Monday, April 21, 2008

If Nothing Else," Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" Should Tell You Something, Just In Case You Haven't Noticed

I got out Friday night, to see “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” I had made arrangements to possibly see it with a few more people, in the next few days, and I happily will, and have opportunity to discuss it. But, after seeing the film and reading reviews online, one thing stands out particularly starkly to me.

I watched comment on the film leading up to its release and the reviews of those who saw it early. There is enough positive comment to read on the web. Here are a few at a good ones at: PipeLine News.org, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=expelled4.19.08.htm , and The American Thinker, http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/04/post_83.html . But, everything in what are considered major, usually traditional news outlets, totally and pretty abruptly trashed the movie, calling it ignorant, or dishonest propaganda.

Consider two things about that:

1) Without going to a specifically theistic source, before the popularity of the Internet, you could have read NOTHING positive about the film. That’s the world that I was raised in, born in the late 50’s and a young man in the 70’s.
2) And 2 (and this is what stood out so starkly) Stein’s movie discusses how a academic and science organizations are closed to the mere suggestion that an intelligent author might be responsible for the design of systems more complex and capable than anything human beings have ever created. And, they are hostile to the point that those who even dare to draw their fundamentalist naturalist dogma into question suffer sanction socially and/or professionally. Many whom Stein interviewed would not even appear on camera, for fear of reprisal. But these established news sources are so similarly insulated that they can scarcely deliver up a report that does not endorse and defend this and other aspects of the pop-culture status quo.

These people would like the public to think that they are the real, objective source of news. But, the population of these establishment news sources is a) a fraction of one percent of the American population. And b) regardless, is philosophically restricted.

Do I think that this is an intentional distortion of the news? No, I don’t. In fact, I’m certain it is not. To make such a charge would be like their charges that Ben Stein is involved in dishonest propaganda. They are entirely genuine. They just don’t know any better. These days, the information of the fossil record and the complex systems is so extensive that it could hardly be more obvious that the differences are not over the data, but over predispositions in interpreting the data. The systems look to be of design if you do not foreclose the idea from the very beginning. And, if you do, the complexity of the system only display the wonders that evolution can perform, regardless of the lack of fossil evidence and the lack of explanation of how such a process began and continued to reproduce through stages of development. Other options are off the table.

This is how the establishment scientists arrive at their conclusion: they have nowhere else to go. Lack of evidence is just that; the evidence is incomplete and we will supposedly know eventually. But, that’s the point of Stein’s movie: that other options may not even be entertained. Stein is not asking, as some caricature the whole notion of intelligent design that a Biblical or any other account of creation be taught in public schools. The only argument is that scientists shouldn’t be shut off from discussing what they see as the evidence of design in the system. Anyway, they aren’t trying to deceive us. THEY REALLY BELIEVE that someone like me is impenetrably stupid.

They say that God cannot be studied by science. Obviously, the author of nature cannot be tested by nature. It’s a bogus argument, anyway. Not only can God not be empirically tested, but any theoretical empirical evidence would be of something less than what ordinary language means by the term, God. But, the critical journalists are annoying. The Pipeline News article cites a good example at Time Magazine http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1729703,00.html : a writer who has no idea what he’s talking about is presuming to pronounce both scientific and moral judgment on Stein and the film, when he seems to have little more than a freshman pop-biology foundation of authority to stand on. This is really simple stuff: plainly, these persecuted scientists are vastly more scientifically aware. No matter: they parrot the establishment, however feebly.

Stein speaks with scientists who contend that there should be openness in interpretation of the data, but have either seen or experienced suppression of the mere mention of heresy from the establishment Darwinist confession, not about change due to natural selection (which is an uncontroversial fact), but about any consideration of the evidence that complexities in nature suggest intelligent design and/or that Darwinism offers no explanation for the origin of life. The notorious evolutionist and ant-religionist Dr. Richard Dawkins *author of the God delusion finally admits a possibility that life on earth might be the product of an intelligent designer. But, such a designer would have to have been a highly evolved species of an alien civilization who planted life on our planet. In other words, intelligent design may be considered as a possibility…just not by God.

The supposition of God or an alien author are alike metaphysical (extra-empirical) ideas. But one needn’t feel obligated by supposing the existence of space aliens. God on the other hand, might have the temerity to hold standards for His creation…a most beastly idea. One scholar in the movie makes the clear statement that the dispute is not scientific, but a metaphysical one. And, it is plain to me that once that insolent anti-God metaphysical posture is established in a systematic mind metaphysical, they almost inevitably become supercilious and scornful of infidels: just the sort of religious adjudication that they ostensibly oppose. And all of the hyper-Darwinist scholars in Stein’s movie evidence this tendency.

