Creationist documentary premiere bars science blogger, accidentally lets in Richard Dawkins

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54 Responses to “Creationist documentary premiere bars science blogger, accidentally lets in Richard Dawkins”

  1. malcolmkass says:

    Both of these groups are intellectual lightweights. Both are grossly ignorant of scientific theory and both school of thoughts lack intellectual rigor as compared to physics. So what if somebody beleves in creationism, what does it matter? If you don’t believe in Physics, buildings fall down, millions die. Don’t believe in evolution, nothing changes. Really, why do people care? Evolution and Creationism doesn’t matter. Physics and Chemistry does.

    I hate this whole debate, much ado about nothing. And people, study physics, thermodynmanics, and chemistry, and then you will truely understand science, not this half assed bullshit.

  2. Brian Carnell says:

    The interesting thing about banning Myers is that the blog for the film goes on and on about Myers and others being close-minded and not allowing a full and open airing of the creationist “argument.” To turn around and then ban Myers from this screening of the film is a hilarious commentary on just how free and open the producers of the film really are.

    Also, on Stein…the fascinating thing is that he’s very conservative but he uses what is a typclly lft wng crtcsm f scnc — that it is simply politics by another name. Stein argues on the documentary’s blog, for example, that Darwin’s theory was simply an extension and justification of British imperialism that can be largely dismissed as such.

  3. Riblets says:

    “Creationists and BluRay DRM pwned! This is, indeed, a Good Friday.”

    Oh yeah, this is definitely a good day.

  4. Scoutmaster says:

    I don’t get it? Why are they trying to get in to a religious documentary? Doesn’t interest me. I already know they don’t have a leg to stand on. I’m sure RD didn’t hear anything he hasn’t heard a thousand times. He’d be accomplishing more by protesting outside with signs showing lines from his book.

  5. Amphigorey says:

    They wanted to see the movie because a) it’s probably quite funny, although unintentionally, and b) because they’re both in it. The producers of “Expelled,” which is supposedly a documentary, managed to interview both PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins under false pretenses. So, yes, Myers was banned from seeing a movie that he is in.

    And really, Dawkins protesting a movie of this little stature would give it far more credibility than it deserves.

  6. EncarnacionFlor says:

    Takuan, (was wondering where you were)
    Some local police forces will allow organizations to hire out officers for special events, usually crowd control, et c. The fees are usually high, but some organizations prefer actual police to rentd security. This was probably the case here. Because it is a screening on private property, they can allow or forbid anyone from entering the theater, and still be within their rights without breaching the rights of Mr. Myers. That being said, I think this was just as rediculous as anyone else here. Provided that Mr. Myers is capable of maintaining good behavior at events like this, there is no reason for forbidding his entrance at all. And as you well know, I support the ideas of this film! Again, all BoingBoing fans, please don’t judge us all by the tomfoolery of a few, okay?

  7. noen says:

    There are no ideas in the film EncarnacionFlor. None. As a supporter of the film you can expect to get judged for that.

  8. EncarnacionFlor says:

    Takuan, (was wondering where you were)
    Some police forces allow for the hiring of a few officers for events like this. The prices are higher than temporary security, but some organizations consider it worth it. Looks like that is the case here. In this case, because this is on private property, the screenerscan permit or forbid anyone from coming without violating Mr. Myers’ legay rights. That being said, I think it is just as rediculous as everyone else here that they did this. As long as Mr. Myers doesn’t yell “Fire” or anything, he ought to have been welcomed in, and even then, I’d have done so. And I agree wigh the moviemakers! Again, fellow BoingBoing fans, please do not judge us all by the tomfoolery of a few, okay?

  9. Waltb555 says:

    I used to like Ben Stein but I lost every shred of respect for him when he hooked up with this bunch.

  10. DamienMcKenna says:

    Here’s some info from the Orlando Sentinel’s movie critic, one of the few critics who have been allowed to see it:

    Review:
    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_movies_blog/2008/02/is-ben-stein-th.html

    Follow-up:
    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_movies_blog/2008/03/expelledben-ste.html

    The basic story of the documentary is that Darwinian evolution theory led to the Nazi concentration camps of WW2 and their Arian goals. That’s like saying that inventing metallurgy led to Columbine.

    One of Dawkins’ and Myers’ main issues with the documentary is that they were mislead to the intent of the documentary, which is at least partially supported by some information people discovered on one of the forums (see TFA).

    Damien

  11. Landowner says:

    Scoutmaster

    Not only is RD in it. The film they took of him was brutally edited to make him look bad. Ben Stein is a fool.

  12. Metacore says:

    Anyone who immediately puts down a film like this as “religious propaganda” might want to reevaluate their stance on evolution, especially without even seeing the movie(this is precisely why bloggers aren’t viewed as press, by the way), since they clearly do not know either theory very well.

    First of all, anyone who sees Intelligent Design as contradictory to evolution, doesn’t really know what it is. It’s not a replacement to evolution, but more of an addon, attempting to explain the things that evolution hasn’t(like the origin of life), while still keeping the key parts of evolution in mind(the more proven parts, like evolving). It is at it’s purist anyway, as actual creationists have unfortunately managed to get their hands on it, and warp it to fit their ideas, giving all of you this very ugly idea of it.

    All it’s really doing is sort of highlighting the holes in evolution(again, not the evolving part, or the span of time, or anything like that). The entire long version of the actual theory of evolution is very inclusive of other bits and theories, building theory on top of theory(going against scientific method), while this theory sort of throws away the very unproven parts and attempts to add to the theory by examining evolution more objectively(if it weren’t for the bible, it would look a lot more plausible), admittedly, with more very unproven parts. Essentially it’s just replacing extremely unproven areas of evolution(or just areas with no explanation so far) with their own equally unproved theories. That’s all.

