Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Last week I went to see Ben Stein's documentary, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" http://www.expelledthemovie.com/ , which was playing in movie theaters. I do not know how well the movie is doing at the box office, but if you have a chance to see it, do so. It is an effective expose of academic and cultural prejudice against critics of Darwinian Evolution.

"Expelled" is not an overtly Christian film. Ben Stein has stated that he is not a Christian. He is best known as an entertainer ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Win Ben Stein's Money) and commentator (The American Spectator). Yet in the film, we see another side to him, a man who believes in God and one who can intellectually work out the ethical and religious consequences of Darwinian Evolution.

"Expelled" is not a detailed explanation of or an argument for the theory of life's origins called Intelligent Design. What the film is is an exploration of the prejudice against Intelligent Design by the scientific establishment. We are introduced to a myriad of scientists who have lost their academic tenure and positions because of their research into Intelligent Design. We also learn the stories of those who have been fired from their jobs at scientific journals for approving articles that merely mention the theory. Not all these people are Christians; some are either secular in orientation or practice other belief systems. At least one of the scientists interviewed made the point that those who study Intelligent Design do not deny evolutionary change in animals and lower species. However, they are not convinced that this form of evolution proves that man is a descendant of lower forms of animals. The scientific establishment and its allies in the media label opponents of evolution as not real scientists, as rubes and charlatans. Yet "Expelled" introduces us to many impressive scientists and writers who attack Darwinism on scientific grounds. Some of these are proponents of Intelligent Design, some believe the theory is worthy of exploration and should not be suppressed.

"Expelled" gives equal time to Darwinists within the scientific community to present their case. They are given time to heap scorn on Intelligent Design and its proponents. The expressions of disbelief in God in general, and the events of Creation detailed in Genesis in particular, range from mild disdain to outright irrational hostility, Richard Dawkins representing the later. They are not shy about expressing their disbelief in God. In giving these people equal time, Stein and the filmmakers expose the hidden institutional machinery in the scientific establishment that is working to suppress dissent from Darwinism not only in the scientific community, but in the entire public arena. Their hostility and their absolute determination to crush all dissent is on view for all to see. And their hypocrisy is revealed as well. One of the most telling moments in the film is when an evolutionist is asked to comment on a colleague of his who was fired for his research into Intelligent Design. He expresses sorrow for what had happened to his colleague, declaring it to be an unfortunate outcome. Then the professor is confronted with his own e-mails calling the fired man an idiot. "Who are the idiots?" he was asked. His hypocrisy exposed, he labeled those who study Intelligent Design as idiots. He and the rest of his Darwinian colleagues, when their attempts at suppressing dissent are exposed, act as if they could care less when they are exposed. All throughout the film, "Expelled" makes a visual connection between the efforts of the scientific establishment to destroy those who advocate or are at least friendly to Intelligent Design to the communists who built the Berlin Wall. Just as the wall was built to keep all things western out, the scientific community is trying to build a wall around itself and the public, attempting to prevent any dissent from Darwinian Evolution from becoming part of the public debate. The humorous style in which the film depicts this will appeal to opponents of evolutionary theories (like me), while Darwinists will be offended.

At the film's conclusion, Stein links the rise of Darwinism to the formation of Nazi ideology and that ideology's culmination in the extermination of six million European Jews. Evolutionists will declare this to be nonsense. They maintain that to apply the evolutionary concept of the "survival of the fittest" to humanity is a perversion of what Darwin taught. Stein counters this with a quote from Darwin's book "The Descent of Man." I cannot give the exact quote, but in "The Descent of Man", Darwin maintained that certain "weaker" classes of humanity should not be allowed to reproduce. To paraphrase Darwin, "Even those who raise dogs know it is detrimental to allow inferior breeds to reproduce." Those who first denied that man was a special creation of God, the peak of God's creative work, made in His image, those same people set the stage for the designation of man as just an animal, a higher form of animal certainly, but just an animal. And this designation gave rise to certain groups who claimed the right to determine which segments of humanity were worthy of reproduction, declaring other segments a threat to the reproduction of the species. This is the intellectual beginnings not only of the Nazis, but those who successfully campaigned to legalize birth control. Originally, Margaret Sanger and her followers wanted to prevent the poor from reproducing, so the human race would, in their mind, rid itself of weaker, undesirable elements. The filmmakers have the courage for pointing out the real rational for the formation of Planned Parenthood and its advocacy of birth control and abortion.

