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Nov 26 2007

Expelled trailer

Here we go, it’s the first full length trailer for Expelled and now it appears to be an even bigger mountain of crap than it looked like before.

I am so looking forward to seeing this movie with fellow ACA members. I’m not kidding. I hope you folks will join me.

In just the first three minutes, Ben Stein once again reinforces the fact that ID is religion (what? what? I thought this was a scientific theory about an unnamed designer) and then implies that his opponents are Nazis.

I was also impressed with the total brazenness of the Richard Dawkins quote mine occurring at 5:45. Just watch. They clumsily splice between two different shots of him, making it appear as if two remarks are part of one thought, and then they cut off what he was saying in mid-sentence at the end. They seriously have no shame at all.

I think this is going to be the creation science museum all over again: half the money they make is going to come from atheists flocking to see it in groups. I have no qualms about giving Ben Stein my $8; you can’t buy a better advertisement for how inane ID is.

The trailer implies that you’ll get in trouble with the vast atheistic conspiracy if you watch this movie. As a member of said conspiracy, I’m encouraging people to see it. This may be as good as Jesus Camp.

If you need a refresher, I first talked about Expelled in episode 522 of the AE TV show. That discussion starts at about 5:45.

64 comments

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  1. 1
    Martin

    Are they actually going to try to go theatrical with this thing, or is it going to be a DVD release with heavy advertising to churches? They’re actually less likely to hit their desired target audience if they go theatrical, since theatrical distribution for documentaries is piddling anyway, even for the high-profile ones. And going that route won’t reach the small-town church audiences in the deep south and flyover states, the viewership most likely to be receptive to its bullshit. If they self-release, I don’t see them getting more than a few dozen screens across the country. No, I suspect this will be a DVD thing.

  2. 2
    Ben

    Um… Ben Stein says atheists believe humans came from mud? I thought that was the biblical account? That god made Adam from clay and breathed life into him?Also, please? Can the creationists/IDists please stop saying that evolution is about random events? Yes, mutations occur randomly, but saying that evolution “randomly” “created” humans (or pine trees or walruses) just means that you don’t understand evolution.

  3. 3
    Martin

    Can the creationists/IDists please stop saying that evolution is about random events?No they can’t, because lying is their m.o.

  4. 4
    joshua

    so uh i see athiests are gonne go see this movie. sweet. i hope it wont be a waste of your time. and also where do athiests believe we came from? i really would like some personal opinions on this subject from the actual ppl feel free to email me. [email protected]

  5. 5
    Patrick

    I thought that was the biblical account? That god made Adam from clay and breathed life into him?Well, there’s a very key difference. From mud, by a master’s hand.

  6. 6
    Endrulan

    Martin, I don’t think it is going to just go DVD release, b/c it isn’t just for the people who believe in God. The point isn’t to try to get people to believe in God, the point is thata) the THEORY of evolution, hello?!b) the THEORY of creationso, why aren’t they given equal billing? Atheism is, indeed, a type of religion taught in schools. It is a religion with scientific undertones. ID is a religious viewpoint of people of all types of faiths, with scientific undertones as well because there is evidence, so why isn’t it given equal billing? I already know the answer to this. If scientists are allowed to acknowledge the evidence that is already there, if intelligent design is ACKNOWLEDGED, it requires a belief in some higher power, and atheists do not like to think of there being anyone larger than themselves. Except for aliens. Apparently, aliens are ok because they don’t require any alteration of behavior. Ben Stein is not saying you have to believe in God; he’s just saying, stop suppressing the evidence because you’re afraid of it.

  7. 7
    Endrulan

    P.S., I’m not from the south, and I’m educated above the master’s level; believers aren’t all down-home southerners from “flyover” states – if you watch the trailer again, I think you will notice a few scientific heavyweights who would still have their jobs if they hadn’t dared to actually say what wasn’t allowed.

  8. 8
    Kazim

    The point isn’t to try to get people to believe in God, the point is thata) the THEORY of evolution, hello?!b) the THEORY of creationso, why aren’t they given equal billing?Creation isn’t a theory. There is no “theory of creation.” A “theory” means a well established framework for explaining observed facts, which has been confirmed and verified by experiment.You might describe it, perhaps, as the “hypothesis of creation.” However, even that gives creationism too much credit. It is simply an assertion which is based on religious beliefs, and that’s all there is to it. Until creationism has some way to be confirmed scientifically, it has no business being taught as if it were science.Atheism is, indeed, a type of religion taught in schools.Really? I didn’t manage to take those classes. In which class did your teacher tell you not to believe in god?P.S., I’m not from the south, and I’m educated above the master’s levelNot in any scientific field, obviously, or you would know what the word “theory” means.

  9. 9
    Martin

    Nice one, Russell. I wasn’t aware Lena had posted that farrago of idiocy, but you’ve done a nice job demolishing it. It only needs adding that there’s no scary “evidence” for creationism that anyone feels a need to suppress. Scientifically, there’s no evidence for creationism at all. It seems that Lena’s master’s degree hasn’t prevented her from being suckered by ID’s bogus claims and canards. But since she’s clearly as ignorant on the subject of evolution as she is that of atheism, she’s an easy mark for them, isn’t she?

  10. 10
    Endrulan

    Kazim wrote: Creation isn’t a theory. There is no “theory of creation.” A “theory” means a well established framework for explaining observed facts, which has been confirmed and verified by experiment.You might describe it, perhaps, as the “hypothesis of creation.” However, even that gives creationism too much credit. It is simply an assertion which is based on religious beliefs, and that’s all there is to it. Until creationism has some way to be confirmed scientifically, it has no business being taught as if it were science.MY answer: How does evolution qualify as a well established framework for explaining observed facts? Here is an observed fact: petrified trees, standing upright, have been considered by scientists to be millions of billions of years old. Then, “Bang” Mount St. Helens erupts and that “well established” theory is disproved in the short span of 20 years, because it has been found that, not only can the trees find these positions IMMEDIATELY as opposed to taking stupidly long to do it, but peat, which is ALSO considered to take millions of years to form, is accumulating at the bottom of spirit lake at a rate that is much faster than a zadagazillion years ( that’s sarcasm, by the way). Carbon dating, long considered to have been THE best way to date things, is not a bad system. It is, however, a FLAWED system when people make assumptions about it, namely that the rate of decay is standard for all objects. Do you want me to give you examples from universities where 50 year old artifacts have been dated at “millions” of years old? Me: Atheism is, indeed, a type of religion taught in schools.Zakim’s answer: Really? I didn’t manage to take those classes. In which class did your teacher tell you not to believe in god?MY answer: Zakim, we’re going to try a little logic exercise here. I say the sky is blue. You say the sky is green. Just because you never say the words ” the sky is NOT blue” doesn’t mean you’re not disagreeing with me. If you tell everyone you meet “The sky is green, no matter what anyone else says” then you are saying, by NEGATION, that the sky is not blue. When a teacher asserts that “the world was created when stuff blew up” they are teaching, by negation, that it was not designed. When they say that everything came about by accident, they are teaching, by negation, that there is not design! Simply put, the sky cannot be both blue and green. So, if I teach my children the sky is blue, then I’m teaching them it is NOT green. In conversations with other people, they will often refer back to the specifics of my example. The above is what is known as an analogy. If you can’t fathom that, you’re the one who needs to go back to school. Me: P.S., I’m not from the south, and I’m educated above the master’s levelKazim: Not in any scientific field, obviously, or you would know what the word “theory” meansOh Great Kazim, where exactly did you receive your PhD in Genetics? Or Biology? Or any other related scientific field? Tell you what. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. If you are so much more knowledgeable about science AND the Bible ( because, you see, it is usually advantageous to research your opponents point of view to see if they are correct, which I have done extensively and found your position lacking in evidence) then why not enlighten me with FACTS. If you’re so high up in the academic field, my friend, which by your comment you seem to feel that I’m undereducated, please prove your education and let’s go ahead and start citing sources. Academic sources. I’ll bring evidence back to you from *gasp* secular sources, because I know the Bible means nothing to you. Back to the original thread…What Ben Stein is talking about are geneticists and PhD’s, men respected for their knowledge and prowess in the field of research until they admitted that there WAS no other explanation but that there is DESIGN behind the world. Then suddenly they’re stupid? What, so, they’re only brilliant as long as they agree? I would be interested to see you “gentlemen” come up with some hard facts instead of resorting to verbal back slapping and snickering for snappy comebacks. I remain unconvinced of the validity of your position. I look forward to your reply.

  11. 11
    Endrulan

    a new P.S. ( this seems to be a theme with me, apparently…hmm) I have a great way to start. There is one thing said that I agree with. I am not well versed in the beliefs of atheists. I know it as lack of belief. I want to give you an opportunity, which I suggest you take because you might not have it again for awhile. I believe in God. You disagree with that. So I’m willing to sit down here and listen to you (figuratively speaking). Educate me about what atheism really is. How many opportunities have you really had to have someone who disagrees with you shut up for awhile and listen? To rant full out at someone, not about why their position is wrong, but about why yours is right? I’m asking, in short, why it is you do not believe in God. What is atheism? Why did you decide to go that route? Those who are believers are admonished in the Bible to “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15) I’m ready to give an answer for what I believe, to answer for why I believe the way I do; here are some honest questions I have, asking because I really don’t know:Do atheists have a creed that they live by that encourages them to be ready to give an answer? In other words, do you just assert that creationism and belief are “wrong”, or do you actually ever explain your whole position? I’m interested. I’m all ears. Why are you an atheist, Martin or Kazim? What is atheism? Please be aware that I’m fully prepared to give you evidence for creation, but I’m sure you’ve heard enough creationists tell you why you’re wrong. I’m giving you the opportunity to tell a creationist why you’re not.