    What the film was trying to do(all I’ve seen is the trailer) was attempt to talk about the extreme censorship believers of this theory have experienced(because of uneducated people like many of the ones here…) like many very well respected scientists. It also seemed to want to talk about the theory itself, and try to bring the real version of it to light, and not the crazy creationism associated version you all have in your head…

    At least that was what I thought before reading this. Honestly, I doubt Myers wasn’t let in purely because of his views, since Dawkins was let in fine(as well as Myers’ family) so I’m assuming there is probably another element to it(especially if police were involved), however it would be pretty bad for a film against censorship of scientific views to actually do something like that(which I doubt they did, since they let Dawkins in). I am a little disappointed that Stein is in fact a right-to-lifer, but unlike some people I don’t immediately discount everything a smart person might have to say because of one personal belief(abortion is more of an ethics discussion that a scientific one), and will still try to watch the movie. It is a little crazy that Myers was forced off public property(which I can’t believe any good cop would do, unless there was another reason) but I still have a feeling that there is more to this.

    Anyway, all we want is for people to view this theory as at least a possibility(so far an alternative to nothing, really) and let us speak about it and discuss it in the scientific community, objectively, and without any preconceived notions(as real scientists would do), instead of being threatened to lose our jobs. You all talk about not following scientific method, and approaching things with out own agenda in mind, somehow oppressing everyone else, but in the scientific community, it is actually you, the all-or-nothing evolutionists who are pushing your own agenda, not letting any other theories emerge. All we want is a right to speak and nothing else, regardless of this movie, or how it is handled(I had some high hopes after watching the trailer, but after hearing about this little debacle, I’m just hoping Stein really isn’t an undercover creationist after all). If it weren’t for radicals going against the community, many great things never would have happened, and we never know what proof we might find in a couple of years. Science is all about taking different ideas into consideration while trying to prove them right or wrong(or get some kind of result). Without any contesting, or any different ideas whatsoever, there will never be any results. We have all just seemed to agree about the entirety of evolution because all the other parts make so much sense. This doesn’t mean we must throw away every new idea, or stop examining this one and it is in fact during these stages of a theory that it must be really put to the test to prove it.

    We just want a damn voice, any voice! Something to say “there is still room in evolution for new ideas!” instead of mindlessly approving of it. I know you are all smart, and that I am not very good at writing things like this, so I probably am not clear as I can be(and I don’t want to repeat myself endlessly, since I already did a bunch of times), so I’m really hoping I was clear enough, at least, to get my little point across. Remember, prejudice is bad, even of ideas.

    I would also like to state that I am not some crazy Christian cook, nor am I very religious. I don’t believe in any omnipotent being, nor that the earth was not created in around 5 billion years, or that we didn’t evolved from apes, or that dinosaurs didn’t exist. I believe in all of that, I just think that looking at the gaps in the evolution of life, this theory alone doesn’t explain it all; some sort of unknown force affected this our development, intelligent or not. At the moment, Intelligent Design is the only theory that explores this(probably owing both it’s creation and survival thus far wholly to stubborn creationists who are too stupid to understand the difference), so I support it. I do in fact think that a different, more natural(so to speak) force is more probable, but there is nothing as rounded out as Intelligent Design, or one that explores anything like this beyond the creation of the first form of life.

    As a huge nerd, I often see the parallels between our body and brain(and more importantly individual cells) to computers and machines, which we in fact created. That’s just me, and this is just my opinion and I can’t believe that in a community that claims to be open minded, and not hold any type of views besides those proven, I still have to defend such a simple, logical explanation of a single possibility(just one, little, possibility of something different) so much…

  13. DamienMcKenna says:

    It should also be mentioned that both Myers and Dawkins were a) invited and b) had given their names to the screening organizers in advance through an online signup page, which the movie producer (and others) loudly denounce despite lots of very obvious evidence to the contrary.

  14. Roach says:

    Mindy – Agreed 100%. What’s always bizarre is that people think Hitler was an aberration, especially Americans, when our country sterilized more of the “genetically inferior” than any other country except Sweden. The US sterilized some 60,000 people, many of whom were not even mentally handicapped, like Carrie Buck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Buck). Hitler just took the popular conception of eugenics and combined it with the rest of the most horrible thought-cancers of the day, like fascism and the worst remnants of the industrial revolution (what are concentration camps, after all, except very efficient factories for extermination). He sterilized 400,000 of the supposedly handicapped, and killed many more. Then he took age-old antisemitism and merged it with Social Darwinism, which meant Jews were killed not for their religion but their race, which meant among the six million are those who are many who are by religion Catholic, Protestant and atheist. Trying to find a cause for Hitler’s eugenics programs is somewhat meaningless, as there’s always the question of whether a person is just using such theories as a mask for what he wants to do regardless, even if the crimes are appropriate to the age. What is certain is that those Western eugenics programs still legal during WW2 were quickly repealed after the Holocaust was revealed.

    Mindy mentioned Sir Francis Galton, who interestingly was a cousin of Darwin’s. However, little in Darwin’s writings supports this superior vs. inferior dichotomy – it’s that common misconception that natural selection selects for the “best” or the “strongest.” Science, as its current popularizers often say, doesn’t kill (or sterilize) anyone (except in rare cases like Mengele). It’s its tools and technologies that do so, and so like theology, literature, philosophy and the rest, it’s all peachy and innocent until people get their hands on it.

  15. Michael says:

    It should also be noted that the police threatened Myers with arrest if he didn’t leave immediately — he had the audacity to stand around talking with his family before the movie started.

    That kind of stuff just pisses me off.

    Also, crimeny – I beat Cory to the punch blogging this, for once, but I misspelled Myers’ name. That’s what I get for trying to blog in the wee hours.

  16. Charles Miller says:

    @Metacore

    All your distressingly long comment demonstrates is that you don’t understand evolution, intelligent design, or the Expelled movie particularly well.

    Intelligent design was, from the outset, a tactic to wedge religious creationism into science classes. It has no scientific value whatsoever because it predicts nothing, explains nothing and can not be tested through observation or experimentation. It is the throwing up of hands and saying “it must be magic” the moment we encounter something we don’t understand.

