Here’s How You Know Your Anti-Evolution Movie Is Really Bad

Tyler Francke isn’t a fan of Ray Comfort‘s new movie “Evolution vs. God” and he lets us know it in a blistering critique:

Of the many, many possible ways to make an effective documentary, perhaps the last one you would choose would be to go up to random people, put a camera in their faces and ask them a series of leading questions about an incredibly complex topic (interspersed with non sequiturs like “Are you a good person?”), until you get at least a few of them to arrive at your preconceived conclusion.

You wouldn’t use this technique, because it’s not very convincing. And it’s dishonest and unfair and fallacious and other even more colorful words. Unfortunately, this sums up the basis of “Evolution vs. God.

There’s a reason that this particular review is special…

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Israel Alters Science Textbooks For Religious State Schools, Deleting All the Icky Female Bits

Until this year, all state schools in Israel used the same science books. Heading into the new school year, however, that will no longer be the case, as the government has decided that religious schools deserve their own science books, which will be dumbed down for students’ spiritual protection.

In the United States, the state censorship of textbooks has focused mostly on suppressing political ideas and boosting the unintelligent notion of Intelligent Design. In Israel, it’s mostly the human body — the female human body, in particular — that has caused a case of cooties at the highest levels, such that a chapter on reproduction will be deleted, along with references to menstruation.

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A Glowing Profile of Evolution Warrior Dr. Eugenie Scott

Today’s edition of the New York Times features a wonderful profile of Dr. Eugenie Scott, the long-time executive director of the National Center for Science Education:

Eugenie C. Scott’s journey to the front lines of the evolution wars began in 1974, when James Gavan, a physical anthropologist at the University of Missouri, accepted an invitation to debate Duane Gish, a biochemist and a leader in the creationist movement.

At the time, Dr. Scott was a newly minted professor of physical anthropology at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Gavan had been her mentor at the University of Missouri, where she earned her doctorate, so she took a few of her students to Missouri to hear the debate.

“We were greatly dismayed,” Dr. Scott recalled in an interview. “The scientist talked science, and the creationist connected to the audience and told good jokes and was really personable. And presented a lot of really bad science.”

The most controversial passage in the piece has nothing to do with evolution, but with the age-old question of overlapping magisteria:

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Even Seculars Pine for Messiahs

There’s little doubt that human beings seem to like the idea of messiahs, deus ex machinas that will save us in our darkest hours. Obviously, even we seculars find something appealing about it, or else we’d be rolling our eyes, or else outright rejecting, stories that are messiah-tastic, such as Harry Potter, Dune (Paul Atreides), and even Lord of the Rings (Frodo and Aragorn are both “foretold”).

At The American ScholarWilliam Deresiewicz sees a pining for messiahs throughout more than our fiction, but in our very response to word events and technology. He cites our collective awe over the Web, and its liberating potential, as well as “politics,” in the sense of either elected leaders (Obama in ’08) or revolutions (the Arab Spring and Occupy) who will magically “change everything.” And he thinks he spots where this inclination has gotten us into serious, serious trouble: Climate change. [Click the headline for more...] [Read more...]

Win Sam Harris’s Money

Sam Harris has apparently grown weary of what he considers ill-informed attacks on his book The Moral Landscape and its central thesis, that science can be used to definitively determine whether something is “right” or “wrong” morally. So weary, in fact, he’s willing to shell out his own cash and endure a public humiliation if he’s taken down. [Click headline for more...] [Read more...]


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