How is Ben Stein’s “Expelled”?

Who has seen Ben Stein’s satirical take on the Darwinist establishment, “Expelled”? I haven’t, and I’m not sure when I’ll get to. I see that even conservative blogs are just aghast at Ben Stein daring to defend Intelligent Design and to ridicule evolutionists. How well does he pull this off?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://sermons.wattswhat.net Jonathan Watt

    Movie Review: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. (Aka – Science is Deeply Divided)

    (review from my blog)
    Ben Stein seems to make his point. The scientific world is deeply divided. In the documentary, Stein effectively uses the image of the Berlin wall as a picture of modern science. On one side is the establishment set in Darwinian Evolution. The other advocates of Intelligent Design. One side has the prestige of institutions, the influence of Government and the power of money. The other has been expelled. Those who propose that there is another solution to the origin of life on earth are denied tenure, marginalized, and denied access to reasonable debate. The issue is Academic Freedom says Stein. Freedom does exist, if you are on the right side of the wall. Over and over again the Darwinian evolutionists are shown to say the debate of origins is over. The facts are established as well as any fact we know. The other side pushes for more debate. Darwin doesn’t explain it all. The clash isn’t over scientific theory, but instead a battle of worldviews. One is based on the premise that everything must have a natural explanation, i.e. there is no god of any kind. Science cannot survive with a creator. The other believes a designer is a possibility. The facts should determine the answer. Science is well served when it allows for the possibility of a designer.

    But Ben Stein doesn’t leave the point there. He also asks the question, where does the prevailing theory of origins lead? Stein a Jew, builds a connection to Nazi extermination camps. “This is deeply personal,” he concedes. If life evolved by accident, the meaning of life is to ensure the survival of the species. Powered by Darwin and the eugenics movement in the United States, Hitler carried Darwin’s theories to a logical, well thought out conclusion. He wasn’t insane, just acting on a worldview. He was advancing Evolution on its natural course to improve the human species. Some lives are not worth the food they take to exist, they are idle hands. Hitler called evil, good. But can it happen again? Ben Stein asks. “It starts like it always starts,” said one interviewee. People are marginalized based on their economics, or social standing. “Every child a wanted child.” “He no longer had a quality life.” These mantras are Darwinian. We are better off without these people. The value of human life is cheapened. Our society’s acceptance of Abortion and Euthanasia are the canaries in the cage.

    In spite of the serious nature of the topic, Ben Stein seems to enjoy exploring the topic. The film is filled with his dry wit. In one part of the interview with Darwinist/ Author Richard Dawkins he repeatedly asks if he believes in any god; The God of the Old Testament… the Trinity… the Muslim god… any of the Hindu gods? Dawkins exasperated reply says that everything he believes about Darwin excludes the possibility of any god at all. “How could you keep asking that?” Stein’s reply simply says he wants to make sure and that it’s fun to ask.

    One very interesting moment in the film is Dawkins admission that life on earth could be designed by intelligent life. They would be a highly advanced race who “planted” life on earth. But they themselves would have to be a product of Darwinian Evolution.

    The movie isn’t going to convert any Darwin Evolutionists to Intelligent Design. That isn’t its goal. It does ask that freedom be returned to the debate and that the dividing wall be torn down. He ends the film using his most famous line (from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,1986) If we don’t stand up and speak about this will anyone be left to do it? Anyone… anyone…

  • http://sermons.wattswhat.net Jonathan Watt

    Movie Review: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. (Aka – Science is Deeply Divided)

    (review from my blog)
    Ben Stein seems to make his point. The scientific world is deeply divided. In the documentary, Stein effectively uses the image of the Berlin wall as a picture of modern science. On one side is the establishment set in Darwinian Evolution. The other advocates of Intelligent Design. One side has the prestige of institutions, the influence of Government and the power of money. The other has been expelled. Those who propose that there is another solution to the origin of life on earth are denied tenure, marginalized, and denied access to reasonable debate. The issue is Academic Freedom says Stein. Freedom does exist, if you are on the right side of the wall. Over and over again the Darwinian evolutionists are shown to say the debate of origins is over. The facts are established as well as any fact we know. The other side pushes for more debate. Darwin doesn’t explain it all. The clash isn’t over scientific theory, but instead a battle of worldviews. One is based on the premise that everything must have a natural explanation, i.e. there is no god of any kind. Science cannot survive with a creator. The other believes a designer is a possibility. The facts should determine the answer. Science is well served when it allows for the possibility of a designer.

    But Ben Stein doesn’t leave the point there. He also asks the question, where does the prevailing theory of origins lead? Stein a Jew, builds a connection to Nazi extermination camps. “This is deeply personal,” he concedes. If life evolved by accident, the meaning of life is to ensure the survival of the species. Powered by Darwin and the eugenics movement in the United States, Hitler carried Darwin’s theories to a logical, well thought out conclusion. He wasn’t insane, just acting on a worldview. He was advancing Evolution on its natural course to improve the human species. Some lives are not worth the food they take to exist, they are idle hands. Hitler called evil, good. But can it happen again? Ben Stein asks. “It starts like it always starts,” said one interviewee. People are marginalized based on their economics, or social standing. “Every child a wanted child.” “He no longer had a quality life.” These mantras are Darwinian. We are better off without these people. The value of human life is cheapened. Our society’s acceptance of Abortion and Euthanasia are the canaries in the cage.

    In spite of the serious nature of the topic, Ben Stein seems to enjoy exploring the topic. The film is filled with his dry wit. In one part of the interview with Darwinist/ Author Richard Dawkins he repeatedly asks if he believes in any god; The God of the Old Testament… the Trinity… the Muslim god… any of the Hindu gods? Dawkins exasperated reply says that everything he believes about Darwin excludes the possibility of any god at all. “How could you keep asking that?” Stein’s reply simply says he wants to make sure and that it’s fun to ask.

    One very interesting moment in the film is Dawkins admission that life on earth could be designed by intelligent life. They would be a highly advanced race who “planted” life on earth. But they themselves would have to be a product of Darwinian Evolution.

    The movie isn’t going to convert any Darwin Evolutionists to Intelligent Design. That isn’t its goal. It does ask that freedom be returned to the debate and that the dividing wall be torn down. He ends the film using his most famous line (from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,1986) If we don’t stand up and speak about this will anyone be left to do it? Anyone… anyone…

  • http://www.parentalrights.org/blog Rich Shipe

    I really enjoyed it. It was very well done and seemed to only scratch the surface of the topic. It even kept the attention of my eight-year-old.

    There is a lot of upset people out there because of his link from Darwinism to Nazism. (makes you wonder if Stein challenged minds or actually challenged hearts?) He says to be a Darwinist doesn’t make you a Nazi but shows clearly, at least I thought so, the strong link between the two. Some might make an argument that Darwinism does not justify the Nazi worldview but I don’t think one can argue that the Nazis were improperly interpreting the theory.

    Some say Christianity justified Nazism. It might be true that some Nazis felt justified in their actions by scripture but it is easy to argue that they were misinterpreting the Bible.

    Regardless of how life started, if we evolved from apes it does not seem to be a stretch to assume that some people are more evolved than others or that we can manipulate our own evolution.

  • http://www.parentalrights.org/blog Rich Shipe

    I really enjoyed it. It was very well done and seemed to only scratch the surface of the topic. It even kept the attention of my eight-year-old.

    There is a lot of upset people out there because of his link from Darwinism to Nazism. (makes you wonder if Stein challenged minds or actually challenged hearts?) He says to be a Darwinist doesn’t make you a Nazi but shows clearly, at least I thought so, the strong link between the two. Some might make an argument that Darwinism does not justify the Nazi worldview but I don’t think one can argue that the Nazis were improperly interpreting the theory.

    Some say Christianity justified Nazism. It might be true that some Nazis felt justified in their actions by scripture but it is easy to argue that they were misinterpreting the Bible.