    It may indeed be magic, (I doubt it, though), but it is not science. Saying “we don’t know” and attributing some aspect of the universe to the supernatural does not in any way increase our understanding of the natural world.

    ID is the cessation of rational inquiry, because it says that certain questions can not be answered. When ID looks at an eye, it says “irreducibly complex, obviously designed by an intelligent creator” and walks away. The scientist looks closer and discovers otherwise. Even if you allow ID and evolution to exist side by side, all ID becomes is the statement that “those things we do not know yet may be supernatural… until we can explain them through natural means.”

    And while there are many things in the natural world we don’t know, we’re yet to find anything that definitively can not be known.

    The movie “Expelled” is and always has been a propaganda vehicle. It was backed by religious groups and is being shown in closed screenings to legislators in order to promote “educational freedom” bills that are another attempt to shoe-horn ID back into the science curriculum. As such, it is the very definition of “religious propaganda” and deserves to be labeled as such at every opportunity.

  17. shortfatsteve says:

    How is it that the organizers recognized Myers and not the far more prolific Dawkins? Wadda buncha maroons! This is why the religious right should never be put in charge of–let alone have influence over–anything important. “You say your name is Bim Ladem? That’s not on the watch list–welcome to America!”

    If they think evolution is a flawed theory, then by extension they must think that the scientific method is equally flawed. Why they don’t reject science completely and go off to live in huts and hunt for game with spears is beyond me.

  18. champney says:

    Metacore,
    Intelligent Design is not science – it tells us nothing that helps us move forward our understanding of the world around us: it doesn’t help us explain the fossil record, doesn’t help us understand drug-resistant diseases, doesn’t help us understand the relationships between species, doesn’t help us understand how our bodies and minds work, doesn’t help us understand the relationships between species in ecosystems.

    It makes no interesting predictions about the world, so it is not science, nor is it of use to scientists. But there are lots of aspects of religion that scientists live with quite happily, so why does Intelligent Design attract all this attention? It’s because ID is a grotesque distortion of science that devalues and insults the methodology at the heart of scientific efforts. It’s the old “God of the Gaps” fallacy dressed up to appeal to those with no understanding of the scientific methods or of the work of scientists.

    p.s. “I am not some crazy Christian cook” – I’m glad to hear it!

  19. Pipenta says:

    Ben Stein has had his amusing moments, but he’s always been an asshat. He’s a right-to-lifer. He worked for Nixon. So his views on evolution aren’t a shocker, nor where he stands on issues like integrity and honesty.

    Just having watched the online trailer, this film is such a steaming pile of blatant propaganda, that it makes Stein seem worse. It’s like having someone shove their festering skin rash right in your face. It’s stomach churning.

  20. eap says:

    Darwin caused the Holocaust? Don’t forget that the majority of those who carried out the killings were likely Christians.

    The ability to be cruel is not exclusive to any particular religious affiliation.

  21. MITTZNZ says:

    Whoa. Josh Greenberger, internet academic. Kook.

  22. Takuan says:

    Intelligent Design”: Examined. Dismissed.

    “Evolution”: Examined. Still examining.

    Life is too short to waste on obvious dead ends, silliness,appeals to ignorance and ego etc. Besides “evolution” represents continuous learning and is more fun.

  23. arkizzle says:

    because of uneducated people like many of the ones here…

    Well Metacore, that’s not going to win you any friends. I’d venture to say that many of the regular readers of BB are pretty well educated, and actually do understand evolutionary theory.

    I’m not formally educated in science, but I’ve taken it upon myself to read as much as I can in quite diverse fields; sociology, evolution, maths theory, history of science, non-linear dynamics etc.

    I’d say I have a pretty good grasp of evolution and natural selection, and also of the politics involved in these theories being the accepted ideas of our origins.

    If ID employs the scientific method as you say it does, will it venture theories on “how” an intelligent designer may have achieved it’s work?
    Is the ID camp looking into “how” matter was created, moulded into genes and sparked into life?
    Has the ID camp done anything to prove where an intelligent designer came from (who created the creator)?
    Does ID question whether the designer is super-natural or plain, old natural?

    If ID was science, these are the questions I would assume were the important ones.

    ..also, I’d be interested in which parts of evolution you (and ID) think are inadequate, and if you support both theories; how you separate the creation from the evolution.

  24. arkizzle says:

    p.s. “I am not some crazy Christian cook” – I’m glad to hear it!

    Ha! me too, it’s all just loaves and fishes usually, no?

  25. Santa's Knee says:

    “From Mendel to Mengele,” huh? Superbad junk science to the max!

  26. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Thank you again, Stefan.

  27. libelle says:

    It always pisses me off that people talk about Darwinism as “survival of the fittest.” Darwinism is all about survival of the adequate.

    Furthermore, “fittest” is localized to a set of environmental conditions. But environments are not constant over time — they’re really quite ephemeral (on a geologic timescale).

  28. Dan says:

    Ben Stein should know that blaming Darwin for the Nazi’s is like blaming the Wright Brothers for 9-11.

    Gyaagh! This anti-science crowd must be ridiculously blissful in their stupidity. I’m almost envious.

  29. zuzu says:

    It always pisses me off that people talk about Darwinism as “survival of the fittest.” Darwinism is all about survival of the adequate.

    Like Mark, God is very fond of beetles. :D

  30. Brian Carnell says:

    “Anyone who immediately puts down a film like this as “religious propaganda” might want to reevaluate their stance on evolution, especially without even seeing the movie(this is precisely why bloggers aren’t viewed as press, by the way), since they clearly do not know either theory very well.”

    Well, the producers of the movie had a very active website presence where they push nutty views, so it seems fair to assume that the same nutty views that are on the movie’s blog are likely to show up in the movie.

  31. scottfree says:

    Libelle, hear hear. Arent they meant to teach evolution in school?

  32. wrathofthekitty says:

    @ Metacore #36

    Charles Miller #37 and Champney #38 covered the most important bases, but I argue that the word “Theory” does not even apply to ID.

