: 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 ...