Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking.
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:Smoking
Violence/Scariness:Holocaust images
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:April 21, 2008
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2008

There may be a good argument to make on behalf of teaching Intelligent Design in science class, but this documentary from Ben Stein does not make it. The movie itself is an example of design by faith and emotion rather than intelligence, defined as rationality grounded in proof. Instead of making a straightforward case for Intelligent Design as a scientific theory, Stein employs misdirection and guilt by very tangential association to try to make his case.

Intelligent Design advocates believe that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected or random or mechanical process such as Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Stein begins by interviewing scientists who lost their jobs for even mentioning the theory, baits some Darwinian scientists in selective clips from interviews, and then visits Dachau and the Hadamar euthanasia center, where the Nazis murdered thousands of disabled people. Stein tells us he is not saying that Darwinism leads to mass murder, but the connection he draws is unmistakable.

Like the tobacco companies once they could no longer question the legitimacy of the scientific evidence connecting cigarettes and disease, Stein quickly shifts the debate from a head-to-head assessment of analysis of data to frame the issue as one of freedom of speech. The movie opens with archival footage not of science labs or the animal life on Galapagos Island, where Darwin first began to develop his theory, but of the construction of the Berlin Wall. Stein tries to draw a parallel between the wall that divided Germany and the impenetrable wall that keeps Intelligent Design out of the science establishment. But he is also associating Darwinian science with Godlessness, communism, and totalitarianism, with detours into Nazi atrocities and atheism so over-the-top that it becomes shrill and irrational.

And irrationality is the opposite of scientific inquiry. Stein says that freedom of speech requires that both Intelligent Design and Darwin’s natural selection should be taught in America’s classrooms. But he never subjects Intelligent Design to the kind of scrutiny required by scientific analysis, which is based on observation and experimentation. Intelligent Design is based the fact that (1) there are questions that natural selection does not answer — which Darwinian scientists admit, and (2) therefore, some intelligent force must be behind creation — which cannot be proven by scientific means and therefore is more appropriately considered within the fields of philosophy or religion.

Science is all about challenging, refining, and refuting established theories, as the movie concedes, with Albert Einstein’s improvement of the theories of Isaac Newton as an example. But both Newton and Einstein agreed on what science was and how to evaluate scientific theories. As presented by Stein, Intelligent Design and Darwinian theory make the same observations, but come to different conclusions. Darwin says that life forms evolved through random mutation and natural selection, the survival of the fittest. Intelligent Design says that life is so complex that it is all the evidence we need to show that some intelligent (conscious, intentional) force must have created it. Stein never shows that Intelligent Design can go from theory to explanation as it must to be considered science. As a lawyer, he should understand that freedom of speech also guarantees the freedom not to have to listen to mangled, manipulative, and disingenuous rhetoric like this.



  • Ford Seeuws

    I have yet to see this film, and don’t relish the thought of watching it, as the trailer alone told me enough about its one-sidedness. I am getting frustrated, however, with critics’ widespread acceptance of the great manipulator on the other side, who although may be more entertaining to you, is no less a manipulative and disingenuous than Stein is here. And I think you know who I mean. Farenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine used extreme forms of manipulation. Please, I beg you, go back and do some research on the films, especially Bowling, or approach his next film with a much healthier dose of objective skepticism. Documentaries are meant to arrive at truth, and Moore hasn’t done much of that recently.
    When his RT numbers continue to hang in the upper 80′s and 90′s even after everyone knows he’s being one-sided, that bothers me. Why should we be encouraging manipulative rhetoric using the excuse that it’s entertaining and “opens the floor for debate?” Stein’s doing that here (though I’m sure in a far less entertaining fashion), but it doesn’t make it justifiable. And, if your next rebuttal is that Moore is more persuasive, then my counter is: Why reward the better liar?

  • DjDawg

    The numerous PHD’s in the film who have been discriminated against, ostricized, and blacklisted are evidence enough that there is a major problem in academia. This film demonstrates that better than any other in recent memory.

  • Ford Seeuws

    I was hasty in my post; I just read your review on Sicko, and I want to applaud your in-depth discussion of rebuttals to Moore’s films. It seems you have done your research. Thank you for being thorough and looking at the debate from all angles. My apologies. I still feel that an A- is far too high a score even for the good discussion this film may arouse. Moore has total creative control, and by now he should be mature enough a filmmaker to leave off silly superficial tactics like asking people from countries with universal healthcare how much their procedures cost. How about the question-how long was the waiting list?

  • John

    Nell, I agree that the movie is trash, but I’d like to clarify a couple of things:
    “Stein employs misdirection and guilt by very tangential association to try to make his case.”
    His attempt to associate Darwin with Hitler isn’t even tangential–it’s just false! Hitler explicitly rejected Darwin’s hypothesis (now a theory) of common descent in Mein Kampf, which puts Hitler in the same camp as the IDers and creationists, who reject common descent and accept change within a species or “kind,” which is what Hitler was trying to accomplish with genocide.
    “Intelligent Design advocates believe that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected or random or mechanical process such as Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.”
    Natural selection is anything but random, and mutations are only random with respect to fitness. Thus, any attempt to portray the entire process as random is a lie.
    “Stein begins by interviewing scientists who lost their jobs for even mentioning the theory,…”
    This is incorrect in two ways. None of the people lost their jobs for “mentioning” ID. Second, ID is not a theory; in science, the term “theory” refers to a hypothesis with a long track record of successful empirical predictions. The ID movement is afraid to test their laughably weak hypothesis, so instead they lie to deceive the public about the very nature of science.
    “… baits some Darwinian scientists in selective clips from interviews,”
    Real scientists only use the term “Darwinian” to describe mechanisms. All of the scientists interviewed are well aware of multiple non-Darwinan mechanisms.
    “Stein says that freedom of speech requires that both Intelligent Design and Darwin’s natural selection should be taught in America’s classrooms.”
    But the reality is that students, when taught properly, learn about non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms too.
    “But he never subjects Intelligent Design to the kind of scrutiny required by scientific analysis, which is based on observation and experimentation.”
    Correct, with one essential prediction–a scientist has to use her/his hypothesis to make predictions about what she/he will observe, and then go to the lab or the field to test those predictions. The irony is that no one in the ID movement has sufficient faith to put an ID hypothesis to the test.
    “Science is all about challenging, refining, and refuting established theories, as the movie concedes, with Albert Einstein’s improvement of the theories of Isaac Newton as an example.”
    Yes, but unlike IDers, Einstein made empirical predictions, and he didn’t become famous until those predictions were shown to be correct. IDers are afraid to make predictions and they have labs and money to test them if they did. Einstein was a patent clerk.
    “Darwin says that life forms evolved through random mutation and natural selection, the survival of the fittest.”
    Darwin knew nothing of random mutation. He observed heritable variation, as anyone else does.
    “Stein never shows that Intelligent Design can go from theory to explanation as it must to be considered science.”
    You’re conflating “theory” with “hypothesis.” Theory is the endpoint, and hypothesis is the beginning. “Theory” does not mean “untested guess.”

  • Chuck Anziulewicz

    Ben Stein was OK in “Ferris Bueller,” and I thought he was quite funny in “Win Ben Stein’s Money” and “Turn Ben Stein On.” But his involvement in this project mystifies me. The purpose of the film, ostensibly, is just to broaden the debate … but debate over WHAT, exactly? “Intelligent Design?” Puh-leeze. “Intelligent Design” starts with a presupposition, a CONCLUSION — namely, that some supernatural intelligence (i.e. “GOD”) was responsible for Life on Earth, and then it works backwards from there. Any notions that contradict the original presupposition are to be discarded and discredited. I supposed we should just stop doing scientific research altogether, throw up our hands and say, “GOD DID IT!” “Intelligent Design” is the ANTITHESIS of science.
    Sorry, but this movie is just emblematic of the way evangelicals are determined to mold American society into something akin to a theocracy.

  • Benjamin

    Overall, this is an excellent, well thought out review. Perhaps the best I’ve seen so far, and I have seen them all.
    John makes some valid points, but none the less, very nice work.

  • Bad

    “The numerous PHD’s in the film who have been discriminated against, ostricized, and blacklisted are evidence enough that there is a major problem in academia.”
    It’s strange that so many reviewers give the movie bad marks, but even still they buy into the film’s accusations on this score. But the claims about what happened to these people, such as Sternberg are almost all full on lies. Sternberg wasn’t fired at all. Crocker didn’t just “mention” intelligent design: she told her students that horse fossils were hyraxes and other thoroughly incompetent nonsense. And she wasn’t fired either: she wasn’t rehired next season, as many other teachers were who had nothing to do with ID.
    And the film completely dodges the larger point: if ID really wants to claim to be science, then it cannot spin around and scream religious discrimination when scientists judge it to be BAD science and call it “oppression” when they criticize its proponents. You can’t have it both ways. Regular scientists are criticized all the time for shoddy work, and it hurts their careers and reputations. That’s the rough and tumble world of science. But ID folks don’t want to have to take criticism: they simply want affirmative action for their views, regardless of scientific merit. They want their beliefs taught in science classes, but for some reason not the beliefs of astrologers, timecubists, holocaust deniers, and all sorts of other things that are “alternate” ideas to mainstream scholarship but can’t meet the regular bars of evidence and merit.

  • Ken S.

    “The numerous PHD’s in the film who have been discriminated against, ostricized, and blacklisted are evidence enough that there is a major problem in academia. This film demonstrates that better than any other in recent memory.”
    The movie completely misrepresents and out right lies about all these poor, alleged victims of academic snobbery. Read the facts at expelledexposed.com.
    http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth
    It also need to be said that it is not a “problem” for academia to reject sheer nonsense. Evolution is a proven fact. There is no such scientific theory as “Intelligent Design” (that is purely a religious movement, not a scientific on, and it has never provided any testable hypotheses), and there is no more reason to be “open minded” about it than there is to be open minded about an argument that the earth is flat or that it sits on a turtle.
    There isn’t even anything to TEACH about ID. It’s nothing but a religious belief, with no evidentiary basis and no scientific reasoning behind it. There is, to be sure, that specious little device called “irreducible complexity” contrived by Michael Behe which avers the uninteresting truism that if something in biology cannot possibly have developed by natural processes then it must have developed by some other process. The problem with that, though, is that not a single example of so-called “irreducible complexity” has ever been demonstrated to exist (and no, bacterial flagella are not irreducible. Neither are eyballs or wings or any of the other rubbish that typically gets espoused by creationist/ID demagogues and their naive audiences.

  • Jean-Paul Bondy

    “not an undirected or random or mechanical process such as Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.”
    Once again, someone from the religious side of things uses a straw man to attack evolution and natural selection.
    If one knows anything about natural selection, the word “random” would never be uttered. It is a false claim, and shows that either this person is purposefully lying in order to “win” an argument, or has no understanding of the fundamental principles of evolution.
    Once again
    There is nothing random in natural selection!!!

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks so much for all of these comments. A few responses:
    John, I especially appreciate your illuminating and clarifying comments. Thanks especially for the reminder of the importance of distinguishing the scientific use of the term “theory” from the colloquial use and the additional information about Hilter’s views.
    Bad, thanks for the additional information about some of the scientists featured in the film. Your point is exactly the right one — they can’t call Intelligent Design “science” unless they are willing to subject the hypothesis to the same tests that all of science must be measured by. If not, they can call it something else or even invent their own category and keep natural selection out of that one, but they cannot call it “science.”
    Both John and John-Paul: I believe that if you are going to argue with someone’s point, you have to begin with their own description of their views and thus I felt it necessary to use Intelligent Design’s own statement of its core beliefs, including their use of the term “random.” I believe they use it to refer not to natural selection but to mutation.
    Thank you, Ben and Ford, for the kind words. You saw in my review what I was hoping to convey, not ideology but an assessment of the logic of the movie within its own terms. Stein says in the movie he would not want his child taught that the earth was flat or that the Holocaust never happened. But he never explains how the mechanism for establishing they are not true should not be applied to Intelligent Design. It really is a terribly shoddy piece of work.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Evolution cannot explain the origin of a code or machine (the genetic code and microscopic cellular machinery). Every code and machine that has come into existence has required intelligent causation, hence, Intelligent Design. This is true for all machines and codes that we can observe, study, test, and demonstrate. This is an observation that can be tested by anyone and experimentally verified scientifically. To say that ID is not science is utter BS. If ID is not science, then please explain to me the origin of the computer you are using.
    What is the origin of natural selection if not intelligent design?
    The genetic code is the only code that mankind did not intelligently design. The genetic code is more complex then all of mankinds’ codes put together. So then why do Darwinists attribute chance-necessity to a code more complex then the ones mankind intelligently designs, when the intelligently designed ones are more simplistic?
    I also find it interesting that no paleontologist or primatologist has ever noticed that humans are the only animals capable of adding concept onto matter in the form of machines and codes. Why do they shy away from this obvious chasm of a difference? Why do they not recognize human exceptionalism in this regard? Are they fact driven scientific branches, or are they ideologically driven? You decide.

  • Olorin

    Let’s take IntelligentDesigner’s comment one step further. “Every code and machine that has come into existence has required intelligent causation, hence, Intelligent Design.”
    Not only that—every complex machine that has come into existence has required many different designers. Surely DNA and the cellular machinery are more complex than an automobile or an aircraft. Yet each of these requires hundreds or thousands of designers–dozens for the structural parts, dozens for the engines, dozens for the electrical systems, and on and on.
    Actually, multiple designers expalin many aspects of living systems. Why do some animals catch and eat others? Well, why do missiles destroy an enemy’s buildings? Antagonistic designers. Why do some species drive others out of existence? Well, why do automobiles designed by different companies compete with each other? Why do species go extinct? Different designers obsolete the designs of preceding designers. Why do some features of many animals appear similar? Some companies design engines and sell the same design to different aircraft designers. Why do animals have vestigial organs? Many digital watches use exactly the same chip—different models merely disconnect unwanted circuits.
    A moment’s reflection will reveal many other reasons why living beings must have been designed by vast numbers of different designers.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Does evolution have any limits at all?
    Who has tested the limits of Evolution? Anyone?

  • IntelligentDesigner

    OLORIN,
    Not necessarily. Morse Code had one designer. Samuel F. B. Morse. So it would be more correct to say that a machine or code requires AT LEAST ONE DESIGNER (possibly more than one). In a more general sense, these concepts’ origins require a mind.

  • Saji George

    Sounds like the movie addresses an angle on this discussion I’ve always been curious about: Why is there so such an emotional and staunch response from both sides of the discussion. I’ve read quite a bit on possible motivations behind the intelligent design proponents. It would be interesting to explore the possibility that proponents of darwinism have emotive and dogmatic reasons as well.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    A wedge is another machine that only requires one designer. A wedge does require intelligent design when you investigate its origin. If you do not think so, then I have a bridge I can sell you.

