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March 25th, 2008


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12:01 am
So I was going to bed over an hour ago, and I clicked on a link before I logged off for the night.
The content poked the herd of angry badgers who live in my spleen.
I've said it many times, I have the upmost respect for most religious people I know, who have actually considered their faith and can rationally discuss it.
That said, these people do not fall into that category.

Ben Stein has created a "documentary" called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", the website is http://www.expelledthemovie.com
I poked around the site for awhile, and it became increasingly apparent that the title was perfect. There was no intelligence to be found anywhere on the site. It even invites you to become one of the Expelled! Yay ignorance!

The website is entirely Intelligent Design malarky with the statement repeated everywhere that "Big Science is conspiring to keep Intelligent Design out of the classrooms!" They make the usual useless arguments with no supporting facts other than "well it makes sense to me!" They make a big deal of pointing out that Dawkins has said that "it's possible life on earth was 'designed' by aliens or another intelligent race" while ignoring the part where he comments that [somewhere along the line life had to have evolved on it's own]. See David Bryn's Uplift saga for a fictional recreation of the essential argument. They twist this to try to prop up their own fundamentally flawed arguments that "life has to have been designed! I mean, just look at it! Wowie!"

"This movie is not an apology for Creation; pains are taken to distinguish Creation from Intelligent Design."
Bullshit. You can't. All Intelligent Design advocates are arguing Creationism if you take their ideas to their only logical conclusion. This has been shown and proven time and time again.

They also interviewed many prominent Evolutionists and Atheists for the film under false pretenses.

The most telling bit? Here ya go.
At the bottom of this page, if you highlight the bottom of the page it reveals a "spoiler about the contents of the movie!" in 8 point font.
Many scenes are centered around the Berlin Wall, and Ben Stein being Jewish actually visits many death camps and death showers. In fact, Nazi Germany is the thread that ties everything in the movie together. Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany.

...
Yes, the actual point of this so called 'smartest and most sophisticated documentary ever produced on the right side of the cultural divide' is to show that Evolution leads to Nazism.
Godwin's Law has been invoked. You lose.

Comments requested.
I'll not tell you what to think if you give me the same respect, but I reserve the right to use logic.
and don't bring up Michael Moore.
mood: annoyedannoyed

(21 bits of drivel | babble incoherently)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:pasquillacious
Date:March 25th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
(Link)
I don't like the tone of the entire site. If IDers are interested in establishing scientific theory, then the strength and clarity of their ideas should be able to stand alone without their having to sling dirt and ridicule those with differing theories, which is what seems to be happening here. I'm aware of the fact that the "scientific community" (a non-term, I know, about as useless as referring to some kind of homogenous religious community) can also fall into hysterics when the status quo is challenged. Nevertheless, the scientific method is a pretty good instrument for separating sense from nonsense, and when it's evident that a new theory can explain observable phenomena in a more seamless manner, it's the status quo that changes. Granted, I've yet to meet a serious natural scientist who doubts evolution, but I've also yet to meet one who thinks that he has a handle on the Truth. Darwin's theory of evolution is a working theory, and it works in a number of scenarios and situations. It is open to refinement and improvement, and who knows? maybe folks will chuck it in a few hundred years for an even better working explanation.

Now I'm no scientist. I was raised Roman Catholic, which for me was like being raised to hate life, and though I am inclined to believe that this is my only chance to enjoy the wonder of Existence, I am also inclined to believe that I don't know jack. I don't have a Big Guy or a Book to take this uncertainty away from me.

Now please help me, I am a little out of touch with U.S. issues: doe ID begin with the hypothesis that "Life was designed by an intelligent force" and then look for biological mechanisms that seem too complex to have evolved by chance alone, or does it look at the empirical data collected thus far and come to the conclusion that the theory of evolution doesn't fit the facts as well? In other words, is ID theology or science?

I'm all for ID in the schools, by the way -- in social studies and comparative religion classes. It's a hot topic, but not necessarily one best discussed during fifth period biology.

And one more thing that really gets to me is this assumption/accusation that I hear now and then that folks need a Big Guy and a Book in order to practice ethical behavior. I won't get into detail here beyond saying that it's just hogwash.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:March 25th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Now please help me, I am a little out of touch with U.S. issues: doe ID begin with the hypothesis that "Life was designed by an intelligent force" and then look for biological mechanisms that seem too complex to have evolved by chance alone, or does it look at the empirical data collected thus far and come to the conclusion that the theory of evolution doesn't fit the facts as well? In other words, is ID theology or science?

They're trying to argue that it's science and not theology, and that ID is separate from creationism, but it never holds up to any scrutiny because their arguments are fundamentally flawed.
Ok, say life was intelligently designed and it wasn't a god, thus not theology. The argument goes a little like this:
"Designed by what? Where did that intelligence come from? Who designed it?"
"Oh, it's an eternal being outside our frame of existence."
"... aka God?"
"No no, this isn't theology! It's science!"

Edited at 2008-03-25 12:46 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:jjjiii
Date:March 25th, 2008 10:58 am (UTC)
(Link)
Does evolution happen? Absolutely.

The theory of evolution itself doesn't really explain how inert matter can self-organize into living organisms (that's a more general question for biology, and although once matter self organizes into life, evolution's process of natural selection is happening immediatly), or where matter comes from in the first place. But you can't answer that question adequately by postulating a creator.

