The movie EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED opens today in the USA.
I saw a preview screening of it and it’s excellent. It is opening on a limited release of 1000 screens around the country. For a documentary, that’s a record. It even beats Algore’s and Michael Moore’s films for the largest weekend opening. Christians who believe in the inerrancy of scripture are duty bound to support it by buying up a lot of theater tickets to ensure it gets a wider screening and a longer run.
I suggest that you make an outing of it and invite your friends this weekend. You can go to http://www.expelledthemovie.com to see where it is playing at a theater near you.
You can also watch a clip from Expelled here.
For the past few months, I’ve been doing a Tuesday night Internet radio show with a few friends on http://christianhillbilly.com. If you want to come on and discuss controversial issues, it is a fun and profitable way to spend an hour. You just need a Skype account, which takes about two minutes to set up at http://skype.com. Last Tuesday, we discussed Ben Stein’s EXPELLED, showed a few clips, and answered questions and objections. The chat room was packed and we had more listeners than since I started with this.
Or if you’d just like to listen in next Tuesday, the show What Do You Believe? is from 9 to 10 pm EDT.
- Jay Rogers
RANDOM AFTER THOUGHT: I sent the above email out to a few dozen friends and a couple of them took exception because I wrote that “Christians are duty bound” to see this movie. I suppose I could be accused of hyperbole, but I have always believed Christians are duty bound to support the arts. Back before the separation of church and state, in Christian countries, the church got tithe money directly from taxes collected by the state to support the sicences, the arts, missions, education, hospitals, ophanages, and so on. Now the Catholic Church still supports these things in Catholic countries. The state doles out money to the church’s heirarchy who then support the church run institutions.
I don’t think the state should be involved in any type of Christian welfare because as they say, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” It’s also sinful and tyrannical to force taxpayers to support socialized programs they disagree with — which is exactly what leftists force us to do today through liberal programs even though “separation of church and state” is their mantra.
Rather this responsility rests solely with churches and Christian individuals. One of the reasons why we are losing our Christian culture in Protestant countries is that the church’s view has become that the civil government needs to support these institutions directly. The church does nothing but build the church. Therefore, entertainment, education, the arts and virtually every institution that shapes the hearts and minds of men is given over to crass humanism. But don’t let me get up on my soapbox about this. Yes, you are duty bound to support the arts when there is a lone film in a vast sea of filth and anti-Christian degradation that seeks to uphold the truth. EXPELLED is such a movie.
That's the spin of Myers and Dawkins, but the facts are:
1. They were given the questions ahead of time.
2. They signed a release form AFTER the interview was done.
3. They were both paid with a nice check.
4. They each cashed their checks and haven't returned the money.
5. If they had a basis for a lawsuit, they would sue. But they do not have any basis, so they are not suing.
6. Once an interview is paid for, it's owned by the producers. It can be used in any context. They have absolutely no basis to complain since they were paid for the interviews.
7. There is no deception here. And even if thre was, atheistic evolutionists have no moral basis for explaining why it's wrong to lie. It's survival of the fittest, right? So why would THEY not lie about the alleged deception?
Maybe this moral relativisim brought about by their own worldview is why they are confused about what is right and wrong, fact or fiction, reality or fantasy?
The producers set up the interviews claiming that they were making a film called "Crossroads" about the intersection of science and religion, even though they already knew they were making a film about intelligent design called "Expelled." P.Z. Myers wasn't asked questions about intelligent design, though he would have been happy to comment. The filmmakers have lied about "Crossroads," suggesting that they changed the name later--but they already registered "expelledthemovie.com" in March 2007, before the interviews with Myers, Scott, Dawkins, and Shermer.
2. The content of the film itself misrepresents cases of alleged persecution of intelligent design advocates. Not a single person was fired from a job. Sternberg didn't lose a job, a position, or any privileges at the Smithsonian even though he had been mishandling specimens and violated the rules for review at the journal he was editing. Gonzalez didn't get tenure for good reasons. Crocker didn't have her contract renewed for good reasons.
Your points 1-6 are correct but irrelevant. The deception involved in getting the interviews didn't break the law, but was still unethical.
