Creationism and Censorship

Young-Earth Creationists and cdesign proponentsists regularly accuse the academy and the world of censoring them (whereas the truth of the matter is that they are ignored or passed over for doing weak science and in most cases simply not doing science at all).

If you want to see censorship and exclusion in action, you have to look at what creationists themselves do.

The latest (rather amusing) example is covered on a number of blogs: Pharyngula (more than once), Amused Muse (twice), ERV, Further Thoughts, The Austringer, The Bad Idea Blog, Hyper-Textual Ontology, Open Parachute, Sporadic Maunderings (twice), Stranger Fruit, Rev. BigDumbChimp, TeacherNinja, Matt’s Notepad (twice), Conspiracy Factory (twice), Higgaion (twice, and oh the irony of the second one), Monkey Trials (three times), Bene Diction Blogs On (twice), Science Reporting, Sandwalk (multiple posts) and Thoughts in a Haystack (twice, the first attributing to me prophetic ability, but one doesn’t need prophetic ability to talk about things that are ongoing characteristics of a movement). The Panda’s Thumb has multiple posts on the subject. Greg Laden has a round up. You can also see what the other side(s) think(s).

Richard Dawkins, who was allowed into the showing of Expelled!, has posted a review.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10828225180668865911 Mystical Seeker

    It’s hard for me to take sides in a dispute between PZ Myers and creationists, since both sides of that debate express dogmatic hostility towards progressive religious faith that seeks to integrate a scientific understanding with a religious faith. PZ Myers, you might recall, came out against Evolution Sunday a year ago.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17336244849636477317 John Pieret

    … one doesn’t need prophetic ability to talk about things that are ongoing characteristics of a movement …I knew you’d say that!;-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12530161743505339352 Wesley

    I don’t agree with PZ Myers on a number of things, Evolution Sunday among them. (Check out the “whois” for “evolutionsunday.org” sometime.) One doesn’t need to agree with PZ on everything to be able to see that what the “Expelled” producers are doing is morally indefensible. I think that casting things as who is doing what to whom is simply moral relativism. One of the news stories that angered me most years ago was one where a judge offered a pillar of the community a token sentence for raping a prostitute. He was guilty, sure, reasoned the judge, but the victim wasn’t a person of quality and thus the offense was not so great. Excuse me if I decline to board that train.Wesley R. Elsberry

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10828225180668865911 Mystical Seeker

    Of course it was inexcusable for the producers of the film to expel PZ Myers. But the problem is that this nasty incident is just a skirmish in a battle between two sides that are both wrong headed and ignorant on the question of the possibilities of a scientifically literate faith. Since I refuse to come down on either side in that conflict, I can’t get all that worked up about one side does to the other. Let them fight it out amongst themselves.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06198312723247416995 Forthekids

    Oh, hey James, you forgot to link to my post about the incident!!Let me personally thank everyone who has blogged about this event. The publicity for the movie is just awesome!! ROTFL…Oh, and I’d have to disagree with everyone who demands that PZ should have been allowed to see the flick. These are preliminary private screenings. They can let in whoever they want, and they can turn them away as well. PZ will get his chance to see the documentary…he’s not actually being “expelled” from doing so. He’s just going to have to show a little patience…lol.CARRY ON!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17336244849636477317 John Pieret

    Let me personally thank everyone who has blogged about this event. The publicity for the movie is just awesome!! ROTFL…I know it’s difficult for you but try not to be silly. Most of the people who read these blogs already know something about the issues (or, as in your case, resolutely refuse to know about them) and have already made up their minds about whether or not to see this piece of trash.To the extent that word of this event does slip out into the “mainstream,” do you really think average Americans will think well of movie producers and their product when they’re showing the thing all over the place, including state legislatures, but afraid to show it to one of the people actually in the movie? And to top it all off, they’re so incompetant at keeping out the “riffraff” that they let the most famous atheist in the world in! If you think that’s good publicity, you’re even more out of touch with reality than I thought.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06198312723247416995 Forthekids