    According to the National Academy of Sciences,

    “Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.”

    A theory is not a hunch, a hypothesis, or an idea. A theory is testable and therefore supported by empirical evidence provided via experimentation. Since ID cannot be tested, cannot be demonstrated with experimentation and cannot provide any empirical data, it cannot be a theory!!

    While I support having an open mind about this sort of thing, in the words of James Randi: “Sir, there is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.”

    You may not be a “crazy Christian cook,” but you do sound like a crazy kook.

  33. arkizzle says:

    Yeh, that really was too long. I only have one point to make, more if I had the energy..

    Saying evolution is totally random is just plain wrong, and saying it the way you are saying it is absurd. Your comparison of evolution to monkeys on typewriters is completely backwards, basically starting with an endpoint and trying to reach it. Whereas evolution starts at the start and sees where it goes. There is no goal.

    Your analogy also supposes that an animal can give birth to an offspring composed of a totally random set of genes, with little or no resemblance to it’s parent. That every animal can be a fresh starting point of variable genetics, a new experiment. That there should be, littered amongst the fossil record, a vast supply of freakishly out-moded ‘failure’ species. This is, of course, not the case.

    Natural selection is the result of many small changes (perfectly within the realms of individuals of a species, for example) cumulatively being built upon over hundreds of millions of years, rather than a mass flip-flop of genes to turn out a new shape or feature in a single generation.

    Although the actual minute differences may be ‘random’ (but very limited in scope) the selection of survivors is entirely dependent on non-random factors. Each variation is either better or worse for the individual in question, and so it’s survival (and it’s contribution to the future gene lines) is either reinforced or challenged by the environment it inhabits, making for perfectly tuned (but ever-escalating) environment/animal symbiosis.

    There is no reason to assume that a species that was perfectly able to survive the rocky road of natural selection, long enough to be recognised by us as a fossil millions of years later, should suddenly leap into an eccentric genetic combination, with the wrong shape or colour or amount of legs to survive in the environment it has evolved in, and terminate.

    The individuals of species who weren’t, relatively, as suited to their dynamic environment perished statistically more than their species-mates who were, and the species that were out-moded either evolved or became extinct.

    Of course; if evolution proposed that animals would randomly pop into grossly different shapes, you would be right, but it doesn’t. Go read some Darwin, or Dawkins.

  34. Cowicide says:

    Why did Gawd let this happen?

  35. arkizzle says:

    In before tl;dr

    :p

  36. Antinous says:

    And I always thought that Jimmy Kimmel left over creative differences, not creationist ones.

  37. mindysan33 says:

    Oh, that is really funny. If they tricked both of them into interviews, they should at least let them see the damn thing.

    Yeah, Stein being involved in this really annoys me, but what can you do.

    Not to say that “Darwin caused the Nazis”…. but Hitler’s racist ideas were not exactly completely out of line with a good deal with thinkers of the day. Eugenics and social Darwinism were mainline scientific points of view (there were departments of eugenics at some universities). Same for fields like Orientalism, which certainly propose a racist view of Arabs. Race was seen often in a evolutionary light (Galton) and was used to justify all sorts of brutality, the Holocaust being the most extreme and obvious and certainly led to abandoning of these views in the mainstream. To say that “Darwin caused the Nazis” is not true of course, but Hitler was not alone in thinking that there was a hierarchy of race, and that whites were “more evolved” than “other races”. Isn’t it a bit ahistorical and a bit disingenuous to go around saying that Hitler did not draw *anything* from the thoughts going around in his day and that he was an aberration?

    Mindy

  38. noen says:

    As it turns out Evolution IS a Blind Watchmaker. Utterly refutes the claims made by proponents for ID. This video deserves front page placement I think.

    About This Video
    In this video I deconstruct the broken watch straw man argument used by creationist / ID supporters to attack evolution. I had to pack a ton of information into this video so you WILL need to pause it periodically.

    The basic premise of the argument is that a bunch of parts will never randomly assemble into the correct arrangement to form a properly functioning complex. Once again, creationists / ID supporters miss the basic concept of evolution entirely. No biologists believes, nor is there any evidence that complex systems form spontaneously in one fell swoop. That would be creation. Systems evolve through many intermediates, one step at a time, slowly building up the complexity.

    Here I deconstruct their straw man argument. Basically, I simulate clocks as living organisms. Selective pressure is focused on their ability to accurately tell time. NO goal is imposed on the design (you can tell this because every simulation ends with a differently constructed clock). And it works. Clocks evolve through a series of transitional forms: Pendulum, Proto-clock, 1-handed Clock, 2-handed Clock, 3-handed Clock, and 4-handed Clock. Gradually the complexity is built up.

    The program is written in MatLab.

    Case closed. Verdict: the claims made by ID are bogus.

  39. trr says:

    Pipenta,
    how does being against killing unborn babies support the assertion that one is an “asshat”?

  40. Lagged2Death says:

    I’m trying to understand what the film’s producer was trying to accomplish by preventing certain persons from viewing his movie.

    Those prohibited from the premiere will be perfectly able to see it later, after all. They aren’t any more likely to come around to the film’s point-of-view later.

    Here are some possibilities:

    1) The producer imagined that the audience of Myers’ blog will be more likely to pay to see his movie if, instead of reading Myers’ review, they read this ridiculous story.

    2) The producer was deliberately trying to create an incident, thus earning some free publicity.

    3) The film isn’t a final edit, and the producer knows or imagines that there is something about this print of the movie that exposes him to legal action from Myers, something that will be removed from the final edit.

    4) The producer is insane.

  41. Antinous says:

    Oh, are we starting an abortion debate?

  42. greenj says:

    The Crumbling Facade Of The Theory Of Evolution

    Does the fossil record disprove the theory of evolution?

    (March 2008) The scientific concept of the origin of life on earth begins with the premise that life first appeared billions of years ago with the formation of microscopic organisms out of inanimate matter. In the billions of years which followed, small organisms evolved into higher and more complex forms of life through random mutations, and one species evolved into another.