Your point 7 is incorrect. There is lots of deception involved in the film, you just haven't bothered to address any of it.
Your suggestion that atheism entails nihilism or moral relativism is incorrect. The only metaethical ground for ethics not available to the atheist is divine command theory, which most philosophers (including Christian philosophers) agree is not a good foundation for ethics, as Plato demonstrated millenia ago in the Socratic dialogue Euthyphro.
In any case, the behavior of the producers of "Expelled" is unethical even on the assumption that Christianity is true. By defending it, you're being inconsistent with what you purport to believe, including the commandment against bearing false witness and the Golden Rule.
Isn't it also true that Dawkins participated in a documentary about the Discovery Institute in which the I.D. promoters were portrayed in the negative after being led to believe that the film was an "objective" documentary?
Did he complain about that one?
If you are going to be making accusations about lying, then it ought to apply to the evolutionists too.
Few documentaries on controversial topics are objective -- even if the film makers think they are being even handed. Dawkins' M.O. has always been to cry foul when the "objective" documentarians have an agenda against his point of view, but laud them when they agree with him.
He's crafty enough to realize that he is getting his point across to his audience no matter what and that the "cry-baby" tactics just draw more attention to his voice.
If you do an interview, you have to accept ahead of time that the publicity you get might not be in your favor. Dawkins knows that and he's prepared to spin it whatever the result.
As a pro-life activist, documentarian, writer, and someone whose work has been used (with and without permission) I know this fact of life all too well.
Besides, the EXPELLED producers are going to say that this wasn't a film about I.D. -- that it is mainly about the intersection of faith and science and whether freedom of speech in academia is being squelched.
They are going to say that they allowed each side to make it's case.
And so on.
From my purely "objective" point of view, I agree with their viewpoint on this.
"Expelled" clearly fails even as an attempt to document failures of academic freedom, as it does not accurate document even the incidents that it does bother to address. And it ignores the more significant cases of persecution of those who advocate evolution, such as Chris Comer who was forced to resign from her job at the Texas Education Agency for sending an email announcing that Barbara Forrest was giving a college lecture, Christian biochemist Terry Gray who was forced to recant his views and charged with heresy, Christian biologist Richard Colling who was forbidden to teach intro biology or use his own book in his classes, and others.
Answer this then: "If EXPELLED is such an abject failure, why are evolutionists so up in arms about it?"
I found it interesting that Dawkins and Myers took immediately to attacking the integrity of he producers, announcing that it was a poorly done movie, based on Dawkins' "sneak preview" and prophesying its demise at the box office even before it was released.
I disagree both as a videographer who has some understanding and appreciation of production quality and according to raw box office statistics.
The fact that they won't give EXPELLED any respect by addressing its points is the salient point of the movie anyway.
So that's ironic.
But they are also using the correct tactic to win, even though I don't think they've won in anybody's eyes except those who agree with them.
In the long run, EXPELLED can only be effective if it convinces people sitting on the fence on the issue of I.D. or creationism -- or if it stimulates debate over whether a debate should be had.
What is puzzling to me about all of this is when evolutionists shut down the very idea of discussing I.D. because it is "not science."
That might well be true. I see the point in saying you can't use natural science to study something that is ultimately supernatural.
If you are saying it's not scientific on those grounds, then you could be right -- although I don't think it's a closed case. It's always possible to see the reflection of a hypothetical supernatural force in a natural object or design.
But if you are saying that I.D. is not science because it is IMPOSSIBLE and that science has proven that God does not exist, then you are guilty of making the same error that fundamentalists do when they try to impose their system of theology on what should be taught as science.
I just find the debate interesting. I have Christian friends who are convinced "old earth" creationists (like Charles Darwin) -- and even some who are theistic evolutionists. From what I understood, some off the scientists interviews in EXPELLED were coming from the viewpoint of theistic evolution or Intelligent Design within evolution.
Neither of these two positions are "deal breakers" as far as I am concerned. Even though I lean toward the idea of young earth creationism, I'll be the first to admit that I am not a scientist and don't know everything about the current state of evolutionary science.
If total organic evolution turned out to be true beyond a shadow of reasoning, it wouldn't destroy the Christian faith. It would just destroy the current popular evangelical interpretation of a small number of Bible passages.
