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Peter T Chattaway

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

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Is Ben Stein a "rebel" for this "generation"? Will he tackle "Big Science" and its Darwinian claims? All will be made clear on Darwin's birthday, February 12, 2008. (If the filmmakers had waited one more year, they could have released the film on his bicentennial.)

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Very interesting.

While I'm so tired of all the pointless debates surrounding I.D., creationism, evolutionism, etc that I no longer care how my species came into being... I thought I.D. got a pretty unfair thrashing in the court of public opinion. It will be good to see someone in the quasi-mainstream discuss it... um... intelligently.

The (pathetic) Dawkins quote on the film's webpage suggests that this film will simply be using I.D. as a jumping point to discuss the bigger question of God in science. Which should make it interesting and controversial. I'm hoping the intelligence of the discussion lives up to the film's marketing.

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A few comments from PZ Meyers, one of the film's interviewees. He claims that the filmmakers misrepresented themselves when they asked to interview him:

Why were they so dishonest about it? If Mathis had said outright that he wants to interview an atheist and outspoken critic of Intelligent Design for a film he was making about how ID is unfairly excluded from academe, I would have said, "bring it on!" We would have had a good, pugnacious argument on tape that directly addresses the claims of his movie, and it would have been a better (at least, more honest and more relevant) sequence. He would have also been more likely to get that good ol' wild-haired, bulgy-eyed furious John Brown of the Godless vision than the usual mild-mannered professor that he did tape. And I probably would have been more aggressive with a plainly stated disagreement between us.

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I certainly hope it's not the "creationist propaganda film" that PZ Meyers claims. Odd that he assumes that a film defending I.D.'s media rape is creationist propaganda.

(And, to be honest, I didn't see much misrepresenting done in the initial contact... except for the name of the project, which I assume was retitled after Ben Stein was added at some point. Mr. Meyers's judgment on this issue appears clouded by his pre-judging of this film as anti-science creationist propaganda.)

Edited by theoddone33

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Is Ben Stein a "rebel" for this "generation"? Will he tackle "Big Science" and its Darwinian claims? All will be made clear on Darwin's birthday, February 12, 2008. (If the filmmakers had waited one more year, they could have released the film on his bicentennial.)

No kidding? That would mean Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day. Never realized that.

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opus wrote:

: A few comments from PZ Meyers, one of the film's interviewees. He claims that the filmmakers misrepresented themselves when they asked to interview him . . .

Yeah, if he's correct in his description of what happened, then it's pretty lame that the film's promotional materials would claim that the film "confronts" scientists like him.

Incidentally, Meyers asks where the funds for this movie are coming from. To that, I say, look at the writing and producing credits. Walt Ruloff is a software developer and self-made millionaire who lives on Bowen Island, near Vancouver (and co-writer Kevin Miller is a freelance writer from Abbotsford, near Vancouver -- so there's a couple of local connections there). For example, a gossip column quoted at this website says: "According to my spies, the story began a long time ago when software developer Walt Ruloff sold a program to Microsoft for $120 million U.S. with his share being somewhere around 80%." There's a brief bio at the website for Premise Media, the company producing this film, too.

I'm not saying ALL the money is coming from Ruloff, but I don't think we have to look too far to speculate as to where this movie's budget is coming from.

mrmando wrote:

: No kidding? That would mean Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day. Never realized that.

Wikipedia says you are correct. And when has it ever lied to us?

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Yeah, if he's correct in his description of what happened, then it's pretty lame that the film's promotional materials would claim that the film "confronts" scientists like him.

I work in a similar industry, and I know it's fair to say that in the context I'm familiar with... marketing and production aren't always on the same page.

I don't recall reading anything on that blog post that made me think that the film's producers "lied" about their intentions, as Meyers stated. He may very well be right that there was some intentional deception, but I certainly hope he's more convincing in the film for the sake of his side of the argument.

That bit about Microsoft was interesting, but I couldn't find anything to substantiate it on the Internet other than various people repeating the rumor. Too bad, I was curious what specific software Ruloff sold to Microsoft. Sounds more like he deals in companies than software, though. (But where his money came from doesn't really matter to a discussion of the film... it's just a point of interest for me.)

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theoddone33 wrote:

: That bit about Microsoft was interesting, but I couldn't find anything to substantiate it on the Internet other than various people repeating the rumor. Too bad, I was curious what specific software Ruloff sold to Microsoft. Sounds more like he deals in companies than software, though.