    Over the years, a process referred to as “natural selection” weeded out those mutations and organisms less fit to survive than others. Thus, it was mostly the more “fit” that passed on their genetic character traits to subsequent generations. And that’s how we and all other life forms got here.

    On the surface, this sounds great. However, a deeper analysis of the underlying mechanism and the fossil record, leaves little doubt that mutations of a random nature could not possibly have been the driving force behind the development of life on earth.

    There has been opposition to the theory of evolution on the basis of whether a random process can produce organization. An analogy often given is, can a monkey on a typewriter, given enough time, produce the works of Shakespeare purely by random keystrokes? Let’s assume for the purpose of this discussion that this is possible — and that random mutations, given enough time, can also eventually produce the most complex life forms.

    Let’s begin by rolling a die (one “dice”). To get a “3,” for example, you’d have to roll the die an average of six times (there are six numbers, so to get any one of them would take an average of six rolls). Of course, you could get lucky and roll a 3 the first time. But as you keep rolling the die, you’ll find that the 3 will come up on average once every six rolls.

    The same holds true for any random process. You’ll get a “Royal Flush” (the five highest cards, in the same suit) in a 5-card poker game on average roughly once every 650,000 hands. In other words, for every 650,00 hands of mostly meaningless arrangements of cards (and perhaps a few other poker hands), you’ll get only one Royal Flush.

    Multi-million dollar lotteries are also based on this concept. If the odds against winning a big jackpot are millions to one, what will usually happen is that for every game where one person wins the big jackpot with the right combination of numbers, millions of people will not win the big jackpot because they picked millions of combinations of meaningless numbers. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a multi-million dollar lottery yet where millions of people won the top prize and only a few won little or nothing. It’s always the other way around. And sometimes there isn’t even one big winner.

    How does this relate to evolution?

    Let’s take this well-understood concept about randomness and apply it the old story of a monkey on a typewriter. As mentioned earlier, for the purpose of this discussion, we’ll assume that if you allow a monkey to randomly hit keys on a typewriter long enough he could eventually turn out the works of Shakespeare. Of course, it would take a very long time, and he’d produce mountains and mountains of pages of meaningless garbage in the process, but eventually (we’ll assume) he could turn out the works of Shakespeare.

    Now, let’s say, after putting a monkey in front of a typewriter to type out Shakespeare, you decide you also want a copy of the Encyclopedia of Britannica. So you put another monkey in front of another typewriter. Then, you put a third monkey in front of third typewriter, because you also want a copy of “War And Peace.” Now you shout, “Monkeys, type,” and they all start banging away on their typewriters.

    You leave the room and have yourself cryogenically frozen so you can come back in a few million years to see the results. (The monkeys don’t have to be frozen. Let’s say they’re an advanced species; all they need to survive millions of years is fresh ink cartridges.)

    You come back in a few million years and are shocked at what you see. What shocks you is not what you find, but what you don’t find. First, you do find that the monkeys have produced the works of Shakespeare, the Encyclopedia of Britannica and “War and Peace.” But all this you expected.

    What shocks you is that you don’t see the mountains of papers of meaningless arrangement of letters that each monkey should have produced for each literary work. You do find a few mistyped pages here and there, but they do not nearly account for the millions of pages of “mistakes” you should have found.

    And even if the monkeys happened to get them all right the first time, which is a pretty big stretch of the imagination, they still should’ve type out millions of meaningless pages in those millions of years. (Who told them to stop typing?) Either way, each random work of art should have produced millions upon millions of meaningless typed pages.

    This is precisely what the problem is with the Darwinian theory of evolution.

    A random process, as depicted by Darwinian evolution and accepted by many scientists, even if one claims it can produce the most complex forms of life, should have produced at least millions of dysfunctional organisms for every functional one. And with more complex organisms (like a “Royal Flush” as opposed to a number 3 on a die), an even greater number of dysfunctional “mistakes” should have been produced (as there are so many more possibilities of “mistakes” in a 52-card deck than a 6-sided die).

    The fossil record should have been bursting with billions upon billions of completely dysfunctional-looking organisms at various stages of development for the evolution of every life form. And for each higher life form — human, monkey, chimpanzee, etc. — there should have been millions of even more “mistakes.”

    Instead, what the fossil record shows is an overwhelming number of well-formed, functional-looking organisms, with an occasional aberration. Let alone we haven’t found the plethora of “gradually improved” or intermediate species (sometimes referred to as “missing links”) that we should have, we haven’t even found the vast number of “mistakes” known beyond a shadow of a doubt to be produced by every random process.

    We don’t need billions of years to duplicate a random process in a lab to show that it will produce chaos every time, regardless of whether or not it might eventually produce some “meaningful complexity.” To say that randomness can produce organization is one thing, but to say that it won’t even produce the chaos that randomness invariably produces is inconsistent with established fact.

    A process that will produce organization without the chaos normally associated with randomness is the greatest proof that the process is not random.

    The notion that the fossil record supports the Darwinian theory of evolution is as ludicrous as saying that a decomposed carcass proves an animal is still alive. It proves the precise opposite. The relative scarcity of deformed-looking creatures in the fossil record proves beyond a doubt that if one species spawned another (which in itself is far from proven) it could not possibly have been by a random process.

    To answer why we don’t see many of the “mistakes” in the fossil record, some scientists point out that the genetic code has a repair mechanism which is able to recognize diseased and dysfunctional genetic code and eliminate it before it has a chance to perpetuate abnormal organisms.

    Aside from this not being the issue, this isn’t even entirely true. Although genetic code has the ability to repair or eliminate malfunctioning genes, many diseased genes fall through the cracks, despite this. There are a host of genetic diseases — hemophilia, various cancers, congenital cataract, spontaneous abortions, cystic fibrosis, color-blindness, and muscular dystrophy, to name just a few — that ravage organisms and get passed on to later generations, unhampered by the genetic repair mechanism. During earth’s history of robust speciation (species spawning new ones) through, allegedly, random mutation, far more genes should have fallen through the cracks.

