26
Mar
08

Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed at the Movies: Where Bad Religion Doctrine Meets Bad Science

Wow! “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” the movie has made evolution chic once again. If you haven’t heard yet those wacky creationists got the bright idea to make a pro-Intelligent design movie. Unlike others that feel it is their right to comment on a movie they haven’t seen I haven’t seen this original piece of work so I will limit my comments to the central premise of the movie: Intelligent Design. You may also be wondering why the hell a blog about writing cares about Intelligent design. One of the basic themes of my novel and free speculative fiction podcast, Flores Girl:The Children God Forgot, is the individual struggle between a path of science and one’s spiritual choices. Many of the more devout podcast listeners are offended by the main character’s irreverent take on religion, after all they are biologists, and I have exchanged some interested discourses with some religious fundamentalist types.

What is interesting about the Expelled phenomenon is that the bitterness and acrimony expressed during the reviews of the movie can only be the province of true believers on both sides of the argument. Categorically, each side has rejected the other’s arguments and the personal animosity shows. Science is about the pursuit of truth but not necessarily the seeking of a final truth whereas religion is all about a final truth as accepted by the true believers. And yes, science does have its own dogma and priesthood but that doesn’t mean the pursuits of the church and science are the same. That contradiction just reflects the ture nature of man. The problem is there is no halfway solution; the two should remain irrevocably separate. To teach one as a complement to the other in some sort of bizarre ying and yang relationship does a disservice to the lucid thinking of our younger generations and confuses the choices of an individual.

Moreover, while the knowledge of god is liberating to a pious person, to a scientist the heavy hand of god is extremely confining. There is not much a scientist can do with the theory that “god did it” or that “god will do it” and that in essence is the guiding insight of Intelligent design. Okay, they say Intelligent guidance rather than the almighty but wink, wink we all know they are talking about god, and in fact a Christian god. And if you believe in the doctrine of Intelligent design at what exact point in the science do you throw up your hands and acknowledge the handiwork of that god? That’s not as easy a decision as you might think if you think rationally and scientifically.

Today, physicists struggle to throw off the self-imposed shackles of their own Big Bang theory by embracing string and brane theory so unwilling are they to acknowledge the imposition of a god at a given starting point or singularity in the universe. And I say good for them, stretching the imagination is prerequisite for science and being timid has no place in science. Scientific theory has an entire thought and review process that is alien to religious practice and rather than fostering blind leaps of faith, science is forever skeptically questioning what we know. Rather than seeing the scientific process of question and debate as strength the very scientific process emboldens the ignorant. Asking why five fingers, two eyes and a single anus is de rigeur for a scientist rather than the blind belief that we are made in god’s image. I don’t know why we are what we are but saying god did it is not going to get us any closer to the truth; it just makes it easier for the vast majority of us to excuse ourselves for being intellectually lazy.

Getting back to my comment that there can be no middle solution with teaching evolution and creationism, excuse me Intelligent design, that would be analogous to a person asking to become a priest without believing in God on the pretense that he wants to serve mankind. No sane Church would have him as a member of t he clergy no matter how good his intentions. He would be kindly reminded that there are other, more appropriate venues for him to demonstrate his innate humanitarianism.

Now to the flip side of the coin as they say. The true believer on the side of science has a considerable personal investment in their own personal struggle to free themselves from the yoke of religious instruction and oppression. Men railing against one another about the existence of God and his/her manifestations in the world, each claiming to have greater insights as to the truth is a common artifact of this individual’s spiritual struggle. For the atheist and agnostic alike religion smells of man and not god and consequently they are reduced to ineffectual displays of rebellion à la Sinead o Connor as she ripped up photos of the Pope on stage. And yet they forget that straining against the religious ties that bind often constricts you more. I know that because I have been in that bitter mode before. So for my evolutionary friends I say use a little less venom, fewer insults and add a little more understanding as to why men (word used deliberately) clutch to their seemingly irrational beliefs. They are not all morons and face it, it is a basic biologically urge to seek the ultimate alpha male in god!

More to follow!