  12. 12
    Martin

    Lena said: How does evolution qualify as a well established framework for explaining observed facts?Because we have observed it happening, and have mountains of evidence from the geological, paleontological, and archaeological records, as well as observations from more modern sciences like genetics, to confirm it. Some basic primers.Here is an observed fact: petrified trees, standing upright, have been considered by scientists to be millions of billions of years old.Wow, Lena. You don’t waste time getting to the silly bits, do you? The entire universe is not even considered to be “millions of billions of years old,” let alone a bunch of petrified trees. The petrified trees in the Ginkgo/Wanapum State Park in Washington State come from forests about 15.5 million years old, and most of the trees were uncovered in flooding that took place about 17,000 years ago.because it has been found that, not only can the trees find these positions IMMEDIATELY as opposed to taking stupidly long to do it, but peat, which is ALSO considered to take millions of years to form, is accumulating at the bottom of spirit lake at a rate that is much faster than a zadagazillion years ( that’s sarcasm, by the way).Oh, I thought it was just typical creationist foolishness and casual disregard for facts.Petrified wood has actually been artificially created in laboratory scenarios in a matter of days, but so what. This alone does not demonstrate that natural petrification has not taken place over vast and varied spans of time. The reason we see extremely fast rates of wood petrification in Spirit Lake is because the lake became unusually rich in mineral content following St. Helens’ eruption. Incidentally, this rapid rate of petrification was predicted by scientists prior to the eruption. But what happened at Spirit Lake was due to a specific and unique set of circumstances to that area, and does not in any way imply, as you are implying, that because rapid petrification took place there, then no petrified wood anywhere else was produced more slowly, over longer periods of geological time.And it’s a known fact that peat grows at a much faster rate in much wetter conditions than in drier ones. So is it especially miraculous that peat is forming at the bed of a lake much more quickly than in other regions? Hardly.Carbon dating, long considered to have been THE best way to date things, is not a bad system. It is, however, a FLAWED system when people make assumptions about it, namely that the rate of decay is standard for all objects. Do you want me to give you examples from universities where 50 year old artifacts have been dated at “millions” of years old?I’d love for you to do that, because it would be further proof either of creationist stupidity or outright fraud. Because it happens to be the case that carbon-14 dating can only take you back 50,000 years. For older artifacts, you have to use nuclear dating methods, like isochron or radiometric dating. Therefore, anyone claiming to have used C-14 dating to establish that something is millions of years old is either a fraud or a liar.I’ve heard creationists constantly blather this canard about “some” scientist “somewhere” carbon dating a ham sandwich 10 million years or some such nonsense. But I never get citations, they never name the scientist, the lab or university where the dating took place, or where these results were published and confirmed by peer review. So yeah, if you’ve got those citations, I’m sure they’d be a hoot.You say the sky is green. Just because you never say the words ” the sky is NOT blue” doesn’t mean you’re not disagreeing with me. If you tell everyone you meet “The sky is green, no matter what anyone else says” then you are saying, by NEGATION, that the sky is not blue. When a teacher asserts that “the world was created when stuff blew up” they are teaching, by negation, that it was not designed. When they say that everything came about by accident, they are teaching, by negation, that there is not design!Simply put, the sky cannot be both blue and green. So, if I teach my children the sky is blue, then I’m teaching them it is NOT green.We are all slack-jawed in awe at the dazzling logic of your presentation!When a teacher teaches students that the first president of the United States was George Washington, they are teaching, by negation, that it was not Daffy Duck. Simply put, the first president could not have been both George Washington and Daffy Duck. If I’m teaching children it was George Washington, I am teaching them it was not Daffy Duck.The above is what is known as an analogy.It is also what is known as “inane” and “hilariously stupid” and “easily mocked,” as per my reply. I can see that master’s degree has really paid off for you, hasn’t it?If you are so much more knowledgeable about science AND the Bible( because, you see, it is usually advantageous to research your opponents point of view to see if they are correct, which I have done extensively and found your position lacking in evidence)So what sources have you examined “extensively”? Because, you know, just about any first-year undergraduate biology book ought to tell you all you need to know to get you started on the basics of evolutionary biology. And as far as I can tell, you hardly have grounds to attack Kazim’s or anyone’s knowledge on the subject, since all you’ve offered so far in rebuttal to 150 years of established science are clownish analogies and one example involving petrification of wood which reveals such profound misunderstanding on your part that it’s obvious you cannot have researched the available facts “extensively,” or if you did, you simply didn’t comprehend them. So first, try demonstrating that you have, in fact, researched the scientific literature supporting evolution, and understood what you have found there. Then perhaps you’ll have earned the right to act all smug and arrogant. Until then, I see no reason to think of you as anything other than another intellectual poseur.What Ben Stein is talking about are geneticists and PhD’s, men respected for their knowledge and prowess in the field of research until they admitted that there WAS no other explanation but that there is DESIGN behind the world.And what scientific research did they produce to support this bold admission? I mean, in the case of guys like Behe and Wells, they’ve produced none worthy of the name. In Behe’s case, this was laid bare when he made a fool of himself on the witness stand in Dover by admitting, under oath, that in order to consider intelligent design science, you’d have to open up the definition of science so wise as to include astrology. Maybe you missed that little gaffe. Just because someone becomes a professional scientist respected in a particular field does not mean his pronouncements are automatically taken as gospel and rendered immune to criticism. Respected scientists say wrong or dumb things all the time, and are usually corrected by their peers. That’s why science is the most reliable method we have for obtaining knowledge. It has a built-in self-correcting procedure. In any case, Behe himself certainly went a long way towards nailing the lid shut on the coffin of ID’s scientific credibility. For one thing, no one has ever even proposed a means by which ID is even a falsifiable hypothesis, an essential element in determining if any given idea is scientifically valid. Maybe you can do this, Lena! You’ll be the first one ever! Tell me, what do you think a non-God-designed universe would look like? Points deducted for bad analogies.I would be interested to see you “gentlemen” come up with some hard facts instead of resorting to verbal back slapping and snickering for snappy come
    backs. I remain unconvinced of the validity of your position.
    Oh, by all means, don’t just settle for our back slapping and snickering! Like I said, if you want hard facts just pick up any undergraduate level Biology text. Or just go online to talkorigins.org or UC-Berkeley’s Understanding Evolution site. Those should start you on the basics, from which you can move on to the vast body of scientific literature at your own pace.Meanwhile, in the news just this week, we have the latest discoveries in human evolution from tracing our genetic history: All blue-eyed human beings share a single common ancestor.I want to give you an opportunity, which I suggest you take because you might not have it again for awhile.Ooo, well, with a sales pitch like that, how can we resist?Educate me about what atheism really is. How many opportunities have you really had to have someone who disagrees with you shut up for awhile and listen? To rant full out at someone, not about why their position is wrong, but about why yours is right?Quite a number, actually. When I hosted the TV show, I got to do it every week. People would call in, many of them Christians, some of them civil. They’d ask us questions, we’d answer them, they’d tell us what they believed and then we’d explain why we didn’t agree. The show is still pretty much going along that course. It was a lot of fun.Anyway, an atheist is a person who doesn’t believe in any gods.What is atheism? Why did you decide to go that route?In my case, I shifted into atheism over a period of years, and it was all because I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t seeing convincing evidence that the God of the Bible (or any others) existed, and that my questions along those lines were not meeting with satisfactory answers. Indeed, the more I observed the world around me, the more it seemed impossible that the Biblical God could exist. And answers I got from Christian sources to various questions (such as the Appeal to Free Will as a rebuttal to the Problem of Evil) came across as mere justifications or rationalizations, not as propositions I could actually test, or which actually made any sense from a standpoint of simple logic. It became clear to me that gods are simply humanity’s projections of itself — and especially the hopes and fears of the individual believer — upon the universe. Belief is simply therapy, a way for human beings to make the big scary universe seem a little less scary and lonely.Do atheists have a creed that they live by that encourages them to be ready to give an answer? In other words, do you just assert that creationism and belief are “wrong”, or do you actually ever explain your whole position?Well, atheists are individuals, so I cannot speak for them all. But when I critique belief in God or creationism or Atlantis or whetever I’m critiquing, I always give a detailed reply. (Like this comment, in fact.)I wouldn’t call this a creed, it’s just honesty. You will find that among atheists who were formerly religious, everything came down to the moment when we decided it actually mattered whether or not what we believed was actually true, and not just whether it was comforting or ego-gratifying (and it’s certainly ego-gratifying to believe the universe not only has a creator but that he’s your best friend!). Atheists, generally speaking, are people passionate about knowledge and who care deeply about what the truth is. If we don’t know something, we admit we don’t know and look for our answers in whatever actual evidence there is. We don’t think there’s anything to be gained, in knowledge or personal integrity, by placing our ignorance on an altar and calling it “God.”Please be aware that I’m fully prepared to give you evidence for creation, but I’m sure you’ve heard enough creationists tell you why you’re wrong.I’m giving you the opportunity to tell a creationist why you’re not.Sure, we’ve heard creationists tell us this. Thing is, they’re never able to back their position up with hard science, while we always are. Hey, who ever said life was fair?

  13. 13
    NAL

    lena:I’m asking, in short, why it is you do not believe in God.God, as portrayed in the Bible, is not what I think of when I think of a supreme being. I often wonder why people invent gods that are so human. Maybe it’s easier for people to relate to them.

  14. 14
    Martin

    I’ve come up with an even quicker and more to-the-point response to this question from Lena:I’m asking, in short, why it is you do not believe in God.Do you believe in leprechauns? If not, ask yourself why. When you have your answer, you will in all likelihood have much the same answer I would give you to the question you asked me.

  15. 15
    PhillyChief

    Wow! Bravo for taking the time to answer in great detail Lena’s questions Martin.

  16. 16
    Kazim

    Martin, how am I supposed to have fun with the commenters if you write all the good rebuttals before I can get there? :)

  17. 17
    Martin

    Oh, I’m sure you can think of something I overlooked! :-)

  18. 18
    Endrulan

    martin, I wholly agree with Philly Chief. I’m impressed you took the time. I’m at work right now, but I will be getting back to you shortly.

  19. 19
    Endrulan

    Martin, While I check out the few sources you did give me ( since the majority of your latest post has plenty of “facts” but few citations) let me address a few details in your latest post. Lena said: How does evolution qualify as a well established framework for explaining observed facts?

Martin said: Because we have observed it happening, and have mountains of evidence from the geological, paleontological, and archaeological records, as well as observations from more modern sciences like genetics, to confirm it. Some basic primers.I highly doubt, Martin, that if I gave you extra-curricular reading, that you’d visit any site I gave you. However, since I’m not you, I’m actually going to read the “all in one” site you provided as I prepare an answer for you and earnestly consider what you’ve given me. In the future, however, it would be nice to have links to particular articles. I’m guilty of doing the same thing that you’ve done here, though, so I’ll do better, as well. 
As to my analogy: Lena said: You say the sky is green. Just because you never say the words ” the sky is NOT blue” doesn’t mean you’re not disagreeing with me. If you tell everyone you meet “The sky is green, no matter what anyone else says” then you are saying, by NEGATION, that the sky is not blue. When a teacher asserts that “the world was created when stuff blew up” they are teaching, by negation, that it was not designed. When they say that everything came about by accident, they are teaching, by negation, that there is not design!
Simply put, the sky cannot be both blue and green. So, if I teach my children the sky is blue, then I’m teaching them it is NOT green.
Martin said: We are all slack-jawed in awe at the dazzling logic of your presentation!

When a teacher teaches students that the first president of the United States was George Washington, they are teaching, by negation, that it was not Daffy Duck. Simply put, the first president could not have been both George Washington and Daffy Duck. If I’m teaching children it was George Washington, I am teaching them it was not Daffy Duck.Martin, I deliberately wrote an example a kindergardener could understand, because I find that, in discussions like this, simple is always best. Martin: When a teacher teaches students that the first president of the United States was George Washington, they are teaching, by negation, that it was not Daffy Duck.Very good, Martin. I see you understood my simple analogy well enough to apply it, so thanks for proving to me that simplicity really is the best approach. However, I notice that you attacked the content of the analogy ( which I asked you to consider the point instead of the wording, and you obviously ignored my request) and you did not address in any way, shape, or form what I meant in response to Kazim’s earlier comment: Kazim: In which class did your teacher tell you not to believe in God? Since you got caught up in the wording of my kindergarten analogy, Martin, I’ll use your wonderful application of it as an example:The first president of the United States was George Washington, so it can’t be Daffy Duck. Put otherwise, the world could not both be a random accident and be created. The POINT was that the teacher doesn’t have to come right out and say there is no God; she teaches it effortlessly by affirming there isn’t. I’ll try to bring it down to pre-school level next time. Continuing on…Lena said: The above is what is known as an analogy.