    Regardless of how life started, if we evolved from apes it does not seem to be a stretch to assume that some people are more evolved than others or that we can manipulate our own evolution.

  • Cate

    Stein does a good job, I think, of painting a very scary picture of a lot of really bright, good scientists being told to shut-up (either through firing, not giving tenure, etc.) if they even dare question evolution, let alone dare consider ID.

    Being a Ben Stein movie there’s a large element of his dry humor and it’s also very clearly laid out and he does a good job of supporting his arguments.

    If the left has Michael Moore, I’ll gladly claim Ben Stein.

  • Cate

    Stein does a good job, I think, of painting a very scary picture of a lot of really bright, good scientists being told to shut-up (either through firing, not giving tenure, etc.) if they even dare question evolution, let alone dare consider ID.

    Being a Ben Stein movie there’s a large element of his dry humor and it’s also very clearly laid out and he does a good job of supporting his arguments.

    If the left has Michael Moore, I’ll gladly claim Ben Stein.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    I saw the movie and found it to be very boring.

    In a nutshell, the movie tries to forward 3 ideas.

    First, that there is a vast cabal referred to as “Big Science” that is trying to suppress the freedom of anyone in academia who mentions God or intelligent design. This is simply not the case. From the scholars at Reasons To Believe-

    “In Reasons To Believe’s interaction with professional scientists, scientific institutions, universities, and publishers of scientific journals we have encountered no significant evidence of censorship, blackballing, or disrespect. As we have persisted in publicly presenting our testable creation model in the context of the scientific method, we have witnessed an increasing openness on the part of unbelieving scientists to offer their honest and respectful critique.

    Our main concern about EXPELLED is that it paints a distorted picture. It certainly doesn’t match our experience.”

    Further, there are other sides and issues concerning those “expelled” individuals – see http://www.expelledexposed.com for more balanced information.

    Second, the movie pushes an agenda that paints all scientists as being atheists. Again, false. The producers chose only to show interviews with scientists who deny God. When one of the producers was questioned in an interview why they didn’t show any scientists who are professed Christians, but accept the facts of evolution the producer said “that would jsut make the movie ‘confusing’”.

    Third, the movie attempts to equate Darwin with the horrors of Hitler and mass genocide. This would be the same as blaming Mdm Curie for the deaths at Hiroshima because of her research on radioactivity.This has nothing to do with the validity of the theory of evolution. In reality, any idea – whether it be scientific or religious, can be perverted and misused.

    Expelled is targeted at people who don’t understand evolution, and will serve only to slightly widen the gap between the educated and the uneducated.

    But don’t worry if you don’t see it at a theater. It will probably be released on DVD by the end of summer.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    I saw the movie and found it to be very boring.

    In a nutshell, the movie tries to forward 3 ideas.

    First, that there is a vast cabal referred to as “Big Science” that is trying to suppress the freedom of anyone in academia who mentions God or intelligent design. This is simply not the case. From the scholars at Reasons To Believe-

    “In Reasons To Believe’s interaction with professional scientists, scientific institutions, universities, and publishers of scientific journals we have encountered no significant evidence of censorship, blackballing, or disrespect. As we have persisted in publicly presenting our testable creation model in the context of the scientific method, we have witnessed an increasing openness on the part of unbelieving scientists to offer their honest and respectful critique.

    Our main concern about EXPELLED is that it paints a distorted picture. It certainly doesn’t match our experience.”

    Further, there are other sides and issues concerning those “expelled” individuals – see http://www.expelledexposed.com for more balanced information.

    Second, the movie pushes an agenda that paints all scientists as being atheists. Again, false. The producers chose only to show interviews with scientists who deny God. When one of the producers was questioned in an interview why they didn’t show any scientists who are professed Christians, but accept the facts of evolution the producer said “that would jsut make the movie ‘confusing’”.

    Third, the movie attempts to equate Darwin with the horrors of Hitler and mass genocide. This would be the same as blaming Mdm Curie for the deaths at Hiroshima because of her research on radioactivity.This has nothing to do with the validity of the theory of evolution. In reality, any idea – whether it be scientific or religious, can be perverted and misused.

    Expelled is targeted at people who don’t understand evolution, and will serve only to slightly widen the gap between the educated and the uneducated.

    But don’t worry if you don’t see it at a theater. It will probably be released on DVD by the end of summer.

  • Tony

    As others have said, it is good. By just letting them talk, he gives evolutionsists enough rope to hang themselves. See also the “Expelled!” study guide at: http://www.getexpelled.com/_downloads/expelled_leadersguide.pdf
    Read especially the quote from the right-hand center of the page 7. James Watson said that just seven months ago!
    The one caveat for people is that they NOT confuse this movie a Biblical view-point. Just because it points out the lack of science in evolution does not make ID correct.
    I hope you get a chance to see it before it is gone.

  • Tony

    As others have said, it is good. By just letting them talk, he gives evolutionsists enough rope to hang themselves. See also the “Expelled!” study guide at: http://www.getexpelled.com/_downloads/expelled_leadersguide.pdf
    Read especially the quote from the right-hand center of the page 7. James Watson said that just seven months ago!
    The one caveat for people is that they NOT confuse this movie a Biblical view-point. Just because it points out the lack of science in evolution does not make ID correct.
    I hope you get a chance to see it before it is gone.

  • WebMonk

    Warning to those who are looking for actual information about ID – there’s none in this movie. It was not their intent to provide a reason for, or defense of, the ID position. They were looking strictly at the anti-intellectual rejection of even considering the possibility of ID.

    For those who aren’t supporters of ID already, the reaction is going to be “Good! We don’t need to debate the world being flat either.”

    Honestly, I was embarrassed by the movie more than impressed. I’m not sure there was a cheap shot that the documentary didn’t take. If anyone’s goal is to truly change someone’s mind by taking them to the movie, don’t bother. The whole “junk DNA” topic was a travesty of falsehood, and the Nazi/Darwinism “link” has always been a particularly stupid issue.

    There was the typical amount of dramatization and sensationalizing that documentaries of this sort (Moore’s stuff, for example) seem to always include. Lots of incendiary terms were thrown around, such as “blacklisted” and “terrorized”, but they were the typical over-statements. A couple of the persecuted interviewees have ‘corrected’ the way their situation was portrayed, and a couple of the other situations have issues which weren’t brought up in the movie, but change the impression the movie gives.

    I don’t know that anything was out and out lied about (except for the “junk DNA” stuff – that seriously torqued me off), but the real accuracy was on par with Michael Moore’s productions. I would prefer that things which “support” ID do so with more integrity.

  • WebMonk

    Warning to those who are looking for actual information about ID – there’s none in this movie. It was not their intent to provide a reason for, or defense of, the ID position. They were looking strictly at the anti-intellectual rejection of even considering the possibility of ID.

    For those who aren’t supporters of ID already, the reaction is going to be “Good! We don’t need to debate the world being flat either.”

    Honestly, I was embarrassed by the movie more than impressed. I’m not sure there was a cheap shot that the documentary didn’t take. If anyone’s goal is to truly change someone’s mind by taking them to the movie, don’t bother. The whole “junk DNA” topic was a travesty of falsehood, and the Nazi/Darwinism “link” has always been a particularly stupid issue.

    There was the typical amount of dramatization and sensationalizing that documentaries of this sort (Moore’s stuff, for example) seem to always include. Lots of incendiary terms were thrown around, such as “blacklisted” and “terrorized”, but they were the typical over-statements. A couple of the persecuted interviewees have ‘corrected’ the way their situation was portrayed, and a couple of the other situations have issues which weren’t brought up in the movie, but change the impression the movie gives.

    I don’t know that anything was out and out lied about (except for the “junk DNA” stuff – that seriously torqued me off), but the real accuracy was on par with Michael Moore’s productions. I would prefer that things which “support” ID do so with more integrity.