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11 Responses to “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed at the Movies: Where Bad Religion Doctrine Meets Bad Science”


  1. March 26, 2008 at 4:14 am

    THERE IS A NEW DISCIPLINE:

    The Quest for !@#$, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. (You got this is for the home schooled crowd) The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view. (How about a little dethroning via some scientific research and experimentation rather than saying god did it? -EJB)

    The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being. (Huh, I guess this is how creationists try to explain randomness in the gene pool – EJB)

    The philosophy rejects any divine intervention. Therefore, let the philosophy of Darwinism be judged on these specifics: electron interpretation and quantum mechanics. Conversely, the view that God is both responsible for and rules all the phenomena of the universe will stand or fall when the facts are applied. The view will not hinge on faith alone, but will be tested by the weightier principle of verifiable truths – the new discipline. (Actually that is the province of physicists but what the heck if we muddy the water enough maybe nobody will notice all we are saying is god did it! – EJB)

    The Quest for !@$# is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline. (Ouch, new discipline – that sounds scary, almost Catholic school-like. Still it could be fun with the right girl! -EJB)

    The Quest for !@#$ is not only an academic resource designed for the public schools, but also contains a wealth of information on pertinent subjects that seminarians need to know to be effective: geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and in-depth Biblical studies. The nuggets from the pages of Biblical history alone will give seminarians literally hundreds of fresh ideas for sermons and teachings. The ministry resources contained in The Quest for Right serve as invaluable aids that will enrich graduates beyond their highest expectations. (Stephen Hawkins watch out , those wacky creationists will be after you next! – EJB)

    Here’s a passage:

    The investigation tackles the perplexing problem of how to reduce the earth’s heavy saturation of atmospheric water vapors on the first and second days of creation to their present level. Interestingly, light but not the sun was created on the first day; the sun was created on the fourth day. The cleric scholarship, unaccustomed to the laws of classical physics, has been rendered impotent in the submission of any viable mechanism. The league of scientists are similarly neutralized even though they have the answer within their grasp. The quandary leaves the investigation poised to solve the seemingly inexplicable riddle by incorporating the best of both worlds: the premises set down in the scientific record of creation and the fundamental rules of classical physics, which hold the universe in its grasp. The mystery is solved by entertaining a certain aspect of the marvelous water molecule. (What the heck? Is it me or does any of this make sense? – EJB)

    You will not want to miss the adventure of a lifetime which awaits you in Volume 1 of The Quest for !@#$.

    Visit the official website for additional information and to purchase a copy: http://questfor!@#$.com/

    “A book that will change the world.” – Wayne Lin, Editor, Tate Publishing LLC (I thought the Bible did that? Hey, this is fun, it’s good to be the king- EJB)

  2. 2 Olorin
    March 27, 2008 at 1:00 am

    “The true believer on the side of science has a considerable personal investment in their own personal struggle to free themselves from the yoke of religious instruction and oppression.”

    Wow. Here I’ve been missing it all. As a scientists and a Lutheran, I should be struggling mightily against myself. But, so far….

  3. March 27, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Excellent post. You are right. There can be no middle ground and debates between Darwinists and Creationist are doomed to go around in circles ad nauseum. The question is what to do to preserve the only stable state of this anti-relationship. That is, the creationists remaining in church and the evolutionists remaining in the lab and out in the field. The problem is of course that both creationists and evolutionist have children who meet in the classroom. And it is the classroom that is the real front of this war.

    I don’t have any easy answers. I know that ID does not belong in school. But how do we keep it out without engaging in a battle with the other side. It is a conundrum because like the war on drugs and the war against terror, this is a battle that can never be won.

    -Sal
    http://semanticvector.blogspot.com

  4. March 27, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Sal,

    As to your comment about this being a war you are right and the more we struggle the more we give credence to this ignorance. I have some ideas as to what we need to win over the American public.

    Erik John Bertel

  5. August 16, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    . . . Intelligent design, that would be analogous to a person asking to become a priest without believing in God on the pretense that he wants to serve mankind. No sane Church would have him as a member of t he clergy no matter how good his intentions. He would be kindly reminded that there are other, more appropriate venues for him to demonstrate his innate humanitarianism.

    Assuming he had some innate humanitarianism. I don’t think IDers have any innate science, reason, or fact to practice elsewhere.

    But you draw a good analogy, I must say.

  6. August 17, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Actually they do but they lack the requisite leap in imagination, commitment and reasoning on how to reconcile science with a two thousand year old world view. It’s just easier for them to try to get the rest of the world to conform to their view rather than deviate from their literal translation. I had to reconcile my Catholicism with science so I expect at least the same effort from others. That also means you cannot tell me to conform to somebody else’s narrow world view. And by definition, despite the ID protest, science is not a religion.


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