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Everything posted by BadIdea

  1. Has anyone read "Mnemnoch the Devil"? While ostensibly part of her vampire series, most of the book is basically Satan's perspective on the Bible. Interesting stuff, especially in light of her (I think) later conversion.
  2. Don't have particularly high hopes for this one. Good comedy comes from incisive understanding, and Maher has always been sloppy at best when it comes to just about any subject. When it comes to religion, he's downright embarrassingly off-target most of the time.
  3. Berlinski is that sort of person that people who know nothing about a subject in question find fascinating, and people who do find exasperating. When he declares in the film that 'they [biologist] don't even really know what a species is' he sounds fascinatingly deep. But it's not. And it's worse than merely false: it's an exploitation of what is a complicated subject in order to give a glib answer that papers over any hope for understanding. The reason there is no single definition for species in biology is not because biologists are simply baffled by the idea, or are missing some fundame
  4. Sure, but the relevant comparison is not just what they got out, but what they put in. Not many documentaries have the cash on hand to open on 1000 screens, reimburse religious schools for tickets sold on the opening weeks, and market themselves so much on expensive ad buy markets like the Daily Show and other such venues. Not that it matters much. Some people are calling it a huge success, some a bomb, and it all sort of depends on what the expectations set for it were/are. I think the best take, that doesn't get into that argument, is that it underperformed the producers expectations (
  5. Took me forever to get to it, but I finally put down some thoughts on the film, it's claims, and my responses after seeing it in the theater. Short overview on some of the things I discuss that relate to stuff I've missed out on here. The film does "define" ID (the usual "minimal" definition, so minimal, in fact that it is basically a clever rephrasing of "I don't know hot X happened"), but it never explains beyond that to make a case as to how it, as a positive theory, constitutes science, which is a fairly fatal flaw to its argument. I think the claim that the film didn't advocate ID in
  6. Now now. I think blogs can do a lot of very important things that standard journalism cannot. You recoil from their heated and opinionated tone. And that's fine, of course. But I also think that misses some of the point: blogs as a whole can provide a far fuller and better represented debate than the confines journalism, which despite the idea that it is objective, has some serious weaknesses on that score (namely, the way objectivity is approached often makes it extremely easy to spin and mislead people simply by inventing "another side" to any claim, and then not having the time or the
  7. I really don't know. I'm not a huge fan of copyright law per se, and I don't think this lawsuit, even if it has merit, would accomplish much more than giving the producers yet another misleading claim about supression to harp on. But I can certainly understand the anger felt but someone who works really hard to create something, only to have it taken, copied, and reappropriated for something else, especially when you feel the usage is to mislead people about the very things you were trying to illusrtate. Yes, this is simply not clear at this point. I think the key recognizable sequence
  8. David Bolinsky of XVIVO on the "plagiarism" ... except that, as PZ Myers notes, the animation in Expelled is a "copy" of XVIVO's animation only in the sense that someone created a brand-new cartoon that imitates XVIVO's cartoon in pretty much every detail. In other words, the Expelled producers did not splice the XVIVO cartoon into their movie, so there is no copyright infringement, per se ... not unless it is possible to sue someone for copying your IDEAS, etc. (I'm vaguely recalling how George Lucas sued the makers of Battlestar Galactica...) I'm no legal expert, but it was my understand
  9. I don't think it's a good or bad thing that I have disdain for this or that group of people based on experience. I agree that such disdain is irrelevant to the soundness of judgment of specific situations, and its not to be encouraged or overused because it can indeed cloud ones judgment. In fact, I found myself defending Vox Day, of all people, from this the other day. But judgments about people's character and credibility are not in and of themselves unwarranted or even always a bad idea. I think we've ever right to see a lot of bad faith in the tactics employed by this film and
  10. Well, I simply don't agree that because I think there's more than enough reason to think that they were deceptive that I'm "damaging my credibility. I'm not a journalist: I can come to conclusions. If you have a different standard related to your profession, then I accept that, and retract and apologize for the "but apparently Greg wants us to believe..." rhetoric. But different standards in different contexts still not a good reason to attack my judgment. When did I claim I had "unilateral proof?" Again, I disagree. I think the facts we have are more than enough to form a
  11. Look Greg, I don't particular want to fight with you, because you seem like a nice guy. I'm just a little peeved that you called me to account for giving my opinion as if this was something illegitimate or conniving on my part. You made an assertion about whether something was reasonable based on your perception of things. If you're going to do that, then think that noting a whole bunch of other relevant issues and facts is perfectly warranted. I'm not. Why are you so uncomfortable with me laying out a set of facts and showing how they run against the claims of the producers? Mathis wa
  12. No, you're beating a dead, biased horse. This strikes me as decently hypocritical. You have the right to point out that something seems reasonable, given what you know. But there's something suspicious or illegitimate about me pointing out a whole bunch of other things that bear on your own speculative judgments? If you want to lecture others on speculation, then why offer your own speculative judgments about what is or isn't a reasonable explanation? Here's a another tiny bit: according to Stein in his interview with Calvinist minister Sproul, about 20 minutes in, producer Ruloff approac
  13. Actually, I was responding to the logic of your sheer conjecture about how you felt Mathis' version of event was plausible based on what you knew of the inudstry.
