How Not to Support Expelled; How Not to Attack Evolution

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Media reports on Intelligent Design, with their frequent misunderstandings and distortions, can make a person cringe. Unfortunately, there are times when ID defenders and creationists can make you cringe, too. There are plenty of good ways to stand in sympathy with Intelligent Design, to support creationism (not the same topic, but closely enough related to be included in the same post), or to attack evolutionary theory. There are also some not-so-good ways.

Here are the three most serious mistakes to avoid:

1. Speaking Of What We Do Not Know
As an undergrad at Michigan State, I was for a time involved in the controversy on “scientific creationism,” which was drawing a lot of attention in Christian circles at the time. The discussion hinged around whether the fossils, rocks, and stars really pointed to an ancient earth, and whether Genesis 1 and 2 really demanded a young-earth interpretation. I came to a very freeing realization at the time: this is a very complex subject. Much of it is really for specialists. And I was a music major! Sure, I could read evolutionists’ opinions or creationists’ opinions, but could I form a knowledgeable opinion on the science? As for Genesis 1 and 2, even that was a matter of discussion among strongly principled Christian scholars. How literal is it to be taken? It has much of the characteristics of poetry–is it meant to be (at least somewhat) figurative?

I settled on this: I don’t know about the age of the earth. I am not qualified to settle the issue, even in my own mind. I’m thoroughly convinced (on other grounds) that God was intimately involved in whatever happened. I’m firmly convinced (also on independent grounds) that humans are uniquely made in God’s image, that we were created to be in fellowship with Him, that we went wrong in some way that Genesis 2 and 3 accurately portray even if some of it is figurative, and that Jesus Christ is the way back to a right relationship with God. The rest is complex and I need to study more before I decide.

I’ve done a whole lot of study since then. I know a whole lot more than I did then, and I have convictions now about some things I suspended judgment on earlier. But I’m still not a biologist or paleontologist. I could wish that I could study all the books and papers, and form my own independent conclusions on every aspect of the ID controversy, but it’s not possible. So I try to speak to topics on which I’ve done my homework.

Too often ID supporters, creationists, or Christians in general will dismiss evolution for reasons that are just wrong. Too often, it’s because all they’ve read is what ID supporters and creationists have written about it. You can’t understand ID by reading what Richard Dawkins or P.Z. Myers say about it, and you can’t understand evolution by reading what the Discovery Institute says about it. You have to read what each position’s supporters say. Otherwise you’re not ready to take a stand.

I am not saying you can’t have an opinion where you haven’t done your homework. I’m also not saying that what you know about God from other sources–revelation, apologetics, faith in general–has to be put on hold on account of this one topic. I am saying that we allought to admit what we don’t know, especially when the topic is as complex as this one.

ID skeptics aren’t asking my opinion, but the way they often misread and/or distort ID’s claims, it’s clear to me that many (not all, but many) of them have also not done their homework. (‘Nuff said.)

2. Speaking Without Respect and Courtesy
ID supporters and creationists take note: evolution is not stupid, and evolutionists are not idiots. Evolution supporters also take note: ID and creationism are not stupid, and their supporters are not idiots. Ravi Zacharias said it well: “To the extent that you can make your opponent’s position look ridiculous, to that extent you probably do not understand it.” He could have added (and knowing how he speaks, I’m sure somewhere he has), to the extent you make it your business to make your opponent ridiculous, to that extent you’re defeating any purpose you have of being persuasive.

I’ve gotten myself embroiled today in a discussion about ID and religion on Panda’s Thumb. As of this afternoon, there are several commenters who have engaged me in this discussion respectfully, on a substantive level. There’s one commenter whose tone has not been so pleasant. Guess which ones I’m more likely to listen to? In fact, I’m not responding to or even reading anything further by that commenter.

Aristotle said rhetoric–including persuasion–involves logos, ethos, and pathos. Logos is the word, the logic, the force of the argument. By itself it produces little persuasive effect, and does little good. Ethos is roughly credibility, that which causes the person to believe that the person has a right relationship to the topic, by virtue of study, experience, trustworthiness, and so on. Pathos has to do with the person’s relationship to the audience. The audience is always asking, though usually not consciously: Does this person understand me? Does his/her view of the topic have any relevance to me? Should I care about what this person cares about? All three of Aristotle’s factors are vital to effective communication.

