This caused my youth-pastor to cancel leadership (when the youth group gets together each Tuesday to plan whats going to happen at the high school and to talk about one and others walk in the faith) and instead we were going to see the movie. Well I got there a half hour before it started, most of the people there were from my church or the school which is connected to the church. Well after waiting half an hour the video started. The opening seen showed pictures of Nazi Germany, the Berlin wall, etc. Then it opened onto a stage where Ben Stein came out to speak.
At first I was afraid this would ruin the entire experience. But he started talking about freedom, and how our nation is built on freedom, and how without freedom, we wouldn't be America. I agree to all these statements, moving forward.
He then starts talking about a movement in the scientific community to suppress Intelligent Design (whether or not this is true will be decided soon). He talks of people who had their lives ruined and were fired from their jobs simply because they mentioned the word Intelligent Design (well, we'll see...)
He starts with Richard Sternberg, who worked at the Smithsonian institute until about two years ago. Then he published an article by Stephen Meyers which caused a bit of trouble. He claims that he was unjustly fired and his career ruined. Now if this is true then I am appalled. Nonetheless we must look at both sides, other reliable sources say otherwise, here is an excerpt from an article on Expelled Exposed;
"Sternberg did not lose his office or his access to collections, he did not lose
his job, he was not “fired” from the (unpaid) editorship of the journal (he had
resigned six months before the publication of the Meyer article), and from the
e-mails in the appendix to the Souder report, it appears that his colleagues
were civil in their communications with him. The Smithsonian renewed his
Research Collaborator status for another three years in 2006. It seems, then,
that the worst that happened to Sternberg is that people said some unkind things
about him in private email to one another. Since the same can be said of almost
every person, it’s hard to see how this could be construed as “life ruining”.
There is no evidence of any material harm done to Sternberg as a result of the
publication of the Meyer article. And any damage done to his reputation would
seem to have been self-inflicted.
This does not sound like his life was being ruined, or that he was immediately fired from his job. Also there is another problem, he claims it was peer-reviewed, and that's true-well...sort of...
"The first question asked by BSW members was “how did this paper ever get
published?” According to the Council of the Biological Society of
Washington, Sternberg failed to follow proper procedure in publishing the
paper: “Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without
review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The
Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and
the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of
the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant
departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has
been known throughout its 122-year history.” The BSW withdrew the paper in
embarrassment, emphasizing that the paper was substandard science. It commented
that the society endorsed “a resolution on ID published by the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml), which
observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting ID as a
testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity. Accordingly, the
Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings.”"
His article contrary to his claim did not meet the peer-review requirements, he didn't even send a copy of it to those more qualified them him to review it, an excerpt from science blogger Ed Brayton;
"Systematics (the study of taxonomy) is the subject of the PBSW and it is the
subject of Sternberg’s expertise, but it is not the subject of Meyer’s paper.
The primary subject of the paper is the Cambrian explosion and, ostensibly,
bioinformatics as it pertains to the origin of the higher phyla. This is not the
focus of Sternberg’s research, nor does it have much of anything to do with
systematics other than an obligatory discussion of how many phyla and sub-phyla
originated during the Cambrian. The most appropriate reviewers, then, would be
paleontologists. Among the associate editors at the time (and still today) was
Gale Bishop, an expert in invertebrate paleontology. There were three other
specialists on invertebrates among the associate editors as well, including
current PBSW editor Stephen Gardiner, Christopher Boyko and Janet Reid, all
specialists in invertebrate zoology (the Cambrian fauna was almost entirely made
up of invertebrates). Yet Sternberg felt no need to let any of those people, all
more qualified than him on the subject, even look at the paper, or even make
them aware of its existence. He may not have been under any formal obligation to
send the article to someone with a specialty in Cambrian paleontology, but that
is both the professional and the ethical thing to do."
Whether by chance or by design (no pun intended) Richard Sternberg didn't exactly deserve the grace he was in fact given, the science he promoted wasn't good science. He did not make a good case for Intelligent Design unfortunately. I feel like saying, "Keep trying IDers, your getting there, but your not accepted as a legitimate scientific movement yet."
During this time I wouldn't say everything was peaceful; as I watched it is sure was convincing, my old young earth creationist side kicked in, the amount of creationism entering my brain reached critical mass and my brain cells began to self-destruct one by one. 25% through the video I felt really sorry for what I had said about Ben Stein earlier, I began to think to myself "You are a traitor! You have sold out to the enemy! If you lived in medieval times you would be drawn and quartered!" I had nothing but sympathy for those who were expelled, non-ID scientists were made to look like such dogmatic anti-religious fools that I wanted to sock them in the nose saying "Has your brain been replaced by a very small califlower!?"
