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Glen Davidson



Posts: 738
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,11:25   

Britannica blog weighs in on Stein's blogging for expelled, calling him an ignoramus on science:

Quote
How Low Can Ben Stein Go? (To the Maligning of Charles Darwin) Robert McHenry - February 15th, 2008
You laughed at his affectless droning high school economics teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off ; you may have enjoyed his repartee with Jimmy Kimmel or his command of trivial knowledge on "Win Ben Stein's Money"; you may even have run out and bought some eyedrops on his recommendation. But don't ask him about evolution, Charles Darwin, science, or any related topic, for on those Ben Stein is an ignoramus. Since he is demonstrably intelligent, it must be concluded that he is a willful ignoramus.

He evidently stars in a soon-to-be-released movie called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," which makes some sort of case for "Intelligent [sic] Design" and decries the teaching of evolutionary science in public schools. The producers of the movie have built a website to help promote their work, and the compliant Mr. Stein has written a little essay to help us place "Darwinism" in historical context. Let's have a look.

He begins, as any high school essay must, with a broad theme:

It would be taken for granted by any serious historian that any ideology or worldview would partake of the culture in which it grew up and would also be largely influenced by the personality of the writer of the theory.

Seems harmless enough, though we're not sure what "partake" means, exactly, or how much is "largely."

By way of illustration he gives us - guess which theoretician plucked, just offhand, from the entire history of mankind? Sonofagun! Karl Marx. What were the odds?

"[M]ajor theories," the avuncular Ben tells us, "...come from the era in which they arose." Yes, yes, I see your hands; tautology. But give him a break. Here comes the minor premise.

Darwinism...is a perfect example of the age from which it came: the age of Imperialism.

And therefore.... Well, he doesn't say. This is called an enthymeme, or a rhetorical syllogism. The idea is that the conclusion gains force from seeming to occur spontaneously to the reader. This is the sort of thing that gives rhetoric a bad name.

But why isn't "Darwinism" offered as a perfect example of, say, the Victorian Age? Or of the Steam Age? Or the Age of the Clipper Ship? Is it possible that Stein is loading the argument just a tad?

A little bit later he tells us that "Imperialism had a short but hideous history - of repression and murder." He seems to think that the British, and specifically the Victorians, invented imperialism. This idea would surprise the Incas and the Arabs and the Spanish and the Portuguese, among others around the world. He seems also to believe that the results of European imperialism were uniformly terrible. Some were, some were not. There is surely something to be said for the spread of democracy and the rule of law and of technology such as the railroad and the telegraph. With difficulties but with clear lines of descent, such generally decent modern states as India, Indonesia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States all arose out of imperialist action.

Stein has pulled a second fast one on us here, though. He has equivocated. He has said, in effect, "Marx wrote a theory; things done in its name were very bad. Darwin wrote a theory; [fill in the blanks]." He conflates two distinct senses of the word "theory," one of them appropriate when a chap sits in the Reading Room of the British Museum, gazing up at the cobwebs, and concocts a story to explain all of human behavior and history, the other appropriate when another chap spends years in painstaking observation of specific phenomena and finds a way not only to explain by a single principle all that he has observed but to predict phenomena not yet seen. This latter method you may recognize as what we call "science."

But Stein has found his horse now, and off he rides. "Darwin offered the most compelling argument yet for Imperialism." No demonstration or even quotation is given in support of that astonishing charge, but suffice it to say that The Origin of Species contains no such argument. Much about birds and such, but not a word on who should rule Africa.

And now we are at full gallop:

Alas, Darwinism has had a far bloodier life span than Imperialism. Darwinism, perhaps mixed with Imperialism, gave us Social Darwinism, a form of racism so vicious that it countenanced the Holocaust against the Jews and mass murder of many other groups in the name of speeding along the evolutionary process.

By now the term "Darwinism" has lost all connection to the theory of biological speciation as propounded by the quiet man in his study in Kent, and Stein has simply lost his mind.

What does it mean, for example, to speak of "Darwinism...mixed with Imperialism"? Is this a chemical compound of some sort? Was "Darwinism" relatively innocent until some proportion of "Imperialism" got mixed in with it? Then what to make of "perhaps"? And who did the mixing? There is a clue to this last question in the mention of "Social Darwinism," an inapt phrase that is most often associated with the sociology of Herbert Spencer. Inconveniently, however, Spencer had first laid out his basic views in Social Statics, published eight years before Darwin's great work.