And need I remind us of Christ’s example and command to love even our enemies, and to treat others as we would have them treat us?

3. Not Speaking of What We Do Know
I don’t want to be misunderstood as advocating a timid stance. That’s not what humility is about. We ought to speak clearly what we understand clearly, and present our convictions as convictions–things of which we are convinced. What we don’t understand clearly, for that matter, we can still feel free to discuss openly.

Tying The Three Together
For those who are Christians, Colossians 4:6 summarizes it best:

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

It’s being gracious, and knowing, and from that stance, speaking and answering.
And Applying The Principles
There’s a movie coming out soon, Expelled, which is going to be very favorable to ID, and will certainly raise the volume of this debate. ID sympathizers, let’s not make the mistake of acting triumphalistic over it, or speaking as the whole question is settled for good–even if the movie really succeeds in making its case.
As the volume of debate raises, let’s raise the tone along with it.

26 Responses

  1. Joseph Li says:

    I love how ALL of this ties into Colossians. 🙂

  2. Whew, just from the title I was thinking you were telling people to Not support “Expelled” – glad I came to read the article.

  3. SteveK says:

    Tom,
    That mess at Panda’s Thumb made my head hurt. You have my sympathies. I (sarcastically) loved when they *knew* you were lying. I knew you weren’t.

    I still don’t understand why people accept the false dilemma between ID and evolution. I talked a little about that in this comment.

  4. Phillip says:

    Good points. Great post. How do we musicians get wrapped up in these scientific and logical debates? 😉

  5. Paul says:

    Tom, there’s one exception to the general principle you outline in #2. That is, what if you’re opponent’s position actually is ridiculous? Clearly we can all imagine positions that are ridiculous (flat-earthers, perhaps). It would seem to do harm to a search for truth to not call something ridiculous when it is.

    The problem, though, is when what seems ridiculous may not be so ridiculous. We can abuse the rhetorical power in calling something ridiculous. Specifically, why couldn’t we call *any* position with which we disagree ridiculous? If we don’t agree, and we *know* (ahem) that the other side is wrong, then it would be ridiculous to hold a position that is *clearly* (ahem) wrong.

    So, how do we responsibly distinguish what is really ridiculous from what we disagree with?

  6. Benjamin Franklin says:

    Tom

    I read your post here, as well as the entire thread at Pandas. I certainly respect your capacity to think coherently at 7:oo in the morning! I appreciate the fact that you maintained a high level of decorum when circled by the hounds. I don’t think you are a liar, ignorant, or unthinking, so I wanted to post at your site, and discuss this with you.

    What comes to my mind is a statement from Ken Miller at the time of the Dover trial-

    ”I want to make the observation that is: advocates of intelligent design like to paint themselves as the lone heroes fighting against scientific dogma. They got a really revolutionary idea, and they’re gonna convince everybody in science; give ’em a couple of decades. And you know, maybe they will. Maybe they will. And they cite the Big Bang as an example of an idea that was once regarded with suspicion, or as heresy, and gradually won over. But the interesting thing is not the question as to whether or not revolutionary ideas occasionally win out in science. The interesting idea, the interesting question, is “how” do revolutionary ideas win out. And the Big Bang won out because of scientific research, because Arto & Penzious found the background radiation to the Big Bang. They completed the theory. They stitched it together. It was a predictive theory, that says you ought to go out and find this in nature.

    Now the curious thing is the advocates of that theory did not try to get themselves injected into curricula. They didn’t produce pamphlets on how you could get the Big Bang taught in your school district and avoid the constitutional questions. They did the research, they won the scientific battle. That’s how science actually works. And for all the high-minded statements about design, about the philosophy of Aristotle, about fairness, and about the implicit theological assumptions of evolution, the straightforward and simple matter, is that science works, and it is particularly good at predicting stuff that isn’t true. If intelligent design has the facts of nature on its side, it’ll win out. And I don’t see any particular reason to fight this legal route, unless, unless, the battle you are fighting is primarily political, cultural, social, and religious, and not scientific. And in this case, to use a nice lawyer term, res ipse loquitor, the facts speak for themselves.”

    Or, I would include, this cinematic route.

    That’s what I object to. Not to anyone pursuing the concepts of ID, but the fact that those promoting the ID movement, especially the Discovery Institute, occupy the same area you described in your venn diagram description.

    I wouldn’t doubt for a moment that there is back-biting and contention between academics. But do you really believe that there is a massive conspiracy by “Big Science” to banish any and all theists?