    And, as an aside, how did the genetic repair mechanism evolve before there was a genetic repair mechanism? And where are all those millions of deformed and diseased organisms that should’ve been produced before the genetic repair mechanism was fully functional?

    But all this is besides the point. A more serious problem is the presumption that natural selection weeded out the vast majority, or all, of the “misfits.”

    A genetic mutation that would have resulted in, let’s say, the first cow to be born with two legs instead of four, would not necessarily be recognized as dysfunctional by the genetic repair mechanism. (I’ll be using “cow” as an example throughout; but it applies to almost any organism.) From the genetic standpoint, as long as a gene is sound in its own right, there’s really no difference between a cow with four legs, two legs, or six tails and an ingrown milk container. It’s only after the cow is born that natural selection, on the macro level, eliminates it if it’s not fit to survive.

    It’s these types of mutations, organisms unfit to survive on the macro level, yet genetically sound, that should have littered the planet by the billions.

    Sure these deformed cows would have gotten wiped out quickly by natural selection, since they had no chance of surviving. But how many millions of dysfunctional cows alone, before you even get to the billions of other species in earth’s history, should have littered the planet and fossil record before the first stable, functioning cow made its debut? If you extrapolate the random combinations from a simple deck of cards to the far greater complexity of a cow, we’re probably talking about tens of millions of “mistakes” that should have cluttered planet earth for just the first functioning cow.

    Where are all these relics of an evolutionary past?

    Did nature miraculously get billions of species right the first time? Of the fossils well-preserved enough to study, most appear to be well-designed and functional-looking. With the low aberration ratio of fossils being no more significant, as far as speciation is concerned, than common birth deformities, there seems to have been nothing of a random nature in the development of life.

    One absurd response I’ve gotten from a scientist as to why a plethora of deformed species never existed is: There is no such thing as speciation driven by deleterious mutation.

    This is like asking, “How come everybody leaves the lecture hall through exit 5, but never through exit 4?” and getting a response, “Because people don’t leave the lecture hall through exit 4.” Wasn’t this the question?

    What scientists have apparently done is look into the fossil record and found that new species tend to make their first appearance as well-formed, healthy-looking organisms. So instead of asking themselves how can a random series of accidents seldom, if ever, produce “accidents,” they’ve simply formulated a new rule in evolutionary biology: There is no such thing as speciation driven by deleterious mutation. This answer is about as scientific, logical and insightful as, “Because I said so.”

    It’s one thing for the genetic code to spawn relatively flawless cows today, after years of stability. But before cows took root, a cow that might have struck us as deformed would have been no more or less “deleterious,” from the genetic standpoint, than a cow that we see as normal. The genetic repair mechanism may recognize “healthy” or “diseased” genetic code, but it can’t know how many legs or horns a completely new species should have, if we’re talking about a trial-and-error crapshoot. If the genetic repair mechanism could predict what a functioning species should eventually look like, years before natural selection on the macro level had a chance to weed out the unfit, we’d be talking about some pretty weird, prophetic science.

    In a paper published in the February 21, 2002, issue of Nature, Biologists Matthew Ronshaugen, Nadine McGinnis, and William McGinnis described how they were able to suppress some limb development in fruit flies simply by activating certain genes and suppress all limb development in some cases with additional mutations during embryonic development.

    In another widely publicized experiment, mutations induced by radiation caused fruit flies to grow legs on their heads.

    These experiments showed how easy it is to make drastic changes to an organism through genetic mutations. Ironically, although the former experiment was touted as supporting evolution, they both actually do the opposite. The apparent ease with which organisms can change so dramatically and take on bizarre properties, drives home the point that bizarre creatures, and bizarre versions of known species, should have been mass produced by nature, had earth’s history consisted of billions of years of the development of life through random changes.

    To claim that the random development of billions of life forms occurred, yet the massive aberrations didn’t, is an absurd contradiction to everything known about randomness.

    Evolutionists tend to point out that the fossil record represents only a small fraction of biological history, and this is why we don’t find all the biological aberrations we should. But the issue here is not one of numbers but one of proportion.

    For every fossil of a well-formed, viable-looking organism, we should have found an abundance of “strange” or deformed ones, regardless of the total number. What we’re finding, however, is the proportional opposite.

    Evolution may have made some sense in Darwin’s days. But in the 21st century, evolution appears to be little more than the figment of a brilliant imagination. Although this imaginative concept has, in the years since Darwin, amassed a fanatical cult-like following, science, it is not. Science still needs to be proven; you can’t just vote ideas into “fact.” And especially not when they contradict facts.

    One sign of the desperation of evolutionists to get their fallacious message across is their labelling of all disproofs of evolution as “Creationism,” even when no mention of Creation or a deity is made. Ironically, it’s evolutionists’ dogmatic adherence to concepts that are more imagination than fact that smacks of a belief in mystical, supernatural powers. What evolutionists have done, in effect, is invented a new god-less religion and re-invented their own version of creation-by-supernatural-means. However, the mere elimination of God from the picture doesn’t exactly make it science.

    So if the development of life was not an accident, how did life come about?

    Well, pointing out a problem is not necessarily contingent upon whether or not a solution is presented. In this case, presenting an alternative may actually be counterproductive. Evolutionists often get so bogged down with trying to discredit an proposed alternative, frequently with nothing more than invectives, that they tend to walk away believing evolution must still work.

    The objective here, therefore, is to point out that Darwinian evolution does not fall apart because a solution being presented says it happened differently. The objective here is to show that the mechanics of evolution are incompatible with empirical evidence, verifiable science and common sense, regardless of whatever else may or may not take its place.

    For a true study of science, we need to put the theory of evolution to rest, as we’ve done with so many other primitive concepts born of ignorance. Science today is far beyond such notions as metals that turn into gold, brooms that fly, earth is flat, and mystical powers that accidentally create life. What all these foolish beliefs have in common is that they were popular in their own time, were never duplicated in a lab, and were never proven by any other means.