  • Bror Erickson

    Benjamin Franklin,
    You write:
    “Second, the movie pushes an agenda that paints all scientists as being atheists. Again, false. The producers chose only to show interviews with scientists who deny God. When one of the producers was questioned in an interview why they didn’t show any scientists who are professed Christians, but accept the facts of evolution the producer said “that would jsut make the movie ‘confusing’”.

    Did you see the movie? or is it you don’t believe the men he interviewed advancing ID were scientists? He interviewd plenty of Scientists that believe in God.

  • Bror Erickson

    Benjamin Franklin,
    You write:
    “Second, the movie pushes an agenda that paints all scientists as being atheists. Again, false. The producers chose only to show interviews with scientists who deny God. When one of the producers was questioned in an interview why they didn’t show any scientists who are professed Christians, but accept the facts of evolution the producer said “that would jsut make the movie ‘confusing’”.

    Did you see the movie? or is it you don’t believe the men he interviewed advancing ID were scientists? He interviewd plenty of Scientists that believe in God.

  • Bror Erickson

    I went and saw the movie the day it came out. I think it was very well done. The price of admission is worth it, when he gets Dawkins to start talking about how aliens must have created life. Which sort of puts Dawkins into the Intelligent Design side of the argument.
    I do think it is a movie though, that will require a couple viewings to get everything out of it.

  • Bror Erickson

    I went and saw the movie the day it came out. I think it was very well done. The price of admission is worth it, when he gets Dawkins to start talking about how aliens must have created life. Which sort of puts Dawkins into the Intelligent Design side of the argument.
    I do think it is a movie though, that will require a couple viewings to get everything out of it.

  • WebMonk

    Bror – your statement about Dawkins exemplified the sensationalist tendencies of the movie.

    Dawkins was describing ID positions, not his own. The movie made it sound like he was describing his own position, but he wasn’t – he was giving his own view of the ID perspective.

    Also, BenF was talking about the anti-ID scientists. The movie gave the impression that every scientist out there who is part of “Big Science” and rejects ID is an atheist. That’s very patently not the case, but that’s what Expelled portrayed.

    Read what BenF said:
    When one of the producers was questioned in an interview why they didn’t show any scientists who are professed Christians, BUT ACCEPT THE FACTS OF EVOLUTION the producer said “that would just make the movie ‘confusing’”
    (emphasis mine)

    Ben F wasn’t saying that they didn’t interview any Christian scientists, he’s saying they didn’t interview any Christian _evolutionary_ scientists.

  • WebMonk

    Bror – your statement about Dawkins exemplified the sensationalist tendencies of the movie.

    Dawkins was describing ID positions, not his own. The movie made it sound like he was describing his own position, but he wasn’t – he was giving his own view of the ID perspective.

    Also, BenF was talking about the anti-ID scientists. The movie gave the impression that every scientist out there who is part of “Big Science” and rejects ID is an atheist. That’s very patently not the case, but that’s what Expelled portrayed.

    Read what BenF said:
    When one of the producers was questioned in an interview why they didn’t show any scientists who are professed Christians, BUT ACCEPT THE FACTS OF EVOLUTION the producer said “that would just make the movie ‘confusing’”
    (emphasis mine)

    Ben F wasn’t saying that they didn’t interview any Christian scientists, he’s saying they didn’t interview any Christian _evolutionary_ scientists.

  • Joe

    He did cover the scientists who are Christians and believe in evolution the movie. It was covered in the conversations with Dawkins and it was covered in the conversations with the woman from the Nation ___ ____ (can’t remember the full name at this point). It was addressed. Also, ID does not necessarily reject evolution in total. In fact, all it does is point out that Darwin and Neo-Darwinism have no explanation for how we went from an in-organic earth to an earth full of organic life. There are atheists who believe in ID and Ben Stein’ himself, is not a young earth creationist.

    And Dawkins was not talking about other people’s ideas re: aliens. The man was talking about his own thoughts on how to possibly explain the evidence that points to a designer. Dawkins never said this is what happened and the movie is not edited to suggest that Dawkins was saying it was aliens. Stein asked him how life began and Dawkins said nobody knows and offered aliens as a more reasonable explanation than God. Another Neo-Darwinist suggested that molecules were vibrated on the backs of crystals until they became aligned correctly to become a single cell organism.

    As for the loaded term “terrorist” that was the quote from a man who was fired. He said that his supervisor called him a terrorist for allowing a peer reviewed article re: ID to be published. If you have a person who said my bossed called me a terrorist and fired me for publishing an article and you are making a movie about people losing their jobs for seeking to foster debate, this would seem like a natural thing to put in the movie. It is not sensationalism. It is fact. (if it turns out that the guys boss did not actually say that and the guy was lying then he will have to retract that part of his interview).

  • Joe

    He did cover the scientists who are Christians and believe in evolution the movie. It was covered in the conversations with Dawkins and it was covered in the conversations with the woman from the Nation ___ ____ (can’t remember the full name at this point). It was addressed. Also, ID does not necessarily reject evolution in total. In fact, all it does is point out that Darwin and Neo-Darwinism have no explanation for how we went from an in-organic earth to an earth full of organic life. There are atheists who believe in ID and Ben Stein’ himself, is not a young earth creationist.

    And Dawkins was not talking about other people’s ideas re: aliens. The man was talking about his own thoughts on how to possibly explain the evidence that points to a designer. Dawkins never said this is what happened and the movie is not edited to suggest that Dawkins was saying it was aliens. Stein asked him how life began and Dawkins said nobody knows and offered aliens as a more reasonable explanation than God. Another Neo-Darwinist suggested that molecules were vibrated on the backs of crystals until they became aligned correctly to become a single cell organism.

    As for the loaded term “terrorist” that was the quote from a man who was fired. He said that his supervisor called him a terrorist for allowing a peer reviewed article re: ID to be published. If you have a person who said my bossed called me a terrorist and fired me for publishing an article and you are making a movie about people losing their jobs for seeking to foster debate, this would seem like a natural thing to put in the movie. It is not sensationalism. It is fact. (if it turns out that the guys boss did not actually say that and the guy was lying then he will have to retract that part of his interview).

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I thought the movie was well done, though perhaps the Nazi link with a purely evolutionary worldview was overdone. Though at the same time I think it is a link that ought to be rationally thought through by every scientist that holds unswervingly to the theory of macro-evolutionary-based science and what it gives us for a basis on how humans ought to treat “weaker” humans. Too bad most people who ought to be thinking through these questions have already dismissed the movie out of hand.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I thought the movie was well done, though perhaps the Nazi link with a purely evolutionary worldview was overdone. Though at the same time I think it is a link that ought to be rationally thought through by every scientist that holds unswervingly to the theory of macro-evolutionary-based science and what it gives us for a basis on how humans ought to treat “weaker” humans. Too bad most people who ought to be thinking through these questions have already dismissed the movie out of hand.

  • CRB

    Does anyone know if Ben Stein is a Christian?

  • CRB

    Does anyone know if Ben Stein is a Christian?

  • http://www.faith-filled.com Stephenie

    I liked it. I think it had some valid points that were presented well – some could’ve been stronger or more elaborate (but then the movie would’ve been longer and had too many points to make.)

    The fact that we can’t question science is amazing to me. As a teacher, I am told (by secular institutions) that it’s necessary to be skeptical of historical facts and allow students to test math “rules.” Yet, they are only allowed to test certain things in the science realm. They can test gravity or physics in their science fair experiments, but they can’t even bring up creation by design, it’s ridiculed or banned. I don’t understand why history and people’s personal experiences can be judged as relative and all-inclusive, but science can’t be examined or questioned. (This is why I can’t teach in a public school. I know I’d offend someone.)