    Regarding the individuals “expelled”, from all the reviews I have seen, the presentation is decidedly one-sided. In an interview with Francis Collins he certainly didn’t see this conspiracy, and I would think that he is in a position to know, but he wasn’t offered to participate in the film. No one from ISU was presented to offer the case that Gonzalez didn’t bring in any grant money, mentored no students to completion of their Doctorates, or suffered a marked decrease in publishing any original research, poorly reflecting on his chances for tenure. No one from GMU presented the case that Carolyn Crocker wasn’t doing research, and was expelled for it, she was hired to teach a class in biology, and whether she was correct or not in her beliefs, she wasn’t teaching what she was hired to teach.

    I particularly don’t like the leaps that are made portraying the Nazi death camps as a result of Charles Darwin. How can you justify that?

    Looking forward to your response.

  7. Charlie says:

    Hi Paul,
    Your disagreement with Tom’s principle outlined in #2 is answered by his principle outlined in #3.

    As to how do you avoid calling ideas ridiculous when you are speaking opinion and not fact? Your question is your answer.
    You marshal evidence and arguments to support your position and make sure your belief is actually grounded before you make a case for it – and especially before you call other perspectives irrational.

  8. SteveK says:

    Science can’t measuring design, but it can measure creativity. What the heck? This kind of science serves to muddy the ID waters.

  9. Tom Gilson says:

    Benjamin Franklin,

    Thanks for the good note and the encouraging words.

    I’m withholding judgment on the movie until I see it. It’s saying that ID is oppressed in the academy, and if so, then science isn’t the issue. It’s more like politics and power struggle instead.

    Does ID have to prove itself the way the Big Bang did? Absolutely! Part of that, though, is extra-scientific. That involves at least three issues:

    1) Philosophical naturalism (PN) nd its close cousin, methodological naturalism with scientistic assumptions (my own terminology, I’ll abbreviate it MNSA). The first is the belief that nothing exists except matter, energy, and their interactions according to law and chance. The second is the belief that a) those are the only kinds of things that can be studied by science, coupled with b) what can’t be studied by science can’t be known.

    Both of these are metaphysical belief sets, not entailed by any scientific evidence. Between the two of them, they rule much of science. That’s why on sites like Panda’s Thumb you get such ridicule directed at philosophy and religion; but you can’t get to either PN or MNSA without taking your own philosophical stance, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    Both of them rule out ID on philosophical grounds. Skeptics ridicule ID for having theological roots. It’s just as clear to me and to many others that ID skeptics like Dawkins and his followers have a theological (anti-theological, that is) root to their beliefs. Their metaphysics absolutely prevent them from entertaining the possibility of anything other than natural processes. They have to infer Darwinism from their philosophies; they have no choice. It’s the same thing of which they accuse ID. It can certainly lead to evidence-free theorizing, just as ID has allegedly done.

    2) Operationally defining what constitues evidence for design. This is far more difficult than stating the predictions that were confirmed by Arno and Penzias with respect to the Big Bang, and it’s essentially a philosophical problem.

    3) Massive institutional hostility. It exists. There’s no denying it. Look at Panda’s Thumb. This is, face, it a political and power battle, along with being a matter of what gets done in the laboratories.

    Since there are these extra-scientific factors attending this issue, I think it can be appropriate to address them. I think that what Expelled will try to do–to at least level the playing field.

    Do I think everything the Discovery Institute has done in its extra-scientific efforts has been appropriate? Well, I don’t like the Wedge Document, and I think they’ve tried so hard to distance ID from religion that they’ve clouded the issue. Conceptually there is a useful way to distinguish them (see here and here), but it’s not easily reduced to a simple, “ID isn’t religion.” I don’t entirely fault the DI for this, though. They’re in a battle with people who are flinging slogans and a whole lot of abuse their direction, and when you’re in that kind of situation you don’t get every response just right the first time.

    This, though, is one of those really annoying straw men that are so common and so aggravating:

    They didn’t produce pamphlets on how you could get the Big Bang taught in your school district and avoid the constitutional questions.

    MIller is implying the ID movement has done this. Wrong. Leaders have been trying to get evolution taught with both its strong and weak points. That’s been true for years now. Why oh why won’t the opposition let this go? Because it’s not politically useful, perhaps? I don’t know.