    To the extent that word of this event does slip out into the “mainstream,” do you really think average Americans will think well of movie producers and their product when they’re showing the thing all over the place, including state legislatures, but afraid to show it to one of the people actually in the movie?Do you not realize how lame that argument is? Truly…just think for a second. The movie is going to be released in what? …about 28 day? PZ and every Darwin lovin’ person on the planet can view it and blog to their delight about the supposed “lying, dishonest, ignorant, Jesus freaks”. You’re forgetting that they let Dawkins and PZ’s family attend, and even if for some reason the guard didn’t recognize Dawkin’s, it had to be obvious that there were plenty of PZ’s admirers present as PZ has already told us that he talked to several people before actually leaving. The guard let all of them in without incident. It doesn’t really follow then that they are afraid of what Darwnists might say, now does it?Honestly, I think it was a stroke of genius to keep PZ out. Everyone knows the man would run *immediately* to his laptop and claim martyrdom, and God knows the man has a large audience of raging atheists to pass on the word without even thinking about the consequences. LOL…the publicity from this little ordeal is just outstanding.And, no, I’m not worried that anyone will think poorly of the producers or anyone else associated with the film. You seem to forget that the grand majority of people in the polls agree that the controversial issues in this debate should be addressed, and if they read some of the posts and comments on the blogs that are covering this circus event, they’re going to wake up to the way the “scientific elite” treat people who question their “science”.This is a win/win situation for ID supporters. Bellow from the rooftops boys. Oh, btw, for anyone out there lurking, you can get your tickets April 18th!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10828225180668865911 Mystical Seeker

    I think that the comments by “forthekids” illustrates my point that this whole brouhaha is between dogmatic atheists on the one hand and proponents of scientifically ignorant religion on the other–it doesn’t really have anything to do the rest of us who seek an intellectually viable religious faith that incorporates evolution. I say let them argue with each other.PZ Myers has made it clear that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with us people of faith who support evolution. He sneers at us, he considers us no better than those Christians who promote scientifically illiterate attacks on evolution, even though we agree with him on evolution. To him, we are all the same bunch of folk. Even though he is right about evolution, he makes it clear that he doesn’t want us who agree with him on evolution on his side. So I will happily oblige him and step aside in this controversy.By the way, note that the proponent of ID in comments here lumps PZ Myers, “Darwinists”, and “raging atheists” all in the same category. See what I mean? The same “lumping together” happens on the other side of that controversy. People of faith are no different from “raging atheists” if they support evolution, according to that view. Those of us who fall into neither the ID camp nor the PZ Myers camp can easily see this as a battle between two sets of fundamentalists who really share the same attitudes about what the real relationship between religion and science supposedly is. Opposite teams, but same assumptions. That is not a game I will play.

  • Carlos

    It may be ironic that Myers was asked to leave a screening of Expelled, but what exactly is “morally indefensible” here? Certainly it’s not that Myers was asked to leave the screening; the producers were well within their rights, no?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06198312723247416995 Forthekids

    Here’s the deal…I had NO clue that there were so many atheists in this battle until about 4 years ago. I used to think that the religious right was seriously exaggerating about the the issue in the evo/ID debate.BUT THEN I RAN ACROSS THE INTERNET DEBATE. BOY! What an eye opener. The problem is that almost all the opponents that you find discussing these issues on line are ATHEISTS. The NAS? – Atheists. Even the Scienceblogs are primarily composed of atheist bloggers who often seem to write about atheism, politics and those damn “creationists” more than they share scientific information.If you knew me personally, you’d probably be *shocked* at the fact that I’m nothing even close to the fanatical religious right stereotype. But, far be it for me to even attempt to prove that here.The scientific issues were what initially brought me to this debate, but the religious implications are certainly right there in your face as well…and, both subjects are *certainly* interesting.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10828225180668865911 Mystical Seeker