  • Don Read

    Chuck:
    Ben Stein was OK in “Ferris Bueller,” and I thought he was quite funny in “Win Ben Stein’s Money” and “Turn Ben Stein On.” But his involvement in this project mystifies me.
    Ben Stein was brought in because he was nominally Jewish. The producers, Walt Ruloff, John Sullivan, and Logan Craft, needed someone who wasn’t overtly Christian (read Fundamentalist Evangelical) to cloud the issue.
    For details, read:
    http://www.sbtexan.com/default.asp?action=article&aid=5533&issue=2/4/2008

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Saji George,
    There is so much emotional and staunch responses because ideologues have taken over specific branches of science and they are being exposed. 88% of biologists do not believe in a personal God. Only around 9-12% of general population thinks the same. In academia, you have a situation where only evolutionists are able to decide whether or not evolution is true and how far the mechanism goes with regard to origins in biology and cosmology. This is similar to the Catholic Church being the only authority to judge what can be said and regarded as truth with regard to the origins of biology and cosmology in medieval times.
    Motivations are a distraction and have nothing to do with that actual arguments against the Explanatory filter, Complex Specified Information, and Irreducible Complexity. Ad Hominems are common to the Darwin lot. They would rather use “Bulverism” tactics then actually engage in argumentative debate (because they know they are wrong). A famous lawyers creed is: if you have the facts on your side, argue the facts, if you have the law on your side, argue the law, if neither are on your side, destroy your opponents credibility. Darwinists do not have the facts on their side, so they don’t argue the facts. Darwinists do not have the law on their side (how can you argue about acedemic freedom legislation?)so they have to invent strawmen arguments in order to make the law on their side (by saying that ID postulates a supreme being or supernatural being, when it really just postulates that the most likely cause for the origin of said thing is an intelligent cause). The only thing left after knocking down strawmen is for them to attack the credibility of their opponents in the ID community since EF, CSI, and IC are not in any religious scripture.
    Just saying something is not science, then talking about how the ID people got to thinking the way they do is not science, it’s logical fallacy. Its bluffing.
    If ID is not a real phenomenon, and not scientific, then I’d like someone to tell me the origin of the computer or airplane. If detecting intelligent causation can not be studied, then I want to know why, and then they’d need to talk to the forensic scientists, because that is indeed what they do for a living.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Saji George,
    There is so much emotional and staunch responses because ideologues have taken over specific branches of science and they are being exposed. 88% of biologists do not believe in a personal God. Only around 9-12% of general population thinks the same. In academia, you have a situation where only evolutionists are able to decide whether or not evolution is true and how far the mechanism goes with regard to origins in biology and cosmology. This is similar to the Catholic Church being the only authority to judge what can be said and regarded as truth with regard to the origins of biology and cosmology in medieval times.
    Motivations are a distraction and have nothing to do with that actual arguments against the Explanatory filter, Complex Specified Information, and Irreducible Complexity. Ad Hominems are common to the Darwin lot. They would rather use “Bulverism” tactics then actually engage in argumentative debate (because they know they are wrong). A famous lawyers creed is: if you have the facts on your side, argue the facts, if you have the law on your side, argue the law, if neither are on your side, destroy your opponents credibility. Darwinists do not have the facts on their side, so they don’t argue the facts. Darwinists do not have the law on their side (how can you argue about acedemic freedom legislation?)so they have to invent strawmen arguments in order to make the law on their side (by saying that ID postulates a supreme being or supernatural being, when it really just postulates that the most likely cause for the origin of said thing is an intelligent cause). The only thing left after knocking down strawmen is for them to attack the credibility of their opponents in the ID community since EF, CSI, and IC are not in any religious scripture.
    Just saying something is not science, then talking about how the ID people got to thinking the way they do is not science, it’s logical fallacy. Its bluffing.
    If ID is not a real phenomenon, and not scientific, then I’d like someone to tell me the origin of the computer or airplane. If detecting intelligent causation can not be studied, then I want to know why, and then they’d need to talk to the forensic scientists, because that is indeed what they do for a living.

  • John

    Thanks for your reply. I agree with your review, I’m only saying that there is far more deception than what you identified.
    “…I felt it necessary to use Intelligent Design’s own statement of its core beliefs, including their use of the term “random.” I believe they use it to refer not to natural selection but to mutation.”
    Some do, most don’t.
    I’m just saying that it’s a major point of deception either way. Even mutation is only random in a single, limited sense. Mutations are grossly biased in their directionality (A->G happens orders of magnitude more often than A->C or A->T, triplet repeats like the one that causes Huntington’s expand at incredibly rapid rates and rarely contract) and in their location. Some mechanisms crank up mutations. They are only random wrt fitness.
    If you want to get an idea as to how ludicrous their claims of limits are, consider this fact: your body, in real time (2 weeks), using nothing but genetic variation (recombination and mutational hotspots) that is random wrt fitness and selection, create multiple proteins that bind to another single protein with incredible specificity. Moreover, there are so many ways to evolve specific binding that the multiple proteins evolved in your body will be different from the ones my body evolves, even when we are presented with the same protein. The new proteins are the antibodies produced by the immune system.
    The punchline: assuming that God designed us, why did He choose genetic variation and selection as the mechanism underlying something as important as the immune system? Aren’t the IDers who claim that protein binding sites can’t evolve specificity calling God unintelligent then?

  • BobC

    I haven’t seen this anti-science movie and I won’t waste my money on it, but I have heard it was boring and extremely dishonest.
    Intelligent design (ID) is a religious idea. ID is nothing more than a belief in supernatural magic. Even religious scientists don’t invoke supernatural magic to explain the natural world.
    The basic facts of biological evolution, including the close evolutionary relationship of humans and the other ape species, are accepted by every competent biologist in the world. None of these biologists invoke ID or any other magic to explain it. Evolution is not guided by God. It’s guided by natural selection and other mechanisms of evolution. It works. Scientists know it works because the evidence, which has been accumulating from many branches of science for 150 years, is overwhelming. The molecular evidence for evolutionary relationships is extremely powerful. For example, because of the molecular evidence, there is no doubt humans share common ancestors with the other primates, and there is no doubt we are most closely related to the chimpanzee apes.
    This movie dishonestly claims there are problems with evolution, but evolution is one of the strongest big ideas of science. I don’t know if science teachers are being fired because they prefer intelligent design magic instead of the science of biological evolution, but in my opinion they should be fired. It’s not fair to students to be stuck with a biology teacher who knows nothing about evolution, which is the cornerstone of biology.
    Google “expelled exposed” for information about the dishonesty of the producers of the Expelled movie.

  • geneticist

    > To say that ID is not science is utter BS
    Excellent review!
    See also http://www.expelledexposed.com/
    and
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=sciam-reviews-expelled
    ID is poor theology and no science at all. It does not make any predictions, does not suggest any experiments, its theories are not testable and cannot be falsified.

  • BobC

    Somebody said “In academia, you have a situation where only evolutionists are able to decide whether or not evolution is true…”
    No person decides what’s true and what’s not true in science. The EVIDENCE decides. That’s what biological evolution has. Tons of it. The evidence for the idea that all life evolved from common ancestors is massive, powerful, and rapidly growing. Scientific facts are not determined by scientists. They are determined by evidence and that’s why biological evolution is called a fact.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Good Old BobC, appearing at every Darwin Blog Site.
    Why can monkeys and apes and chimps not add concept onto matter in the form of a machine or code like humans can?
    Did you know that Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel have millions of lines of identical code? Did you know that they aren’t common ancestors, but rather the product of a common designer?
    So to say that the genetic code is similar in chimps as it is in humans, and call that proof of common ancestry is joke, and is a lie. No code has been proven to come into existence from scratch through any other cause then Intelligent causes (a mind). Another better possiblity that we can in fact demonstrate in reality and prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that similar code means a common designer.
    The study of origins is tricky because the genetic code was only produced once (if it was produced more than once, then chance is that chance would have made a different code other than the genetic code). Since it was produced once and we cannot observe it today, then we have to infer causal powers that can be attributed to a code’s origin. The only causal power of the universe that makes and produces codes that can be demonstrated in reality and tested empirically and scientifically is intelligent causation.
    English language: ID, Morse Code: ID, Airplane: ID, Automobile: ID, Compound Bow: ID.
    I find it interesting too that monkeys, apes, chimps cannot add concept onto matter in the form of a machine or code. Only humans have that unique innate ability.

  • BobC

    About half of Americans completely reject the facts of biological evolution. The other half accepts evolution but most of those people invoke God to invent and/or guide evolution. Only 14% of Americans accept the basic facts of biological evolution without invoking God for any of it.
    That’s means only 14% of Americans have a good understanding of how evolution works. There is nothing wrong with believing in God, but it’s very wrong to invoke God for natural processes He’s not needed for.
    There’s many reasons for the disgraceful American ignorance of science. Inferior science education is part of the problem. Religious indoctrination of very young children doesn’t help. Even worse are the professional liars like Ben Stein and his movie. It’s unfortunate there’s a big business in America that exists only to attack science and science education.

  • John

    Saji George wrote:
    “It would be interesting to explore the possibility that proponents of darwinism have emotive and dogmatic reasons as well.”
    Your question is a perfect example, Saji. You’re not exploring anything, because you are using loaded language that reflects a determination to value ignorance and political spin over evidence.
    The stupidity of your question lies in the fact that, as a cell biologist and neuroscientist, I am in no way can be accurately or honestly described as a “proponent of darwinism.” The fact is that educated people realize that modern evolutionary theory involves both Darwinian and non-Darwinian mechanisms, and both types are highly relevant to my biomedical research. No one calls physics “Einsteinism,” or “Bohrism,” so your label represents rhetorical dishonesty right out of the box.
    Do you see that by your uncritical adoption of a false label, you’ve demonstrated to me that your mind is almost certainly dogmatically closed to begin with, particularly to evidence, the fundamental currency of science?
    If you disagree, why don’t you outline some empirical predictions of ID hypotheses and explain why no one in this well-funded movement can be bothered to test any of them? They’ve even got their own journal that hasn’t been published in over two years? How can I censor a journal that they control?

  • IntelligentDesigner

    BobC,
    You are a very good cheer leader, but saying evolution is a fact in regards to explaining the diversity of life is ridiculous. BobC, without your evolution mantras and your Ad Hominems and strawmen arguments against ID, just explain to me one code that can come into existence by an undirected, unguided series of causal powers. You must be able to demonstrate that this set of causes can create a code from scratch, and your experiment must be repeated. The only code not Intelligently Designed by humans is the genetic code, and the genetic code is more complex than all of the other codes created by man put together. So if the the simplistic codes created by man were all created by Intelligent Design, what in your mind makes you think that this more complex code that we see contained in a the DNA structure was not also Intelligently Designed.
    Do you honestly think a code can evolve (change over time) from scratch? (without the involvement of another more primary code or intelligence).

  • BobC

    IntelligentDesigner, produce evidence for your intelligent design magic, evidence that doesn’t include lying about science, and I will consider your strange ideas.
    Please remember your misconceptions about biological evolution are not evidence for your magical creation ideas. Also, your wishful thinking is not evidence for your belief in supernatural magic.

  • Stephen

    This is one of the best films I ever saw! The whole point of the film is not to discredit evolution, but to point out that academic freedom is being infringed upon. I don’t always like the reviews that Christian sites give. It now seems that we are eating our own!

  • John

    “The whole point of the film is not to discredit evolution, but to point out that academic freedom is being infringed upon.”
    It would be hard to discredit evolution itself, as it is a phenomenon. If you are referring to the collection of theories regarding mechanisms of evolution, nothing the ID movement has done has discredited them.
    In what way has academic freedom been infringed upon, Stephen? None of the people featured in the movie were fired.
    Are you saying that I, as a neuroscientist, can choose to criticize fundamental theories, simply write dumbed-down books and make movies aimed at laypeople instead of doing experiments, and claim that my academic freedom has been restricted when my grants don’t get renewed?
    That would involve much less work than I’m doing now, and it would be lying.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for all your comments, everyone. I am delighted to be having this conversation and appreciate the respect and consideration you are all showing each other.
    A few more responses:
    Stephen, Beliefnet is not a Christian site. It is a site devoted to spirituality, inspiration, belief, and seeking. We respect all beliefs and try to learn from and understand one another. And academic freedom does not include the freedom to teach anything. As Stein notes, he does not want schools to teach that the earth is flat or that the Holocaust never happened. The academic community puts ID to the exact same test that they use for any other proposed explanation of any phenomena, from flat earth to cold fusion. Science only includes hypotheses that can be tested according to the rigorous analysis of its discipline.
    Intelligent Designer, the fact that natural selection does not explain everything does not mean that it is not valid. It also does not mean that speculation or faith about the parts that it does not explain constitutes science. Science is always about questioning, testing, refining, filling in the blanks; it is never complete.
    The irony of all of this is that there really is no reason that ID and science can’t co-exist. Dawkins is completely candid about the inability of science to explain the origins of creation. ID is just as valid an explanation as any other for what prompted the mechanical force that began the journey that led us to where we are now. But because it cannot be tested, it is not science.
    IDers who try to sell it as science are wasting their time. It’s like a dogwhistle — the sounds those words make are outside the scope of what scientists can hear. Which is fine — that is why they are scientists. They believe in what they can prove. IDers can call their ideas whatever they want but they are not science and to present them as such in a science classroom is to subvert the entire notion of what science is. ID belongs in philosophy or religion or metaphysics, subjects of equal importance and weight, but it no more belongs in science class than it does in French, geometry, economics, or PE.
    This movie is shoddy. If I did not know better, I would guess that it was made by the Darwinians to make ID look foolish. If ID proponents want to persuade others of their position, they should base their arguments on their strength, which is grounded in faith, not science.
    I once attended a debate between two physicists on what physics tells us about the existence of God. It was fascinating. The Nobel Prize winner argued like an ID proponent that the patterns in physics were so complex that they must have been created by a higher intelligence. The other physicist (who is now undertaking a massive study about the connection between science and religion) argued that the patterns were so logical that they must have been created by being built one tiny step at a time, and thus did not reflect an intelligent design. It was a fascinating conversation between two good friends who enjoyed each other’s points of view very much. But neither one argued that the conclusions they drew were science. They were based on science, but everything after the “because the patterns are so complex” was speculation, faith, supposition, guess, or wish. The fact that both conclusions were based on the same premise and there was no way to test them takes them out of the realm of science. And it makes the freedom of speech question completely irrelevant.

  • IntelligentCausation

    Reply to comments from BobC on 4/18/08 @ 6:10pm.
    “IntelligentDesigner, produce evidence for your intelligent design magic, evidence that doesn’t include lying about science, and I will consider your strange ideas.”
    English is a code, which is part of a greater form called a language convention. Notice the English comes into existence by a mind. Your mind, my mind, we can add the English onto a physical medium (ink and paper / computer), store the information on that medium for later informational retrieval from another. It requires translation, semantics, syntax, grammar, and medium.
    I am in a sense adding concept onto matter in the form of a code, which is English, onto the computer (medium) which translates it from machine code.
    Writing English is not magic. It originated through the action of a mind (an intelligent cause). The action (in the form of a machine-body) of a mind is a unique and separate causal power of the universe (it is a guided cause/process). You will notice that the evolution of English needed a mind and body, hence Intelligent Design. We know it originated by the Angels, Saxons, Jutes which were the Anglo-Saxons sometime past 600 AD. The code required Intelligent Design. The code required logic as well.
    This is a simplistic example of a code in which its origin was found to be Intelligent Design. I have demonstrated to you Intelligent Design. It’s real and can be demonstrated to exist. I can give you more examples of codes coming into existence through Intelligent Design.
    Humans seem to have that innate ability that chimps and all other primates just simply do not have, which is the ability to produce a code through Intelligent Design.
    “Please remember your misconceptions about biological evolution are not evidence for your magical creation ideas. Also, your wishful thinking is not evidence for your belief in supernatural magic.”
    A magical creation idea would be saying that natural selection and random mutations can produce a code. You must believe in supernatural magic if you think any combination of undirected, unguided, and random processes/causes can produce a code from a non-code. I will wait for you to come up with such a mechanism.
    Ignore changes in species through evolution, what about the genetic codes’ existence itself? It’s a code. It is a holistic digital instruction set which codes for proteins. RNA translates. The ribosome is the factory that builds the proteins using the code from DNA.
    Intelligent Design becomes the inference to the best possibility. No one has witnessed the origin of the genetic code. It is metaphysical—I agree with you that . It is pretty much the definition of a miracle because of its complexity and uniqueness, with a seemingly specified shape.

  • IntelligentCausation

    “It was a fascinating conversation between two good friends who enjoyed each other’s points of view very much. But neither one argued that the conclusions they drew were science. They were based on science, but everything after the “because the patterns are so complex” was speculation, faith, supposition, guess, or wish. The fact that both conclusions were based on the same premise and there was no way to test them takes them out of the realm of science. And it makes the freedom of speech question completely irrelevant.”
    The only causes capable of producing complex patterns on movable and non-movable parts are human minds through intelligent design. This is an observable fact. It is more fact than E. Coli bacteria changing into something that is non-bacterial, even when given one trillion generations which have been observed over 150 years or so.
    Humans are the only animals that can add concept onto matter in the form of a machine and code. There are no known examples of any other animal that can intelligently design such concepts. Nor are there any other animals that can decipher or intelligently design algorithms.
    Because humans are the only animals that can form machines and codes from non-machines and non-codes, Intelligent Design would predict that humans will eventually intelligently design life through reverse engineering. I predict life will be demonstrated to come into existence from scratch through directed causes, not undirected ones. We are approaching this already.
    Intelligent Design is the inference to the best possible answer as to the origin of the genetic code, which was a metaphysical event that happened once some time in the past in which no one observed it. Intelligent causation is the only known causal power of the universe that can produce such a structure, concept and translation.

  • Nell Minow

    IntelligentCausation:
    The most important words in what you wrote are “inference” “predict,” and “known.” You acknowledge that your conclusion is an inference and a prediction and not a hypothesis which can be tested and proved. And you acknowledge that your inference is based on what is (now) known, implying that we may know more in the future. Well said. Thank you.