    And then you said,

    I particularly don’t like the leaps that are made portraying the Nazi death camps as a result of Charles Darwin. How can you justify that?

    I think you just made a leap there yourself. I haven’t read the books myself, but I can say with pretty high confidence that neither Richard Weikart nor John West said there’s an unmediated connection between the two. I’ve heard West speak on the topic, and he’s quite responsible about tracing the path from Darwinian thought toward Hitler’s ideology, while acknowledging that Darwin was just one of many influences.

    I suppose I should have added a fourth biggest mistake to those listed above, since there’s an example here and a whole lot of them on that PT thread: oversimplifying complex issues. Beware of anyone who makes things one-dimensional.

  10. SteveK says:

    2) Operationally defining what constitues evidence for design. This is far more difficult than stating the predictions that were confirmed by Arno and Penzias with respect to the Big Bang, and it’s essentially a philosophical problem.

    The story I linked to above (detecting creativity) says evidence for creativity comes in the form of certain brain patterns. I imagine the same science can be done to detect design. What people miss here is that looking at brain patterns and ‘seeing’ creativity is the same as looking at living cells and ‘seeing’ design.

    The obvious difference is that the creativity study has a test subject (the creative one) available to give them feedback and further their scientific model. The intelligent designer isn’t around for that.

    But how do we know both the scientist and the test subject aren’t ‘seeing’ creativity in action and in brain patterns where there is none to be seen? Remember Dawkin’s words: it’s the appearance of design that we see, not actual design. What about actual creativity?

    Is science doing pseudo-science here? You tell me.

  11. Steve says:

    As reported by The Cat Scanner, Less than forty percent of American physicians adhere to a naturalistic view of life origins. Intelligent design is preferred by a solid majority of Protestant MD’s.

    http://thecatscanner.blogspot.com

  12. onein6billion says:

    “They have to infer Darwinism from their philosophies”

    I think your opinion is wrong. Science is methodological naturalism. Evolution is supported by scientific evidence. (Google Tiktaalik.) Then the question becomes – does a scientist choose philosophical naturalism? Many do and many don’t. So I claim that many scientists agree that evolution is the best explanation and also claim they are Christians.

    “they have no choice.”

    So I argue that scientists do have a choice.

    “It’s the same thing of which they accuse ID.”

    And I argue that it’s not at all the same thing. Since ID is not science, it really does come from religious philosophy.

    Next will you claim that atheism is a religion?

    “… life origins”

    Which, of course, is rather different from evolution. Creationists love to confuse people by trying to tie them together.

    1) Did “life” come from “non-life”?
    2) Did “simple life” evolve into “complex life”?

    “Intelligent design is preferred by a solid majority of Protestant MD’s.”

    Are we going to have a vote on the definition of science? Or are we going to call these people ignorant of the subject under discussion? Please define the term “intelligent design”.

  13. Tom Gilson says:

    1 in 6b:

    I hope I was clear enough when I said they have to infer Darwinism from their philosophies. I did not say Darwinism has no scientific evidence or backing. Please read the whole context. What I said–or was trying to was:

    1) If one takes an anti-theistic stance, as spelled out in that paragraph, then
    2) That person must infer Darwinism.

    That is, though there is scientific evidence in favor of Darwinism, there is also a powerful philosophical motivation for some people to believe in Darwinism.

    That motivation is very strong. An atheist must be an evolutionist, because there is no other option on the table. What can an atheist do with evidence for Intelligent Design? He can either a) discard it, or b) re-interpret it, or c) move in the direction of changing his religion. Notice that option (d) is excluded: If it is in fact evidence of purposeful design, he cannot see it for what it is.

    I have not applied this motive or religious belief to every believer in religion, and I’m not doing so now. This statement is just about the ones who are atheists. You “argue that scientists do have a choice.” To which I heartily agree–except for those scientists who are committed atheists. They do not have a choice, unless they move in the direction of changing their religious beliefs.

    And I argue that it’s not at all the same thing. Since ID is not science, it really does come from religious philosophy.

    “Evolution” can mean many things, from simple change over time, to variation within populations (recent beak size changes of Galapagos finches) to the full-blown neo-Darwinian theory that all life developed through variation plus natural selection. In the same way, “science” can mean many things. I do not believe that ID is “a science” in the sense that it is a fully developed theory with a clear research program and a body of accepted literature. I do think that there are genuine scientists who are at least sympathetic to ID who are doing genuine science.