Those that dissent from, or oppose altogether, Darwinian Evolution, should give kudos to Stein and company for having the courage to produce this film. I remember when I was young my surprise when I discovered the lack of objectivity among scientists concerning those things related to God. This surprise was just one of the ways God prepared my heart to accept the Gospel. While "Expelled" is not an overtly Christian film, it can have the same effect on someone who was just like me. It can open one's eyes to the real reason we exist and where disbelief in God and the Bible's account of Creation can lead.

14 comments:

Benjamin Franklin said...

Expelled is not the paragon of truth and fair play that you seem to think it is. Every one of the stories about scientists and others being "expelled" has another factual side to them that the movie conveniently doesn't discuss. For example, in your post you state that "We also learn the stories of those who have been fired from their jobs at scientific journals for approving articles that merely mention the theory."

You are referring to Richard von Sternberg, and he in no way was fired from his job. He had announce six months prior to the publication of the article in question that he would stepping down as voluntary, unpaid editor of the journal at the end of his sceduled term.

For some real information, see www.epelledexposed.com

Don't believe the other manufactured arguments you see in this mockumentary, and don't encourage others to see it until you learn the truth of the matter.

Mr. Guthrie said...

I have checked the website you mentioned. I looked at the section on Sternberg. Pretty slick. There is no sources cited for the charges made against him, while sources slandering him and his work are given. It is interesting to note that the film featured the comments of one who challenged Stenbergs claims as to why he was fired (or resigned?) I read the section on eugenics. Darwinism certainly opened the way for ideologies such as Naziism(?) and Communism; Karl Marx wanted to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin. (To be fair, Darwin declined the honor. See, my side of the debate is not afraid to be fair to all sides. Yet Marx understood that man had to be viewed as less than in God's image for his communistic ideas to be viable, and Darwinism was an ally in his cause.)If you take the trouble to read Gould's history of eugenics, you will see that even he atributes opposition to eugenics to Fundamentalist Christians, although he himself finds that fact shocking. This is still the rational for Planned Parenthood today (despite making big bucks off of abortion). I also find it interesting that you found my post so soon after I posted. I don't get many visitors. You must be specifically searching for positive reviews of "Expelled" on the blog. Your dedication is impressive. To bad you do not want anyone to know who you are. If you have a good day today, thank God, because it is through Him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17). That applies to all of us, whether we accept Christ as Lord and His Word as true.

Mr. Guthrie said...

The last sentence should read "...whether we accept Christ as Lord and His Word as true, or not."

Claire said...

I too enjoyed the movie and learned a lot! My 16 year old brother was entertained during the whole movie. It isn't a dry, boring documentary. I think when it comes out on DVD it'll be a great thing for church youth groups to look at.

We really need to push for creation to be allowed to be taught in the schools. To have both "theories" taught is only fair.

Mr. Guthrie said...

Claire, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you and your brother enjoyed "Expelled."

Ben Franklin, actually, when I made the statement you quoted from my blog, I was thinking of a woman who lost her job just mentioning Intelligent Design. I can't recall her name, but she identified herself as being either totally secular, or one who praqctices another faith. I am considering looking at the website you told me about more closely and analyzing its veracity in a future blog post.

Benjamin Franklin said...

I believe you are referring to Pamela Winnick, who describes herself as a "a practicing Jew and a liberal Democrat and a native of New York City."

In Expelled she claimed "And having merely written on a subject was enough to put you on this blacklist. If you give any credence to it whatsoever, which means just writing about it, you’re just finished as a journalist.”

This is demonstably not the case.

From www.expelledexposed.com

As a supposedly “blacklisted” reporter, Winnick continued to write for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette until August 2002, almost two years after she began her supposedly career-ending articles on intelligent design; she continues to write occasional guest columns for them (including an anti-evolution opinion piece in December 2005), and has written recent articles for the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal.

She also wrote a book, A Jealous God: Science’s Crusade Against Religion, published in 2005, which was described by the foundation funding her research as “analyzing why there seems to be little tolerance for teaching creationism in America.” The book received a negative review from a writer at her previous employer, the Post-Gazette – which nonetheless still publishes her work.

So no evidence was presented in Expelled that Winnick was blacklisted as a journalist, and there’s evidence to the contrary. She may have been criticized for her shoddy journalism or for advocating bad science – Jeffrey Shallit describes her book as “not a fair, reliable, or objective look at the battles between science and religion,” http://recursed.blogspot.com/2006/07/pamela-winnicks-science-envy.html for example – but it is insupportable and absurd to characterize such criticism as blacklisting."