  • http://www.faith-filled.com Stephenie

    I liked it. I think it had some valid points that were presented well – some could’ve been stronger or more elaborate (but then the movie would’ve been longer and had too many points to make.)

    The fact that we can’t question science is amazing to me. As a teacher, I am told (by secular institutions) that it’s necessary to be skeptical of historical facts and allow students to test math “rules.” Yet, they are only allowed to test certain things in the science realm. They can test gravity or physics in their science fair experiments, but they can’t even bring up creation by design, it’s ridiculed or banned. I don’t understand why history and people’s personal experiences can be judged as relative and all-inclusive, but science can’t be examined or questioned. (This is why I can’t teach in a public school. I know I’d offend someone.)

  • Don

    As Ben Stein said on the Glenn Beck Show, “It is all about the sanctity of life”.

    By the way what did Darwin mean when he titled his book “The origin of species by means of natural selection, or, The preservation of favored races in the struggle for life”?

    I found the movie very insightful concerning our culture and the education system that we have today.

  • Don

    As Ben Stein said on the Glenn Beck Show, “It is all about the sanctity of life”.

    By the way what did Darwin mean when he titled his book “The origin of species by means of natural selection, or, The preservation of favored races in the struggle for life”?

    I found the movie very insightful concerning our culture and the education system that we have today.

  • Bror Erickson

    Websnark,
    Ben wrote: “The producers chose only to show interviews with scientists who deny God.”

    He goes on to explain a question proposed to a producer. But his line is that they did not interview scientists that believe in God. Indicating that unless the person agrees with evolution he is not a scientist. I don’t know that that is his view, but I would like him to clarify.

  • Bror Erickson

    Websnark,
    Ben wrote: “The producers chose only to show interviews with scientists who deny God.”

    He goes on to explain a question proposed to a producer. But his line is that they did not interview scientists that believe in God. Indicating that unless the person agrees with evolution he is not a scientist. I don’t know that that is his view, but I would like him to clarify.

  • S. Bauer

    If you want to read an engaging discussion of “Expelled” and the issues it raises, check out Pastor Cwirla’s blog (this blog has a link to it on the sidebar).

    I was disappointed by the “Michael Moore” style and antics of Stein’s movie. At the same time, just like with Moore, there is a core of disturbing truth in many of his allegations. The scientists who are whining now about how they come across in the movie sound a lot like those people who embarrassed themselves in “Borat”.

    I will have to re-view the movie to make sure but in the exchange between Stein and Dawkins at the end, I heard Dawkins saying that science could not say how organic life arose out of an inorganic world. If this admission alone were implemented in science textbooks, eliminating all the “primordial soup” hypothesizing going on, I would have no problem with the rest of what is taught about evolution in public schools. Dawkins was not advocating that life on earth was introduced by aliens. I heard him saying that he believed that life on this planet arose by the process of natural selection but that, since he could not prove this scientifically, the scenario of aliens introducing life onto this planet is an alternative explanation. This admission leads me to think that the main point of “Expelled” is confirmed, viz. that the scientific community as a whole, “big science,” allows speculation about origins that conform to a “closed system”/natural selection model but actively silences discussion of the evidence that points to a designer or “outside cause.”

  • S. Bauer

    If you want to read an engaging discussion of “Expelled” and the issues it raises, check out Pastor Cwirla’s blog (this blog has a link to it on the sidebar).

    I was disappointed by the “Michael Moore” style and antics of Stein’s movie. At the same time, just like with Moore, there is a core of disturbing truth in many of his allegations. The scientists who are whining now about how they come across in the movie sound a lot like those people who embarrassed themselves in “Borat”.

    I will have to re-view the movie to make sure but in the exchange between Stein and Dawkins at the end, I heard Dawkins saying that science could not say how organic life arose out of an inorganic world. If this admission alone were implemented in science textbooks, eliminating all the “primordial soup” hypothesizing going on, I would have no problem with the rest of what is taught about evolution in public schools. Dawkins was not advocating that life on earth was introduced by aliens. I heard him saying that he believed that life on this planet arose by the process of natural selection but that, since he could not prove this scientifically, the scenario of aliens introducing life onto this planet is an alternative explanation. This admission leads me to think that the main point of “Expelled” is confirmed, viz. that the scientific community as a whole, “big science,” allows speculation about origins that conform to a “closed system”/natural selection model but actively silences discussion of the evidence that points to a designer or “outside cause.”

  • Benjamin Franklin

    Bror-

    As I stated in my post I did see the movie. Let me clarify my statement. The only scientists who opposed ID/Creationism in the film were atheists. It did not show any scientists who are theistic and acknowledge the fact of evolution.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    Bror-

    As I stated in my post I did see the movie. Let me clarify my statement. The only scientists who opposed ID/Creationism in the film were atheists. It did not show any scientists who are theistic and acknowledge the fact of evolution.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    CRB-
    Stein is Jewish

    Bryan-

    You said- “it is a link that ought to be rationally thought through by every scientist that holds unswervingly to the theory of macro-evolutionary-based science and what it gives us for a basis on how humans ought to treat “weaker” humans.”

    Exactly what is it you think that macro-evolutionary-based science tells us about how humans ought to treat anything?

    Joe- The person you are referring to is Richard von Sternberg. Expelled claims that Sternberg was “terrorized” and that “his life was nearly ruined” when, in 2004, as editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, he published a pro-intelligent design article by Stephen C. Meyer. However, there is no evidence of either terrorism or ruination. Before publishing the paper, Sternberg worked for the National Institutes of Health at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (GenBank) and was an unpaid Research Associate – not an employee – at the Smithsonian. He was the voluntary, unpaid editor of PBSW (small academic journals rarely pay editors), and had given notice of his resignation as editor six months before the Meyer article was published. After the Meyer incident, he remained an employee of NIH and his unpaid position at the Smithsonian was extended in 2006, although he has not shown up there in years. At no time was any aspect of his pay or working conditions at NIH affected. It is difficult to see how his life “was nearly ruined” when nothing serious happened to him. He was never even disciplined for legitimate violations of policy of PBSW or Smithsonian policy.

    Don’t look for a retraction though, if Expelled hasn’t apologized for their absurd linking of Charles Darwin to the horrors of the Holocaust, or plagiarizing copyrighted works, I really don’t think they care about misstated facts.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    CRB-
    Stein is Jewish

    Bryan-

    You said- “it is a link that ought to be rationally thought through by every scientist that holds unswervingly to the theory of macro-evolutionary-based science and what it gives us for a basis on how humans ought to treat “weaker” humans.”

    Exactly what is it you think that macro-evolutionary-based science tells us about how humans ought to treat anything?

    Joe- The person you are referring to is Richard von Sternberg. Expelled claims that Sternberg was “terrorized” and that “his life was nearly ruined” when, in 2004, as editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, he published a pro-intelligent design article by Stephen C. Meyer. However, there is no evidence of either terrorism or ruination. Before publishing the paper, Sternberg worked for the National Institutes of Health at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (GenBank) and was an unpaid Research Associate – not an employee – at the Smithsonian. He was the voluntary, unpaid editor of PBSW (small academic journals rarely pay editors), and had given notice of his resignation as editor six months before the Meyer article was published. After the Meyer incident, he remained an employee of NIH and his unpaid position at the Smithsonian was extended in 2006, although he has not shown up there in years. At no time was any aspect of his pay or working conditions at NIH affected. It is difficult to see how his life “was nearly ruined” when nothing serious happened to him. He was never even disciplined for legitimate violations of policy of PBSW or Smithsonian policy.

