Intelligent Design Under Attack

Expelled the MovieThere’s a new movie coming out next week on Friday, April 18th called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” starring Ben Stein. The premise is that it’s a documentary about how the idea of Intelligent Design (a.k.a. Creationism) is coming under attack in the academic arena.

Here’s a trailer of the movie…it’s pretty interesting and worth the time to watch it. I came across the movie preview a few weeks ago when I got a link in an email from a colleague. Then, earlier this week I came across a personal endorsement from Governor Mike Huckabee.

If you don’t believe our freedoms are being stripped away from us right under our noses, then I encourage you to check this movie out. Whether you believe in Creationism or Evolution (or some other theory), the point is American educators/scholars are clearly being discriminated against just for questioning a scientific theory.

6 thoughts on “Intelligent Design Under Attack

  1. Benjamin Franklin

    Hi Carrie-

    Intelligent design is not under “attack” by anyone, but that is what the proponents of the intelligent design and the Discovery Institute merely want you to believe.

    Dr. Ken Miller said –

    ”I want to make the observation that is: advocates of intelligent design like to paint themselves as the lone heroes fighting against scientific dogma. They got a really revolutionary idea, and they’re gonna convince everybody in science; give ’em a couple of decades. And you know, maybe they will. Maybe they will. And they cite the Big Bang as an example of an idea that was once regarded with suspicion, or as heresy, and gradually won over. But the interesting thing is not the question as to whether or not revolutionary ideas occasionally win out in science. The interesting idea, the interesting question, is “how” do revolutionary ideas win out. And the Big Bang won out because of scientific research, because Arto & Penzious found the background radiation to the Big Bang. They completed the theory. They stitched it together. It was a predictive theory, that says you ought to go out and find this in nature.

    Now the curious thing is the advocates of that theory did not try to get themselves injected into curricula. They didn’t produce pamphlets on how you could get the Big Bang taught in your school district and avoid the constitutional questions. They did the research, they won the scientific battle. That’s how science actually works. And for all the high-minded statements about design, about the philosophy of Aristotle, about fairness, and about the implicit theological assumptions of evolution, the straightforward and simple matter, is that science works, and it is particularly good at predicting stuff that isn’t true. If intelligent design has the facts of nature on its side, it’ll win out. And I don’t see any particular reason to fight this legal route, (or cinematic route), unless, unless, the battle you are fighting is primarily political, cultural, social, and religious, and not scientific. And in this case, to use a nice lawyer term, res ipse loquitor, the facts speak for themselves.”

    Before promoting this movie, you really should know more about the facts.

    See http://www.expelledexposed.com

    Besides that, in their review foxnews.com, said the movie is “sloppy, all-over-the-place, poorly made (and not just a little boring).”

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  2. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Hi BF,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m not a big science buff myself. I actually majored in math, accounting to be more precise. While I had a roommate who did major in biology, I found the whole subject uninteresting…sorry.

    What I’ve found though is the idea that God is oftentimes rejected in the area of science. Actually, it seems He’s being rejected in many areas these days (government, for one)…but that’s for another discussion.

    I don’t take reviews from critics that seriously on their own merit. The subject matter of this movie has peaked my interest, so I’ll go to watch the movie and make my own determination. Personally, I’ve always thought Ben Stein played a “boring” character…that’s his trademark, isn’t it? So, yes, maybe the movie will be boring, but I’m sure there’s going to be quite a bit of information brought to light.

    The mainstream media does a LOUSY job of reporting the truth, Hollywood is injecting gobs of deception and filth into our society all under the guise of “entertainment” and our public school system is not exactly impartial in their educational service, so I’m grateful for venues like the Internet and regular individuals like myself who are willing to stick their necks out to share what they know/learn on a subject…despite the critics and naysayers. Maybe that’s why I like Mike Huckabee.

    So, while I thank you for your comments, I still intend to watch the movie and will share it with those who might be interested in the subject matter.

    Reply
  3. Benjamin Franklin

    Carrie-

    If you really want some good information on this subject, you should read Dr Miller’s book “Finding Darwins God”.