The movie was good. Stein is just trying to leverage the question to consciousness via the pop-culture medium of film. At bottom, the issue is not at all scientific evidence. The issue is freedom of speech. And, speech is being restrained not by scientific evidence, but by the typical human anxieties of power, money, and fear. And, as with any entrenched interest, when they can’t respond to questions with answers, they respond with moral judgments and/or intellectual ridicule: “You’re evil! You’re stupid!” It’s a contemporary Inquisition. And these of the pop-science establishment are the dogma-pounding fundamentalists. I’ve seening the film twice

Ben Stein is visibly amused by the selective disdain of different metaphysical postures, and troubled by some of the historical logical ramifications of Darwinism. America will decide what path it follows. If we move wrongly as a society, it will get dark...here, as it has in Europe. But, Christians needn't despair. In what were thought more darkened parts of the world, when I was young' in Asia and Africa and South America, Christianity is burgeoning. Even if Europe and America progress toward cultural self-immolation, these parts of the world will thrive. The New Testament foresees that "the last will be first." And, a culture that stews in self-worship, will achieve what it has earned.

16 comments:

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Larry, on "Expelled": I'm going to suggest to Douglas Gibbs of Political Pistachio on Blog Talk Radio that he have you on his show. That might mean you'll have to go see "Expelled." I'll promise to go if you will -- and it's nearly impossible to get me to go anywhere.

I'd like to thank you (along with so many other Huckabee supporters) for backing John McCain. It's becoming obvious to most conservatives that McCain's election is essential for the preservation of a recognizable America.

On a third point: Gov. Sarah gave birth to his fifth child, a boy she named "Trig," a Norwegian name I think. As Sarah and her husband knew early on in the pregnancy, Trig is a Downs Syndrome child. On my blog a few days ahead I wrote about: "Sarah Palin: America's Hope," about the Palin's thanking God for blessing them with Trig.

As you and so many Huckabee supporters know, Sarah is the real deal, perhaps the most impressive elected official in the U.S. So many politicians talk about the sanctity of life (I like to use "reverence for life," as per the Pope's recent comment), but the Palins practice their belief. They know that God is good and what he creates is good. I think it's important for all Americans to see what Sarah and husband Todd had to say about Trig.

She remains very interested in getting the vice presidential nod. She would be a great choice.

All the best.

steve maloney

p.s. I'll come back and insert Sarah's comments on the birth.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Below is the statement the Palin Family released. I learned from a friend of the family that the child has Downs Syndrome. I had a few tears well up when I saw their statement.

"Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives.
"We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed"

God bless you Sarah, Todd, Track, Willow, Bristol, Piper, and Trig.

Larry said...

Steve, Back to front:

On the one hand Sarah Palin doesn't add anything in terms of delivering a state. Alaska is a) small and b) a Republican lock.

On the other hand, she might present a near-blinding star in a national election, besides being a female, and I would love for Republicans to seat the first female president. I can't guarantee this year, but I think Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal WILL be on a Republican ticket by 2016, and Democrats vetter win now, because those two will be hard to beat. If Barack thinks he'll be back, he better make it befpre he has to face them. They'll make him look silly.

There's a lot still to see about how the general election outlook will unfold this year. But, I think the Barack Messiah is melting. Some jittery Republicans still wonder if McCain can still beat him, but right now I'm asking by how much. I think McCain will win, but with over 6 months to go before the election, a landslide is not out of the question. Of course, it's possible that bad things could happen to McCain too, in that time.

As you know, I have a lot of disagreement with McCain. But, he is particularly strong on the most critical issues, especially at this time. And characterwise, I prefer McCain to any of the other Republican candidates but Huckabee.

Frankly, conservatives who are spiting McCain who can't see why the most conservative man in The Senate is supporting him for the same reason that I am are blinded by passion. Those vital issues are defense, judges and particularly now, constraining spending. On that issue, McCain is as resolute as anyone except perhaps Coburn. And, it's vital now because we are not just running in deficit and long-term insolvency, but are at long last about to be swallowed up by the entitlement tsunami. Cutting wasteful spending isn't just prudent at this point. It's critical to restrain economic catastrophe.

After about a year of nearly daily blogging, I lot of wind blew out of my sails and I'm doing other things right now. But based on history, I'll soon be hard at it again and putting up a McCain banner and wading in well : probably before the early June Texas convention, where I will lobby those hard-nose dyspeptic Texas conservatives.

I hope Huckabee speaks on behalf of McCain, there. Personally, I'd be ecstatic is Huckabee were on the ticket. But Romnetites usually hate Huckabee and Huckabeeans are sour on Romney, so either one of them would have a lot of work to do. I think Huckabee has the facility to clear a lot of the fog. But, I can't see Romney inspiring the Huckabee crowd, whose fervor and work McCain needs. In my case, I don't believe Romney and don't trust his vision for the nation, or lack thereof. And, I'm not alone in that.

Larry said...

Oh, and I'd be happy to talk about the film (I've seen it twice so far) and the subject, particularly because so many people deal with it so poorly. As I said, it's tiresome to read journalists waxing critical about the subject matter who obviously have next-to-no firsthand familiarity with the material on either side. I've read and discussed the best of both.

patrick said...

Ben Stein's goal in making Expelled (i gather) is to promote dangerously-free thought, especially more thinking about motivations that drive American academia and a lot of other behind-the-scenes worldview that we tend to take for granted.

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