Humanist Response to Expelled

Recently, The New York Times ran an article on Ben Stein‘s deceptive movie Expelled.

The article focused on how the religious producers lied about their intentions when they interviewed prominent scientists.

American Humanist Association director Roy Speckhardt has a response letter in today’s NYT:

To the Editor:

There’s a hidden question in “Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life’s Origin” (front page, Sept. 27). If one needs to believe in a god to be moral, why are we seeing yet another case of dishonesty by the devout? Why were leading scientists deceived as to the intentions of a religious group of filmmakers?

It’s immaterial that nobody may have asked about the film’s premise. It was the duty of the filmmakers to provide it, unasked. We godless humanists know this; why didn’t the filmmakers? Moreover, the very scientists whom creationists decry don’t make films under such false pretenses.

So here’s the humanist challenge to conservative evangelicals who are the likely audience. Show us your unyielding morality by writing letters of protest to Premise Media, producer of the film, and refuse to reward deception with your dollars.

We humanists will be watching.

Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director, American Humanist Association
Washington, Sept. 27, 2007



[tags]atheist, atheism, Humanism, Creationist, Intelligent Design[/tags]

  • Blair

    To be fair, I didn’t see atheists complaining when Randy Olson sandbagged John Calver in Flock of Dodos or when Brian Flemming ambushed his subjects in the God WWT movie.

    And Ben Stein is a COMEDIAN.

    Lighten up.

  • http://joshuamcharles.com/blog/ Josh Charles

    Did Flemming really ambush that guy in TGWWT? He was honest about the topic, but perhaps he hadn’t made his stance clear?

    A great conter-example to this type of behavior is the documentary ‘Michael Moore Hates America.’ It’s got a terrible name when you actually view it, because it’s about a lot more than Michael Moore. The filmmaker didn’t represent himself honestly in an interview, and he realized his mistake which made him sick, and fixed it, and you see it play out on the screen.

  • Karen

    Randy Olsen did not “sandbag” anyone. I saw the movie, and heard him speak about it in person. He was up front about what he was doing and bent over backwards to present creationist views in a fair manner and to be respectful to creationists.

    Flemming certainly did man-on-the-street interviews with Christians outside the Billy Graham meeting. Not sure how much he told them about what the subject of his film was, though.

  • Siamang

    And Ben Stein is a COMEDIAN.

    Which fits, because Intelligent Design is a joke.

  • http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~ludtke/prof/index.htm cautious

    Yeah, wow, I just read the original article. I had no idea that Ben Stein and Ann Coulter lived on the same side of Idiotsville.

  • anon
  • http://doubtfuldaughter.blogspot.com doubtfuldaughter

    For whatever reason, I never thought Ben Stein was a creationist type person. I honestly can’t understand how someone with half a brain could defend ID one way or the other. The whole debate just seems a monumental waste of time and energy.

  • http://www.magicpictureframe.com michael class

    I wonder, would a public school teacher in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, be allowed to say the following:

    “It is interesting to contemplate … [all the many forms of life on earth] … so different from each other, have all been produced by laws acting around us. … There is grandeur in this view of life, HAVING BEEN ORIGINALLY BREATHED BY THE CREATOR INTO A FEW FORMS OR INTO ONE; and that from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”

    Just imagine a public school teacher who says those words: that God creates life and places it on the earth in a few forms, and then that life evolves according to the physical and natural laws that God put into place in the universe.

    Would that be allowed?

    Actually, it should be REQUIRED FOR THE TEACHER TO SAY THAT.

    Why? Because the quote is from: On the Origin of the Species, Chapter XV, Recapitulation and Conclusion, By Charles Darwin.

    If you are going to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution in public schools, you should teach what Darwin actually wrote about it.

    ****

    If you believe in God, you really have only two choices:

    1. God created all life on earth like a carnival magician, or the Amazing Kreskin: a wave of the hands and poof! there was life. That’s Creationism. (I dont believe God does his handiwork like a second rate magician.)

    or…

    2. God created all the processes, chemistry, mathematics, and physical laws that govern the universe with an end in mind – the creation of life. It’s a belief in God as powerful and intelligent on a grand scale. In this belief, evolution IS intelligent design. Evolution is not random, though it may have random elements. The goal was to create man.

    Doesn’t all of science – everything we have learned so far – leads us to this view? It is not an incompatible view. I recall that AT&T/Bell Labs scientists won the Nobel Prize for “hearing” the remaining noise of the Big Bang – the origin of the Universe. But what the scientists couldn’t tell us – and no scientist can yet tell us – is where did the original matter come from, and how did life get breathed into it?

    Einstein proved that space and time are related, and postulated that the Universe is expanding, but finite. What is beyond the finite universe?

    I am an engineer by training, and have always enjoyed science and scientific inquiry. I believe that scientific inquiry only leads to one thing: the discovery and understanding of the rules of the Universe – the rules that God created, the way God decided the Universe would work.

    Year by year, decade by decade, and century by century, we discover and understand more of God’s “scientific” design of the Universe. His “rules.”

    That leaves us with one really important question: Why?

    And THAT is the right question.

    Michael S. Class
    Author

    Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame: The History Book with a Message for Today’s Young Americans

    Read the book. Remember the truth. Share it with your children.

    Web Site: http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com

    ———————–

  • http://alcaritown.myminicity.com/ Alcari

    God created all the processes, chemistry, mathematics, and physical laws that govern the universe with an end in mind – the creation of life. It’s a belief in God as powerful and intelligent on a grand scale. In this belief, evolution IS intelligent design. Evolution is not random, though it may have random elements. The goal was to create man.

    Doesn’t all of science – everything we have learned so far – leads us to this view?

    Well, no.

    Sure, it’s an undisprovable possibility, but there’s no real reason to accept divine creation over any of the other theories of why the big bang happened. Why include a deity in the story when there might not be a need for one?

    Especially the emphasized sentence is wrong.
    First, all evidence points that evolution doesn’t have a purpose (which is a far to metaphysical concept anyway)

    Second, If the goal was to create humans, then why all the detours and dead ends? Why not go staight for human life?

    Third, Why would a god do so much effort if he can just snap his fingers and be done with a complete universe?

    Your attempt to join fact with religion is laudable, but it needs some work.

  • cautious

    Mr. Class,

    Are you just spamming the comments? That’s not very…dare I say…classy.

    Anyway, as I said in reply to your other comment that quoted the exact same part of OOS, neither creationists nor ID proponents are in favor of teaching the universe you want to believe in. (It seems like) you believe in a universe with a Creator that created and then sat back, similar to a deist or pantheist theological position. Creationists and ID proponents want a Creator who has to tinker with His/Her creation every so often because, somehow, it just doesn’t work without the occasional miracle.

    As your Darwin quote shows, you and Darwin appear to agree on the idea that life, once it began, could find its own way through naturalistic means. However, as Alcari points out, evolution does not look like it has a goal or a purpose.

    In much the same way that gravity simply …is, evolution simply is. It’s not trying to do anything, it’s just a natural consequence of their being biological organisms that can change.


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