Either way it is up to you decide whether or not I was thinking clearly.
The next person was Caroline Crocker who said that after she after mentioned Intelligent Design she was fired and blacklisted. Now if this is true then may those who did this be beaten by a severely hormonally pregnant woman with a volcanic temper and a very skilled hand at pitchforking. But we must see the other side, she claims that she was immediately fired from her job and I would like nothing better then to believe her, but professional sources say otherwise;
"Crocker’s position at George Mason University (GMU) was a non-tenure track
contract position in which the employee teaches on a course-by-course basis for
a set length of time, with no guarantee of a renewal. Universities commonly use
such “contingent faculty”, and, while not being brought back for another term
may be the result of inadequate performance, it most commonly is the result of
staffing needs: whether or not an individual’s expertise is needed at a
particular time, or whether regular faculty can handle the load for the
particular semester. Tenured and tenure track faculty make up only 31.9% of
university teaching jobs in the United States, so Crocker’s situation was
not unusual. In fact, overlapping with her contract at GMU, she held another contract position to teach at Northern Virginia Community
Despite claims of being fired, Crocker was allowed to continue
teaching and complete her GMU contract after the Department became aware of her
ID instruction through student complaints. She was instructed to not teach about
intelligent design and creation science, which was not part of the curriculum of
the courses she had been hired to teach. Academic freedom does not mean the
freedom to teach about anything you want, regardless of the expected content of
your courses. And, far from having her academic career “come to an abrupt end”,
after leaving GMU, Crocker taught at NVCC, and additionally acquired in 2006 a
postdoctoral position at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD,
working on T-cell signal transduction – an actual scientific investigation –
suggesting that her reputation as a scientist was unaffected by the controversy
over intelligent design."
It seems that she either severely misinterpreted it or well...either way, this claim that she was fired for even mentioning her job is also inaccurate. In fact she was allowed to continue teaching Intelligent Design even though she was using faulty, discredited creationist arguments which frankly I would not expect from a person like her;
"In the above-mentioned article in the Washington Post, Crocker is described teaching her students a
laundry list of discredited Creationist arguments. In a
video on the Coral Ridge Ministries site, several of Crocker’s slides are
shown. Though it’s not known whether Crocker used the same slides while teaching
at George Mason, the Washington Post article provides evidence that they were
part of her Northern Virginia Community College lectures. Her use of these
slides suggests that Crocker shows either a shocking ignorance of evolutionary
science, or a rather shameless willingness to distort the evidence"
The exact arguments she used were arguments, many of which not even Answers in Genesis uses anymore! This is an Intelligent Design Advocate who is not supposed to be a creationist, the arguments she used are;
--the Archaeopterix was a fraud
--Eohippis (the proposed evolutionary ancestor of horse) is really a modern day Hirax (they are obviously two completely different animals).
--she misquoted Stephen J. Gould on speciation
--She said the peppered moth experiment was hoax.
All of these are false discredited creationist claims, I am ashamed at Professor Crocker's intellectual behavior.
He next mentions Robert Marks III, a tenured professor who had his research website shut down for supporting Intelligent Design, although this isn't actually the case;
"Robert Marks’s “Evolutionary Informatics Laboratory” website – touting
intelligent design – was originally hosted on a Baylor University server.
Concerned that the material on the website misleadingly suggested a connection
between the intelligent design material and Baylor, administrators temporarily
shut the website down while discussing the issue with Marks and his lawyer.
Baylor was willing to continue hosting the website subject to a number of
conditions (including the inclusion of a disclaimer and the removal of the
misleading term “laboratory”), but Marks and Baylor were unable to come to
terms. The site is currently hosted by a third-party provider."
it was not nearly as Nazi-like as Expelled portrays it;
"Given this history, it was consistent for Baylor to be sensitive to attempts to
portray it as sponsoring intelligent design: the science departments have been
reluctant to be associated with a field they consider unscientific, and the
issue has been a source of strife at Baylor for several years. In any event, the
worst that happened to Professor Marks was that he had to remove his web site
from Baylor’s webserver. In no other way was his free speech impinged, nor have
his work conditions changed in any way: he remains a Distinguished Professor of
Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor, holding a full professorship in
the School of Engineering and Computer Science. He continues to teach his
courses and conduct research. Where is the harm?"