See also a reply to Winnick by Dr. Wesley Elsberry at

http://www.antievolution.org/events/pbsevo/wre_prw_20011129.html

That is one of the big problems I have with Expelled. In the movie claim that they are being blacklisted, silenced, fired, etc. for "merely mentioning" ID, or God. Yet, as with Winnick, she was never blacklisted, as she continues to write and be published, nor did she "merely mention" ID. She wrote profusely and repetitively promoting ID, and trying to support her anti-science and anti-evolution agenda.

The more you look into each of the stories of those "expelled", you will find that what they present in Expelled just doesn't rign true.

ps- on the section on von Sternberg at expelledexposed, they do link to Souder's investigation, but the real meat is in the appendix, which is also linked.

BobC said...

Any scientist or science teacher who believes in intelligent design creationism, or any other version of creationism, deserves to be ridiculed and fired. Intelligent design is nothing more than a childish belief in magic. The designer is a sky fairy who says abracadabra to magically create plants and animals. Anyone who prefers magic instead of science is an uneducated idiot. The willfully ignorant creationists are too cowardly to grow up, educate themselves, and face facts. I don't care about their breathtaking stupidity but when they call their childish magic "scientific" they deserve to be laughed at.

Mr. Guthrie said...

To bobc and Ben Franklin:
bobc, thanks for visiting my blog. Your comments demonstrate the very point "Expelled" makes concerning hostility in the scientific establishment, its allies in the media and in the public in general to belief in God and in Creationism. At least you are more honest than those interviewed in the academic community who silence critics of Darwinism and claim Darwin's critics face no persecution.
As to magic: magic presupposes a view that God, or gods, and the forces of nature are one in the same. Magic is an attempt to manipulate the natural world through human means. Example: when a rain dance is done, it is hoped that through the right incantations and right dance moves and ritual performances will manipulate the forces of nature to produce the desired effect. The unseen powers that magicians claim they are in contact with are supposed to be manipulated by the magician. The God of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is a God entirely seperate from the natural world. BY creating the world from nothing, he is entirely seperate from creation. No magic words, no incantations, no rituals will in no way manipulate Him. He is free from human influence. That is why the God of the Bible is so revolutionarily different from the god of all other belief systems, all of which teach a form of manipulating God through human means. To the pagan world, this God was totalyy different from anything they ever encountered. Many do not want to be accountable to a God they cannot control. That is one of the reasons evolution is accepted; if there is no creator God to be accountable to, then we are off the hook as far as personal behavior is concerned.

Ben Franklin, I have been perusing the expelled exposed website today. As for Sherburg, the only appendix I found was the appendix to the report by the Committee Chairman. I will deal with it within the next couple of days.

As for Patricia Winnick, I have read what the website has to say. I have the same criticism that I wrote concerning what the site said about Sherburg. There are statements challenging her assertions that she suffered professionally from what she wrote on ID. Yet these statments do not cite any sources to back them up. I read the three articles she wrote for the Pittsburgh Gazeete on ID: I found them objective. She gave equal space for both sides and took no position. Apparently, for the ones responsible for expelledexposed, this is evidence enough. They simply do not what proponents of ID to have a public voice, they only want the media to be negative toward ID. Did they link to these articles assuming that no one would read them. Did you read them . I read her review of the PBS program on Evolution. Did you? In it, she states that she is no Biblical creationist, but does have doubts about Darwinism. As to the negative review of her book by the Gazette, the paper did not pan the book, one of its writers did. In fact, if you were careful to read the review, you would see that the writer writes for Mother Jones, not exactly a Creationist magazine. The paper did not endorse the review by publishing it anymore than they endorsed Winnick when they published her pieces. So Winnicks work is criticized. So. Does the fact that someone criticized her on his blog mean that that criticism is valid? You seem to think that just citin g these critics is evidence in itself. There is also the assumption that evolutionists are objective, while creationists must be dishonest. Again, citing sources biased against creationism is not evidence. And what I read on the website does not square with the links to her work. The websites designers probably believe the public is too lazy to look at the site in detail.

Benjamin Franklin said...

Yes, I read Winnick's articles. But I really don't know what else to say. Winnick claims she was "blacklisted", and indicated that just by mentioning ID one is "finished as a journalist".

But where is any evidence she was blacklisted? She continued to write for the newspaper. How is she "finished as a journalist"? She continues to write for papers such as the New York Times, as well as writing books.

Winnick makes these assertions, but provides no evidence to back them up, yet there is undeniable evidence that she hasn't been blacklisted or prevented from writing, or being published. How else can one prove that she hasn't suffered? What am I missing here?


