Expelled, the Movie
I just got a chance to watch “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed” on Showtime and loved it. (It had been rushed through the theatres at break neck speed, so I missed it on the Big Screen). They have an official web site. This is a well done ‘slide show interview narrative’ movie by Ben Stein. (A person who’s work in finance and investing I greatly admire.)
It is the exploration of how any mention of Intelligent Design or Creation (one presumes, via a God) will get you canned from Universities, personally slandered, and several other negative outcomes.
What struck me most was how the litany of attack matched that on folks who question Global Warming. It was the same “play book”. Take over the organs of control (National Science Foundation – money; peer reviewed periodicals, University chairs) then use that power to attack and smear anyone who dares to utter the words Intelligent Design. Block publication of works. Get folks fired. Etc. Repeat the mantra that Darwin is settled science and a consensus exists.
I was left with the (possibly irrational) impression that the same folks were running both programs with the same play book. AGW and anti-God.
At any rate, I recommend buying the CD and giving it a viewing.
For those who don’t know, Ben Stein is a very kind soul with an easy wit. At home on stock market shows, doing eye drop commercials, or in movies (Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?). He is also Jewish.
The connection he makes from the foundations of eugenics back to Darwin’s theory then forward through the Nazi era are something we all ought to think about. They apply equally well to any person of religion or of any minority.
Any discussion about religion means I ought to state my biases. While I had a broad religious upbringing, my basic beliefs are more or less agnostic with a slight atheist tendency (balanced by an overly large fascination with religion… I own a few dozen variations on the Bible and copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hamadi texts). I’m married to a religious person and we both accept each other as is.
Folks are welcome to politely discuss religion here, just don’t go all Preachy on things and don’t insult each other. I enjoy the topic, but not the insult wars. Respect each other. It works for me and my spouse.
Somehow Darwin is held up as an icon of anti-religion. Yet Darwin was a religious man. I see nothing in evolution that is antithetical to religion. Who are we to say what God may or may not do or HOW God may choose to work the levers of creation?
This is not a new idea, and I’m not the first one to think of it. While I’ve not read this book, the title is interesting:
In Darwin’s early editions of The Origin of Species, he included a comment affirming God and sometimes talks about “creation”.
Think about it…
Quoted from the wiki page:
Natural theology was not a unified doctrine, and while some such as Louis Agassiz were strongly opposed to the ideas in the book, others sought a reconciliation in which evolution was seen as purposeful. In the Church of England, some liberal clergymen interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God’s design, with the cleric Charles Kingsley seeing it as “just as noble a conception of Deity”. In the second edition of January 1860, Darwin quoted Kingsley as “a celebrated cleric”, and added the phrase “by the Creator” to the closing sentence, which from then on read “life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one”. While some commentators have taken this as a concession to religion that Darwin later regretted, Darwin’s view at the time was of God creating life through the laws of nature, and even in the first edition there are several references to “creation”.
So when one holds up Darwin’s On The Origin of Species as proof that there was no creation and their is no God, one is distorting out of all proportion what Darwin actually wrote. Suddenly, light is dark and white becomes black.
Finally, one closing note
I had always been smug in the notion that with 4 billion years to “roll the dice” evolution had plenty of time to work on raw chemicals to ‘create’ life. But recent fossils show life present almost immediately after the planet was cool enough. Millions, not billions of years. (The exact number is rather hard to figure out).
This is a bit of a crisis for molecular evolution. They must find a way to make a vastly more complicated machine than they had thought it was (it is far more complex than originally believed inside the cell) and do it in far less time. The answer to “how” is still unknown.
My favorite candidate is that life had 15 billion years to evolve somewhere else and that bacterial spores can survive inside rocks to fall on new worlds as they form. Speculative, yes, but so are all the other “answers”.
And we won’t get into the intriguing aspect of alien visitors, other than to mention that there are Sumerian texts that describe a clear case of a visitation by a person from the stars, identified by name, who conducts procedures remarkably like our present genetic engineering, and advances the human condition. Archeologists interpret this as a “creation myth” rather than a “historical document”. I see no grounds for choosing one over the other.
Yet it would be forbidden to even ask the question: “Is this evidence for creation of life from extraterrestrial beings?” Since this is a form of “Intelligent Design”, and so the Forbidden Fruit…
Personally, I find it very offensive when someone tells me I cannot ask questions, and more so when they tell me my daydreams are forbidden to discuss…
As a closing comment, I would only point out that a great deal of “Science” was done, and is being done, each day by devout Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and dozens of other religions. I have a very hard time with the notion that one can not be both religious AND a scientist… There is a very strong existence proof to the contrary.