    Don’t look for a retraction though, if Expelled hasn’t apologized for their absurd linking of Charles Darwin to the horrors of the Holocaust, or plagiarizing copyrighted works, I really don’t think they care about misstated facts.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Benjamin Franklin,

    Why do you keep referring to scientific theories as facts? If I remember from my science classes there are micro-evolutionary facts but the only macro-evolutionary scientific fact is that we have never observed macro-evolution actually happening in real time.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Benjamin Franklin,

    Why do you keep referring to scientific theories as facts? If I remember from my science classes there are micro-evolutionary facts but the only macro-evolutionary scientific fact is that we have never observed macro-evolution actually happening in real time.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    Evolution is a fact, the mechanisms explaining evolution are theories.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    Evolution is a fact, the mechanisms explaining evolution are theories.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Macro-evolution = random mutations lead to gradual changes over great periods of time from one kind of animal into another kind of animal. My rejection of this theory as fact is based on the fact that no one has ever observed one kind of plant turning into another kind of plant, nor can we observe one kind of animal making the final change or evolution into another kind. The limits of science cannot change these theories (as sound as they may or may not be) into facts.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Macro-evolution = random mutations lead to gradual changes over great periods of time from one kind of animal into another kind of animal. My rejection of this theory as fact is based on the fact that no one has ever observed one kind of plant turning into another kind of plant, nor can we observe one kind of animal making the final change or evolution into another kind. The limits of science cannot change these theories (as sound as they may or may not be) into facts.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Benjamin F.,
    The implication in macro-evolutionary theory is that of the strong evolution triumphing over that of the weak evolution. The best changes eliminating the weak. You and I know this is bad science but this is what the philosophers in the past have done in applying this scientific worldview. It happened in Germany, its fruits being seen in the ’30s. It is happening now in the United States as we continue to denegrate, limit, use, and kill the “weaker” humans in our society. Its just evolution after all. What’s the big deal?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Benjamin F.,
    The implication in macro-evolutionary theory is that of the strong evolution triumphing over that of the weak evolution. The best changes eliminating the weak. You and I know this is bad science but this is what the philosophers in the past have done in applying this scientific worldview. It happened in Germany, its fruits being seen in the ’30s. It is happening now in the United States as we continue to denegrate, limit, use, and kill the “weaker” humans in our society. Its just evolution after all. What’s the big deal?

  • Bror Erickson

    Ben,
    Thank you. You have confirmed my suspicions.
    If evolution (Macro) was a fact so would be the theories upon which the Idea rests. But declrairng something a fact does not make it so. As it is there is considerable debate concerning the plausibility of these theories. Any one who watched the movie with an open mind would have to agree that there is still quite reasonable debate concerning this issue. and anyone knowing the hisotry of science, would encourage the debate.

  • Bror Erickson

    Ben,
    Thank you. You have confirmed my suspicions.
    If evolution (Macro) was a fact so would be the theories upon which the Idea rests. But declrairng something a fact does not make it so. As it is there is considerable debate concerning the plausibility of these theories. Any one who watched the movie with an open mind would have to agree that there is still quite reasonable debate concerning this issue. and anyone knowing the hisotry of science, would encourage the debate.

  • Benjamin Franklin

    Bryan-

    You still haven’t answered the question-

    Exactly what is it you think that macro-evolutionary-based science tells us about how humans ought to treat anything?

  • Benjamin Franklin

    Bryan-

    You still haven’t answered the question-

    Exactly what is it you think that macro-evolutionary-based science tells us about how humans ought to treat anything?

  • WebMonk

    Joe #10 – Possibly I’m misremembering Dawkins’ words, but I am quite sure that he was talking of how ID-people, or non-evolutionists in general, explain design. He holds aliens and God in the same likelihood, and he rightly said they are the alternate to naturalistic evolution. Saying that Dawkins holds to alien-genesis goes against everything he’s ever written or said – he’s a very staunch naturalistic-evolution person.

    That’s the sort of fast-and-loose with the facts that I so dislike about most documentaries. Another example that I had already been sort of familiar with:

    Sternberg was “terrorized” and “ruined” according to the movie, but he never lost his job or privileges, wasn’t disciplined, and wasn’t removed from any positions. Was there lots of outrage aimed at him? Yeah. Was he “terrorized”? Not even close. Was anything done to him? Nope.

    Expelled was an opportunity to talk about the fight going on between ID and evolution, and there are very definite instances of academic prejudice going on, but by using sensationalism and shaky examples, Expelled did far more harm than good to that which it supports. The bits of truth in it are thrown out because there is so much stupidity and falsehood along with them.

  • WebMonk

    Joe #10 – Possibly I’m misremembering Dawkins’ words, but I am quite sure that he was talking of how ID-people, or non-evolutionists in general, explain design. He holds aliens and God in the same likelihood, and he rightly said they are the alternate to naturalistic evolution. Saying that Dawkins holds to alien-genesis goes against everything he’s ever written or said – he’s a very staunch naturalistic-evolution person.

    That’s the sort of fast-and-loose with the facts that I so dislike about most documentaries. Another example that I had already been sort of familiar with:

    Sternberg was “terrorized” and “ruined” according to the movie, but he never lost his job or privileges, wasn’t disciplined, and wasn’t removed from any positions. Was there lots of outrage aimed at him? Yeah. Was he “terrorized”? Not even close. Was anything done to him? Nope.

    Expelled was an opportunity to talk about the fight going on between ID and evolution, and there are very definite instances of academic prejudice going on, but by using sensationalism and shaky examples, Expelled did far more harm than good to that which it supports. The bits of truth in it are thrown out because there is so much stupidity and falsehood along with them.

  • Conibear Trapp

    I saw the movie and thought it was pretty good. It left me depressed for two reasons. First, the whole holocaust connection seems so reasonable from the evolutionist point of view, at least as described in the movie. If evolution is true, perhaps we have evolved far enough to help it along. Second, and much more depressing, is the inertia that must be overcome in the scientific establishment to get the issue discussed. If I were a convinced evolutionist, I would make every effort not to suppress ID but to bring it out in the open. I would debate these guys at every turn. If ID is false, then get it out in the public square and crush it. Destroy it. Debate these people and make them look as ridiculous as you can. ID would go away so quickly, it would be totally forgotten in short order.

    Unless, of course, the evolutionists are afraid that an objective examination of the truth might expose the weakness of their position. They have become just like political liberals who dismiss conservative views without discussion and simply resort to belligerent name-calling. Now THAT’S the way to handle those you disagree with.

    Here is another aspect of this story that I think is often overlooked. The evidence for evolution has been growing weaker for many decades now. This is why people like Stephen Gould develop things like “jump theory.” They need a way to explain why the facts don’t fit into their theory. But they have been holding their views so long that to abandon them at this point may cause a serious loss of face in the academic community. They would have to admit they have been wrong all this time and that is difficult to do. But the ID community is filled with people who have made just such a leap. I am thankful for their courage.

  • Conibear Trapp

    I saw the movie and thought it was pretty good. It left me depressed for two reasons. First, the whole holocaust connection seems so reasonable from the evolutionist point of view, at least as described in the movie. If evolution is true, perhaps we have evolved far enough to help it along. Second, and much more depressing, is the inertia that must be overcome in the scientific establishment to get the issue discussed. If I were a convinced evolutionist, I would make every effort not to suppress ID but to bring it out in the open. I would debate these guys at every turn. If ID is false, then get it out in the public square and crush it. Destroy it. Debate these people and make them look as ridiculous as you can. ID would go away so quickly, it would be totally forgotten in short order.

    Unless, of course, the evolutionists are afraid that an objective examination of the truth might expose the weakness of their position. They have become just like political liberals who dismiss conservative views without discussion and simply resort to belligerent name-calling. Now THAT’S the way to handle those you disagree with.