His bio at the Premise Media site is not copy-and-paste-able, or I would have done that in my earlier post, but in that bio, it says:

His most successful venture was a software company called ITLS which he founded at the age of 26 in 1991. It grew to become the worldwide de-facto standard in logistics operations for fortune 2000 companeis. The company was sold in 1998 with more than 350 employees.

Maybe that's the sale in question?

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theoddone33 wrote:

: That bit about Microsoft was interesting, but I couldn't find anything to substantiate it on the Internet other than various people repeating the rumor. Too bad, I was curious what specific software Ruloff sold to Microsoft. Sounds more like he deals in companies than software, though.

His bio at the Premise Media site is not copy-and-paste-able, or I would have done that in my earlier post, but in that bio, it says:

His most successful venture was a software company called ITLS which he founded at the age of 26 in 1991. It grew to become the worldwide de-facto standard in logistics operations for fortune 2000 companeis. The company was sold in 1998 with more than 350 employees.

Maybe that's the sale in question?

I think the best thing to do is to ask Ruloff himself who funded the film. As for PZ Myers and others who claim we used deceptive techniques to get the interviews, don't make up your mind until you've heard both sides of the story. As far as I'm concerned, such claims are an outright deception and an obvious attempt by these individuals to simply cover their butts and undermine the content of our film through a personal attack. While I was not present at PZ's interview, I was present at both of our interview with Richard Dawkins. And he was given every opportunity to grill us both before and afterwards on who we were and what the film was about. If he bothered to look at the film's description on the Rampant web site (which I know PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott did), it makes no bones about the film's content (and we told him and other interviewees that one of the main purposes of the film was to capitalize on the controversy of this topic, so it was not going to be a fluff piece). The only thing that is unclear from the description is the film's position on the topic. However, I can honestly say that the positions of many people on our team have changed throughout the filmmaking process as we met with dozens of interviewees in our struggle to find the story. I can say the same thing about the title of the film. That did not arise until quite late in the process. Films operate under working titles all the time, so no surprise there.

Moreover, unlike some of today

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Interesting, Kevin. Thanks for posting that.

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KevinMillerXI wrote:

: I think the best thing to do is to ask Ruloff himself who funded the film.

Sure -- got his number? :)

: However, I can honestly say that the positions of many people on our team have changed throughout the filmmaking process as we met with dozens of interviewees in our struggle to find the story. I can say the same thing about the title of the film. That did not arise until quite late in the process. Films operate under working titles all the time, so no surprise there.

One thing I'm wondering is when (and how) Ben Stein got involved in the film. I assume he doesn't conduct the interviews -- or at least some of the interviews -- since Myers seems to have been caught off guard by Stein's involvement in the movie. (And also since there is no footage in the trailer of Stein himself doing the "confronting".)

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KevinMillerXI wrote:

: I think the best thing to do is to ask Ruloff himself who funded the film.

Sure -- got his number? :)

: However, I can honestly say that the positions of many people on our team have changed throughout the filmmaking process as we met with dozens of interviewees in our struggle to find the story. I can say the same thing about the title of the film. That did not arise until quite late in the process. Films operate under working titles all the time, so no surprise there.

One thing I'm wondering is when (and how) Ben Stein got involved in the film. I assume he doesn't conduct the interviews -- or at least some of the interviews -- since Myers seems to have been caught off guard by Stein's involvement in the movie. (And also since there is no footage in the trailer of Stein himself doing the "confronting".)

If you really want Walt's number, I can e-mail it to you offline. However, it's easily available on whitepages.ca. Regarding Ben Stein, he actually conducted a number of the interviews for this film, traveling across the US and Europe to do so. As for how, when, and why Ben got involved, I'd rather have him speak to that when he issues a public statement in the near future.

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It's always fun to see who pops up here to talk about films they've been involved with. Thanks for stopping by, Kevin.

I'm certainly looking forward to this film... hoping it will be a balanced, intellectual look at a topic which has had far too little of both balance and intellect put forth in its discussion.

And I do hope someone will keep this thread updated when Ben Stein's statement comes out... I'm interested in the extent of his involvement as well.

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KevinMillerXI wrote:

: As for how, when, and why Ben got involved, I'd rather have him speak to that when he issues a public statement in the near future.