  • IntelligentCausation

    Yes. The genetic code is the only code that mankind did not intelligently design. All other codes added onto matter were intelligently designed by humans. Codes have only been demonstrated to have been originated by intelligent design.

  • IntelligentCausation

    It can be tested.

  • Tim

    The movie wasn’t about making a case for Intelligent Design. It was about academic oppression. Considering the trend of people purposely misrepresenting those that question Darwin, I cannot be sure the author has not made this misrepresentation on purpose.

  • Tim

    Actually I have changed my mind. Rather than just review the movie, the author goes out of their way to insult and attack Intelligent Design, and set up this same dishonest or misinformed which ever of the two it is, caricatures of ID.
    But a refutation of a caricature, is only a caricature of a refutation. This author’s strawman should not be taken seriously.
    About Intelligent Design She says:
    “A rebuttal website has been created by The National Center for Science Education, which defends the teaching of evolution in public schools, and whose executive director appears in the film. Families who would like to know more about this issue should review the court’s decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District,”
    Oh please, the Grandly named “National Center for Science Education” is nothing of the sort… as a teacher, or as an educator, you have nothing to do with them, and in fact you would never even hear of them unless you were closely following the Intelligent Design controversy. They do not in fact “have” a rebuttle site, they ARE the rebuttle site, and a lobbyist group, and that is ALL they are. Furthermore, the Case was a sham, the Judge, Judge Jones, who was about as conservative as Rudy Guliani, plagerized from the ACLU and basically copy-pasted from them. Which was clearly a very good political move for him, and quite frankly, this appears to be his reasoning. Because is verdict is chock full of demonstratable lies.

  • Tim

    “As a lawyer, he should understand that freedom of speech also guarantees the freedom not to have to listen to mangled, manipulative, and disingenuous rhetoric like this.”
    Oh good, so we know which side you are on. The side that forces people out of their very careers and livlihoods because they think they can have evidence for a God. Are you some sort of flaming athiest? How did you ever get a job working here?

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for posting, Tim. I am sorry my views were not clear to you. Please re-read the first sentence of my review and my responses to other comments. I do not agree with your characterization of the film. “Thinking they have evidence for a God” puts them, as I said, in the realm of philosophy, religion, and metaphysics, not science. Presenting a hypothesis that can be tested according to the principles of scientific inquiry puts it in the realm of science. Everyone on all sides agrees that our current understanding of science does not cover the question of how it all began. IDers want to fill in that blank with conclusions that cannot be tested.
    The movie tried to shift the argument to academic oppression, as I said in my review, but was unsuccessful in doing so. In order to make a case for academic oppression, you have to be able to show that the study should be legitimately included as an alternative theory and the film does not do that; it skirts around the issue.
    Arguments have to be made on the basis of logic, not name-calling. Judge Jones, as I pointed out, is a Republican, a church-goer, and a Bush appointee. Finding this movie a poor argument for ID does not make someone an atheist.
    Intelligent Causation, if ID can be tested according to the principles of scientific inquiry, I am sure its proponents are undertaking that now and I look forward to their findings.
    ID may not qualify as science, but, as I have said, questions of the origin of life belong in other classrooms like religion, philosophy, anthropology, metaphysics, and even literature. Consider this lovely quote from Carl Sandburg:
    Something began me and it has no beginning: something will end me and it has no end.

  • jeff

    I think that one of Stein’s main points is being ignored … or misrepresented … here.
    Stein may or may not be advocating that Intelligent Design is the right and proper theory to explain the origin of life, the origin of species and the origin of Homo sapiens (“man”). I don’t know about this, I haven’t seen the movie, yet.
    But what I have read in reviews and comments about the movie demonstrates that Stein’s film must have forgotten to mention one important point about scientific inquiry: it must be supported – at least, minimally – by an instituition acceptable to scientists! They don’t care how smart you are, they don’t care how well educated you are and, finally, they don’t care how clever or revealing your scientific enquiry or paper is. If you are not a scientist associated with a college or university … or a government or non-profit instituition … or perhaps even a major corporation … your scientific research will never be published in a scientific journal!
    I have a master’s degree and so, theoretically, I have a credential for having my scientific research published in a scientifically respectable journal, right? Wrong. As I am not affiliated with an educational instituition, government entity or a major corporation, I have no standing to have my scientific paper reviewed or published in a scientific journal. (Scientific journals weren’t always this fussy, but that open-mindedness gradually ended about fifty years’ ago.)
    Therefore, if we were to perform an astounding piece of scientific research in our basement at home (perhaps by studying E. coli bacteria, for example), no credible scientific journal would publish it! If we could prove, scientifically, that some aspect of Intelligent Design was more than just a theory, where would we be able to publish it? Scientific journals would reject it as being generated by a private party with “no credibility in the scientific community”. The popular media wouldn’t be interested in publishing our enquiry unless it was something that struck them as earth-shattering and fascinating to the general public (such as using cold fusion to generate electrical power from cold water, LOL!). So, here’s what we would be left with: publishing our ID-related research in one of the few journals specializing in religion-and-science or Intelligent Design, where our research will be ignored or mocked by nearly all of the scientific community (“… just look where they had to publish their so-called research. Ha-ha!”).
    That’s Stein’s main point, I suspect: by terminating or denigrating academicians and scientists who would support – or do research into – Intelligent Design, the educational establishment has effectively squelched all scientific research into Intelligent Design.
    If universities will not allow research into Intelligent Design by their staff – and government agencies and corporations will have no interest in this subject – then they will have effectively suppressed all scientific research into Intelligent Design. Therefore, the ‘lack of scientific proof for Intelligent Design’ will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. So much for academic freedom …

  • iorek

    The comments to this excellent review demonstrate why it is so important to cling to an objective “scientific method,” no matter how difficult and challenging it is. People who are convinced they are struggling over your immortal soul get emotional and exorcised and often end up willing to adopt any means to achieve what they perceive to be a sacred end.
    I would urge people who are still arguing about intelligent design to read the judidical opinion in the famous case of Kitzmiller v. Dover. There, a conservative, religious judge wrote a long, thorough, thoughtful analysis based on the results of a comprehensive trial where all the experts on both sides had a chance to make their case and be cross examined by the other side. The judge ruled that, while he had no way of knowing whether intelligent design was true or not, it was definitely not science. He found, in fact, by carefully looking at the original documents and tracing the history of intelligent design, that the proponents of intelligent design had repeatedly lied under oath in his court to cover up its roots in creationism and fundamentalism, and that they had altered drafts of documents to change key words in order to paint religious beliefs as a “science” in an effort to insert their religion into public schools and get public finding. Finally, he found by interviewing witnesses that “academic freedom” was simply a ruse used by religious advocates who could not prevail on the merits of their claim that intelligent design is science.
    The proponents of intelligent design were so devout they believed it was worth committing fraud and perjury to further God’s interests. Based on some of the comments here, the books and press releases they generated are having their intended affect. This example shows, better than anything, why it is important to guard the sanctity of science against propagandists like Ben Stein.

  • iorek

    I see that Tim has now challenged the judicial decision in the Kitzmiller case, claiming the judge was simply a mouthpiece for the liberal ACLU. Actually, the judge was appointed by George W. Bush and was well known to be a conservative, churchgoing judge. The judge’s opinion is 139 pages long and carefully documents with footnotes the sources for every position it takes. I invite you to read it and see who you believe. The judge anticpated that there would be people like Tim, who would simply close their eyes to the facts because their faith was so strong. He wrote:
    “Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy.”

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read the decision. It was horrible. Intelligent Design is science. You can detect intelligent causes, and there are things intelligent causes do that other causal powers of the universe do not, namely, produce a code or machine.
    His definition of science was taken right from the ACLU. He did copy their definition–methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism is fine and dandy except that it excludes intelligent causes which makes no sense.

  • John

    IC wrote:
    “Writing English is not magic. It originated through the action of a mind (an intelligent cause).”
    It evolved through the actions of many minds. Its evolution was undirected by any one mind. We know that if we separate two groups of people, their languages diverge via drift, analogous to speciation by genetic drift, which only a fool or a liar describes as “Darwinism.”
    “The action (in the form of a machine-body) of a mind is a unique and separate causal power of the universe (it is a guided cause/process).”
    Your analogy is false, because the evolution of languages is undirected. Every attempt by human leaders to direct or prevent the evolution of language fails.
    “You will notice that the evolution of English needed a mind and body, hence Intelligent Design. We know it originated by the Angels, Saxons, Jutes which were the Anglo-Saxons sometime past 600 AD.”
    That’s pure BS. English is ~30% French, with a lot of German and Scandinavian languages thrown in. A funny joke illustrates your linguistic ignorance:
    “According to Shirley Williams (the Baroness Williams of Crosby), British Prime Minister Tony Blair once related a story about George W. Bush:
    “After a discussion about economics with Blair and French President Jacques Chirac, Bush allegedly turned to Blair and remarked, “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur.’”
    “The code required Intelligent Design. The code required logic as well.”
    Language is not designed.
    “This is a simplistic example of a code in which its origin was found to be Intelligent Design. I have demonstrated to you Intelligent Design. It’s real and can be demonstrated to exist.”
    No one is disputing that humans can intelligently design things, so your assertion is worthless in shoring up your nonexistent case for ID of biology.
    “Ignore changes in species through evolution, what about the genetic codes’ existence itself?”
    Why would we ignore changes in species through evolution? The “genetic code” is only a code when we use letters to write it. In biology, it is only a metaphorical code.
    There is nothing symbolic about the genetic code.
    “It’s a code.”
    There is nothing symbolic about it.
    “It is a holistic digital instruction set which codes for proteins.”
    It is not holistic.
    “RNA translates.”
    No, RNA is translated. I’ve encountered many 7th-graders with a better understanding of elementary molecular biology.
    “The ribosome is the factory…”
    No, it is only metaphorically a factory. What polymer is found at the enzymatic core of the ribosome, btw?
    “… that builds the proteins using the code from DNA.”
    It translates RNA, not DNA. What is intelligent about copying DNA into RNA using a highly error-prone mechanism? Explain the intelligent rationale. You have to, if you have judged the design to be intelligent.
    How many amino acid residues have cognate codons?
    How many amino acid residues are found in proteins?
    Explain the difference in terms of intelligent design.
    “It can be tested.”
    Then why would you simply assert that instead of listing EMPIRICAL predictions t can be tested?
    Why has no one in the ID movement tested an ID hypothesis, if it’s testable? Do they lack faith?

  • Black5

    If you have done little or no reading on this issue then your viewpoint is one from ignorance. Google “Intelligent Design” and spend an hour finding answers on your own. If you wish to discuss this issue further come over to the ‘Evolution and Origins’ forum at http://www.talkrational.org/

  • iorek

    Anyone whose response to the Kitzmiller decision is simply to assert “I’ve read the decision. It was horrible. Intelligent Design is science” makes clear that their mind is closed. People who are only looking for ways to reinforce their personal biases will take comfort from the Ben Stein movie. On the other hand, people who are interested in exploring this issue in good faith with an open mind will find that the Kitzmiller decision evaluates a wide range of opinions from experts and organizations on the definition of science. The ACLU had no definition of science. Their lawyers helped to gather and submit to the court the opinions of well respected scientific organizations.

  • Dan Lee

    Hi Nell,
    It’s amazing that someone who is in effect opening their review by lauding their own intelligence would make such a rookie mistake as you have.
    Or,perhaps you were a bad little scientist girl & didn’t even bother to watch it before you wrote?
    Several people in the movie testified that through their work in science, they saw evidence of intelligent design, apart from a “God” or a specific religion, but you’ve conveniently skipped over that fact.
    Furthermore your opening attack on Faith just proves that Stein’s points in the movie about the new Science mafia being blinded by “world views”, is correct. You clearly fear God, & religion.
    In the end, you Darwinists when cornered always say the same thing when ask what exploded in the big bang theory.. “We don’t know for sure” or “We don’t know”. Even if you answered, I’d ask you, ok,then what was the origins of the substances that made up the “matter” you say exploded out to form the universe, & so on?
    You always make excuses for the questions you cannot answer, yet you fail to see that it takes faith to believe in even nothing, & you in your incidental self deification, belittle those who have faith when they say “I don’t know how God did it.”
    On the most detailed origins of life, the science community has been just as much a failure as anyone else, because no matter what they discover, they have to find out what comprises that thing, & it is obviously infinitive, & beyond any human’s intellectual capacity. In all their arrogance, secularist science cannot admit that truth.
    You have betrayed science for the benefit of your personal ideologies, like a mob of bitter children who no matter how hard you try, cannot get your way.
    Despite this, you will take a dirt nap with the rest of us, & thank God wherever he is, because humanity has grown so arrogant that we apparently need the smack of death to understand our place as sub atomic dust particles compared to the universal space around us.
    Your arrogance kills true science, & your arrogance kills your own spirit.
    Sad to watch, because if I’m wrong about the existence of God, I have nothing to lose. If you are? Who knows exactly what you’ll face if there is indeed a spiritual continuance after death. It’s not a gamble a sane person should take.
    Believing in God has never stopped me from searching for more scientific answers in life, but you people sure do seem a bit inquisitively repressed these days.
    ~Dan Lee

  • Randy Glaser

    Thank you for the review, Nell. Your observations regarding the failings of ID/Creationism as a scientific theory are absolutely correct. Very well done.
    IntelligentDesigner, in your dogmatic defense of Intelligent Design/Creationism as a science, you have made several statements that are simply untrue, are logically fallacious, or otherwise betray your failure to understand just what science is. I’ve listed a few here.
    I. You argue that “Evolution cannot explain the origin of a code or machine (the genetic code and microscopic cellular machinery).” Not necessarily.
    Biological evolution is the premise of a number of different conjectures regarding the origins of “the genetic code.” Tim Berra’s very good book, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, A Basic Guide to the Facts of the Evolution Debate (Stanford University Press, 1990), describes possible naturalistic explanations for the origins of life, and thus “the genetic code.” Really fascinating stuff.
    Now, mind you, these are little more than conjectures, far from being fully tested and accepted theories; however, they are possible explanations, and they do rely on principles of biological evolution. And because they are testable via the scientific method, they are better scientific explanations for the origins of life than ID/Creationsim, which, by comparison, is not in any way testable via the scientific method.
    As for your reference to “microscopic cellular machinery,” it seems clear that you are referring to Michael Behe’s discredited conjecture concerning bacterial flagellum and irreducible complexity. If you’re interested to see why Behe’s arguments don’t hold water, you may wish to read Ken Miller’s article, The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of “Irreducible Complexity.” It’s on the web, and it’s quite good.
    II. You also say, “The genetic code is the only code that mankind did not intelligently design.” Again, not so.
    Putting aside that there are naturalistic explanations for the origins of life and “the genetic code,” there are numerous examples of “codes”–other than the genetic code–that have not been created by “mankind.” For instance, it is well documented that honey bees dance (or waggle) as a means of communicating with one another. In other words, they make use of a code to convey information to each other. Unless I’m missing something, mankind had nothing to do with this.
    III. You contend, “I also find it interesting that no paleontologist or primatologist has ever noticed that humans are the only animals capable of adding concept onto matter in the form of machines and codes. Why do they shy away from this obvious chasm of a difference?”
    This is a straw man, and has nothing to do with whether biological evolution is a reputable theory. If it is true that only humans are capable of “adding concept onto matter,” it says nothing about the existence of God, the validity of ID/Creationism, or even the consistency of peanut butter. Indeed, it says nothing at all, other than only humans are capable of “adding concept onto matter”–whatever that means.
    The straw man is the logical fallacy upon which IDers/Creationists often rely when they cannot contend with the rational arguments of science.
    IV. You state, “Just saying something is not science, then talking about how the ID people got to thinking the way they do is not science, it’s logical fallacy. Its bluffing.”
    This is one of my favorite arguments from IDers/Creationists, if for no other reason than because of the chutzpah it takes to make it.
    Biological evolution has been subjected to ongoing scientific scrutiny since it was first asserted, and it has repeatedly been vindicated as a robust theory of how life develops on the earth. ID/Creationism, by contrast, is not even subject to testing or scientific scrutiny. The beginning and the end of the entire theory is nothing more than “God did it.” As as result, it is a supernatural explanation of a natural phenomenon. It is therefore not science.
    Talk about “bluffing.”
    (And, yes, before you suggest otherwise, ID/Creationism does in fact propose a supreme being. It did so when it was known as simply Creationism, and then again when it was called “Creation Science,” and now as “Intelligent design.” To suggest otherwise is simply misleading.)
    V. You state, “If ID is not a real phenomenon, and not scientific, then I’d like someone to tell me the origin of the computer or airplane.”
    This is a non sequitur. That one can show that a computer or an airplane is created by an intelligent designer (i.e., the good people at, say, Apple or Boeing) in no way suggests that an intelligent designer created and shepherds life on earth.
    VI. You contend, “There is so much emotional and staunch responses because ideologues have taken over specific branches of science and they are being exposed.”
    The brilliance of the scientific method is that it is free of the burden of carrying any particular ideology, other than that the truth is supreme. It begins with the idea that there are no sacred cows, while ideologies such as ID/Creationism begin and end with a theistic sacred cow–i.e., a supernatural explanation for the natural world. Accordingly, no matter how strong the evidence for the theory of biological evolution, IDers/Creationists are ideologically bound to reject it because it does not comport with their predetermined view of the universe. This is why IDers/Creationists often resort to fallacious arguments equating the theory of biological evolution to eugenics, materialism, immorality, etc. They cannot beat evolution on the scientific plane, so they resort to removing the argument to the ideological plane. Indeed, this is why repeatedly throughout your posts you identify the primacy of mankind over all other creatures on the earth, imbued with a particularly special place in the universe. This is an ideological argument; not a scientific argument.
    VII. Finally, you contend, “The only causes capable of producing complex patterns on movable and non-movable parts are human minds through intelligent design.” This is goalpost shifting. Every time science demonstrates the existence of spontaneously-created, complex patterns in nature, thus suggesting that complexity in nature occurs free of any observable “intelligent designer,” IDers/Creationists move the goalpost to demand even more complex patterns. And of course, because “complex” is a subjective term, there is no amount of demonstrated, spontaneous complexity that will ever satisfy the IDers/Creationists to dissuade them from their theistic ideology.
    The bottom line, IntelligentDesigner, is that you cannot beat science at science without science. Intelligent Design/Creationism is an untestable, theistic ideology; not science. Hence, it has no place in science.

