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An Analysis of the Arguments Presented in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

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Earlier today, I finally had the pleasure of viewing Expelled, Ben Stein's controversial documentary that seeks to validate the theory of intelligent design. Despite the fact that the film was certainly a one-sided affair, I felt the presentation was both effective and enjoyable. It also approached the material with, at times, a sense of humor, as well as a strong level of relevance (I also liked the soundtrack, which included a string arrangement of Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" and a Johnny Cash cover of the Depeche Mode hit "Personal Jesus").

However, rather than provide a thorough review of the film, I would like to instead focus on the argument that the film presented to its audience: that the theory of intelligent design has come under intense scrutiny and has been severely censored on a number of occasions.

Let me begin by clarifying that I myself have an unyielding belief in the theory of intelligent design. Due to this prevailing fact, it may seem that I am allowing a natural bias towards the material in the film to corrupt any sound level of judgment. But my main point of contention, which the film brilliantly illustrates, isn't the validity of the theory itself; theories are meant to be challenged, and I think such challenges should be welcomed and encouraged in the realm of science. However, I do take great offense at the censorship of such theories, for I do not support the concept of censorship in general. I believe that there a number of reasons these acts of censorship are not only unjust, but also contrary to the very purpose of science. If we analyze some of the points presented in the film, this becomes fairly evident.

One of the first sections of Stein's argument explored in the film is the exclusion and extermination of the intelligent design theory on the campuses of many prestigious colleges and universities. Stein reveals that there have been countless professors and theorists who have been unceremoniously removed from their university positions. In each instance, the reason for their termination was attributed to the individual's interest and/or belief in the theory of intelligent design. This fact in itself is one that should cause alarm among many.

According to the information presented in the film, there have been active efforts to remove the theory of intelligent design from the consciousness of educational institutions nationwide, and to exalt the theory of evolution as the only rational explanation for the origin and development of life. In my opinion, this process is fraught with flaws. It seems that these institutions have gradually lost sight of one of the most prominent characteristic of evolutionary theory: it is ultimately just a theory. Yet in many scientific circles, it is no longer considered a theory, but fervently argued as completely factual. This seems contradictory to the very purpose of science; science is meant to acquire knowledge and information through study and analysis. If one fully adopts a theory that has yet to be fully proven, without any skepticism concerning its validity, is that not in opposition of the very function of science?

Another astounding trend outlined in the film is the fact that the theory of intelligent design is repeatedly identified as a code word for creationism. Stein conducts a series of interviews with many of the most outspoken opponents of intelligent design, and many of them attempt to use the discussion as a platform to slander Christianity and similar beliefs. The obvious flaw in this opinion is that intelligent design is in no way exclusive to Christianity; Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and a large number of other religions maintain a belief in intelligent design. However, the exclusive link to Christianity is perpetuated in order to make a number of negative accusations against the theory.

Many of these individuals also suggest that more lives have been lost and more atrocities committed in the name of a higher power than for any other reason. While it is no secret that there has been much strife and violence that can be attributed to a belief in a deity, it should also be noted there have been a number of altruistic ventures that can be directly linked to these faiths as well. The film also emphasizes the fact that the notorious Adolf Hitler had a deep belief in Darwinism, and he believed that the extermination of the Jewish race, the handicapped, and other select groups would enhance the evolutionary process by eliminating those who were "inferior."

Now, I sincerely do not believe that the theory of evolution is a concept that preaches bigotry or intolerance. However, it does suggest that one of the most unfortunate truths concerning deity-based religion also rings true for evolutionary theory; when adopted by the corrupt, it can be perverted into an ideology that preaches very wicked things. Religious ideology should not be condemned for the actions of those who have used it to commit numerous atrocities, just as evolutionary theory should not assailed for the same exact reason.

Perhaps the most prominent revelation presented in Expelled is the fact that many of the arguments put forth by evolutionary theorists in the film are not meant to present the truth about man's origins and man's development, but are merely meant to combat any suggestion of intelligent design. When Ben Stein interviews staunch atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins, Dawkins not only suggests that there had to be some entity that initiated the creation of life, but he immediately afterward insists that the existence of any deity that would act as God is highly improbable. That would seem to suggest that evolutionists aren't merely questioning the accuracy of intelligent design, but they are attempting to completely remove the concept from their research and studies. At the same time, evolutionists have yet to present a reasonable alternative argument as to how life began. Rather than producing further research and analysis on evolutionary theory in order to provide their own conclusion to this process, it would appear that many evolutionists have sought to target and eliminate all traces of intelligent design from modern scientific theory.

The central curiosity presented in the film is this: why is there such an atmosphere of fear-mongering surrounding the theory of intelligent design? And why is interest and analysis in the subject being discouraged so consistently? Of all people, evolutionary theorists should be the last collective of scientific minds targeting individuals for providing an alternative view on a topic.  Evolutionists themselves faced massive persecution and criticism when the theory was challenged before American law in the 1925 Scopes Trial. A number of fundamentalist figures, including former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, suggested that high school teacher John Scopes should be held accountable under the law for teaching the theory of evolution to his class. Scopes was ultimately found guilty, and was forced to pay a fine for his "crime."

In retrospect, many individuals (myself included) view the verdict of the Scopes trial as both outrageous and unconstitutional; I am willing to surmise that most evolutionists would wholeheartedly agree. Yet it seems that over 80 years later, the same trial is now being presented throughout the country, with the sides reversed. This time, those who were campaigning for freedom of speech and religion 80 years before are now attempting to challenge these rights. To me, this stands as a highly disappointing turn of events. Science has built a noble reputation as a field that opposes the limitations of censorship. I would argue that the actions of those who are attempting to silence the intelligent design theory are giving their area of study a very negative representation.

Now, each of these points should be examined and analyzed with a very clear understanding, and while I enjoyed this film, there are certainly flaws in its presentation.  The first objection I had was the insulting manner in which some of the ideas of evolutionary theorists were addressed.  It appeared that some of the verbal assaults on the ideas of intelligent design in the film were pretty juvenile, and it was counter-productive to provide a rebuttal in the same fashion.  There is enough mudslinging in the realm of politics, and I don't care to see it become a staple of science as well.

Another concern I had relating to the presentation of the film was the way in which some of the information was acquired for the film.  A number of the figures involved with the production, including Richard Dawkins, claimed they were misled about the purpose of the film, and were not aware that it was a film advocating the instruction of intelligent design.  While I do not necessarily approve of this method in regards to acquiring information, it should be noted that the comments made by Richard Dawkins are similar to comments made by the man himself consistently on his own website. Therefore, while the way in which his involvement was enlisted is questionable, his responses in the film seem to be pretty representative of his personal ideology.  And upon analysis, it becomes increasingly clear that the main objection to the film isn't the validity of the arguments in the film, but the method in which the arguments were presented and the way in which comments were gathered from evolutionary theorists.  Therefore, the content of the argument (with the exception of a few obvious detractors, which is common to all documentaries of this nature) seems to be at the very least deserving of a place among evolutionary theory.

I do not believe that evolutionary theory should be removed from the curriculum of our universities, nor do I believe it should be erased from the public consciousness. However, I also believe that there is a place for the theory of intelligent design in our education as well. In fact, the theory of evolution in some ways can benefit from the existence of intelligent design theory; after all, how strong is a theory or idea that cannot withstand the opposition of an alternative theory? Allowing these two differing theories to thrive and promoting the research and examination of both is not only the most reasonable option, but it is also the most scientific one.

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About Michael Clayton

  • http://www.freegoodnews.com Bernie of FreeGoodNews.com

    Michael said:
    “However, I also believe that there is a place for the theory of intelligent design in our education as well.”

    How can ID be taught when there is no hypothesis for it? The Discovery Institute has no textbook for what ID theory is. They do not suggest using the textbook “of Pandas and People.” Some in ID, such as Behe, believe in common ancestry for humans and animals, and some think humans were specially created… so what exactly is ID? Evolution is a grand theory and there is yet no alternative. Poking holes in evolution doesn’t prove another theory. To prove another theory you have to form a hypothesis and then test it- ID doesn’t have a hypothesis with tests- they simply aim to discredit evolution and then claim that ID wins… but that does not logically follow.

    Even the Discovery Institute is suggesting that ID NOT be taught in school- instead, “teach the controversy” on evolution. That is because they have nothing to teach regarding ID and a hypothesis… and yet they are “expelled” ???

  • Bryan Leed

    I think that the main reason that “Darwinism” is an issue is that it has, in itself, become the basis of religious belief for people who reject the Biblical version of God. Richard Dawkins has said that Darwin made atheism seem intelligent.

    Another reason is that there is an entire, vast industry in academia and the sciences whereby organizations, companies, and individuals have their entire careers, reputations, and livelihoods riding upon the supposed factualness of the theory of evolution, despite that the theory has major problems, little evidence, and is perceived to be a huge house of cards by its critics.

    There is also an ideological component to the theory of evolution, beyond the mass murderers of the last century, and that is that it gives a seemingly reasonable argument: if the Bible is wrong about Creation, then it is proven false, so why adhere to Biblical teachings on morality?!

    As the Bible says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” I will side with the Bible.

    The author of the recent book WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT CHRISTIANITY, Dinesh D’Souza, says his main beef is not with the theory of evolution, but rather that both sides of the argument have religious reasons either for or against. He says his problem with the way that public schools present evolution is to actually say in the text books that we need no longer believe the Bible because evolution has proven it wrong. This is foul, because public schools should not be allowed to comment negatively against religion.

  • zingzing

    “the way that public schools present evolution is to actually say in the text books that we need no longer believe the Bible because evolution has proven it wrong. This is foul, because public schools should not be allowed to comment negatively against religion.”

    what a crock of shit. evolution is presented as a scientific theory. religion has no place in science classes. intelligent design is not taught in science classes because it is not scientific.

    “There is also an ideological component to the theory of evolution, beyond the mass murderers of the last century, and that is that it gives a seemingly reasonable argument: if the Bible is wrong about Creation, then it is proven false, so why adhere to Biblical teachings on morality?!”

    because morality was not created by the bible? because morality and religion are not the same thing?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Bryan, your comment is so full of holes I hardly know where to start. I guess I should just confiscate the legion of straw men you’ve set up.

    there is an entire, vast industry in academia and the sciences whereby organizations, companies, and individuals have their entire careers, reputations, and livelihoods riding upon the supposed factualness of the theory of evolution

    And these people will all tell you that the reason that they can do their jobs is because evolution is a fact. The entire science of biology makes no sense if you remove evolution. Much work in the fields of pest control, pharmaceuticals, disease research and many others would be impossible without a practical application of the theory of evolution.

    despite that the theory has major problems

    Name one.

    little evidence

    How about literally billions of pages of research and hard data and millions of fossils and other physical evidence? You do know how to use Google, don’t you? Claiming that this body of knowledge constitutes ‘little evidence’ makes as much sense as saying that Homo sapiens is an endangered species.

    There is also an ideological component to the theory of evolution, beyond the mass murderers of the last century, and that is that it gives a seemingly reasonable argument: if the Bible is wrong about Creation, then it is proven false, so why adhere to Biblical teachings on morality?!

    Give me a link to one reputable statement of the theory of evolution that says this.

    He says his problem with the way that public schools present evolution is to actually say in the text books that we need no longer believe the Bible because evolution has proven it wrong.

    Again, please cite one school science textbook that makes this statement.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I don’t get it…when I was a kid in school, I was taught both…creationism and evolution…guess you public school kids only get half the story???

    I will say that the nuns never tried to expalin how the two theories fit together or didn’t, they just laid them out there and let us figure it out for ourselves…

    I kinda figured that evolution was part of it and ID was the other part…everything evolves and somewhere along the lines we were given self-awareness…and that’s where the ID part of it comes in…

    But why do people have to get so nasty about it? Read some of these comments and you’d think the writer was extolling the virtues of child porn or some BS like that!

    This is an old BC discussion and it ALWAYS seems to be just as ugly no matter how many times it’s bought up. Whether you hardcore evolutionists wanna believe it or not…it is still just a THEORY!

    just a thought…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Andy, I was also taught both. I was educated in Britain, where – believe it or not – the only subject that it is legally compulsory to teach in the public schools is religious education.

    Nowadays, of course, most schools get around it by teaching it as ‘religious studies’ – i.e. comparative religion. Students learn about the various faiths and belief systems of the world – they’re not indoctrinated into any particular one.

    In the high school I attended, religious education wasn’t taken at all seriously, to the point of the school ‘forgetting’ to include it in the curriculum a couple of years. It was considered something of a joke, by both students and faculty. I remember my teacher reading out with great relish (and pretend indignation) some answers that had been given on a test: one student had written that a bar mitzvah was a ceremony in which the inductee had to read the Torah out loud while being circumcized; another, in response to a question requiring the composition of a sentence with the word atonement in it, had written, “I went to see my music teacher and he told me what a tone meant”.

    It was in religious studies that I learned about the Judeo-Christian ideas as to the origin of the universe. But I was not taught them in any of my science classes.

    And that is the point. By all means teach the Biblical creation stories or the idea that God designed and built the universe – but NOT in science classes, which should deal only with the natural and not with a philosophical theory that has no scientific merit.

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    Hitler wasn’t an ‘evolutionist’. He sure wasn’t a traditional Christian, of course, but he was sort of a neo-Pagan crypto-Christian who explicitly rejected evolution and based his racism on the idea that the ‘races’ had been created separately. The Holocaust owed far more to the virulent strain of anti-Semitism that Martin Luther embraced and fostered. That was certainly the motivation for the majority who actually carried out the crimes in person.

    As to the Communist states under Stalin and Mao – they also explicitly rejected neo-Darwinian evolution and embraced (and enforced) Lysenkoism instead. The resulting crop failures when reality failed to match up to “worker’s science” killed millions, accounting for a substantial chunk – possibly a majority – of the death toll from those regimes.

    Ironically, the people under Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would have been better off if those ‘leaders’ had accepted neo-Darwinian evolution.

  • http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html BobC

    “the theory of intelligent design”

    Intelligent design creationism is not a scientific theory.

    Intelligent design is a childish belief in magic, and only uneducated hicks like Michael Clayton believe in it.

    [personal attack deleted]

  • http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html BobC

    Intelligent design means “I’m too bloody stupid to understand science, therefore everything is magic.”

    Invoking intelligent design is the same as invoking magic. Creationism was renamed to intelligent design in an idiotic attempt to sneak religious magic into science education, as if any competent biology teacher would ever agree to lie to her students.

    All I can say about intelligent design magic proponents is that they are incredibly stupid, gullible, and they are compulsive liars. They will never be allowed to stick their breathtaking stupidity into public school science education.

  • http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html BobC

    Biological evolution is a scientific fact. The evidence for evolution has been accumulating for 150 years. The evidence is overwhelming and rapidly growing. The newer molecular evidence is extremely powerful. There is absolutely no doubt all life is related and all species share common ancestors.

    Michael Clayton, if you weren’t a god-soaked idiot, and if you had any intelligence at all, you would know evolution is a fact.

    Unfortunately for yourself, you are too lazy to study science, and you are too stupid to understand science. So like most liars for Jesus, you invoke magic to explain the diversity of life.

    Like most creationists you’re a compulsive liar, so you call your magic “design” to make your stupidity sound scientific.

    You’re not fooling anyone, Michael Clayton. Everyone knows your design means magically created [personal attack deleted].

  • Ruvy

    Bob C.

    I would tell you to pick on someone with your own intellect, but that would leave you arguing with retards and fools, for your comments indeed proclaim you as a fool – the fact that you need to repeat them endlessly implies that you are retarded.

    Intelligent design is an answer to the question of “why” the universe exists. It is one of several. Intelligent design does not argue with evolution, it posits a “why” for the evolution we see in science.

    Creationism, by contrast, is a faultily based attempt to force a misunderstood translation of the Bible as a substitute for the evolution that we can see as a mechanism for biological change on our planet.

    Perhaps you should figure out what the hell you’re talking about before opening your trap. You might have to deal with nasty people who do not suffer fools – like me. Mr. Clayton wrote an intelligent critique. Your comments are anything but intelligent.

  • Bennett

    “unyielding belief” = “total suspension of critical thinking”

  • http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html BobC

    Michael Clayton said “However, I do take great offense at the censorship of such theories, for I do not support the concept of censorship in general.”

    What censorship? Didn’t you just make a complete fool out of yourself for the entire world to see? Did anyone stop you from saying you want to invoke magic?

    The problem is when you morons who believe in magic want to stick your breathtaking stupidity into science education.

    Not allowing the opinions of uneducated idiots like yourself into science education is not censorship. It’s just common sense. We don’t allow people who can’t add two numbers together to decide what is taught in a math class. For the same reason we don’t let uneducated hicks like Michael Clayton decide what’s taught in a biology class. Scientists and science teachers write science curriculums. For a good reason we don’t let creationists, with their tiny defective brains, and their total ignorance of science, stick their childish insane magic into biology classrooms.

    By the way Michael Clayton, you got a lot of nerve to call intelligent design magic a scientific theory. Your belief that Mr. God created every species out of nothing is not a theory. It’s not even a hypothesis. It’s nothing more than a religious belief, believed only by lazy, gullible, stupid, insane, uneducated religious extremists.

  • http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html BobC

    Ruvy said “Intelligent design is an answer to the question of ‘why’ the universe exists. It is one of several. Intelligent design does not argue with evolution, it posits a ‘why’ for the evolution we see in science.”

    Intelligent design was invented to replace evolution. It’s nothing more than creationism. Anyone who denies ID magic is creationism is a liar. You, Ruvy, are a liar.

    Ruvy, who is the designer? Who is the magical fairy who does all the designing and magically creating?

    Your fairy only lives in your tiny defective brain. I suggest you should grow up and educate yourself, and stop lying about what intelligent design is.

    Your “intelligent design does not argue with evolution” is lying. Why do you think the clowns of the Discovery Institute are always invoking intelligent design magic to replace the natural mechanisms of biological evolution?

    I don’t care about your stupidity, Ruvy. But your dishonesty is disgusting.

    Just keep your childish intelligent design magic out of our schools. I’m sick and tired of Christian attacks against science education. You can do your religious brainwashing in your churches. If you can’t respect the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, then get out of my country.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    One of the first sections of Stein’s argument explored in the film is the exclusion and extermination of the intelligent design theory on the campuses of many prestigious colleges and universities. Stein reveals that there have been countless professors and theorists who have been unceremoniously removed from their university positions. In each instance, the reason for their termination was attributed to the individual’s interest and/or belief in the theory of intelligent design. This fact in itself is one that should cause alarm among many.

    In each instance??

    Anyone who pursues the facts behind the five “expelled” will find that’s a bunch of nonsense. Look at the Wikipedia entry for

    Expelled No Intelligence

    and you’ll see summaries, with footnotes, of each story. Most egregious is the story of Richard Sternberg, who the movie claims was “fired” by the Smithsonian. Nonsense! Sternberg NEVER EVER WORKED for that institution; he had and still has a volunteer position with them.

    The movie questions why Guillermo Gonzalez’s writings on ID were considered in his application for tenure. There’s an easy answer to that one: he submitted them as part of his application!

    There is a dreadfully protracted piece in the film that’s based on a quote from Darwin. Unfortunately, it’s not actually Darwin’s words; it’s a gross distortion that came about by cherry-picking a quotation. Both Darwin’s words and the filmmaker’s distortions are shown on the webpage.

    This movie failed to fact-check its most fundamental claims. It is an embarrassment. I strongly suggest that anyone look over the Wikipedia page first before spending a dime on this movie.

    Don’t even get me started about the *fake* lecture — with standing ovation — of a lecture hall that’s populated with paid extras. Sheesh.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    BobC:

    I also disagree with Ruvy’s definition of ‘intelligent design’, but he is right. You’re not doing yourself or the cause of science any favors with your rudeness.

    The errors in the creationists’/IDers’ arguments can easily be shown up for what they are without resorting to personal abuse. Play nice or go away.

    ASSISTANT COMMENTS EDITOR

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    You see though how nasty the argument gets?

    I’m not gonna try to defend a film I’ve never seen, but I would never try to defend one using wikipedia as my source material…

    …just a thought.

    And one more thing…if it’s a Ben Stein movie I would go for the comedic value, who cares if the story is true or not…

  • duane

    A little hostile for an intellectual discussion, ain’t it?