    Here is another aspect of this story that I think is often overlooked. The evidence for evolution has been growing weaker for many decades now. This is why people like Stephen Gould develop things like “jump theory.” They need a way to explain why the facts don’t fit into their theory. But they have been holding their views so long that to abandon them at this point may cause a serious loss of face in the academic community. They would have to admit they have been wrong all this time and that is difficult to do. But the ID community is filled with people who have made just such a leap. I am thankful for their courage.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    Maybe we both ought to go see the movie again. But everyone who I talked to got the impression Dawkins was talking about his own views, when he said “he thought Aliens possibly started life.” And He was not saying at that time how other people thought. Ben Stein had just asked him “how do YOU think life started?” Aliens was his answer. So unless there was some real swift cutting and taping going on there that you can prove. I’m left thinking Dawkins believes in Aliens.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    Maybe we both ought to go see the movie again. But everyone who I talked to got the impression Dawkins was talking about his own views, when he said “he thought Aliens possibly started life.” And He was not saying at that time how other people thought. Ben Stein had just asked him “how do YOU think life started?” Aliens was his answer. So unless there was some real swift cutting and taping going on there that you can prove. I’m left thinking Dawkins believes in Aliens.

  • Don S

    “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-fotted animals and creeping things” . Rom. 1:22-23

    This is the whole point of the movie. We saw it and thoroughly enjoyed the way it brought this point clearly home. Stein was not trying to prove creation, intelligent design, or anything else. He was merely opening a discussion, making a statement, hoping to spark something in us that would cause us to question why those who advocate evolution are so urgent and exclusive about it. I am a scientist, having degrees in physics and mechanical engineering, and in any other field of endeavor we make observations, develop theories based on those observations, and open them up, by publishing them, to examination and criticism from our fellow scientists. The point is to advance understanding and learning, and hopefully to make advances in our civilization because of our discoveries. However, when it comes to the origin of man, which is least capable of analysis through observation, evolutionists proclaim themselves more certain than in practically any other field, and closed to any further observations or opinions which might counter the “fact” of evolution. When we teach evolution to impressionable children in our public schools, we are not even allowed to mention to them that a majority of Americans believe that man was created by God, or that an Intelligent Designer may have been involved. Why this dogmatism? We see it even here on this blog, in the comments of one “Benjamin Franklin”, who insists that macro-evolution is a “fact”. He has never observed macro-evolution, and at best is drawing this conclusion of fact from very incomplete fossil records that he has observed or has heard about from others.

    Ben Stein’s whole point was to explore the dogmatism, and the possible reasons behind it. He did it admirably.

    By the way, the other area of science currently subject to the same dogmatism is global warming theory. But that is a topic we will save for another thread.

  • Don S

    “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-fotted animals and creeping things” . Rom. 1:22-23

    This is the whole point of the movie. We saw it and thoroughly enjoyed the way it brought this point clearly home. Stein was not trying to prove creation, intelligent design, or anything else. He was merely opening a discussion, making a statement, hoping to spark something in us that would cause us to question why those who advocate evolution are so urgent and exclusive about it. I am a scientist, having degrees in physics and mechanical engineering, and in any other field of endeavor we make observations, develop theories based on those observations, and open them up, by publishing them, to examination and criticism from our fellow scientists. The point is to advance understanding and learning, and hopefully to make advances in our civilization because of our discoveries. However, when it comes to the origin of man, which is least capable of analysis through observation, evolutionists proclaim themselves more certain than in practically any other field, and closed to any further observations or opinions which might counter the “fact” of evolution. When we teach evolution to impressionable children in our public schools, we are not even allowed to mention to them that a majority of Americans believe that man was created by God, or that an Intelligent Designer may have been involved. Why this dogmatism? We see it even here on this blog, in the comments of one “Benjamin Franklin”, who insists that macro-evolution is a “fact”. He has never observed macro-evolution, and at best is drawing this conclusion of fact from very incomplete fossil records that he has observed or has heard about from others.

    Ben Stein’s whole point was to explore the dogmatism, and the possible reasons behind it. He did it admirably.

    By the way, the other area of science currently subject to the same dogmatism is global warming theory. But that is a topic we will save for another thread.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, Dawkins is very well known as being a naturalistic evolutionist and for lambasting all forms of creationism. He includes aliens seeding earth as another type of creationism. He has never supported any sort of alien-genesis as realistic, and has often spoken out against it as a plausible possibility.

    Whether or not people agree with what he considers plausible or implausible, it is unarguable that he considers aliens starting life on earth as one of those implausibilities. He has said it is theoretically possible (like it’s theoretically possible the moon will turn into gold) – just insanely improbable.

    He has been asked about this question, because the movie portrayed his response as they did, and he has reiterated that he never has believed in aliens starting life.

    Here’s a trimmed down quote of his description of what he was talking about:

    “Toward the end of his interview with me, Stein asked whether I could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred. It’s the kind of challenge I relish, and I set myself the task of imagining the most plausible scenario I could. …advocates of Intelligent Design are very fond of protesting that they are not talking about God as the designer, but about some unnamed and unspecified intelligence, which might even be an alien from another planet. …I constructed a science fiction scenario. … I patiently explained to him that life could conceivably have been seeded on Earth by an alien intelligence from another planet …. The conclusion I was heading towards was that, even in the highly unlikely event that some such ‘Directed Panspermia’ was responsible for designing life on this planet, the alien beings would THEMSELVES have to have evolved….”

    Dawkins is a windbag, so I had to trim out a LOT of stuff, mostly gratuitous self-puffing up or insults at IDers. Anyway, the point is clear that he didn’t and doesn’t support aliens starting earth’s life as a reasonable explanation, but only as an extremely far-out possibility.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, Dawkins is very well known as being a naturalistic evolutionist and for lambasting all forms of creationism. He includes aliens seeding earth as another type of creationism. He has never supported any sort of alien-genesis as realistic, and has often spoken out against it as a plausible possibility.

    Whether or not people agree with what he considers plausible or implausible, it is unarguable that he considers aliens starting life on earth as one of those implausibilities. He has said it is theoretically possible (like it’s theoretically possible the moon will turn into gold) – just insanely improbable.

    He has been asked about this question, because the movie portrayed his response as they did, and he has reiterated that he never has believed in aliens starting life.

    Here’s a trimmed down quote of his description of what he was talking about:

    “Toward the end of his interview with me, Stein asked whether I could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred. It’s the kind of challenge I relish, and I set myself the task of imagining the most plausible scenario I could. …advocates of Intelligent Design are very fond of protesting that they are not talking about God as the designer, but about some unnamed and unspecified intelligence, which might even be an alien from another planet. …I constructed a science fiction scenario. … I patiently explained to him that life could conceivably have been seeded on Earth by an alien intelligence from another planet …. The conclusion I was heading towards was that, even in the highly unlikely event that some such ‘Directed Panspermia’ was responsible for designing life on this planet, the alien beings would THEMSELVES have to have evolved….”

    Dawkins is a windbag, so I had to trim out a LOT of stuff, mostly gratuitous self-puffing up or insults at IDers. Anyway, the point is clear that he didn’t and doesn’t support aliens starting earth’s life as a reasonable explanation, but only as an extremely far-out possibility.

  • WebMonk

    Oops, I could have just looked another paragraph down from the quote I used above for a much more concise statement from Dawkins about what he believes about aliens.

    “My concern here is that my science fiction thought experiment — however implausible — was designed to illustrate intelligent design’s closest approach to being plausible. I was most emphatically NOT saying that I believed the thought experiment. Quite the contrary. I do not believe it (and I don’t think Francis Crick believed it either).”

  • WebMonk

    Oops, I could have just looked another paragraph down from the quote I used above for a much more concise statement from Dawkins about what he believes about aliens.

    “My concern here is that my science fiction thought experiment — however implausible — was designed to illustrate intelligent design’s closest approach to being plausible. I was most emphatically NOT saying that I believed the thought experiment. Quite the contrary. I do not believe it (and I don’t think Francis Crick believed it either).”

  • JoeyRamone63

    I have seen the movie and came away aghast at its manipulative tactics. If you’re looking for something based on facts and evidence, avoid this stinker.