  • Nell Minow

    Dan Lee — Thanks for writing. I have never been persuaded that the Pascal’s wager approach (why not believe in God? I have nothing to lose!) counts as faith, but I understand that faith is a gift and not everyone has the same capacity for it. Reminding you that insult is not argument, and that it diminishes the credibility of your views and your faith practice by commenting in a hostile and non-substantive manner, I will respond to your comment by saying I agree with you entirely — as did the scientists interviewed — that the ultimate question of what began creation has never been answered and is unlikely to be answered. At that point, faith enters in, and that is why it is not science.
    Science only includes those hypotheses that can be tested according to the scientific method. If, as the Discovery Institute representative in the movie says on screen, they have scientists of many different religions who believe in ID, I am sure they are working on developing protocols and experiments to meet the standards of scientific inquiry and look forward to their results. Until that time, the conundrum of assuming intelligence based on the existence of patterns and complexity will stay in the realm of philosophy, metaphysics, and religion. The issues and arguments are valid and meaningful but they are not science.
    God gave us hearts and minds. Clearly, we are intended to use both. I am genuinely glad that you feel you have found the answers you seek and that you found that this movie supported your views. I found that it failed in the task that it set for itself in making a persuasive case for ID as science, but then I came to it with an open mind.

  • iorek

    Dan Lee, you seem to disparage people who are governed by reason, saying they have been “cornered” into admitting, “We don’t know for sure” or “We don’t know”.
    Socrates was the wisest man in all of Athens because he knew that he knew nothing. On the other hand, men of faith like you and Osama Bin Laden are convinced that you know everything and no scientific method will ever persuade you otherwise. If there is a God in heaven, he will save us from men of faith.

  • a staunch atheist

    Ben Stein is more of an arrogant fool than I previously thought. Apparently he forgot what Hitler’s major influence for the holocaust was–Martin Luther–the infamous antisemitic father of protestantism. Luther preached that Jews should be robbed, thrown out of their homes while they watch them burn to the ground. Hitler was a Roman Catholic, not an atheist. And even if the theory of evolution provoked it, it was his ignorance and hate(along with his favorite religious revolutionary and his Bible)that influenced his actions. Evolution does not teach that slaughtering Jews is a good idea. Besides, religion is a major cause of war, murder, genocide, terror, oppression and abuse. Shouldn’t we get rid of religion since evolution, for what little damage it has caused, has hypothetically caused evil and needs to be pitched?
    How could any Jew support creationism?
    So why isn’t intelligent design not taught in school? Well, maybe that’s because of the fact that there’s nothing to teach about it. If ID were true, then we’d know that God created everything, and that’s it. There’s nothing else to say. There is no science involved in it. There is no evidence to support it. It’s based on mythology. And mythology should only be referred to as such.
    Sorry folks. Evolution is here to stay whether you like it or not.

  • IntelligentCausation

    IntelligentDesigner, in your dogmatic defense of Intelligent Design/Creationism as a science, you have made several statements that are simply untrue, are logically fallacious, or otherwise betray your failure to understand just what science is. I’ve listed a few here.
    You offer no evidence that I am dogmatic.
    I. You argue that “Evolution cannot explain the origin of a code or machine (the genetic code and microscopic cellular machinery).” Not necessarily.
    Evolution fundamentalist believers have not produced any code without using intelligent causes. The bees are using a mind to produce their code; hence you now have intelligent causes when you investigate its origin. The fact that you cannot admit that proves to everyone here that you are the one who is dogmatic.
    Biological evolution is the premise of a number of different conjectures regarding the origins of “the genetic code.” Tim Berra’s very good book, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, A Basic Guide to the Facts of the Evolution Debate (Stanford University Press, 1990), describes possible naturalistic explanations for the origins of life, and thus “the genetic code.” Really fascinating stuff.
    He didn’t show anyone he could produce a code without intelligent causes. He’s not demonstrating any code in reality. He’s dreaming things up in his imagination. He’s providing you with a nice story but with no demonstration, and no repeatability. Why do you choose to call ideas that cannot be demonstrated and repeated science? When trying to gather information to explain the origin of the airplane or Morse code, it has been found to be through intelligent design.
    Now, mind you, these are little more than conjectures, far from being fully tested and accepted theories; however, they are possible explanations, and they do rely on principles of biological evolution. And because they are testable via the scientific method, they are better scientific explanations for the origins of life than ID/Creationsim, which, by comparison, is not in any way testable via the scientific method.
    His conjectures are just stories that are not science. Again, why do you insist that Tim Berra is doing science when he cannot demonstrate a code or machine being added onto matter? What Tim is doing is religion. I cannot help you if you do not see that. Again, he’s not demonstrating anything. I cannot repeat any of his theories and get positive results. Tim’s work provides no predictive power as to how to add concept onto matter in the form of a code. Intelligent design does provide predictive power as to forming a code onto matter.
    Codes’ origins can be found and known. The Morse code as well as all other codes were produced by intelligent design. IT’S A FACT! No matter how many times you say ID is not real, the airplane and computer are always there to expose your views as wrong.
    As for your reference to “microscopic cellular machinery,” it seems clear that you are referring to Michael Behe’s discredited conjecture concerning bacterial flagellum and irreducible complexity. If you’re interested to see why Behe’s arguments don’t hold water, you may wish to read Ken Miller’s article, The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of “Irreducible Complexity.” It’s on the web, and it’s quite good.”
    Ken Miller is not doing science. He has never shown anyone a machine can come into existence without at least one of two things; 1. an intelligent designer. 2. a code.
    Saying that the bacterial flagellum came from the Type III secretory system is religion. He’s not demonstrating to you that it happened that way, he’s telling you dogmatically. Ken Miller developed a post hoc story which was done after the fact. The Type III secretory system required a pre-existing code which was the genetic code in order for either machine part to come into existence. You have demonstrated again that you are a dogmatic ideologue because Ken Miller cannot test to see if the Type III Secretory System can evolve into a Flagellum. He’s telling you a story and you are buying it wholesale.
    II. You also say, “The genetic code is the only code that mankind did not intelligently design.” Again, not so.
    It is so. I said a code that can be added onto matter. Ink and paper for the code of English for example. The genetic code added onto DNA is the only code added onto matter that did not originate through the mind and action of a human. This is a fact that can be repeated over and over and demonstrated.
    Putting aside that there are naturalistic explanations for the origins of life and “the genetic code,” there are numerous examples of “codes”–other than the genetic code–that have not been created by “mankind.” For instance, it is well documented that honey bees dance (or waggle) as a means of communicating with one another. In other words, they make use of a code to convey information to each other. Unless I’m missing something, mankind had nothing to do with this.
    I will clarify for you and say to you that mankind is the only animal that can add a code onto matter. The honeybee is not adding the code onto matter. The honeybee itself is expressing the code. And the code in your case required an intelligent cause to come into existence. The code just like all codes requires a mind if you study the origin, this is a fact.
    III. You contend, “I also find it interesting that no paleontologist or primatologist has ever noticed that humans are the only animals capable of adding concept onto matter in the form of machines and codes. Why do they shy away from this obvious chasm of a difference?
    This is a straw man, and has nothing to do with whether biological evolution is a reputable theory. If it is true that only humans are capable of “adding concept onto matter,” it says nothing about the existence of God, the validity of ID/Creationism, or even the consistency of peanut butter. Indeed, it says nothing at all, other than only humans are capable of “adding concept onto matter”–whatever that means.

    Ignorance must be bliss for you. Humans are the only animals that can add concept onto matter in the form of a machine or code. That’s a fact. If you do not get it, or cannot understand it and do not want to call it science, then I have proven that you are an ideologue that refuses to recognize something that can be demonstrated and tested right in front of you. You have not told me of one mechanism or any other combination of causal powers that can produce a code onto matter. Intelligent design has been shown to you that it can produce a code and machine onto matter, but you do not want to see the evidence which is right in your face. You are blind to your own ideology because you regress into believing that conjecture and story telling is the same as observing something happen, and demonstrating something to you. I have proven that you are not able to determine whether something is metaphysical and religious versus whether something is science.
    The straw man is the logical fallacy upon which IDers/Creationists often rely when they cannot contend with the rational arguments of science.
    IV. You state, “Just saying something is not science, then talking about how the ID people got to thinking the way they do is not science, it’s logical fallacy. Its bluffing.
    This is one of my favorite arguments from IDers/Creationists, if for no other reason than because of the chutzpah it takes to make it.
    Biological evolution has been subjected to ongoing scientific scrutiny since it was first asserted, and it has repeatedly been vindicated as a robust theory of how life develops on the earth. ID/Creationism, by contrast, is not even subject to testing or scientific scrutiny. The beginning and the end of the entire theory is nothing more than “God did it.” As as result, it is a supernatural explanation of a natural phenomenon. It is therefore not science.
    Talk about “bluffing.”

    What can evolution not do in your mind?
    How is: Evolution did it, any different then, God did it?
    (And, yes, before you suggest otherwise, ID/Creationism does in fact propose a supreme being. It did so when it was known as simply Creationism, and then again when it was called “Creation Science,” and now as “Intelligent design.” To suggest otherwise is simply misleading.)
    Intelligent causes are not the same as a supreme being. You are correct that a supreme being has not been demonstrated to exist and therefore is not science. Intelligent design does exist and has been shown to exist because we as humans make it so. Humans are not supreme beings (although when compared to all of the other animals we are). The bird has been shown to intelligently design a nest to store its young.
    V. You state, “If ID is not a real phenomenon, and not scientific, then I’d like someone to tell me the origin of the computer or airplane.
    This is a non sequitur. That one can show that a computer or an airplane is created by an intelligent designer (i.e., the good people at, say, Apple or Boeing) in no way suggests that an intelligent designer created and shepherds life on earth.

    You have just admitted that intelligent designers exist and therefore science. You just disagree with the analogy between manmade machines and biological machines. Intelligent design becomes the inference to the best possibility as to the origin of the genetic code because intelligent design has been empirically tested to produce a code in nature already.
    VI. You contend, “There is so much emotional and staunch responses because ideologues have taken over specific branches of science and they are being exposed.
    The brilliance of the scientific method is that it is free of the burden of carrying any particular ideology, other than that the truth is supreme. It begins with the idea that there are no sacred cows, while ideologies such as ID/Creationism begin and end with a theistic sacred cow–i.e., a supernatural explanation for the natural world. Accordingly, no matter how strong the evidence for the theory of biological evolution, IDers/Creationists are ideologically bound to reject it because it does not comport with their predetermined view of the universe.

    The origin of life by natural causes that you mentioned Tim Berra was experimenting on, is not science. He needs to demonstrate a code coming into existence without intelligent causation. Ken Miller telling us the flagellum evolved from the type III secretory system is not science, he’s not demonstrating any evolution in reality. It’s a story that is plausible, but at the same time is unfalsifiable. You contend that they are scientific which means that you are an ideologue because you choose to believe Ken Miller and Tim Berra without any repeatability and any evidence of such a mechanism or series of causes that have brought into existence a code added onto matter from scratch.
    This is why IDers/Creationists often resort to fallacious arguments equating the theory of biological evolution to eugenics, materialism, immorality, etc. They cannot beat evolution on the scientific plane, so they resort to removing the argument to the ideological plane. Indeed, this is why repeatedly throughout your posts you identify the primacy of mankind over all other creatures on the earth, imbued with a particularly special place in the universe. This is an ideological argument; not a scientific argument.
    Demonstrate to me any other animal that can add concept onto matter in the form of a machine or code. These concepts have to be added to matter (you know, the members of the periodic table). Humans are unique. Admit this is so, or falsify my hypothesis through experimentation. Come up with another animal that can do it.
    VII. Finally, you contend, “The only causes capable of producing complex patterns on movable and non-movable parts are human minds through intelligent design.” This is goalpost shifting. Every time science demonstrates the existence of spontaneously-created, complex patterns in nature, thus suggesting that complexity in nature occurs free of any observable “intelligent designer,” IDers/Creationists move the goalpost to demand even more complex patterns. And of course, because “complex” is a subjective term, there is no amount of demonstrated, spontaneous complexity that will ever satisfy the IDers/Creationists to dissuade them from their theistic ideology.
    What I described is a machine. Every machine falls into that definition. You so far are not demonstrating otherwise. It’s not goalpost shifting. A snowflake crystallizing is not a machine or code, although it is a complex pattern. Give me an example of a spontaneously-created complex pattern. Is it a machine or code? Please give me an example.
    The bottom line, IntelligentDesigner, is that you cannot beat science at science without science. Intelligent Design/Creationism is an untestable, theistic ideology; not science. Hence, it has no place in science.
    You are spouting an ideological mantra because you lost the argument and cannot demonstrate a code or machine originating without another code or intelligent cause. You lose.

  • Ben

    Why do religious commentators always end up saying (basically): “I feel sad for you” and the inevitable “you’re going to burn in hell”
    It’s impossible to argue with irrational/delusional people. There’s just no point. Which I why I just started agreeing with them! Yes, the world did have a creator, and his name is The Flying Spaghetti Monster (www.venganza.org). Disprove me.

  • a staunch atheist

    Well, I believe in Russell’s teapot.