    The life origins issue–it’s not neo-Darwinism, but neo-Darwinism ultimately requires an explanation for the origin of life. It’s a different topic, but there is an inescapable dependency there. Therefore difficulties in explaining a materialistic origin of life become difficulties for accepting the full materialistic story of natural history.

    The irony here is absolutely hilarious:

    Creationists love to confuse people by trying to tie them together.

    LOL! ID opponents love to confuse people by trying to tie it together with creationism.

    Please define the term “intelligent design”.

    Please don’t. It’s been done over and over and over and over again, and it doesn’t need to be done here as if it were the first time.

  14. onein6billion says:

    “1) If one takes an anti-theistic stance, as spelled out in that paragraph, then
    2) That person must infer Darwinism.”

    And if one claims to be a Christian and accepts evolution, what does that say about that person?

    “An atheist must be an evolutionist, because there is no other option on the table.”

    A theist must be an evolutionist because there is no other scientific option on the table.

    ““Evolution” can mean many things”

    Evolution means descent with modification. So it includes all of those things and many other things.

    “In the same way, “science” can mean many things.”

    Science means methodological naturalism.

    “I do not believe that ID is “a science””

    ID can never be science. ID is “outside” of methodological naturalism.

    “neo-Darwinism ultimately requires an explanation for the origin of life”

    Of course. So does ID. Obviously life exists and must be explained. And both ID and scientists admit that there is a chance that life was introduced onto the Earth by space aliens. But there’s not much evidence for that at present. But the origin of life is not taught in public high schools and evolution is taught in public high schools. Because evolution is fundamental to understanding the diversity of life.

    “It’s been done over…”

    But if you do it one more time, then it will be really obvious that it can never be science. Or else maybe you can provide a link?

    “but the way they often misread and/or distort ID’s claims”

    Please name a “claim” and explain how it’s been misread or distorted.

    “even if the movie really succeeds in making its case”

    The movie will make its case by reporting only one side of the story. Fair and balanced it will not be.

    “It’s saying that ID is oppressed in the academy, and if so, then science isn’t the issue.”

    Non sequitur. If science really is the issue, then it might be quite appropriate for ID to be “expelled” from the academy. Read the Dover transcript and the judge’s 139 page decision. He heard 6 weeks of testimony and ruled that ID is not science.

  15. Tom Gilson says:

    1 in 6b,

    I really hope the logical errors and shifting of subjects in what you’ve written here are unintentional. I hate to think you would do this kind of thing on purpose.

    To begin:

    I made a point about how a certain philosophical position entails Darwinism, whether or not there is evidence for it. You actually did not answer that, but you did respond with a question that’s based on a simple logical fallacy. The fallacy is to believe that if A implies B, then B implies A. If being a cat implies that Mittens is a mammal, then being a mammal implies that Mittens is a cat. That’s fine for Mittens, but not so good for Rover or Fido.

    Here’s what you said in that vein. It was a response to my statement that atheists’ metaphysical position requires them to be evolutionists. Your answer:

    And if one claims to be a Christian and accepts evolution, what does that say about that person?

    Obviously there are theistic evolutionists. More here. But there are no committed atheists who are not evolutionists. They have no choice but to be evolutionists, regardless of evidence.

    The next passage is related. You are still responding to my assertions about what may be entailed by one’s metaphysical position. Your response is not so much a fallacy as it is simply changing the subject:

    A theist must be an evolutionist because there is no other scientific option on the table.

    I spoke about metaphysical entailment regardless of evidence. You answered with a comment about evidence (I think you would say that scientific options are determined by evidence). We don’t know yet what you think about the metaphysical entailments. Your answer is, well, cute, except it’s not really an answer to the subject you were ostensibly responding to. You have the right to change the subject, but I want us all to be aware that’s what you’ve done.

    “Evolution” can mean many things”
    Evolution means descent with modification. So it includes all of those things and many other things.

    A whole lot of astronomers are going to be very disturbed to learn that stellar evolution means stars are descended with modification from other stars.

    In other words, “evolution” can mean many things, and not all of them are descent with modification. This is true in biology, too, as I’ve already said. You have brushed that aside, but in doing so you’ve committed the fallacy called equivocation. I’ve already covered some of the different senses of “evolution” in my last comment, so I won’t go over it again.