Martin: It is also what is known as “inane” and “hilariously stupid” and “easily mocked,” as per my reply. I can see that master’s degree has really paid off for you, hasn’t it?Lena said: If you are so much more knowledgeable about science AND the Bible
( because, you see, it is usually advantageous to research your opponents point of view to see if they are correct, which I have done extensively and found your position lacking in evidence)

Martin: So what sources have you examined “extensively”? Because, you know, just about any first-year undergraduate biology book ought to tell you all you need to know to get you started on the basics of evolutionary biology. And as far as I can tell, you hardly have grounds to attack Kazim’s or anyone’s knowledge on the subject, since all you’ve offered so far in rebuttal to 150 years of established science are clownish analogies and one example involving petrification of wood which reveals such profound misunderstanding on your part that it’s obvious you cannot have researched the available facts “extensively,” or if you did, you simply didn’t comprehend them. So first, try demonstrating that you have, in fact, researched the scientific literature supporting evolution, and understood what you have found there. Then perhaps you’ll have earned the right to act all smug and arrogant. Until then, I see no reason to think of you as anything other than another intellectual poseur.Okay. Martin, I’m not an expert in evolution any more than you are an expert on the Bible, and for exactly the same reason. I don’t believe it. I have been paying attention to the arguments for years, reading the articles, but I haven’t kept any of the particulars in mind, a fact which I intend to correct. I cannot prove the term “extensively” to you any more than you could prove your extensive research on the Bible, but I have no doubt you would claim you’ve researched my position quite a bit. But arguing for your own position, as you, I think, will agree, doesn’t equal research. For either of us. I don’t care how long you’ve told creationists that they’re stupid, which seems to be the bulk of your posts. The point is, I’ve done my research; I’ll prove it to you later. You’re probably more familiar with evolutionary theory than I am because I think it’s bunk. Since this subject is NOT on the forefront of my mind, my initial posts were sloppy, but so were yours. Neither of us appears to be citing like we should. I’m just as guilty as you are of spouting “facts” without citations, so if we’re really going to talk about this, why don’t we do a better job of proving it? I’m willing to if you are. Three links is a start, but a large portion of the material you presented remains uncorroborated. Putting a little blue link doesn’t cut it, even if I do go and read it. As to not having any right to question Kazim’s, your, or anyone else’s scientific credentials: I will fully admit that my degrees are not in science. However, you have artfully avoided answering about your qualifications by snarking back at me. (Laugh if you want, but I like the word “snarking”; “farrago” was a good word too, by the way. I do enjoy that you have a good grasp of the english language, even if I disagree with you.) Martin: So first, try demonstrating that you have, in fact, researched the scientific literature supporting evolution, and understood what you have found there.{ I’ve already answered that above.} Then perhaps you’ll have earned the right to act all smug and arrogant. Until then, I see no reason to think of you as anything other than another intellectual poseur.How am I acting all smug and arrogant? Please go back and refer to previous posts. I did not refer to my level of education to be “arrogant”. I never would have mentioned it but for your comment: 
Martin, in regards to the release of “Expelled”: Martin: They’re actually less likely to hit their desired target audience if they go theatrical, since theatrical distribution for documentaries is piddling anyway, even for the high-profile ones. And going that route won’t reach the small-town church audiences in the deep south and flyover states, the viewership most likely to be receptive to its bullshit.You’re implying there that all the supporters of this film, who would be supporters of creationism, are ignorant southerners or small
    town hicks in states that are unimportant. I was trying to point out to you, by mentioning my location and educational level, that not all creationists fit your stereotype. It wasn’t because I’m trying to be arrogant. You’re the one that made the arrogant, elitist comment. You might want to read the posts again. You’re undoubtedly wondering why I haven’t answered any of your rebuttals of my earlier comments. First of all, I’m human, I have a job, and I need to read the links you left me. Secondly, I told you I would listen to you. When you are done presenting your case to me for evolution, then I’ll talk. Until then, I’m just listening and reading the material you’ve provided. Please go on. 


  20. 20
    Kazim

    Lena,I highly doubt, Martin, that if I gave you extra-curricular reading, that you’d visit any site I gave you.Well, that’s a bit rude, and I don’t think that it is called for. I can’t speak for Martin, but I probably would. I read stuff I disagree with all the time, up to and including (rarely) entire books written by the other side. That includes the Bible, incidentally.However, since I’m not you, I’m actually going to read the “all in one” site you provided as I prepare an answer for you and earnestly consider what you’ve given me. In the future, however, it would be nice to have links to particular articles. I’m guilty of doing the same thing that you’ve done here, though, so I’ll do better, as well. ?I believe Martin did give you a link to a particular article: It is an introduction to evolutionary biology. The site that houses it is talkorigins.org, and as you noted, it is a pretty comprehensive site. I wouldn’t ask anyone to rebut the whole thing, any more than I would attempt a rebuttal of the entire answersingenesis.org site in one sitting.When a teacher asserts that “the world was created when stuff blew up” they are teaching, by negation, that it was not designed.There are a couple of assumptions here, both of them incorrect. One of them is the bald statement that teachers say “the world was created when stuff blew up.” I never heard a claim that remotely resembled that in any science class. It’s not even accurate.The other is that either big bang cosmology or evolution necessarily contradicts theism. There are plenty of mainstream biologists who advocate both evolution and religion, and in fact are quite passionate advocates of both: Ken Miller and Francis Collins spring to mind. In fact, I would go so far as to predict that more than half of all biologists who accept evolution also believe in God.The problem is not that you can’t believe both evolution and God at the same time; there is an entirely different issue at work. On one hand, evolution is in reality acknowledged as an accurate and solid conclusion of scientific inquiry. On the other hand, you have a particular set of religious beliefs that contradict this. The problem is that science doesn’t stand still for anyone’s specific religious beliefs. For example, there is (I’m not kidding) a very earnest group of flat earth advocates who do not think that it is right to teach that the world is round, and all photographs from NASA are part of a hoax based on an anti-Biblical conspiracy. Are they right? Should we give credibility to their views by striking any mention of a spherical earth from textbooks?If you don’t agree with them, then where would you like to draw the line? If something is treated as scientific reality with near universal acceptance among biologists, are teachers not allowed to teach this as the science? Should they give special consideration to YOUR set of doctrines, but no one else’s?When they say that everything came about by accident, they are teaching, by negation, that there is not design!?Perhaps. But they don’t say that. Nor is it an accurate portrayal of any mainstream scientific concepts. If you disagree, then I invite you to find something that you interpret as “everything came about by accident” in any textbook at or below the high school level, and we’ll discuss that statement. How about it?Okay. Martin, I’m not an expert in evolution any more than you are an expert on the Bible, and for exactly the same reason. I don’t believe it.Again, this is an inaccurate and uncalled-for assumption about what we may or may not be familiar with. I don’t think you have to believe something to read about it and gain an understanding of it. In fact, I applaud your intention to read the “Intro to evolutionary biology” page, and wish that more people had this attitude (which I share).Again I can’t speak for Martin, but I think I’m very familiar with the Bible, and don’t restrict myself to reading things I agree with. For instance, I have maintained a web page about research on Amway for many years, in spite of (or rather, because of) the fact that I decided it was a very poor business endeavor for almost everyone. Surely there are many Christians who have become experts on Islam in the process of attempting to rebut it. Why would you assume that this is never the case?I have been paying attention to the arguments for years, reading the articles, but I haven’t kept any of the particulars in mind, a fact which I intend to correct.Good for you! I look forward to further discussion on this topic.As to not having any right to question Kazim’s, your, or anyone else’s scientific credentials: I will fully admit that my degrees are not in science. However, you have artfully avoided answering about your qualifications by snarking back at me. (Laugh if you want, but I like the word “snarking”; “farrago” was a good word too, by the way. I do enjoy that you have a good grasp of the english language, even if I disagree with you.)“Snark” is a perfectly fine word, with roots in Lewis Carrol. I think what Martin was objecting to was your implicit attempt to use an argument from authority by bragging about your Master’s degree. I, also, have a Master’s degree, and I am happy to tell you where and what it’s for: it’s a Master’s in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas.You’ll notice, though, that I didn’t bring it up until just now, when you asked about it. That’s not because I don’t like to brag about it (I sure do!) but because it simply wasn’t relevant to the conversation. I don’t have a degree in science and neither do you. And I have many extremely smart friends who have never gone past college; a few not even past high school. So I don’t see what your degree has to do with proving anything.You’re undoubtedly wondering why I haven’t answered any of your rebuttals of my earlier comments. First of all, I’m human, I have a job, and I need to read the links you left me. Secondly, I told you I would listen to you. When you are done presenting your case to me for evolution, then I’ll talk. Until then, I’m just listening and reading the material you’ve provided.Take your time. I don’t let anyone bully me into answering before I’m ready, and you shouldn’t either.

  21. 21
    Endrulan

    Kazim, thanks for your answer. I’m still reading, but I do wish to say one thing: I really wasn’t trying to brag about my master’s degree; I only mentioned it because Martin made a comment about “flyover states” and “southerners” which seemed snide and which I took to mean that he thought all southerners and rural people who believed in God were ignorant. I mentioned two things as an introduction: 1) I do have an education, (Master’s of Business and Management from Ambridge in Alabama, since you gave yours) and I’m not from the south or any “flyover state”. I was trying to disprove what I saw as a stereotype, not brag about my education. I apologize if I left that impression. Please go back and read my earlier post, though I can’t remember if I explained that on this message board or the other one on this site. Thanks for your response. It was thought provoking and courteous. I’m still going through the material Martin gave me. Also, when I was asking him about citations, I meant that there are a large number of references he made that he did not put links up to, but admitted that I was guilty of this, also. I appreciate the ones he did give to me, however, and am looking into them. Until next time, thanks for your answer.

  22. 22
    Endrulan

    also, for the record, I don’t think southerners are stupid, I have many wonderful, intelligent southern friends. I was just responding to a perceived stereotype. One thing that struck me while reading your post again, Kazim: You said :The problem is not that you can’t believe both evolution and God at the same time; there is an entirely different issue at work. On one hand, evolution is in reality acknowledged as an accurate and solid conclusion of scientific inquiry. On the other hand, you have a particular set of religious beliefs that contradict this.I agree that belief in God contradicts evolution. However, please explain one thing further. I’m not quite certain what you mean when you say that it is not a problem to believe in God and evolution. Is it consistent with evolution to believe in God but not to believe that He created the universe? How can that work? What religion maintains that there is a God, but He is incapable/unwilling/or just didn’t create the universe? When you speak of contradiction of evolution, are you referring exclusively to those who believes the Bible? Pagans believe in gods or spirits that created the world; ancient civilizations had myths, also, that centered around creation by an entity or more. I cannot offhand think of an example of any religious or semi-religious people (who actually believe in a god or a spirit instead of the universe as a consciousness) who could believe both evolution and creation.

  23. 23
    Kazim

    I said: The problem is not that you can’t believe both evolution and God at the same time; there is an entirely different issue at work. On one hand, evolution is in reality acknowledged as an accurate and solid conclusion of scientific inquiry. On the other hand, you have a particular set of religious beliefs that contradict this.You replied: I agree that belief in God contradicts evolution.You are not agreeing with what I said. Please check again. I said that you have a particular set of religious beliefs that contradict evolution. Many people believe in God without sharing the same set of particular beliefs that you do.However, please explain one thing further. I’m not quite certain what you mean when you say that it is not a problem to believe in God and evolution. Is it consistent with evolution to believe in God but not to believe that He created the universe? How can that work? What religion maintains that there is a God, but He is incapable/unwilling/or just didn’t create the universe? When you speak of contradiction of evolution, are you referring exclusively to those who believes the Bible?I’ll give you an example of how some people reconcile belief in God with evolution. Some people argue that God is so very powerful that He was able to create a set of initial conditions and laws that would inevitably lead to the rise of humanity. Seen in this light, evolution is all a part of God’s master plan, as much as gravity is. When you drop an object and it falls down to the ground, surely you don’t believe that God had to make some kind of special intervention to keep it from flying into space, right? A lot of the time, even in a universe with miracles, clearly many things have to just happen the way they do according to already established natural behaviors.Pagans believe in gods or spirits that created the world; ancient civilizations had myths, also, that centered around creation by an entity or more. I cannot offhand think of an example of any religious or semi-religious people (who actually believe in a god or a spirit instead of the universe as a consciousness) who could believe both evolution and creation.Don’t take my word for it as an atheist, of course. I mentioned specific examples of respected scientists who speak eloquently for evolution while being devout Christians (Ken Miller, Francis Collins). There’s also the little fact that Pope John Paul II regarded evolution as “more than a theory”, in effect saying that evolution can be compatible with religion. So did his predecessor, Pius XII. Now I realize that you aren’t Catholic and don’t regard the Pope as infallible. Even so, I think you will probably agree with me that the Pope was no atheist. Hence, my point that it is not RELIGION that contradicts evolution, but only your PARTICULAR variant of religion.There is also the matter of the 11,000 clergy members who signed a document stating: “We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests.” Were they all secretly trying to undermine your belief in God as well?I’ll repeat what I said earlier: evolution is in reality acknowledged as an accurate and solid conclusion of scientific inquiry. This is not because it is supported by wicked people who are trying to destroy faith. It is because it is supported by evidence: evidence which shows that all living things appear to have a common ancestor and can be organized in a hierarchical “tree of life” which gradually merges as you check data from earlier eras. Most scientists recognize that evidence. Most scientists are also members of one religion or another. You can draw whatever conclusions you want from this.