Ben Stein also interviews Guillermo Gonzalez, Gulliermo also says it was because of his association with Intelligent Design. However it was in fact associated more with his declining publishing and research record as well as the lack of graduate students he had and those he had mentored;
"Gonzalez’s publication output dropped steadily during his time at ISU. The work
he did publish was based on re-evaluations of data he had previously collected
or analyses of other people’s data.
assessment by the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)
…a closer look at Mr. Gonzalez’s case raises some questions about
his recent scholarship and whether he has lived up to his early promise.
Under normal circumstances, Mr. Gonzalez’s publication record would be
stellar and would warrant his earning tenure at most universities, according to
Mr. Hirsch [a scholar who analyzed the publication record]. But Mr. Gonzalez
completed the best scholarship, as judged by his peers, while doing postdoctoral
work at the University of Texas at Austin and at the University of Washington,
where he received his Ph.D. His record has trailed off since then.
like it slowed down considerably,” said Mr. Hirsch…. “It’s not clear that he
started new things, or anything on his own, in the period he was an assistant
professor at Iowa State.”
That pattern may have hurt his case. “Tenure review
only deals with his work since he came to Iowa State,” said John McCarroll, a
spokesman for the university.
When considering a tenure case, faculty
committees try to anticipate what kind of work a professor will accomplish in
the future. “The only reason the previous record is relevant is the extent to
which it can predict future performance,” said Mr. Hirsch. “Generally, it’s a
good indication, but in some cases it’s not.”
David L. Lambert, director of
the McDonald Observatory at Texas, supervised Mr. Gonzalez during his
postdoctoral fellowship there in the early to mid-1990s. … [H]e is not aware of
any important new work by Mr. Gonzalez since he arrived at Iowa State, such as
branching off into different directions of research. “I don’t know what else he
has done,” Mr. Lambert said. …
Mr. Gonzalez said he does not have any grants
through NASA or the National Science Foundation, the two agencies that would
normally support his research…. He arrived at Iowa State in 2001, but none of
his graduate students there have thus far completed their doctoral work
even Gonzalez’s former academic advisors expressed doubts about his performance
at ISU suggests that this is a serious issue. It is worth noting that the
decline in his publication rate corresponds to the time when he started putting
time into an intelligent design project that has produced no peer-reviewed
results. This includes his work on The Privileged Planet and his collaboration
with old-earth creationist Hugh Ross from the ministry Reasons to Believe (for
instance: http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=2612 and http://www.reasons.org/resources/fff/2002issue09/index.shtml#rare_sun).
to another analysis of his publication record which includes a
graph of his publication productivity:
Gonzalez had a very successful postdoc
with a good research group, and that carried over to his first faculty
appointment at University of Washington, where he continued to collaborate with
his old colleagues from his Ph.D. and postdoc. However, he peaked in 1999, and
the decline began even while he was still at the University of Washington. Even
more pronounced than the drop in publications is the complete bottom-out in
first authorships that is almost sustained throughout his entire probationary
period leading up to tenure.
So ISU Physics [would be] stuck with a guy who
publishes hardly any papers as primary author, whose publication list contracts
once he strikes out on his own, and, perhaps most importantly, who doesn’t
publish with new colleagues. New tenure-track investigators … absolutely MUST
take an active role in pursuing one another’s research interests in order to
stretch meager funds as far as possible.
In addition to his declining publication record and his failure
to mentor graduate students to completing their programs, it is also notable
that Gonzalez brought in far fewer research grants than his colleagues. The
average tenured faculty in the ISU physics and astronomy department brought in
$1.3 million in grants during their first six years. Gonzalez brought in, at
most, $200,000 during the same amount of time, $64,000 of which was used to pay
a doctoral student at a different university and $58,000 of which was for his
intelligent design book The Privileged Planet. In 2007, Gonzalez told the Ames Tribune that “he was told, beginning with his
three-year tenure review in 2004, that he needed to bring in more research
funding. He added he heard the same message in reviews every year since, as
well. He has made the effort, he said, submitting two grant applications per
year, but to no avail.”"
It was only because of his declining academic record and the fact that tenur at ISU is notoriously hard to achieve. Besides being that he is an Astronomer even if there is a movement out to get ID advocates all fired and denied tenure, why would he matter? He's an astronomer and the current theory of Intelligent Design is a biological theory, which i agree with its premise but not necessarily with every aspect of the theory.
