MOVIE: "Expelled"

I understand, and my compulsion comes from teaching in a university where a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for “A” work is that it be flawlessly spelled and be free of grammatical errors and stylistic problems.

What I discover is that there is a correlation between the care with which people compose posts and the cogency of their arguments. Posts that are poorly spelled, badly constructed, and replete with grammatical errors are quite often posts that don’t make enough sense to convince anyone.


I’ll PM you on that one.

:rolleyes: We’re not turning in term papers. We’re having a discussion. I know plenty of quick typers who are quite well educated and intelligent. Lighten up! :thumbsup:

Um… with all due respect, there are three rather serious problems with your rejoinder:

  1. You use fallacies such as ad hominem (e.g. “scientifically ignorant charlatain”), appeal to the gallery (e.g. “virtually all reviews of this movie by educated critics have panned it”) and question-begging (e.g. how do you arrive at your definition of “educated critics”, short of defining it as “anyone not stupid enough to give the time of day to intelligent design”?) in trying to prove your point–which doesn’t quite suffice.

  2. My wife is a Ph.D. geneticist, and she was well aware of the sheer secular bias on this subject (i.e. “the absence of intelligent design is simply a given”, “of course humans developed from lower primates or proto-primates!”, etc.) when she was still active in the field; the predominantly non-theist views of biological academia are quite often held as dogmatically as are any points of the Nicene Creed by a faithful Catholic.

  3. No one has ever presented a credible “non-theistic” explanation of the existence of life, or of matter/energy, for that matter; all attempts (which I’ve seen) all fall into the “infinite regression” problem, or worse (cf. the “life on earth ‘seeded’ by aliens” proposition). That’s one of the key points mentioned in the movie “Expelled”, if I understand correctly (I haven’t yet seen it).

You would no doubt agree that surgeons would be justified in ignoring the rantings of a medically ignorant person who wandered in off the street and began criticizing how they conduct heart surgery. The same is true in biology.

Ad hominems and dismissive rhetoric aside: would the same be true of a biologist (or other practitioner of the “hard sciences”) who presumed to speak (as an ignorant layman) about philosophy, ontology and metaphysics? (Present company excepted; I’m speaking in general, here.)

In Christ,

(1) I quite agree. Dogmatic religious views – theist or atheist – have no place in biological research. Dawkins seems to have departed from his area of competence several books ago.

(2) I don’t personally know any biologists who claim to have a non-theistic explanation of the existence of life or of matter/energy. That lies outside the realm of biology, which investigates how descent with modification can explain species diversification over the course of earth’s history.

(3) You’re quite right – there are pontificators from the realm of [scientific] ontological reductionism who speak where they have no business speaking


I think you’re missing the point…

Hitler tried many paths and philosophies to justify (to his own people and his own henchmen) his nefarious doings. Some of them didn’t work (e.g. Christianity). Some of them did ("survival of the fittest, “master race”, “useless eaters”).

Hitler saying “Christianity gives us justification for extermination of the Jews” was obviously countered by many years of contradictory Christian teaching saying “love thy enemy”, “everyone is my neighbor”, etc. And by many Christians saying “Hey…that’s not right.” He might have convinced some with this path, but not many. Hitler needed “authority” to back up this line of reasoning and he didn’t get it.

On the other hand, when he used “survival of the fittest, useless eaters” (with an implication of - although not a direct endorsement of) the Scientific Establishment, they responded with “Well, science is neutral on these sorts of matters, we just deal with the facts. Survival of the fittest - yep. Useless eaters - yep.”

Voila! Paydirt. That’s the “authority” he was looking for. And the authority that convinced the masses.

So it seems. But I was extending my point a bit further than that; while Dawkins has gone on record as one of the more explicit proponents (or at least “suggesters”?) of an “alien origin of earthly life” (which is not logically absurd, but–above and beyond its many other problems–is certainly no answer to the question of “from what/where did human life ultimately originate?”), the “biological academic community” (by and large) “speaks” far more forcefully by what it does not say–or, rather, what it does not allow to be said (without attack, scoffing, or even persecution).

My wife’s experience was telling: while it was certainly true that most biologists acknowledge “Origin-of-species-type evolution” (often nicknamed “macro-evolution”) as a theory “on paper”, she quickly found that–on a “practical” level (of application and/or actual instructional content)–there is no such qualification or hesitation when going on to teach Biology 101 to incoming freshmen; “macro-evolution” is treated as the de facto “bedrock” on which much of the curriculum of most biology departments are based. It reminds me a bit (forgive the far-reaching analogy) of public schools (especially the secular unions) claiming that they are “not teaching or encouraging atheism”–while they do their utmost not only to scour the curricula clean of even the tiniest acknowledgment of Christianity as a valid contributor to society, but to squelch any and all displays of devotion by the staff (and even the students, on occasion). Isn’t it reasonable to suggest that an idea whose very mention (to say nothing of promotion) is “verboten” is somehow being denigrated?

