Tag Archives: Expelled

The wedge undermines Christianity

phillip-johnsonBecause of the summer solstice/New Year holidays I am reposting some older articles. This one from last May.

Back in 1999 Phillip E. Johnson, the godfather of intelligent design (ID), declared a strategy of labeling evolutionary science, and therefore by implication all of science, as atheistic.

“The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs evolution to the existence of God vs the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to ‘the truth’ of the Bible and then ‘the question of sin’ and finally ‘introduced to Jesus.’”

200px-wedge_document_coverIn essence this is the same strategy as that outlined in the Wedge Strategy document.

ID spokespeople have constantly pushed this argument. Recently their efforts have become more extreme. For example, the message in ‘that silly movie’ Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that “Darwinism” led directly to Nazism and the holocaust. And these spokespeople have become more open in widening their attacks from “Darwinism” to all of science.

Ben Stein declared during a recent TV interview that “science leads to killing people.” David Berlinski in The Scientific Embrace of Atheism also attacks science in a manner John Derbyshire shows to be ridiculous (see Getting It Wrong about Atheism and Science). Denys O’Leary has written in similar nasty way with her references to “Darwinist” thugs (see Expelled: “Denormalizing” the Darwin thugs and Expelled: “Denormalizing” the Darwin thugs 2 – PZ Myers and friends).

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Driving the wedge into Christianity

Back in 1999 Phillip E. Johnson, the godfather of intelligent design (ID), declared a strategy of labeling evolutionary science, and therefore by implication all of science, as atheistic.

“The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs evolution to the existence of God vs the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to ‘the truth’ of the Bible and then ‘the question of sin’ and finally ‘introduced to Jesus.'”

In essence this is the same strategy as that outlined in the Wedge Strategy document.

Darwin SteinID spokespeople have constantly pushed this argument. Recently their efforts have become more extreme. For example, the message in ‘that silly movie’ Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that “Darwinism” led directly to Nazism and the holocaust. And these spokespeople have become more open in widening their attacks from “Darwinism” to all of science.

Ben Stein declared during a recent TV interview that “science leads to killing people.” David Berlinski in The Scientific Embrace of Atheism also attacks science in a manner John Derbyshire shows to be ridiculous (see Getting It Wrong about Atheism and Science). Denys O’Leary has written in similar nasty way with her references to “Darwinist” thugs (see Expelled: “Denormalizing” the Darwin thugs and Expelled: “Denormalizing” the Darwin thugs 2 – PZ Myers and friends).

Anti-science message aimed at Christians

Of course, none of these are really attacks on atheism (few atheists would object to being associated with scientific knowledge). It is an attempt to convince fellow Christians that science is somehow harmful. Scientific knowledge shouldn’t be accepted by Christians – it should be seen as unreliable. And scientists themselves are somehow evil.

In effect these attacks undermine Christianity because Christianity divorced from scientific knowledge will retreat to superstitious beliefs and be discredited. These anti-science messages are aimed at driving a wedge between conservative, fundamentalist Christians and pro-science Christians. The latter will be associated with atheism and evil. And Chrsitianity itself then becomes identified with the conservative, fundamentalist groups.

This tactic is obvious in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed which covers up the fact that many Christians accept evolutionary science and that many evolutionary scientists are in fact Christians. (See, for example, Why Ken Miller isn’t in Expelled, Why Christian scientists Were Expelled from “Pro-Religion” Expelled! Film and Ken Miller: Expelled from Expelled for his religious views).

Concern about anti-science messages

Such hostile and malicious attacks have no place in scientific debate. In fact they only promote a dogmatism which is completely alien to scientific inquiry. So scientists are rightly concerned. This is indicated by the recent statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It says in part:

“For more than a decade, the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has been working to build a constructive bridge between scientific and religious communities through its Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion and other programs. There also have been many efforts by religious leaders to accomplish the same goal. For example, more than 11,000 clergy have signed an open letter supporting the view that faith and science should be seen as complementary, not competing. The leadership of the United Church of Christ recently sent out a pastoral letter expressing a similar position.

