Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Expelled" From The Garden?

I used to really respect Ben Stein but his newest fiasco, the movie Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed is more than just embarrassing, its a thinly veiled wolf-pack of lies dressed up in pseudoscientific sheep's-clothing that we've seen once or twice before.
It's a rehash of an attempt to have the junk science of Creationism taught in schools again in the guise of Intelligent Design. The whole thing leaves me deeply saddened.

It would be nice if any of the accusations of a conspiracy of Science to "hush up" Intelligent Design in general were backed up by even the most meager of facts but unfortunately, there's not a one.

Their main point that intelligent design is under systematic attack by the Scientific Community, who won't recognize its scientific validity because of a previous commitment to atheism and materialism, is both laughable and unbelievable in the extreme.

The facts are that the arguments of intelligent design have been examined by the scientific community and found to be lacking in practical usefulness or confirmable truth. The Scientific Community declines to accept intelligent design because the purveyors of intelligent design haven't performed any research, tests or theory-building required by the Scientific method...nor do they want to, regardless of the fact they want intelligent design to be called science.

This movie also contains some of the most base and sad propaganda against scientists themselves, portraying them uniformly as atheists with an agenda, no better than Nazi eugenicists, whereas many scientists have no problem leading spiritual lives and can somehow manage to keep religion firmly separated from the empirical, testable, repeatable scientific truths of the universe we live in.

Evolution itself is portrayed as some sort of religion instead of the underlying and unifying principal of modern biology, genetics and biochemistry. Even a first year biology student could refute these so-called facts with ease and show conclusive, testable, repeatable evidence to all but the most pigheadedly ignorant that evolution is a fact and can be measured and quantified showing changes in mere generations or tracing the telltale trail of mitochondrial DNA down the human path to ancestors like Lucy and beyond.

The so-called scientists that are trotted out are the same crackpots we've seen time and time again as well as people with no or dubious accreditation.

Its a shame that some people will cling to this vapid propaganda for comfort or allow it to replace real knowledge in schools or, worse yet, drum this crap into the heads of our children at home.

The type of people creating this propaganda are attempting to weaken the Constitution in an effort to promote their brand of spirituality as science. It's not good science and it's pretty shallow spirituality.

This world is becoming a demon-haunted rest stop on the way to the reward of the Afterlife for many ignorant people instead of the joyous celebration of the wonderful mysteries of Life and the Universe we are all part of. A society that turns its back on reason in favor of ideology is ripe for a theocratic take-over, and not necessarily an overt one. I find that terrifying in the extreme.

Here's a couple of interesting videos aimed at clarifying some of the issues - the first video is especially telling:

Evolution vs. Creationism: Listen to the Scientists

Of Pandas and People: Intelligent Design in Schools

Of course some of the best resources are found with the Union of Concerned Scientists and The National Center for Science Education.