One of my personal gripes involves the area of medical ethics; if a human is viewed as being within substantially the same “category” as all other animals (i.e. the latest result in a long and continuous string of random mutations, etc.), then there are no bases for moral absolutes re: the dignity of the human person (above and beyond any appeals to sentiment and popularity, or other fallacies), and there would then be no special reason not to approve embryonic stem cell research, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, or even live and un-anesthetized infant vivisection–if only “the public” can be convinced (after suitable propaganda, skillfully crafted by those who are competent in media productions, etc.) to give such ideas a plurality of support at the ballot box. I hope the problems with that view are self-evident to any faithful Catholic, at least…

If it helps: picture a scene in which a biology teacher/professor offers to a class the possibility that “intelligent design” (i.e. creation of life/universe/everything [with a nod to Douglas Adams!]) might be true, and might have implications in the study of biology (and especially biological and medical ethics); and then imagine such a teacher saying such without chortling in his/her sleeve, while/after doing so. The extent to which you find that to be wildly improbable is the extent to which you’ve given strong evidence for the main point of the movie “Expelled”: that “the academic world” does not grant “intelligent design” even a moment of free time on the academic discussion stage

In Christ,

[quote=drpmjhess;3587268My friend George Coyne is a specialist in stellar evolution, and a Catholic priest. When he is studying the evolution of stars he considers their development from gravitationally collapsing clouds of hydrogen to thermonuclear explosions, and he studies this process naturalistically, without inserting God’s finger at various points in the star’s development. Fr. Coyne is by no means an atheist, and says that his study of stars and other evolutionary astronomical elements actually gives him more things to pray about.


Stephen Jay Gould believed in nonoverlapping magisteria (NOMA), that science and religion are two separate realms

In Dr. Gould’s view, science speaks with authority in the realm of “what the universe is made of (fact) and why does it work this way (theory)” and religion holds sway over “questions of ultimate meaning and moral value.”


Stephen Jay Gould believed in nonoverlapping magisteria (NOMA), that science and religion are two separate realms

In Dr. Gould’s view, science speaks with authority in the realm of “what the universe is made of (fact) and why does it work this way (theory)” and religion holds sway over “questions of ultimate meaning and moral value.”

Brian, thank you for your thoughtful post; I’ll think about it and reply after I pick my kids up from school.


Sorry, ricmat, but you are the one missing the point. Regardless of whether or not the use of religion worked, the validity of Christianity is no more invalid because Hitler used it to justify mass murder than is evolution. Hitler would have used anything to justify his evil. It may be that the German population was no more educated in science than is their current American counterparts, but, once again, that says absolutely nothing about the science.

That is the point. In fact, I would say that Stein is using the same methodology Hitler used, although obviously for different purposes. He is playing on the general public’s abysmal understanding of science to scare people into rising up against the evil big science establishment.



Excellent point and yes, I fully agree.

the main point of the movie “Expelled”: that “the academic world” does not grant “intelligent design” even a moment of free time on the academic discussion stage

Expelled made that point in a convincing manner.

According to Box Office Mojo, Expelled grossed $1,394,940 this weekend, ranking it #13 among movies currently showing in the US.
It has grossed a total of $5,297,860 so far.

So you believe in Common Descent, but not in Darwinian theory?

Even if we ignore Darwin’s, Haekel’s, and Galton’s influence on the modern eugenics movement, most people today would be disturbed just by reading their writings. Their conclusions about humanity are more myth than science. Why it’s irrelevant to you, I can’t understand, considering these are the ideas being passed off as some sort of infallible science.

Ben Stein’s bringing up the Nazis was unnecessary. Darwin’s book, The Descent of Man, is dangerous on its own merit.

you haven’t addressed the point made numeroust times that Hitler used the bible as a justification for his evil on numerous occasions and in several documents. How come those of you who object to evolution based on this argument keep ignoring that connection? Why do we still teach Christianity to our children if Hitler used it to justify the holocaust?

I’m not aware that Hitler used Christianity to justify the Holocaust, but if you have any references, please let us know. He wasn’t a Catholic in good standing, considering the number of bishops, priests, and lay Catholics he imprisoned and killed in Dachau.

Janet << I’m not aware that Hitler used Christianity to justify the Holocaust, but if you have any references, please let us know. >>

Read the thread. Hitler was for something he called “Positive Christianity” :

“Adherents of Positive Christianity argued that traditional Christianity emphasized the passive rather than the active aspects of Christ’s life, stressing his sacrifice on the cross and other-worldly redemption. They wanted to replace this with a ‘positive’ emphasis on Christ as an active preacher, organizer and fighter who opposed the institutionalized Judaism of his day.” (from the above Wikipedia article, see also Adolf Hitler’s Religious Beliefs)

Nazi manifesto of 1920: “The Party as such takes its stand on a positive Christianity but does not tie itself in the matter of confession to any particular denomination. It fights the spirit of Jewish materialism inside and outside ourselves.” (from “Protestant Churches in the Third Reich”)

Hitler in 1927: “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.” (from Norman H. Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler [Oxford Univ Press, 1942], page 19-20)

Hitler in Mein Kampf: “His [the Jews] life is only of this world, and his spirit is inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder [Jesus] of the new doctrine.”