We were therefore especially disappointed to learn that the producers of an intelligent design propaganda movie called “Expelled” are inappropriately pitting science against religion. This production badly misrepresents the scientific community as intolerant of dissent, when, in fact, respectful disagreement and questioning based on physical evidence represent the core of the scientific process. AAAS further decries the profound dishonesty and lack of civility demonstrated by this effort. The movie includes interviews with scientists who report that they were deceived into appearing as part of such a production, and advance segments broadly depict those who accept evolution as racist and sympathetic to Nazis. Such generalized insults are untrue and grossly unfair to millions of scientists in the United States and worldwide who are working to cure disease, solve hunger, improve national security, and otherwise advance science to improve the quality of human life.”

See also:
Plagiarize? You’ll Get EXPELLED!
Roundtable Discussion with Mark Mathis
Science Talk Podcast: Expelled Explained
Ken Miller’s Evolution Resources
Framing in action in Expelled
Trouble ahead for science – Ken Miller’s review of Expelled.

Related articles:
Expelled – no integrity exhibited
Expelled Bingo
Should Dawkins have been Expelled?
So what does Dawkins think of “Expelled”?
Intelligent design/creationism and climate change
Expelled – the movies

Is “Expelled” successful?

Science sighThe pre-launch promotion of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is over. But has the film been successful?

We can only be judge this in relation to the motivations behind the film. It is clearly just another step in the programme declared in the creationist document The Wedge Strategy. This declares the intention to “reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

The strategy goes further than an attack on science. It aims “to see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.” In particular it sets modern Christianity as a target – aiming to impose a “traditional doctrine of creation” on “major Christian denominations.” It also seeks to get Christian seminaries to “repudiate naturalistic presuppositions.”

Putting aside the emotional arguments has Expelled been, or will it be, successful in it aims of undermining science and the “renewal” of society? We can judge this in three areas:

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Expelled for supporting evolutionary science

Have a look at this video about Christine Castillo Comer who was forced to resign as the Texas Education Agency’s director of science – her crime was to forward an e-mail message on a talk about evolution and creationism.

This video is a part of the exposure of the creationist propaganda documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

The official Expelled Exposed website has now been launched. it’s full of information exposing the lies and distortions in the documentary. It also includes case histories of the individuals who claim to have been persecuted for the opposition to evolutionary science. It has a section on The Truth behind the Fiction and information on the documentary’s producers and their actions (Behind the Scenes).

A new expelled exposed YouTube Channel has also been launched and there will no doubt soon be other videos available.

Also have a look at the video Why do people laugh at creationists? (part 22) for a biting criticism of Ben Stein’s understanding of evolutionary science.

Footnote

The people behind “Expelled” are angry about attempts to counter this propaganda movie with information. A press release from Expelled’s publicity agents are describing this information as “efforts to suppress free speech.” The film’s Executive Producer and Premise Chairman Logan Craft characterises the Expelled Exposed as:“opponents of our film are attempting to interfere with its important message.” The film’s Executive Producer Walt Ruloff talks about “intellectual thugs unwilling to accept any dissent from Darwinian orthodoxy.” And Denyse O’Leary from Bill Dembski’s Uncommon Descent blog has also taken to talking about “Darwin thugs.”

Isn’t this the same old whiny message, and opposition to freedom of speech, that the film itself promotes?

See also:
Expelled producers accused of copyright infringement
Will the public ever see Expelled?
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed–Scientific American’s Take
Michael Shermer’s Review: Ben Stein Launches a Science-free Attack on Darwin
John Rennie’s Review: Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Integrity Displayed
Science Talk Podcast: Expelled Explained
Roundtable Discussion with Mark Mathis

Expelled Exposed

Related articles:
Expelled – no integrity exhibited
Expelled Bingo
Should Dawkins have been Expelled?
So what does Dawkins think of “Expelled”?
Intelligent design/creationism and climate change
Expelled – the movies

Expelled – no integrity exhibited

I was recently approached by Stacy Schlicht from the firm Rogers & Cowan who are the publicity agent for the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” Stacey offered me the chance to interview one of the filmmakers Ben Stein. I accepted the offer, which quickly became a “teleconference” open only to an “exclusive” group selected on the basis of submitted questions. After dutifully submitting my 5 questions I am informed that the teleconference planned for yesterday has now been postponed until the 18th – the planned launch date for the film.