However, there are a few hypothetical discoveries that I would consider to be "deal breakers" that would completely refute the Christians faith and cause me to renounce (if not a belief in a God) my belief in scripture as inerrant and infallible.
These "deal breakers" I've thought about since I was a teenager, and with the exception of a science fiction novella I wrote when I was 15, I haven't discussed them with anyone. You can be the first if you are interested.
1. The first would be the discovery of sentient life on other planets.
2. The second would be a more complete hominid fossil record.
These are two things that I believe will ultimately swing the pendulum either way among reasonable people.
Also, your point (6) depends on the content of the release. For example, I was recently filmed by Creation Ministries International, for a DVD that they will be reissuing of a 1988 debate between Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research and Australian geologist Ian Plimer. I signed a release which only permits CMI to use the footage for that DVD, for a shorter trailer, and in marketing materials for that DVD. It also permits me to make use of the full footage. The upshot of this is that they can't use the footage of me in any way they like, but only for the specific projects I've agreed they can use it for. It also gives me some recourse if I feel they misrepresent me or quote me out of context--I can issue a full version that would show the misrepresentation. Of course, the fact that they were willing to agree to it demonstrates that they have no intention of misrepresenting me, and I don't expect that they will.
In response to your last comment, I see nothing in principle that prevents science from being used to examine a supernatural hypothesis, including the existence of God, so long as the hypothesis entails some observable/measurable regularities in the physical universe.
I think the hominid fossil record is pretty solidly established. I'm not sure why you think point (2) refutes Christianity (as opposed to biblical literalism regarding Genesis), but I think it's already been done.
But it only confirms what I learned about 20 years ago in my anthropology classes.
I am sure hominid paleontology has changed a bit since the mid-1980s when I studied it. There have been a few new discoveries, but from what I can see here, things haven't changed too much.
In the mid-1980s, when I studied this, I went in with a partially open mind. I was not a Christian then. But I was amazed at how full of holes the hominid fossil record was. Since I became a Christian, I've read and published only a few cursory articles on it. But hominid evolution hasn't been a big issue with me, because I already knew it was weak.
I am far from being an expert, but any intelligent perrson without a bias can see that it is not a settled issue.
My anthropology professors, who were confirmed evolutionists, were forthright in explaining that Australopithecines were baboon-like apes while Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal are modern humans who you would not recognize if you saw them riding the public transportation system today.
So how did we get from ape to man then?
Modern man has come from Neanderthal who comes from an archaic form of Sapiens. Then this archaic Sapiens comes from a form known as Erectus. He comes from Habilis. And he in turn comes from Boise. Then you have Australopithicus robustus. And finally they come from Africanus and then Afarensis. So that was the scenario.
Physical anthropologists still point to the Australopithecines as the direct ancestor of modern man. They point to bone structures that might indicate bipedalism and so on.
The debate among the prominent anthropologists has centered around WHICH species or subspecies of Australopithecines (or none of the above) are the direct ancestors of modern man.
I've always found this amazing since cranial capacity and teeth structure show undoubtedly that these creatures prior to Sapiens are apes.
Then we have a gap of supposedly over a million years with no clear transitional forms as the graph on the following page shows:
Modern man appears with Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man very recently.
This is exactly what one would expect to find if a creationist model was presupposed. It's only when evolution is assumed to be fact, that the hominid fossil record can be made to bear out the hypothesis that we descended from the Australopithecines through "Homo habilis" -- another ape species.
In fact, the classification has even been changed by some to "Australopithecus habilis."
One professor told me that he personally went through 140 source papers. There was no evidence in any case that this was anything else except either a human or an ape. All you have to do is measure the cranial index. If it is 38%, it is human; if it is 58%, it is an ape, (plus or minus 7% in both cases).
There are other tests also. For example, you find V-shaped jaws and U-shaped jaws in some of these creatures. Man has a parabolic U-shaped jaw. The differences are striking.
Each anthropologist had a different view on how the evolutionary branching occurred. This amazed me. The fossil evidence is so disagreed upon by the leading experts and yet it's always been assumed from the outset that hominid evolution is already proven.