  • John

    Jeff wrote:
    “I think that one of Stein’s main points…”
    You misspelled “lies.”
    “But what I have read in reviews and comments about the movie demonstrates that Stein’s film must have forgotten to mention one important point about scientific inquiry: it must be supported – at least, minimally – by an instituition acceptable to scientists!”
    False.
    “They don’t care how smart you are,…”
    True. They care about evidence, something no one in the ID or creationist movements has sufficient faith to produce by testing an ID or creationist hypothesis.
    “… they don’t care how well educated you are…”
    True. They care about evidence, something no one in the ID or creationist movements has sufficient faith to produce by testing an ID or creationist hypothesis.
    “… and, finally, they don’t care how clever or revealing your scientific enquiry or paper is.”
    Jeff, that’s false and a lie.
    ” If you are not a scientist associated with a college or university … or a government or non-profit instituition … or perhaps even a major corporation … your scientific research will never be published in a scientific journal!”
    That’s another lie. Robert Makela’s affiliation in his revealing (especially wrt evolution) Nature paper is given as “Rudyard High School.” Do you have the integrity to admit that you’re wrong, Jeff, or do you scoff at the Ninth Commandment?
    “I have a master’s degree and so, theoretically, I have a credential for having my scientific research published in a scientifically respectable journal, right?”
    No such credentials are needed. Makela’s coauthor never even finished college.
    “Wrong. As I am not affiliated with an educational instituition, government entity or a major corporation, I have no standing to have my scientific paper reviewed or published in a scientific journal. (Scientific journals weren’t always this fussy, but that open-mindedness gradually ended about fifty years’ ago.)”
    So how do you explain Makela, Jeff?
    “Therefore, if we were to perform an astounding piece of scientific research in our basement at home (perhaps by studying E. coli bacteria, for example), no credible scientific journal would publish it!’
    Utterly false. You stack lie upon lied.
    ” If we could prove, scientifically”
    You are utterly ignorant about science. NOTHING is EVER considered to be “proven” in science.
    “… that some aspect of Intelligent Design was more than just a theory,…”
    ID isn’t even a theory. Theories have track records of successful predictions.
    “… where would we be able to publish it?”
    PCID would never reject it; its entire editorial board consists of ID proponents.
    “Scientific journals would reject it as being generated by a private party with “no credibility in the scientific community”.”
    PCID would be all over it. It hasn’t been published in over two years! Check it out at iscid.org.
    “The popular media wouldn’t be interested in publishing our enquiry unless it was something that struck them as earth-shattering and fascinating to the general public (such as using cold fusion to generate electrical power from cold water, LOL!).”
    Last time I checked, movies were a popular medium. Why doesn’t this movie include any evidence, Jeff?
    “So, here’s what we would be left with: publishing our ID-related research in one of the few journals specializing in religion-and-science or Intelligent Design, where our research will be ignored or mocked by nearly all of the scientific community (“… just look where they had to publish their so-called research. Ha-ha!”).”
    No, Jeff, we mock them because even when they publish, they publish no evidence. It’s all just rhetoric.
    “That’s Stein’s main point, I suspect: by terminating or denigrating academicians and scientists who would support – or do research into – Intelligent Design, the educational establishment has effectively squelched all scientific research into Intelligent Design.”
    The point you’re missing is that none of the people being mocked do any research into ID at all. That is why they are mocked, and they deserve to be mocked. Science is about evidence, and they are afraid to test their own hypotheses (not theories).

  • Jeff

    Dear John,
    (I’ve always wanted to write that!)
    Dear John,
    Your last posting was very revealing … more about you than about my earlier comment, I’m afraid. (You must be a lot of fun at parties.)
    You call me a “liar” and “ignorant” in your reply, but I won’t go there. In fact, I am going to admit that you are absolutely correct in one of your assertions, stated in your last paragraph:
    “Science is about evidence and they are afraid to test their own hypotheses (not theories).”
    Your right, John, in believing that the gathering and dissemination of evidence is one definition of ‘Science’. Many theories and hypotheses have arisen through the years in the physical, natural and behavioral sciences and … as I’m sure that a smart guy like you is quite aware … many of these theories and hypotheses have eventually been proven to be false, inaccurate or unverifiable.
    It may shock you to learn that there are academic scientists who are still struggling to prove that the hypotheses/theories of Lamarck, Freud, Hull, Skinner, Malthus, Chomsky, Galton, Tesla, DaVinci, et al, are ‘scientific truth’. They have NOT been able to prove that everything these learned people ever posited is ‘scientific truth’, but they continue to toil away at universities and colleges (and high schools?) throughout North America.
    Should not all of America’s academic scientists face the same harsh scrutiny and career termination threats as the relative few who have expressed hypotheses in favor of Intelligant Design? In fact, Intelligent Design looks downright scientific compared to some of the theories of Lamarck, Freud, Hull, et al!
    So, why are Intelligent Design researchers thrown out of universities before they have a thorough opportunity to prove (or disprove) their hypotheses about Intelligent Design? Gee, could it be that Intelligent Design gets uncomfortably close to what many people would call … (gasp!) … ‘religion’?
    But, I thought that ‘Science’ and ‘Academic Freedom’ meant that we are supposed to be courageous in the face of controversial topics. Shouldn’t we be able to analyze, evaluate, hypothesize and test such uncomfortable topics as, just to name one, ‘religion’? Or should we be afraid of controversial scientists, such as the Intelligent Design researchers, so that we mock their hypotheses and wreck their careers?

  • Frank

    I enjoyed the documentary and it is clear that there really are two distinct world views and that Stein is correct – the “scientific” point of view has totally bought into the atheist, evolutionist position. The result is a culture of death that has lost the integrity of scientific inquiry and embraced the kool-aid of abortion and eugenics. Cheers to Stein for having the courage to call them on it!

  • Duane

    The controversy with this movie is actually the movie.
    This movie tries to argue that scientist have lost their jobs because the presented theories that when against Darwinism (what ever that is). With not much research this can be proven to be factually incorrect.
    This movie tries to present the argument that ID is a science, even though it has be continuously debunked both by scientists and philosophers, both amateurs and professions.
    ID supports claim that they want to have the theory taught in public school science class even though it has been debunked. There are many many well established theory in biology that are not taught in science class.
    ID argues that only atheist believe in evolution, even though many Catholics, Christians, Jews, and many other religions accept the theory. In the movie they did not interview Catholics or Christians who believe in evolution because it would CONFUSE THE ISSUE. And even go to the point of claiming that you either believe in design or you believe in evolution.
    The movie tries to present the argument that the Holocaust was a direct result of Darwin’s theory. Please listen to Scientific American podcast with Mark Mathis at http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-conversation-with-mark-mathis
    and another Mark Mathis interview on worldontheweb at
    http://www.worldontheweb.com/2008/03/28/mark-mathis-interview/
    Where you can witness how Mark Mathis contradicts himself on the issue.
    These people are categorically dishonest, and are doing nothing to support their cause.
    The movie tries to be object, but their only position is to push ID. The is a scientific process in how ideas are added to theories, and ID supports want the theory to get equal treatment as evolution in high school science class. That seems reasonable until you realize that they want to be treated better than any other theory that can before it even evolution.
    What make me really laugh is that they want so post graduate students to work on developing the theory. If the theory is good enough to be taught in school, why should some post graduate students work on developing it.
    I like many other people believe in God, but view the idea of ID an utter insult to God.
    Finally, this movie will do nothing in changing someone mind on whether ID should be taught in science class or not. Thank God their are people who actually know the scientific method, and they view ID as just smoke and mirrors.

  • iorek

    Jeff, you wrote a serious response (unlike many of the fire – and – brimstone types who have written about ID here) and it deserves a serious response. You ask, “So, why are Intelligent Design researchers thrown out of universities before they have a thorough opportunity to prove (or disprove) their hypotheses about Intelligent Design?” I don’t think anyone is preventing advocates of ID from writing or speaking about or teaching ID at any university. The only question is whether it is done under the auspices of the science department or some other department (theology, philosophy, etc.) The answer, I think, is fairly simple: Universities permit professors to continue to attempt to prove or disprove “the hypotheses/theories of Lamarck, Freud, Hull, Skinner, Malthus” because those theories may be capable of being proved or disproved, given enough empirical data and a scrupulous methodology. You have not said what an “ID researcher” would be “researching,” but sitting in a room and thinking hard about a closed, untestable system does not constitute scientific research.
    When ID advocates can articulate a test to prove that ID is right or wrong, they will be welcomed into the ranks of science. Until then, it should remain what it has been for the last thousand years: an interesting and illuminating philosophical theory.

  • John

    Jeff wrote:
    “(I’ve always wanted to write that!)”
    I’m so tickled for you!
    “You call me a “liar” and “ignorant” in your reply, but I won’t go there.”
    Of course not, because your claims about degrees and affiliation requirements for publication were pure fabrications.
    ” In fact, I am going to admit that you are absolutely correct in one of your assertions, stated in your last paragraph:
    “”Science is about evidence and they are afraid to test their own hypotheses (not theories).”
    “Your right, John, in believing that the gathering and dissemination of evidence is one definition of ‘Science’.”
    That’s not what I wrote, Jeff. You are only doing science if you are PRODUCING NEW evidence from testing your hypotheses. Gathering the evidence produced by others is not science, and dissemination of the evidence produced by others is known by the term “teaching.” ;-)
    “Many theories and hypotheses have arisen through the years in the physical, natural and behavioral sciences and … as I’m sure that a smart guy like you is quite aware … many of these theories and hypotheses have eventually been proven to be false, inaccurate or unverifiable.”
    Yes, but mainly the hypotheses. You’re (not “your”) still unable to give up your dishonest conflation of “hypothesis” with “theory.”
    “It may shock you to learn that there are academic scientists who are still struggling to prove that the hypotheses/theories of Lamarck, Freud, Hull, Skinner, Malthus, Chomsky, Galton, Tesla, DaVinci, et al, are ‘scientific truth’.”
    I know of no competent academic scientist who struggles to “prove” anything, Jeff, because you ignored a very important point–science doesn’t treat anything as proven.
    “They have NOT been able to prove that everything these learned people ever posited is ‘scientific truth’, but they continue to toil away at universities and colleges (and high schools?) throughout North America.”
    And science marches on without proving anything (all conclusions are provisional), a point that you can’t seem to get through your thick skull. You also might be surprised to know that academic scientists exist in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America, too!
    “Should not all of America’s academic scientists face the same harsh scrutiny and career termination threats as the relative few who have expressed hypotheses in favor of Intelligant Design?”
    All scientists place themselves under harsh scrutiny. You’ve accepted the movie’s lie that the people featured were subject to “career termination threats.”
    I think that scientists who merely “express” their hypotheses and refuse to test them should be mocked mercilessly.
    “In fact, Intelligent Design looks downright scientific compared to some of the theories of Lamarck, Freud, Hull, et al!”
    News flash, Jeff: even hypotheses that turn out to be false generate useful data when you have the integrity to test them. Science isn’t about being right, it’s about using hypothesis testing to get closer to the truth.
    “So, why are Intelligent Design researchers thrown out of universities before they have a thorough opportunity to prove (or disprove) their hypotheses about Intelligent Design?”
    They haven’t. None have been “thrown out of universities” for that, because none have bothered to test (again, we never treat anything as “proven”) their hypotheses. How many ID hypotheses did Gonzalez test in his standard term as an assistant professor, Jeff?
    “Gee, could it be that Intelligent Design gets uncomfortably close to what many people would call … (gasp!) … ‘religion’?”
    No, it’s that no ID proponent has sufficient faith (religious or otherwise) to test an ID hypothesis.
    “But, I thought that ‘Science’ and ‘Academic Freedom’ meant that we are supposed to be courageous in the face of controversial topics.”
    Yes! And no one in the ID movement has the courage to test an ID hypothesis. That’s why the ID movement is a fraud.
    “Shouldn’t we be able to analyze, evaluate, hypothesize and test such uncomfortable topics as, just to name one, ‘religion’? Or should we be afraid of controversial scientists, such as the Intelligent Design researchers, so that we mock their hypotheses and wreck their careers?”
    We mock them because they refuse to test their hypotheses, Jeff. Any scientist who behaves this way wrecks his own career.

  • Me

    You completely missed the point.
    The movie is about suppression of ideas and where it eventually leads.
    The Berlin Wall is a symbol of this concept – and ID is just ‘another brick in the wall’.
    It could have been about a number of disciplines where questioning is “Not Allowed” – hence the movie’s title. ID is a brilliant example because Darwinism is a sacred cow sanctioned by the US government as the ONLY view to be taught to our children. As a zoologist, I could go on for pages why the theory is ‘as clear as a fog’ – but that would take away from the ironies yielded …
    1) Journalists are so appalled by the topic, they systematically try to keep people away from the movie – not on it’s merits, but on the subject matter.
    2) The Scopes trial was about teacher’s having the freedom to teach what they saw fit, unshackled by the state … yet proponents of it turned around and forbade alternative thought with respect to the origins of life.
    Someone asked, “Should we then teach flat-earth?” to which I reply, “Why not?” A true debate of the topic would yield a greater understanding of our planet.
    So many are focusing on just one brick that they ignore the whole barrier to free thought and critical thinking resulting from limiting us only to ideas the government tells us.
    Tear Down the Wall! Tear Down the Wall!
    Anyone? Anyone?

  • Nell Minow

    Me, I share your commitment to free thought and critical thinking. But I believe that it is by just those standards that ID — as presented in this film — fails. Stein tries very hard to change the argument from one of the validity of ID as a scientific theory to one of freedom of speech. But he fails.
    Freedom of speech does not mean that every idea that calls itself science gets to be presented in a classroom. We don’t include astrology. We don’t include alchemy. We don’t include ID. Those who support those concepts have complete freedom of speech to say so and to conduct any experiments to support their views, but that does not guarantee them the right to have them included in a science curriculum until those experiments produce evidence.
    Abraham Lincoln used to say, “How many legs does a cow have if you call a tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it one.” And calling ID science does not make it science. Until it can be tested through the scientific method, it cannot be considered science.
    Scopes lost, by the way. The law prohibiting the teaching of evolution was upheld by the court. Scopes’ attorney tried to present testimony by scientists that evolution was not inconsistent with the Bible. The judge would only allow one, but he did allow the others to present written statements. The decision was upheld on appeal, though the conviction was reversed due to a legal technicality about the sentencing. The legislature repealed the law prohibiting the teaching of evolution before a Supreme Court ruling that such laws are prohibited by the Constitution because they violate the Establishment Clause. In other words — the Supreme Court in 1968 recognized that the predecessor to ID was religion, not science.
    As I said earlier, teach it in philosophy class, religion class, or metaphysics. But to include it in science class would be to contravene the core principles of the way science is defined. Look at it this way — science is limited to what can be proven. ID transcends that limitation and cannot be squeezed into that discipline.

  • Frank

    I enjoyed the documentary and it is clear that there really are two distinct world views and that Stein is correct – the “scientific” point of view has totally bought into the atheist, evolutionist position. The result is a culture of death that has lost the integrity of scientific inquiry and embraced the kool-aid of abortion and eugenics. Cheers to Stein for having the courage to call them on it!

  • Paul Alvarez

    Primary and secondary school education, even though it takes many years, is still a finite resource. Every time you stick something new in to the curriculum, something else gets taken out to make room.
    So what is taught is chosen not because of its intrinsic worthiness, but because it is more worthy than the competitors for that time slot.
    Primary and secondary are supposed to be general background for everyone. As such, teaching speculative science that will probably be completely different before the students graduate is a waste of their time.
    On the other hand, evolution and evolutionary biology are essential to understanding issues like disease spread, pesticide resistance, invasive species, habitat destruction, and genetic engineering of food, things that affect everyone and that democracies ask their electorates to be informed about.
    It’s not unreasonable to offer a course on alternative theories of biological development. I’d think at the university level, but I suppose it could be a high school elective. But it’s not reasonable to include such a requirement in the core curriculum that every student must learn.
    Creationism is hardly being suppressed by scientists, but it is being criticized and ridiculed, because that’s what they do: look at evidence and judge it.

  • Nell Minow

    Frank, you are right. There are two distinct world views. One is that science should only be about what can be tested, with its conclusions based on empirical evidence. That is the integrity of scientific inquiry. Other disciplines have other measures and that is why ID belongs in one of those categories.
    I don’t know what “culture of death” means. Much of science is focused on life, from the study of biology and organic chemistry to understand life to the development of medical advances to enhance and prolong life. I believe you are mixing up two different things — the study of science, which has no allegiance other than inquiry and honest, logical evaluation of evidence within the limits of ethical conduct (indeed, the history of science is always about debunking past thinking) and policy/political science/ethics/law/religion, which provide a context for determining the consequences of scientific findings. It is not science which determines the legality of abortion. That is a determination based on law, policy, and ethics. The same with eugenics. Selective breeding for improvement of species is widely applied to plants and animals but not to humans for reasons based on law, policy, and ethics, not science.
    The only point of view science has “bought into” is the one that defines its core: an organized body of KNOWLEDGE gained through RESEARCH. ID is not knowledge or susceptible of becoming knowledge with research based on any of the current techniques capable for testing and measurement. Ultimately, it always boils down to speculation that is inherently limited because it is inherently solipsistic. As I said above, look at it this way — science is limited to what can be proven. ID transcends that limitation and cannot be squeezed into that discipline.
    Paul Alvarez is right in demonstrating the relative importance of teaching natural selection as an essential foundation for understanding crucial aspects of the world with which the next generation must be familiar so that they can help direct our priorities and resources based not just on science but on the other elements of study — economics, values, public policy — that must be included in determining the future direction of the community.