    We’d be doing society a great service if we filled our science textbooks with verifiable facts that demonstrate how science works, instead of scintillating fabrications that demonstrate how imaginative and irrational some scientists can get.

    Josh Greenberger

  43. Foolster41 says:

    I find it sad that things like this is labeled “propaganda” before you have even seen it. Also, it isn’t helpful except for creating a hostile “us and them” mentality.

    It is also sad the person got barred, having an outside opinion would either give a negetive response (He disagrees, but then it would be the same as always) or perhaps he might be convinced. In other words, they would have nothing to loose. I would hope it was a mistake, though I wouldn’t nessicerly count on it.

  44. JoshuaZ says:

    And in related news, Ben Stein is now claiming that there is something wrong with “Darwinism” because it doesn’t explain planetary orbits. No really, I’m not kidding. Watch the interview at:

    http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/338668.aspx

  45. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Takuan (32), I’m afraid Ben Stein really is that bad. He’s in the upper echelon of expert propagandists for Creationism and Intelligent Design. There are people in that movement who might conceivably think it’s true, but Ben Stein isn’t one of them. He knows he’s lying.

    Maybe the TV show was rigged?

    Metacore (36), that movie you’re defending is not open-minded. It doesn’t support free enquiry. It was funded and filmed purely for use as propaganda.

    I wouldn’t be saying this if I hadn’t checked it out myself. I wrote about it at some length in September of last year, in Lying in the name of God.

    What got me started was discovering that two very different academics had reported having the same experience with supposedly Christian documentary makers. One of these academics was Chris Heard, Associate Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. The other was P.Z. Myers, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota, the militant atheist science blogger who got expelled from the theatre.

    Both of them were approached by innocuous-sounding documentary projects that wanted to interview them. Both agreed to be interviewed on film, and later were distressed to discover that the documentaries had not been candid about their agendas, and that the footage of their remarks had been cut and spliced to misrepresent their own views. You can read their writeups of these experiences in the articles that are linked from their names.

    It seemed odd that filmmakers should be lying themselves blue in the face in pursuit of a supposedly Christian agenda. As I said at the time:

    What I find interesting about this is where the lines are being drawn.

    Chris Heard is an Associate Professor of Religion. P.Z. Myers is a famously atheistic biologist with a thing for cephalopods. Both of them were tricked, defrauded, and misrepresented by documentary-makers interested only in making propaganda for Biblical-literalist creationist audiences. You wouldn’t expect such organizations to see P.Z. Myers as an insider; what’s interesting is that they don’t see Chris Heard as an insider, either.

    I don’t think these documentarists are drawing the line between theists and atheists. I think the line is drawn between honest thinkers and weighers of evidence (Myers and Heard both qualify) on the one hand, and liars and propagandists on the other.

    It’s not possible to produce such programs honestly. Chopping logic and falsifying arguments like that can only be done by someone who knows that he or she is doing it. To put it another way: if you know enough about the Book of Job or the Tel Dan Stela to make up really effective lies about them that will fit into your preordained agenda, you know enough about them to know you’re lying.

    This process of cooking up faith-promoting lies is not evidence of religious faith. Say you profess the basic Christian package: God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, created all things, and wants us to love and understand Him. [[Footnote #1: Yes, there are paradoxes present in that statement; you're hardly the first to have noticed them; and that's not the point.]] If you truly believe that, how can you fear scientific knowledge? Creation doesn’t lie. [[Footnote 2: If you think it does, you've fallen into Manichaeanism, and all bets are off.]] Surely it must follow that to know more about it is to see further into God’s ways.

    Science is no threat to religious faith. It only threatens the childish misreadings of Biblical literalism. They should have long since been jettisoned. Instead, we have an industry of disinformation devoted to telling people lies that bolster the apparent tenability of that belief system. This is creepy because, as I pointed out a few paragraphs up, the people manufacturing this disinformation can’t be doing it as an act of faith. They know they’re lying. Their audience doesn’t.

    Why should it be so important to insist that God created the animals via mysterious unspecified means, and to deny that the processes that brought them into being left perceptible traces in the geological record and in the form and nature of the animals we have with us today? There’s no virtue in the denial. Understanding something about how animals happened neither makes us gods nor distances us from God. Refusing to understand it—or worse, lying to maintain a false model of how things happened—puts us very far from God and/or truth.

    Lying about evolution is not evidence of faith. Lying about anything is not evidence of faith. Lying to one’s co-religionists is not evidence that you care about the state of their souls or your own. So why do it?

    I still think that’s the pertinent question.

    A few more bits, and then I’ll move on.

    Anyway, all we want is for people to view this theory as at least a possibility(so far an alternative to nothing, really) and let us speak about it and discuss it in the scientific community, objectively, and without any preconceived notions(as real scientists would do),

    No. That’s not going to happen — not because people have preconceived notions, or want to exclude ideas, but because ID theory is outside the range of ideas science can consider.

    Science doesn’t deal with ideas that can’t be tested. Suppose I argue that we only think we have free will, but in fact we’re all being controlled by telepathic bees from Venus. What would science say about that? It would say nothing whatsoever. There’s no test, no experiment that will rule out the possibility that we’re all being controlled by telepathic bees from Venus. It’s what’s called a non-falsifiable theory.

    Intelligent Design is full of non-falsifiable assumptions. It’s not science and it can’t be science. We’re sorry your plane doesn’t fly, but you’ve bolted both wings to the same side.

    Is it possible that that will ever change? Sure! Of course it’s possible! Tomorrow some paleontologist could be thwacking away at the stratified remains of ancient clay deposits, and turn up a four-million-year-old inscription in Ancient Hebrew, written in a claybank by a giant finger: “Dear diary: Today I stuffed souls into a bunch of hominids in the Rift Valley. This should be interesting. -YHVH”

    Then, later on, if we find another inscription — “Dear diary: Am revising subroutines of genomic compression utility. Still suboptimal. Considered revising Ark specs, introducing taller gopher tree, but would have to completely recalculate stresses on joints. Very frustrating. -YHVH” — we can compare the handwriting and language. If they’re reasonably similar, we can hypothesize that there was a giant Hebrew-speaking diarist living on Earth four million years ago. We can go on from there.