    Michael, that was a very well written article, better than most on this topic. You make a number of excellent points that deserve to be calmly and patiently shot down. But this attack dog stuff from some of the commentators doesn’t help.

    Many intelligent people believe in intelligent design, and Michael just happens to be one of them.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Many intelligent people believe in intelligent design, and Michael just happens to be one of them.

    Still ID is pure belief without scientific evidence.
    Comment #1 points this out perfectly and that should have been the end of the discussion. Until the religious community can draw up a hypothesis that can be tested then ID has no place in the classroom and should not be considered science!

    Remember, The burden of proof falls on those that believe.

  • Ruvy

    Bob,

    I told you you might find yourself dealing with some nasty people who will not suffer fools gladly, and indeed you are. Not only have you got me to contend with, you have the Assistant Comments Editor telling you to play nice, and Duane, a scientist who does not agree with me at all, telling you the same thing.

    First of all, I don’t give a rat’s ass about your first amendment. I understand the constitution of 1787 a hell of a lot better than you do to begin with; I’m a writer with a political scientist’s training, and an editor. But your constitution doesn’t apply to me at all.

    Second of all, I’m no Christian. Try reading this article to get a better perspective of my point of view. It should answer many if not most of your pathetic “assertions”. Finally, I left the United States in 2001, never to return, G-d willing. You can shout “love it or leave it” to somebody else. I just don’t give a damn. I left already. Your country will sink into bankruptcy in the near future and it ain’t my problem.

    Duane and the Assistant Comments Editor probably disagree with my point of view, and they’re entitled to. Having not seen Ben Stein’s film, I’m not qualified to defend or argue with it.

    But speaking to you as one who has had to judge character for a living, I can tell you that Michael Clayton, in writing this review, is not a liar. He has given you full disclosure of his own views and possible prejudices in this review, something he would not have done if he was being deceitful. And he has written intelligently and well, arguing issues of censorship, not the merits of intelligent design.

    Now to return to the basic arguments, I said that “intelligent design” attempts to answer the “why” posited by evolution, and it is one of several answers. There are others, embraced by folks like Duane.

    Finally, should “intelligent design” be taught as “science”? That all depends on where the science curriculum of the school is going. It depends on how far into metaphysics the physics department is willing to travel. Intelligent design tries to present a “why”, an answer that I do not think can be scientifically proven. In my opinion, science should stay out of metaphysics as much as possible – metaphysics will intrude on science without scientists wandering in without training.

    A simple example of this is finding neutrinos, along with all sorts of other sub-atomic particles that leave tracks when atoms get smashed. They ain’t nowhere to be found. They can be inferred, but that is as far as you get with them. That inference is what I mean by metaphysics forcing itself on science.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    I’m not gonna try to defend a film I’ve never seen, but I would never try to defend one using wikipedia as my source material…

    …just a thought.

    Why not? The Wikipedia is perfect for seeing something like the gross distortion of the Darwin quote: phrases removed, entire sentences missing, etc. It’s also perfect for seeing the actual details of the “expelled” — where the movie got its basic facts wrong.

    BTW: I’m not defending the film. I am giving it a flunking grade. And I did see it. Any documentary having so many fundamental factual errors is am embarrassment.

    And one more thing…if it’s a Ben Stein movie I would go for the comedic value, who cares if the story is true or not…

    If you’re expecting anything remotely funny, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    The big comedic moment in the film comes when Ben asks directions on the street for the “Discovery Institute” and nobody knows where it is. That didn’t get a single yuck from the entire audience.

    Oh. There is one funny moment: when Ben is looking serious at the end of his “lecture” and getting a standing ovation. It is hilarious … if you know that then entire thing was staged.
    That scene was the final insult to the moviegoer’s intelligence: one more brick in the wall.

    Before you ask: I find Michael Moore’s mockumentaries equally revolting. I have no tolerance for any documentary that freely distorts anything and everything.

    Before slamming the Wikipedia entry, why don’t you go look at it?

  • http://thecriticalmusingsofmichaelclayton.blogspot.com/ Michael Clayton

    Bob C, I believe you have a very skewed perception of who I am and what my ideologies are. Do I believe in intelligent design? Certainly. And do I in fact believe in creationism? Sure. But I have also always been open to hearing opinions and ideas to the contrary, for I am not insecure in my beliefs. If anything, I enjoyed reading the perspectives submitted by evolutionists for this particular piece, as most of them are not only intelligent but also open to hearing other arguments, even if those arguments have fundamental differences relating to their own views. I have returned that favor by opening my mind to their opinions and views on man’s origins as well. That, I believe is the very basis of intelligent discourse and intellectualism: a friendly debate and transfer of ideas and opinions for the further growth of all involved. If you had a better understanding of who I am as well, you would discover that I am also a constant supporter of ones right to speak freely; I don’t believe that intelligent design should be censored, but I also would not censor a Satanists right to speak, as he is privy to the same rights as well, and I don’t feel it is my place to censor someone simply because I don’t agree with what they are stating. Furthermore, I have actually enjoyed the company of many who do not share my personal world view. Despite their views on religion, I am a avid fan of George Carlin, Sam Kinison, and Bill Hicks, all of whom built their comedic careers on rather controversial views on religion and sundry other topics. While I do not share their views, I can find the humor and intelligence present in their commentaries. And there are many others who have posted rebuttals in a more intelligent manner, and I fervently welcome that. As Voltaire once stated, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    As for the label of “uneducated hick”, I find it interesting that I was able to articulate my personal opinions without the use of the word “retard”, “moron”, and “god-soaked idiot” and I also was able to do so without having a number of my postings censored for personal attacks. And while I stated before that I am not a fan of censorship, and in fact I would not have objected to your full messages being presented before me, I also respect the open forum that Blogcritics provides that allows us to debate topics in a intellectual manner, and therefore adhering any rules that they have put forth is perfectly acceptable in that instance for me.

  • Wes Gordon

    That academia is biased against proponents of ID was well demonstrated by on-camera comments of evolutionists themselves in Expelled–No Intelligence Allowed. Actually it is difficult to deny. Of course, neither theory is provable by scientific standards, and no definitively transitional species has ever been uncovered among many thousands of fossils collected since Darwin’s theory was articulated. He himself said his theory would rise or fall based on that evidence, so he, an Anglican clergyman, if he were alive today would probably say, “Looks like I was wrong!” Both theories require faith to accept, but ID is far more predictive of what actually occurs in nature and better comports with truly known science. That is a fact.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Wes Gordon wrote:
    That academia is biased against proponents of ID was well demonstrated by on-camera comments of evolutionists themselves in Expelled–No Intelligence Allowed.

    It would be difficult to come to any conclusion based on the short comments from the biologists in this movie. Just as the moviemakers [provably] mis-quoted Darwin, it’s a near-certainty that they cherry-picked their quotations from these scientists from hours of interviews.

    Have you heard: the filmmakers made those interviews under a false pretense? They claimed to be making a documentary called “Crossroads”. They even claimed that they changed the name of the documentary after the interviews were conducted to “Expelled.” However, the smoking gun — the domainname “expelledthemovie.com” — was registered on March 2, 2007 (before any of the interviews happened for this movie.

    The domain “crossroadsthemovie.com” was never ever registered until after the movie was in the can. The website on the “crossroads” domain now documents this little deceit. How poetic.

    Actually it is difficult to deny.

    The only thing that the comments prove is that if you launch a series of interviews under a false pretense and quote a handful of sentences out of context, you’re sure to create something that will upset somebody.

    Wes: if you think there’s an atmosphere of bias in the scientific community, how come the stories of the five “expelled” individuals don’t stand up to a basic fact-check?

    Do you think that the portrayal of *any* of those five stories in the film is accurate? If so, which one?

    Of course, neither theory is provable by scientific standards

    Creationism/ID is not a theory. It is a conjecture: a dogmatic statement that, by its nature can never ever be proven. It is based in beliefs and has none of the properties of theories: measurability, testability, repeatability, predictability.

    All of science is based on theories. “Provable by scientific standards” is an oxymoron. Gravity is only a theory; we have never ever been able to detect the Higgs Boson, the particle that, based on the theories of the fundamental forces, mediates gravity.

    and no definitively transitional species has ever been uncovered among many thousands of fossils collected since Darwin’s theory was articulated.

    I have no idea what this means. All sorts of transitional species have been found through the years. What exact gaps are you talking about?

    You do realize: there is no Fossil Central that species go in order to create a fossil record. Fossils always happen by accident; it’s predictable that the fossil record will never ever be incomplete. And more fossil records are being uncovered all the time.

    Both theories require faith to accept

    Repeating your claim that Creationism/ID is a theory does not make it one.

    but ID is far more predictive of what actually occurs in nature

    Can you please provide a single Internet reference where ID predicts anything about the mechanisms of biology?

    and better comports with truly known science. That is a fact.

    No. It’s just dogma. Repeating dogma does not make it true.

    I find an irony: many of the Creationist/ID crowd talk about “having an open mind.” However, when we get into these discussions, that’s exactly the same crowd that just repeats dogmatic statements with no evidence or thought behind them.

    Please address the major question I asked: Do you think that the portrayal of *any* of those five stories in the film is accurate? If so, which one?

    Thanks, Wes!

  • Bennett

    Gosh Duane, that’s awefull nice of you.

    ;-]

  • Bennett

    Sir Thom,

    Excellent!

  • http://www.rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I’ll just weigh in here briefly. For years I’ve heard repeated ad nauseam that evolution is “only a theory.”

    This has been touched upon above, but what people who say such things don’t seem to grasp is that the term “theory,” when used in a scientific context, means just as Thom noted above; that it must have
    “measurability, testability, repeatability, predictability.”

    A “scientific theory” is far more substantial and complex than say a supposed “theory” presented by some TV sleuth as to how “the butler did it.”

    Conversely, and as has been stated above, ID provides NOTHING in the way of measurable, testable, repeatable or predictable evidence.

    To suggest that there is little evidence to support evolutionary theory is just ignorant.

    As to the fossil record, Dawkins and others point out that actually very few living organisms wind up as fossils. It takes a particular set of circumstances which only rarely come together. It is in fact likely that much of the fossil record will NEVER be discovered because it just doesn’t exist.

    But wondrous things have been discovered from the record that we have found, and it all supports Darwin’s original theory.

    The one thing that Darwin said that would disprove his thoeries would be if certain fossils believed to be exclusive of one particular era were found in another. It’s a bit more complex than that, but the fact is that so far at least, that has never happened.

    I have not seen the film (probably won’t,) but it seems clear that Stein and those involved in its creation (haha) manipulated statements and data and staged scenes that were apparently presented as actual events.

    That is in fact what Michael Moore has done in most of his films, and I, too, find it at the very least less than honest. I tend to agree with most of Moore’s positions, but I don’t agree with his tactics.

    It should be remembered that with both Moore and Stein, the overriding goal in making these films is profit. Apparently, truth does not provide fodder for filling one’s coffers.

    Further, I disagree with Ruvy in that the “whys” cannot be separated from the “hows.” One cannot BE without the other. That we may never discover the “why” or the “how” for that matter is immaterial.

    To believe that those answers are somehow beyond our understanding is also a bogus argument. Look at what we have come to know and understand in just the few hundred years since the Rennaisance. If humanity manages to survive for say another thousand, or five thousand years, it is difficult to imagine just how much more we will learn and come to understand about ourselves and this universe.

    If there is anything that can be said to be god, we’re it.

    Baritone

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Wes: [Darwin] himself said his theory would rise or fall based on that evidence, so he, an Anglican clergyman, if he were alive today would probably say, “Looks like I was wrong!”

    He wasn’t a clergyman. He did study theology at Oxford, but began to question his heretofore orthodox beliefs during the voyage of the Beagle. He clung to a belief in a cosmic designer for a time, but various events, culminating in the death of his young daughter, put paid to the remnants of his faith. He died an agnostic. (The ‘Lady Hope’ story, which has him recanting on his deathbed, is a legend.)

    Darwin freely admitted difficulties with his theory of natural selection: he could not, for instance, provide a mechanism for the physical passing of characteristics from one generation to the next. Of course he had no foreknowledge of Mendel’s work on genetics and heredity or the discovery of DNA. Were he alive today, he would doubtless be very gratified at how these discoveries have confirmed the basis of his theory.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Baritone offered:
    Conversely, and as has been stated above, ID provides NOTHING in the way of measurable, testable, repeatable or predictable evidence.

    Baritone: hear, hear! You’re coming in loud and clear.

    The trailer Sexpelled that … arrived … a week or so after this film was a rather wonderful piece of humor.

    My favorite part is at 0:15 where one sentence from the “Richard Dawkins” character is spliced together from five different cuts. That says it all. Then the final little snippet is just gravy for anyone understands his “ultimate 747″ argument.

    Even better than “Sexpelled” is The Onion’s article which answers the question:

    What would happen if the Creationist/ID community questioned gravity the way they question evolution?

    The answer is a wonderful parody about Intelligent Falling.

    I hope the Creationist/ID crowd appreciates the irony of the words there. Gravity is only a theory. Really. We have no idea how it actually works. Nobody has ever seen a Higgs Boson.
    As far as I can tell, “intelligent falling” makes exactly as much sense as “intelligent design.”

    One other comment: the term “intelligent design”, with its contemporary meaning, came into existence at the end of the 1980s. What if that phrase and meaning had existed in the late 1930s? In such a hypothetical world, who could imagine a hypothetical Hitler saying:

    “The Aryan Race was created by an Intelligent Designer to rule the world!”

    “The Intelligent Designer created these other people to be […]”

    Here’s the question: what would this hypothetical Hitler’s statements have meant about the Creationist/ID community?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Thom – I recently started taking some courses at the local CC. I’ve been told by my teachers/professors that wikipedia is NOT a source to be used for ANY research on any work I do while in school.

    On another note, our local morning radio show here pulled a little stunt a while back where they created an entry in wikipedia and watched it grow like a snow ball for three days before wikipedia finally shut it down.

    The problem with wikipedia is anybody has edit priveledges and to many stupid people use them.

    And lastly, I didn’t even know this was a documentary until I read this…

  • http://www.rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    While one must take what one reads on Wikipedia with a grain of salt – especially with regard to controversial topics such as this, I have found that the majority of information found there is essentially accurate.

    In this particular instance, it is Wikipedia that reveals the lies and distortions purported by “Expelled…”

    B-tone

  • http://www.rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    BTW, I, too, have long been troubled by the supposed “law of gravity.” There are other “laws” that will no doubt by put to serious question as true believers rise up flipping through their bibles to find further “proof” that god is the answer to all questions.

    What laws will likely come tumbling down in the wake of righteous proclamation? How about the “law of diminishing returns?” Or perhaps “Murphy’s Law?” I’m sure the list could go on ad nauseam. I wait with baited breath (or is it breath that smells like bait?) Whatever.

    B-tone

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Andy Marsh writes:
    Thom – I recently started taking some courses at the local CC. I’ve been told by my teachers/professors that wikipedia is NOT a source to be used for ANY research on any work I do while in school.

    And what exactly do you think that means for our discussion here?

    Do you doubt that Darwin’s quote was, in fact, grossly distorted by “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”?

    Do you doubt that Richard Sternberg was never ever an employee at the Smithsonian Institution and the filmmaker’s claim that he was “fired” from that institution is outrageous?

    Do you doubt that the lecture filmed at Pepperdine University for “Expelled” was filled almost entirely with extras and that the “standing ovation” at the end was staged by its producers?

    Andy: did you actually go and look at the Wikipedia entry? You see, there’s a fundamental problem with your statement above; I strongly suspect that’s NOT what your professors said.

    For your research papers, Wikipedia articles should never ever be cited directly. However, there’s absolutely no reason that you can’t use the citations to other works in a Wikipedia entry as a starting point for your own papers and research. At the instant I’m writing this, the Wikipedia entry for “Expelled” has 153 references. And, BTW, I never instructed you to stop your reading at the Wikipedia article itself; I always strongly suggest that you chase down references for anything that you doubt.

    Critical thinking is A Good Thing; my only question for you is why the first and only thing you question here is this Wikipedia entry. Do you have any questions about the claims in the documentary? Did you go to the website for this film — expelledthemovie.com — to look for a list of references? I did; at the time of this writing, there is no list of references there. Aren’t you bothered that a twenty-first century documentary fails to provide a paper trail to document its claims?

    In his article launching this discussion, Michael Clayton repeats many claims from the film. He seems to take the film’s claims — especially the claims of the five “expelled” — at face value. Doesn’t that bother you? I personally can’t see how anyone doing an “analysis” of this film can ignore the mass of evidence questioning the veracity of those five core stories.

    In the last paragraph of his article, Michael claims that Intelligent Design is a theory — a peer with the theory of evolution. Never mind references, he fails to provide a single argument to back up that conjecture. You didn’t object to that, either. What exactly would your college professors say about the legitimacy of the unsubstantiated claims in that paragraph?

    Please go back and look at the three questions about this film that I started this message with. Do you have any response?

    Anyone? Anyone?

    Bueller?

    On another note, our local morning radio show here pulled a little stunt a while back where they created an entry in wikipedia and watched it grow like a snow ball for three days before wikipedia finally shut it down.

    I’ll take your claim at face value. Please explain to use why you think that should have us doubt the veracity of the information presented in the Wikipedia entry for “Expelled”.

    The problem with wikipedia is anybody has edit priveledges and to many stupid people use them.

    That’s hardly the full story. Gratuitous edits in articles will indeed be undone. If an article suffers from excessive gratuitous edits, it can be locked so that gatekeepers must approve any changes. And it’s a total non-sequitur to our discussion here: I haven’t seen gratuitous edits happening to this particular entry. Have you?



    And lastly, I didn’t even know this was a documentary until I read this…

    The movie is still on in ~400 screens. You should be able to find it near most major cities. But you should go this weekend: Price Caspian is gobbling 3,800 screens next Friday; this movie will essentially be gone from US theaters then.

    I would welcome a serious discussion — an actual analysis — about the five “expelled”. As far as I can tell, none of those five stories of “persecution” add up. If anyone scrutinizes the claims of this film and doesn’t find an embarrassment, I’d love to hear about it.

    The Wikipedia article is indeed an excellent source for that investigation.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    What laws will likely come tumbling down in the wake of righteous proclamation? How about the “law of diminishing returns?” Or perhaps “Murphy’s Law?” I’m sure the list could go on ad nauseam.

    Heh. This reminds me of the Colorado Version of Murphy’s Law:

    The better the 4-wheel drive, the closer to the continental divide you’ll go before you get stuck.

    Disclaimer: Murphy’s law is not even a theory. ;-)

  • duane

    Thom makes some more good points in his #33.

    I often start at Wikipedia if I’m sitting in front of a computer. It’s just too convenient to ignore. Of course, it’s not to be taken as the ultimate authority but it’s usually a decent starting point.

    Yesterday I looked at the wiki article on “academic freedom,” and found that to be quite a can of worms.

    I’m mildly interested in this claim that denials of tenure or terminations of academic positions because of belief in and “teaching” of ID represents a “bias,” which, by implication, is on the same plane as gender or racial discrimination.

    I do know that in top universities gaining tenure — even getting on the tenure track — is very difficult. There are many factors involved and the competition is fierce. I’m sure that the faculty committees should have the right to approve or deny positions as they see fit (modulo racial or gender discrimination).

    Disgruntled academics who are denied advancement sometimes claim unwarranted biases, but more often than not, it’s a simple matter of losing out to someone who is better suited to the position, and sometimes just an insufficient level of competence. It looks to me, after a cursory read on the issue, that, for example, Carolyn Crocker was dismissed for general incompetence, and not because of her philosophical beliefs per se.

    But I could be wrong….

    And it’s “bated,” not “baited,” but B-tone might just be messin’ around.

  • http://www.rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I realize that the Law as expounded by Murphy is unquestioned and hard fact. But that should not dismay any true believers from diving in. If one is gullible enough to believe in virgin birth, miracles defying all known “laws of physics” and resurrection, going after Murphy should be a piece of cake (and eat it too,) which btw brings to mind another old saw: Too many cooks… yada, yada, yada. I guess that’s just the pot calling the kettle… well, you get my drift. Or not. (I don’t think any of the last couple of lines here make any sense, but I have never let that deter me in my quest – whatever that may be.)