  • Ryan

    I was disappointed by this rhetorically-loaded review. There is a lot to criticize in the movie – much of their use of stock footage was just goofy and awkward.
    However, it was clearly about freedom – academic freedom in particular. Saying (roughly) that they switch focus from the merits of intelligent design because they couldn’t establish those merits is false.
    Nor was the focus, as many suggest, on high school biology classes. The stories in the film are primarily about respected scientists being fired or harrassed for reaching the “wrong” conclusion. There is a rhetorical cycle that is impossible to escape here. ID is not science. Why? Because scientists reject it. What about the scientists who don’t? They’re not scientists. Why? Because they believe in ID.
    The film doesn’t do a good enough job in defining ID – unfortunately, allowing reviews such as the one above to simply make up a definition that fits the reviewers beliefs.
    ID is not theory – an explanation of what or how something happened – that competes with evolution. ID is a what philosophers of science call a “research program.” Basically this means that it is a field of investigation, to be judged on its results.
    No serious scientist working in that area questions that natural selection exists. The question is whether or not design could exist and be detected through science. One key difference between ID and creationism is that ID does not appeal to religious belief (Scripture, etc) as evidence. ID scientists may be motivated by their religious beliefs or they may find that their research has religious implications for them. So what? We judge evidence not motivation. If an archaeologist wants to discover the site of a city described in the Bible because he wants to authenticate the Bible, great. If another wants to discredit the Bible through discovery that’s fine to. Just as long as the evidence is acurately presented and evaluated.
    The claim that ID is not science is absurd, and it is that absurdity that the film focuses on exposing. The scientists it profiles are not wackos walking in off the street and demanding to teach alchemy. They are respected scientists with solid research in non-ID related work, arguing a scientific case with evidence that can be evaluated. In response, they are told that they are no longer scientists because they are no longer doing science because the conclusions they reach are untenable.
    From a philosophy of science background (this, rather than science itself, is the appropriate academic discipline that answers the question “what is science” – you would not answer that question by looking through a microscope, for example), there simply isn’t a way to craft a definition of science that excludes ID without excluding other research we accept as science. You may conclude that it is bad science (that the evidence does not support it) – this is an scientific issue. You cannot define away the need for debate at the outset. Whether that debate should be taught in high schools is a separate and very much secondary issue.
    The level of anger and vitriol stirred up by this film shows that this is an issue worth discussing, and discussing carefully. The response to the film and the scientists in it – marked primarily by ridicule and contempt – suggests a need to pause and give serious thought. The impulse toward dismissing those we disagree with as ignorant fools should be a warning to ourselves that we are reacting out of prejudice rather than reason.

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you for an exceptionally thoughtful comment, Ryan. I agree with much of what you said.
    I believe that no one should be permitted to disagree with a position until he or she can state it to the satisfaction of the person on the other side. Therefore, the definition I used in my review was taken verbatim from the website of the Discovery Institute, which the film puts forward as a primary proponent of ID. If you have a better definition, I would welcome it. I agree that it must be judged on its results, and I welcome additional information on what those results are as well.
    As for the “firing” incidents, I refer you to the rebuttal website, expelledexposed. If there is additional information to correct any of those statements, please let us know.
    I agree that “The question is whether or not design could exist and be detected through science.” My understanding is that so far no one has found a way to do this, but again, I am glad to hear of any progress along those lines. If ID can be and is subjected to the same standard of scientific inquiry as any other hypothesis, then the question of whether it is good or bad science can be considered.
    I also agree that “we judge on evidence, not motivation.” As Don Marquis says, “An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.”
    A movie review — unlike a scientific paper — must be somewhat rhetorical (the term just means “using language effectively and persuasively”) because it is by definition the expression of an opinion. But I always try to explain my opinions in a way that makes it clear why I think the way I do and gives the reader a sense of whether he or she is likely to agree. What you called “just goofy and awkward” in the use of stock footage I called “manipulative and disingenuous,” surely a difference of degree rather than a fundamentally different conclusion.
    Yes, this is a question that people feel passionate about, and it has been fascinating to me to see how those passions are expressed. What troubles me most is the inability or unwillingness of a few of the people writing comments to try to understand the other side(s). They speak such different languages and seem more interested in spouting off than in persuasion or finding common ground. It saddens me that a very few of them feel so strongly that they forget to display compassion and respect.
    Fortunately, most of them, like you, are most thoughtful and courteous. Thank you very much and I hope you will visit and post often.

  • Randy Glaser

    IntelligentDesigner/Causation:
    I’ve read your response to my critique of your earlier posts. You’ve devolved into ad homs, which is often the last refuge of the vanquished. I won’t reply in kind, however.
    I could go point-by-point through your response, but I’m afraid it would have no impact on you. You would persist, I’m sure, to repeat things about airplanes and computers, and “code[s] coming into existence without intelligent causation.” And irrespective of how many self-organizing systems I point out to you (salt crystal, fetuses, sand dunes, galaxies, hurricanes … life, etc.), you will undoubtedly continue to ask for more evidence of the very same. You asked for evidence of your dogmatism: well, this is it.
    Regarding the book by Tim Berra that I referenced in my earlier post. Your response makes me wonder whether you’ve actually read it. Your post suggests that Berra was responsible for the conjectures of abiogenesis identified in his book; he is not. He only references the ideas proposed by others. Hence, when you say things like “His conjectures are just stories that are not science,” or “The origin of life by natural causes that you mentioned Tim Berra was experimenting on,” you make it pretty clear that you’ve not even reviewed the material. If this is so, you should. The book is a a bit dated (1990), but it does a very good job of describing why evolution is the best description for how life developed on the earth, and why Creationism is not science.
    Plus, you will be able to honestly refer to a book that you’ve read.
    Your claim that Ken Miller “is not doing science” because “[h]e has never shown anyone a machine can come into existence without at least one of two things … an intelligent designer [or] … a code,” is absurd. Ordinarily, I would be tempted to accuse of you of simple truculence; however, I believe it’s the case that you honestly believe this kind of stuff. I’m afraid that I have no response for you other than to say that by any reasonable definition, Ken Miller is indeed doing science. To suggest otherwise simply proves the point that I made in my first post: you have no real idea what science is.
    It’s also clear that you are fond of ad hoc reasoning–i.e., special pleading. When I give you an example of a “code” (your word) created in nature without any evidence of human intervention (honey bees waggling to communicate), you respond by changing the challenge. What you really meant, you now tell us, is “a code added onto matter,” like “[i]nk and paper for the code of English….” You then state that “[t]he genetic code added onto DNA is the only code added onto matter that did not originate through the mind and action of a human.”
    The operative word there, of course, is “added.” What is your evidence that anyone or anything “added” anything “onto DNA” to create the genetic code? Given the several examples of spontaneously self-organizing systems I’ve pointed out to you, don’t you think it’s likely that the genetic code is the result of a similar kind of phenomenon? Isn’t it likely that nothing was “added onto DNA” to create the genetic code, and that the genetic code is in fact the result of the sequencing of nucleotides? Isn’t this just like the way in which individuals atoms often combine to create molecules and compounds? (Speaking of atoms, remind me again of the role that “mankind” had in creating the atomic forces that facilitate the creation of molecules and compounds. Don’t these forces follow rules–a “code,” if you will–that work to create all matter? In your creation calculus, does this count as a “code,” other than the genetic code, which was created without any human intervention?)
    You say, “[i]gnorance must be bliss for you.” No, but an epic mountain bike ride with some good friends and a nice day is. I recommend it.
    A pint of McGarvey’s Scottish Ale is bliss, too.
    I think the the best example of your fallacious thinking is the following: You say, “Intelligent design does exist and has been shown to exist because we as humans make it so.” Your argument, therefore, appears to go like this: Intelligent design is a theory for the creation of life on earth. Humans are capable of intelligent design. Therefore, intelligent design is responsible for the creation of life on earth.
    I’m assuming I don’t need to point out the fallacies of your argument here–viz., the non sequitur, the argument from final consequences, the confusion of causation with correlation, the false dichotomy, and the unstated major premise. Arguing in this regard will likely not win you many converts, I’m afraid.
    Anyway, it’s my day off, and it’s amazing outside. I fear that regardless of what I say, no matter how many of your questions I answer, and no matter how long we exchange ideas, there is nothing I can say to convince you that Intelligent Design/Creationism as an explanation for how life was created and developed on the earth is not science. You will undoubtedly continue to mistakenly believe that it is, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I suppose that at some point, the only thing I can say is, Good luck with that.
    Okay, IntelligentDesigner, I’ve said my piece. I’ll give you the last word.

  • penguindreams

    Nell:
    Very nice review and it’s been good to see your responses to the comments. One additional item, as you note that the site is about belief, not just Christianity: One way of telling whether something is science is whether people of diverse beliefs hold it. Einstein’s theory of gravity is accepted by people of almost all beliefs. The modern theory (not Darwin’s original, we’ve learned a lot in those 150 years) of evolution is also accepted by people of all beliefs. ID, on the other hand, is only accepted by a very small slice of the spectrum, and even there, the religion came before the ‘scientific’ idea. Hence the simple word replacement (documented in Kitzmiller v. Dover) of ‘intelligent designer’ for God and ‘intelligent design’ for creation in the book at issue there.
    Tim, Re; Kitzmiller v. Dover:
    >Furthermore, the Case was a sham, the Judge, Judge Jones, who was about as conservative as Rudy
    >Guliani, plagerized from the ACLU and basically copy-pasted from them. Which was clearly a very good
    >political move for him, and quite frankly, this appears to be his reasoning. Because is verdict is chock
    >full of demonstratable lies.
    >
    >Posted by: Tim | April 19, 2008 7:56 AM
    The plagiarism charge is an interesting one (as in bizarre) for someone who says that the judge was not conservative. The thing is, in a case like this it is the job of both lawyers to submit arguments that a judge _could_ use verbatim in writing his decision. The judge’s job is to judge between the two sets of arguments. Whichever he finds to be more persuasive, he uses. It is a _conservative_ judge who uses significant chunks of the plaintiff’s or defendant’s arguments. The activist judge is the one who tosses them and writes his decision entirely whole cloth.
    It’s also strange to see the ID crowd complain about the judge ruling on whether ID was science or not. (no surprise they complain about him deciding it wasn’t). The thing is, both sides asked him to do so. Only an activist could have refused to. He acted conservatively and ruled on a point both parties in the case asked him to.

  • Dutchboy

    Wow what a difference between this review and the ones given for Sicko and Bowling for Columbine, made by well known propagandist Michael Moore, is amazing.
    It seems this movie review focuses on ripping apart Ben Steins propaganda and ideology. Yet when you read the reviews of Moore’s movies, by the same reviewer, it’s hardly mentioned how much spin and obfuscation went into them.
    I don’t believe in ID, heck I don’t believe in a “God” or “gods”, but when I saw what Ben Stein was doing with this movie, I had to check the reviews and I was not surprised. Michael Moore confirmed the majority of reviewers liberal ideology and his propagandist movies were wildly applauded by the reviewers. Ben Stein attacked the reviewers ideology and most of the reviewers can’t help but attack the movie and try to point out the flaws in Ben Steins propaganda.

  • Interesting

    Interesting that the THEORY of evolution is considered LAW of evolution. Evolution has not been proven as has the LAW of gravity, or the LAWS of thermodynamics. Yet schools and society teach evolution to be the one truth of the origin of species. Evolution has not been proven which is why it remains a theory. I am a strong proponent of science and am also a strong proponent of the Bible. I don’t believe that the two are mutually exclusive. It is important that evolution be taught as a theory and that other theories be taught and explored as well. The day may come when we know without a shadow of a doubt how we came to be. However, today we do not know, all we have are theories to explain the diversity of life. If you have the proof that evolution, and I mean MACROevolution (one species “changing” into another) please present it. Otherwise please keep an open mind. After all science is “evolving” and what we think to be true today may be proven to be false in the future. Afterall, until evolution is proven it is taken to be true on “faith.”

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you very much for your comments. I appreciate your being willing to participate in this conversation.
    Dutchboy, if you read my reviews for the Michael Moore movies you will see that I discuss and link to the critiques of his work. At his most florid, however, he never came close to Stein’s tying believers in evolution to the Holocaust.
    Views on this debate have nothing to do with being liberal or conservative (see the earlier discussion of the Bush-appointed church-going Republican judge and his ruling on ID). All sides should be taught in political science class, history class, theology, philosophy, etc. But science class should be limited to scientific theories, which ID is not.
    Interesting, I agree with you that it all depends on what proof is available. The problem is that ID is not susceptible to being proven. If you look through the comments here you will see that those trained in science refer to the theory of natural selection, not the law. Those terms have very specific definitions in scientific terminology that differ from the way they are used in casual conversation. As I have said earlier, I also do not believe that evolution and ID are mutually exclusive. They are very compatible. But they are not the same subject. One is science and one is philosophy.

  • a staunch atheist

    ID is quite distinguishable from theistic evolution. Theistic evolution involves science, but the mechanism for it’s behavior is supernatural. ID does not involve science at all, there fore there isn’t even anything to teach about it. According to ID, god created everything…it all just showed up out of nowhere. There’s no possible for something so absurd to be proven, because it is merely mythology. Evolution is powered by natural selection, which is a real system that we observe every day. Funny how our bodies are made up of mostly salt water and our DNA is almost completely identical to that of bonobos and chimps. Nothing proves that mankind isn’t anything more than just another species of animal, that just happen to be a little smart and think it owns the world and will come up with any lies to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Sigel

    The idea that God made everything in the universe is being mocked in that “it just showed up”, while the idea that everything in the universe came from a rock seems to be scientific? A giant cloud of hydrogen turned into a giant rock, which blew up, and created life, including all of the diversity we now see… This is the scientific explanation that is logically superior to the possibility of God existing? It sounds stupid even to say out loud. I’ll take God over the fairy tale any day.
    As for all of the complaints regarding Nazism and evolution.. The Nazis considered themselves homo germanus while the Japanese considered themselves the Divine Wind. These are not new ideas, these are historical facts. The philosophy behind these movements is apparently off limits according to evolutionists because they bristle even at their mention, while at the same time they deny that they are trying to stifle discussion of any subject. I just read eleven articles that blasted “Expelled” for even daring to say the word Nazi out loud. I think that the protests, protesting Stein’s protest, proves Stein’s claims much better than Stein ever could have.

  • Ted

    [[I just read eleven articles that blasted "Expelled" for even daring to say the word Nazi out loud. ]]
    Can you provide links to those eleven articles? I did a web search and I’ve read about ten reviews of the film and haven’t run across any as moronic as that. But I would love to see what idiotic writers/critics would have a problem with simply the word “Nazi.”

  • tingler

    when stein interviewed these “experts” on ID, where were their facts? they simply argue that there our flaws in the darwinian theory, which many darwinists concede, and that cellular life is much to complex for their not to be some intelligent hand involved. ok. so what? science as based in observation and experimentation is the best thing we have to explain how the physical world and life developed. there are many scientists and science teachers who may believe in a deity, but realize that that belief is based on faith, not observation and experimentation.
    so where is the experimentation and observation on the part of the ID believers? holes exist in the darwinist theory. ok. so patch them up. unfotunately no one in stein’s documentary lays out any cogent counter arguments to darwinism. instead he sidesteps all of that and then undercuts his own argument by turning the whole film essentially into a right-wing, pseudo-scientific mockery of documentary film making. i mean, darwinism suddenly becomes the driving factor for nazism, communism,atheism(that insidious science teacher might turn your pious kids into one!) and then throw in abortion, and euthanasia and you have a theory that is the root of modern decadence. though stein never mentions American capitalism’s favorite, social darwinism. though rampant in the late 19th thru early 20th centuries, that brutal philosophy has guided us essentially ever since. obviously the policies of Stein’s “defender” of freedom, ronald reagan, were heavily guided by it.
    credability went totally out the window after the first 20 minutes or so. its obvious its trying to be michael moore-esque in its style. but, alas and alack, it fails miserably. Michael Moore has made some great documentaries and some not as good, but they are engaging and present many, many hard facts (which are validated on his web site with sources given. see “Sicko”) and are actually funny. Stein does none of these things. i fear that the most humorous scene was the very ending, which i suppose was an attempt to be uplifting, the intercutting between ben giving his speech to forty or fifty people in an auditorium and Ronnie giving his “tear down this wall and give my rich supporters a chance” speech. I lost it.