    See? We’re not closeminded.

    instead of being threatened to lose our jobs.

    You’re not a scientist, and you’re not going to lose your job over ID. None of the scientists who’ve supposedly lost their jobs or been denied tenure lost them because they supported Intelligent Design. They got nailed for exactly the same reasons non-ID scientists lose jobs and tenure: poor work quality, inadequate publications, et cetera. In the much-ballyhooed case of one scientist who was denied tenure, his department tried to leave his ID book out of consideration when they were deciding whether or not to give him tenure, and he insisted on it being included.

    You all talk about not following scientific method, and approaching things with out own agenda in mind, somehow oppressing everyone else, but in the scientific community, it is actually you, the all-or-nothing evolutionists who are pushing your own agenda, not letting any other theories emerge.

    No. That’s simply not happening. That’s a lie made up by the people who funded this movie. Science is never all-or-nothing. It doesn’t have an agenda. Scientists sometimes do, but science doesn’t. All it takes for a theory to emerge is for that theory to meet the same standards of evidence and falsifiability as any other area of science. Creationism and Intelligent Design haven’t done that.

    Furthermore, it’s Creationism and ID that have the agenda. Hell, Creationism started out as an agenda. It’s only accreted the appearance of scientific respectability because it had to in order to pursue its agenda.

    All we want is a right to speak and nothing else, … We just want a damn voice, any voice!

    You have exactly as much right to speak as anyone else. No one’s stopping you.

    Something to say “there is still room in evolution for new ideas!” instead of mindlessly approving of it.

    There is always room for new ideas, and the approval and disapproval thereof are never mindless. If anyone told you otherwise, they lied.

    I know you are all smart, and that I am not very good at writing things like this, so I probably am not clear as I can be(and I don’t want to repeat myself endlessly, since I already did a bunch of times), so I’m really hoping I was clear enough, at least, to get my little point across. Remember, prejudice is bad, even of ideas.

    No, you did fine. You were repetitive, but we can tell what you’re saying. But really, you should stop saying we’re prejudiced. You’re the one who came here already thinking we wouldn’t listen.

    MindySan (18), what they’re doing is conflating Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Social Darwinism, which may be social but isn’t Darwinist. It’s more Herbert Spencer’s work than anyone else’s.

    Obligatory pedantic note: Orientalism wasn’t a field, just a tendency.

    Malcolm Kass (21), why should we take the advice of someone who knows as little about science as you do? Physicists and chemists would tell you the same thing I do. Biology exists, it’s rigorous, it matters, and at the moment it’s a very hot branch of science.

    BrianCarnell (22), I don’t know who told you that “science is simply politics by another name” is a typical leftwing criticism of science, but they were liars and propagandists on par with these Creationists. It’s neither typical nor representative of the Left. In fact, come to think of it, the most insistent substitution of politics for science has come from some of the doofier segments of the Right. Not that I want to argue the point. My theory is that when the overall intelligence and cluefulness of some political tendency falls below a certain benchmark, they should lose their place in the taxonomy of Right and Left, and instead be classified as part of the Stupid faction. People who think politics is any kind of substitute for science definitely belong there.

    Antinous (28), good question. The answer is a resounding “no!” TRR (27), we are NOT starting an abortion debate, and I will delete any messages that try it.

    Foolster (29), this movie comes pre-equipped with an us-and-them mentality. As for calling it propaganda before seeing it, the thing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There have been plenty of advance reports about its contents.

    Gillagriene (30), well said. I expect you’re familiar with this Doonesbury strip.

    EncarnacionFlor (33), thanks for the info on using police officers as hired security.

    Noen (34), if there were no ideas in it, it wouldn’t be dangerous.

  46. Gillagriene says:

    “If you don’t believe in Physics, buildings fall down, millions die. Don’t believe in evolution, nothing changes. Really, why do people care? Evolution and Creationism doesn’t matter.”

    Um…antibiotics? Genetically engineered food and the problem of unindentedgene transfer? Bird flu?** I wouldn’t want someone who doesn’t believe in the concepts of evolution* working on these issues…evolution is the one of the organizing frameworks for biology, ecology, environmental science and medicine. And, frankly, those are pretty important too.

    Besides which, depending on the particular brand of creationism, geology and astronomy become battle grounds as well. (Though I have to admit I can’t think of any way that in not believing in the most currently accepted views of universe creation ((big bang or whatever it is at the moment)) could impact anything that vital.)

    *Yes I know that the mechanization of natural selection (gene theory) came later and that some creationists separate macroscale evolution from microscale changes (never mind that the only difference is time scale)

    **Also, viruses status as a living organism is contested, but the process of mutation and gradual adaptation to new/changing conditions is an awful lot like natural selection.

  47. Antinous says:

    Hmmm. IMDb users could rate this film. Hmmm.

  48. Takuan says:

    Haven’t seen it. Assume it’s silly. MIGHT be a very sly parody…(is Ben Stein really that big a moron?? Really???)

    What is more interesting than yet more low grade soon-to-be utterly-forgotten religious propaganda is that the report sounds as if a POLICEMAN, as in public servant, is acting as a flunky of religious loons.Is this true? If so, that is the only story here.

  49. Stefan Jones says:

    This can’t be linked to enough:
    The Wedge Strategy.
    A cynical, blunt strategy document by the Discovery Institute, laying out what they want and how they intend to do it.

  50. noen says:

    Clearly it’s number 4.

  51. Paul Coleman says:

    This is damn funny.

  52. nikkesen says:

    It gets funnier every time I read it.

  53. Matt Staggs says:

    This makes me so happy.

  54. Halloween Jack says:

    Creationists and BluRay DRM pwned! This is, indeed, a Good Friday.

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