    B-tone

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    B-Tone – better hope none of the guys in Politics read that last bit. They’ll be using it against you for years to come…!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Duane writes:
    I often start at Wikipedia if I’m sitting in front of a computer. It’s just too convenient to ignore. Of course, it’s not to be taken as the ultimate authority but it’s usually a decent starting point.

    Were you also amused that Andy took everything else discussed here at face value — and chose to question the well-researched and well-documented Wikipedia article about this movie?



    Yesterday I looked at the wiki article on “academic freedom,” and found that to be quite a can of worms.

    The value of the Wikipedia varies on the topic. A largely-abstract concept like “academic freedom” is somewhat tricky. On the other hand, a fact-finding article about a documentary is far more likely to be right on target.

    

I’m mildly interested in this claim that denials of tenure or terminations of academic positions because of belief in and “teaching” of ID represents a “bias,” which, by implication, is on the same plane as gender or racial discrimination.

    However, there is a credible case for the denial of tenure for Guillermo Gonzalez, one of the Expelled Five, the Iowa State University Assistant Professor who was seeking tenure:

    1 His record of academic publications dropped sharply after he became an Assistant Professor.

    2 His record of academic publications is even worse if you exclude his ID writings.

    3 The documentary’s narration claims that Gonzalez’s ID writings shouldn’t have been considered in his application for tenure. But that’s just plain silly: Gonzalez submitted those publications himself to the tenure committee!

    If this is best that the Creationist/ID community has to offer the world as an example of tenure discrimination, then they deserve to be ignored on that topic. In fact, I’m quite surprised that nobody in the Creationist/ID community is griping about what an embarrassingly bad job this film did making the case for discrimination. All that one has to do to shoot down those claims is look up the basic facts on the Five.



    Three noteworthy things about “Expelled”:

    Articles coming out on this movie continue to ignore its obvious flaws (including, by the way, its lack of a webpage to document the documentary).

    Writers of those articles fail to engage in the discussion about those flaws. While the movie talks about the need for more “open discussion”, these writers are individually stonewalling their audiences. That’s strange.

    The real story is not the movie; the real story is the Internet’s response. Its Wikipedia entry is indeed a well-researched and well-documented article. Other articles — Scientific American’s “Six Things” article, the expelledexposed.com website, Richard Dawkins’s blog entry “Lying for Jesus?” — all paint a rather incredible picture of both the superficial and deep deceptions of this movie. The website crossroadsthemovie.com documents another deception with its deliciously-chosen domain name.

    The Internet’s response to the claims of “Expelled” remind me of a healthy human’s immune response: a broad and comprehensive reaction. That immune response is indeed well-designed — by a blind watchmaker.

  • http://www.rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Doc,

    I think they’ve already found me out. On the other hand my stuff is no less drivel than most who post over there. It’s pretty much a level playing field in that regard.

    B-tone

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I guess I should have thrown a little caveat in there…wiki is a shitty source for references for everyone EXCEPT thom here. because HE knows when shit is right or wrong…

    …you act like I’m defending this movie or some such shit. I could give a fuck about any ben stein movies. My pooint is that your reference sources suck ass and I stick by my point!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Andy Marsh wrote:
    I guess I should have thrown a little caveat in there…wiki is a shitty source for references for everyone EXCEPT thom here. because HE knows when shit is right or wrong…

    Where exactly should we go to get the actual facts about the “Expelled Five”? Surely you’re not suggesting that we take the movie at face value.

    The movie’s official writeup of the facts on its official website would be a good place to start. Unfortunately, this movie failed to provide one.

    Where would you go, Andy? How about going to a source that footnotes any claims it makes, so you can go scrutinize those sources yourself and come to your own conclusion. If you were writing a paper for a Community College course, you wouldn’t use that article as a source. However, you could indeed use references that that article cited for your paper.

    In short, claiming that claiming that the Wikipedia is a “s….y source” is just plain wrong. In this case, you’re talking about a paper that is indeed well-researched and well-documented. If you don’t think so, you should provide specific criticisms of that article.

    I guess I should have thrown a little caveat in there…wiki is a shitty source for references for everyone EXCEPT thom here. because HE knows when shit is right or wrong…

    Andy: you know we’re talking about the Wikipedia and not wikis in general, right?

    I know when a specific Wikipedia article (or an idea) has, as Philip Morrison famously said, the ring of truth. I can verify that hunch by going to its sources and scrutinizing them myself — as I’ve done with this particular article. Have you done that?

    On the other hand, your statement from article #30 above is suspect:

    Thom – I recently started taking some courses at the local CC. I’ve been told by my teachers/professors that wikipedia is NOT a source to be used for ANY research on any work I do while in school.

    This claim doesn’t have the ring of truth. Why would your teachers/professors fail to let you use a Wikipedia entry as a list of sources to examine for your own papers? It makes absolutely no sense.

    …you act like I’m defending this movie or some such shit.

    In this discussion, you have indeed defended the teaching of creationism as an alternative to science. See below. Also, you failed to engage on any of the points I have discussed about this film:

    Do you doubt that Darwin’s quote was, in fact, grossly distorted by “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”?

    Do you doubt that Richard Sternberg was never ever an employee at the Smithsonian Institution and the filmmaker’s claim that he was “fired” from that institution is outrageous?

    Do you doubt that the lecture filmed at Pepperdine University for “Expelled” was filled almost entirely with extras and that the “standing ovation” at the end was staged by its producers?

    Instead, you make an indefensible claim about this movie’s Wikipedia article. You fail to talk about any of the other points I make. If I were a betting man, I’d give long odds that you won’t engage on those questions now. All you did was try to undermine my argument.

    I could give a fuck about any ben stein movies. My pooint is that your reference sources suck ass and I stick by my point!

    You repeat your claim, but you cannot explain it. That reminds me of people who say that Creationism — or Intelligent Design — is a [scientific] theory. They will repeat that claim over and over, but they will never ever present a credible argument why that is the case.

    Repeating dogma doesn’t make it true.

    Repeating dogma with scatological terminology doesn’t make it true, either.

    BTW: if you really believed what you said about the Wikipedia, you wouldn’t cite it In your own damn blog. Sheesh.

    Also, in #5 above, you said:

    I don’t get it…when I was a kid in school, I was taught both…creationism and evolution…guess you public school kids only get half the story???

    Your “half” comment speaks volumes. Andy: it’s only “half” if your Catholic classes taught only one of the creation stories. You didn’t attend a school that failed to provide you with a diversity of all cultures’ creation stories; you actually got less than 1% of “the story”.

    None of those creation stories have business in a science class, because none of them are operating in the domain of science. They lack measurability, testability, repeatability, and predictability. The creation story — all of those creation stories — should be taught somewhere other than a science class.

    Any questions?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Thom – I really don’t care if you don’t believe that my english prof told the entire class not to use wikipedia as a source, FOR ANYTHING. You can believe what you want, but I don’t usually make shit like that up. I do have a tendency to make a lot of shit up, but that ain’t one of them…

    it’s not an indefensible claim…wikipeida sucks as a source. that’s a period after that statement.

    As far as siting it on my own page….I don’t usually…maybe I did prior to taking up classes again…but i guess if you say I do then I must…

    …and I say your evolution theory lacks a lot of those same premises that you say are required for it to be science…until time travel is possible, it’ll remain exactly what it’s called …a theory.

    and to all of your other claims…whatever they may be…I don’t give a rats ass about them either. I have no desire to debate the merits of either evolution or ID with anyone. You believe what you want as will everyone else in the argument. Andthat’s pretty much how it will stay. I have had my opinion changed thanks to BC, but I doubt that anyones gonna change my mind about how I think things came to be…like I said, I subscribe to the theory of…let’s call it intelligent evolution…

    My point still remains that wikipedia is a shit source for anything and whether or not there’s a “grain of truth” in anything on the site really doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s full of erroneous bullshit makes the whole thing worthless. But I guess, being the brilliant mind that you obviously are, you’re able to discern bullshit from truth no matter where it hides.

    I’d say, truth be told, anyone that uses wikipedia as their main source for an argument is probably just lazy.

    You know, I once got burned by a match and I came to the conclusion that fire is hot…not that only matches are hot, but that fire is hot…I once looked up something on wikipedia and found out is was dead wrong…now, wikipedia is dead wrong…not just that one article, but the whole freaking site…but you keep using it…it works for you.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Andy, Thom has repeatedly explained to you that he is not citing Wikipedia itself, but the thorough list of sources in the Wikipedia article on Expelled, which he has explored and deemed to be sound.

    I, too, have been advised not to cite Wikipedia in college papers. That doesn’t invalidate the sources to which Wiki provides links.

    If my stockbroker happens to be a Jehovah’s Witness, but also provides sound financial advice, do his crazy religious beliefs automatically invalidate any investment information he might give me? I don’t think so.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Thom – I really don’t care if you don’t believe that my english prof told the entire class not to use wikipedia as a source, FOR ANYTHING. You can believe what you want, but I don’t usually make shit like that up.

    Andy: it’s not a question of what anyone believes; it’s a question of how nonsensical your shouted “FOR ANYTHING” claim is. If one can’t use any of the sources cited in a Wikipedia article for a class paper, then the inclusion of a source in a Wikipedia article would effectively eliminate it as a potential source for references for a “legitimate” paper.

    Do you realize how goofy that would be?

    Imagine you wrote a paper, turned it in, and then a Wikipedia article on that same topic was expanded with references that you also used in your paper?

    “Gee, Mr. Professor, those references weren’t in the Wikipedia article when I wrote my paper. Those references were added later! I don’t deserve a flunking grade!”

    it’s not an indefensible claim…

    Nope. Sorry. It is completely and utterly indefensible; it is dogmatic spew. If Philip Morrison were around, he would be hitting you over the head, repeatedly, with a metaphorical stick.

    As far as siting(SIC) it on my own page…but i guess if you say I do then I must…

    And that’s almost as bad. More whacks with the metaphorical stick, please. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it, just learn how to use the “site:” keyword in google, and you can see for yourself.

    …and I say your evolution theory lacks a lot of those same premises that you say are required for it to be science…until time travel is possible, it’ll remain exactly what it’s called …a theory.

    Um, no. Time to break in a new metaphorical stick.

    All of science is — and will always be — a theory with measurability, testability, repeatability, predictability. No part of science ever gets promoted to something beyond a theory.

    Back in message #5 in this discussion, you said:

    I don’t get it…when I was a kid in school, I was taught both…creationism and evolution…guess you public school kids only get half the story???

    As far as I can tell, you actually didn’t get get it. ;-) You don’t understand what a scientific theory is, and you don’t understand the scientific method.

    The material science to build Navy ships is only a bunch of theories.

    The chemical and nuclear engineering to propel those ships is only based on theories.

    The SONAR that’s on many of those ships is only based on theories.

    Evolution is a theory. It always has been, and always will be. Saying that evolution is “only a theory” says nothing about evolution but much about the person making that statement.

    I’d say, truth be told, anyone that uses wikipedia as their main source for an argument is probably just lazy.

    What source did you use to come to your understanding about the nature of scientific theories?

  • abb3w

    A quibble about Thom’s remark that Creationism/ID “is based in beliefs and has none of the properties of theories: measurability, testability, repeatability, predictability.”

    Of those four, only measurability is technically an absolute requirement for science. The problems of repeatability date to Heraclitus’s observation on rivers; some tests are beyond any potential human or moral scope; and the meaning of “predictable” is questionable when time and accuracy computational limits are approached.

    The heart of science is ultimately the competitive testing of hypotheses for explanatory and predictive power. If one grants the assumption accpting as philosophical principles the validity of formal propositional logic, self-consistency of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, and that it is possible to relate one piece of evidence to another via a finite chain of reasoning (EG: the Strong Church Turing Universe Thesis), then a formal criterion for the testing of candidate hypotheses as to their comprehensive explanation of a set of evidence may be rigorously derived. Those interested in gory details should check out “Minimum Message Length and Kolmogorov Complexity” by C. S. Wallace and D. L. Dowe, and “Minimum Description Length Induction, Bayesianism and Kolmogorov Complexity” by Paul M. B. Vitányi and Ming Li.

    Thus, no theory (or more formally, candidate hypothesis) is EVER “fully proven”. However, that doesn’t change that there is a basis on which one hypothesis can be accepted as “proven” as valid Theory until a superior contender or substantial contradictory evidence arrives.

    Evolution results in a shorter induction length encoding, and is thus more probably correct than ID. ID proponents need to go back to the lab to find more evidence, or back to the drawing board for a better theory; either way, they should stop pretending that ID should be treated any better than any other hypothesis substantiated only by religion and not by evidence.

  • Dan

    Evolution/atheism enthusiasts have no scientific support for their creation myth.

    The typical theory is that primordial soup + lightning bolt = single cell life form.

    This has the advantage of being testable, yet, has never yielded substantiation of the hypothesis.

    Variation in bird beaks does not equal spontaneous, accidental life forms.

    So, there’s that.

    Did anyone catch Richard Dawkins interesting disclosure at the end of the documentary? He acknowledged the scientific possiblility of intelligent design, but was adamant that it could only be the work of hyper-intelligent extraterestrial influence. Themselves being accidentally manifested.

    That’s the sort of dogmatic closed mindedness typical of Evolution/atheists.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    If it’s measured, tested, repeated and predictable, it ain’t a theory. I don’t believe that evolution can say that it’s been measured, tested, repeated, or most of all predictable…does that mean it’s not science?

    Maybe you can find the answer for me in wikipedia…

    I’ve never seen anyone get so upset over a freaking reference! Okay fine, wikipedia is the best source on the net. Happy now?

  • bliffle

    “Is it fact or is it theory?” is an ancient game played throughout history by philosophers. Apparently, some people here are not familiar with the material, readily available to all, and accessible on the internet.

    For those who have neglected their lessons and have fallen behind I suggest starting with The Sophists and proceeding up through Bertrand Russells “Sense data”, at least. Advanced students might enjoy Wittgenstein, Carnap and Goedel, etc.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dan: Evolution/atheism enthusiasts have no scientific support for their creation myth.

    Well, of course not, Einstein. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. That would be the theory of abiogenesis.

    Nor does it have anything to do with atheism.

    The typical theory is that primordial soup + lightning bolt = single cell life form.

    Not in any science book I’ve ever read. Typical – or something you made up?

    Variation in bird beaks does not equal spontaneous, accidental life forms.

    Whoever said it did?

    I dunno about spontaneous creation of life, but there seems to be a lot of spontaneous creation of straw men going on in your comment…

  • duane

    Thom (#44) No part of science ever gets promoted to something beyond a theory.

    Hallelujah, Brother Thom! I wish that once and for all the anti-evolution crowd would get this simple bit of terminology under their belts.

    abb3w (#45) Thus, no theory (or more formally, candidate hypothesis) is EVER “fully proven”.

    Hallelujah, Brother abb3w! A bit subtle, but crucial to understand modern science.

    What is an “induction length encoding”? Just wondering….

    Dan (#46): Evolution/atheism enthusiasts have no scientific support for their creation myth.

    See Dr. D (#49). It’s rare to see the nature of the beast so plainly on display — you (Dan) equate a scientific theory with atheism. Do you see a cause and effect link? Do atheists reflexively and uncritically embrace and promote evolution or does evolution breed atheists? What’s your “theory”?

    Andy (#47): If it’s measured, tested, repeated and predictable, it ain’t a theory.

    You could consider the theories of gravitation as a test case.

    Measured: check
    Tested: check
    Repeated: check
    Predictable: check

    It’s still “just a theory.”

    Bliffle (#48): For those who have neglected their lessons and have fallen behind I suggest starting with The Sophists and proceeding up through Bertrand Russells “Sense data”, at least. Advanced students might enjoy Wittgenstein, Carnap and Goedel, etc.

    Good golly, man. Could you maybe synopsize all this egghead stuff into a paragraph or two. I doubt that anyone will have time to read all that before this thread peters out.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Andy Marsh wrote:
    I’ve never seen anyone get so upset over a freaking reference!

    I’m not upset. OTOH, you launched into personal attacks and scatological terms in message #40. Why the nastiness?

    Okay fine, wikipedia is the best source on the net. Happy now?

    No. You’re still not getting it.

    No research paper anywhere — including the large number of very fine articles on the Wikipedia — should ever be taken at face value. On the other hand, if you were to write an article about the gross deceptions and distortions of the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” it would be perfectly proper to use the sources that the Wikipedia article cites as one starting point for your own paper.

    Even the content of the Wikipedia itself is far better than many other sources. For example, someone seeking to understand what a scientific theory was should NOT go to dictionary.com to look up the word “theory.” A far better choice would be to look up “Theory” in the Wikipedia and then scroll down to the three paragraphs in that entry describing “Science.” That might prevent blog-writers from making silly errors based on incorrect assumptions.

    The other question that you ignored: why are you giving everything else happening a pass? Why all the criticism of the Wikipedia, but not a single word about Michael’s article? For that matter, why did you take this movie on face value?

    If it’s measured, tested, repeated and predictable, it ain’t a theory.

    I asked you in the previous post, and I’ll ask again now: What source did you use to come to your understanding about the nature of scientific theories? It’s interesting, but it has absolutely nothing to do with science.

    I don’t believe that evolution can say that it’s been measured, tested, repeated, or most of all predictable…

    Well, that’s pretty honest. You don’t believe in evolution, so it couldn’t possibly have those properties.

    How much time have you spent researching what biologists have been writing for the past 10-15 years? Have you read any books by evolutionists?

    does that mean it’s not science?

    Of course it’s science. But your question is actually different:

    Could a Creationist/IDer be convinced that it’s science?

    I have no idea what it would take to convince a Creationist/IDer that it’s science. I have personally witnessed Creationists/IDers base their understanding of the concept of a scientific “theory” by deliberately picking wrong definitions from a dictionary and then arguing against that straw man. I have no idea how to teach a person like that how to think critically and with an open mind about evolution.

    Andy: what source did you use to come to your understanding about the nature of scientific theories?


  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Bliffle wrote:
    “Is it fact or is it theory?” is an ancient game played throughout history by philosophers. Apparently, some people here are not familiar with the material, readily available to all, and accessible on the internet.

    It is an old game, but there are some fascinating recent happenings.

    In the late 1980s, the term Intelligent Design came into vogue. Where did the term come from? What happened to creationism? There is much to discuss there, but my favorite happening is the phrase:

    “cdesign proponentsists”

    From Panda’s Thumb:

    You might be interested to read about a very rare transitional fossil between creationism and “intelligent design” that was recently discovered by Barbara Forrest during her exploration of some exhibits filed in Kitzmiller v. Dover, namely drafts of the original “intelligent design” book Of Pandas and People.

    The brief story: early drafts of “Pandas and People” used the term “creationism” (and other forms). Later versions had substituted “Intelligent Design”. “cdesign proponentsists” is an example where one of the global substitutes from term one to the other went awry: the transitional fossil.

  • Cannonshop

    Hypothesis: An educated guess as to the nature of a phenomena or thing based on related evidence.

    Darwin’s “On the Origins of Species” is a good example of an Hypothesis.

    Theory: An Hypothesis that has been tested, and found to be durable. Plate Tectonics is a Theory. Evolution is a Theory, Decay of radioactive elements into daughter-elements is a theory (a damn reliable one, so far.) Selective Breeding of Livestock is a process based on experience, and codified into a theory by Gregor Mendel-that theory is Eugenics, and it formed some of the basis of Darwin’s Hypothesis. (Selective breeding, or “Survival of the fittest”)

    Dogma: A statement accepted as always true, without requiring evidence or testing. Original Sin is a dogma, the existence of god, little green men, faeries, Miracles, human caused global warming, Creationism, (Capital E) Evolution, and the infallibility of any public figure whether Pope, activist, or Scientist, Priest, Mullah/Imam, or Guru, is an example of a Dogma.

    Dogmas do not tolerate challenges, dogmas do not demand supporting evidence or acknowledge evidence not in support of their statements/heroes/gods or Idols. People like dogma, it makes them feel secure and safe and like they know what’s going on.

    Fact: an Elusive thing indeed, made moreso when people insist on embracing dogmas unquestioningly instead of testing their hypotheses or challenging theories.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Thom – to answer your last question in #51…I used wikipedia…of course!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    I asked:
    Andy: what source did you use to come to your understanding about the nature of scientific theories?