  24. 24
    Endrulan

    What is my “particular” religion, Kazim?

  25. 25
    Kazim

    I don’t know. I would assume it is one of the many varieties of Christian Protestantism. Whatever it is, you believe that it is incompatible with evolutionary biology, and that alone makes it different from many other (though not all) strains of Protestantism.

  26. 26
    Endrulan

    Fair enough. Other stuff: The fact that a group of people who profess to believe in God got together and signed a document has no significance for me, and here is why: I am not governed by the word of a church hierarchy; the pope is just a man, in Rome. Catholicism specifically will stand firm on a doctrine until it becomes popular enough in society that they, as a religion, risk losing adherents if they don’t accept it. I do no believe the pope is the mouthpiece of God. The Bible is the Word of God, and Catholicism is, in many, many respects, directly contrary to the Bible. Hence, further references to the habits of Catholics, even as those who believe in God, is irrelevant to me. Additionally, because other people cave in to societal pressure doesn’t mean I have to. You’re going to see a basic flaw in this argument: at face value it seems that I’m saying that I’ll believe what I want to regardless of the evidence. That isn’t what I mean. The letter signed by all of these “clergymen” has a basic introduction to it that describes science as the realm of God, and that it would be an act of hubris to limit the use of our God-given human reasoning and ignore science. They are stating that science is God-given. This, I agree with. However, at the end of the introduction, the letter implores teachers to keep science and religion where they belong – in separate spheres. How is it, exactly, that if God created the earth, and created science, and mathematics, and genetics, etc., and everything that is foundational to them, that science can be extracted from religion? I agree with what you wrote previously when you said scientific evidence should not be put aside just to pander to someone’s specific beliefs. I think that applies to evolutionists and creationists alike. The people who signed this document contradict themselves right in the introduction, first of all, and though they state that science is the realm of God, they clearly do not believe it. God created science. I welcome scientific inquiry; I will never say that we should neglect to study something because it might contradict what I believe. I might say “NO” to a particular method of scientific inquiry ( stem cell research, etc.) because I believe it to be immoral, but I will not deny scientific inquiry as long as it is conducted morally. In short, because others who profess to believe in God are unsure of where they stand does not mean that I am. Additionally, I am interested in why you turned toward arguing for theistic evolution? Isn’t this an atheist website? I understand that perhaps you were simply trying to point out that OTHER people believe in God and evolution, so why can’t I believe it is possible? Namely, because like atheists, believers are individuals, and just because someone else caves under social pressure instead of studying doesn’t mean I have to. I have other things to address within your posts; I know that you were not the individual who I offered to listen to, but since you are the one who answered, I’m still listening to you. ( Active listening). I am interested to hear your entire argument. However, if you get to the point when you feel you are finished talking and are ready for me to start, let me know. No, I’m not pressing you, I’m just letting you know that I’m not avoiding answering, I’m just trying to keep my word.

  27. 27
    Kazim

    Hi Lena,I think it may be useful to step back and take another look at how this topic under discussion has developed.Originally, you were claiming that schools were “teaching atheism” by teaching evolutionary science. My point since then has only been that this is obviously not the case, because it is not belief in God overall, but only your specific religious beliefs that contradict evolution. You’ve indicated that you think it is impossible to accept both God and evolution at the same time. This is not a matter of opinion, it is factually incorrect.My point in bringing up the pope and the 11,000 clergymen is not to somehow peer pressure you into agreeing with evolutionary biology along with them. I am merely presenting these facts in the hope that you will recognize and acknowledge that there are religious perspectives other than your own, and even different takes on Christianity. Obviously you free to disagree with the pope and the signers of this document. Go ahead and assume that they are confused, or that they don’t understand their own faith. The fact remains that they believe in God and accept evolution at the same time.As an atheist, it doesn’t make a difference to me what religious beliefs you hold or what you believe about the world. But as you said yourself, schools ought not to buckle to pressure from any one religion, whether their opinion is that evolution is wrong, or the sun goes around the earth, or the earth has four corners as well as mountaintops from which you can see all land everywhere. The only issue that should be of concern in a science class is what is accepted and documented as mainstream by most scientists. That’s how the process works.

  28. 28
    Endrulan

    Kazim; I understand that there are people who believe in both evolution and God. However, current biology textbooks do not include references to the possibility of intelligent design; I am not aware of any biology or science textbook in mainstream public schools or universities that references the concepts of intelligent design. You can argue that belief in God is the realm of religion, but really, we’re not talking about God. We’re talking about Intelligent Design – people don’t have to believe that is was a God that was the designer, do they? Teachers would never have to say who created the universe, just that there was evidence of design. It is atheists who make the assumption that intelligent design would be identifying God as the designer; why is that? Certainly there are people out there who might have a different idea of “who” that creator or designer was? There are seriously people who believe space aliens created the earth, but in our society you don’t hear public outcry against them. Just because those who believe in God advocate Intelligent Design does not mean it is completely the realm of believers, but it has been trumpeted by atheists as a “takeover” conspiracy invented by religious fundamentalist who are just trying to create a religious dictatorship. The truth is, atheism and the mainstream media identify ID’ism with “Christianity”, which has been made a broad spectrum term in our society for anyone who claims to believe the Bible. Do you really think, Kazim, that if the vast majority of people who advocated ID’ism were believers in space aliens, that schools would have a hard time with it? I doubt it. The search for alien life is actually accepted science. NASA spends unbelievable amounts of money to make machines to search for organisms on Mars. The belief in “alien” life is one that is no longer a subject relegated to science fiction, yet there do not seem to be people who object to including this new “evidence” in textbooks. Honestly, I don’t know of any examples where the search for alien life is included, but the point is, it is less of a taboo subject than creationism, and 40 years ago it was the stuff of cheap movies and pulp novels. You don’t see NASA out there looking for God.The standard of what is taught in schools is inconsistent.I still think teaching ONLY evolution in schools is advocating atheism. You and Martin keep telling me to go back to any basic biology or science textbook, and I have. You’ve said that I didn’t adequately understand cosmology or the atheist viewpoint, so I’ve researched them further. I find no mention of the possibility of design in the Big Bang theory. The Big Bang cosmological model asserts that the universe expanded from dense matter, but never explains how the matter came into existence, so even if someone DID believe in God and evolution, or a designer and evolution, there is no indication in your “accepted” theories of origin. Children who go to public school and are presented with only one possibility for the origin of the universe will accept that possibility, because they’re given no alternative. There is scientific evidence for the existence of God, it just isn’t welcome at school.I don’t just have a problem with biology textbooks, by the way. The textbook industry in general is a revenue-driven business that survives through sales. I read history from other countries because it yields some surprising bits of information that are not in our textbooks in America. Textbook writers leave things out for convenience, for sales, and for political reasons. It bothers me that our children are taught what is politically correct simply because it is what is popular. I don’t want a religious dictatorship anymore than you do. I told you; I read history. I don’t want official mandates that creationism is the only thing that can be taught in schools, for the fundamental reason that it is not any different than smothering us out to smother you out. I don’t believe in hiding scientific discoveries to try and support my beliefs; all evidence should be taken into account. I believe in open scientific inquiry, but for as much as mainstream science squawks about it, I don’t think they do believe in open inquiry as much as they claim, because they blatantly disregard any evidence that might suggest that there is something out there bigger than we are. Unless it has to do with extra-terrestrials. I still believe that the current teaching of evolution in public schools is teaching atheism. Otherwise: It may seem that the discussion has departed from the original topic, Kazim, but this is not the case. I still maintain that there is enough evidence for creation for it to be given equal consideration in public schools, but I’m waiting until Martin ( now you) have had the chance to fully express yourself. If you object to the amount of time our posts have taken up ( I think it has been what, three weeks now?) then I have this question to ask you: If atheism and the supposed unveracity (yes, it is a word) are such important topics for you and your colleagues that you dedicate enough of your time to be a part of a show and a website, than what is the problem with continuing to converse with me? Even if the conversation has strayed off the main topic ( and it hasn’t; the conversation has broadened because it is a broad topic) then what would be the problem with actually laying down the case for evolution for me, since it is either a part of your job or at least a serious hobby? I said before that I would be willing to provide scientific sources for the case for creation after you ( or Martin) were finished laying out your case. I haven’t done it yet because I’ve received no indication from you that you are finished. Though you said you have read the Bible, Kazim, the foundation of this discussion was not the Bible. I said I’d find documented sources outside the realm of religion, but I did mention one Bible verse: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)I’m still asking if you’re willing to do something comparable, from an atheist perspective. You’ve given some explanation, I’m just listening and commenting occasionally on a few things that I have questions about. My question is this: Are you willing to continue this conversation, in light of the fact that it is your sincere hobby and perhaps occupation? I for one am quite enjoying listening to you and speaking with you because, frankly, I’ve never had the opportunity to just sit down and have a discussion outright with an atheist ( except one). I would think the atheist community would be happy that there is actually a theist willing to sit down and converse. Perhaps I should wait to hear your answer about whether you’re willing to continue or not before addressing two or three things, but I’m going to go ahead and post these anyway: ————————-Question 1: Lena said: How does evolution qualify as a well established framework for explaining observed facts?



Martin said: Because we have observed it happening, and have mountains of evidence from the geological, paleontological, and archaeological records, as well as observations from more modern sciences like genetics, to confirm it. (link provided to talkorigins website)My question: Mountains of evidence from geological, paleontological, and archeological records. Like what, for instance?I am reading that website, by the way, and it brings up quite a few questions which I’ll address when I start talking, but this is exactly the sort of claim that I admitted that I made, and noticed that Martin made. I appreciate the links he provided, but his claim calls for a few more specifics than one article about genetics and a reference to an evolutionary website. Kazim, you said you wouldn’t expect anyone to individually refute everything on that website anymore than you would attempt to refute
    everything on answers in genesis. I’m just asking that, when we make claims or references, we give specific examples. Martin disappeared shortly after that post without satisfactorily explaining or referencing WHAT geological, archeological, or paleontological evidence. Please don’t take this as antagonistic, but look at it from an outsiders viewpoint. Consider, when you have questions for believers about the Bible or related topics that they give a broad, sweeping statement and don’t satisfactorily explain the statement. I admitted that I did this same thing at the beginning of the conversation, as well, but that I was determined to do a better job with specifics. I’m just asking for the same thing from your camp. _________Response 2: Martin said: I’ve come up with an even quicker and more to-the-point response to this question from Lena:

I’m asking, in short, why it is you do not believe in God.

Do you believe in leprechauns? If not, ask yourself why. When you have your answer, you will in all likelihood have much the same answer I would give you to the question you asked me.My reply: Martin, if you’re still out there, about leprechauns: I never said I didn’t believe in leprechauns. The question is not whether or not I believe in them, the real question is, can YOU prove they don’t exist?

  29. 29
    Endrulan

    Also, I’m aware that there are many different interpretations of Christianity; you may feel that i’m not aware of any other belief systems; this is incorrect. I’m very aware. It is not just my specific religious beliefs that contradict evolution, Kazim. I think we both know that people can invent religions out of thin air. Mine, however, are based solely on the Bible, and you can disagree with that; your decision. There is evidence against evolution, and for creation. People cut and paste the Bible to fit their own belief systems, literally, I’ve known of people who just cut stuff out because they don’t like it. I don’t identify with these individuals. So what if “my” specific religious beliefs” don’t reconcile evolution and the Bible? Isn’t that what this discussion is about?