Anyway he talks about two more people who were, as they claim persecuted, one of them being physician Michael Egnor. Engor apparently wrote an essay so dammaging to "Darwinism" that the they had to call the gestapo and [thick German accent] Exterminate the enemy of the furor! [end of thick German accent]. Well according to one post (excuse its harsh language) it was not a problem at all;
"After my having written repeated debunkings of various physicians who are creationists (mostly of the “intelligent design” variety), in
retrospect I should have seen this one coming. I should have seen that the
Discovery Institute, eager to use anyone they can find whom they can represent
to the public as having scientific credentials (never mind whether those
credentials have anything to do with evolutionary biology) and thus dupe the
public into seeing them as having authority when they start laying down ignorant
brain farts about how they “doubt Darwinism,” would settle on physicians. After
all, as I have pointed out before, until recently medical schools taught little
about evolutionary biology (that is, if they taught anything at all about it),
and as a result all too many physicians, particularly the ones whose
undergraduate majors were not biology, tend to be no more knowledgeable about
evolution than your average lawyer….
The reason that a contest with such a
topic was thought to be a good idea, I’d guess, is because evolution-ignorant
creationists like Dr. Egnor are constantly attacking evolution in a manner that
you don’t see other of the basic sciences that form the basis of medicine ever
being attacked. – “Orac”, an oncologist and surgeon, in Train wreck, thy name is Egnor! Blog post, Respectful
"What’s going on here is that Egnor dislikes evolution and is
hoping to de-emphasize its importance. Why? It is possible that he earnestly and
sincerely believes that evolution has not contributed to his art. It is possible
that he earnestly and sincerely believes that recognizing the validity of
evolution would render his life meaningless or without value. It is possible he
is a cynical liar and he wants no readers of the Discovery Institute Ministry of
Media Complaints who credit his perspectives to enter or do well in medical
school. (Hey, if true, he wouldn’t be the first surgeon who knew better
about evolution but still advocated for ID only to make a buck, gain a
little influence, or exhibit some sort of other ulterior motive.) Whatever his
motivations may be, readers should not credit his testimony: he is at least dead
Further, his perspectives are very difficult to distinguish from
ignorance advocacy. Egnor first came to attention when a blogger at Time
magazine criticized him for not being an expert in evolution. He has stated that
he does not use evolution, but this is more an admission of a willful disregard
for the evolution he does use and upon which his art is based. Taken together,
along with his assurance that the only contribution evolution has made to
medicine was eugenics, his writings bespeak the dangerous combination of
ignorance and arrogance, traits altogether common with creationists, but that
shine in Dr. Egnor to such an extent that a neologism should bear his namesake.”
– Burt Humburg, a physician, in Egnorance: The Egotistical Combination of Ignorance and
Arrogance. Blog post, The Panda’s Thumb."
Now people on blogs said a lot of nasty things about him on the internet and I do not plan to follow suit, he says he was surprized by the visciousness of the thing written about him. I being a Christian and descdent human being will say he was simply mistaken. But some of those atheist and science bloggers are mean! Egnor shouldn't be surprized that articles about him are often 38% made up of swearing and cursing.
Then next part of the video talks about how the science establishment is suppressing freedom of thought, after analyzing their claims this seems shaky at best but it is true there is a movement to destroy religion. The next part has less to do with interviews and more to do with Intelligent Design versus Evolution. It is time to differentiate between what I agreed with in the next part of the movie and on what I points disagreed.
--that there is some evidence one way or another of Intelligent Agency in the universe
--that the scientists don't always do a very good job at explaining how they think life began through natural causes
--that Atheism and Philosophical Naturalism are inherently metaphysical and unprovable
--that many atheists are incorrectly equating atheism with science and trying to create a flase dichotomy of sorts
-- that there is an active movement among atheists to devalue religion.
--that science (Evolution in particular) can be used to rationalize evil deeds such as killing off the weak
--That Intelligent Agency is incompatible with evolution and the current scientific theories
--That science that can't attempt to give natural explanations whih may help our understanding of a deity and how he created the universe.
--that Evolution is religious, evolution can be tested and validated/falsified by genetic genealogy, the fossil record, structural homology therefore it is a science, Naturalism (which one could argue evolution is based off of) on the other hand is an unfalsifiable philosophical system.
--that evolution rules out the possibility of the existence of a deity and that we should equate the evolutionary paradigm ultimately to atheism; By doing that we are simply letting the atheists win.
--that Evolution ultimately leads to Eugenics, Nazism, and Racism. Also I should probably point out that religion and philosophy can also be used to rationalize evil.