  • Dan Johnson

    I found it interesting that you gave Sicko, made by Michael Moore, the undisputed king of bias-injected documentaries, one of your highest ratings.
    I saw your mention of Moorewatch, but it’s become apparent in this nation (myself not necessarily excluded) that something is only bias if you don’t agree with it.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for posting, Dan. You raise the key question — how do we know what we know? Given the tendency to think that anyone who does not agree with us is not objective, can you explain what separates bias from fact? I will shortly post as a separate blog entry how I make the distinction. But for me, one of the key indicators is how the person making the claim deals with those who question the facts and assumptions. The field of science has a long history of welcoming in a highly principled and open way challenges to all of its findings. That has not always been the case. But when it has lost its way it has often been because of political or religious interference — from the White House changing the conclusions of a scientific paper on the environment to the church persecuting Galileo.
    As I have said throughout these comments, ID should be taught in school. Just not in science class because it does not meet the definition of science.

  • Lance C. Johnson

    Sigel wrote: “A giant cloud of hydrogen turned into a giant rock, which blew up, and created life, including all of the diversity we now see… This is the scientific explanation that is logically superior to the possibility of God existing? It sounds stupid even to say out loud.”
    You’re right, that is stupid. Luckily nobody’s actually saying it. Why don’t you try actually learning something about evolution before you attack a point that nobody’s even trying to make?

  • RudigerVT

    Jeff, on the matter of how the peer-reviewed press is somehow closed to people who lack academic or institutional affiliation, you’re wrong. You can submit what you want, where you want. If it’s got any merit, it may be published.
    Don’t believe me? Ask Judith Rich Harris.
    http://home.att.net/~xchar/tna/
    LPR

  • Kelly

    What are you (and they) saying? Believing the “Big Bang” theory – which is prevalent in the “scientific” community takes a whale of an imagination and is more than silly.
    Again, what are you saying is the origin of life – do you have a theory?

  • corey

    Science: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. I chose to start my comment with this definition because when you are dealing with emotional issues such as religion and politics people tend to think with their emotions. The “theory” of evolution is by definition a theory because there is not enough evidence to make it a law. Even when that “theory” defies the “law” of entropy we continue in our schools to believe that the theory of evolution is law. Let us not forget that Darwin was only a man with an explanation for what he observed, he was not all knowing. I enjoyed the movie because it brings debate back into science as we strive for a theoretical explanation of phenomena. History is a great tool for those who think we have it all figured out. I imagine those scientists who thought the earth was flat fought for their theory with all the same passion. My point being we are still learning so much as a human race and to say we have it all figured out and that no one can offer alternate theories in the classroom is not a pursuit of truth, but a fear of opposing ideas.

  • John

    corey tried to dodge the absence of evidence on his side:
    “The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.”
    So why has no one from your side presented a single new observation or experimental investigation related to an ID hypothesis, corey? Why do they only have rhetoric? Why do they make movies instead of finding new fossils or doing new experiments? Why is it all spin, all the time?
    “The “theory” of evolution is by definition a theory because there is not enough evidence to make it a law.”
    Utterly false. While hypotheses graduate to theories after long track records of successful predictions (“ID theory” is a lie), theories don’t necessarily graduate to laws.
    “Even when that “theory” defies the “law” of entropy…”
    It doesn’t, corey. The misrepresentation of the second law is a standard creationist lie. The earth is not a closed system. You might realize that if you went outside during the daytime and looked up at the sun. If the earth is a closed system, there’s no way that the sun can blind you by a massive influx of energy to your photoreceptor cells. Do you have real faith?
    “Let us not forget that Darwin was only a man with an explanation for what he observed, he was not all knowing.”
    The lie that we follow a man comes from YOUR side, corey. I know of many non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms. Can you even name one?
    “I enjoyed the movie because it brings debate back into science as we strive for a theoretical explanation of phenomena.”
    Science is about evidence, particularly predicting it in advance. Evidence settles scientific disputes, not debate.
    “I imagine those scientists who thought the earth was flat fought for their theory with all the same passion.”
    I doubt it. They would have asked for the new evidence, the upstarts would have presented the new evidence, and they would have changed their minds. Where’s the new evidence from your side, corey?

  • IntelligentDesigner

    It’s impossible to argue with irrational/delusional people. There’s just no point. Which I why I just started agreeing with them! Yes, the world did have a creator, and his name is The Flying Spaghetti Monster (www.venganza.org). Disprove me.
    The Spaghetti Monster cannot be demonstrated against reality, just like a code without an intelligent cause(s). The Spaghetti Monster falls into the same category as the Big Bang, religion. They both postulate an origin to the universe. When the kids are learning about the Big Bang they are being conned, because the truth is, matter cannot be shown to be eternal, and we know from physics that matter can neither be created nor destroyed through the 1st law of thermodynamics. This is the very definition of metaphysical (which is being taught in schools). Can anyone repeat the experiment which would allow the coming into existence of the genetic code or the origin of the universe without allowing intelligent input in the form of an intelligent agent or preexisting code and machines? No. Can anyone repeat an experiment where something came from nothing? Again, No.
    So when discussing the ORIGIN of the universe or coded biological machines, you have to be very careful. Science is what we can observe, study, test, and demonstrate.
    We already can observe, study, test, and demonstrate adding the concept of a code onto matter (such as ink and paper, or electrons and circuitry), you do it all the time with English or the computer. It took an intelligent agent to be present to allow for that concept to come into existence from existing matter. It took a special intelligent agent because right now, only humans (no other primate or species) can add such concepts onto matter. The genetic code, Morse code, English, and machine code can be demonstrated to share similar qualitative properties. This leads to an inference to best possibility since you cannot repeat the origin of the universe, or coded biological machines. Properties such as that of the code in which the origin is known, has always originated through Intelligent Design. Its already proven, you just choose not to see the evidence.
    How else is the airplane or the computer going to come into existence? Intelligent Design. To say that it’s not science is just bogus. The paragraph above explains this to you. You can falsify what I say by showing the whole world one code that can come into existence without a mind (intelligent causation).
    The properties of a code only exist when a mind was present at its origin.
    Please prove me wrong. We can study CODES and their orgins, but we cannot study the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its origin.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    John wrote:
    The misrepresentation of the second law is a standard creationist lie. The earth is not a closed system. You might realize that if you went outside during the daytime and looked up at the sun. If the earth is a closed system, there’s no way that the sun can blind you by a massive influx of energy to your photoreceptor cells. Do you have real faith?
    This is total ignorance. Sure the Earth is not a closed system, it is shooting electro-magnetic radiation at us all the time. The sun’s energy does not become useful without a complex mechanism to utilize it. The chloroplast is the molecular machine that performs this function. To say that this evolved from virtual non-existence is religion, not science. It is a machine governed by a code, requiring an intelligent designer.
    So without the chloroplast, you cannot utilize the sun’s energy, and you have nothing but destruction coming from the cosmic rays.

  • iorek

    ID does not “bring debate into science,” it loosens the methodology that has paid such rich dividends for us since the golden age of Greece. It dilutes the integrity of the scientific process and thereby delays the progress of scientific discovery. Scientific method is not perfect, and it requires constant vigilance, but If science hadn’t achieved such remarkable accomplishments and earned such respect, religious advocates would not be so eager to label ID as “science.” This whole argument is over ID borrowing the legitimacy that comes with the label, “science.” But science won’t continue to produce such benefits if we replace its discipline with superstition and emotion.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Iorek, please tell me what the origin of a code is. A code is not superstition or emotion. It is a real concept that can be tested and verified. Humans use ID all the time, that is how we have guns, planes, boats, computers.

  • marcus

    Evolutionists are going to have to come up with some other driving force for evolution besides natural selection and mutation because there is no evidence to show that mutations add new genetic information to DNA, which is what you will need if you want a dino to turn into a bird. And, natural selection only expresses traits that are already coded for in DNA. And lets not forget that you need a code already in place in order to interpret DNA. Swiss cheese would wish for as many holes in it as the theory of evolution has. My understanding of the movie “Expelled..” was that it focused the fact that if you don’t adhere this Theory of Evolution then you’re silenced. If evolutionists are secure in their theory, I’m not sure why I understand their need to silence anyone that doesn’t agree with them.

  • Nell Minow

    Intelligent Designer — anyone who wants to be persuasive has to learn the standards and vocabulary of the opposing side. You and the people who oppose the teaching of ID as science are using the same words but you mean different things. Words like “test,” for example. What you consider an adequate test for proof does not meet the very specific standards of the scientific method. You bring us back to the debate between the two physicists I described earlier. Some say that complexity is itself proof of an intelligent creator. But that hypothesis is not susceptible to the kinds of tests that are required by science. Now, you may say that science should change its standards about what tests are required. But then it would not be science. It would be skience or spience or some other discipline.
    Marcus, I do not agree with your characterization of the movie. The scientists are frank about the limits of their understanding of evolution and natural selection. There are a number of advocates of ID in the movie and the movie itself is proof that they have not been silenced. Yes, ID has been excluded from science curricula, but for the same reasons that other non-scientific ideas like astrology and phrenology are not included; they do not meet the testability standards of scientific inquiry.
    Science does only one thing but it does it very well, as iorek noted. There is plenty of space in human thought and in the curriculum to discuss ID. But it will not fit into science until it meets the verifiable standards of the scientific method. Until you find a way to squeeze the round peg of ID into the square hole of science and make it fit, scientists will not consider it a scientific inquiry. What you can do is understand the scientific method well enough to construct protocols for a test that fits that standard. If you feel there is prejudice at work, you can find some other hypothesis that meets the same standards as ID and is accepted by the scientific community. What will not work is to continue to argue that your definitions fit their words and to continue to rely on the closed-circle solipsism that Judge Jones described: “the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, [which] employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980′s.” Saying that our experience is that only intelligence creates codes is not a basis for making untestable conclusions about our own creation, at least not one that holds up to scientific scrutiny.
    Science limits itself to the How and is explicitly humble about its inability to do more than speculate about what started it all. ID should spend its time on what it does best, exploring the Who and the Why.

  • John

    marcus wrote:
    “Evolutionists are going to have to come up with some other driving force for evolution besides natural selection and mutation…”
    Biologists (not the bogus “evolutionists” have. Perhaps you should learn some biology?
    “… because there is no evidence to show that mutations add new genetic information to DNA,…”
    False. Google “nylonase” to see just how wrong you are.
    “… which is what you will need if you want a dino to turn into a bird.”
    Straw man fallacy.
    “And, natural selection only expresses traits that are already coded for in DNA.”
    Natural selection doesn’t “express” anything. It selects.
    “And lets not forget that you need a code already in place in order to interpret DNA.”
    Let’s not forget that “genetic code” is a metaphor, because there’s nothing symbolic about it. Also, let’s not forget the RNA World hypothesis.
    “My understanding of the movie “Expelled..” was that it focused the fact that if you don’t adhere this Theory of Evolution then you’re silenced.”
    That was the lie they wished to convey. No one has been silenced. People are rightfully mocked for failing to test their own hypotheses, the very essence of science. Rhetoric isn’t science, nor is this immoral movie.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Let’s not forget that “genetic code” is a metaphor, because there’s nothing symbolic about it. Also, let’s not forget the RNA World hypothesis.

    The genetic code is a code. It’s a holistic sequence of information that performs a purpose through translation. In the case of the genetic code, it codes for proteins.
    The RNA world hypothesis is less of a developed hypothesis when compared with ID. Notice no scientist can actually test the hypothesis against reality. Notice no scientist is actually demonstrating RNA without the presence of DNA. Notice there are no examples of RNA floating around without DNA that can be demonstrated to exist (so you have to BELIEVE THAT IS DOES). So that makes the RNA World hypothesis metaphysical, not science. Please show me an RNA molecule that can survive without DNA present. If you cannot, then your RNA world is not a hypothesis, but rather, religion since it cannot be demonstrated to exist (alone without DNA). RNA is still a code. The origin of a code is still required to go back to the beginning.
    Evolutionary mechanisms have not been shown that they can produce a code from a non-code. It has been shown time and time again that intelligent cause(s) are required each and every time the origin of a code is known.
    If forelimb structures can be declared qualitatively similar, and that can be considered science, why do the evolutionary proponents turn around and say that manmade codes and the genetic code DO NOT share qualitative similarites (or that they do, but it is somehow not scientific)? Why do they not recognize the similarties?
    I need an evolutionary proponent to answer the following question. Is it scientificly valid to study design detection?

  • IntelligentDesigner

    That was the lie they wished to convey. No one has been silenced. People are rightfully mocked for failing to test their own hypotheses, the very essence of science. Rhetoric isn’t science, nor is this immoral movie.
    Would you consider design detection a valid scientific enterprise?

  • IntelligentDesigner

    ID does not “bring debate into science,” it loosens the methodology that has paid such rich dividends for us since the golden age of Greece. It dilutes the integrity of the scientific process and thereby delays the progress of scientific discovery. Scientific method is not perfect, and it requires constant vigilance, but If science hadn’t achieved such remarkable accomplishments and earned such respect, religious advocates would not be so eager to label ID as “science.” This whole argument is over ID borrowing the legitimacy that comes with the label, “science.” But science won’t continue to produce such benefits if we replace its discipline with superstition and emotion.
    The golden age of Greece??? Sigh.
    Why do evolutionary proponents always confuse historical science, and applied science? Why do they take credit for all the technology of the world, yet their mechanisms provide no insight as to how to add concepts onto matter? Why do you guys on the ‘Darwin is right’ side not see that it takes Intelligent Design for technology to come into existence?
    Why do evolutionary proponents think science is a tangible thing? I see it over and over again. It’s actually just a way of knowing about the world. Superstition would be like matter creating itself, or that the universe has multiple dimensions that we cannot test and demonstrate or repeat.
    It’s emotional on both sides (not just ID side) because YOU PEOPLE USE THE WORD SCIENCE TO PEDDLE YOUR VERSION OF THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE AND IT CANNOT BE TESTED OR FALSIFIED!!! (black holes, big bang, dark matter, cannot be tested against reality or demonstrated to truly exist–its mathematics done wild!).
    What is emotional about Intelligently designing codes and machines?
    What part of ID makes you think its emotional superstition? Which part? What are you having trouble grasping?

  • iorek

    IntelligentDesigner, you need to go back and study your history. You heave a heavy sigh over my reference to “the golden age of Greece,” apparently because you believe “evolutionary proponents always confuse historical science and applied science.” This is a false dichotomy. Pythagoras of Samos (you remember him, don’t you?) was the father of science as it has developed in the west because he was the first one (to our knowledge)who linked human experience of the sensory world to numbers and mathematical formulae. Pythagoras certainly “applied” the powers that resulted from his approach, as did Archimedes (who used science to build weapons of war) and many others who followed in their wake. It is true that the full scientific method as we know it today had to await Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum and Descartes’ rational skepticism; it is also true that science over the years has gone under different names, such as “natural philosophy” or “physics.” But your distinction between historical science and applied science is just plain invalid. (I assume by applied science you mean applied research, which for a while was distinguished from basic research, but which most experts now put on a seamless continuum with technological development).
    And while we are looking at history, look at the parallel history of religion during the same period. Fundamentalism began out of open resentment against the scientific and industrial revolutions. (You remember the Scopes monkey trial, yes?) Creationism was spawned directly from fundamentalism, and intelligent design came directly from creationism (as a close analysis of the original source documents showed in the Kitzmiller decision.) So it should not surprise you, given ID’s pedigree, that most people believe it is an attempt to dilute the fundamental tenets of science.
    Since you raised the question of whether “design detection” is a valid scientific enterprise, please tell me what you would propose to do that is different than the “watchmaker” observation made by philosophers many centuries ago? And how would your tests avoid a dead end at a supernatural prime mover?

  • IntelligentDesigner

    But your distinction between historical science and applied science is just plain invalid. (I assume by applied science you mean applied research, which for a while was distinguished from basic research, but which most experts now put on a seamless continuum with technological development).
    I have confused you. Let me clear up the misunderstanding.
    Applied science would be the study of how things work. Example: How does the genetic code work? What are its properties?
    Historical science looks at the past and tries to discover or find clues as to how something originated, or where something came from. The origin. Example: Where did the genetic code come from? When and where did it originate?
    These are two separate ways of knowing. The first one, applied science, can be understood by looking at the object/system or subsystem of a system in question. This also works with known mathematical formulae that can be applied to matter if it provides predictive creative power.
    The second one, historical science, can be understood by looking at clues to the past that would help deduce the origin. You have to go outside and away from the object or subsystem of a system in order to find the answer. With historic science it is possible that you cannot deduce to the beginning of an object or subsystem of a system. The genetic code is a big example of this. We cannot go back to when either the genetic code created itself, or the genetic code was created through intelligent causation by another entity using a mind. This leads us to a conundrum in which we have to look at the properties of the object or subsystem of a system and determine what the inference to the best possibility is, if the origin is unknown. I propose that since we see a code that shares common properties with all the other codes that are known to have been intelligently designed using a human mind, we must conclude with our senses that it most likely took an intelligent cause to produce the genetic code which governs the regulation and production of the machine body of biological organisms.
    They work with different rules. You don’t need to know Pythagorus even existed in order to see how his formulae work. Also, you could have known Pythagorus and not even known how is formulae work. They are distinctly different ways of knowing.