    Andy Marsh wrote:
    Thom – to answer your last question in #51…I used wikipedia…of course!

    If anyone follows the links that you have at the top of your posts, they’ll see that you made an entry in your personal blog on May 12 2008. In that entry, you said:

    […] Well, dictionary.com defines a theory as contemplation or speculation, or guess or conjecture. That’s two of the definitions anyway. The other ones are a lot more wordy, but mean basically the same thing. Using those definitions, Evolution as a theory, could be a guess or maybe even speculation.

    You used the sixth and seventh definitions of “theory” from dictionary.com. Look at the first definition from that source:

    “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.

    That definition is clearly talking about scientific theories. Not only did you not use the Wikipedia to come to your understanding of scientific theories, you deliberately chose an inappropriate definition of “theory” — and then you argued about the absurdity of that selection.

    This was already all covered in #51:
    “I have no idea what it would take to convince a Creationist/IDer that [evolution is] science. I have personally witnessed Creationists/IDers base their understanding of the concept of a scientific ‘theory’ by deliberately picking wrong definitions from a dictionary and then arguing against that straw man. I have no idea how to teach a person like that how to think critically and with an open mind about evolution.”

    I really don’t know what it would take, Andy. I am clear that a prerequisite for the discussion is intellectual honesty, and it doesn’t look that you’re willing to participate that way. This is your personal “cdesign proponentsists”.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    You know…no where on here or on my blog have I ever said that I don’t believe in evolution…I said I take it a little further…my way of explaining the unexplainable to myself…

    I think you’re still pissed that I slammed you reference…you really need to get over it already!!!holy fuck!

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    But it is good to know that somebody’s reading the freaking stuff (crap) I write…

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Andy Marsh wrote:
    You know…no where on here or on my blog have I ever said that I don’t believe in evolution…

    Your actions are speaking for you, Andy.

    You told us that you used the Wikipedia to learn about scientific theories, but anyone who looks at the March 12, 2008 entry from your blog knows that’s not the case.

    I said I take it a little further…my way of explaining the unexplainable to myself…

    Apparently, your way of “explaining the unexplainable” is choosing an inappropriate definition from dictionary.com and then arguing about the absurdity of that selection.

    Why didn’t you choose definition #1 of “theory”?

    I think you’re still pissed that I slammed you reference.

    I was mystified — and am still mystified — why you still have the quaint belief that it’s inappropriate to use the Wikipedia to find sources for research papers.

    I pointed out the absurdity of your belief in #44, and you never ever addressed those points.

    Another reader did exactly the same thing in #43; you didn’t address that either.

    Andy: it’s clear that you misunderstood what your English professor told you. He wasn’t telling you to dogmatically avoid referencing the sources that were listed in Wikipedia articles. That makes absolutely no sense.

    I don’t know how to say it any more plainly than that.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    She Thom…SHE told me not to use wikipedia…period…SHE didn’t mention using any of the references I might find in wikipedia…she explicitly said DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A SOURCE.

    Now, if I was to go to wikipedia as you suggest and then find another reference on that site, I wouldn’t be using wikipedia as a source, would I? I’d be using the other reference as a source, wouldn’t I? But I guess, symantically, I’d be using wikipedia as the source for my source….but I wouldn’t really be using it now would I?

    I guess I’m just a quaint kinda guy, what can I say?

    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
    3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
    4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
    5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
    6. contemplation or speculation.
    7. guess or conjecture.

    You can take any one of those defintions and get the same meaning from them. Why’d you pick the first one and not the second one? Why do I have to use the definition that YOU say is correct…I guess for the same reasons I have to accept YOUR references as valid…because you say so!

    I also said in what I wrote on my blog that there are other definitions but they pretty much mean the same thing…just a little more wordy…

    And again I’ll say, nowhere, not here, not on my blog, not anyplace on the planet, since I was about 10 have I ever said that I didn’t believe in the theory of evolution…and before I was 10 I doubt I even knew what it was!

    And lastly, I still think you’re lazy for using wikipedia.

    In comment #15, you don’t site references from wikipedia, you site wikipedia itself. So stop trying to be disengenous yourself!!! Here’s the comment: Anyone who pursues the facts behind the five “expelled” will find that’s a bunch of nonsense. Look at the Wikipedia entry for That’s using the site as a source, not a list of links or references. So, blow your smoke up someone elses ass…I don’t like the feeling!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Andy, definition #1 is the definition of a SCIENTIFIC theory. Not all theories are scientific, which is why all those other definitions are up there. (Just as not all sets are parts of a tennis match. Try looking up ‘set’ in a dictionary and have fun for the next few minutes wishing you hadn’t!)

    By any reasonable interpretation, the theory of evolution falls under that first definition.

    Or, here’s another, more detailed, definition of scientific theory which frames it in just about the same way. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t come from Wikipedia…)

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    She Thom…SHE told me not to use wikipedia…period…SHE didn’t mention using any of the references I might find in wikipedia…she explicitly said DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A SOURCE.

    Aha. That’s different than what you told us before in #42:

    Thom – I really don’t care if you don’t believe that my english prof told the entire class not to use wikipedia as a source, FOR ANYTHING. You can believe what you want, but I don’t usually make shit like that up. I do have a tendency to make a lot of shit up, but that ain’t one of them…

    Now, if I was to go to wikipedia as you suggest and then find another reference on that site, I wouldn’t be using wikipedia as a source, would I?

    Precisely. That’s exactly what I was trying to tell you in #44, and what another reader was trying to tell you in #43. I think you finally understand what we were saying.

    The only question remaining: why exactly were you complaining about our use of the Wikipedia in the first place?

    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity. 
2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. 
3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory. 
4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory. 
5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles. 
6. contemplation or speculation. 
7. guess or conjecture. 


    
You can take any one of those defintions and get the same meaning from them.

    That is a dogmatic statement, and it’s not true.

    Why’d you pick the first one and not the second one?

    Because the first one tells what it means to use the word “theory” in the context of a scientific theory, and none of the other ones do.

    Why do I have to use the definition that YOU say is correct…

    The clue, Andy, is the inclusion of “Einstein” in the first definition.

    I guess for the same reasons I have to accept YOUR references as valid…because you say so!

    Why do you ask a question if you’re not going to listen to my answer?



    I also said in what I wrote on my blog that there are other definitions but they pretty much mean the same thing…just a little more wordy…

    Exactly. That’s a dogmatic statement, and it’s wrong.

    And again I’ll say, nowhere, not here, not on my blog, not anyplace on the planet, since I was about 10 have I ever said that I didn’t believe in the theory of evolution…and before I was 10 I doubt I even knew what it was!

    In #47, you said:

    If it’s measured, tested, repeated and predictable, it ain’t a theory.

    That dogmatic claim is wrong; it demonstrates that you don’t understand how the word “theory” is used in science.

    You also tell us:

    I don’t believe that evolution can say that it’s been measured, tested, repeated, or most of all predictable

    And you don’t explain that claim, either.

    And lastly, I still think you’re lazy for using wikipedia.

    Why?

    

In comment #15, you don’t site references from wikipedia, you site wikipedia itself. So stop trying to be disengenous yourself!!! Here’s the comment: Anyone who pursues the facts behind the five “expelled” will find that’s a bunch of nonsense. Look at the Wikipedia entry for That’s using the site as a source, not a list of links or references.

    You didn’t go quite far enough, Andy. Look at the next phrase:
    “and you’ll see summaries, with footnotes, of each story.”

    So, blow your smoke up someone elses ass…I don’t like the feeling!

    You still haven’t reconciled why you told us in #54 that you used the Wikipedia to come to your understanding of scientific theories. Anyone who goes to look at your blog will note that you actually used dictionary.com to get a completely inappropriate definition of “theory”.

    There’s really no point in continuing if you’re going to be intellectually dishonest with us, Andy.

  • bliffle

    Wikipedia is not a primary source (no one does original research in order to publish in Wikipedia), but rather just an encyclopedia or compendium that one may use to find primary sources.

    Not many years ago people would use citations to an Encyclopedia because the primary sources were difficult to access. But nowadays primary sources are often available directly on the internet.

    So it would be quite reasonable for a teacher to insist that a student not cite wikipedia directly but simply use it as an index to get to the source material in it’s context and richness.

  • abb3w

    duane: the two papers I mentioned explain the idea more exactly. Roughly, however, “encoding” indicates the information is being conveyed as a compressed message from one person to another, “induction” refers to the fact that the data is being rebuilt, “length” means the number of symbols in the total message, and “minimum” means we want it short.

    Consider Alice and Bob. Alice has a data set. She wants to convey it to Bob. She could simply send the data one by one by one, but that’s relatively wasteful. Instead, she can devise a compression scheme, compress the data, and send both the decompressor (as a universal Turing Machine representation) and the compressed message. So, if the data is a falling Newtonian body’s position at one second intervals relative to time zero at rest, she can encode the data set as “s= -gt^2; t=0,1,2…n”, which is a lot shorter for large “n”. By “induction length encoding”, I mean to refer to the decoder-plus-message.

    The papers show that if the data source is a Turing machine, the shortest compressor is also the one most likely to correctly continue predicting forthcoming output from the Turing Machine. (Roughly speaking, anyway. This leaves aside some possibly pathological edge cases. It also neglects essentials involving the inherency of observational uncertainty; essentially, though, it’s still “cheaper” to send the small set of deviations from measurement as a correction. The two papers have the full details, and are available online in postscript format.)

    The Strong-Church Turing Universe Thesis explicitly claims reality is only Turing (RE class) complex; any scheme of rules allowing finite inference between reality and evidence implicitly assumes the same. Thus, if you accept the prerequisite assumptions (Logic, Mathematics, and SCTUT), testing on this basis — which is essentially Occam’s Razor given diamond-hard mathematical rigor — provides a basis for Science to do competitive testing and scientific “proof”.

  • Dan

    Dr. Dreadful comment#49:

    “Well, of course not, Einstein. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. That would be the theory of abiogenesis.”

    The theory of abiogenesis, the question of the origin of life, is the study of how life on Earth emerged from non-life in a naturalistic way. Evolution is a theory that attempts to give plausability to the progression of life through natural causes, thus abiogenesis would be a component of Evolution’s earliest stage.

    “Nor does it have anything to do with atheism.”

    Atheism requires it.

    “Not in any science book I’ve ever read. Typical – or something you made up?”

    I’m surprised you’ve never heard of the classic Miller-Urey experiment. The 2000 edition of Kenneth Miller and Joseph Levine’s Biology, a popular high school textbook, includes a drawing of the Miller-Urey apparatus with the caption: “By re-creating the early atmosphere (ammonia, water, hydrogen and methane) and passing an electric spark (lightning) through the mixture, Miller and Urey proved that organic matter such as amino acids could have formed spontaneously.”

    “Whoever said it did?” (variation in bird beaks = spontaneous accidental life forms)

    If evolutionists/atheists actually stuck to the bits of evolutionary theory that are supported by the evidence, instead of claiming the mantle of “science” for every conjecture, and, wishful back-fitting they can dream up to support their faith, no one would be arguing with them.

  • bliffle

    It may be that we are incapable of distinguishing between ‘fact’ and ‘theory’. Maybe ascertaining ‘fact’ is simply beyond us. Maybe the best we can hope for is a pretty consistent set of ‘theories’.

    Gee. I wish I was the first to say that.

    Oh well.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The theory of abiogenesis, the question of the origin of life, is the study of how life on Earth emerged from non-life in a naturalistic way. Evolution is a theory that attempts to give plausability to the progression of life through natural causes, thus abiogenesis would be a component of Evolution’s earliest stage.

    You’re missing the important point that the theory of evolution does NOT attempt to explain how life began, but how it developed – or, more strictly speaking, develops. You’re also confounding – as many anti-evolutionists do – Darwinian natural selection with other forms of evolution (abiogenesis being the one you mention, but stellar evolution, Big Bang theory etc are also often dragged into the mix).

    Atheism requires it.

    That’s a rather foolish statement. There’s no logical reason why an atheist should of necessity agree with the theory of evolution. Indeed, there were atheists in the world long before Darwin or Wallace published their research. Also – and on the other hand – there are also many, many Christians, Muslims, Jews and followers of other faiths who accept evolutionary theory.

    I’m surprised you’ve never heard of the classic Miller-Urey experiment…

    Actually, I have.

    …”By re-creating the early atmosphere (ammonia, water, hydrogen and methane) and passing an electric spark (lightning) through the mixture, Miller and Urey proved that organic matter such as amino acids could have formed spontaneously.”

    But not single-celled organisms (or anything that could by any stretch be called ‘life’), which is what you claimed. Clearly you’re trying to formulate an illustration of how evolutionists resort to wild leaps of logic. I spy strawman.

    If evolutionists/atheists actually stuck to the bits of evolutionary theory that are supported by the evidence…

    They do.

    …instead of claiming the mantle of “science” for every conjecture, and, wishful back-fitting they can dream up to support their faith…

    Examples, please.

    …no one would be arguing with them.

    Then how come we’re arguing?

    If you can demonstrate that your definitions of ‘conjecture’ and ‘wishful back-fitting’ are not just ‘stuff scientists say that I disagree with’, then perhaps we can be on the same page.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Dan wrote:
    The theory of abiogenesis, the question of the origin of life, is the study of how life on Earth emerged from non-life in a naturalistic way. Evolution is a theory that attempts to give plausability to the progression of life through natural causes, thus abiogenesis would be a component of Evolution’s earliest stage.

    Both theories do have the word “natural” in them. That doesn’t mean that should be studied as a part of the other.

    To do so would tend to muddy the waters (to coin a phrase).

    If evolutionists/atheists actually stuck to the bits of evolutionary theory that are supported by the evidence,

    Boy, *that* is a loaded phrase that definitely muddies the waters.

    What about the evolutionists who are also religious?

    instead of claiming the mantle of “science” for every conjecture,

    I missed these, too. What conjectures are you talking about?

    and, wishful back-fitting they can dream up to support their faith, no one would be arguing with them.

    I completely disagree. I think that the Creationist/ID crowd would continue to argue.

    Look at the cases of the “Expelled Five”: can you name one of them who was actually persecuted? Richard Sternberg clearly was not; the wrong claims made about him in the film were an embarrassment.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Thom – you’re absolutely right in saying that there’s no point in continuing a conversation with you…if you can’t figure out that when I say, in a one line answer directed specifically at you, that I used wikipedia as a source for my information, that it was a smart ass answer to you then you are apparently to fucking dense to continue to talk to…so, we’re done.

    And all of a sudden footnotes are worth something…I can recall people, read that to say liberals, screaming from the rooftops that it didn’t matter how many footnotes ann coulter had in the back of her books it was still all bullshit…it doesn’t matter how many footnotes are in your WIKIPEDIA reference, it’s still wikipedia…you like it, you use it, but when I see it and I’m not alone in my feelings about this, I consider it a bullshit reference, therefore, using my own sceintific theory, if the reference is bullshit, so is the point trying to be made.

    Have a nice day.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    if you can’t figure out that when I say, in a one line answer directed specifically at you, that I used wikipedia as a source for my information, that it was a smart ass answer to you then you are apparently to fucking dense to continue to talk to…so, we’re done.

    What I note:

    1. Sarcasm is always a poor choice in these messages. And you’re never ever talking to an individual here. An experienced blogger should know that. If you thought it was important to address a message to me individually, I sent you an e-mail earlier this week.

    2. You never ever answered the question: what source did you use to come to your understanding about the nature of scientific theories? It was a legitimate question that I had asked repeatedly, and, apparently, you never ever answered it.

    3. In your blog, you said:

    […] Well, dictionary.com defines a theory as contemplation or speculation, or guess or conjecture. That’s two of the definitions anyway. The other ones are a lot more wordy, but mean basically the same thing. Using those definitions, Evolution as a theory, could be a guess or maybe even speculation.

    Which is a straw man. Then, in #59 here, you claimed that
    all of the definitions in dictionary.com was the same:

    You can take any one of those defintions and get the same meaning from them.

    That’s totally absurd. But now readers are wondering if you will now claim you were only “joking” when you made those absurd claims.

    If those comments are taken at face value, one concludes that you really have absolutely no idea what a scientific theory is. This is your personal “cdesign proponentsists”.

    And all of a sudden footnotes are worth something…

    Even more important is straight communication. In #61, you told us:

    She Thom…SHE told me not to use wikipedia…period…SHE didn’t mention using any of the references I might find in wikipedia…she explicitly said DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A SOURCE.

    That’s different than what you told us before in #42:

    

Thom – I really don’t care if you don’t believe that my english prof told the entire class not to use wikipedia as a source, FOR ANYTHING. You can believe what you want, but I don’t usually make shit like that up. I do have a tendency to make a lot of shit up, but that ain’t one of them…

    So it was the case that you made s..t like that up.

    An honorable person would have apologized to the group for lying to us.

    I can recall people, read that to say liberals, screaming from the rooftops that it didn’t matter how many footnotes ann coulter had in the back of her books it was still all bullshit.

    What does that have to do with anything we’re discussing here?

    ..it doesn’t matter how many footnotes are in your WIKIPEDIA reference, it’s still wikipedia…

    You seem to be saying that a particular source should be discounted simply because someone cited it in a Wikipedia article. That’s totally goofy.

    you like it, you use it, but when I see it and I’m not alone in my feelings about this,

    …but not your English professor. You first tried to claim that she said you shouldn’t use the Wikipedia FOR ANYTHING. But, in #61, we finally learn that she said no such thing.

    BTW: why should we care that other people are also ignorant about the Wikipeia?

    I consider it a bullshit reference,

    But you can’t provide a single fact to back up your opinion.

    Can you point to a single specific problem that you find with the article?

    Have you even read it?

    therefore, using my own sceintific(SIC) theory,

    Nope. It’s just dogmatic spew. It has nothing to do with science.

  • Dan

    comment #66: “You’re missing the important point that the theory of evolution does NOT attempt to explain how life began, but how it developed – or, more strictly speaking, develops.”

    That’s not an important point. Anyhow, I’m not “missing” any point. I very obviously and deliberately conflated the two disciplines. Then I took some pains to explain why.

    “That’s a rather foolish statement. There’s no logical reason why an atheist should of necessity agree with the theory of evolution…”

    Ironically, I’ve argued this to you before. So now, we’re agreed. But if you can set aside your rule-book for a moment; an atheist necessarily must agree with the logic of only some natural abiogenesis view.

    ” Actually, I have.” (familiar with the Miller-Urey experiment”
    “But not single-celled organisms…”

    back to quibbling again.

    A good percentage of hypothesis for abiogenesis theory involve a “primordial soup”, and an electrical charge. So Frankensteinian. I like it.

    “Examples, please.”

    We’ve already been over so much before. I’m mostly satisfied with the quality of my presentations then. Moreover, I don’t have a problem with conjecture and modification of theory to conform with evidence.

    “Then how come we’re arguing?”

    Good question. Perhaps your unsolicited, off point argumentation is a compensatorial effort to reconcile a stunted intellectuality with ego.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    That’s not an important point.

    It is important, both in the context of your argument and because this thread is a discussion of issues arising from the movie Expelled – which is about intelligent design as a challenge to the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection, not abiogenesis.

    Anyhow, I’m not “missing” any point. I very obviously and deliberately conflated the two disciplines. Then I took some pains to explain why.

    And I took some pains to explain why you were wrong to do so. The discussion (again, arising from the movie) is about how life evolves, not how it began. We’re talking about entirely different processes.

    But if you can set aside your rule-book for a moment; an atheist necessarily must agree with the logic of only some natural abiogenesis view.

    That is not what you said.

    back to quibbling again.

    I’m not quibbling, I’m objecting to your mischaracterization. As you would have it, science depicts single-celled life as arising fully-formed from a few complex chemicals and an electrical charge. Both you and I know that that is ridiculous. The reason you did it was to make it seem that science takes fanciful leaps of conjecture without evidence.

    A good percentage of hypothesis for abiogenesis theory involve a “primordial soup”, and an electrical charge.

    Actually, there are numerous candidate hypotheses for the origin of life besides the primordial soup/lightning one.

    We’ve already been over so much before [in response to my challenge for examples of scientific back-pedalling]. I’m mostly satisfied with the quality of my presentations then.

    Evasive. However, as I recall, they were all rather thoroughly shot down. Your standards must be rather low.

