If Stein was hoping for a sympathetic audience for his film, you’d expect it to be an evangelical Christian, right?
Well, not s’much.
My friend, Created Rationalist, has posted his review of the film after his church was invited to see Expelled. It’s not very favourable. He deals at a much greater length with all the cases Stein attempted to present in the film than I did.
But some of those atheist and science bloggers are mean!
Well… yes… Yes I am. How exactly am I supposed to feel about being equated to a Nazi?
Now, unfortunately, there are a few things I must take issue with.
–that there is some evidence one way or another of Intelligent Agency in the universe
–that the scientists don’t always do a very good job at explaining how they think life began through natural causes
–that Atheism and Philosophical Naturalism are inherently metaphysical and unprovable
–that many atheists are incorrectly equating atheism with science and trying to create a flase dichotomy of sorts
— that there is an active movement among atheists to devalue religion.
–that science (Evolution in particular) can be used to rationalize evil deeds such as killing off the weak
I suppose that evolution does not disprove god (the deist god), though I would have to say that it does contradict the Judo-Christian god who is supposedly playing an active role in the creation of life on Earth.
For example, if I were guiding evolution along, with the intent of making man in my own image, I would have avoided completely unnecessary evolutionary off-shoots such as dinosaurs. It was only after the dinosaurs had gone extinct that the age of mammals occurred, eventually leading to us. But it took another… oh… about 200 million years before this could happen.
Now, it is true that we’re not sure exactly how life happened, but we have a few equally plausible theories of how it could have started. Essentially, all you need is carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen to create organic molecules, and then you need a self-replicating molecule for selection pressure to take place. The main scientific controversies over the origin of life have to do with whether DNA or RNA came first, or if it started in the primordial soup or elsewhere (like around hydrothermal vents).
Contrary to what Ben Stein would have you believe, most scientists do not really believe in panspermia, though it certainly is the most plausible way in which you could stretch ID to be true. For the most part, all scientific theories of the origin of life are plausible and do not need to postulate supernatural jazz.
Now, as for saying that Atheism and naturalism are supernatural and unprovable… Well, you’re calling naturalism supernatural. You can’t get much of a better oxymoron than supernatural naturalism. Naturalism is based on what is observable and empirically testable. Supernaturalism is based on faith. Very different.
I suppose that you can do science and still be a religious person (Francis Crick, Newton, Kenneth Miller), but you’d definitely have to compartmentalize your brain severely. I don’t really buy into the whole NOMA, or “ways of knowing” relativist stuff. You can seek truth, or you can compartmentalize and only partly seek truth.
Alright, you got me. I’m trying to devalue religion. I was an in-the-closet devaluer of religion and now I’m out.
OK, fine. I am actively trying to devalue religion. What’s wrong with that?
And as for saying that science (evolution in particular) can be used to justify evil though it does no necessarily lead to Nazism…
Evolution by natural selection was not a necessity for eugenics. If you think about it, we had eugenics around for thousands of years before Darwin had the brilliance to think of nature as doing the selection. Darwin did not come up with selection. He came up with selection by nature, which is very different from a human selecting traits that he/she likes.
Before natural selection, we were breeding pigeons, dogs, cabbages for traits that we liked. This was artificial selection, the real necessary component to eugenics.
Hitler, though he tried to make it seem like science justified him, was scientifically ignorant about some things.
For one thing, he was a racist. There is no science supporting racism. Also, based on what I read from Mein Kampf, he seemed to think that being in different races was almost equivalent to being in different species. He begins his chapter on nation and race by talking about how animals in different species can’t mate with animals in different species… and applies that to people in different races, saying that hybrids are inferior.
Being half-Chinese and half-American, I took offence to that. I take offence to anybody who says that Hitler was justifying his madness with science as that would be saying the thing that I love most passionately justifies saying I’m inferior.
I think we should make a clear distinction between Hitler’s motivations and his justifications. Hitler’s motivation was a pathological hate for Jews. His justifications were that he was “breeding a super-human race”. Whether he actually thought he could do that, I don’t know, but it’s clear that he would want to kill Jews anyway. If he hadn’t been aware of the idea of eugenics, he might have justified the holocaust by saying that the Jews deserved to die because they were ruining the economy or something.
That said, I’m glad that the Created Rationalist has enough critical thinking capabilities to see through most of Stein’s lies. Give it some time, and you’ll have both feet in the world of reason.