    Dr Miller is a professor of Biology at Brown University, and he also co-authored the biology textbook that is one of, if not the most widely used biology textbooks in the country, so he knows his stuff.

    Dr Miller is also a professed Christian. Finding Darwins God is not technical & sciency, but written so that a layman (laywoman) can clearly understand why intelligent design is poor science and worse theology.

    I’ve been studying this matter for some time, and I can assure you, I am very well informed about both sides of this issue. But Expelled is so full of deception, half-truths, and villifying that it simply should not be tolerated.

    For example, the opening sequence with Stein giving a lecture at Pepperdine University was staged. Its phony. In that packed auditorium, there were only 2 or 3 actual students from Pepperdine, the rest were all “extras”, brought in by the producers of the movie.

    The producers of Expelled have just been served with a cease and desist order by XVIVO production company that made an animation of cell mechanics for Harvard, and they contend that the Expelled producers copied their animation and included it in the movie and the promotional material they gave out. If they don’t comply with the order and remove the animation from the movie before it is released on the 18th, Expelled will be sued. I have seen both and it is clear to anyone that Expelled basically stole the video.

    How can you trust crooks and liars?

    There is plenty more proof and evidence if you want to see it.

    Did you check out http://www.expelledexposed.com?

    Benjamin Franklin

    Reply
  4. Carrie Wigal Post author

    I just came across the following disclaimer on the http://www.ExpelledTheMovie.com website:

    Editor’s Note: Questions have been raised about the origination of some of the animation used in our movie EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. Claims that we have used any animation in an unauthorized manner are simply false. Premise Media created the animation that illustrates cellular activity used in our film.- The Producers of “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed”

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  5. C. Muench

    I went to see the movie this weekend. Far from being boring, I found it quite interesting. To be sure, if you are looking for mindless, thoughtless entertainment, it may be boring, but if you are looking to understand an issue that is growing to be increasingly important, I think it’s worth a look.

    First of all, the major premise is not about intelligent design. It is about academic freedom to ask questions. Intelligent Design just happens to be the current area some claim this freedom is in jeopardy. As a documentary, Expelled appears to make a cogent case that academic freedom is under attack. As a high school teacher, and as a former electrical engineer, I am very uncomfortable with this. This is not good for science or for education.
    The cases that Expelled reviewed are pretty clear, and the information is on public record. Whatever Expelled’s good points or bad points, the fact of the matter is that Guillermo Gonzalez, Richard Marks, Richard Von Sternberg all paid penalties for questioning Neo-Darwinism. E-mails at the host institutions, which have been published by the media, or in Von Sternberg’s case, in the congressional investigation, exhibit levels of intolerance and bigotry with which anyone–any thinking person– should be concerned about whether or not they believe in Intelligent Design, Creationism, Directed Pan-Spermia, or out and out atheistic materialism.
    Is Expelled exagerating the situation? Absolutely not! For instance, in expressing concern over a Creationist who was awarded a science PhD at the University of Rhode Island Eugenie Scott was quoted as saying, “graduate admissions committees were entitled to consider the difficulties that would arise from admitting a doctoral candidate with views “so at variance with what we consider standard science.” She said such students “would require so much remedial instruction it would not be worth my time.” “Dr. Dini, of Texas Tech, agreed. Scientists “ought to make certain the people they are conferring advanced degrees on understand the philosophy of science and are indeed philosophers of science.” Was this from Expelled? No–it is from a February 12, 2007, article in the NY Times–and the context of the article makes it clear that people who should be excluded are any who may consider examining nature from a design perspective.

    Furthermore, while the film clearly falls on the Pro -ID side, the materialists are definitely given their opportunity to speak. Lengthy clips allow the public to gain an appreciation for their thoughts. Their frankness is refreshing, if also a little scary.

    No, I think it is worthwhile for people to see the film whether or not they agree with ID. A big issue is at stake.