It sorts out this way: Charles Darwin, after long study and thought, proposed a mechanism by which biological species differentiate. The mechanism was "natural selection," which supposes that some of the observed variations among members of a species render the possessor more able to survive and propagate. By that means the variant becomes dominant. This is one side.

On the other hand is a wildly diverse assortment of economists, sociologists, political writers, and plain cranks who share in some degree the belief that certain physical characteristics, mental capacities, behavioral habits and so on render certain human individuals or certain groups more able to succeed in the search for survival and security. They have various and equally diverse notions of what inferences follow from this. But someone notices that there is at least a linguistic similarity between these thoughts and Charles Darwin's theory and thus invents the label "Social Darwinism" to pin on the lot.

On the third hand, yet other people, possibly or possibly not influenced by reading works by some of the second crowd but quite clearly capable of evil without any such assistance, perpetrate great horrors.

And for these horrors Ben Stein wishes to blame the theory of evolution by natural selection. He produces a shambles of an essay in the course of which he manages to malign the name of Darwin by association with both Communism and Naziism, a remarkable day's work after which any civilized man would knock off early and call for cocktails. But not Ben. No, Ben toils on. By the time he's through, every kook and monster who ever used the word "evolution" has become the satanic spawn of Charles Darwin. This sort of thing is doubtless effective in a sermonette at the Discovery Institute, but as a contribution to the public discourse it is simply shameful.

And what is all this perverseness in aid of? In support of a set of beliefs that parades as a scientific alternative to "Darwinism" even though it is supported by no evidence, while evolution by natural selection is controverted by none. More subversively, it is a set of beliefs held by people whose aim is to prevail not in the scientific journals or the universities but at the ballot box and in the public schools. Like Ben Stein's arguments, they are not to be trusted.

http://blogs.britannica.com/blog....tein-go


Glen D

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Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

   
Kristine



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Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2008,12:54   

Robert McHenry, author of the Britannica blog piece, editor-in-chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica for five years, wrote the book How to Know and maintains a website of his articles, including an open letter to Pat Robertson regarding the Dover decision.

He's an excellent scholar and I'm glad he's decided to speak out about this phenomenon.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Mr_Christopher



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 18 2008,11:28   

Here is what I plan to do and I'm going to propose it to others when I have more details.

Assuming this sack of shite plays in my city, I'm going to pick a really dumb movie that's showing at the same theater.  Something like Rambo or hopefully something even dumber that the fundies are complaining about.  I'll buy a ticket to see the dumb movie and then mosey over to the screen that's showing Expelled.  I'll watch Ben's movie, he won't get a dime of my money.  Instead the money I spend to see Ben's movie goes to someone else.

Picking which movie will get my donation should be fun.

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Kristine



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Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 18 2008,12:29   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Feb. 18 2008,10:28)
Here is what I plan to do and I'm going to propose it to others when I have more details.

Assuming this sack of shite plays in my city, I'm going to pick a really dumb movie that's showing at the same theater.  Something like Rambo or hopefully something even dumber that the fundies are complaining about.  I'll buy a ticket to see the dumb movie and then mosey over to the screen that's showing Expelled.  I'll watch Ben's movie, he won't get a dime of my money.  Instead the money I spend to see Ben's movie goes to someone else.

Picking which movie will get my donation should be fun.

Assuming it even plays at a multi-plex. It's beginning to look like this will only play in church basements.

That's the folly of simultaneously trying to be "revolutionary" while trying to control your film's critical reception.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 18 2008,14:39   

Very true, Kristine.  I wish April would hurry and get here.  I can't wait to see this thing play out.

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Nomad



Posts: 283
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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 18 2008,20:01   

I like that idea Mr Christian - er, Mr Christopher.  Sorry, Mutiny on the Bounty moment.

The ethical implications of my money going to the makers of the movie had really been stressing me out.  Strangely enough, more than the prospect of sitting through over an hour of creationist propaganda presented by a dead pan Nixon scriptwriter.

While I wouldn't be surprised to see it get a VERY limited release, I'm expecting to be able to find it somewhere around here.  With the way things are going I'm almost expecting the producers to pay a handful of theaters to show it so that they can pay schools to make their students go see it.
Then in the alternate reality of creationist apologetics they can publish figures showing that while the movies had a limited release, the theaters that did show it had large attendance.  It'll play right in to the expelled them.  If only the darwinist conspiracy wasn't preventing them from getting the movie out into more theaters.