I think it's possible for intelligent beings to design and build a biological life form, we're pretty close to being able to do that ourselves. But, that doesn't do anything to explain where the intelligent designers came from. Ultimately, ID theories beg the question, and are not science.

This guy writes pretty much ad nauseam on ID v. Evolution, on the side of evolution, and is really up on his stuff, and deals with the political side of ID/Creationism as well as refuting the faith-based claims with good science.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:March 25th, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Bingo.
And thanks for the link!
[User Picture]
From:axessdenyd
Date:March 25th, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
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Sounds a lot like arguing global warming, the new religion of choice.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:March 25th, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
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Don't you go changing the topic...
[User Picture]
From:axessdenyd
Date:March 25th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
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Hey, you're the one who brought up religion!
[User Picture]
From:squidproquo
Date:March 25th, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I know some of the people "interviewed under false pretenses" for that movie, which is a slightly nicer way of saying "experts who agreed to talk for free with interviewers who lied to their faces." While it is becoming standard practice for media folk to take someone's comments out of context and then [argue, ridicule, misconstrue] them, that doesn't make it less reprehensible. Clearly if the interviewers weren't atheists they would have the moral fiber to...wait...hmm.

ID has always seemed to me like a failure of imagination. That may sound strange at first, since the core idea is to posit (i.e., imagine) this Designer, but they do so to explain phenomena that are "too complicated" to have evolved on their own, and THAT's a failure of imagination.

To me, the most awesome power of science is that it lets you question ANYTHING.* Whether it's the tiniest facet of biology (say, stingray swimming) or a direct confrontation of accepted theories, go ahead, question it! Got a crazy idea? Test it! Tell us what you find! Every time ID says "well, THIS is too complicated and must have been made by God, er, I mean Some Designer," it takes away our freedom to question, to try to understand, something I believe is a fundamental human right. If we are here for any purpose, or if we're not and just need something worthwhile to occupy our time, I think what makes us tick is the effort to *understand*--ourselves, each other, the world, the universe. (Not to mention where SPAM comes from.) Impossible? Almost definitely. But a hell of a lot of fun.

(*Not that questions can't be asked without science. All disciplines ask questions, whether through history, art, drama... I mention science because it's on the table here (and okay, I study it), and because it encourages us to ask, ask, ask, and, as someone else said, gives a useful way to form and test our ideas.)
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:March 25th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Amen sistah!

re: failure of imagination.
I always want to take ID folk and throw them into a robotics class on emergent behavior. It just might spark some curiosity in them about how we work.
[User Picture]
From:pasquillacious
Date:March 25th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
... but they do so to explain phenomena that are "too complicated" to have evolved on their own ...

Considering that "complicated" is a graded term, deciding when something is "too complicated" is an arbitrary act. Or a political act. Or a religious act. :/
[User Picture]
From:squidproquo
Date:March 25th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's true! They could at least give a p value or something. ;o)
[User Picture]
From:mary919
Date:March 25th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
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Ben Stein has lost his mind.
[User Picture]
From:wanderyng1
Date:March 25th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Sigh...why does Judaism and the Nazi agenda invariably end up in every mindlessly religious piece of drivel that makes its way into the limelight? I am unapologetically Jewish. The one thing from Judaism that I always carry with me is that you *must* ask questions in order to bring yourself closer to God. It is up to you to interpret things around you as divine or mundane. I most certainly believe in a higher power. I believe that that higher power had a hand in bringing about creation. Do I have any scientific proof of this? No way...that's why it's called "faith." If I want to talk about faith, I go to a theology class or a philosophy class. If I want to talk about science, I go to a science class. They're two entirely different disciplines that don't belong in the same discussion. The fact is, there is no scientific proof that there was any guiding hand in evolution. There will never be any scientific proof that there was any divine influence on evolution. That's how faith works. Trying to combine creationism and evolution into one cohesive belief system pretty much insults everyone involved.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:March 25th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
(Link)
And this is why I love Judaism; it encourages rational thought while maintaining a belief structure!
[User Picture]
From:squidproquo
Date:March 25th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
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Right on!
[User Picture]
From:secretlyironic
Date:March 25th, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
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Ben Stein: D-bag supremo.
[User Picture]
From:secretlyironic
Date:March 25th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Obviously this is what we should be teaching in schools:
http://z9.invisionfree.com/Pokeclipse/index.php?
[User Picture]
From:squidproquo
Date:March 25th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
[User Picture]
From:swaan
Date:March 26th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
(Link)
Love that!
[User Picture]
From:greyhoundliz
Date:March 25th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well, here's the real question: that herd of angry badgers in your spleen, did they evolve there or were they placed there by an Intelligent Designer?

(More seriously, right on to wanderyng1).
[User Picture]
From:swaan
Date:March 26th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
(Link)
Apparently, a science blogger named PZ Myers was banned from a screening of the film, while his guests, including Richard Dawkins (I guess the security folks didn't recognize him), were let in:
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/03/21/creationist-document.html

Here's Dawkins' account of the incident and, if you scroll down, his review of the movie itself (including his own appearance in it): http://richarddawkins.net/article,2394,Lying-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins
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