    I would caution you to be careful with this. In a way, it’s another form of changing the subject: we might be talking about beak sizes on the Galapagos, and then all the sudden you’re talking about universal common descent, as if they were the same topic. The same word “evolution” fits both, after all. And you might think that proving one proves the other, when in fact they are not the same, and they require different kinds of proof.

    You make a point here on ID being a science; again, it doesn’t address what I said in the previous comment. That’s your right, again. Let’s just not be fooled–any of us–into thinking you were responding to my point. You’ve started a new topic instead.

    Next: there is serious error here:

    But the origin of life is not taught in public high schools and evolution is taught in public high schools. Because evolution is fundamental to understanding the diversity of life.

    I’ll quote first from the Holt Science & Technology 7th grade public school textbook, Life Science:

    Scientists think that life developed from simple chemicals in the oceans and in the atmosphere. Energy from radiation and storms could have caused these chemicals to react. Some of these reactions formed the complex molecules that made life possible. Eventually, these molecules may have joined to form structures such as cells.

    Now, from the Prentice Hall high school textbook, Biology (Virginia edition), by Miller and Levine:

    Under certain conditions, large organic molecules can form tiny bubbles called proteinoid microspheres…. Microspheres are not cells, but they have some characteristics of living systems. Like cells, they have selectively permeable membranes through which water molecules can pass. Microspheres also have a simple means of storing and releasing energy. Several hypotheses suggest that structures similar to proteinoid microspheres might have acquired more and more characteristics of living cells.

    (The following sentence edited at 3:25 pm EDT) Neither of these textbooks begins to convey just how far scientists believe they are from solving this problem. Oh, and by the way, both of these quotes come from chapters on Evolution. You rightly say origin of life is not Darwinism, but my kids aren’t being taught that correctly in school.

    “but the way they often misread and/or distort ID’s claims”
    Please name a “claim” and explain how it’s been misread or distorted.

    “ID is creationism.” No, Intelligent Design is not dependent on religious texts as creationism is. “ID has published absolutely no peer-reviewed research whatsoever. Zero.” (I saw that on Panda’s Thumb very recently.) ID has not published enough to qualify as a body of scientific research, obviously, but it has published some. “All ID proponents are religious fundamentalists.” That’s just wrong. “ID is only negative science.” Read The Design Matrix by Mike Gene. “ID makes no testable predictions.” Read the same book.

    And here’s the one I want you most to notice, since you should have not have asked me to show it to you: “ID is an attempt to introduce religion into the public schools.” You asked me to name a claim and show how it’s distorted. All you had to do was read the prior comments on this thread and you would have seen this claim, and the clear answer I gave already.

    The movie will make its case by reporting only one side of the story. Fair and balanced it will not be.

    You are quite the precognitive.

    “It’s saying that ID is oppressed in the academy, and if so, then science isn’t the issue.”
    Non sequitur. If science really is the issue, then it might be quite appropriate for ID to be “expelled” from the academy. Read the Dover transcript and the judge’s 139 page decision. He heard 6 weeks of testimony and ruled that ID is not science.

    I just love the way neo-Darwinists will let a federal judge define science on their behalf. Is that going to become a general principle for the conduct of science?

    Meanwhile there’s another logical twist here. The original statement was:

    a) If ID is oppressed, then
    b) Science is not the issue

    You turned that into

    a) If science is the issue, then
    b) ID should be expelled.

    They’re not the same. As above, you have the right to change the subject, but let’s all recognize that’s what you have done. You could probably mount an argument for your point, but you have not in fact done that. Not unless your argument includes the general principle, “Science is defined by the federal judiciary.”

    So we have a comment filled with factual error, logical fallacy, and a kind of trickiness whereby you appear to be responding to a point but you’re actually changing the subject.

    I still want to believe this was not done intentionally, and not done for the purpose of obfuscating the issues. Maybe it’s just… well, I don’t know. It’s not up to me to speculate.

  16. onein6billion says:

    “But there are no committed atheists who are not evolutionists.”

    Why is this so important to you? Evolution is wrong because all atheists accept it? Non sequitur.

    “You make a point here on ID being a science”

    I make the point that ID can never be science. And I ask you for any indication that any ID supporter has actually made a claim that is positive support for ID that could be called “scientific”.

    “Science is defined by the federal judiciary.”

    Science is defined by methodological naturalism. The judge accepted that definition and rejected ID just as the judiciary has rejected creationism in the past.