  
Peter Henderson



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 20 2008,12:32   

Answers in Genesis are absolutely "over the moon" about this film:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/aroundt....d-movie

 
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You will be shocked by what you see and hear because you will begin to experience the hypocrisy in the scientific world concerning so-called academic freedom. The interviews with God-hating atheist Richard Dawkins (from Oxford University) will stun you.


 
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This movie is a must! Christians, drag your non-Christian friends along—they will never be the same again. Challenge school board members in your local community to see this movie/documentary—pay for their tickets, but get them there!


 
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I am sure the secular community, in accord with their bias against academic freedom, will do all they can to discredit this movie and try to stop people from seeing it. After all, many in the secular scientific community don’t want you to know the truth about what is really happening—they want this censored from the community.


Well, obviously there's some sort of conspiracy amoungst scientists to stop the evidence that the Earth/Universe really is 6,000-10,000 years old from getting to the ordinary citizen and the public at large is being prevented from knowing the truth ?????

 
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Congratulations to Ben Stein and the producers (including Mark Mathis, who came to our Creation Museum to show us his film on Tuesday—see him in the photo) for having the courage to produce such a needed perspective on the secular scientific community and the erosion of freedoms in America. What they portray in this movie/documentary is what we at AiG have experienced over the years. I believe they have correctly represented what is really going on in the academic community.


I presume from the above, that Stein is a Young Earth Creationist ?



:O

  
fusilier



Posts: 206
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,09:31   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Feb. 18 2008,12:28)
Here is what I plan to do and I'm going to propose it to others when I have more details.
{snip}

Picking which movie will get my donation should be fun.

How about this?  Gather a small claque, and dress in business suits.  Go to the movie (paying to see "Grindhouse" or "Friday the 13th Part XXXII") and lead cheers.

Boo and hiss whenever Dawkins or PZ appear, and break out in hymns whenever Stein, Sternberg, or whoever show up.

"Ein feste Burg" - in German of course - would be the best intro for Stein.  IMHO, to be sure.

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fusilier
James 2:24

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,09:39   

Quote (fusilier @ Feb. 21 2008,09:31)
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Feb. 18 2008,12:28)
Here is what I plan to do and I'm going to propose it to others when I have more details.
{snip}

Picking which movie will get my donation should be fun.

How about this?  Gather a small claque, and dress in business suits.  Go to the movie (paying to see "Grindhouse" or "Friday the 13th Part XXXII") and lead cheers.

Boo and hiss whenever Dawkins or PZ appear, and break out in hymns whenever Stein, Sternberg, or whoever show up.

"Ein feste Burg" - in German of course - would be the best intro for Stein.  IMHO, to be sure.

I want to party with YOU, cowboy!

Love the ideas,  I'm thinking I'll carry a copy of The Word too.  I'll taking my suit to the cleaners later today.

The wild card of course is whether Ben's Pig will be playing at a multi-theater cinema in my area.  Only the Great Mighty Space Alien knows for sure.

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,13:23   

Hey I wonder why Ben did not include this scientist in "Expelled"?

Here we have a Christian physicist (associate professor) who was bannished and publicly ridiculed for simply asking questions and pointing out what is science and what is not and most of all, not adopting the "default view".  

Ben must have overlooked this case of a scientist being punished for his views.  It would have been perfect for his movie.

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Glen Davidson



Posts: 738
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,15:55   

You know they're really aiming for dumb people to see their "documentary," or they wouldn't let Stein out of his cage to write this:



Quote
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Special Report
Florida's Darwinian Interlude
By Ben Stein
Published 2/20/2008 12:08:44 AM
Just a few tiny, insignificant little questions.

* How did the universe start?

* Where did matter come from?

* Where did energy come from?

* Where did the laws of motion, thermodynamics, physics, chemistry, come from?

* Where did gravity come from?

* How did inorganic matter, that is, lifeless matter such as dirt and rocks, become living beings?

* Has anyone ever observed beyond doubt the evolution of a new mammalian or aviary species, as opposed to changes within a species?

These teeny weeny little questions are just some of the issues as to which Darwin and Darwinism have absolutely no verifiable answers. Hypotheses.

Yes. Guesses. Yes. Proof? None.