  • Anonymous

    iorek,
    Show and tell me one example of any other species besides homo-sapien that can add concept onto matter in the form of a machine or code. The machine or code can be added onto any material in the universe.

  • jeff

    Intelligent Design seems fuzzy, philosophical, theological and, well, … JUST NOT SCIENTIFIC! Off with their heads!
    But, for all of the Hard Sciences’ bedrock, steady, non-theological and Scientific certainty, we do run into a few moments that should give us pause.
    For example, the frequently changing nature of scientific proof, scientific law, scientific theory and scientific hypothesis … and seemingly only John has an absolutely clear understanding of these various and oft-confused (and often cross-defined) terms … should give anyone who sneers at the “mushiness” of Intelligent Design a little bit of a pause.
    (1) Does anyone remember the 100 years or so when medical scientists assured us that ulcers were caused by excessive stomach acidity and excessive anxiety? (A pathologist in 1991 discovered it was caused by Helibactor bacteria in the stomach lining.)
    (2) When my brother discovered his first son was autistic, in the late 1990′s, he and his wife were strongly assured by several medical and psychological science-experts that they could have more children because there was no scientific proof of a genetic link for autism. They had more children, two of whom were later diagnosed as autistic. Now, in 2008, you probably couldn’t find a medical or psychological scientist who did not firmly state that there IS a genetic link for autism.
    (3) In the mid-1970′s, scientific experts were warning us about the impending global winter and the ice age soon to come. Now in 2008, we’re about to wreck our economy in an effort to save us all from global warming and worldwide flooding from melted glaciers!
    (4) The cause of the widespread extinction of all of the dinosaurs, dated at 65 million years ago by scientists, has had as many scientific causation theories and explanations as I have fingers and toes!
    (4.1) Incidentally, about a year ago (2006-2007), paleontological scientists admitted that other paleontological scientists had actually discovered and dated a smallish dinosaur as having been found in rocks that were 60 million years-old and, as I recall, even carbon-dated the fossils to 60 million years-ago. Why is this significant? Because all dinosaurs were supposedly destroyed in a brief period of time, 65 million years ago! Yikes! So either our fossil dating methods have flaws … or one or more dinosaur species survived for millions of years after they all had been supposedly pushed into extinction!
    (4.2) By the way, a theory that is becoming more and more accepted is that the dinosaurs did not truly die out 65 (or 60?) million years ago. They live on today as BIRDS. By the way, the dinosaur-to-bird theory was promulgated in the 1970′s and was immediately attacked by many other scientists as absurd, unprovable, theoretical, etc. (Sound familiar?)
    I could give you dozens of other examples – such as the origin of the canals on Mars or or the actual amount (and origin) of petroleum oil in the earth’s crust, just to name a couple – in which the scientific consensus has shifted wildly over the last hundred years or less!
    Intelligent Design is just the latest controversy, perhaps the latest dinosaurs-into-birds science controversy for the first decade of the 21st century!

  • Karl

    Monkeys can make tools and count faster than humans. Those are scientific facts.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Karl, Your ignorance is bliss.
    Monkeys cannot make machines. Only humans can make machines. So the argument is not about tools. Even a bird can make a nest (tool to store non-adult stage offspring), so this ability is no big deal.
    Monkeys cannot place a code onto matter. Only humans can add such concepts onto material. Again, tools are nothing special, a quite a few animals can make tools.
    If you think that monkeys can count faster than humans is a scientific fact, then you have been brainwashed by primatologists. I cannot help you Karl if you think that way. The human can count faster then any monkey hands down.

  • Nell Minow

    Jeff — You raise the key issue. That is the great thing about science. It is, if I may use the word, agnostic about its findings. It welcomes challenges, always — as long as those challenges meet the rigorous standards of susceptibility to being tested by the scientific method. If they succeed, the new findings become the received wisdom, until the next challenge comes along. As you say, there are hundreds of examples of complete reversals of our understanding of scientific principles as new information comes in by way of new tests and new ideas. This is exactly why science is so robust. And it is exactly why we have to resist efforts to make it any less than it is by changing the rules of how we will decide which hypotheses are pursued. As comments have said over and over on this blog and elsewhere, as soon as anyone figures out a way to test ID in a way that will produce empirical results, the scientific community will welcome it. Where is the Discovery Institute in all this? They say they have a lot of scientists who believe in the idea — what tests are they proposing?
    IntelligentDesigner — “intelligence” can be attributed to other species beside humans but I think everyone will agree that by conventional standards at least, until we figure out how to give an IQ test to a dolphin, humans have unique abilities to reason. But that does not necessarily mean as a matter of logic that human or other intelligence participated in the creation of the universe. It is a cyclical argument as a matter of logic and it does not meet the scientific standard of being able to be tested. Therefore, it remains in the more spacious realm of religion, philosophy, etc. If you want this idea to be accepted by science, you need to learn more about science and find a better argument than “as far as we know, only humans can do x, y, and z; therefore some humans must have done a,b, and c which to my (human and therefore pattern-imposing) mind are a lot like x,y, and z.” Yes, humans recognize patterns. And one thing we know through scientific experiment is that they recognize them sometimes when they are not there — that is the idea behind Rorschach tests. That is why we must be careful to find objective verification of the patterns we see — through the scientific method — before we draw conclusions based on perceived patterns. And that is why your discussion of the issue, while valid as philosophy, does not qualify as science.

  • iorek

    IntelligentDesigner, thanks for the clarification of what you meant by historical science. You are right, I did not appreciate what you meant by the term. If I understand you correctly now, I am still not sure where that takes you. The principles of applied science that we use every day to assess how things work are the exact same principles that I would expect when I look for historical explanations of where things came from. If I am analyzing where genetic code came from, the only explanations I would accept as scientific are the ones that are compatible with the rules of applied science. Why should I carve out an exemption from those rules for past physical behavior? If your answer is because science can’t explain first causes, I would say OK, science can’t explain first causes. Which is why belief systems which attempt to explain first causes with faith are not entitled to the same kind of deference that objective, legitimate science is. The only reason that ID types stretch to call their philosophical speculation science (or even “historical science”) is because they want to appropriate that credibility from science.
    You write, “I propose that since we see a code that shares common properties with all the other codes that are known to have been intelligently designed using a human mind, we must conclude with our senses that it most likely took an intelligent cause to produce the genetic code which governs the regulation and production of the machine body of biological organisms.” That is quite possible. I am not denying it at all. You don’t have to know a thing about genetic code to believe that, philosophers have believed it for centuries based on the “order” they see about them. That doesn’t make it science.
    Finally, it seems to me that you are selling this deity of yours short, assuming that He would order the universe consistent with the sensory constructs of the lowly human mind. That does not sound like the God of Job to me. Heck, it doesn’t even sound like the God of Bertrand Russell, who wrote, “Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.”

  • Realist

    I wish Ben Stein’s movie had half the thoughtfulness displayed in many of these comments. Stein is that fatal combination, an articulate person who is also narrow minded and ignorant. That gives him a large public forum to embarrass himself. Years from now people will laugh at his “flat earth” pronouncements. They will make rude remarks and throw things at the screen. Ignorance is bad enough, but aggressive ignorance is a truly terrible thing.

  • Maladapted

    As an atheist, I salute Nell Minow for proving that faith and clear thinking are fully compatible!

  • Maladapted

    IntelligentDesigner, in an earlier comment you spoke of a wedge. Was that a (perhaps unconcious) reference to the “Wedge Document,” a key exhibit in Kitzmiller v. Dover?
    The Wedge Document was developed by the Discovery Institute. Judge Jones considered it an authoritative statement of the ID movement’s objectives. Quoting the Wedge Document directly, the IDM’s “Governing Goals” are to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies” and “to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”
    Perhaps you can understand why, as a scientific materialist, my response to the IDM is “emotional and staunch.”

  • Realist

    For my ID friends who are so hot to extrapolate conclusions from the appearance of patterns and order in nature, try your hand at this: thousands of years ago, we had a great many gods to account for everything we didn’t understand: weather, crops, the sea, volcanoes, fortunes of war, etc. The more human learned about the world, the more those gods faded from the scene. Now we have scientific explanations for things that it used to take hundreds of gods to explain. We are down to one god left, and his jurisdiction is far more limited.
    What does that “pattern” tell you?

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Maladapted (wrote 4/23/08 @ 6:05pm)

    IntelligentDesigner, in an earlier comment you spoke of a wedge. Was that a (perhaps unconcious) reference to the “Wedge Document,” a key exhibit in Kitzmiller v. Dover?

    Chimpanzees cannot produce a wedge. A wedge is one of the simplest machines. I was trying to convey the message that mankind is the only species that can intelligently design a machine. I am aware of the infamous Wedge Document, I was not referring to that, although I think it’s funny that man is the only species that can make a wedge and a document.

  • a staunch atheist

    Chimpanzees indeed do make tools.

  • IntelligentDesigner

    For my ID friends who are so hot to extrapolate conclusions from the appearance of patterns and order in nature, try your hand at this: thousands of years ago, we had a great many gods to account for everything we didn’t understand: weather, crops, the sea, volcanoes, fortunes of war, etc. The more human learned about the world, the more those gods faded from the scene. Now we have scientific explanations for things that it used to take hundreds of gods to explain. We are down to one god left, and his jurisdiction is far more limited.
    What does that “pattern” tell you?

    Posted by: Realist | April 23, 2008 7:43 PM
    What is the price of tea in China? We live in religious freedom, the power structure cannot tell you or me how many or what God(s) to believe. However, my state of New York is on record as recognizing the existence of a single all mighty God. The preamble which establishes the constitution of New York says: “WE, THE PEOPLE of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION.”
    No seriously though, stop beating around the bush and come up with a code that can come into existence without another code or a mind. This exercise has nothing to do with any God, so come on, lets be a realist, codes are everywhere, lets see one come into existence without intelligent design.
    There is no BELIEF in intelligent design, ID exists everywhere in front of you. Design detection can be a valid scientific investigation. Wouldn’t you want to know what intelligent causes are capable of as opposed to all the other causal powers of the universe? Wouldn’t you like to know the origin of natural selection? Wouldn’t you like to know the best possible answer as to the origin of a code without story telling and fictional scenarios that cannot be demonstrated against reality?
    If you truly want to call yourself a realist, then please demonstrate a code that can appear in nature without the aid of an intelligent agent or pre-existing code. Natural laws, chance, necessity, you name it, any combination that excludes a mind can be used in your answer. I am waiting.

  • Iorek

    IntelligentDesigner, if you think “intelligent design exists everywhere in front of you,” you obviously haven’t read anything about the run up to the war in Iraq. Your intelligent designer must have gone on vacation and turned the president over to random subatomic particles.
    Let me challenge your statement, “this exercise has nothing to do with any God.” If you sincerely believe that, then you are in a distinct minority amongst the IDers. But just what or who do you think your “designer” is? As long as you postulate a “consciousness” or a “supreme intelligence” or a “prime mover,” you can’t say this has nothing to do with any God.

  • Nell Minow

    IntelligentDesigner, it is scientifically and mathematically valid to study designs and patterns. But it is not scientifically valid to extrapolate the causes of the patterns without additional testable data. Your argument is valid as theology or philosophy and indeed this argument is well-established in those subjects. But it is too circular, closed-loop, and untestable to be valid as a scientific theory. What tests that meet the standards of the scientific method do you propose? Why have the alleged scientists of all faiths (according to the Discovery Institute) who believe in ID failed to propose any?
    >As an atheist, I salute Nell Minow for proving that faith and clear thinking are fully compatible!
    Thank you, Maladapted! I believe that I can best honor God’s gift of a head and a heart by thinking as well as feeling.
    The Wedge document referred to by some of the commentors was introduced at the Kitzmiller trial and commented on by the judge in his decision. It is a memorandum from the ID-promoting Discovery Institute that specifically calls not just for ID to be included as an alternative hypothesis in the science curriculum, as Stein proposes in the movie, but a transformation of what we currently know as testing and data-based science with “theistic and Christian science.” The explicit goals of the proposed strategy, for which promotion of ID as a scientific theory was one element, were to “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that human beings are created by God.” It was in part this document that persuaded Judge Jones that ID was a religious and not a scientific hypothesis.

  • Maladapted

    From the Discovery Institute’s website:
    “It is in the context of our concern about the world-view implications of certain scientific theories that our wedge strategy must be understood. Far from attacking science (as has been claimed), we are instead challenging scientific materialism–the simplistic philosophy or world-view that claims that all of reality can be reduced to, or derived from, matter and energy alone.”
    In other words, they acknowledge that ID can’t be accepted as science unless they hijack the definition of “science.”

  • Iorek

    Enough is enough.
    I have just read the official press release issued by the producers of this movie. They write:
    “Parade Magazine released its World’s Worst Dictators list for 2007, citing its top 20 offenders around the globe who “suppress the freedoms of speech and religion, and the right to a fair trial.” Parade awarded the top five honors to the leaders of Sudan, North Korea, Iran, China and Saudi Arabia respectively. Unfortunately one group, overlooked by the media, politicians and the general public, which did not make the top 20 list, resides in the most powerful (and free) country in the world.
    “While Human Rights groups scour the earth to buttress their cause, another group is systematically persecuting individuals in the United States under our nose and in the name of “science”: Darwinists.”
    My reaction to this press statement is that after a while, arguing with a fool only proves there are two. I am reverting to Woody Allen’s philosophy; when he was done acknowledging all of the free speech and due process rights of the the American Nazi party that demanded their right to demonstrate in front of a home for aged holocaust survivors, he said “my solution for the Nazis is just to beat them up.”

  • IntelligentDesigner

    Iorek,
    Darwinists follow a materialist religion that cannot be tested against reality. They delve into the metaphysical all the time. The big bang is one such example that they continue to peddle.
    Nell,
    If I can empirically test the properties of codes and machines of manmade objects, and see that their are certain similaries to the machines and code that are contained in biological organisms, why do you say that is not science? What part of what I am saying is theological? I am using observation to look for similaries in characteristics and origins. It turns out there are unique characteristics and origins that all codes and machines have in common.
    Why is studying similar forelimb structures in different kinds of animals ‘scientific’ evidence for evolution when their is even less testing and demonstrating of one coming from the other then in my examples with codes and machines. In other words, why do you think change over time is occuring on such structures when it has never been observed by anyone (and hence, metaphysical).
    Also, please answer my question.
    What is the common origin of all the codes that we observe in the universe when such origins are known?

  • Nell Minow

    IntelligentDesigner — if you think that science is “a materialist religion” then I can see why you cannot make a distinction between the scientific method and what you propose.
    Several of the posters here have explained why what you suggest does not meet the standards of the scientific method. The burden of proof is now on you to show that it does, addressing the concerns they have raised instead of just repeating exactly the same arguments. Keep in mind, however, that in order to make a credible disagreement, your statement of the opposing side must be acceptable to its proponents. If your view cannot meet the standards of the scientific method as stated by scientists, it cannot be considered science.

  • iorek

    What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
    –Bertrand Russell

  • iorek

    Intelligent Designer, you wrte:
    “Darwinists follow a materialist religion that cannot be tested against reality. They delve into the metaphysical all the time. The big bang is one such example that they continue to peddle.”
    Nothing could be farther from the truth. The big bang remains only a theory, but a variety of esteemed and respected scientists continue to gather empirical data and make mathematical calculations to test it, and so far they are very supportive. That data is available to anyone to challenge. For example, physicists from Bell Labs detected and measured the residual hum from the big bang. The esteemed Max Planck mathematically calculated “Planck Time” regarding the dispersion of the four forces following the big bang. Numerous astronomers chart the speed and direction of the universe in a manner consistent with the big bang theory. It takes a long time to test properly. But nobody can ever test the ID proposition that the world was created by a big guy with a white beard and a bath robe with a gold “G” embroidered on the pocket. Unless of course you are prepared to offer such a methodology here.

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