  17. Tom Gilson says:

    Why is this so important to you? Evolution is wrong because all atheists accept it? Non sequitur.

    Please see the context (March 12, 3:50 pmwhere I first brought this up:

    Skeptics ridicule ID for having theological roots. It’s just as clear to me and to many others that ID skeptics like Dawkins and his followers have a theological (anti-theological, that is) root to their beliefs. Their metaphysics absolutely prevent them from entertaining the possibility of anything other than natural processes.

    That’s just a portion of it, so please do see the whole context. ID is accused of having metaphysical roots; Darwinism also has (anti)-theological roots. Those roots apply only to some ID proponents and only to some evolutionists. If ID is ruled out because it has a religious connection, evolution can be equally ruled out because it has an atheistic connection.

    Now, to your non sequitir point: you’re exactly right. It’s a matter of evidence, and rightly so. Question: could Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett acknowledge (see) evidence for purposeful design if such evidence existed, or would they be blind to it?

    That question does not apply to evolutionists who are not such committed atheists. But to them, it certainly does.

    Your other points here are covering old ground and I’m going to just let them go.

  18. suppressed says:

    Note that PZ Myers was not allowed to see the movie that thanks him in its credits, but Dawkins was admitted.

  19. Craig Chilton says:

    The best thing about this ludicrous film is the fact that it plays to two groups of people — those who are bone-ignorant enough to deny the evidence and proof of the evolutionary process that abound in rock strata worldwide. And beyond that “choir,” to those who know how utterly absurd it is, and see it to get some laughs… and to be reminded just how fanatical is the faction that seeks to DUMB-down the students in America’s science classes. Thus helping us to ever be vigilant to prevent that.

    For the record, I’m a Christian, my father was a Protestant minister, and I am a strong advocate of imposing NO limitations on God. In His omniscience and omnipotence, it probably would have been a cakewalk for Him to (very logically) create the evolutionary process right along with the rest of the universe. And He almost certainly did just that.

  20. Tom Gilson says:

    Craig, your opinion is duly noted.

    Now, did you actually read this post? It wasn’t about whether the movie was good or bad, or about whether evolution is true or false, or any such thing. The purpose of this post, among other things, was to remind all of us (especially Christians) to speak with respect and courtesy toward those with whom we disagree.

  21. Ky says:

    I believe with living and speaking in love, but there comes a time to speak out and fight. God is a warrior, but a respectful and fair one. Read the book of Joshua, sometimes measures need to be taken. Evolution is wrong and a lie that many believe, we need to fight for what we believe. Christians need to quit being a giant group of “nice people” and fight. You can still fight and be respectful and courteous towards your enemy.

  22. onein6billion says:

    “Evolution is wrong and a lie that many believe”
    But fortunately we have many silly people on this earth who believe in a silly religion and are willing to fight against the scientists.  The war on science will never cease.
    Of course there is this little problem with the current interpretation of the First Amendment that seems to slow down the proper teaching of religious nonsense in high school science classrooms.  Overthrow the Constitution and establish a proper theocracy!

  23. onein6billion says:

    “evolution can be equally ruled out because it has an atheistic connection”

    Your logic is stupid. ID is rejected because it is not science. Evolution is accepted science.

    It is obvious the ID has a religious connection and Expelled does not even try to deny that. But that only goes to the motives of its proponents. ID could conceivably be science and be promoted by religious supporters. But since it isn’t science, the only reason to promote it is religious.

  24. Tom Gilson says:

    If that quote were all I had to say about it, that would be “stupid.” (Thanks for the compliment, by the way.) But you pulled it completely out of context, and missed the point.

  25. Charlie says:

    Speaking of Expelled, it finally got here this past weekend and I saw it several times – it got better each time and the people that came with me found it very effective and moving.
    Unfortunately there is zero advertising (they aren’t even putting up posters at the single theatre in town showing it) and there were never more than a dozen people in any of the matinees I saw.
    On the litigation, Canada may have different applicability of “Fair Use” as Imagine has been pulled from the version shown here.

  1. March 12, 2008

    Blog Responses: The smell of dirt is…. death, Debating Christ, Eating healthy and Checking your time management

    One of the best ways for me to make sure I understand something is to write about it. I felt like reading some blogs, and I want to make sure I’m getting the most from them. Besides, it gives a boost to the other bloggers when I respond to them and …