  30. 30
    Kazim

    Lena,Since this thread is now nearly four months old, I decided to answer your last contribution on a new post. You can go to that post by clicking here.

  31. 31
    Chyntt

    I haven’t read all the comments (I got bored), so maybe someone already pointed this out, but I did read down far enough to see martin wagner state:Meanwhile, in the news just this week, we have the latest discoveries in human evolution from tracing our genetic history: All blue-eyed human beings share a single common ancestor.I’m not arguing one way or the other, but I will point out that this idea that “All blue-eyed human beings share a common ancestor” supports equally the both the idea of “Biblical Creationism” and the idea of “evolutionary descent” from a common ancestor.In other words, this particular point is meaningless.(And I think that may be part of the reason there is so much heat in these arguments: Evolutionists don’t realize that Creationists accept evolution up to a point — variation, common ancestry within “kinds” (all dogs from an ancestral dog, etc), mutation, natural and artificial selection, extinction, adaptation, etc — all the stuff that can actually be observed. To the Creationist, this type of “evolution” is Science (it’s observable). The problem is that Evolutionists point to this type of well-evidenced “evolution” and then include the broader aspects of “Evolution” under that umbrella, whereas Creationists do not. (It’s the ol’ Macroevolution vs Microevolution idea, which Evolutionists then laugh at, accusing the Creationists of not understanding Science, while they themselves seem to not understand the Creationist’s argument.))At least, that’s the way it seems to me.

  32. 32
    Martin

    chyntt: Since creationism is not a falsifiable idea, you could really say that any piece of evidence could as equally well support creationism, depending on how tortuously the creationist was willing to work to defend it. Ask creationists what they think a non-God-designed universe would look like, and if you get any answers at all, they’re as widely varied as anything. If a creationist answers, “Well, there would be no order, objects would fall up into the sky, and fish would give birth to cows.”…then you could answer, “That could very easily be a universe created by a god who was insane.”And while some creationists do accept “microevolution” while rejecting “macroevolution” (though there’s really no difference between then except scale), I have in fact spoken to many who are strict 6-day literalists, who reject all evolutionary processes in toto.

  33. 33
    Chyntt

    Okay, I went ahead and read a little further, and came across this comment by kazim:The only issue that should be of concern in a science class is what is accepted and documented as mainstream by most scientists.It seems to me that what should matter in a science class is what is demonstrable, not what is accepted as mainstream.kazim’s comment seems to contain shades of academic suppression. Isn’t that what Stein’s film is all about (which started this thread)? As I understand the film, it’s not about putting ID or Creationism (separate ideas, no matter how much their opponents try to conflate the two) into the classroom, but rather about allowing the freedom to dissent in both the academic and professional worlds.

  34. 34
    Chyntt

    martin wagner said:Since creationism is not a falsifiable idea, you could really say that any piece of evidence could as equally well support creationism…Oops; guess I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean to imply that this statement of all blue-eyed people having a common ancestor supports any and all views of “creationism”. I merely meant to state that this idea is perfectly compatible with the idea of everyone being descended from Mama Eve (hence my reference to “Biblical Creationism” rather than just “Creationism”).In other words, this common-ancestry of blue-eyed people is not evidence of “Evolution” (as in Evolution vs Creation); both groups (evolutionists and creationists) accept this idea, therefore the idea does not support or contradict either view. It’s a meaningless point.Sorry I wasn’t more clear.Concerning strict 6-day types; you must be exposed to a completely different group than that to which I’ve been exposed; I’ve never run into a 6-day-er that “reject[s] all evolutionary processes in toto”. No wonder you’re so bothered by them; I’d agree with you, they’ve obviously closed their eyes (especially since the Bible itself clearly teaches the concept of “micro-evolution”, from the over-all arching story to the case of Joseph’s animal breeding work to the specific statement of Paul that all people are descended from one ancestor (Act 17:26)).

  35. 35
    Martin

    It seems to me that what should matter in a science class is what is demonstrable, not what is accepted as mainstream.Well, generally, ideas are not accepted by the scientific mainstream unless they are demonstrable. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find any idea in science that is held to be true without having first been subject to rigorous study, experimentation, and peer review. (And I’m talking about ideas that have reached the “theory” stage, not merely hypotheses.) You know, all those things that Ben Stein and the pro-ID want to avoid, and still have ID accepted anyway.I didn’t mean to imply that this statement of all blue-eyed people having a common ancestor supports any and all views of “creationism”. I merely meant to state that this idea is perfectly compatible with the idea of everyone being descended from Mama Eve (hence my reference to “Biblical Creationism” rather than just “Creationism”).Except all people aren’t blue-eyed. The Biblical creationists would have to concede, if they were to take this angle, that Adam and Eve were not in fact the first humans (an idea Genesis makes clear, though it’s one that gets little coverage in Sunday schools). In my experience, YEC’s would have a difficult time with that. Anyway, the difference is, a genetic marker was found in order to trace the evolutionary development of blue eyes. While creationists might like to claim blue eyes supports descent from Eve, scientists could simply say, “yes, but we have the DNA backing us up, what do you have?”In any case, your point doesn’t really contradict the point I was making, which is, Biblical literalists can always point to scientific discoveries that support evolution, and claim they support creationism instead. Show them Tiktaalik and hox genes, and they’ll just lie and spin so that those things are no longer a problem for creationism. Remember that these people are generally both scientifically illiterate and dishonest, which is largely why scientists find them so frustrating. If the conflict between science and creationism were simply about determining what the facts are, there wouldn’t still be a conflict. The issue is that creationists are defending a religious ideology, and consider facts either inconveniences or merely things to be twisted to their support.

  36. 36
    Chyntt

    martin wagner writes:[T]he point I was making … is, Biblical literalists can always point to scientific discoveries that support evolution, and claim they support creationism instead.It seems to me that you’ve forgotten the point you actually made, as you originally wrote:[W]e have the latest discoveries in human evolution from tracing our genetic history: All blue-eyed human beings share a single common ancestor, which has nothing to do with what Biblical literalists do with the evidence.You were making a claim that a piece of evidence supports Evolution.I pointed out that it supports the Biblical story just as equally.Then you claimed that my point doesn’t contradict the point you were making, which is not the point you were making.I’m going to assume you merely forgot the point you originally made, or had a point in mind that didn’t make it into print. We all make mistakes, so that’s understandable.You’re correct, that Biblical literalists can twist evidence to support their view. But I’m correct in that this particular evidence supports both views equally.And as an aside, it’s not just Biblical literalists that twist evidence to support their views: Everyone does so. (I’m not saying it’s done on purpose, or consciously; I’m just saying it’s done by everyone, including me; including you.) Accusing a certain group of twisting data while maintaining that your own group never does so, seems very arrogant and self-deceptive. (It also reeks of name-calling rather than dealing with the evidence, which seems to be an over-used tactic in your last post — Creationists “lie and spin”, are “scientifically illiterate and dishonest”, “defending a religious ideology”, “consider facts either inconveniences or merely things to be twisted”. These are all examples of “name-calling”. I would encourage more professionalism on your part.)martin wagner states that it’s hard to find any idea in science that is held to be true without having first been subject to rigorous study, experimentation, and peer review.There have been plenty of accepted ideas among scientists throughout the years without sufficient evidence for those ideas that I find it difficult to accept your claim at face value. Scientists are humans too, with emotions and belief systems and hidden agendas and self-deceptive subconscious drives and grant-money pressures to support a certain position, just like the rest of us slobs. Who didn’t want to believe in Cold Fusion when P&F made their announcement? Not to mention such things as Global Cooling, er, I mean Warming, er, I mean Cooling again….I don’t subscribe to the idea that “Science” is decided by popular vote.And that’s the point of Stein’s film: the dissidents, the rogue mavericks, the nut-jobs, should have the freedom to pursue their inquiries without having to fear for their careers and names. The film is not about ID; it’s not about Darwinism; it’s not about the Flying Spaghetti Monster; it’s about academic freedom.They’re not trying to suppress rigorous study and experimentation and peer review (as you imply, with what again appears to me to be “name-calling”); they just want the freedom to do these things on issues that may challenge the popularly-voted-for-and-accepted mainstream ideas.Concerning the experimentation and peer review and rigorous study of Evolution, again, every Creationist, including the 6-day-ers, with whom I am familiar, agree that these things support evolution up to a point. It’s when it comes to the development of new genetic information, new functional organs, new, never-been-seen-before equipment, that Creationists balk. They make a pretty good case when they point to 50+ years of fruit-fly research, trying to evolve something new, and all they get is variations on a theme (which is consistent with the Creationist ideology). They make a pretty good case when they point to lab experiment after lab experiment of mutations and gene duplications and splicing, and all the results indicate that nothing truly new ever develops, just duplications and variations on a theme. They make a pretty good case when they point to the fossil record and see sudden appearances of new organisms and sudden disappearances and lots of variation on a theme, but not any real slow and gradual development from one type of organism to another as would be expected by a Darwinist (which explains why evolutionists such as Gould and Eldridge, et al, raised such a stink by pointing this out).Please note, again, I’m not trying to take one side or the other. I am pointing out that on the issue of difference between Creationists and Evolutionists (new, novel stuff, as opposed to variations on a theme), there’s not a lot of convincing evidence coming out of the lab or out of field observations that would lead me to believe that “rigorous study, experimentation, and peer review” justifies mainstreaming this aspect of Evolution.I don’t understand at all what you’re saying in the paragraph starting with “Except all people aren’t blue-eyed”. I don’t understand what “angle” you’re referring to, and therefore don’t understand how it would force Biblical creationists to concede that Adam and Eve were not the first humans. Nor do I understand your claim that Genesis makes it clear that Adam and Eve were not the first humans; as far as I can read, it does indicate that they were the first humans, and other portions of the Bible support this conclusion.Perhaps you misunderstood my statement: I was not saying that “blue eyes supports descent from Eve”. Blue eyes have nothing to do with it. It’s the claim of common descent which I was addressing. I was saying that the claim of a common ancestor could support that common ancestor as being either Mama Eve or Mama ProtoHuman. The claim of common ancestry (as revealed in a study of blue-eyed people) supports both views, and therefore is evidence of neither. It’s a meaningless point.

  37. 37
    jagwio

    Lena – the problem isn’t that anyone is trying to refute the existence of God. (It’s a free country what can you do?) The problem is that creationism is not science. Please consider this metaphor: it could be hypothesized that very precise fairies carry all matter around according to the observable Law of Gravity. The problem is, without evidence of said fairies, there is no basis for working them into scientific theory. That is not to diminish the good (and evil) done in the name of Christ as simlar to fairies. The problem arises because there is no observable phenomenon attributable directly to a God. The Laws of Thermodynamics very well could be God’s will, but there’s no way to prove that (seriously, no way – basic logic). Science doesn’t even necessarily portend to be completely true or explain everything, because science is first of all theories to explain observable phenomena and secondly the simplest of those explanations (somewhat regardless of the unknown).The two ways to advance science – prove your hypothesis or disprove others’ that you don’t agree with.If it’s religion or mythology in schools that you want instead, argue from that point. I for one would be sad to see our government with the power to teach our kids anything but the sciences and the arts – it’s not the schools that should be teaching this sort of thing. Everyone has a duty to back up and spread the (always conflicting) Truth.And everyone here could be a bit nicer – far too much of this debate is lost to anger and divisiveness.

  38. 38
    SBITS.Biz

    Ben Stien ROCKS..Go Dude Go…Finally someone who put out some truth instead of the cool-aid everyone drinks.

  39. 39
    Martin

    Welcome to Christianity, where liars “ROCK,” lies are truth, and being educated equals drinking “coolaid.” How could anyone be opposed to that?

  40. 40
    Samuel

    I wish I had the faith to be an atheist. I wish I could believe the hundreds of events it took for life to exist as we know it happened without causality. If any one of those events had not happened we would not be here and I think it takes very strong faith to believe that. Can anyone help me grow in my faith, because right now I’m having a tough time believing.