Will this be one of his blog posts, or something different?

theoddone33 wrote:

: I'm certainly looking forward to this film... hoping it will be a balanced, intellectual look at a topic which has had far too little of both balance and intellect put forth in its discussion.

Intellectual, sure, but balanced? Is "balanced" an apt description of what we see in the trailer posted above?

I make no assumptions, BTW, regarding whether "balance" is what this or any other film ought to strive for. There is a place for polemics, and there is a place for neutrality. But this film does not seem to be coming at the subject from the "neutral" angle.

Then again, I suppose it is possible the film might be "neutral" with regard to the actual science while adopting a "non-neutral" approach to academic politics.

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Well as I think I've mentioned above, I'm certainly hoping the film isn't a one-sided bit of "Creationist propaganda", as PZ Meyers seems to believe. Nevermind that he doesn't wish to distinguish between "person who lends I.D. intellectual credence" and "creationist". That's him not being balanced. I hope the film does not miss the parts of the issue I'm actually interested in hearing about beause it's full of one-sided tunnel vision.

That's what I mean by balanced. The opposite of what most other public discourse on this subject has been.

Then again, I suppose it is possible the film might be "neutral" with regard to the actual science while adopting a "non-neutral" approach to academic politics.
That sounds pretty good, given what I'm hoping for out of the film.

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theoddone33 wrote:

: Nevermind that he doesn't wish to distinguish between "person who lends I.D. intellectual credence" and "creationist".

Speaking as an evolutionary creationist and ID skeptic myself, I don't see why IDers should be offended by the term "creationist". If the shoe fits, wear it.

And the question, as I understand it, is not whether ID is "intellectual", but whether it is "scientific". Philosophy and religion have always had intellectual credibility. The question is whether ID belongs to the philosophy/religion department, or to the science department. And as far as I can tell, ID is generally more meta-scientific than scientific, per se.

But the fact that biologists have philosophical or religious opinions that go beyond their fields of expertise does not mean that they should be disqualified as biologists. If Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking can keep their science degrees despite their polemicizing and/or speculating about theological matters, then so could any IDer, it seems to me.

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Speaking as an evolutionary creationist and ID skeptic myself, I don't see why IDers should be offended by the term "creationist". If the shoe fits, wear it.

Then we're probably in similar camps on the issue. I take issue with the terminology because "creationist" tends to imply some sort of Judeo-Christian legend and I.D. does not make any specific claims of this nature beyond the claim that evolution is not sufficient to have produced life on this earth.

The linking of I.D. and Christianity is something that's been manufactured by Christians and latched on to by the media. It's led a gullible judge to determine that I.D. shouldn't be mentioned in schools, and led Pat Robertson to make some ridiculously stupid comments. The Kansas situation was one big circus, and I'm hoping this film goes some way to clearing up all the misconceptions surrounding and resulting from that mess... without explicitly backing I.D.

The worst thing that could happen is that this film muddies the waters more by linking I.D. to religion. Or indeed proves itself to be "creationist propaganda" as Meyers assumes. But since the film claims to be intelligent, I'm hopeful that it will not go down that road.

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"I have read your book, and I do not think it is science." Sound familiar? But this time it's sex research.

Mmm, that's a ridiculous situation. Character assassination is apparently a great way to defend your lifestyle from non-attacks. Those trangender women leading the charge are doing a much greater disservice to transgender women in general than Dr. Bailey, I conclude.

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: It's not just evolutionary biology; freedom of inquiry is under assault all over.

: "I have read your book, and I do not think it is science." Sound familiar? But this time it's sex research.

Certainly the dismissal of IQ studies sounds familiar -- Steve Sailer and his buddies have gotten no small amount of disrespect for asserting that studies indicate a, shall we say, diverse concentration of mental and physical abilities along racial/ethnic lines. (So you see, it isn't only IDers who get treated like "intellectual terrorists"; committed Darwinists also have to deal with Big Science types who fear the full application of Darwinian science.)

theoddone33 wrote:

: Then we're probably in similar camps on the issue. I take issue with the terminology because "creationist" tends to imply some sort of Judeo-Christian legend and I.D. does not make any specific claims of this nature beyond the claim that evolution is not sufficient to have produced life on this earth.