To my little pea brain, these are some pretty big issues about evolution, the origins of life, and genetics that Darwinism cannot answer. Now, to be fair, does anyone else have verifiable answers either? Not as far as I know.

But if there are no answers that can be reproduced in the laboratory, isn't any theory about them a hypothesis or a guess? Isn't any hypothesis worth thinking about? And aren't these immense questions?

Yet the state of Florida, the glorious Sunshine State, was (I am told), until recently, considering legislation that would make it illegal to allow teachers or students in public schools to discuss any hypothesis about origins of life or the universe except that it all happened by accident without any prime mover or first cause or designer -- allowing only, again, the hypothesis, which is considered Darwinian, that it all started by, well, by, something that Darwin never even mentioned.

That is, the state of Florida was considering mandating that only Darwinian-type suppositions can be allowed about scientific subjects that Darwin never studied. (This is not to mention that we know now that Darwin was wildly wrong about some subjects such as genetics, and, again, although he wrote about the evolution of species, never observed an entirely new species evolve.)

This was beyond Stalinism. Stalinism decreed that only Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin knew all the answers, but it did not say that subjects they never mentioned could only be studied if the student guessed at what they might have said. The proposed law in the state of Florida was an anti-knowledge, anti-freedom of inquiry law on a scale such as has rarely been encountered. Maybe in Pol Pot's Kampuchea there were such laws, but they have been unknown in the USA until now.

By an incredible miracle of good sense, at the last minute, the state of Florida changed the proposed regulations. They backed off powerfully saying that only Darwinism could possibly make sense and said they would allow discussion of differing theories about the origins of life. That's the current proposal as I write this on the afternoon of the 19th of February.

I suspect the now omitted proposals would have been unconstitutional in any event (although this always depends on the court you ask). Freedom of inquiry is part of freedom of speech. That is basic. That is what America is all about. Whatever the proposed -- now discarded -- regulations were, they have nothing to do with freedom, very little to do with science, and not even much to do with Darwin, who had a lot more respect for freedom of thought than his henchmen in Florida apparently do.



http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12767

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Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

   
Glen Davidson



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,16:34   

deleted

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http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p....p

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

   
Glen Davidson



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Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,16:39   

Now here's something worth considering, if anyone lives anywhere near to Corvallis, that is to say, near Portland Oregon:

Quote
Restore America event seeks to spread influence
By Carol Reeves
Gazette-Times reporter
The role of government, homosexuality, the culture wars and who’s controlling public education are just a few of the topics that will be addressed at the third annual Restore America conference Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Rolling Hills Community Church, 3550 S.W. Borland Road in Tualatin.

The theme of the event, “The Seven Spheres of Influence,” is expected to draw up to 2,000 participants anxious to answer such “politically incorrect” questions as: Should faith influence the workplace? Is homosexuality wrong? and Are we at war with Islam?

Conference organizers claim history has shown it only takes a small minority in leadership in the areas of government, family, religion, education, business, entertainment and the media to control the direction of a nation. Participants will be challenged to assume their responsibility as individual Christians to make a difference in each one.

David Crowe and Marshall Foster will speak during the 6:30 to 9 p.m. opening session on Friday. Crowe is the founder and executive director of Restore America, an advocacy organization intent on restoring the United States to a nation “under God.” Foster is the founder of the Mayflower Institute, an education foundation also dedicated to teaching the history of what it calls America’s godly heritage.

Friday night concludes with a premier screening and interview with the producers of Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” from 9 to 11 p.m. The film offers a look at the debate over intelligent design and campaign to keep the theory out of public schools.

Saturday morning will feature Terri Schiavo’s attorney David Gibbs III, filmwriters and producers Jonathan and Deborah Flora and David Kupelian, the managing editor of WorldNetDaily.com and author of “The Marketing of Evil.” In the afternoon, featured speakers include Charlene Cothran, a former lesbian activist and publisher of Venus magazine; Kamal Saleem, a former Muslim terrorist; and Star Parker, a social policy consultant and founder and president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education.

General admission for both days of the conference costs $89. Discounted tickets of $69 are available to pastors, persons in the military and seniors age 60 or older. Teens and college students with ID can attend for $29.

Those interested in attending Friday night only will be charged $39; Saturday only costs $59. Registration and check-in will begin at 5 p.m. Friday.

Admission to the premier of “The Expelled” is free, but preregistration is required.