  41. 41
    PhillyChief

    The events that occurred that brought about this planet, life and us typing on this website may seem completely random but they’re not. Each is in response to something else, which happened do to something else, etc. Was it set in motion by an intelligence? Who knows? Your answer to that really doesn’t matter, for a believer should look at science as figuring out how this god did what he did. If you’re a non-believer, you try to figure out how things happened. Same thing, no? The problem is in believing that this entity did things in a specific way and accepting that regardless of what evidence shows.Btw, have you ever heard Douglas Adams’ story about the puddle? It really addresses your question nicely. Here it is on Youtube. The whole thing is good, about 4 minutes, but the puddle bit is at 3:40

  42. 42
    Martin

    Well, Samuel, I guess you must think you really hit us with a zinger. Sorry to pop your bubble, but there are just a few problems with your assumptions.The ultimate origins of life may well still be a mystery. But that doesn’t mean it’s valid simply to plug in a god and go, “There! We solved it!” Indeed, a god opens up far more problems for theists than they care to admit, not the least of which is their problem of where this god came from, and who designed it.You also have a problem in that your belief in teleology has led you to the mistaken assumption that the purpose of the universe was to produce humans. You say, “If any one of those events had not happened we would not be here and I think it takes very strong faith to believe that.” But so what? If one of the causal events you cite had happened differently, maybe we wouldn’t be here, that’s true. But some other lifeforms might. You don’t know. And it’s simply anthropocentric arrogance to assume it’s All About Us.The “mathematical odds” argument is just nonsense, and proves nothing. Remember, every time you play cards, there is something like a sixty billion to one chance against you getting whatever hand you are dealt. If you play poker and you end up getting dealt a hand that happens to have a royal flush in it, you wouldn’t say (unless you were kind of dumb), “Well, if any one of the cards in this hand had been anywhere in the deck other than where it was, I wouldn’t have been dealt this royal flush, so it takes a lot of faith for me to believe my hand was not actually designed for me!”Finally, why, if the universe is the product of an all-powerful God, would he need to have everything go through such a complicated series of causal events in order to get to us? Couldn’t he have just snapped his holy fingers and poofed us all into existence the way we are today? If anything, this causal chain you mention is a really, really bad argument that there’s a God behind everything. So you see, we’ve thought about these issues a lot, and clearly more deeply than you have.The honest answer to give when you don’t know the real answer to a question is to say, “I don’t know.” It’s not honest to make up an answer (“Goddidit!”) instead. Atheists don’t claim to have all the answers. All we claim is that we don’t believe theism is the answer. We’re just too honest to place our ignorance on an altar and call it “God.” It doesn’t take faith to be an atheist, Samuel. Just honesty.

  43. 43
    Samuel

    Honesty huh! Well how many times have you had a royal flush? A royal flush, that’s so funny. You could sit down and play poker for a month and not get close to a royal flush. Let’s say for example you are playing draw poker and you have four cards that are leading to a royal flush, but you need one more card to do the trick, if you don’t get that card you go from almost having a royal flush to having absolutely nothing. What you are proposing has much greater odds than a royal flush and we had to get all the cards. If one card is missing you’ve got nothing. You do know what nothing is or who nothing is? He seems like a pretty smart guy. Laughable!And this idea that if not us than some other life form, right, because we see life everywhere outside of our planet, not to mention intelligent life, that is life that can create, communicate, and understand information. I tell you what, you guys sure are good for laughs…

  44. 44
    Martin

    You could play poker all your life and never get dealt a royal flush, or you could play it for one day and get one on your first hand. So what? As usual, guys like you who don’t know anything about probability have this dumb habit of thinking that probable odds are always evenly distributed. They aren’t. And in any case, before your comment there collapsed into complete incoherence, the simple fact is you never said one single thing to rebut my point. (And I notice that the vast bulk of my comment appears to have been beyond your capacity to reply to.) You could be dealt a royal flush in a poker hand, or not, or you could get all but one of the cards needed, or none at all. The point is, if you were dealt a royal flush, the extreme improbability of that event would not mean your hand had been designed for you. Improbability, even extreme improbability, is not an argument in favor of design.

  45. 45
    Samuel

    You’re right Martin, I’m a simpleton and all that complicated statistics stuff just goes right over my head, but back to my original message on faith. You’re 100% right you can get a royal flush on the first hand, but how much would you bet on that? I’d bet you $5000 you don’t get a royal flush on the first hand. I’d bet you 5grand you don’t get 3 of the 5 cards you need on the first hand. Please let me know if you have that much faith. If so, you’ve got much more faith than me and I’d love to take you up on that bet. Genius!

  46. 46
    Martin

    Uh, dude. Where in any of this bluster of yours is any argument or evidence for design?There’s no reason the universe had to come together to be suitable for life forms like us. If it had come together differently, there would either be no life, or there might be life entirely different to what we know.Everything you’re saying presupposes humanity as the ultimate intent at the origin of the universe, whatever it was (and assuming it had one, we don’t even have evidence for that). That’s where you’re going wrong. We’re here, and good for us. But the universe wasn’t made for us. It’s a kind of species arrogance that makes people think the universe exists just so we can exist in it. We’ll be extinct someday, and the universe will go on, not caring at all.What do you think your bet will prove either way? Nothing. I could get a royal flush on the first hand dealt, or I could never get one in a million hands in a row. The mathematical odds would have been equal in any case. If I did get the flush first time out, it would not be evidence that my hand had been designed for me instead of a random luck of the draw.You just keep not getting this basic point.

  47. 47
    Mike G

    I make the following comment as a testimony: I was born into a Christian home and raised according to Christian values found in the scriptures. Yes, there have been times that I have questioned many of the things I was taught and told to believe. But there came a time in my life that I had to make a decision for myself. Would I follow the Christian teachings of my parents and church or follow after some other teaching that discredited God and His power. But in my searching for something else better to hold onto and find security in, I realized that my parents were right and that they had reared me to believe in the right things, and most important, the right person, God Almighty. Now you can believe your idea of evolution all you want to. But friend, none of what you see and experience here on this earth happened by any accident. It took an Intelligent Being to put this all in place. I’m glad that I know that Intelligent Being is the God I serve. There is nothing in this life to hold onto if you have no belief in a Higher Power. I challenge anyone who questions what I say to find a Bible believing evangelical church in you area and experience what faith in God is all about!

  48. 48
    PhillyChief

    My friend’s family is made up of faithful Scottish drinkers. Although there came a time in his life where he felt he had to make his own decisions and in his searching for something else better to hold onto and find security in, he realized his family was right and that they reared him to believe in the right things, and most important, the right thing, a quality aged scotch.There is nothing in this life to hold onto if you have no belief in a Higher Buzz. I challenge anyone who questions what my friend believes to find an aged scotch believing local pub in your area and experience what faith in quality oak barrel aging is all about!

  49. 49
    Martin

    MikeG: No one needs to “believe in” evolution any more than they need to “believe in” gravity. Does evolution necessarily conflict with theism? Some people think so, others (like Kenneth Miller) don’t. The point is, your lack of education in science coupled with your psychological need for a security blanket to hold on to do not constitute either evidence for your “Intelligent Being” or evidence against evolution.You’re at least a step ahead of many other Christians in that you admit your beliefs are based on emotional insecurities and not facts. But you still think those emotional insecurities have some bearing on facts, and they don’t. Just because a belief system is comforting does not mean it is true.I’m afraid that, by allowing your search for “something more” to end with ancient superstitions, you have blinded yourself to the greater wonder and pageantry of life that one can experience through science. For that, you have our sympathies.

  50. 50
    Samuel

    Martin is so smart! Can everybody see how smart Martin is? “Mr. Scientist!” The only problem is, his science is rooted in philosophy. The philosophy of materialism, the belief the only thing we can truly know is matter, but how can you prove that? It’s rhetorical and intellectual manipulation. Mike G, I do recommend you get a handle on your knowledge, because these rhetorical bullies will eat you up. You can’t appeal to a heart that isn’t there. I saw Ben Stein’s movie last night and these guys are acting just like the Catholic Church when Galileo confirmed Copernicas. It’s quit sad, and Thank God for Ben Stein for pointing it out. RNA world, Panspermia, HA! I like a good laugh now and then, but you’ve got to be kidding me. Martin, you can shuffle and flip 5 cards 1 time or 1000000 times. Each time I’d bet you $5,000 that you don’t get a royal flush, because you’re right the odds don’t change and every time the odds will be in my favor. There is no empirical evidence I can “show” you to prove Theo, and you have no empirical evidence to prove Atheo. The same faith I use to say Theo you use to say Atheo, but your faith is greater than mine, because you’re going against the odds, and we are talking about much, much, much, greater odds than flipping a royal flush in the first five cards. Genius!And don’t talk about other life forms. That dramatically simplifies our experience. We are intelligent life (some of us are). That means we can create, communicate, and comprehend information. That is not my definition of intelligent life, but one of you most respected Prophets definition, Carl Sagan. In his Search for Extra-Terrestrial INTELLIGENCE his quest was two prong, transmit information into space, and listen to space for Signal, Order, Coded Information. That’s Sagan’s definition and it’s a pretty good one. Do you know what DNA is, Genius? It’s funny that you believe in other life forms, but it must be material life. That must be because you’re blinded by your philosophy. I would think a great scientist like yourself would know that sub-atomic physics is handing the death blow to materialism. Quantum mechanics, general relativity, and the standard model prove our 3 spacial dimensions and TIME are just a portion of a greater reality. As Stephen Hawking says, the four dimensions we experience in our physical reality are flat, but there are at least another 7 transcending dimension that are rolled up. Those dimensions could have intelligent life. It wouldn’t have to be physical or material life, and because of dimensional superiority who knows how we’d expience them? They could be made of the same properties as music. Is music real, or were you talking about little green men? Genius!

  51. 51
    Martin

    Christ, Samuel, are you still blathering about this? As far as I can tell, your latest screed amounts to nothing more than, “I can’t rebut you, so I’m going to throw a childish, petulant tantrum.” All this smoke you’re blowing about the “philosophy” of “materialism” amounts to sound and fury signifying nothing, and it’s particularly silly coming from a guy who’s pulling the old stunt of whipping out terms like “quantum mechanics” without even knowing what it is, and thinking that a load of speculative noise about alternate dimensions and the like supports his religious beliefs. (Seriously man, your whole rant just crashed and burned into completely incoherent nonsense there at the end.) Your desire to compare creationists to Galileo just shows what a fucking rube you are, easily swayed by the most pitiful of lies as long as your self-pitying sense of victimhood is flattered. Get this into your tiny little mind: Galileo had scientific evidence on his side, intelligent design doesn’t. After all, if there’s this slamdunk scientific theory of “intelligent design” that the Evil Nazi Darwinist Area 51 Black Helicopter Conspiracy is suppressing, why doesn’t Ben Stein’s idiot movie ever say what it is? Duhhh…Really, dude, you’re just a moron, and your off-the-shelf brand of childish anti-intellectual religious hostility is neither original nor enlightening.

  52. 52
    Samuel

    “After all, if there’s this slamdunk scientific theory of “intelligent design” that the Evil Nazi Darwinist Area 51 Black Helicopter Conspiracy is suppressing, why doesn’t Ben Stein’s idiot movie ever say what it is? Duhhh…”The slamdunk is order Genius, in a world of entropy. It’s simple and you don’t have to be a Genius to get it. A 5 year-old can tell you, you don’t get order from randomness, Genius.

