Parsing the Expelled Leader’s Guide, part 2

Following the Leader’s Guide Introduction are three separate pages summarizing (!) the main points of cosmology, molecular biology and paleontology. The message on all is that ID is the best and only explanation for the complexities in these fields of study, though no direct evidence is offered to support the contention. Instead the Guide appropriates suitable quotes from famous scientists — some out of context — to appeal to authority instead of evidence. Cosmology : The Origin of the Universe Guide: Beginning with this heading, “Cosmology has shown that the universe had a beginning and that it is filled with exquisite order,” the Guide discusses “galaxy motion” (sic) and the “elegance of physical laws.” The paragraph on galactic motion notes that the galaxies are moving away from other as the space between them expands, and that most scientists now believe the universe came into existence in a “big bang” — “and such a beginning implies a cause outside the universe that brought it into existence.” Next, the Guide authoritatively states: “Scientists have also recognized the exquisite order and mathematical elegance of the physical laws governing the universe as pointing to cosmic design.” It then quotes physicist Paul Davies, “The temptation ...

Parsing the Expelled “Leaders Guide”, part 1

As part of the media blitz associated with Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, the creators of the movie provide a background “Leaders Guide” for school and church teachers. Like the movie, the guide pretends to be unbiased but is far from it. So, I have decided to analyze the document for the benefit of anyone who intends to use the guide. Page 2: Introduction: Guide: The banner over the page reports results from a Newsweek poll: 91% of Americans believe in God and 78% believe that God created human beings on our present form or guided an evolutionary process that led to our present form. On the right is a pullout quote from none other than Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” Below that are details about the 78% results and about the number of Americans (69%) that want both the theory of evolution and the evidence against it taught in schools. Comments: The figures quoted are legit, from professionally conducted polls in 2006 and 2007. The Darwin quote from his introduction to Origin is out of context, as ...

A more detailed review of the Minnesota Expelled screening

Well, here’s another review of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, but this one highlights the actual preview experience as no other has so far. The screening was amateur, from the sound of it. Rather than using an actual print of the movie (or a high-res digital version), the producers showed the film using a laptop and a digital projector! This for a movie that is due to be released nationally in less than a month. Since a laptop was playing the film, the sound was bad. Not exactly the best theater experience, either. The reviewer hints that perhaps the background music during the private screening was not paid for. The tunes include John Lennon’s “Imagine” and The Killer’s “All These Things That I’ve Done,” the rights to which would cost a pretty penny. The budget for this film was reportedly $3.5 million, much of it bankrolled by wealthy contributors. One would expect a somewhat slicker preview of it. Not all reviews of Expelled have been negative, to be fair. Predictably, those who are already disposed to oppose evolution and support Intelligent Design/creationism adore the flick. Here’s some links to positive reviews. Tom Bethell for The American Spectator Rush Limbaugh on his ...

Academic freedom or academic tomfoolery? 1

The Ben Stein movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” champions academic freedom, purporting to demonstrate how faculty who believe in Intelligent Design or Creationism are being forced from their jobs by some kind of “evolutionist” hegemony. The movie, which I have not seen, supports the opinion that someone who does not accept the theory of evolution cannot debate or question the theory in the classroom without fear of reprisal. The rights of anti-evolution faculty and students must be protected, the movie’s creators claim. It’s another version of the “teach the controversy” canard that IDists and creationists have been passing around for the last few years. First, they create a false controversy (many people doubt evolution is valid). Second, they contend that “evolutionists” are forcing this “controversial” theory down students’ throats. Then, they insist that other theories must be given “equal time” somehow in the classroom to give students a full education. This strategy to introduce ID and creationism in the public school classrooms failed miserably in Dover, Penn., after a federal judge (a Republican appointee) ruled that ID was just another form of creationism, that is, it was religion. Therefore, he said, ID cannot be taught in a public school without ...
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