For more information, call 503-639-7298 or go online to www.restoreamerica.org.


http://www.gazettetimes.com/article....216.txt

You don't even have to pay to hear and see Stein's lies, though I suspect you'd do best to have your sock puppet do your pre-registration for you.

Glen D

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http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p....p

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

   
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,17:10   

Quote (Glen Davidson @ Feb. 21 2008,17:39)
You don't even have to pay to hear and see Stein's lies, though I suspect you'd do best to have your sock puppet do your pre-registration for you.

Glen D

Well, now that gives me an idea...

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Glen Davidson



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2008,12:02   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 21 2008,17:10)
Quote (Glen Davidson @ Feb. 21 2008,17:39)
You don't even have to pay to hear and see Stein's lies, though I suspect you'd do best to have your sock puppet do your pre-registration for you.

Glen D

Well, now that gives me an idea...

Ah, I like the sound of that.

Tell us about it as soon as the telling won't screw it all up.

Glen D

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http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p....p

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

   
Peter Henderson



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,11:51   

Here's an interview with ken Ham on the movie:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/aroundt....d-movie

  
Kristine



Posts: 3037
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,12:30   

Quote (Peter Henderson @ Feb. 25 2008,10:51)
Here's an interview with ken Ham on the movie:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/aroundt....d-movie

Why, oh why?

Why does the son of a prominent economist (himself claiming to be a prominent economist, actor, intellectual, etc.) want to be associated with anti-intellectual low-lives like Ken Ham? Isn’t Ben Stein embarrassed at all?

Why does the son of a professor in evolutionary biology (himself claiming to speak for evolutionary biologists) [Dembski] want to be associated with anti-intellectual low-lives like Michael Behe, Denyse O’Leary, et al? I would be humiliated!

These people grew up with everything I never had, and kicked that in the teeth for the sake of garnering applause from the same type of people I ran away from, and didn’t want to become.

What is it with this trend in our culture, simultaneously championing “plain folks” ignorance and conformity and conventionality, while pretending that same popular ignorance and conformity and anti-intellectual mediocrity is somehow avant-guarde, dangerous, radical, hip, and young?

What’s next, “cutting-edge” quilt blocks and knitted scarves in our nation’s galleries? Orchestras performing muzak and Christmas carols? Sheesh. It’s like our whole nation wants to be my hometown. Ben Stein can have it.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
oldmanintheskydidntdoit



Posts: 4999
Joined: July 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,12:38   

Quote (Kristine @ Feb. 25 2008,12:30)
What is it with this trend in our culture, simultaneously championing “plain folks” ignorance and conformity and conventionality, while pretending that same popular ignorance and conformity and anti-intellectual mediocrity is somehow avant-guarde, dangerous, radical, hip, and young?

I say give them their own island and we can watch on TV as they return to the bronze age.

EDIT sometime later: No, it's not the UK :p isle of Wight perhaps....

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,21:42   

Hey here is Kevin Miller's blog  I guess he is one of the writers for Expelled?  I invited him to drop by and chat with us

I told him most everyone here is an atheist, scientist or evil doer in general.  If he shows up please don't let me down.

Chris!

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
kevinmillerxi



Posts: 92
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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,22:09   

Yeah, I'm here. Thanks for the invite, Chris. Sorry if I don't turn out to be the fire-breathing fundamentalist you all expected. Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of time to hang out and debate ad nauseum about the film. But if any of you would like to come over to my place (www.kevinmillerxi.com), feel free to post whatever evil, ungodly thing you want and perhaps we can get a discussion started.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10006
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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,22:12   

Welcome, Kevin.

Can you set up a thread for us? We'll cross post here too incase you have any server hiccups.

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Henry J



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,22:28   

Quote
I say give them their own island and we can watch on TV as they return to the bronze age.

EDIT sometime later: No, it's not the UK :p isle of Wight perhaps....  


For poetic justice, make it the Galapagos. ;)

Henry

  
keiths



Posts: 2022
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,22:37   

Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 25 2008,22:09)
Sorry if I don't turn out to be the fire-breathing fundamentalist you all expected.

Mouth-breathing will do.

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Mr_Christopher



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,22:56   

You didn't seem like a fundy to me judging from your blog.  But yes I'm mystified by your cause.

Glad to have you here.