Among all of these I will only touch upon two; Evolution being ultimately atheistic, and of Darwin's ideas leading to Nazism.
Many have made fun of this concept that it ultimately leads to Nazism, but lets look at why they think this.
Eugenics is the attempt to make Mankind a better species by getting rid of the defective genes (farmers have done this for thousands of years with their animals). In doing this one must sterilize or kill those with defective genes in order to stop them from breeding. Now Natural Selection is "survival of the fittest." It is natures method selecting those with the best genes and the best advantages in a particular environment, it is for the good of the species. Natural Selection utlimately decides which organism will survive by which ones are able reproduce.
So yes it could work from evolution.
Now Nazism interestingly enough orignates from the occult, it grew partially out of an idea known as Ariosophy (as well as several other beliefs such as Theozoology and Armanism) which stated that the Germans were the pure "Aryan race." The Aryan race was actually supposed to be the race which came from Atlantis who were supposed to have been the most advanced people on earth. And the Germans were supposed to be the purest branch of the Aryan race. Hitler thought he needed to get rid of all the impurities in Jews and other peple who were not close to pure Aryan. Another idea which permeates Nazism is Theozoology which was made up by an Ex-Cistercian monk named Jörg Lanz-Liebenfels. It stated that God created two races, the Ape-like Animal people and the God-like Aryan people. And the Aryan women were overpowered by sxually active Ape-men which made the rce impure; so They needed to purify it. Now Htiler probably didn't hold most of these bizarre beliefs but he definitely did base his ideology off of them.
So at first glance Nazism and Eugenics seem to fit hand and glove with Evolution but wait a minute; evolution says diversity is better because then you have more of chance to survive becaue you will have more advantages. If you keep the line pure without interbreeding then the species will eventually become 100% homozygous and any change in condition could doom that species. So the entire premise behind Nazism of keeping the race pure doesn't dit evolution since evolution favors diversity. Also these ideas came out of religious beliefs not scientific theories (such as Manichaeanism and Occultism), they have nothing but a similar premise to do with evolution.
Also the Eugenics Hitler was using was fallacious because it turns out Ashkenazi Jews are some of the smartest more productive people on the planet, a total of 28% of Nobel Prize winners are composed of Jews.
And now to the subject of evolution, science, and atheism being in conflict. People like Richrd Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, William Provine, and PZ Myers are the ones who want to see religion wiped of the face of the planet. They want you to think science is against and out to destroy religion. They don't want you to think you can believe in ID and Evolution. They want to see you and I as atheists. Of course they are going to make it look like most supporters of evolution are atheists. Of course they want to make it look like its either church or the laboratory. Here are just a few theistic (Christian) supporters of evolution
--Pierre Teilhard De Chardin (athough his theology was really out there in the ozone layer)
Theologians, philosophers and other non-scientists
--There are also many other names mentioned in the Clergy letter project
You can believe in Intelligent Design, God, and Evolution all at once even, evolution and God are not incompatible.
Evolution only rules out young earth creationism. It does not rule out God despite what Dawkins says. There are reasons to believe in God despite the fact that evolution (speaking of macroevolution in particular) might be true. The attack on the belief in both God and evolution is only an attempt to try to get theists into the ID or Creationism category and to clear the middle of the road. The radicals on the other end of the spectrum are trying to do the same thing.
Ultimately we must decide by objectively looking at both sides and judicially considering the facts, and finally comming to a conclusion with our God-given reason. It is ultimately up to you whether you take the atheist stance, the ID or Creationist stance, or if you take the Theistic Evolutionist stance.
I found I actually agreed with a surprizing amount of the video, although I still see several glaring flaws. The entire point of the video is to say Intelligent Design advocates are being persecuted and denied their academic rights. And my response it, "You not being persecuted, you are not being fair, come on out and tells us your position, lets bring it on..."
Now for the epilogue. The video ended with a few ID advocates as well as theologian Steven Kini came out to each say something bout Intelligent Design. Naturally I asked a question about evolution listened to them finish. Then I went home and immediately started writing this blogpost.
I hope the intended message is given that I am not against the general idea of Intelligent Design, I simply think the IDers have done a bad job so far, and that they should do better.
Well take out the fact that Ben Stein sort of needs to do a little more research the movie was actually rather interesting, but it did have some untruths and so I would caution my fellow Christians before giving it their wholehearted support.
"Test all things and hold fast to what is good," -- The Apostle Paul, 2 Thessalonians 5:21.