You said "They simply do not what proponents of ID to have a public voice, they only want the media to be negative toward ID."

ID is the most talked about notion of a "supressed" idea that has ever existed. ID proponents write books, give lectures, teach classes, maintain websites, lobby politicians and school boards, make movies, etc. It seems the only thing they don't do is come up with any good research that would justify a place at the table of scientific discourse. And regarding that, ID proponents haven't been silenced, they are merely silent.

Mr. Guthrie said...

Oh, Ben Franklin, if you read the Winnick articles, then you can see for yourself that she gave equal time to both sides and took no position. For those responsible for www.expelledexposed.com , that is evidence enough that she is biased for ID.
As to Winnick's professional career suffering, I was going to get to that last night but the WIFI establishment I was typing at closed. She was a full time employee of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, now they only publish her occasionally. Yes she has written one book. Anyone can write a book. Even in the most repressed countries, enemies of the state can write books. The fact that they can do so does not mean they are not suffering. Does the name Alexander Solzenitzen and Salman Rushdie ring a bell? The fact is Winnick can write fifty books challenging Darwinian evolution but her books will not appear in most book stores, in some bookstores, if her books appear, evolutionists would complain to the management, she could not get speaking engagements or interviews promoting her book at most venues, if authorities in their academic fields were to endorse her book, or merely compliment it, their professional standing would be threatened. The only venues she can find that will publish her or fund her research is the conservative wing of the media. Being a conservative, I don't put down the Conservative media, but I am sure when she began her professional career, she hoped to write for a wider audience. Instead, the scientific establishment and its media allies have prevented her voice from being heard by the general public. So, yes, she has suffered professionally. You say you do not buy that. Your only sources of information are those that promote evolution and debunk ID. Again, the assertions on www.expelledexposed.com that she is lying when she claims professional discrimination are not accompanied by source citations. The criticism of her and the others profiled in "Expelled" come from the Darwinist camp. To rely on their word without objective source material is not seeking the truth, it is looking for validation for one's own biases. I have yet to look at the website put out by the makers of "Expelled" concerning their side of the facts. I will do so in due time, as well as contiue to peruse expelledexposed.com
As to your comments concerning those who profess ID in general, I find them contradictory. You conclude by saying they are not silenced, they are merely silent. Yet previous to that, you point out that they write books, give lectures, teach classes. If they were silent by choice, they would not be engaging in such activities. But it may appear to you they are silent because the Darwinists in the scientific establishment make sure their ideas get no publicity and their work no funding. And after ID proponents are denied funds, Darwinists claim that ID proponents have produced no research. In most states, teachers are not even allowed to mention ID as an alternative to Darwinism. All this is done to insure that Darwinian Evolution has no dissenters in the public debate.
Have to go now. Again, thanks for stopping by. This conversation has been jolly good fun!

Erik said...

As I said in my blog, Why There Are No Expelled and Ben Stein Bootlegs at http://millenniumwriting.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/why-there-are-no-expelled-and-ben-stein-bootlegs/, you can measure the quality and success of a movie by the number of bootlegs copies on the street. There aren't none for Expelled.

Erik John Bertel
Author of Flores Girl The Children God Forgot and the Millenniumwriting blog

Mr. Guthrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Guthrie said...

ben franklin, are you there? I have read the report of the subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives concerning Sternberg. I have not yet been successful in downloading the Appendix to the report. The evidence is overwhelming that the Smithsonian and the National Institute of Health conspired against Sternberg. There is an issue I would like to hear from you on: according to the report, the Smithsonian Institute conspired with the National Center for Science Education,NCSE, www.natcenscied.org, to monitor Sternbergs activities outside his work to see if they could find grounds for firing him. This is the same organization that is responsible for www.expelledexposed.com . Isn't it interesting that they forgot to mention that little detail in the www.expelledexposed.com website? Doesn't this show a lack of ethics on the part of NCSE and doesn't it call into question the veracity of www.expelledexposed.com ? I plan to do some more reasearch upon this issue and possibly ask you another question, if you still care to respond. I do hope to hear from you.

Mr. Guthrie said...

ben franklin, are you still there? Today I read through Darwin's "Descent of Man" to find the Darwin quote from "Expelled" that www.expelled exposed.com accused Ben Stein of taking out of context. After a long read, I found the passage. Guess what? While there is the additional quote from Darwin www.expelledexposed.com refered to, there is still enough material from this passage they left out to show www.expelledexposed.com is dishonest with reporting the facts. I am going to do a series of posts on this issue. In the meantime, I suppose the conversation for this particular post is closed.