  53. 53
    Martin

    You’re shitting me. The Second Law of Thermodynamics? That’s what you’ve got?You’re right, Samuel, a five year old would tell me you don’t get order from randomness. A five year old would also tell me his best friend is an invisible dragon. It makes sense you’d think a five year old was some kind of authority, since, like you, they’re pretty much completely scientifically illiterate and know nothing of either biology or physics. But at least a five year old has the excuse of being five years old. Your continued stupidity is a little humiliating for you.The 2LOT only applies to closed systems. The world is not a closed system, dude. Energy from the sun fuels the Earth’s ecosystem. There more than enough of it to go around.And as the example explains, even in nonliving systems, order randomly arises from disorder quite often. Or perhaps you’ve never seen a snowflake.Really, Samuel, I knew you were in over your head here, but I didn’t think you were such a clueless newbie as to try to pawn off creationist canards that are ten days older than Moses. At least try to grasp a few basic facts before arguing this stuff. And try to get them from legitimate scientific sources, too, not creationist ones. Those are put together by people either flagrantly dishonest, or as lacking in basic knowledge as you, and you’re just going to keep getting a load of embarrassing misinformation from them.

  54. 54
    Verity

    I admire and applaud Ben Stein’s courage in making this documentary. As Lena mentioned, the ultimate goal of this movie is not to convert atheists into “believers”, but rather to highlight and critique the all too familiar “zero-ID-tolerance” policy practiced in the scientific academia.First of all, I would like to comment on the purpose of science and its realm of expertise. Science is a tool used to observe the “things” around us. Beyond that, it has no authority. It cannot provide an answer for the theoretical question of where the very first “thing” came from, or shall I put it, how did something appear out of nothing?Thus, this is where ID comes in. There are many “theories” proposed to answer this question of the origin of life that are accepted as valid by the scientific community, for instance the alien theory- that life first arrived on Earth in the form of an alien (an organism not from Earth). This is considered a “theory” because some scientists believe that theoretically, this can be tested, whereas ID cannot and therefore, ID should not be considered a theory. However, such reasoning is flawed because the alien theory seeks to provide an explanation for the origin of life from the “middle” of the story, not the beginning, which should be the aim of origin theories. If the first life on Earth came from an alien, the real question to ask is: from what was the alien life created? where did Earth come from? Where did the elements needed to create the Big Bang come from? How was something created from nothing?When a theory exists to explain the ultimate origin, it should literally, explain where that first life form came from and likewise, explain where the elements that created those first forms of life came from. If this fundamental question is ignored, surly it is not an adequate theory of origin.So now that there is an explanation that indicates atheist scientists’ theories of origin as equally “untestable” as ID, I’d like to question, why should ID be excluded from the category of theories? ID can be equally (if not more)credible as any other theory of origin that serves to explain evolution. Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project, claims that God may be the designer who uses evolution to create His creations. Pretty much, this theory, also known as BioLogos, explains how ID and evolution do not stand on polar ends but rather, stand side by side in mutual support for one another. My point is, if some scientists want to believe that life came from aliens, backs of crystals, or leprechauns, then so be it; but don’t bash those who believe in BioLogos because when you bring it down to the heart of the theory, the basher’s theory of origin rests upon an “I don’t know” foundation whereas BioLogos, actually has an answer to the ultimate origin of everything: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).I personally believe that science is a tool humans use to observe God’s creations. For me, ID gives science a meaning and a purpose. Therefore, I believe it is ignorant to assume that believing in the existence of God is equivalent to spurning science. To look more into BioLogos, please read the book, The Language of God by Francis Collins or his presentation on “The Language of God” given at UC Berkeley, available on the following YouTube site: http://youtube.com/watch?v=DjJAWuzno9Y

  55. 55
    Martin

    As Lena mentioned, the ultimate goal of this movie is not to convert atheists into “believers”, but rather to highlight and critique the all too familiar “zero-ID-tolerance” policy practiced in the scientific academia.Then you should be aware that this “policy” the movie claims is in effect is one fat falsehood. Allow me to explain. It is difficult for new ideas to get accepted into the scientific mainstream, it’s true. That does not, however, translate, into a “zero-tolerance policy” or anything of the kind. The reason ID has not been accepted by the scientific community to date is that the proponents of ID have not produced the work necessary to validate their idea. There is no research, no evidence, no predictions that have been made and then satisfied by ID’s claims. In short, ID is one big case of “Where’s the beef?” And yet its proponents want it automatically accepted by the scientific mainstream and taught in classes, and whine about “suppression” when it is not. In short, here’s the basic difference. This is the process by which ideas usually gain acceptance in science:Hypothesis –> Research –> Peer Review –> Scientific Consensus –> Textbook/ClassroomsHere’s what the ID crowd wants for ID:Hypothesis ————–> Textbook/ClassroomsThing is, you don’t get those kinds of shortcuts in science. The process of acceptance in the scientific community is supposed to be hard, because science deals with learning what the hard facts are, and — here is the point that IDers find hard to accept — it doesn’t care what your favorite religion or ideology is. If you’ve got a million people with a holy book that declares the sky is orange, well, that belief won’t change the fact the sky is blue, and there’s no basis to teach the “orange sky theory” as an alternate in classrooms just because lots of people would rather believe that in contrast to what the actual evidence is.The hard truth is, you’ve been lied to, Verity. And given that you seem to be a decent person (and you use a screen name, or maybe it’s even your real name, like Verity), you should not be so quick to praise Ben Stein’s “courage” in feeding you a heaping pile of self-serving, ideologically-based lies. What the makers of this film have done is both morally and factually indefensible.First of all, I would like to comment on the purpose of science and its realm of expertise.That’s a bit presumptuous for someone who isn’t a scientist to do, but let’s see what you think science is.Science is a tool used to observe the “things” around us. Beyond that, it has no authority. It cannot provide an answer for the theoretical question of where the very first “thing” came from, or shall I put it, how did something appear out of nothing?I knew you were going to get it wrong, but I’ll try to explain it in a straightforward way.First off, you’re right in implying, though you don’t quite put it properly, that what science does is draw conclusions about the natural world through observation and experimentation. This does not mean that certain ideas are off limits. (Although, if your assertion that science “cannot provide an answer for the theoretical question of where the very first “thing” came from,” then that would rule out ID as a scientific idea too, would it not?)I agree with Dawkins in that, if a God exists and is responsible for the existence of the universe, how could that not be a question for scientific study?But just because science hasn’t found the answer to a question yet doesn’t mean it never will, or that it’s a question that is somehow “off limits.” Still, two things: 1) The ultimate origin of the universe question is entirely irrelevant, and indeed a completely different field of inquiry, to evolution. Evolution only deals with the development of species and organisms after they already exist. And 2) I can’t speak for others, but I think the whole “ex nihilo” argument is rooted in a false premise and is completely stupid. I certainly don’t argue as an atheist that “something came from nothing,” and I don’t know any intelligent person who does. Still, it’s an irrelevant topic to the evolution issue, and when Ben Stein has asked, publicly (making a right fool of himself too), that if evolution is true “where did the laws of gravity come from,” he’s simply revealing himself to be a pig-ignorant idiot. And not someone worthy of your admiration. Evolution is not, and never has been, a field of science dealing with the universe’s origins.Your next mistake: There are many “theories” proposed to answer this question of the origin of life that are accepted as valid by the scientific community, for instance the alien theory- that life first arrived on Earth in the form of an alien (an organism not from Earth).Buzzzz. No, “panspermia” is not an accepted scientific theory. Allow me to repeat this so you don’t miss it. “Panspermia” is not an accepted scientific theory.Remember, in science, an idea only gets to be called a theory once it has survived falsification and the evidence supporting it is so robust that it would be more foolish to continue to doubt it rather than accept it. Panspermia has not a lick of evidence, and is therefore not a scientific theory any more than ID.Here you have fallen for one of the movie’s more infantile deceptions. In Dawkins’ interview, he brought up panspermia as one possible way in which something like ID could happen. But he did so to point out the idea was no better supported than the traditional religious concept of ID. Naturally, the producers wanted to make Dawkins look foolish, and edited the interview to make it sound like he was declaring a belief in aliens. This is just one example of the ethical failings of this movie, and Dawkins discusses it in more detail here. However, such reasoning is flawed because the alien theory seeks to provide an explanation for the origin of life from the “middle” of the story, not the beginning, which should be the aim of origin theories. If the first life on Earth came from an alien, the real question to ask is: from what was the alien life created? where did Earth come from? Where did the elements needed to create the Big Bang come from? How was something created from nothing?You’re quite right in that the “alien theory” (remember, not a theory) starts in the middle, and still requires explanation of where the aliens came from. That was exactly the point Dawkins made that got cut from the film. This is what Dawkins says in his editorial.In fact, natural selection is the very opposite of a chance process, and it is the only ultimate explanation we know for complex, improbable things. Even if our species was created by space alien designers, those designers themselves would have to have arisen from simpler antecedents — so they can’t be an ultimate explanation for anything. No matter how god-like our interstellar aliens may be, and no matter how vast and wonderful their starships, they cannot have designed the universe because, like human engineers and all complex things, they are late arrivals in it.See what you learn once you get away from Ben Stein’s duplicity?And here’s the next point you miss. ID also starts “in the middle,” and still requires an explanation of where the intelligent designer, aka God, came from. IDer’s can’t get around that. Maybe they can when they preach from the pulpit, but they can’t get around it in the scientific arena.When a theory exists to explain the ultimate origin, it should literally, explain where that first life form came from and likewise, explain where the elements that created those first forms of life came from. If this
    fundamental question is ignored, surly it is not an adequate theory of origin.
    Remember, evolution is not a theory of origin. Abiogenesis, the study of how life ultimately originated, is a different field altogether, and they don’t have a theory yet. Furthermore, cosmological questions rooted in physics are also not related to evolution in any way.…why should ID be excluded from the category of theories? ID can be equally (if not more)credible as any other theory of origin that serves to explain evolution.It can be, but ID needs to become a theory first, rather than what it is now, a rather shaky hypothesis. I’ll go one further and say that ID is really nothing more than the age-old “God of the Gaps” argument dressed up in pseudoscientific jargon. But if ID has a good chance at becoming a legitimate scientific theory taught in classrooms, well, first they need to do the research and produce results. And this, they aren’t doing. Their claims of being “expelled” are just a PR smokescreen to divert the public’s attention away from the fact they aren’t doing this research at all. And here’s perhaps the most vital point: that the reason science is rejecting ID at the moment is that they’ve let the cat out of the bag already. It has never been the goal of ID supporters to do scientific research to promote ID as science. “ID” as a concept was simply created as a sockpuppet for traditional Biblical creationism, to get Christian religious teachings presented in science classes in such a way as to avoid “the lemon test” and skirt any legal church-state separation issues. It was never intended, even by its proponents, to be pursued as a real field of scientific study and research.The proof of this is in an internal memo of the Discovery Institute, leaked to the public, called the Wedge Document. The Wedge Document details a comprehensive PR strategy by which science will be undermined and replaced with religious teachings. The document is a wildly paranoid rant that openly declares its intent from the get-go.The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy….Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.Later the document declares that scholarship and scientific research is only to be done in the interests of giving the appearance of scientific legitimacy and supporting their predetermined ideological goals. This right there invalidates the whole ID movement as scientifically valid, as science cannot be done simply in the furtherance of a political/social agenda. But the Discovery Institute doesn’t care:Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade. A lesson we have learned from the history of science is that it is unnecessary to outnumber the opposing establishment. Scientific revolutions are usually staged by an initially small and relatively young group of scientists who are not blinded by the prevailing prejudices and who are able to do creative work at the pressure points, that is, on those critical issues upon which whole systems of thought hinge. So, in Phase I we are supporting vital witting and research at the sites most likely to crack the materialist edifice.So as you can see, these aren’t scientists out pursuing scientific inquiry out of a desire to expand upon humanity’s knowledge. These are fanatics with an ideological axe to grind, who have already declared the scientific mainstream their enemies and laid out their conclusions in advance. Call this what you will (I call it duplicitous fanatical lunacy), but IT ISN’T SCIENCE…full stop.The claims of “persecution” coming from Expelled start to look a little different once you know the reality of the campaign behind them, do they not?It was, in part, the Wedge Document that pulled back the curtain on ID and caused it to lose the Dover trial. Well, that, and having ID superstar Michael Behe admit under oath that in order for ID to be considered scientific, the definition of science would have to be broadened so as to include astrology didn’t help.Later on the Wedge Document lists “documentaries and other media productions” among “activities” designed to spread the ID “Destroy All Meterialism” campaign to the public. In other words, Expelled is just the latest salvo in a long-planned anti-science propaganda campaign. A pitifully inept one, too, in that they managed to let their manifesto get out to the world for all to see.…but don’t bash those who believe in BioLogos because when you bring it down to the heart of the theory, the basher’s theory of origin rests upon an “I don’t know” foundation whereas BioLogos, actually has an answer to the ultimate origin of everything: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).Replace “God” in the above with “Invisible Cosmic Unicorn,” and suddenly you’ll see it’s no explanation at all. You’re just back to “God of the Gaps.” And that isn’t science, just religious apologetics. “BioLogos,” a fancy term for “Goddidit,” I’m sorry to say, is no “theory” in the scientific sense. You don’t form scientific theories simply by tossing out quotes from ancient holy books. Let Francis Collins do some real research into it, and let’s see it survive peer review, before we leap to taking it seriously.You make not like that all the “bashers” have as alternative to “BioLogos” is “I don’t know,” Verity. But at least that’s both honest and true. Francis Collins doesn’t know, either. But he’s plugging his God into that Gap regardless. Thing is, the honest thing to say when you don’t yet know the correct answer to a question is “I don’t know.” It is not honest to make up an answer like [insert deity here] and declare yourself to have a better answer, or even an answer at all. Those of us who believe in doing science the right way, free of preconceived notions or a religious ideology to protect, may not get high public approval ratings for being less godly, but at least we’re too honest simply to place our ignorance on an altar and call it “God.”I personally believe that science is a tool humans use to observe God’s creations. For me, ID gives science a meaning and a purpose.I’m sorry to hear that you think the purpose of science is simply to validate an ancient religion you’ve already decided to believe in. If you look at the wonders of our natural world and the universe we live in, science has revealed so much that is so dazzling, and so far beyond anything any ancient holy book ever imagined, that to reduce the scope of what we’ve learned through science down to the shallow and impoverished view of life sold by religion is to do not only yourself but all of humanity and the whole universe a vast disservice.