    The problem is that almost all the opponents that you find discussing these issues on line are ATHEISTS.How ironic that you are making this assertion in the blog of an opponent of ID who is not an atheist.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06198312723247416995 Forthekids

    Sometimes, it’s quite hard to tell that he’s not an atheist.I’m just sayin’….And, no, that’s not condemning… just observing that he seems to agree with them about most things, and he slams me at every available opportunity. I’d be interested in what he basis his religious faith upon.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10828225180668865911 Mystical Seeker

    Sometimes, it’s quite hard to tell that he’s not an atheist.I’m just sayin’….Voila! And with that comment, you prove my point–namely, what I wrote in an earlier comment about the shared assumptions that your gang and the PZ Myers gang have about the nature of religious faith and science. You and Myers have more in common than either of you realize. Which makes this entire debate so hilarious.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17336244849636477317 John Pieret

    Do you not realize how lame that argument is? Truly…just think for a second. The movie is going to be released in what? …about 28 day? PZ and every Darwin lovin’ person on the planet can view it and blog to their delight about the supposed “lying, dishonest, ignorant, Jesus freaks”. Then why keep him out? Don’t you see how lame the producers look? No, I suppose you can’t.And where did PZ claim martyrdom? He agreed they had the right to keep him out and merely thought it was seriously funny … which any rational person would. As for the notion that the producers did it on purpose, the account of someone in favor of the movie didn’t think that Dawkins’ presence was anything but a surprise:http://lookingcloser.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/richard-dawkins-crashes-the-party-at-a-screening-of-expelled/But hey! You’re used to spinning fantasies.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    I don’t think it could be said that I tend to agree with atheists as such, FTK, certainly not on things to do specifically with atheism. I emphatically dotend to agree with biologists on matters of biology, as any thinking person should. If you looked into it, you’d find that whether or not one is an atheist has little or no bearing on one’s understanding of biology if one knows the field in depth. The evidence is pretty clear. The problem is that it is all too easy for tricksters and charlatans to take advantage of gullible Christians who find the conclusions of biology disconcerting (because they haven’t studied the Bible any more than biology in any kind of serious, academically-informed way) and want to disbelieve them. As for the basis for my faith, it is the experience of surrendering my life to God and having a sense of peace wash over me. In other words, the experience of being born again. What is your faith based on?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00394492083234379612 Steve

    Those folks banning P Z Meyers may have been within their rights. What concerns me is their reasoning. What noble Christian sentiment did it express? Was it out of some kind of fear or some kind of calculation to make news? If either of those, it does not honor the Christian faith, in my opinion.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12530161743505339352 Wesley

    It may be ironic that Myers was asked to leave a screening of Expelled, but what exactly is “morally indefensible” here? Certainly it’s not that Myers was asked to leave the screening; the producers were well within their rights, no?Legality and morality are two different things that sometimes overlap, as Charles Dickens made a career out of writing about.So far, the producers of “Expelled” have (1) lied to PZ Myers to improve their chances of getting his consent to an interview, (2) picked him out for public disinvitation at the screening, (3) lied again to the screening audience about the reason PZ Myers was not admitted, and (4) lied some more to people on the Internet to act like they had some justification for their actions other than not wishing to have Myers in the advance screening.On the other side, PZ Myers followed their procedures for making a reservation and followed instructions that said that no ticket was necessary, then complied with their requests when disinvited at the line.Legally, of course, the “Expelled” producers can arbitrarily admit or deny admittance as they choose to a private screening and make all the false statements they like following that. The pretense that it is any failing on Myers’ part to follow the procedures they laid out for attendance is transparently false, but still quite legal.Morally, though, I’m at a loss to find an action of the “Expelled” producers with respect to Myers that approaches a good moral stance.I was not making an argument that the “Expelled” producers had acted illegally. I was observing that they had acted immorally.Wesley R. Elsberry


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