    Moreover, I don’t have a problem with conjecture and modification of theory to conform with evidence.

    This is ambiguous. Are you saying you personally don’t have a problem with exactly what you were complaining about five minutes ago? Or that this is a problem science has which you don’t?

    Perhaps your unsolicited, off point argumentation…

    As explained above, I’m not the one who is off-point.

    …is a compensatorial effort to reconcile a stunted intellectuality with ego.

    Hmm, a liberal dose of evasive wiggling rounded off with a personal attack. Not a very classy way to end a decidedly unclassy comment.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Actually, it is an important point. Scientists typically specialize in one particular discipline unless there is some compelling reason to be “under the hood” of several disciplines simultaneously.

    Anyhow, I’m not “missing” any point. I very obviously and deliberately conflated the two disciplines. Then I took some pains to explain why.

    You explained this in #64:
    The theory of abiogenesis, the question of the origin of life, is the study of how life on Earth emerged from non-life in a naturalistic way. Evolution is a theory that attempts to give plausability to the progression of life through natural causes, thus abiogenesis would be a component of Evolution’s earliest stage.

    In other words, your “some pains” comes down to a claim that abiogenesis would somehow be a component of Evolution. And you also pointed out that both of the studies would have the word “natural” in them.

    What you failed to do was to explain why this mash-up would benefit the scientific investigation of either.

  • Dan

    “It is important, both in the context of your argument and because this thread is a discussion of issues arising from the movie Expelled – which is about intelligent design as a challenge to the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection, not abiogenesis.”

    The movie is about suppression of legitimately qualified scientists who happen to dissent from darwinism. Abiogenesis is a legitimate concept in the context of my argument because it is the only obvious extension of natural process acceptable by scientific standards. And it’s mostly conjecture.

    “Actually, there are numerous candidate hypotheses for the origin of life besides the primordial soup/lightning one.”

    That’s why I didn’t say “all”.

    “Evasive. However, as I recall, they were all rather thoroughly shot down. Your standards must be rather low.”

    Your standards of recall are the inverse of reality. As I recall, you still had’nt moved on from pretending that the fossil record fully supported Darwins presumptive vision of “finest graduated steps” to the more modern theory of punctuated equilibrium. (another component theory of evolution)

    “This is ambiguous. Are you saying you personally don’t have a problem with exactly what you were complaining about five minutes ago? Or that this is a problem science has which you don’t?”

    I’m saying that conjecture, and theory modification to new evidence, (back-fitting) is not scientifically controversial to anyone. Unless of course, your conjecture involves intelligent design.

    “As explained above, I’m not the one who is off-point.”

    It seems to be your favorite tactic.

    “Hmm, a liberal dose of evasive wiggling rounded off with a personal attack. Not a very classy way to end a decidedly unclassy comment.”

    I favor it over your blunt and mostly unprovoked “you’re an arrogant prick” comment flung my way in a previous debate you found yourself frustrated in.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Abiogenesis is a legitimate concept in the context of my argument because it is the only obvious extension of natural process acceptable by scientific standards. And it’s mostly conjecture.

    All abiogenesis means is the creation of life from nothing. Once upon a time there was no life on Earth and now there is. Because it can’t be observed directly, any ideas as to how it happened are and must remain conjecture, supported by greater or lesser quantities of evidence.

    Evolution by natural selection, on the other hand, can be observed directly and is supported by a vast body of evidence. Your insistence on linking the two is a transparent attempt to make the case for evolution seem weaker than it is.

    As I recall, you still had’nt moved on from pretending that the fossil record fully supported Darwins presumptive vision of “finest graduated steps” to the more modern theory of punctuated equilibrium. (another component theory of evolution)

    Which thread was that? I revisited the Josh Greenberger ‘Crumbling Facade’ piece earlier on, and didn’t see anything like that there. I don’t recall ‘pretending’ anything of the kind. (It actually tends to be creationists who ‘pretend’ that Darwin is the be-all and end-all of evolutionary theory.)

    I’m saying that conjecture, and theory modification to new evidence, (back-fitting) is not scientifically controversial to anyone. Unless of course, your conjecture involves intelligent design.

    So then what was your problem with this: “If evolutionists/atheists actually stuck to the bits of evolutionary theory that are supported by the evidence, instead of claiming the mantle of “science” for every conjecture, and, wishful back-fitting they can dream up to support their faith…”?

    It seems to be your favorite tactic.

    Now I do recall saying to you before that saying something is so doesn’t make it so.

    I favor it over your blunt and mostly unprovoked “you’re an arrogant prick” comment flung my way in a previous debate you found yourself frustrated in.

    I don’t think I’ve ever said that to you. I just searched the phrase ‘arrogant prick’ using BC’s nifty new improved search engine, and could only find one instance of me calling someone (indirectly) that. And – unless you also post under the name Duncan – it wasn’t you. But perhaps it got deleted as a personal attack. So I apologize if I did.

    Your tone is arrogant, though.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    “Abiogenesis is a legitimate concept in the context of my argument because it is the only obvious extension of natural process acceptable by scientific standards. And it’s mostly conjecture.”

    Dr. Dreadful wrote:
    All abiogenesis means is the creation of life from nothing. Once upon a time there was no life on Earth and now there is. Because it can’t be observed directly, any ideas as to how it happened are and must remain conjecture, supported by greater or lesser quantities of evidence.

    Evolution by natural selection, on the other hand, can be observed directly and is supported by a vast body of evidence. Your insistence on linking the two is a transparent attempt to make the case for evolution seem weaker than it is.

    Hear, hear. Scientists concentrate on a particular discipline.

    I had asked Dan what scientific benefit there would be to mashing these two disciplines together. The answer is obvious: there is no benefit.

    There’s one other lesson in Dan’s posting: whenever a Creationist says that something is obvious, it most likely isn’t.

    Dan: your ending to #70 is a clear violation of the comment policy in this discussion. Cut it out, please.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Dan wrote:
    The movie is about suppression of legitimately qualified scientists who happen to dissent from darwinism.

    The movie was supposed to be about that. If one actually examines the cases of the “Expelled Five,” one finds that none of them were actually suppressed for their Creationist/ID beliefs.

    Of the five stories explored, which do you think actually has made a legitimate case for being suppressed?

    Anyone?

  • Dan

    comment #74: “Evolution by natural selection, on the other hand, can be observed directly and is supported by a vast body of evidence. Your insistence on linking the two is a transparent attempt to make the case for evolution seem weaker than it is.”

    Dr. Dreadful, remember the example of Abiogenesis I offered as “typical”? I characterized it as:
    “primordial soup + lightning bolt = single cell life form.”
    To which you responded: “Not in any science book I’ve ever read. Typical – or something you made up?”
    Although, presumably, if I had instead characterized it as:
    “primordial soup + lightning bolt = organic matter precursors to single cell life form” you could have recognized it and expounded at great length in seven different languages. Anyway, the “science book” I quoted the Miller-Urey experiment caption from was a popular high-school textbook. The subject matter was Evolution Theory.

    The entire world considers Abiogenesis as part of Evolution theory.

    I don’t know what is to be done about it. I suppose you could lodge a complaint with your local school board that you consider Abiogenesis to be a conjecture riddled, crackpot theory that has no business being taught in conjunction with only the part of Evolution theory that can be “observed directly and is supported by a vast body of evidence”.

    I suspect creationists would love you for it.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever said that to you.” (you arrogant prick)

    “Calling Iowa” comment #166. I wasn’t complaining, just establishing a baseline for comparison. Of course I accept your apology even if unnecessary, and offer my apology (sincerely)for my unkind remarks in #70.

    I also retract the claim that “you still hadn’t moved on from pretending that the fossil record fully supported Darwins presumptive vision of “finest graduated steps””. I can’t remember the thread, But I figure you would know what you believe.

    Thom #75 “There’s one other lesson in Dan’s posting: whenever a Creationist says that something is obvious, it most likely isn’t.”

    Thom, your apparent conviction that anyone who is skeptical of Evolution theory as a means of explaining the complexities of life forms; or that anyone who considers ID to be a legitimate scientific pursuit, is by necessity a “Creationist”, goes a long way toward explaining your uncritical analysis of wikipedia’s biased version of the films merit.

    A belief is not intellectually disreputable because some of the people who hold it are.

    An excellent essay from one of the films alleged victims, gives some insight into what causes some reputable scientists to become disreputable. Why not stick a toe in if, for no other reason, to re-affirm what you already know.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The entire world considers Abiogenesis as part of Evolution theory.

    Really? Why don’t you Google ‘definition theory of evolution’ and see what you come up with.

    I suppose you could lodge a complaint with your local school board that you consider Abiogenesis to be a conjecture riddled, crackpot theory that has no business being taught in conjunction with only the part of Evolution theory that can be “observed directly and is supported by a vast body of evidence”

    Smart. But still misleading. I consider that abiogenesis, as theorized in the textbook you cited, has merit as a hypothesis but, as yet, lacks anything like the quantity of supporting evidence that evolution does. I don’t object to it being taught as science, although the distinction could be clearer.

  • http://www.mellinniumwriting.com Erik John Bertel

    As I said in my blog, 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

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Thom #75 “There’s one other lesson in Dan’s posting: whenever a Creationist says that something is obvious, it most likely isn’t.”

    Correct. That was a response to your use of “obvious” in #73:

    The movie is about suppression of legitimately qualified scientists who happen to dissent from darwinism. Abiogenesis is a legitimate concept in the context of my argument because it is the only obvious extension of natural process acceptable by scientific standards. And it’s mostly conjecture.

    I had asked Dan what scientific benefit there would be to mashing these two disciplines together. You have failed to answer.

    Can you answer that question, Dan?

    Thom, your apparent conviction that anyone who is skeptical of Evolution theory as a means of explaining the complexities of life forms; or that anyone who considers ID to be a legitimate scientific pursuit, is by necessity a “Creationist”

    Nope. I think that everybody should be skeptical of all scientific theories, including the theory of evolution.

    In a similar fashion, when you claim that the theory of evolution should somehow be linked with theories of abiogenesis, readers should be skeptical of that assertion. It’s perfectly legitimate to ask you what scientific benefit there would be to mashing those two disciplines together.

    It’s also quite noteworthy why you fail to answer the question.

    goes a long way toward explaining your uncritical analysis of wikipedia’s biased version of the films merit.

    Then please tell us: what biases are there in that article?

    Rather than give us more innuendo, please MAKE YOUR CASE.

    If you find no facts wrong in the article, please have the intellectual honesty to apologize for your unfounded innuendo.

    Thanks, Dan!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    An excellent essay from one of the films alleged victims, gives some insight into what causes some reputable scientists to become disreputable.

    But why is this an “excellent essay” — and the Wikipedia article is not? Remember, you just told us:

    goes a long way toward explaining your uncritical analysis of wikipedia’s biased version of the films merit.

    Have you actually critically examined Sternberg’s essay?

    What facts from the Wikipedia article are disputed by Sternberg’s essay?

    What objective evidence does Sternberg provide to back up those claims?

    You must have missed that part of the discussion I had with Andy: I asked him, repeatedly, why he was giving all the rest of the discussion here a “pass” but would categorically paint the Wikipedia article as a poor source.

    You’re doing exactly the same thing. Do you also give the claims that the movie made a pass? You do realize that the film has failed to provide any references for the claims that it made, right?

    One thing jumps out at me from the undocumented Sternberg article: he claims that he was “almost” fired from the NIH, but provides nothing to back that up. Why do you take that claim on face value?

    A belief is not intellectually disreputable because some of the people who hold it are.

    But a basic claim that a “documentary” makes that is provably false casts every single claim into doubt. The movie’s claim that Sternberg *was* fired is total poppycock. Even Sternberg would agree with that.

  • Dan

    Dr. D: “Really? Why don’t you Google ‘definition theory of evolution’ and see what you come up with.”

    I haven’t argued that there wasn’t a definitive, semantical distinction between the two. Just that the distinction was inconsequential to the point that was made.

    Erik John Bertel: “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.”

    I’m sure there’s a correlation, but the success of a documentary should probably be measured against other documentaries. It’s also possible that a prospective audience for “Expelled” might be less prone to criminality.

    Thom #80: “Correct. That was a response to your use of “obvious” in #73″ (whenever a Creationist says that something is obvious, it most likely isn’t)

    Yes, I understood the first time. Rather than re-post my response from the first time, I’ll just remark on the irony of your complaint in the context of mis-labeling me as a Creationist. Something that must have seemed “obvious” to you.

    “I had asked Dan what scientific benefit there would be to mashing these two disciplines together. You have failed to answer.

    Can you answer that question, Dan?”

    I’m trying to think of what benefit to this discussion answering your question (again) would have. It’s an especially silly question, since I’ve already explained this to Dr. D. If you don’t like my answer, why not pose your question to the authors of Biology textbooks, or Professor’s of Biology, who routinely “mash” the two together in Evolution theory lesson plans?

    “Then please tell us: what biases are there in that article?”

    First of all, to say that the wikipedia entry is just “biased” gives the impression that it is only leaning toward a subjective perspective.
    The article is a full-throttled, hundred percent hit piece, factual or not. So, just start with that little bit of honesty.

    Start with the first on the list, Dr. Richard Sternberg, wikipedia says ” he circumvented the journal’s reviewing process to include a paper by intelligent design proponent Stephen C. Meyer… The Society subsequently declared that the paper “does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings” and would not have been published had usual editorial practices been followed.”

    Wikipedia doesn’t say that the offended publication society of the tarnished journal was leaned on by the National Center for Science Education to make their statement of fowl play. Up until NCSE pressured, the societies members were hunky-dory with the peer reviewing process for the heretical ID publishing.

    Wikipedia doesn’t bother you with the details of the pressured denouncement because then they might have to tell you about the investigations by both the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and also subcommittee staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, all of whose findings are on public record. An embarassment to NCSE.

    Among other findings from a Congressional staff report: “Officials at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History created a hostile work environment intended to force Dr. Sternberg to resign his position as a Research Associate in violation of his free speech and civil rights.”

    And there are lots of subpoena E-mails between NMNH officials that demonstrate the strategy completely.

    You would not even need to do much research to dismantle the wikepedia smear. Just look at the way some things are stated. Like this take on Gonzalas:

    “Expelled portrays Gonzalez as a victim of religious discrimination and the Discovery Institute campaign asserts that his intelligent design writings should not have been considered in the review.”

    If you know anything about the Discovery Institute you would know that they would never assert any such thing. They want ID writings to be considered. By everyone. They’re not hiding them. Their “assertion” would be that intelligent design writings should not have been *the reason* for denial of tenure.

    I’m sure I could continue to expose wikipedia on this film, but it’s work to unravel every deceptive intricasy in a web like this one. Depressing to.

    “Have you actually critically examined Sternberg’s essay?”

    I didn’t reference the Sternberg essay to argue the film. I referenced it specifically for the main body of it, which details how a brilliant scientist, indoctrinated in atheist/evolution dogma by academia, follows the evidence of his research to accept intelligent design as science.

    Since he doesn’t claim that the Devil planted dinosaur bones to trick people away from God, I figured you may have never heard his perspective.

    “But a basic claim that a “documentary” makes that is provably false casts every single claim into doubt. The movie’s claim that Sternberg *was* fired is total poppycock. Even Sternberg would agree with that.”

    I’ve not seen this. I’ve seen the movie, but don’t recall the claim that Sternberg was fired. I’ve noticed the point made, that the film makes the implication that Sternberg was fired. As one of the e-mails between NMNH officials suggested: “a face to face meeting or at least a ‘you are welcome to leave or resign’ call with this individual, is in order.” (Dr. Rafael Lemaitre). But no direct firing. So I wouldn’t say the proof is in on that.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I haven’t argued that there wasn’t a definitive, semantical distinction between the two. Just that the distinction was inconsequential to the point that was made.

    Dan, I was responding directly to your extravagant claim that ‘the entire world considers abiogenesis as part of evolution theory’. I offered you Google because it is as close an approximation to the entire world as you’ll find online.

    And on the contrary, it’s of no small consequence to the point because your insistence on linking abiogenesis – a scientific theory with as yet little evidence to support it – with evolution is a clear attempt to imply that the evidence in favor of the latter is as insubstantial as that in favor of the former.

    If you don’t like my answer, why not pose your question to the authors of Biology textbooks, or Professor’s of Biology, who routinely “mash” the two together in Evolution theory lesson plans?

    I realize this was addressed to Thom, not me, but perhaps you’d care to provide some examples? Shouldn’t be too hard if it’s as ‘routine’ as you say it is.

    An obvious word of caution, though, would be to remind you that just because abiogenesis is presented along with evolution in a biology textbook, or because a scientist conflates the two, does not make it part of the theory of evolution.

    And yes, I am aware that you’re using the term ‘evolution theory’ to distinguish from the Darwinian theory of evolution of species by natural selection. But your broader definition is not what the movie is about.

    BTW, I read Sternberg’s essay. His ideas on design are interesting, if unoriginal, but extend into the realm of philosophy rather than science. Not that scientists shouldn’t philosophize – far from it – but it’s crucial to know when you’re crossing the boundary from one to the other. There’s a Bertrand Russell essay I’m reading at the moment in which he articulates the distinction between the two disciplines rather succinctly: unfortunately the book’s at work and I’m not. I’ll post the quote as soon as I can retrieve it.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    ^ Here it is:

    “As soon as a way is found of arriving at definite knowledge on some ancient question, the new knowledge is counted as belonging to ‘science’, and ‘philosophy’ is deprived of the credit. […] Anaximander, in the sixth century B.C., had a theory of evolution, and maintained that men descended from fishes. This was philosophy because it was a speculation unsupported by detailed evidence, but Darwin’s theory of evolution was science, because it was based on the succession of forms of life as found in fossils, and upon the distribution of animals and plants in many parts of the world.”

    – Bertrand Russell, ‘Philosophy for Laymen’

  • Satanists of Florida

    Intelligent Design should be taught in our schools, it finally opens the a path that SAtan can be identified as the true creator of the world to our children. Intelligent Design is the notion the SAtan may be the designer of the world. We Satanists of Florida are strong promoters of absolute moral values, and it is a great error that our views and our absolute moral values have been excluded from school and censored in the media and in academics.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What evidence do you have that Satan created the world/universe?

  • Dan

    “Dan, I was responding directly to your extravagant claim that ‘the entire world considers abiogenesis as part of evolution theory’. I offered you Google because it is as close an approximation to the entire world as you’ll find online.”

    My exasperated claim of ‘the entire world considers abiogenesis as part of evolution theory’ came after you had began the evasive maneuver of being a stickler for precise definition, not before. You offered “Google ‘definition theory of evolution'”, not just Google.

    “And on the contrary, it’s of no small consequence to the point because your insistence on linking abiogenesis – a scientific theory with as yet little evidence to support it – with evolution is a clear attempt to imply that the evidence in favor of the latter is as insubstantial as that in favor of the former.”

    Therein lies the acknowledgedment that the point is taken, although not well. Abiogenesis is accepted “scientific” theory, while ID is not. Although, ID has staked the claim of being in a peer reviewed scientific journal, under politically motivated protest of course.

    If I could have forseen this technical intrusion I could have substituted Punctuated Equilibrium for Abiogenesis. Although, admittedly, there is some supporting evidence in accelerated morphing of Gastropods, and trilobites. And some dispute of that evidence. But the scientific hypothesis goes back to Darwin and is founded on what ID is often critisized for; negative evidence. The fossil record simply didn’t support the theory of gradualism and PE was an escape hatch. At any rate (pun intended) the mechanism for this theory of acceleration, such as a reaction to increased environmental pressure, is pure conjecture. A naughty scientist might speculatively attribute it to design.

    “…perhaps you’d care to provide some examples? Shouldn’t be too hard if it’s as ‘routine’ as you say it is.

    An obvious word of caution, though, would be to remind you that just because abiogenesis is presented along with evolution in a biology textbook, or because a scientist conflates the two, does not make it part of the theory of evolution.”

    It would be easy, and I suspect you realize this since you reject the evidence before it’s presented.

    I’ve readily acquiesced (maybe twice) to this argument you’re hell bent on having–but on your terms only. But an argument that Abiogenesis is ‘part of evolution theory’ because the theories are logically inextricable (my terms) can be made on the grounds I’ve already covered.