Right, which is why I call it more meta-science than actual science. ID essentially says, "We can't figure out how we got from A to B, so we're going to give up inquiring and say that God, or an alien, or something else did it." And that's where mathematics, philosophy, religion, and other non-physical sciences kick in. And it's fine for scientists to ruminate on the implications of their science for philosophy and religion. But should "giving up" be taught as a discipline WITHIN a science class? Or should science students be encouraged to keep on gathering data and proposing theories that might fill those gaps in our knowledge?

: The worst thing that could happen is that this film muddies the waters more by linking I.D. to religion.

I haven't watched the trailer in a few days, but if memory serves, there's a bit where Ben Stein gives a lecture saying that Big Science wants to keep "God" out of the classroom. That seems like a link to religion, to me. (Even if the word "God" does not necessarily commit the speaker to a particular religion's understanding of God.)

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I know I'm probably just baying into the wind here, but I have never heard any ID proponent use the phrase "give up" or anything like it to describe their position. ID does not say, "let's not bother looking into this," ID says that when you've looked into it, design is a legitimate hypothesis.

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Though I don't want to be too presumptuous, I think the problem Peter is describing with I.D. is that it ignores the possibility of a natural, non-evolutionary solution to the conflict it raises and goes straight for the supernatural, external influence. It's sort of an anti-science in that way, but it doesn't mean that their claims against evolution are invalid, just that it's a poor way to argue it, IMO.

It's not very wise to think that evolution is a closed book, and I appreciate the fact that I.D. reminds people of that, but too much is lost in the clutter. "Creation scientists" latched onto it as if it was something that could finally validate creation science... I think many people did so without really understanding that an inevitable hole in the theory of evolution doesn't validate 7-day creation beliefs... just like the existence of the theory of evolution doesn't invalidate them.

Evolution will never be proven... it's sort of an anti-science itself. (In the sense that science is about testing how things currently work... when you're taking a stab at trying to figure out what happened in the past based on currently existing evidence, you're really on thin ice.) It's at best a model that fits the evidence. I.D. suggests that there's some evidence that doesn't fit inside the model. The correct response for the scientific community is to amend the model or demonstrate that I.D.'s objections really do fit into the model, not to snarkily dismiss it as "religion". (Edit: And, in my opinion, it's *incorrect* for I.D. proponents to conclude external, supernatural involvement. Why not just raise the question instead of trying to answer it poorly and causing all this trouble?)

That's pretty much the ground I hope the film covers. But I doubt it will since they didn't interview me.

Edited by theoddone33

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And it's fine for scientists to ruminate on the implications of their science for philosophy and religion. But should "giving up" be taught as a discipline WITHIN a science class? Or should science students be encouraged to keep on gathering data and proposing theories that might fill those gaps in our knowledge?

Well the question of whether or not I.D. should be taught in science classes has never actually been raised. I.D. was not being *taught* in Kansas... it was being *mentioned* with a two-sentence required recitation at the beginning of a class on evolution. This is one of the reasons that the media assassination of I.D. surrounding the Kansas school board trial was so completely ridiculous.

It should be perfectly valid to remind children that the theories they're about to learn about are still under examination in a science class. To do otherwise would be dishonest.

.. I'm sure at this point I've ventured into discussion that probably belongs in one of the other threads... I'll try to stay on topic from here on out.

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First point: ID does not contradict evolution. Many IDers, like Michael Behe, believe in the evolution of new species from old species over long periods of time. And for that matter, Charles Darwin did not invent evolution; the concept was around for at least a century before his time.

What Darwin proposed was "natural selection" -- the idea that certain lifeforms are more likely to survive in some environments than others, and that species can adapt to environments over time through a natural process of mutation and selection, without the need for any miracles or supernatural interventions.

The effects of natural selection are all around us, for example in the diversity of human races. Human population groups have adapted to their environments in a variety of ways, with some of them being stastically better at digesting milk or alcohol than others, and some of them being statistically better at long-distance running than others, and so on, and so on.

And the process of natural selection continues all around us today, for example in the evolution of diseases that are resistant to the treatments that we created to combat their predecessors. Reportedly, we have even witnessed speciation -- the creation of new species that can no longer interbreed with their ancestor species -- though admittedly at pretty small levels.

It is therefore only, um, natural to look at the origin of existing species through the lens of "natural selection".

What IDers dispute is the idea that ALL of past evolution can be accounted for by "natural" means; where they see difficulties in reconstructing the evolutionary pathways, they eventually give up and say, like the scientist in that Far Side cartoon, "Then a miracle occurs." And like the OTHER scientist in that cartoon, non-IDers reply, "Maybe you could give us a little more detail on that middle section."