Chris

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
kevinmillerxi



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,23:33   

Mouth-breathing. Very funny. When Chris sent his invite my gut response was to say I wasn't interested, b/c after over two years on this project, frankly, I'm a little worn out with all the fire-breathing (and mouth breathing) fundies on all sides of this debate. But if we can keep things halfway civil and actually have a discussion rather than a flame war, I'm all for it.

As for being mystified by "my cause," my main interest in this project is the whole philosophy of science angle. How do we conceptualize science and its implications? How can we know that we know anything? The debate between rationalism and empiricism. Epistemology, that sort of thing. Personally, I see ID as a challenge not just to Darwinian evolution but to the very foundation of the scientific enterprise itself. Will we allow non-material causation into science or won't we? Most people think this question was settled decades or centuries ago. IDers say new evidence in biology and elsewhere compels us to reconsider our answer. I find this intriguing, especially when you bring in philosophers like Michael Polanyi, Alvin Plantinga, and new discoveries in quantum physics that are essentially saying the same thing. I'm not talking about supernatural causation--as in magic. Just non-material causation, such as human consciousness. Right now, I see many branches of science--particularly evolutionary biology--as highly rationalistic. Theory-driven rather than evidence driven. ID seems to be an attempt to call science back to a more empirical approach--at least according to the rhetoric I've heard from ID advocates. (I can't tell you how many times I've heard them say, "Follow the evidence wherever it leads.") So I'm prone to wonder if all the fireworks over ID are really just the most recent manifestation of an age-old scientific debate that's been cloaked in all sorts of modern religious and political agendas. It's just the latest swing of the rationalist/empiricist pendulum. At least that's one way of trying to conceptualize it. I could be way off. It's been a long day.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10006
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,23:41   

Could we start with Popper's demarcation criterion?

Also, Kevin, how famliar are you with the history of the ID movement?

Cheers!

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Doc Bill



Posts: 995
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2008,23:50   

Kevin, sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but consciousness is material.

Now, on to more interesting things!

I have seen the Expelled trailer, followed the blog, read Ben Stein's stuff on the film but I want to know one simple thing:

Sternberg.  From what was he expelled?

His editorship?  Nope, he resigned months before the fated issue of BSW was printed.

The Smithsonian?  Nope, he still has access to the collections, and he wasn't an employee of the Smithsonian.

The NIH?  Nope, he still has his same job;  no demotion, even.

Expelled?  From what?

Thanks in advance.  I'm sure you'll be able to answer this simple question.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4382
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 26 2008,00:19   

Hmmm. Interesting take, since every time an IDC advocate changes the definition of science (as has happened several times where states have considered changes in science standards), they have changed it to remove any dependence upon actually having to test ideas for them to be considered to be science.

I was there at the 1997 DI-sponsored conference where the nearly-complete IDC advocate lineup tried really hard to get the rest of the philosophy community to sign off on the assertion that ID was science. What they got instead were a pair of questions: "What would an ID hypothesis look like? How would we test it?" They didn't have answers to those questions then. They still don't have answers to those questions now.

So how does that work that IDC advocates become the new proponents of empiricism? What is the empirical evidence that would support that claim? How is the contradictory evidence (those inconvenient anti-empirical re-definitions of science that are on the record) set aside?

And, while we have an opportunity for questions, why is it that Rob Pennock's interview for the "Crossroads""Expelled" project ended up on the cutting room floor? Would it have something to do with the content of his answers to the questions, that indicate that IDC is commonly included into courses at the college level and is criticized there on both its empirical deficiencies and also its problematic claims at odds with aspects of Christian theology? Would that account for Pennock being "expelled" from the project? Or would one need the additional information that Pennock is both a Christian believer and a trenchant critic of IDC arguments?

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 26 2008,00:34

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
stevestory



Posts: 8749
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 26 2008,01:04   

At first glance Kevin doesn't seem to be a mouth-breathing kook, so it's just a matter of time before he realizes the Discovery Institute is full of liars, and that scientific revolutions are built on results, of which the IDers haven't any, and not by propaganda, of which they have plenty, a recent example being his movie.

   
stevestory



Posts: 8749
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 26 2008,01:08   

Although his saying that the IDers are trying to pull science in a more evidentiary direction, and away from abstract theory, is pretty astonishingly ill-informed.

I urge him to learn a bit about how actual scientific revolutions took place, by looking at any of the major or minor ones in the 20th century. And I also encourage him to put down the Dancing Wu-Li Masters-type quantum nonsense.

   
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