    To take it further, Evolution theory depends on a specific concept of Abiogenesis. How, for instance, would you theorize that multi-cellular organisms descended from single celled ones, if Abiogenesis doesn’t have a presumed concept of creating single celled organisms?

    More interesting, How would evolution scientists speculate that apparant transitional organisms share a common ancestry if a presumed concept of Abiogenesis wasn’t thought to be a very rare event? Why not multiple events over time, producing multiple macro-static organisms that only seem to be transitional?

    “your broader definition is not what the movie is about.”

    The film is nearly exclusively about academic freedom being stifled by dogmatic bigots, and what implications it could have.

    “BTW, I read Sternberg’s essay. His ideas on design are interesting, if unoriginal, but extend into the realm of philosophy rather than science. Not that scientists shouldn’t philosophize – far from it – but it’s crucial to know when you’re crossing the boundary from one to the other.”

    I compliment you for taking a look. I don’t pretend to extensively understand his angle, but I gather that his philosophy isn’t religously based. More devotion is given to being critical, even bitter, of what he percieves as a dogmatic philosophical approach inherent, but not admitted, in modern evolution theory.

    You would probably call it naturalism. I might call it accidentalism, or purposelessness. (I know, it’s not a word) Whatever it is, it excludes plausable explanations, (and research grants) in a field that is teeming with evidence based on plausability.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    You offered “Google ‘definition theory of evolution'”, not just Google.

    Exactly. Come now, Dan. Do you honestly not understand my meaning, or are you being disingenuous? If the former, there really isn’t any point in continuing.

    Abiogenesis is accepted “scientific” theory, while ID is not. Although, ID has staked the claim of being in a peer reviewed scientific journal, under politically motivated protest of course.

    ID is the theory that life (and/or the entire universe) was consciously conceived, designed, created and directed in its development by an intelligent entity. This idea is based on certain anthropocentric assumptions about what design looks like. How, without introducing human bias, could you even obtain scientific evidence that would support that hypothesis?

    As for its appearance in peer-reviewed journals, the same can be said of other scientifically flawed hypotheses as well – Fleischmann and Pons’s paper on cold fusion being a famous example. Would you argue that the subsequent debunking of that was politically motivated?

    If I could have forseen this technical intrusion I could have substituted Punctuated Equilibrium for Abiogenesis. […] But the scientific hypothesis goes back to Darwin and is founded on what ID is often critisized for; negative evidence. The fossil record simply didn’t support the theory of gradualism and PE was an escape hatch.

    This is simply false. See here.

    Evolution theory depends on a specific concept of Abiogenesis. How, for instance, would you theorize that multi-cellular organisms descended from single celled ones, if Abiogenesis doesn’t have a presumed concept of creating single celled organisms?

    In the same way I can theorize that a person named Dan wrote the above, without having to have a theory about how Dan came into existence.

    More interesting, How would evolution scientists speculate that apparant transitional organisms share a common ancestry if a presumed concept of Abiogenesis wasn’t thought to be a very rare event? Why not multiple events over time, producing multiple macro-static organisms that only seem to be transitional?

    It is indeed an interesting question – but what does it have to do with our argument?

    If natural abiogenesis has been happening throughout geological history, there’s no particular reason why it wouldn’t still be happening today – and it isn’t, as Pasteur proved.

    The two main reasons for this are firstly, because chemical conditions on the early Earth were radically different from the way they are today; and secondly, because the life that already exists would quickly consume any enzymes and proteins that developed.

    The film is nearly exclusively about academic freedom being stifled by dogmatic bigots, and what implications it could have.

    To support their argument that this is true of the five ‘expelled’, the film-makers had to try to prove that the evidence for evolution was shaky, and that that for intelligent design deserved serious scientific attention. Without this ‘controversy’, they wouldn’t have a film.

  • Dan

    “Exactly. Come now, Dan. Do you honestly not understand my meaning, or are you being disingenuous? If the former, there really isn’t any point in continuing.”

    Your hypothesis for dishonesty, or disingenuousness would be more compelling if I had ever disputed your definitional distinction. Instead, more emphatic agreement with the distinction seems to produce more emphatic argumentation.

    “This idea…” (ID theory) “… is based on certain anthropocentric assumptions about what design looks like. How, without introducing human bias, could you even obtain scientific evidence that would support that hypothesis?”

    This is a pretty good response. I’m not sure “human bias” can be eliminated from any scientific inquiry. We are human after all, and design detection, or intelligence detection is going to be intelligence as we think it is. We consider humans more intelligent than ants. But we don’t really know.

    Consider the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. One of the first uses was to send a repetitive message into space, directed toward global cluster M-13, 25,000 light years away. The goal is to communicate with extraterestrials. The message contains things like atomic numbers of principle elements for life, Descriptive formulas for nucleotides in DNA, A schematic of our solar system etc. Clearly our scientists think they have a way to communicate our intelligence.

    But what if instead of sending, we received such a message? Would it be unscientific to theorize intelligent design?

    “As for its appearance in peer-reviewed journals, the same can be said of other scientifically flawed hypotheses as well – Fleischmann and Pons’s paper on cold fusion being a famous example. Would you argue that the subsequent debunking of that was politically motivated?”

    No, they rushed the paper, and failed to do some important control experiments, and when others tried to duplicate their results the experiment failed.

    “This is simply false.” (The hypothesis for punctuated equilibrium goes back to darwin)

    Wrong. Your citation is simply what I had alluded to. (trilobites and gastropods) In Darwin’s fifth edition of The Origin of Species–After the case for gradualism seemed to be waning–he wrote that “the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured in years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form. In 1954 Ernst Mayr published a paper theorizing that large populations–the most often found–probably had a stablizing effect, but smaller populations–the ones not found–morphed faster: uhh, we’ll get back to you on that.

    “It is indeed an interesting question – but what does it have to do with our argument?”

    My argument is that evolution descendency depends on a specific concept of abiogenesis, which is why a specific concept of abiogenesis is “part of evoulution theory”, though a distinct discipline of study as we both agree.

    “To support their argument that this is true of the five ‘expelled’, the film-makers had to try to prove that the evidence for evolution was shaky, and that that for intelligent design deserved serious scientific attention. Without this ‘controversy’, they wouldn’t have a film.”

    There was perhaps 10% of the film that dealt with some of the “shaky” issues, but the main body of the film was to establish the credentials of the dissenting scientists and to expose the motivations of their oppressors through their own words, and investigations of their deeds.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Erik John Bertel: “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.”

    I’m sure there’s a correlation, but the success of a documentary should probably be measured against other documentaries.

    Actually, that would be a poor way to compare documentaries.

    “Expelled” hired *four* separate companies to market this movie. They took it on a nationwide tour to drum up buzz. They even offered to pay churches for admissions during the first two weeks of the run.

    In short, any comparison between the BO of this film and, say, the Osama Bin Laden documentary is completely inappropriate. Those guys clearly didn’t spend nearly the marketing $$$ that the “Expelled” producers did.

    Even the number of theaters for the initial release is relatively meaningless: everything is a negotiation between the theater chains and the distributor. The tiny distributor RMP has no leverage with the chains — no pending Harry Potter or Narnia movies in the pipeline. The only real thing a RMP has to offer to crank up the theater count is to offer a higher percentage of the BO than a top-20 distributor would ever offer.

    The measure of “Expelled” is the week-over-week drops in the BO: 53%, 51%, 52%, 69%, 66%. That indicates a movie with abysmal word-of-mouth. Nobody was telling anyone to go to this film — and odds are high that there was, in fact, no demand whatsoever for bootleg versions of the film.

    That kind of box-office drop is highly uncharacteristic for documentaries. The only top-20 documentary with a similar drop-like-a-rock BO profile was the 2003 film “Tupac: Resurrection.” None of the Michael Moore films that this movie desperately tried to posture itself as being comparable ever experienced the week-over-week BO drop of this film.

    It’s also possible that a prospective audience for “Expelled” might be less prone to criminality.

    If you talk about breaking criminal laws, you’re probably right. If you’re talking about gross failures of “Bearing False Witness,” then these moviemakers sinned just as much as anyone else making a mockumentary.

    These filmmakers lied to Biologists about the purpose of the film. When they were caught in that lie, they claimed that the title of the movie changed in mid-course. But that was just another lie. You can see the smoking gun on the website for the movie-they-never-intended-to-make: crossroadsthemovie.com .

    The Darwin quote used in this film was grossly distorted. You can see the Darwin’s words and what the “documentary” makers used at the movie’s Wikipedia page.

    The claims of the “expelled five” also fail to stand up to a basic fact-check. The claim that Richard Sternberg was “fired” is just plain wrong.

    I don’t know about the predilections of the right to steal a movie. But the drop-like-a-rock BO charts make any such observations moot for this film.

    A prerequisite for a theft is that there be something of value to steal.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Yes, I understood the first time. Rather than re-post my response from the first time, I’ll just remark on the irony of your complaint in the context of mis-labeling me as a Creationist. Something that must have seemed “obvious” to you.

    You have insisted that there should be an “obvious” linkage between the evolution and the origin of life. When asked, repeatedly, what scientific case could be made for that linkage, you have failed to provide anything.

    I don’t care if you label yourself as a “Creationist” an “IDer” or something else. What is clear is that you are clearly not thinking as a scientist. If you were, you could make a clear and cogent statement about the scientific case for linking those two fields. You cannot do that. There is no irony in my statement.

    I’m trying to think of what benefit to this discussion answering your question (again) would have.

    It’s a rather silly statement. You have never ever made the scientific case for establishing a linkage between those two disciplines.

    It’s an especially silly question, since I’ve already explained this to Dr. D.

    Nope. That’s really silly. You never ever have made the scientific case. Repeating the claim does not make it true.

    If you don’t like my answer,

    There’s nothing to like or not like. You have never ever explained the scientific benefit of linking the two disciplines.

    I don’t know how to say it any more plainly than that.

    why not pose your question to the authors of Biology textbooks, or Professor’s (SIC) of Biology, who routinely “mash” the two together in Evolution theory lesson plans?

    If you’re talking about HS biology texts, it’s an economic reason, not a scientific one. They’re kowtowing to the state commissions that approve books.

    As far as “Professor’s (SIC) of Biology”, please provide some references. Which of the scientists out there are actually stating a scientific benefit for creating a linkage between the theories of evolution and the origin of life.

    Please back up your claim.

    The article is a full-throttled, hundred percent hit piece, factual or not. So, just start with that little bit of honesty.

    Nonsense. That just reveals your biases about the Wikipedia.

    Any Creationist/IDer who wanted to participate in the article could have done that … could still do it now. If someone were being censored, there would be a record in the history of the article.

    Do you have any smoking guns where that perspective has been censured, or is that just a conjecture on your part?

    The Society subsequently declared that the paper “does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings” and would not have been published had usual editorial practices been followed.”

    Right. Sternberg himself refereed the article in question, even though there were scientists on the review board who were far more competent — by their scientific qualifications — to review that particular article. He failed to even discuss the article with other scientists who clearly seemed much more qualified to referee that particular article.

    Wikipedia doesn’t say that the offended publication society of the tarnished journal was leaned on by the National Center for Science Education to make their statement of fowl play.

    There is no Wikipedia! There are only volunteers who write the articles. If this is actually a legitimate point, then why has nobody said it? Why haven’t you said it? Was there some effort to censor this commentary in the Wikipedia article? If that were the case, it would be in the record.

    Why do you think that Richard Sternberg was even qualified to referee that particular article?

    The volunteers who edit these scientific journals are in a position of trust. As far as I can tell, Richard Sternberg abused that trust. The article about the Cambrian Explosion had nothing to do with his particular specialty; he has no business approving it.

    Wikipedia doesn’t bother you with the details of the pressured denouncement because then they might have to tell you about the investigations by both the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and also subcommittee staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, all of whose findings are on public record.

    Sorry, Dan. That’s just not true. The Office of Special Counsel’s involvement with the Richard Sternberg case is indeed discussed in detail. You just failed to follow the links.

    Go back to the Expelled article, scroll down to the Richard Sternberg section, then click on the first link there, “Sternberg peer review controversy.” Then go and chase the links that are in that article.

    The fact that the findings of these hearings are “in the public record” doesn’t really mean anything. All it means is that there’s a partisan legislator kowtowing to his right-wing friends.

    As far as Meyer’s article itself, folks actually qualified to peer-review it said:

    “[…] it contained poor scholarship, that it failed to cite and specifically rebut the actual data supporting evolution, and ‘constructed a rhetorical edifice out of omission of relevant facts, selective quoting, bad analogies, knocking down straw men, and tendentious interpretations.’ Further examination of the article revealed that it was substantially similar to previously published articles co-authored by Meyer.”

    In short, its shoddy scholarship sounds awfully like a shoddy mockumentary we’re discussing here. ;-(

    Believe it or not, those statements above were also made in the public record!

    Among other findings from a Congressional staff report: “Officials at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History created a hostile work environment intended to force Dr. Sternberg to resign his position as a Research Associate in violation of his free speech and civil rights.”

    What actually happened was that several researchers complained, in private e-mails, about the incompetent job that Sternberg did in appointing himself to referee the article and his actual job refereeing it.

    Remember, all of this was, in fact, discussed in the Wikipedia entries on Sternberg. What the rhetoric fails to describe is what actual actions anyone did that allegedly violated any of his civil rights.

    Congressmen don’t get to decree what is a civil right violation — even if they make such pronouncements “in the public record.” If Sternberg thought that his rights were somehow violated, he should file suit.

    “And there are lots of subpoena E-mails between NMNH officials that demonstrate the strategy completely.”

    They demonstrate that strategy completely incompetently.

    If I were a researcher at the Smithsonian and I saw the damage that this “researcher” had done to the journal, I would be pissed, too. I would send e-mails to my colleagues complaining about this bozo. How exactly one would construe that as “violating the civil rights” of Sternberg surpasses my imagination.

    You would not even need to do much research to dismantle the wikepedia smear.

    What smear? Despite anything you try to spin, this is ALREADY discussed rather thoroughly in the Wikipedia. You failed on your due diligence, Dan.

    If Sternberg thought his civil rights were violated, then he should bring a suit. The partisan “hearings” that were done is the true smear campaign here — even if those congressman’s hearings were “part of the public record”. ;-)

    Why in heaven’s name you thought saying “public record” would somehow buttress your case also boggles my imagination.

    If you look around, you’ll find that the State of Indiana tried to change the value of Pi to a rational number.

    The pertinent thing to this conversation: do you realize that those debates were also part of the public record? In that case, those State congressmen were a bit brighter: a mathematician came in and told them exactly how silly their efforts were, and they dropped their legislative efforts. Unfortunately, it seems that that lecture didn’t wind up being part of the public record. Too bad.

    One last comment on Sternberg: you seem to have forgotten that “Expelled” said that he was “fired.”

    How do you reconcile that wrong claim by the film?

    Anything? Anything?

    Bueller?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Your hypothesis for dishonesty, or disingenuousness would be more compelling if I had ever disputed your definitional distinction. Instead, more emphatic agreement with the distinction seems to produce more emphatic argumentation.

    Peering past the excruciatingly tortured language here, I’ve never disputed with you the places of abiogenesis and evolution in the historical narrative of life on this planet. What I take issue with is your interpretation of what the still scant evidence for abiogenesis means for the theory of evolution.

    But what if instead of sending, we received such a message? Would it be unscientific to theorize intelligent design?

    Signals have been received from deep space which seemed at first analysis to be potentially of intelligent origin. Rather than rush to the press, however, astronomers analyze the signals to rule out any possible natural origin. So far, none of the candidate signals has been definitively identified as even likely.

    Intelligent design is not scientific because it assumes a designer without first ruling out natural explanations for what is observed.

    “This is simply false.” (The hypothesis for punctuated equilibrium goes back to darwin)

    That isn’t what I said was false. It was your claim that Eldredge and Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibria was a patch-up job without supporting evidence. If your allusion to trilobites and gastropods came from the same source, I’m surprised you missed that.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    “Expelled portrays Gonzalez as a victim of religious discrimination and the Discovery Institute campaign asserts that his intelligent design writings should not have been considered in the review.”

If you know anything about the Discovery Institute you would know that they would never assert any such thing.

    Since the moviemakers didn’t bother to provide a website to actually document the claims that they made in their documentary, we really won’t know until the DVD comes out.

    I distinctly remember there were comments that, for some reason, Gonzalez’s ID writings should have been considered “out of bounds” for his consideration for tenure.

    They want ID writings to be considered. By everyone. They’re not hiding them.

    Of course not. What we’re talking about is what claim the movie made about this, and those claims do indeed seem strange at this point.

    Since Gonzalez did include his ID writings in his application for tenure — that’s part of the public record — it’s really a moot issue.

    Their “assertion” would be that intelligent design writings should not have been *the reason* for denial of tenure.

    Nope. IIRC, that wasn’t the point they were making in the documentary; they were squaking about the inclusion of Gonzalez’s works. Any speculation right now is rather pointless.

    I see no record if “Expelled” will be sold on DVD. If it does make it to a dollar-rental box, I may get it and see what they actually said. Until then, it’s all hearsay.


    I’m sure I could continue to expose wikipedia on this film,

    I have no idea what you think you’ve “exposed” so far. All of the above is about a point that the movie made, and Wikipedia reported it. There are no footnotes, because it’s simply based on what people witnessed when they saw the film. This is far more a commentary on the filmmakers’ failure to document their own documentary. Why would they force anyone to guess on this stuff?

    but it’s work to unravel every deceptive intricasy in a web like this one. Depressing to.

    If you think there are factual errors in the Wikipedia article, the way to do that is to provide the incorrect facts. You haven’t done that.

    

I didn’t reference the Sternberg essay to argue the film. I referenced it specifically for the main body of it, which details how a brilliant scientist, indoctrinated in atheist/evolution dogma by academia, follows the evidence of his research to accept intelligent design as science.

    And that’s another example of all-spin-no-facts. One more time: what facts do you find wrong in the Wikipedia article? Anything?

    

“But a basic claim that a “documentary” makes that is provably false casts every single claim into doubt. The movie’s claim that Sternberg *was* fired is total poppycock. Even Sternberg would agree with that.”

    

I’ve not seen this.

    Did you really read the Wikipedia article. It’s right there: Ben Stein claimed it in an interview in the 4/30 issue of Newsweek: “[…] The most egregious is Richard Sternberg at the Smithsonian, the editor of a magazine that published a peer-reviewed paper about ID. He lost his job.

    I’ve seen the movie, but don’t recall the claim that Sternberg was fired. I’ve noticed the point made, that the film makes the implication that Sternberg was fired.

    Ben Stein was pretty unambiguous in his claim; it’s part of the public record: “He lost his job.”

    As one of the e-mails between NMNH officials suggested: “a face to face meeting or at least a ‘you are welcome to leave or resign’ call with this individual, is in order.” (Dr. Rafael Lemaitre). But no direct firing.

    No direct firing. No indirect firing. No firing at all.

    So I wouldn’t say the proof is in on that.

    No job was lost. Ben Stein’s claim is demonstrably false. The claim was indeed egregious — but not in the way that Ben and the filmmakers intended. They flat-out lied to their audience.

    If this is the best that “Expelled” can do to document “persecution,” then they haven’t got a leg to stand on.

  • Dan

    Thom #91: “You have insisted that there should be an “obvious” linkage between the evolution and the origin of life. When asked, repeatedly, what scientific case could be made for that linkage, you have failed to provide anything.”

    Thom, if you would like for me to think of you as a rational person worthy of having a discussion with, you would need to either ignore or attempt to dispute my various reasons for linking the two disciplines. Simply stonewalling the reality of my multiple attempts at this leads me to beleive that a meaningful dialogue is impossible.

    “If you’re talking about HS biology texts, it’s an economic reason, not a scientific one. They’re kowtowing to the state commissions that approve books.”

    If the coupling of abiogenesis to evolution theory in biology texts is of pure economic necessity, why wouldn’t the cause of economic frugality be served as well by coupling abiogenesis with, say, botany?

    “…Sternberg himself refereed the article in question, even though there were scientists on the review board who were far more competent — by their scientific qualifications — to review that particular article. He failed to even discuss the article with other scientists who clearly seemed much more qualified to referee that particular article.”