One of the reasons ID isn't really a science is that it doesn't "give us a little more detail"; it doesn't offer falsifiable or verifiable hypotheses on those "middle sections".

And again, I don't see why IDers should be offended that meta-scientific theories are regarded as something other than scientific. If someone is miraculously healed of cancer, you take that person to the doctor and have him tested and you listen to the doctor say, "We can't explain it," and once you've decided that the only possible explanation could be a miracle, you leave the doctor's office and forget all about any further tests. If science can only take you so far, then let it, and don't pretend that you are still doing science when you are actually going further than the science can possibly go.

Oh, and just for the record: When I referred to science classes, I was thinking primarily of university-level classes, not high-school or elementary-school classes.

CrimsonLine wrote:

: I know I'm probably just baying into the wind here, but I have never heard any ID proponent use the phrase "give up" or anything like it to describe their position. ID does not say, "let's not bother looking into this," ID says that when you've looked into it, design is a legitimate hypothesis.

But does ID keep looking for a non-design hypothesis AFTER it says that design is a legitimate hypothesis? If not, then how is that NOT giving up? And why would design not be a legitimate hypothesis BEFORE you have looked into it?

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Speaking as an evolutionary creationist and ID skeptic myself, I don't see why IDers should be offended by the term "creationist". If the shoe fits, wear it.

Then we're probably in similar camps on the issue. I take issue with the terminology because "creationist" tends to imply some sort of Judeo-Christian legend and I.D. does not make any specific claims of this nature beyond the claim that evolution is not sufficient to have produced life on this earth.

The linking of I.D. and Christianity is something that's been manufactured by Christians and latched on to by the media. It's led a gullible judge to determine that I.D. shouldn't be mentioned in schools, and led Pat Robertson to make some ridiculously stupid comments. The Kansas situation was one big circus, and I'm hoping this film goes some way to clearing up all the misconceptions surrounding and resulting from that mess... without explicitly backing I.D.

The worst thing that could happen is that this film muddies the waters more by linking I.D. to religion. Or indeed proves itself to be "creationist propaganda" as Meyers assumes. But since the film claims to be intelligent, I'm hopeful that it will not go down that road.

The interesting thing about this debate, Peter, is that the Darwinists are the ones who are desperately trying to link religion to ID, not the IDers. The ID folks are merely saying that ID is friendly to religion in a way that classical Darwinism (a blind, mechanical, purposeless process driven by random mutations and natural selection) is not. Just witness how many Darwinists are writing books about religion while IDers are writing books about science. Of course, in this debate you also need to decouple what ID proponents are saying from what average people who support ID are saying. In many cases, ID has suffered from being hijacked by people who don't really understand their argument but who simply want to find a way to bring religion back into science. That's not what the IDers want at all.

It's my opinion that religion is a total red herring. The real issue is information. Information runs the show in biology. A complex biological code is necessary for both the origin and the propagation of life. So the question becomes, how did the information get there? Did it arise through the blind, mechanical processes of classical Darwinism? Or is something/someone else required? That's all the ID folks are really asking. Both answers carry religious implications, but that does not make this a religious debate.

Though I don't want to be too presumptuous, I think the problem Peter is describing with I.D. is that it ignores the possibility of a natural, non-evolutionary solution to the conflict it raises and goes straight for the supernatural, external influence. It's sort of an anti-science in that way, but it doesn't mean that their claims against evolution are invalid, just that it's a poor way to argue it, IMO.

It's not very wise to think that evolution is a closed book, and I appreciate the fact that I.D. reminds people of that, but too much is lost in the clutter. "Creation scientists" latched onto it as if it was something that could finally validate creation science... I think many people did so without really understanding that an inevitable hole in the theory of evolution doesn't validate 7-day creation beliefs... just like the existence of the theory of evolution doesn't invalidate them.

Evolution will never be proven... it's sort of an anti-science itself. (In the sense that science is about testing how things currently work... when you're taking a stab at trying to figure out what happened in the past based on currently existing evidence, you're really on thin ice.) It's at best a model that fits the evidence. I.D. suggests that there's some evidence that doesn't fit inside the model. The correct response for the scientific community is to amend the model or demonstrate that I.D.'s objections really do fit into the model, not to snarkily dismiss it as "religion". (Edit: And, in my opinion, it's *incorrect* for I.D. proponents to conclude external, supernatural involvement. Why not just raise the question instead of trying to answer it poorly and causing all this trouble?)