    Stein’s “expelled” scientists are a bunch of creationists that were either dismissed or had funding stopped because they were bad at their jobs. If they wanted to challenge evolution scientifically, perhaps they should have come up with actual scientific evidence for their controversial alternative “theory” instead of self-publishing a “peer reviewed” paper to a peer-reviewed journal (one of the reasons one of Stein’s interviewees was let go).

    And they really should stop referring to evolution as “Darwinism”. Do you refer to gravity as Newtonism? Or to electricity as Edisonism?

    Evolution is questioned and challenged all the time in science, as are all scientific theories. That is the job of science; to question, challenge, observe, and find evidence. The so-called ‘scientists’ in the Expelled movie have all been debunked; check out Expelled Exposed Dot Com (http://www.expelledexposed.com).

    When Intelligent Design can come up with actual evidence that can be studied using the accepted scientific methods of all other areas of science, then it can play with the big boys. Until then, it is simply the emperor with no clothes; religious creationism posing as scientific hypothesis in order to further the underlying agenda of introducing religion into mainstream academia.

    Stein should be ashamed of this unabashed creationist propaganda, and the American public should not be fooled by the “academic freedom” and “teach the controversy” rhetoric. The founding fathers of our country, who supported secularism, would be horrified.

  • JoeyRamone63

    I have seen the movie and came away aghast at its manipulative tactics. If you’re looking for something based on facts and evidence, avoid this stinker.

    Stein’s “expelled” scientists are a bunch of creationists that were either dismissed or had funding stopped because they were bad at their jobs. If they wanted to challenge evolution scientifically, perhaps they should have come up with actual scientific evidence for their controversial alternative “theory” instead of self-publishing a “peer reviewed” paper to a peer-reviewed journal (one of the reasons one of Stein’s interviewees was let go).

    And they really should stop referring to evolution as “Darwinism”. Do you refer to gravity as Newtonism? Or to electricity as Edisonism?

    Evolution is questioned and challenged all the time in science, as are all scientific theories. That is the job of science; to question, challenge, observe, and find evidence. The so-called ‘scientists’ in the Expelled movie have all been debunked; check out Expelled Exposed Dot Com (http://www.expelledexposed.com).

    When Intelligent Design can come up with actual evidence that can be studied using the accepted scientific methods of all other areas of science, then it can play with the big boys. Until then, it is simply the emperor with no clothes; religious creationism posing as scientific hypothesis in order to further the underlying agenda of introducing religion into mainstream academia.

    Stein should be ashamed of this unabashed creationist propaganda, and the American public should not be fooled by the “academic freedom” and “teach the controversy” rhetoric. The founding fathers of our country, who supported secularism, would be horrified.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I suppose I’ll allow his retraction. Though I still don’t know how he finds aliens to be more plausible than God. My suspicion is his atheism is much more driven by fear, than it is by the so-called evidence. I think that alone could explain how he would see aliens as more probable than God.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I suppose I’ll allow his retraction. Though I still don’t know how he finds aliens to be more plausible than God. My suspicion is his atheism is much more driven by fear, than it is by the so-called evidence. I think that alone could explain how he would see aliens as more probable than God.

  • RhetoricProf

    OOPS! I thought I logged on to Cranach, not Free Republic . . . ;o)

  • RhetoricProf

    OOPS! I thought I logged on to Cranach, not Free Republic . . . ;o)

  • Joe

    Webmonk @ 25 – I never stated that Dawkins believes in aliens and neither did the movie. Quite the contrary what I said was:

    “Dawkins never said this is what happened [aliens] and the movie is not edited to suggest that Dawkins was saying it was aliens. Stein asked him how life began and Dawkins said nobody knows and offered aliens as a more reasonable explanation than God.”

    I think that fact that he was talking about his own views (and I again I am not suggesting that Dawkins believes in aliens; just that he believes aliens are a more likely answer than God) is made very clear by his qualifier to his statement.

    He said that one theory to explain the evidence of design is that a higher or more evolved life form from another planet may have seeded life on earth. But then he added, of course that life form would have had to have been the product of natural evolution. (this is an accurate paraphrase but not a quote).

    If he was explaining someone else’s view – he would not have needed to add the qualifier that makes the alien theory work with his position that anti-theistic evolution is how life began.

  • Joe

    Webmonk @ 25 – I never stated that Dawkins believes in aliens and neither did the movie. Quite the contrary what I said was:

    “Dawkins never said this is what happened [aliens] and the movie is not edited to suggest that Dawkins was saying it was aliens. Stein asked him how life began and Dawkins said nobody knows and offered aliens as a more reasonable explanation than God.”

    I think that fact that he was talking about his own views (and I again I am not suggesting that Dawkins believes in aliens; just that he believes aliens are a more likely answer than God) is made very clear by his qualifier to his statement.

    He said that one theory to explain the evidence of design is that a higher or more evolved life form from another planet may have seeded life on earth. But then he added, of course that life form would have had to have been the product of natural evolution. (this is an accurate paraphrase but not a quote).

    If he was explaining someone else’s view – he would not have needed to add the qualifier that makes the alien theory work with his position that anti-theistic evolution is how life began.

  • WebMonk

    Well that’s the thing, it’s not a retraction; I think it was more of a case of Expelled trying to make a sensation, and Dawkins reacting to them.

    I’m still a bit sore over Expelled, so maybe I’m making too much of an issue over it, but they really annoyed me with their combination of sensationalism, bits of erroneous “science”, and misrepresentations. I had several people highly recommend it, and the crash from my high expectations was severe.

    I’m right there with you on my puzzlement of how he can see aliens as more plausible than a God, though! I get a kick out of the fact that he says his uber-argument against God is basically the “who made God” shtick. A perfectly valid sort of issue, but hardly the final word that he seems to consider it. :^)

  • WebMonk

    Well that’s the thing, it’s not a retraction; I think it was more of a case of Expelled trying to make a sensation, and Dawkins reacting to them.

    I’m still a bit sore over Expelled, so maybe I’m making too much of an issue over it, but they really annoyed me with their combination of sensationalism, bits of erroneous “science”, and misrepresentations. I had several people highly recommend it, and the crash from my high expectations was severe.

    I’m right there with you on my puzzlement of how he can see aliens as more plausible than a God, though! I get a kick out of the fact that he says his uber-argument against God is basically the “who made God” shtick. A perfectly valid sort of issue, but hardly the final word that he seems to consider it. :^)

  • WebMonk

    Joe #34 – sorry, I misunderstood your first comment. I’m still not 100% sure, but I think I agree with what you’re saying.

  • WebMonk

    Joe #34 – sorry, I misunderstood your first comment. I’m still not 100% sure, but I think I agree with what you’re saying.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I for one will have to see it again. It struck me that the movie really wasn’t arguing for either side to be accepted as fact. But only arguing for the academic freedom to ask the questions, to put the dogma aside. I think a lot of people including myself have probably read more into the movie based on prior assumptions, than is warranted. But at this point I will have to wait for the DVD as I hate paying for movie tickets. And I don’t know who goes to see a movie with Ben Stein in it and doesn’t expect a bit of humor.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I for one will have to see it again. It struck me that the movie really wasn’t arguing for either side to be accepted as fact. But only arguing for the academic freedom to ask the questions, to put the dogma aside. I think a lot of people including myself have probably read more into the movie based on prior assumptions, than is warranted. But at this point I will have to wait for the DVD as I hate paying for movie tickets. And I don’t know who goes to see a movie with Ben Stein in it and doesn’t expect a bit of humor.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Benjamin Franklin,
    Well let me clear this up for you and I hope you are not operating on the mistaken notion that ideas don’t have their consequences (intended or unintended). That’s why even us Christians ought to approach all these things from a very rational perspective. Perhaps your just afraid of the “religious right” gaining power – but I am too!

