since most people widely regard Hitler as a bad, bad man - and rightly so, too. But it is intellectually dishonest to use Hitler as evidence that Evolutionary theory is wrong or somehow dangerous based on his actions.

This argument subverts cause-effect logic by way of trying to posit that his deeds are the fault of an idea rather than the fault of him as an individual. It also fails to acknowledge any other possible explanations or causes for his actions.

If this were a sound method to somehow reach a conclusion about the merits of Evolutionary theory, then we would also have to recognize the good things the Nazi party accomplished. Thus my opening sentence: "Yeah, and the Fascists made the trains run on time."

As mentioned above, Evolutionary theory does not dictate morality in any way. The ethical merits of Hitler's behavior is the real debate in such instances, NOT whether or not Evolutionary theory was its cause.

5.) You said, "Stein makes a point of singling out religion as a central causes of conflict in the debate between intelligent design and Darwinism.

"Indeed, it is old news that men have used religion as an excuse to rape and pillage. However, as one of Stein's interviewees very astutely points out, religion is only a red herring."


Hmm. I find this statement rather amusing. After all, didn't we just try using Hitler as the exact same excuse? You bust out with Reductio ad Hitlerum on Evolution, and then immediately turn around and get indignant about someone else using religion in much the same way. You're not wrong in calling that a red herring, because it is a red herring just like Reductio ad Hitlerum. You are, however, blatantly contradicting yourself. That's one doozy of a double standard you've got there, chief.

If we are to blame Evolutionary theory for Hitler's actions, then we absolutely must also acknowledge all of the atrocious behavior on the part of people that support other worldviews - including those that are religious in any way. To not do so is to be intellectually dishonest and does not help support your argument.

6.) Stein's assertion that there is a war going on between mainstream science and religion assumes that those with faith do not accept what science has to teach us. This creates a false dichotomy - either you're in or you're out, and there is no middle ground, no compromise. This is just not true, for it is possible to accept Evolution and remain religious.

In conclusion, the fact that I do not place any trust in the idea of Intelligent Design in its current incarnation is not because I am choosing to run away from God, whatever that means. I cannot intentionally run away from something that I don't know is there.

I do not "believe in" Evolution, because I do not have to. Evolution does not send Prince to knock on my door and ask me to please believe in it. It keeps on trucking regardless of what anyone thinks about it, and that includes me, you, and The Purple One.

In order to have ID become a worthy opponent to Evolutionary theory, it must be able to stand up to the same testing and methods that Evolutionary theory does. Until this can be managed, ID is nothing more than word salad comprised of wishful thinking and rhetoric, borne aloft on the wings of a flock of wah wahs.

Sincerely,
Zombie