    One last thought in a comment that has already gone on too long: I agree with Mr. Franklin that Miller’s book is well written. Writing in a folksy, down to earth style, Miller makes science easy to understand for the layman. I enjoyed it immensely. However, for all your accusations toward Expelled, I was disturbed that Dr. Miller himself was less than genuine. On pages 46 and 47 of his book, Dr. Miller makes the case for human evolution seemed like a closed one. ““For all the fuss and concern that surround the idea of human evolution, the detailed fossil evidence of our ancestry is remarkably powerful. The origins of our species fit Darwin’s sketch…. The record of change fits the pattern predicted by evolution, and the evolution produced us too. (p. 47)” Miller included a diagram to prove his point. When I went to the article from which he obtained his diagram, however, I was shocked to read that human evolution was anything but clear. “Thanks to a report by Conroy et al. on page 1730 of this issue (3), another new specimen (Stw 505), tentatively assigned to Australopithecus africanus, is about to wreak havoc on our view of hominid evolution…. The implication of Stw 505’s surprising cranial capacity is that something is very wrong with the published record of early hominid cranial capacities. If so, the ramifications for hominid brain evolution may be profound (Science, June 12, 1998).”

    To be sure, the article did not question evolution, but then again, isn’t that the point of Expelled? Are we permitted to ask such questions of given the data?

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  6. C. Muench

    I have been challenged by several colleagues about negative reviews of the movie, Expelled, so I looked a few of them up. Now let me be upfront, if Expelled is a poor documentary by artistic or cinematic standards, I will have to take their word for it. I have no expertise in this area, so I will leave that aspect of the review to the film critics. However, I am gravely disturbed by the inaccuracy of the reviews regarding facts. Giving the benefit of the doubt, it could be that the reporter’s biases skewed their perceptions. The other possibility is that they are being totally disingenuous. I am not sure ultimately which the worse case is.

    Let me give two examples. In a USA Today review, Claudia Puig writes, “Co-writer and host Ben Stein is startlingly one-sided in his unnatural selection of experts. The proponents of intelligent design are well-spoken and rational, and almost uniformly American. Those who believe in evolution often have foreign accents, are stuffed shirts or seem ready to foam at the mouth.”

    The only accurate statement in that paragraph is that the proponents of intelligent design were well spoken. But they were hardly uniformly American. One of the leading proponents was Polish, and several others sported British accents. On Darwin’s side one could hardly dislike personable representatives such as Michael Shermer, Eugenie Scott, or Daniel Dennett. As for the foreign accents of the Darwinists—they were professors at Oxford and hardly ill spoken. The feature antagonist, if you will was Richard Dawkins, an articulate and seemingly reasonable British professor. The only questionable candidate which may lend credence to Ms. Puig’s comments is William Provine, who, the movie informs us, has suffered from a brain tumor which apparently recurred. Thus, rather than evoking hatred, he ultimately evokes compassion. Please Ms. Puig. Did you actually see the movie? Or could the rationality of the ID proponents be due to the fact that their position is ultimately more rational?

    In a similar case of misleading the public, Orlando Sentinel’s Roger Moore writes, “Shockingly, the “experts” Stein hurls up against evolution are disgruntled, under-credentialed academics dismissed from lesser colleges, they say, because they wanted to teach creation rather than science. Other “experts” in the film come from anti-evolution “think tank” cranks.”

    Mr. Moore’s vituperative tone shows his objectivity. Among the under-credentialed academics he derides include Douglas Axe, who possesses a PhD from Cal Tech and has been publications include work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Molecular Biology; John Polkinghorne, who was a professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge and a member of the prestigious Royal Society; Guillermo Gonzalez, whose publication record would make most scientists of any type drool; and one could go on.

    Mr. Moore, Did you study the subject matter or are you merely repeating the party mantra?

    It is this type of misleading reporting which lends credence to the claims that Expelled makes. Whether purposeful or not, there appears to be an inherent cultural bias among the elites against those that take a design perspective of science.

    Roger Moore The Orlando Sentinel. “‘Expelled’: Is: ; there intelligence in this film?.” Charleston Gazette. 17 Apr 2008. .

    Puig, Claudia. “Also opening.” USA Today. 18 Apr 2008. D11. .

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