FlunkedThe film’s promotion appears to be in disarray – maybe because it faces legal action for copyright violations. It has also faced strong criticism from reviewers who have been shown the film (see Expelled Exposed for links to a number of reviews). There has also been a lot of publicity generated by eviction of scientists from pre-screenings and the outrageous claims made in the film (Darwin is responsible for the holocaust!). While the filmmakers and the creationist colleagues have been arguing that “no publicity is bad publicity” it seems clear that the publicity will reduce the film’s effectiveness by creating a cynical attitude amongst film goers.

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Expelled Bingo

Management dogma and “management speak” are probably familiar to anyone who has worked in large institute. This really got out of hand in New Zealand during the 1990 and continued into the present decade. For a while there was a Bingo game making the rounds. This was a card containing sets of management “buzz words”. The idea was that we could amuse ourselves during management-imposed meetings by ticking off each buzz word as it was used. In theory, the first person to fill there card should have jumped to their feet, shouting “Bingo.”

Last September Skeptico introduced an ID Creationist Bingo (see below). This brings together all those arguments we here so often from the Intelligent design/creationist people. I’ve come to recognise them as mantras. This could be put to good use. Just imagine – these bingo cards could be handed out to people attending viewings of the anti-evolution film Expelled: Not Intelligence Allowed. From what I have heard the film is full of these mantras. I have a vision of patrons periodically jumping to their feet during the screening and shouting “Bingo!” Continue reading

So what does Dawkins think of “Expelled”?

Here’s a chance to hear Richard Dawkins’ first comments on the film “Expelled.” In this short video Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers discuss their experiences with attending the recent pre-release showing of this film (see Should Dawkins have been Expelled?)

Discussing the Expelled experience (9 min)

Greg Laden provides a list of bogs writing about this “creationists own goal” in PZ Myers Expelled, Gains Sainthood.

Thanks to RichardDawkins.net for the video link.

See also Lying for Jesus? for Richard Dawkins’ article reviewing the film “Expelled.”

Related articles
Scientific dissent from . . . science?
Intelligent design and depression
A respectable man with a dangerous theory
Who are the “dissenters from Darwinism”?
Dissenters from Darwinism in context
Intelligent design and the threat to Christianity
Religious opposition to “intelligent design”
Intelligent design and scientific method

Should Dawkins have been Expelled?

Have these intelligent design/creationists lost the plot?

For a long time they have identified evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins as their prime enemy. I would think they would recognise the man (although their habit of publishing edited videos and manipulated images of him on their websites may have blunted their recognition.

But have a look at this ironic story from Prof. P. Z Myers. Myers was today turned away from a pre-release showing of the creeationist propaganda movie Expelled. When it came for his turn to sign in and show his ID an official told him that he had been denied permission to attend by the film’s producer. Myers was expelled form the Expelled showing.

However, this official was so busy evicting Myers they did not notice his guest – Richard Dawkins. Prof. Dawkins was admitted to the showing.

Or was the ‘oversight’ due to Dawkins impending retirement?

Now, Dawkins was one of the scientists who was dishonestly interviewed for this film (the interviewers misrepresented their purpose) and his comments were no doubt be badly misrepresented in the film. So his comments on the film will be interesting.

Go to P Z Myers blog (Pharyngula) and his positing EXPELLED! for more on this unfolding story.

Also, keep your eyes on RichardDawkins.net for a possible interesting review of Expelled.

Have a look at So what does Dawkins think of “Expelled” for Richard dawkins initial comments.

Expelled – the movies

Intelligent design proponents are currently promoting Ben Stein’s film Expelled. There are campaigns in the USA offering financial inducements to get the film shown to students. And many religious web sites are advertising the film, even in New Zealand where 75% of the population accept evolutionary science.

While the film has not yet been officially released it is being shown to specially selected audience in the USA, usually at Churches. Anybody likely to review the film has to sign a non-disclosure “statement of confidentiality”. However, have a read of the review by Roger Moore who was invited to a showing by mistake and managed to avoid signing the agreement.

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