Jesus in the Gospels: poisonous snakes, white-washed tombs, hypocrites, blind guides, liars, and devils, “you are of your father, the devil”, cf. Matthew 23; John 8:44; etc

Hitler: “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” (above Wikipedia article)

Then from this Catholic Timeline on Antisemitism

Origen of Alexandria writes that the Jews “have committed the most abominable of crimes” in conspiring against Christ, and for that reason “the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election…”

St. Cyprian writes that the Jews have fallen under the heavy wrath of God, because they have departed from the Lord, and have followed idols.

The Council of Nicaea states conversation and fellowship with Jews is forbidden to the clergy.

Christian emperors of Rome decree that Christians converting to Judaism, and Jews obstructing the conversion of other Jews to Christianity, will incur the death penalty.

St. Gregory of Nyssa refers to the Jews as “murderers of the Lord, assassins of the prophets, rebels and detesters of God…companions of the devil, race of vipers, informers, calumniators, darkeners of the mind, pharisaic leaven, Sanhedrin of demons, accursed, detested…enemies of all that is beautiful…”

St. Ambrose calls the synagogue “a place of unbelief, a home of impiety, a refuge of insanity, damned by God Himself.”

St. Augustine writes: “…the Church admits and avows the Jewish people to be cursed, because after killing Christ they continue to till the ground of an earthly circumcision, an earthly Sabbath, an earthly passover, while the hidden strength or virtue of making known Christ, which this tilling contains, is not yielded to the Jews while they continue in impiety and unbelief, for it is revealed in the New Testament. While they will not turn to God, the veil which is on their minds in reading the Old Testament is not taken away…the Jewish people, like Cain, continue tilling the ground, in the carnal observance of the law, which does not yield to them its strength, because they do not perceive in it the grace of Christ…”

St. John Chrysostom calls the synagogue a “brothel and theater” and “a cave of pirates and the lair of wild beasts…” and writes that “the Jews behave no better than hogs and goats in their lewd grossness and the excesses of their gluttony…”

On and on until we get to Martin Luther the German monk (cf. 1543 book “On the Jews and Their Lies”). Do I need to quote him on the Jews?

THEREFORE, “Christianity” caused the Nazi Holocaust. Q.E.D.

Phil P

You would have to show why intelligent design is more appropriate to mention in biology than in electrical engineering, chemistry, or other science or technology classes.

As I’ve said before on this forum, a Catholic naturally believes that the universe is the creation of a loving God. We don’t all believe we can use science to discover that God.


Stop saying darwinism I don’t even know what that is. It doesn’t even exist.

Well, you might want to research that first then. It’s even found in the dictionary.

There is no alternative thoery to evolution


I don’t know that alternative is the word. There is a difference of opinion in the scientific community between evolution within a species and evolution between species. There is plenty of evidence to support the former and even the scientists in the movie don’t debate that.

And the anthroplogical, cosmic, biological and alot of genetic data that fits in with the current theory.

Which theory. The “popular” theory? That’s rather the point of the movie. It’s harder to discuss “alternate” theories.

There is no debate about the validity of evolution

Again, the debate is not that evolution exists but what kind of evolution exists.

There is debate in the exact workings of evolution.

Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

Okay fine IF there is this huge debate as to the validity of natural selection or evolution whats the alternate theory?

Like I said, there’s a difference between evolution withing a species and between species. There really are two arguments going on here. There is the difference in how far evolution goes and there’s a difference of opinion of who was the originator of life. Was it random or was it designed? People seem to think that there is just one debate going on.

God did it? MAGIC… The purple magnificant fantastical unicorn perhaps… How about aliens or the flying speghtti monster. How about a cosmic battle with all of these… Seriously if your going to say things along the lines of “the current atomic model is wrong” fine… evidence, research, trails and testing for your colclusion are needed you cant just make shiv up.

The expelled film is bullshiv. None of those scientists were removed from institutions over their beliefs or theories. One of the guys, who was it I can’t remember but he still works there and was having a winge because he didn’t receive tenier . And even before him there were 2 professors there that taught classes in I.D. All it is is a bunch of scientists having a winge.

Goodness. Really, is this conversation really so important as to get so bent out of shape. Changing a letter in a word hardly makes the intent better. And, btw, yes, there were some people removed for their beliefs. Some were removed from their positions, some denied tenure, one did lose her job (actually two if you count the reporter) and more are being persecuted.

You don’t get fired for bieng a proponent in creationism. You get fired for cheating or not doing your work properly, the work your payed to do. Some people may laugh at you and make jokes at your expense but you wouldn’t get fired.

And where were the charges that any of the above happened?

And finally you can’t just make shiv up in ANY field of science you need evidence, testing, proof and then pass peer review…

Stephen Meyer’s article was peer reviewed. That didn’t help Sternberg when he published it.:shrug:

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