One things in this world I dislike is people that try to argue a point when they clearly have not done any actual research of their own on the subject. Sadly this tends to happen a lot in the whole Theory of Evolution vs. Creationism/Intelligent Design farce where you get such intellectual arguments such as “If people evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys in the world?“. Yes, I have seen that asked and yes the sheer ignorance and stupidty of such a question wants me to bang my head against my desk to rid myself of the memory of it.
There is an upcoming film called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed which people seem to be spread all sorts of word about. Thanks to a link from a past comment I found myself on a page which tries to defend the movie or ‘debunk’ certain ‘myths’ about Expelled. Sadly, this site falls into the same old trap of actually not doing any research of its own. Let’s go through these supposed myths, shall we?
Myth #1: Darwinists interviewed for this film were tricked into participating. Not so. Each scientist interviewed for Expelled, on both sides of the evolution debate, knew who would do the interview and what it was for. Each of them signed a release, allowing the producers to use the footage of their interviews.
This one is remarkably easy to correct. Both PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins have come out with the same same story about their encounters with the less than honest Expelled creators. PZ Myers gives his account (including the precise information which he was supplied with about the film, which turned out to be false) which pretty succintly points out how the Expelled team were, to be blunt, dishonest sods. Richard Dawkins account is pretty much identical. Also, the dishonesty can be shown through how the Expelled creators never actually purchased a domain for Crossroads but had already bought one for Expelled before the interviews were carried out. Suspicious much?
Myth #2: The film is anti-science.
Wrong again. Many distinguished scientists were interviewed for this film and given the chance to express their views. Just like their Darwinist counterparts, the advocates of intelligent design and their supporters who are interviewed are there to talk about science, not to dismiss it. These are people like Cambridge physicist John Polkinghorne; Oxford mathematician and philosopher John Lennox; journalist Pamela Winnick, who has received hate mail for covering the issue; and biologist Caroline Crocker, who was fired from George Mason University for discussing intelligent design in the classroom. Some of them are religious believers; some are not. But what they share is a commitment to science and the unfettered pursuit of truth. Expelled is not anti-science; it is anti-censorship.
This claim is so full of mistakes and falsehoods which are easily shown to be wrong that it should come with some sort of warning sticker. Yes, some scientists were interviewed but they were clearly mislead and their interviews rather badly editted to misconstrue what they said. Hey, if people don’t like your answer then there’s always the editting room to fix it. The worst/best case of this happening which has been documented in terms of Expelled is with Richard Dawkins, where one statement he made about the likelihood of aliens having started life on Earth was taken completely out of context.
The above claim mentions Caroline Crocker who is featured in the film as a supposed example of discrimination against ID Proponents. This indicates the writer of that claim simply did not bother to check the facts or do any actual independent research into the case. TinyFrog has examples of Crocker’s work available for everyone to see which should make it clear that she is, if nothing else, either grossly incompetent or completely ignorant of the field in which she claims expertise. Statements such as “No one has ever seen a dog turn into a cat in a laboratory” are clearly not the words of someone who knows what the Theory of Evolution is about. When you’re hired to teach biology and you’re presenting work such as that, it is not in any way surprising that your contract is not renewed.
So the film is all about anti-censorship is it? So how are ID Proponents being unfairly censored? Are they being told to shut up and go away? Their organisations shut down? Legal cases being launched to stop whatever they do from being done? Nope. Not one case of it. What they are looking for is being given special privleges over everyone else. The Dover trial concluded (and even ID Proponents have admitted) that Intelligent Design is not science, scientists don’t classify ID as science and so on. Yet ID proponents want apparent free reign to have it treated as a science and not have to meet the same standards as any other scientific field or researcher. What utter silliness and absurdity.
Myth #3: Ben Stein, the actor and writer who hosts the movie, has lost his mind.
Bringing up this very issue in a conference call, Stein quipped that he probably has, “but it was a long time ago . . . probably sometime around 1958.” Well, I have known Stein well for years, and he is as bright as a button and anything but out of his mind. On a serious note, Stein and his film’s producers explained that the mud that people are flinging at him is just one small example of what happens to people who question Darwinian orthodoxy. The original idea for Expelled, said co-producer and software engineer Walt Ruloff, came to him when he was working on a project with a group of biotechnologists and learned “that there was a whole series of questions that could not be asked.”
The prevailing ideology among many scientists—it turned out—he concluded, was keep your mouth shut, take the research money, and publish only the data that fits with “the party line.” The issue that concerns Ruloff and the others behind Expelled is whether the scientific establishment in this country is going to allow genuine “freedom of inquiry,” or simply shut up—and slander—those who do not toe the line.
Given all this, Ben Stein states, “As long as the cause is right, I’m happy to be in an uphill struggle.”
I’ve never heard of anyone calling Ben Stein mad or that he’s lost his mind. I have heard people comment that he clearly does not know what he’s talking about, which is fair enough. The statements he has made in public strongly indicate that he does not know much at all about the Theory of Evolution or even Intelligent Design. The rest of this claim is rather unsubstantiated hot air it seems, especially when you consider that christian scientists have come out and said that science is actually rather respectful about their religious beliefs, as stated by Francis Collins.
Myth #4: Popular author and atheist Richard Dawkins tells Ben Stein in this film that there could have been a designer of life on earth, but it would have had to have been “a higher intelligence” that had itself evolved “to a very high level . . . and seeded some form of life on this planet.”
Well, actually . . . that one is not a myth. He really did say it—striking admission, though it is.
Taken completely out of context, as shown by Richard Dawkins who was … well, he was actually there and the one who said it.
Further reading from this blog:
- ‘Expelled! No intelligence allowed’: Why it’s a load of bunk
- EvolutionNews.org caught lying out its ass. Again.
- Expelled proponents can’t get story straight
- PZ Myers expelled again. Expelled lies again. (updated)