That's pretty much the ground I hope the film covers. But I doubt it will since they didn't interview me.

You're getting warmer... :)

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KevinMillerXI wrote:

: The interesting thing about this debate, Peter, is that the Darwinists are the ones who are desperately trying to link religion to ID, not the IDers.

But isn't your film making it easy for them to do so? Your trailer certainly is. The very first words we hear coming out of Ben Stein's mouth are:

There are people out there who want to keep science in a little box where it can't possibly touch God.

So "God", whatever we mean by that, is already out there on the table -- whereas I thought the whole point of appealing to an "Intelligent Designer" was to prescind from necessarily theological hypotheses. (In other words, appeals to an "Intelligent Designer" were supposed to leave open the possibility that aliens had invented us, or something -- it didn't matter who or what the "Intelligent Designer" WAS, only that he/she/it was hypothesized.)

Anyway, the quote that immediately follows this sentence of Ben Stein's comes from a man who I assume is one of the anti-ID scientists:

Religion, I mean it's just fantasy, basically.

Now wait a second: Many people believe in "God" without believing in "religion". But now the trailer creates an association between the two. So we have made a leap from "Intelligent Designer" to "God", and from "God" to "religion". I suppose you could always say that it was the anti-ID guy who brought up "religion", and not any of the IDers themselves, but that does not explain why the people who put this trailer together decided to sandwich this provocative soundbite between two Ben Stein lines, the second of which is this:

Scientists are not allowed to even THINK thoughts that involve an intelligent creator.

So the word "creator" is added to the words "God" and "religion", and this creates an overall impression that all these terms are on the same side and mean more or less the same thing. Can anyone blame the anti-ID crowd if they think this movie amounts to an apology for "creationism", even of the not-so-sophisticated variety?

(BTW, what evidence is there that scientists are not even allowed to "think" about an intelligent creator? What about that 1997 poll which indicated that 40% of scientists believe in a God who answers prayer -- a figure that presumably grows when you add other kinds of theists to the mix? Who, exactly, is policing their thoughts?)

: The ID folks are merely saying that ID is friendly to religion in a way that classical Darwinism (a blind, mechanical, purposeless process driven by random mutations and natural selection) is not.

The process that created you and me in our mothers' wombs is equally blind, mechanical and purposeless -- and I say that with the assumption that both of us had loving biological parents who wanted to have children; how much more blind, mechanical and purposeless must our gestations have been if we were the products of rape or whatever. (I say all this, BTW, as one who, upon learning the facts of life around the age of six, frequently wondered who he would have been if one of the gazillions of OTHER sperm had reached the egg first before the sperm that became part of ME reached the egg.) And yet, as a matter of faith, we believe that every individual is anticipated and loved by God, and we might even believe that God "has a plan for our lives".

If these two facts can co-exist when we contemplate our origins as persons, then I see no reason why they could not co-exist when we contemplate our origins as a species. If we can believe that God works through natural and seemingly random processes when we contemplate our origins as persons, then I see no reason why we cannot believe that God works through natural and seemingly random processes when we contemplate our origins as a species.

: It's my opinion that religion is a total red herring.

Why is it given such a central place in the trailer, then?

: The real issue is information.

Perhaps. Though, at the risk of playing devil's advocate, the word "information" implies all sorts of things, and assumes all sorts of things. It assumes or implies a higher set of intentions, a desire to communicate, a meeting of minds, when the committed materialist would say you're reading too much into the crystallization of bio-chemical processes. (Or, in the wonderful words of Rob Reiner in The Story of Us, "You see that? That's my ass, right? Wrong. There is no ass. Just a fatty part at the top of my legs. There just is no ass! And just as there is no ass, there is no true love. It's all an illusion." The point being, just because we see patterns and assign specific labels and meanings to the objective world, that does not mean the objective world has any interest in those meanings. Indeed, the objective world is, almost by definition, meaningless. It is only subjective entities such as you and I who can give it meaning. So to call the string of proteins in our DNA a "code" that contains "information" is essentially to assert, right from the get-go, that there is yet another subjective entity -- let's call it "God" -- who put that "information" there.)

Hoo boy. I'm getting flashbacks to the sorts of debates I used to have several years ago ...

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