Wednesday, March 12, 2008

 

Two Faces Are Better Than ...



Hey Kids! Remember when Ben Stein took offense at being compared to Holocaust deniers?

Mr. Stein said in a telephone interview that he had not read [Orlando Sentinel movie critic Roger Moore's review of Expelled], but that “being compared with a Holocaust denier is nonsense,” adding, “This guy is extremely confused.” He said he decided to participate in the project because “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that big science and Darwinism should have a stranglehold on academic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

But it's perfectly okay to compare scientists and educators to Hitler, as Expelled does with footage of the Nazi death camps, right? However, Mr. Stein is not a one-note denigrator of others, however. According to Stein, anyone who has the ridiculous notion that science should be taught in science classes rather than theology is just another budding "Bull" Connor:

Wearing a black suit and tan sneakers, actor Ben Stein strode to a podium in the House office building during a news conference Wednesday and likened the situation for teachers and scientists who challenge Darwinism to the struggle of African Americans' during segregation.

After that drive-by character assassination, bumping off the truth is only to be expected:

"Let us all debate. Let us think. Let us be open to new ideas and new thoughts. We don't see that happening now unfortunately in many parts of the academic world," Stein said. "The Darwinists, and the neo-Darwinists in particular, have become more Darwinist than Darwin in the sense that they will not permit any question of Darwin."

That's just stupid or deceitful or both, of course. Darwin's original work has been questioned, criticized, revised and expanded in major ways and continues to be. Nor is anyone being kept from expressing their religious views about evolution, though, in accordance with our Constitution, teachers are not allowed to do it in public schools at public expense.

But anyone who is dishonest enough or deluded enough to say that the "criticisms," borrowed wholesale by the "cdesign proponentsists" from the loony-tunes creation "scientists," are themselves part of the "full range of scientific views regarding chemical and biological evolution" deserves what they get in the world of academia, which includes contempt and lack of support for getting a guaranteed life-time job.

I suppose Stein figures that humping creationism under false pretenses will make a perfect bookend for his "career."
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Comments:
This films' main thesis, that anyone in the science community who believes in God, or is a Darwin dissenter is being "expelled" is false at its core.

In a New York Times interview, Walter Ruloff (producer of Expelled) said that researchers, who had studied cellular mechanisms, made findings suggestive of an intelligent designer. "But they are afraid to report them".
Mr. Ruloff also cited Dr. Francis S. Collins, a geneticist who directs the National Human Genome Research Institute and whose book, “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief”, explains how he came to embrace his Christian faith. Mr. Ruloff said that Dr. Collins separates his religious beliefs from his scientific work only because “he is toeing the party line”.

That’s “just ludicrous,” Dr. Collins said in a telephone interview. While many of his scientific colleagues are not religious and some are “a bit puzzled” by his faith, he said, “they are generally very respectful.” He said that if the problem Mr. Ruloff describes existed, he is certain he would know about it.

Similarly, Dr. Ken Miller is a professed Christian who wrote "Finding Darwin's God" (which I suggest you read). Dr. Miller has not been "expelled" in any fashion for his belief in God.

The movie tries to make the case that "Big Science" is nothing but a huge atheist conspiracy out to silence believers, but only presents a very one-sided look at some Discovery Institute "martyrs".

Carolyn Crocker "expelled"? - No.
Her annual teaching contract was not renewed. Was she "fired" for daring to bring God into research? - No. She was hired to teach Biology, and she decided to ignore the schools' curriculum and substitute her own curriculum.

Guillermo Gonzalez "expelled"? - No.
He was not granted tenure. The film doesn't bring up the fact that in all his years at ISU he had only brought in only a miniscule amount of grant money. Nor does it bring up the fact that in all his years at ISU he failed to mentor a single student through to their PhD. Nor does it mention that in his career at ISU, his previous excellent record of publication had dropped precipitously.

Richard von Sternberg "expelled"? - No.
Sternberg continues to work for NIH in the same capacity. Of course the movie doesn't bring up his underhanded tactics in getting Meyers work published.

This movie attempts to influence it's viewers with dishonesty, half-truths, and by a completely one-sided presentation of the facts.

If a scientists' research is not accepted by the scientific community, it isn't because the scientist either believes or doesn't believe in God, it is usually because they are producing bad science. Like the idea of Intelligent Design.
 
Very well said!
 
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