    After the allegations of improper handling had gone on for several months, Dr Sues, the #2 scientist at the Smithsonian asked Dr. McDiarmid, President of the Biological Society of Washington, via e-mail (on the record) whether the BSW was “satisfied that a proper review by specialists was undertaken”. Dr. McDiarmid replied to Dr Sues: “I have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments, recommended or suggested publication. I was surprised but concluded that there was not inaptropriate behavior vs a vis(sic) the review process”.

    “The fact that the findings of these hearings are “in the public record” doesn’t really mean anything. All it means is that there’s a partisan legislator kowtowing to his right-wing friends.”

    The findings are, of course, subjective, but the content of the evidence “in the public record” is factually undeniable. A reader can draw their own conclusions, and not be steered by wikipedia.

    “Nope. IIRC, that wasn’t the point they were making in the documentary; they were squaking about the inclusion of Gonzalez’s works. Any speculation right now is rather pointless.”

    You’re speculating, I saw the film.

    “No job was lost. Ben Stein’s claim is demonstrably false. The claim was indeed egregious — but not in the way that Ben and the filmmakers intended. They flat-out lied to their audience.”

    There are many ways Sternberg could have “lost his job” that don’t necessitate a direct firing. Read the evidence of the investigation and see if you can think of any.

    Dr. D: “Signals have been received from deep space which seemed at first analysis to be potentially of intelligent origin. Rather than rush to the press, however, astronomers analyze the signals to rule out any possible natural origin. So far, none of the candidate signals has been definitively identified as even likely.”

    exactly, These astronomers are keeping a list of promising signals to anylize for intelligent design.

    “Intelligent design is not scientific because it assumes a designer without first ruling out natural explanations for what is observed.”

    Do you see what the converse of that statement would be?

    ” That isn’t what I said was false. It was your claim that Eldredge and Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibria was a patch-up job without supporting evidence. If your allusion to trilobites and gastropods came from the same source, I’m surprised you missed that.”

    Missed what?. I commented on Eldredge and Gould’s evidence before you posted the link. Then I said “but the scientific hypothesis goes back to Darwin and is founded on what ID is often critisized for; negative evidence.”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    These astronomers are keeping a list of promising signals to anylize for intelligent design.

    But they aren’t assuming intelligence. Despite the name of the program – Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence – they go to great pains to be sure there are no natural explanations for signals before announcing success.

    “Intelligent design is not scientific because it assumes a designer without first ruling out natural explanations for what is observed.”

    Do you see what the converse of that statement would be?

    I see what you think the converse would be. But Evolution doesn’t assume there isn’t a designer. It doesn’t assume there is, either. It merely postulates a theory based on the evidence available.

    Missed what?. I commented on Eldredge and Gould’s evidence before you posted the link.

    I must have misunderstood you. I thought that you had got the allusion to Eldredge and Gould’s trilobites and gastropods from the same Talk.Origins source I linked to: in which, if you had read it, you would have seen that the claim of no evidence for PE was debunked.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Thom #91: “You have insisted that there should be an “obvious” linkage between the evolution and the origin of life. When asked, repeatedly, what scientific case could be made for that linkage, you have failed to provide anything.”

Thom, if you would like for me to think of you as a rational person worthy of having a discussion with, you would need to either ignore or attempt to dispute my various reasons for linking the two disciplines.

    You have never ever provided a scientific case for establishing a linkage between these two disciplines.

    Simply stonewalling the reality of my multiple attempts at this leads me to beleive that a meaningful dialogue is impossible.

    If you want to claim that there is a scientific case to link the two disciplines, you’d damn well better be able to make that case.

    “If you’re talking about HS biology texts, it’s an economic reason, not a scientific one. They’re kowtowing to the state commissions that approve books.”

If the coupling of abiogenesis to evolution theory in biology texts is of pure economic necessity,

    It’s not. Read my words again: They’re kowtowing to the state commissions that approve books.

    why wouldn’t the cause of economic frugality be served as well by coupling abiogenesis with, say, botany?

    I have no idea.

    What’s painfully obvious in this discussion is that you cannot make a scientific case for linking the two disciplines.

    If you can’t make the scientific case to link the disciplines, I would appreciate if you’d have the intellectual honestly to simply say that.

    If you can’t do either, then there’s really no point in continuing this discussion.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    “…Sternberg himself refereed the article in question, even though there were scientists on the review board who were far more competent — by their scientific qualifications — to review that particular article. He failed to even discuss the article with other scientists who clearly seemed much more qualified to referee that particular article.”


    After the allegations of improper handling had gone on for several months, Dr Sues, the #2 scientist at the Smithsonian asked Dr. McDiarmid, President of the Biological Society of Washington, via e-mail (on the record) whether the BSW was “satisfied that a proper review by specialists was undertaken”. Dr. McDiarmid replied to Dr Sues: “I have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments, recommended or suggested publication. I was surprised but concluded that there was not inaptropriate behavior vs a vis(sic) the review process”.

    Which directly contradicts what is said by the Biological Society of Washington:

    “The paper by Stephen C. Meyer, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” in vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239 of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, was published at the discretion of the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. 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. For the same reason, the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity. The Council endorses a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 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.

    We have reviewed and revised editorial policies to ensure that the goals of the Society, as reflected in its journal, are clearly understood by all. Through a web presence and improvements in the journal, the Society hopes not only to continue but to increase its service to the world community of systematic biologists.”

    Dan, you seem to take statements published by the Discovery Institute at face value, but you imply that statements published on the Wikipedia should be viewed with more skepticism. Why is that?


    “The fact that the findings of these hearings are “in the public record” doesn’t really mean anything. All it means is that there’s a partisan legislator kowtowing to his right-wing friends.”


    
The findings are, of course, subjective

    The “findings” are objectively meaningless. The Staff Report — not a hearing — by the Congressman from Indiana has no legal significance: its only purpose was to make recommendations to Congress, which, AFAICT, were categorically ignored.

    , but the content of the evidence “in the public record” is factually undeniable.

    The fact that the legislators of the State if Indiana once tried to set Pi to a rational number is also factually undeniable. These guys ain’t always rational (to coin a phrase). ;-)

    A reader can draw their own conclusions, and not be steered by wikipedia.

    A critical thinker would not be excessively steered by any source. If a critical thinker heard Ben Stein say in the public record:

    “The most egregious is Richard Sternberg at the Smithsonian, the editor of a magazine that published a peer-reviewed paper about ID. He lost his job.

    And they then learn that Sternberg did not lose his job, they would start to seriously question every single thing that came from that source.

    Dan: do you question the “facts” that are presented by Ben Stein’s mockumentary? What exactly would it take for someone to say “he lost his job” when he knew that wasn’t true?

    What would you think if you realized that they deliberately mis-quoted Darwin?

    You need to critically think about all sources. You seem to be taking a bible-belt congressman’s report as gospel; it doesn’t seem to occur to you that this “hearing” could have been one-sided.

    “Nope. IIRC, that wasn’t the point they were making in the documentary; they were squaking about the inclusion of Gonzalez’s works. Any speculation right now is rather pointless.”

    .

    I’m not speculating, Dan. Do you know what “IIRC” means?

    I did see the film, and I do recall they were squaking about the inclusion of Gonzalez’s ID works. The Wikipedia says the same thing.

    If these filmmakers had bothered to document on a website the claims they made in the film, we wouldn’t have to speculate about this.


    “No job was lost. Ben Stein’s claim is demonstrably false. The claim was indeed egregious — but not in the way that Ben and the filmmakers intended. They flat-out lied to their audience.”

    There are many ways Sternberg could have “lost his job” that don’t necessitate a direct firing.

    Gosh. Why don’t we have a discussion about the meaning of the word “is”? ;-)

    There wasn’t a direct firing. There wasn’t an indirect firing. There was no firing at all.

    Read the evidence of the investigation and see if you can think of any.

    Investigation? You mean the Staff Report, right?

    If, as the Staff Report claims, there actually is “compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated,” then why doesn’t he sue? Why simply repeat the “facts” from this partisan propaganda piece? Why not take actions that would yield factual findings, have legal significance, and a potential monetary settlement?

    Something doesn’t quite add up. A critical reader of the Staff Report would notice that.

  • Dan

    Dr D: “But they aren’t assuming intelligence. Despite the name of the program – Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence – they go to great pains to be sure there are no natural explanations for signals before announcing success.”

    Yes, they don’t assume intelligence, they only assume the scientific possiblility of intelligence. No one is denying them funding or imposing a hostile environment for them to do their research.

    “…But Evolution doesn’t assume there isn’t a designer. It doesn’t assume there is, either…”

    I know it and you know it. That would be the proper position for science to take. Some scientists don’t think that the principle of objectivism is being observed.

    “I must have misunderstood you.”

    I understand. I don’t communicate as effectively as I could, and sometimes my defense of ID leads me to sound more skeptical of evidence for evolution than I actually am. The theories are both compatible in some areas while competing in others.

    Thom: “If you want to claim that there is a scientific case to link the two disciplines, you’d damn well better be able to make that case.”

    In comment #87 I explained how evidence for seeming transitional organisms depends on a specific concept of Abiogenesis, Did that not show up on your screen? You never commented on it. Maybe it’s just not scientificky enough for your standards. That’s about the last of what I’m going to say on this absurd divergent issue. The argument was originally thrust on me because Dr. D thought I was conflating the disciplines to cheapen the prestige of Evolution. I wasn’t. The point I made at the time isn’t compromised by the slight, and I only argued it, reluctantly, in the face of insistent pestering, because it is persuasively arguable. I think that Dr. D and I are clear on my original intention, although probably not in agreement on the propriety of conflation in this pointless argument.

    Dan: “why wouldn’t the cause of economic frugality be served as well by coupling abiogenesis with, say, botany?”

    Thom: “I have no idea.”

    Sheer coincidence then? Since the coincidental coupling of these totally unrelated scientific disciplines is a common occurence, then why the outcry when I do it?

    “Which directly contradicts what is said by the Biological Society of Washington:…”

    heh, heh, Yes, Yes, it certainly does… dont it.
    Both statements a matter of public record as well.

    here’s what “trickiwiki” says about the Counsil’s statement: “The Society subsequently declared that the paper “does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings” and would not have been published had usual editorial practices been followed.” (with prominent placement, and links)

    The statement says: “The paper…was published at the discretion of the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor…” STOP! typical perhaps, but not atypical either. Certainly not a majority, but not an insignificant amount either. A “typical” reaction to such a paper wouldn’t raise an eybrow.

    “…Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents,…” STOP! and one current President (top guy, chief executive, great one) who diligently reviewed the review process, and the editing process, and subsequently found the paper appropriate for publication.

    “…would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure…” yes, let’s narrow our scientific vision, Galileo be damned.

    “…For the same reason,the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper…” meaning: “I’d fight you, but I’d get my clothes dirty”

    “…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.”

    A mantra encased in circular logic.

    Of course the statement I provided; public evidence from the investigation by the US Office of Special Council; the evidential centerpeice of the film; not deemed worth mentioning or supplying a link to (apparently, I dug deep to one I thought it might’ve been, but the link was broken) in the “trickiwiki” reference, was from Dr. McDiarmid, President of the Biological Society of Washington, and the final say on all papers published in the Journal. In responce to an outside agency: “…I was surprised but concluded that there was not inapropriate behavior vs a vis(sic) the review process”.

    So then why would the President of the BSW, Dr. McDiarmid, seem to have a change of heart?

    Well, one theory from the evidence:

    “…while, technically the BSW and the National Museum of Natural History are separate entities, Dr Sues, #2 scientist at the Smithsonian who had also secured Smithsonian funding for the ‘Proceedings’, e-mailed National Center for Science Education’s executive director, Dr. Scott: “”I met with roy McDiarmid yesterday, and urged him to publish, in the next issue of the ‘Proceedings’, an open letter to readers from the Council of BSW that Meyer’s article does not represent views endorsed by BSW and that there was a clear failure of the editorial process””

    So you’ve got outside agencies throwing a fit, and influencing the BSW.

    you see Thom?, it’s not difficult to demonstrate the fraudulant mis-charachtarizations in the wikipedia entry. As I said, it’s just time consuming and depressing. It’s depressing because it disgusts me that an entity that presumes to be an objective source of information stoops to it, and also because when I put in the effort to expose the crap, it has no desired effect on the willfully ignorant. Not that I’m accusing.

    “Dan, you seem to take statements published by the Discovery Institute at face value, but you imply that statements published on the Wikipedia should be viewed with more skepticism. Why is that?
”

    What statement by the Discovery Institute do you refer? The only statement by DI I remember taking issue with is the one Wikipedia infered–but not quoted–with reference to Gonzales. I don’t know what their official statement was; just that Wiki’s infered version doesn’t pass the smell test. If Di made any official statement Wiki won’t quote it.

    “A critical thinker would not be excessively steered by any source. If a critical thinker heard Ben Stein say in the public record:

    “”The most egregious is Richard Sternberg at the Smithsonian, the editor of a magazine that published a peer-reviewed paper about ID. He lost his job.””

    Lost his job? Back in #91 you said: “you seem to have forgotten that “Expelled” said that he was “fired.””

    Now it’s “lost his job”. At least you’re making the attempt. At what, I’m not sure.

    As I’ve said, there are many ways Sternberg could have “lost his job” that don’t necessitate a direct firing.

    “Gosh. Why don’t we have a discussion about the meaning of the word “is”? ;-)”

    Probably should, Or maybe just the difference between “lost” and “fired”. When you read the internal e-mails (public record) of senior staff at the museum conspiring to restrict Sternbergs access to research information, but expressing concern that they needed to avoid the appearance of singling him out; or withdrawling his invitation to reapply as “associate”, and instead, under “a new system in place” offering him a “collaborator” demotion, you understand another way one could “lose” a job.

    Sure, he could still work there. They could flood his workspace with six inches of excrement and he could still work there.

    “I’m not speculating, Dan. Do you know what “IIRC” means?”

    No, actually I don’t. I was considering: ‘Intentional Ignorance = Ridiculous Conclusions’. But then, when I looked it up, it said ‘If I Recall Correctly’. So I know that’s not right, because you haven’t seen the film to recall it. Another entry said ‘If I Really Cared’, so I’m going with that one for now. Unless you want to just tell me.

    “If these filmmakers had bothered to document on a website the claims they made in the film, we wouldn’t have to speculate about this.”

    Since they document the claims they make in the film, wouldn’t it be redundant? Isn’t it up to wikipedia to document the documentation from the film to give a fair reading?

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Thom: “If you want to claim that there is a scientific case to link the two disciplines, you’d damn well better be able to make that case.”

In comment #87 I explained how evidence for seeming transitional organisms depends on a specific concept of Abiogenesis, Did that not show up on your screen?

    It certainly didn’t show up as a scientific justification for linking the two fields, which is what I’ve been asking for. Your specific words from that posting:

    To take it further, Evolution theory depends on a specific concept of Abiogenesis. How, for instance, would you theorize that multi-cellular organisms descended from single celled ones, if Abiogenesis doesn’t have a presumed concept of creating single celled organisms?

More interesting, How would evolution scientists speculate that apparant transitional organisms share a common ancestry if a presumed concept of Abiogenesis wasn’t thought to be a very rare event? Why not multiple events over time, producing multiple macro-static organisms that only seem to be transitional?

    They may be interesting speculations, but they do not make a scientific case for linking the two fields.

    The argument was originally thrust on me because Dr. D thought I was conflating the disciplines to cheapen the prestige of Evolution. I wasn’t.

    Perhaps. One can indeed see strong motivations for the Creationist/ID crowd to attempt to create a linkage between the two disciplines.

    Dan: “why wouldn’t the cause of economic frugality be served as well by coupling abiogenesis with, say, botany?”

Thom: “I have no idea.”

Sheer coincidence then?

    Since the coincidental coupling of these totally unrelated scientific disciplines is a common occurence, then why the outcry when I do it?

    Because there’s no controversy about it in your example. OTOH, there is controversy — and pressure — for editors of High School textbooks mash abiogenesis and evolution together. They don’t do this for the sake of science; They’re kowtowing to the state commissions that approve books.

    “Which directly contradicts what is said by the Biological Society of Washington:…”

heh, heh, Yes, Yes, it certainly does… dont it.
Both statements a matter of public record as well.

    Heh, indeed. I’m still wondering why you thought it was noteworthy to tell us in #82 that Mark Souder’s Staff Report was part of the public record. It just looked like superfluous pomposity and added nothing to the discussion.

    here’s what “trickiwiki” says about the Counsil’s statement: “The Society subsequently declared that the paper “does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings” and would not have been published had usual editorial practices been followed.” (with prominent placement, and links)

    The paper had absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the particular scientific journal that Sternberg was editing.

    Ed Brayton deconstructed Sternberg’s claims about this topic in the essay “Creating a Martyr: The Sternberg Saga Continues.”

    Sternberg wrote on his webpage: “Since systematics and evolutionary theory are among my primary areas of interest and expertise (as mentioned above, I hold two PhDs in different aspects of evolutionary biology), and there was no associate editor with equivalent qualifications, I took direct editorial responsibility for the paper.”

    Ed Brayton notes: “But this simply was not true. 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.”

    He then lists the paleontologists who are and were available on the journal’s staff.

    “…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.”

A mantra encased in circular logic.

    Why exactly do you think that’s circular logic?

Of course the statement I provided; public evidence from the investigation by the US Office of Special Council

    Please STOP using the words “evidence” and “investigation” to talk about the OSC report.

    So then why would the President of the BSW, Dr. McDiarmid, seem to have a change of heart?

    I’d say he wasn’t paying attention. He was expecting the scientists on the editorial board to be acting in a professional and ethical fashion.

 Sternberg did not.

    So you’ve got outside agencies throwing a fit, and influencing the BSW. 

you see Thom?, it’s not difficult to demonstrate the fraudulant mis-charachtarizations in the wikipedia entry.

    Nonsense. You’re taking what you report as gospel; it is not. I’ll post a full-blown counterpoint in another message. And you have conveniently managed to ignore the most important question I asked in my last message. I’ll place it in bold this time so you won’t ignore it:

    If, as the Staff Report claims, there actually is “compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated,” then why doesn’t he sue? Why simply repeat the “facts” from this partisan propaganda piece? Why not take actions that would yield actual factual findings, have legal significance, and a potential monetary settlement?

    As I said, it’s just time consuming and depressing. It’s depressing because it disgusts me that an entity that presumes to be an objective source of information stoops to it, and also because when I put in the effort to expose the crap, it has no desired effect on the willfully ignorant. Not that I’m accusing.

    Perhaps because what you’re posting is, using your language, crap. See the next article I post for a discussion about that.

    “Dan, you seem to take statements published by the Discovery Institute at face value, but you imply that statements published on the Wikipedia should be viewed with more skepticism. Why is that?”

What statement by the Discovery Institute do you refer?

    I don’t recall. You haven’t been citing your sources; I usually google for a phrase. I thought I recall the Discovery Institute website coming up one or more times.

    How about this: why do you take the statements of the movie at face value? Have you critically examined the distortion of Darwin’s quote that the movie used?

    The only statement by DI I remember taking issue with is the one Wikipedia infered–but not quoted–with reference to Gonzales.

    We covered that. The documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” failed to provide any sort of record on their website to document the claims they made in the movie.

    I did see the movie, and I recall complaints about the inclusion of Gonzales’s ID writings in his application for tenure. I learned later that Gonzales had included those writings himself; the complaint was rather silly.

    I don’t know what their official statement was

    Precisely. The moviemakers failed to make any official statements at all. They didn’t document the claims of their documentary.

    just that Wiki’s infered version doesn’t pass the smell test.

    They were just reporting on what was discussed in the movie.
    I’m still at a loss for understanding the squawking about Gonzales’s failure to get tenure. Even if you include his ID writings, his output dropped precipitously in the three years preceeding his application.

    If Di made any official statement Wiki won’t quote it.

    Nonsense. Why would you presume that? The Wikipedia entry on this movie does indeed include references to the DI website.

    “A critical thinker would not be excessively steered by any source. If a critical thinker heard Ben Stein say in the public record:

””The most egregious is Richard Sternberg at the Smithsonian, the editor of a magazine that published a peer-reviewed paper about ID. He lost his job.””

Lost his job? Back in #91 you said: “you seem to have forgotten that “Expelled” said that he was “fired.””