Their view seems to be: "We know man evolved from an ape-like ancestor, but we just haven't figured out which one yet."
There is in fact, no "Homo erectus" species that has been proven to be a transitional form between the two. Every instance of "Homo erectus" has been proven to be either an ape, a human or a hoax.
Phillip Johnson is right when he writes that Hominid evolution is by far the weakest area of Darwinism. Evolution needs to be finally proved or disproved based on fossil evidence.
Since hominid evolution occurred most recently in the evolutionary scheme of time, one would expect the MOST evidence in this area of branching, yet here it seems most scant.
The more time that goes by without physical evidence, the weaker the credibility of Darwinism -- at least in explaining the origin of man -- becomes.
If evolution is true, there is no original sin. If there is no original sin, Jesus' death on the cross was an arbitrary event. It might serve as an example to us, but it could never be a source of redemption and salvation.
The Five Deal Breakers
1. Prove by the laws of physics that the material universe suddenly appeared out of nothing. Or prove that the universe always existed.
2. Prove that life can be synthesized out of non-life by creating a cell in a laboratory.
3. Bio-engineer a new life form that is a totally different genus from the original.
4. Prove hominid evolution. In other words, humans are genetically human. Apes are genetically apes. There is a huge gulf. Prove a third form existed that bridges the gap. It can be neither genetically human or ape.
5. Discover life on other planets that could not have come from earth -- especially highly developed or sentient life forms.
Any of these would disprove the Genesis account as being factual and would prove that evolution is not only possible but probable.
In fact, I plan to propose 21 of these "deal breakers."
I'd like these to forever be known as "Jay Roger's 21 Deal Breakers."
We'll let them stand for 113 years.
By 2121 A.D. if none of these can be demonstrated soundly, I propose that the Darwinian theory of evolution be buried once and for all.
Creationists used to consider the Peking Man and Java Man specimens of Homo erectus (the only two they typically refer to at all) to be entirely apes; now many, following Marvin Lubenow, consider them to be fully human. Gish considers Java Man to be fully ape and Turkana boy to be fully human, even though they fully appear to be the same species, Homo erectus.
You maintain that Homo erectus isn't a real species, but a conglomeration of humans and apes, divisible solely on the basis of cranial index, but such a classification is not only arbitrary but requires ignoring other characteristics of the fossils. Some scientists have proposed merging Homo erectus into Homo sapiens on the basis of the fact that they seem to be continuous with the human species, but the far end of the range is so distinct from humans that this has been rejected.
Most creationists consider Neandertals to be fully human, but now that Neandertal mitochondrial DNA has been studied, it appears that they are distinct from modern humans.
Of your deal breakers, #2 is very close (self-replicating molecules were first made in Julius Rebek's MIT chemistry lab in 2000; Craig Venter completed sequencing of the human genome in 2002 and is close to being able to reassemble cells from constituent (and non-living) parts), #3 won't be far behind, and #4 is already done (human beings and other primates share "plagiarized errors" in DNA of the same sort that demonstrates copyright infringement in maps and texts).
I know you are obsessed with the EXPELLED phenomenon, but you comment would be better at my more recent post:
Five evolutionary "deal breakers" that would disprove Christianity.
Julius Rebek's self-replicating molecules are a far cry from the creation of life. We are not getting "close" to creating life from non-life.
The hominid evolutionary tree is more interesting to me. The problem here too is that we are dealing not with fully formed skulls but with bone fragments and reconstructions. The anthropologists who interpret the bone pieces are not even handling the originals, but casts.
If one were examining a fully formed skull even an amateur could tell instantly if it were that of a man or an ape. These are two distinct species -- despite the claims of shared DNA -- that are hugely different.
Basically, we have Gorilla-like skulls, baboon-like skulls and human-like skulls. The fragmentary nature of the fossil specimens sometimes clouds the classification.
By the way, I am not getting this from Duane Gish, but from another scientists named Dr. Robert Gange. Are you familiar with him?
The creature you are looking for is another type entirely. You are looking for multiple specimens of same genus that had both ape and human teeth or jaw structures (or some varied characteristics along those lines) that would suggest a transitional form.
Can you give a single example of a specimen that definitely fits the Homo erectus profile?