  56. 56
    jdbartlett

    Regarding Dawkins and directed panspermia: in an NPR interview recorded last year, Dawkins said this about directed panspermia, after calling it “jokey”:”I don’t really believe that’s what happened on this planet. I don’t think Francis Crick did, either. I believe that life did originate on this planet as a simple beginning by processes that we shall eventually understand lying in the laws of chemistry…”Dawkins uses the same arguments and examples in many interviews, because they are true and they work to deliver his message. He attempted to use the same argument when he mentioned directed panspermia to the Expelled team, but they dishonestly edited out his point and instead claimed that he believes in directed panspermia (assumedly unaware that their lies are unintentionally exposed by his own contrary proclamations elsewhere!) If you want to hear what Dawkins was really talking about when he mentioned directed panspermia, listen to the full clip of this interview at NPR’s website:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9180871Verity, I’m going to assume you come from a Christian/theistic background, in which case you may also be interested in listening to “Part II of the Discussion” (in the link above). In it, Francis Collins, a prominent scientist and a Christian who believes in God, explains that evolution and Christianity are not at odds. You may also be interested to hear some lectures by Ken Miller. Look up either of these names in YouTube or Google Video and I’m sure you’ll find some recordings of lectures, etc. Coming from a Christian background myself, these two people really helped me drop my hostility toward arbitrary theological traditions and genuinely appreciate science. I hope they help you, too.

  57. 57
    Samuel

    Snowflake? HA,ha,ha!I’ve got a new name for you Genius. It’s,”Snowflake the devout Materialist; Genius!”Listen Snowflake,I guess entropy was the wrong word. I didn’t mean to get you going on some rant about thermodynamics, the “2LOT”, and all the rest of that complicated science stuff. You know it just goes right over my head Snowflake. I suppose I could have used the word Chaos, but you probably would have gone on some cosmology rant, or I could have used Cacophony, but then we’d have to read about all of your knowledge regarding music and sounds. You’d probably say something brilliant like, “The wind whistles randomly sometimes as it blows”, and how can I argue with that? But let me ask you a question Snowflake,A snowflake is to a cell as Snowflake’s intellect is to___________. Even the 5 year-olds can get this one.You see Snowflake, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about thermodynamics, cosmology, music, or whatever, we have never, ever, seen the type of order from randomness as the redundant, era correcting, self replicating, code in Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It is not only order, but it is INFORMATION and we’ve already covered this, information means INTELLIGENCE.You of all people should understand this Snowflake. You have all this information and you believe it makes you intelligent. In fact, you try to bully and belittle anyone who doesn’t have as much information as you, because they are less intelligent. You understand perfectly well that information means intelligence and this is exactly the point Ben Stein makes in his movie. We’ve only known about the information in DNA for about 1/2 a century and now that we know it is evidence of intelligence and a Intelligent Designer. It’s the slamdunk, Snowflake!

  58. 58
    dddssdira

    WOW, do people really believe what they write here or do they type without thinking? Lena don’t argue with people over typing some people just don’t get it. People must seek the truth, and if Martin believes what he is typing so be it, if kazim believes what he is typing so be it. Think to when you are going to be taking your last breath from this life, do you know in your heart truly where you are going? Have you spent time with loved ones when they are in that bed taking their last breath? It’s comforting to know that you know in your heart where you are going, its scary to think that while you have time on this earth that some just won’t listen. I pray for those that have ears and can not hear, I pray for those that have eyes and can not see, I know see myself that this is true. Be supportive, find out where these people are coming from, its interesting to see what people put into their filter system and what is real to them.

  59. 59
    Martin

    It is not only order, but it is INFORMATION and we’ve already covered this, information means INTELLIGENCE.Assertions like that are not evidence, nor are they any kind of a theory.And I think there are quite a few people more educated than you who will explain to you in detail that “information theory” as applied to “intelligent design” is based on loads of false premises, and that Dembski’s ideas in this regard are especially shoddy in their methodology.Then again, being so brilliant, I’m sure you can show all these folks why they’re wrong, and even go on to show where this “intelligence” itself came from, eh?Until then, your juvenile tantrum-throwing over the fact I keep pwning your bullshit has gotten tiresome, and so your new nickname around here is “Banned.” Go find something to do to get your anger out of your system, like taking your little brother’s lunch money.Hugs & kissesSnowflake

  60. 60
    Laura

    I’m going to see it. Not to mock it, but because I agree with it and all of your slamming comments with profanity are proof that the athiest/darwinism system of belif is down the tubes.Ther are more of us than you think. The last two times I saw it, the theatres were packed with people applauding Ben Stein. You would do well to stop criticizing other people for what they believe and realize that you’re not smarter than anyone because you believe in ‘science’

  61. 61
    Martin

    What’s “belif”?I’ve seen huge crowds applaud Britney Spears and Benny Hinn. Big deal. People in this country have a habit of showering praise on the wrong people.Ther are more of us than you think.Yes, I know there are more uneducated people than educated people in the world. Tell me something new.Feel free to agree with the movie all you like, dear. That won’t change two salient facts: 1. Everything it claims is false. 2. Intelligent design is not science.And I reserve the right to criticize anyone I choose, especially for what they believe, when what they believe is misguided, insupportable nonsense.

  62. 62
    Martin

    Take your cutpasting elsewhere, Samuel. Dumbski has his own blog, and he can post his own drivel there without your help.

  63. 63
    bigham677

    This discussion brings out so many issues that it’s impossible to do it any justice with a 3 paragraph comment.However, saying that evolution is a scientific fact because it has been proven reliable when subjected to the “scientific method,” is quite simply exaggerating.The scientific method involves:1. Observation of phenomena2. Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena3. Use of hypotheses to explain the existence of the phenomena, or predict results from new observations4. Performance of experiments to test the predictions.One of the most crucial underpinnings of evolutionary theory is the “first cell” hypotheses. However, applying the scientific method to this hypotheses, we recognize the fragility of the theory’s underpinnings. For example, most of these hypotheses propose that the first primitive cell originated in some organic sea soup or some other nutrient rich environment. There could have been other events, such as lightning or volcanic eruptions, that sparked or provided the initial impetus for the cell’s formation. Whatever the case, there was a RANDOMNESS to the whole affair because after all, there was no ONE directing or creating the system that gave birth to the first cell.If this is true then the question we should ask ourselves is why a “cell”, capable of self-reproduction, has not yet been created in a laboratory using just raw chemicals? To appreciate this question we must remember that we have state of the art technology that can create any kind of environment imaginable. We have barometric chambers that can simulate atmospheric pressures ranging from zero to several hundred bars. We have the ability to extract basic elements and recombine them into complex chemical compounds including organic compounds. We have the ability to create heat with lasers hotter than the surface of the sun, and should be able to easily infuse such energy into any organic environment. We have this and many great and astounding capabilities, but we still can not create one single puny viable cell in a sterile laboratory environment.What supposedly happened in a RANDOM setting we have not been able to reproduce in a controlled experiment. What happened without any help or direction but with just mere RANDOMNESS to aid it, we cannot coax and direct into being using advanced technology and assisted by the most intelligent and creative scientific minds on this earth.I find this very hard to BELIEVE.Now you might say that I have unfairly picked a weakness in the theory and chosen to ignore other scientifically sound principles which stand up well under rigorous scientific examination. I acknowledge that strong evidence in the archaeological record and in other areas do exist.However, the first cell is the first LIFE. Evolution at its core is an explanation of how LIFE came to be. This primordial question itself is the cause of all argument, disputes, rants, and ravings on this site and others.Furthermore, any scientific theory should strive for strong foundations and cohesiveness. One plus one is two and from this we can build to go on to integral calculus and differential equations. Undermine what 1 + 1 means and all of mathematics collapses on itself. Undermine RANDOMNESS as an explanation for the first LIFE and the pillar sustaining the theory collapses under weight of more complicated evolutionary principles.If the foundation is not very strong then how can we say that that the theory is very scientific.Now you will say that what Darwin observed in the finches, what the laboratory has confirmed with adaptation and survival of the fittest, and what archeology so clearly shows in the fossil record can not be disputed and is actually scientifically sound and true. Because of this, you say, we will have to assume that there is a reasonable scientific explanation for the first cell that has yet to be discovered. You have faith in this.Well then, how are you different from the creationist. The creationist can not capture God in a laboratory and certainly can not coax God, while in a laboratory environment, into creating a universe in six days. The creationist simply believes that the hand of God was creating all observable phenomena and directing the beginnings of all LIFE.If you as an evolutionist can jump the origins of life and not have to defend or explain with a sound scientific framework how LIFE first began, then why scorn the creationist when he takes that same leap of FAITH.

  64. 64
    Martin

    bigham677, it looks to me like you’ve been collating every single creationist canard you’ve ever heard and saving them up. Quite simply nothing you’ve said about evolution here is true. You have misunderstandings of the theory at the most fundamental level. Much of your criticism of evolution is a huge straw man, as you attack the theory for failing to be something it isn’t, and making claims it doesn’t make. “First cell” hypothesis? Not in reality, my friend. Understand this. Evolution at its core is NOT “an explanation of how LIFE came to be.” Evolution is not a theory dealing with the ultimate origins of life. That field of study, and it’s quite a different one, is called abiogenesis.Darwin’s theory only explains how biodiversity occurred, how living things changed and developed, only after life already existed. And no, natural selection is not a “random” process.I would suggest that you ought to learn more about what evolution really is — which is information that can only be gleaned from legitimate scientific sources, not creationist ones, which habitually spread falsehoods and disinformation — before thinking you’re ready to criticize it. Some helpful online resources can be found here and here for starters.

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