    Anyway the pushing of a worldview that accepts as a fundamental building block of man and society the idea of the “survival of the fittest” tends to accept the “loss of life” as “a necessary evil” for progress.

    On the other hand a worldview that accepts as a fundamental building block of man and society the idea of “intimate and intricate design by a more intelligent creator” tends to mourn the “loss of life” as an evil which as humans we ought to rebel against.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Benjamin Franklin,
    Well let me clear this up for you and I hope you are not operating on the mistaken notion that ideas don’t have their consequences (intended or unintended). That’s why even us Christians ought to approach all these things from a very rational perspective. Perhaps your just afraid of the “religious right” gaining power – but I am too!

    Anyway the pushing of a worldview that accepts as a fundamental building block of man and society the idea of the “survival of the fittest” tends to accept the “loss of life” as “a necessary evil” for progress.

    On the other hand a worldview that accepts as a fundamental building block of man and society the idea of “intimate and intricate design by a more intelligent creator” tends to mourn the “loss of life” as an evil which as humans we ought to rebel against.

  • Kathy

    Better late than never in this discussion. My husband and I thought the movie was worth seeing.

  • Kathy

    Better late than never in this discussion. My husband and I thought the movie was worth seeing.

  • http://blog.faith-filled.com/ Stephenie

    I recently visited the Science Museum of Minnesota. They had a great exhibit on the ethics of life during the Holocaust. They even cited Darwin’s work as a catalyst for euthenasia programs.
    I was rather surprised to see them admit it.

  • http://blog.faith-filled.com/ Stephenie

    I recently visited the Science Museum of Minnesota. They had a great exhibit on the ethics of life during the Holocaust. They even cited Darwin’s work as a catalyst for euthenasia programs.
    I was rather surprised to see them admit it.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Dr. Veith,

    I thought the movie worthwhile in exposing the militant atheism of evolutionists. The final showdown alone in which Dawkins is destroyed by Stein is worth the price of admission.

    Our anonymous Ben Franklin wrote: “The only scientists who opposed ID/Creationism in the film were atheists. It did not show any scientists who are theistic and acknowledge the fact of evolution.”

    That is a true statement. Stein didn’t interview any theistic evolutionists in the movie. But to be fair, the documentary wasn’t about a debate of the various theories of the origin of life. It was about intelligent design being expelled from the debate by atheistic scientists. I don’t think theistic evolutionists have been involved in excluding ID from the debate. So including them would have been irrelevant to the theme of the documentary.

    There are, indeed, Christians who believe in theistic evolution. The problem with their thinking is that they have to jump through some very unorthodox hoops to explain away the fact that death entered the world through the sin of the first man. Theistic evolution requires death to have existed before man. The explanation I’ve heard from Christian theistic evolutionists is that the only death brought about by sin was spiritual death. This is VERY dangerous thinking for a Christian on a number of levels.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Dr. Veith,

    I thought the movie worthwhile in exposing the militant atheism of evolutionists. The final showdown alone in which Dawkins is destroyed by Stein is worth the price of admission.

    Our anonymous Ben Franklin wrote: “The only scientists who opposed ID/Creationism in the film were atheists. It did not show any scientists who are theistic and acknowledge the fact of evolution.”

    That is a true statement. Stein didn’t interview any theistic evolutionists in the movie. But to be fair, the documentary wasn’t about a debate of the various theories of the origin of life. It was about intelligent design being expelled from the debate by atheistic scientists. I don’t think theistic evolutionists have been involved in excluding ID from the debate. So including them would have been irrelevant to the theme of the documentary.

    There are, indeed, Christians who believe in theistic evolution. The problem with their thinking is that they have to jump through some very unorthodox hoops to explain away the fact that death entered the world through the sin of the first man. Theistic evolution requires death to have existed before man. The explanation I’ve heard from Christian theistic evolutionists is that the only death brought about by sin was spiritual death. This is VERY dangerous thinking for a Christian on a number of levels.

  • PeteS

    First off, I haven’t seen the film so I can’t comment on it. But I’ve found some of the comments here interesting.

    JoeyRamone63 @ #31 said:
    “Evolution is questioned and challenged all the time in science, as are all scientific theories.”

    Is it evolution that is questioned and challenged, or the particulars of evolution, e.g., when the theory that reptiles came from birds, or vice versa, can’t be substantiated, then we must come up with another theory that still supports evolution? I imagine it’s both depending on the scientist.

    I had a scientist friend who was forced out of two major universities because he felt so strongly that evolution is bad science. Granted, the man could be a bit of a pit bull.

    Someone above, I don’t recall who, mentioned something to the effect that it would be difficult for scientists to admit that something that’s been held to and defended for so long just can’t be true. It reminds me of several years ago when an acquaintance of mine approached a Jewish leader and asked him why he rejected Jesus as the Messiah when he so clearly fulfilled the OT prophecies. His response may have been pure sarcasm, but he said, “What do you want us to do, tell our people we’ve been wrong all this time?”

    Finally, if we really use our reason and take things to their logical conclusion, it’s not hard at all to see that euthanasia fits very well into the theory of evolution and survival of the fittest. That’s not a perversion or a misuse but a logical conclusion. I appreciate Stephenie (#40) sharing what she saw at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I won’t blame evolution for Hitler’s actions; he’s responsible for what he did. But I’ll put it this way: It’s hard to see how loving your neighbor could ever be anything other than a self-serving act based on evolution’s idea of survival of the fittest.

  • PeteS

    First off, I haven’t seen the film so I can’t comment on it. But I’ve found some of the comments here interesting.

    JoeyRamone63 @ #31 said:
    “Evolution is questioned and challenged all the time in science, as are all scientific theories.”

    Is it evolution that is questioned and challenged, or the particulars of evolution, e.g., when the theory that reptiles came from birds, or vice versa, can’t be substantiated, then we must come up with another theory that still supports evolution? I imagine it’s both depending on the scientist.

    I had a scientist friend who was forced out of two major universities because he felt so strongly that evolution is bad science. Granted, the man could be a bit of a pit bull.

    Someone above, I don’t recall who, mentioned something to the effect that it would be difficult for scientists to admit that something that’s been held to and defended for so long just can’t be true. It reminds me of several years ago when an acquaintance of mine approached a Jewish leader and asked him why he rejected Jesus as the Messiah when he so clearly fulfilled the OT prophecies. His response may have been pure sarcasm, but he said, “What do you want us to do, tell our people we’ve been wrong all this time?”

    Finally, if we really use our reason and take things to their logical conclusion, it’s not hard at all to see that euthanasia fits very well into the theory of evolution and survival of the fittest. That’s not a perversion or a misuse but a logical conclusion. I appreciate Stephenie (#40) sharing what she saw at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I won’t blame evolution for Hitler’s actions; he’s responsible for what he did. But I’ll put it this way: It’s hard to see how loving your neighbor could ever be anything other than a self-serving act based on evolution’s idea of survival of the fittest.

  • LAJ

    Whether one agrees with the movie or not, why can’t the evolutionists admit that it is a good thing to get things out in the open and discuss them? Obviously, because they are threatened by the truth. I’m so glad Planned Parenthood was exposed in the movie!

  • LAJ

    Whether one agrees with the movie or not, why can’t the evolutionists admit that it is a good thing to get things out in the open and discuss them? Obviously, because they are threatened by the truth. I’m so glad Planned Parenthood was exposed in the movie!

  • William P. Bertram

    Benjamin Wiker quotes Darwin and Hitler in their own words and argues that although Darwinism was not the sole cause of Hitler’s barbarism, Darwinism must shoulder its share of the moral burden, because the connection is undeniable. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=26346&s=rcmp

  • William P. Bertram

    Benjamin Wiker quotes Darwin and Hitler in their own words and argues that although Darwinism was not the sole cause of Hitler’s barbarism, Darwinism must shoulder its share of the moral burden, because the connection is undeniable. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=26346&s=rcmp

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