  14. I have to say I don't find the "well, that seems sensible in the industry" discussion of Mathis excuses for "Crossroads/Expelled" very compelling. Yes: working titles are used all the time. Lots of titles are considered. But in this case, the ONLY title they seem to have pursued with any interest was Expelled, and this pursuit happened long before they went out and promoted Crossroads. They never registered any other domain names that we know of, and very specifically, they did not register anything related to Crossroads, despite that being the only title mentioned to interviewees over the
  15. The only development on Sherman's claim I'm aware of is that he got a FOIA to showed that the conversation had taken place, which is better than nothing, but still just his word. There hasn't been any deverification I'm aware of, but it really does just come down to Sherman's word, and the fact that Bush and his people didn't deny him saying it at the time when asked. Not particularly important in the long run though: the attitudes of that quote are clearly common and widespread, as shown in countless polls. This is one reason why the quote, since it can't be conclusively verified by anyo
  16. Tactics like... what? It's wrong to fire teachers for incompetance and violating the constitution? It's wrong to actively take on creationist propaganda? It's wrong to vote against politicians you think are sleezy? Or even to think that they are sleezy? It's wrong to advocate these things? If so, then make your case. Honestly, I look at the suspiciously content-free shock people have at statements like the quoted one, which are nothing more than vigorous calls for action, and I have a hard time understanding how anyone can take it seriously. It's as if we're just supposed to gasp
  17. Of course it's not peripheral. The climax of the film features Stein visiting gas chambers and weeping over what that Darwinism stuff has cost us all for goodness sakes. Stein wanted to TITLE the film "From Darwin to Hitler" but there was already a film of that name made (panned by historians, of course).
  18. To be fair, it's hard to get much of a dialogue going with people that paint you as Hitler's best friend right from the start. At this point, it's pretty clear that the movie's producers do not want any sort of dialogue to disrupt their core allegations. So the strategy of the science side of things has basically been to try and make sure that their protective message bubble gets punctured from time to time, and at least hints come out that maybe the producers aren't quite telling the whole story. Myers's gonzo conference call appearance is sort of part of that: here's these people who
  19. The Bruce Timm, Paul Dini version of the DC heroes worked. They got the characters, and they got how to tell good stories with them. The movie business, unfortunately, is never going to do a good job on something like this. Too much market research and lawyers and executives all stirring the pot. The most recent Batman films are probably the best one can expect from film superheroes though, so I'm not saying it's impossible to produce that sort of quality. But with these producers? These agent-driven casting rumors? No way.
  20. I'm not sure I see how being entertaining and being propraganda can be at odds: in fact, in some ways, they go together: it's far easier to mislead people the more entertaining you are. I think once you've seen the film, and then compare it to the rebutalls, you'll see quite clearly how dishonest it is from start to finish, from conception to production to execution. It may or may not be tremendously entertaining in the meantime.
  21. Generally speaking, that's true. But the great ground-breaking hypotheses in the history of science have always flown in the face of what has been collectively assumed to exist and be true. So that's a not a rule of good science; it's merely a useful truism. I think you missed the point of what I said. Nothing about any ground breaking hypotheses has "flown in the face" of the idea that objective reality exists. I wasn't talking about collective assumptions ABOUT various testable matters. I was talking about the idea that science deals with testable matters, and its basic assumptions are
  22. Yes. And hypotheses, when tested, may in time lead to theories -- or may be designed to test a particular theory. And every study lists its assumptions. Except for those Big Assumptions... like "a deity exists" or "a deity doesn't exist." Haven't seen the movie yet, but at least one of the movie's points seems to be that "a deity exists" is legitimate as an assumption upon which to base an hypothesis. I don't think that's scientifically justifiable. Science works only insofar as its based on only the assumptions of empirical reality: i.e. objects that we can all collectively confirm the
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