    Neither one happened. He wasn’t fired, and he didn’t lose his job.

    Now it’s “lost his job”. At least you’re making the attempt. At what, I’m not sure.

    The point is that Ben Stein’s claim — part of the public record — is completely false.

    As I’ve said, there are many ways Sternberg could have “lost his job” that don’t necessitate a direct firing.

    You made the claim, but you failed to explain it at all.
    Sternberg never ever worked for the Smithsonian. He never ever “lost” his volunteer position there, either.

    

“Gosh. Why don’t we have a discussion about the meaning of the word “is”? ;-)”



    Probably should, Or maybe just the difference between “lost” and “fired”.

    Neither happened. He wasn’t fired, and he didn’t “lose his job.” Ben Stein flat-out lied in the movie to the audience. And you’re now acting as an apologist for the movie.

    When you read the internal e-mails (public record) of senior staff at the museum conspiring to restrict Sternbergs access to research information, but expressing concern that they needed to avoid the appearance of singling him out; or withdrawling his invitation to reapply as “associate”, and instead, under “a new system in place” offering him a “collaborator” demotion, you understand another way one could “lose” a job.

    HE NEVER EVER WORKED THERE. HE WAS A VOLUNTEER. There was no “job” for him to “lose”.

    HIS TENURE AS EDITOR OF THE JOURNAL WAS ALREADY OVER. He had already volunteered his resignation as editor before the edition with the Meyer article had ever been published.

    Sure, he could still work there.

    No. The only thing he could continue to do is to VOLUNTEER there. “Still work” implies that he once had a job there. There’s no reason for you to BenStein in this discussion.

    They could flood his workspace with six inches of excrement and he could still work there.

    Only if he got a job there. Richard Sternberg has never worked for the Smithsonian.



    “I’m not speculating, Dan. Do you know what “IIRC” means?”

No, actually I don’t.

    Then ask. Or look it up: dictionary.com or just google the term.

    I was considering: ‘Intentional Ignorance = Ridiculous Conclusions’.

    That is indeed what you just did! You were intentionally ignorant, and you came to a ridiculous conclusion. Don’t do that. If in doubt, ask.

    “If these filmmakers had bothered to document on a website the claims they made in the film, we wouldn’t have to speculate about this.”

Since they document the claims they make in the film, wouldn’t it be redundant?

    No. We wouldn’t have to have these silly discussions over what Gonzalez was so upset about.

    Isn’t it up to wikipedia to document the documentation from the film to give a fair reading?

    Why do you presume that hasn’t happened?

    I’ll repeat the question you ignored:

    If, as the Staff Report claims, there actually is “compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated,” then why doesn’t he sue? Why simply repeat the “facts” from this partisan propaganda piece? Why not take actions that would yield actual factual findings, have legal significance, and a potential monetary settlement?

    Has the Discovery institute ever addressed that question?

    Can you answer it?

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    I asked you why Sternberg didn’t take some legal action about the “compelling evidence” that he had somehow been discriminated against. Among other things, this blog entry explains. Here are the summary five points from that entry; I suggest reading the whole thing:

    1. What little ill-treatment Sternberg may have gotten (in fact, all of the comments expressing distrust and anger at Sternberg and urging his dismissal were made not to his face, but in private emails that he never saw) was largely self-inflicted, the result not only of his violation of procedures in regard to the Meyer paper, but in regard to several other instances of professional malfeasance and prior examples of poor judgement as PBSW editor.

    2. The evidence does not support the conclusion that Sternberg was discriminated against in any material way. At absolute worst, he was greeted with professional mistrust and anger on the part of some of his colleagues, who were upset that his actions in regard to the Meyer paper brought disrepute to the Smithsonian and to them as associates. Disapproval and criticism, of course, are not the same thing as discrimination nor are they a violation of his civil rights.

    3. Sternberg has grossly exaggerated several alleged instances of “retaliation” in the early days of the scandal. In particular, he claimed that he had his keys taken away, his access to the Smithsonian’s collections taken away, and lost his office space. In reality, the keys and office space were exchanged as part of larger museum changes and he retains the same access today that all others in his position have.

    4. The accusations, in particular, against the National Center for Science Education – that they conspired with Smithsonian officials to “publicly smear and discredit” Sternberg – are not only not supported by the evidence in the appendix, they are completely disproven by the emails contained therein.

    5. All of that leads to the only possible conclusion: that this is a trumped-up report orchestrated by political allies of the Discovery Institute, particularly Rep. Mark Souder and former (I love saying that) Sen. Rick Santorum. They have put out a report that simply is not supported by the evidence and was designed, intelligently or otherwise, to support the disingenuous PR campaign that includes the attempt to position themselves as victims of discrimination.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    “A critical thinker would not be excessively steered by any source. If a critical thinker heard Ben Stein say in the public record:

    “”The most egregious is Richard Sternberg at the Smithsonian, the editor of a magazine that published a peer-reviewed paper about ID. He lost his job.””

    Lost his job? Back in #91 you said: “you seem to have forgotten that “Expelled” said that he was “fired.””

    Now it’s “lost his job”. At least you’re making the attempt. At what, I’m not sure.

    Actually, Dan, “Expelled” used both of those phrases. Ben Stein repeatedly used the phrase “lost his job.” When Shermer replied with “fired” in the conversation, Ben didn’t correct him. Then, in his response, Ben Stein uses “fired.”

    So now you know that both of those phrases were bandied about when talking about Richard Sternberg. Why exactly you think it’s important which of those phrases were being used is a little mystery. Would you care to explain?

    The movie also claimed Sternberg’s life was “nearly ruined,” but fails categorically to explain how. This movie is an embarrasment. Why exactly you give more credibility to this movie than its Wikipedia page is rather bizarre.

    Transcript from the movie:

    Ben Stein: It all began when I met evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg in Washington, DC. His life was nearly ruined when he strayed from the party line while serving as editor of a scientific journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of National History.

    Ben: “Your office was over there?”

    Richard: “That’s correct. This here is the west wing … directly ahead of us is the west wing of the national history museum.”

    Ben: “But now you’re not there anymore because you’re a bad boy?”

    Richard: “No, I’m not. No, I was egglogged (??).”

    Ben: “You were a bad boy. You questioned the powers that be.”

    Ben: What was Dr. Sternberg’s crime? He dared to publish an article by Dr. Stephen Meyer, one of the leading lights of the Intelligent Design Movement. The paper ignited a firestorm of controversy merely because it suggested that Intelligent Design might be able to explain how life began.

    Ben: As a result, Dr. Sternberg lost his office. His political and religious beliefs were investigated. And he was pressured to resign.

    Richard: “The questioning of Darwinism was a bridge too far for many. The mentioning of Intelligent Design that occurs at the end of the paper was over the top. And I think the Intelligent Design proponents have raised a number of very important questions.”

    Ben: “And you wanted to get those questions brought up and discussed?”

    Richard: “Placed on the table.”

    Ben: “Placed on the table.”

    Richard: “People were so upset about it. There were so upset … that you could see they had a physical emotional reaction.”

    Ben: “Wow.”

    Richard: “They were saying that Stephen C Meyer is a well-known Christian. That Stephen C Meyer was an Intelligent Design proponent. That Stephen C Meyer was a Republican. It was all couched in terms of religion, politics, and sociology. The way the chair of the department put it is that I was viewed as an intellectual terrorist.”

    Ben: “Terrorist?”

    Richard: “Giving the topic of Intelligent Design some modicum of credibility.”

    Ben: What happened to Dr. Sternberg was terrible. But surely it was just an isolated case. I was still pretty skeptical. So, naturally, I checked in with the head of the skeptic’s society, Michael Shermer.”

    […]

    Ben: “Is Intelligent Design nonsense?”

    Shermer: “Well, it’s unproven, so in that sense it’s nonsensical. So I would put it in the sort of shaded areas between good solid science and total nonsense. You know … it’s sort of 3/4 of the way toward the nonsense side.”

    Ben: “But you think nevertheless that people should be allowed to speak about it and publish papers about it?”

    Shermer: “They are free to write and publish and be heard in public forums and go to conferences just like everybody else does.”

    Ben: “Well, what if a person published something, say, at the Smithsonian, in favor of Intelligent Design, then lost his job over it. It had been peer-reviewed and published and then lost his job over it anyway. What about that situation?”

    Shermer: “I think with that particular situation there was something else going on.“

    Ben: “What was going on?”

    Shermer: “I don’t know, because I don’t know. There had to be something. People don’t get fired over something like that. You roll up your sleeves. You get to work. You do the research. You get your grants. You get your data. You publish. And you work your butt off. And that’s how you get your theories taught.”

    Ben: “Well, wait a minute. What if you try and try and roll up your sleeves and go and work your butt off and they say, ‘Well, we’re going to fire you if you mention the word Intelligent Design.”

    Shermer: “I don’t think that’s happening. Where has that happened?”

    [End of conversation with Shermer.]

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Now it’s “lost his job”. At least you’re making the attempt. At what, I’m not sure.

    Actually, Dan, “Expelled” used both of those phrases. Ben Stein repeatedly used the phrase “lost his job.” When Shermer replied with “fired” in the conversation, Ben didn’t correct him. Then, in his response, Ben Stein uses “fired.”

    So now you know that both of those phrases were bandied about when talking about Richard Sternberg. Why exactly you think it’s important which of those phrases were being used is a little mystery. Would you care to explain?

    The movie also claimed Sternberg’s life was “nearly ruined,” but fails categorically to explain how. This movie is an embarrasment. Why exactly you give more credibility to this movie than its Wikipedia page is rather bizarre.

    [Silence. Dan has no response.]

    So is this how the discussion ends?

    To the readers from Canada who are getting this movie in a couple of weeks:

    1. The fundamental claim of this movie are wrong. Sternberg did not lose his job. He was not fired.

    Claims about the other “expelled five” are similarly dubious. Look at ExpelledExposed.com or the movie’s Wikipedia entry for details.

    2. None of the apologists for the movie have any credible defense for the lies of this movie. The kitchen got too hot; they fled the discussion.

    3. The “speech” that Ben Stein made that frames the rest of the film is totally contrived. See item #2.

    This movie is a major embarrassment. Don’t waste your money. If you must see it, wait until it shows up in a dollar-rental store. That should be in October.

    You have been warned.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    According to this, “Expelled” wound up with $24,374 in its Canadian premiere. Woo hoo! They stayed away in droves!

    Thanks to Dan for helping to make clear that this mockumentary’s premise was fundamentally flawed.

    On behalf of those Canadian droves, I thank you.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I dunno, Thom.

    At, say, $12 a ticket, that’s a little over 2000 tickets sold.

    Isn’t that, like, 60% of the entire population of Canada?

    ;-)

    P.S. Happy Canada Day!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed Thom

    Isn’t 2000, like, 60% of the entire population of Canada?

    Yeah, but some of ‘em saw it twice. A few even saw it three times. Can you imagine? ;-)

    It was interesting to see that “Wanted” beat “WALL-E” in Canada.

    I don’t follow many of the discussions here. Is this pattern of bailing in the middle of a discussion common?

  • Mark Hunter

    “Ever since Darwin first published his theory of evolution, his defenders’ favorite tactic against critics has been to attack their character and intelligence. Darwin himself used it against some of the greatest scientists of his day, accusing them of superstition and religious bias.” -Mark Hartwig, 1995

    I found the words, “stupid”, “ignorant”, “liar” and other disparaging remarks repeatedly used in many opinion postings. Here’s one back at you: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (from the Bible, Romans 1:22)

    Of course there is an intelligent design theory.
    If you claim there is none, then you have not read about it, but arrogantly dismissed it as stupid religiousity. Simply put, mutation and natural selection are not sufficient to explain the origin or diversity of life. An intelligent designer created the DNA and prototype lifeforms here on earth. If you prefer not to read the Bible, then read about the Cambrian Explosion. About 530 million years ago, in “an instant of geological time”, almost every animal phylum seemed to just pop into existence from nowhere. After the Cambrian Explosion, almost no new phyla appear in the fossil record—and many go extinct. By conventional dating, that’s a 500 million year dry spell. Darwinian theory predicts that over time we should see new species slowly appearing, followed by the much slower appearance of new phyla—what Havard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould calls a “cone of increasing diversity.” Instead, the cone is upside down. Fossil evidence looks very non-Darwinian after the Cambrian Explosion.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Mark, I fail to see how your argument does anything more than raise questions about evolutionary theory. It certainly does nothing to support the theory of a Designer.

    What you state as the theory of intelligent design is actually two distinct theories:

    1. Mutation and natural selection do not adequately explain the origin and diversity of life.
    2. An intelligent being created life on Earth.

    The reason why intelligent design is not accepted in the scientific community is that no-one has as yet offered a plausible link between the two.

    Darwinian theory is only a starting point for the study of evolution. It’s not the be-all and end-all. We know full well that life doesn’t evolve and diversify at a slow, steady rate.

    You’re quoting Gould out of context. Gould’s point is that the cone is backwards – and he sketches an argument as to why that should be at the end of the third (complete) paragraph here.

  • Dan

    ” Here’s one back at you: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (from the Bible, Romans 1:22)”—Mark Hunter

    Well, there is a difference. Claiming to be wise, or being a fool are forgivable offenses. Active, knowledgeable, participation in deceit is not.

    “Mark, I fail to see how your argument does anything more than raise questions about evolutionary theory. It certainly does nothing to support the theory of a Designer.”—-Dr. Dreadful

    Only if there is a third theory for how life began. In a world of only two competing theories, questions raised about one is evidence of support for the other.

    “The reason why intelligent design is not accepted in the scientific community is that no-one has as yet offered a plausible link between the two.”—Dr. Dreadful

    The reason why intelligent design is not accepted in the so called “scientific community” is the subject of analysis and exposure in the film.

    “We know full well that life doesn’t evolve and diversify at a slow, steady rate.”—Dr. Dreadful

    Except sometimes it does. Or doesn’t depending on what is found in the fossil record and how things like a “reinterpretation of the Burgess Shale”—(Gould), can be used to keep the plausibility of evolution theory alive.

    “HE NEVER EVER WORKED THERE.” (Richard Sternberg) “HE WAS A VOLUNTEER. There was no “job” for him to “lose”.”—-Thom

    Yes, and in between his usual duties of cleaning hamster cages and washing test tubes, he was notorious for “hitting on” the cafeteria ladies. ;)

  • Dan

    Just to update on a possible bias issue with wikipidia hardliners:

    The frontpage wikipedia entry for Guillermo Gonzalez that I referenced in comment# 82 has been scrubbed.

    “Expelled portrays Gonzalez as a victim of religious discrimination and the Discovery Institute campaign asserts that his intelligent design writings should not have been considered in the review.”—wikipedia, May 22, 2008.

    Now, I’m aware that wiki updates, and it could be an ordinary ‘evolution’ of ongoing critique, but as I said then:

    ” If you know anything about the Discovery Institute you would know that they would never assert any such thing. They want ID writings to be considered. By everyone. They’re not hiding them. Their “assertion” would be that intelligent design writings should not have been *the reason* for denial of tenure.”

    If you’re objectively observant, you immediately can seize on the wikipedia dishonesty. If you understand the subtlety of the difference between an organization dedicated to the cause of ID being legit, and a extremist Christian front group trying to sneak one of their own through the back door.

    Come to think of it; ” Expelled portrays Gonzalez as a victim of religious discrimination” is a little misleading. One could easily think that Gonzalez’ religon was a really significant part of his life that shaded his professionalism.

    It’s hard to imagine that Gonzalez’ religous devotion got in the way when he discovered a planet.

    Unless he maybe deduced some encrypted space coordinates from a Bible passage. But then, that would be really interesting.

    For now though, We don’t know if the Discovery Institute thought Gonzales writings on ID should’ve been admissable as scholarly evidence for tenure. The Wikipedia editors apparently don’t think it’s important anymore.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Only if there is a third theory for how life began. In a world of only two competing theories, questions raised about one is evidence of support for the other.

    No, there are many theories on the origin and/or evolution of life on Earth. Even if this were not true, your logic is faulty. Say that a doctor only has two treatment options for a patient, but that one is certain to kill him. That does not mean that the other option is the right one.

    The reason why intelligent design is not accepted in the so called “scientific community” is the subject of analysis and exposure in the film.

    With the caveat that I haven’t seen it, by many accounts it’s a bit of a stretch to describe what the film does as ‘analysis and exposure’.

    …Or doesn’t depending on what is found in the fossil record and how things like a “reinterpretation of the Burgess Shale”—(Gould), can be used to keep the plausibility of evolution theory alive.

    This, again, is the misconception that a theory can only collapse in light of new evidence, and cannot be revised. Nothing about the Burgess shale evidence disproves evolution.

  • Dan

    “No, there are many theories on the origin and/or evolution of life on Earth. Even if this were not true, your logic is faulty.”—Dr. Dreadful

    The only two options for how life began are design, and chemical misadventure. There can be many scenarios for both, all with varying plausibility.

    “With the caveat that I haven’t seen it, by many accounts it’s a bit of a stretch to describe what the film does as ‘analysis and exposure’.”

    A sincere display of herd mentality.

    I find critisizm of the films integrity to consist of monstrous stretches, but only after careful anylysis.

    “This, again, is the misconception that a theory can only collapse in light of new evidence, and cannot be revised. Nothing about the Burgess shale evidence disproves evolution.”

    With the reminder that nothing about empirical evidence of evolution disproves design, I totally agree.

    Then again, almost any theory can be revised to fit new evidence. For instance, if a young earth scientist were to be troubled by carbon dating of dinosaur bones, he might conjecturally submit that carbon decay rates aren’t uniformly stable. Much the same way as evolution scientists contend that the sudden appearance of a vast array of organisms with no transitional ancestors in the fossil record is covered by punctuated equilibria.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The only two options for how life began are design, and chemical misadventure.

    Not at all. Those just happen to be the only two that are given any credence by most people who discuss it in the West.

    Another option (for the sake of argument only) is that life simply popped into existence out of nowhere and for no apparent reason.

    A fourth (which is discussed seriously by some, although frankly it just defers any explanation of actual origin) is that it arrived from outer space aboard a meteor or comet.

    They’re all theories: it’s just that evolution is the only one with a compelling body of evidence to support it.

    Your young-Earth scientist wouldn’t be using the right tool for the job if he were trying to determine the age of dinosaur bones with radiocarbon dating, so he needn’t worry. (Although he was probably doing so knowing full well that he’d get erratic results. A bit like putting AAA batteries in a device that takes AA and then taking it back to the store and complaining that it doesn’t work.)

    The Cambrian explosion is quite compatible with existing evolutionary theory, when you bear in mind that hard-shelled organisms had to have appeared at some point, and fossilize much more easily than soft-bodied organisms.

  • Dan

    “Another option (for the sake of argument only) is that life simply popped into existence out of nowhere and for no apparent reason.”

    Is this notion given “creedence” in places other than the West? Is popping back out of existence a possibility?

    “A fourth (which is discussed seriously by some, although frankly it just defers any explanation of actual origin) is that it arrived from outer space aboard a meteor or comet.”

    The theory originated with a couple of prestigous, atheist scientists. They had reservations about computer generated probability models for complex life forms developing through natural cause in only 4.3 billion years.

    It’s an affliction common to atheist mathematicians.

    Their work payed off when they correctly guessed that comets would contain some type of vehicle material for informational organisms. So I guess you could say that the theory survived one predictability trial.

    “They’re all theories: it’s just that evolution is the only one with a compelling body of evidence to support it.”

    Not in the sense of how life began. You’ve made that very clear on this thread. I wasn’t to use any abiogenesis theory in a comparitive way with ‘evolution’. To do so is to trivialize evolution theory, and bad form.

    So on the question of how life began there can only be two theories. Unless popping in counts.
    Which I may not understand because I have Western thought patterns. I don’t dismiss it lightly.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Not in the sense of how life began. You’ve made that very clear on this thread.

    Indeed. But you’ve strenuously made the case for linking the two theories on this thread also. I was deferring to that, again for the sake of argument.

    Perhaps ID vs. creation is altogether an irrelevant battle. I really don’t see anything wrong with the idea of a creator. I just disagree with the arguments of the movie’s scientists that terrestrial life shows compelling evidence of his/her/its handiwork.