Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

How does one make a “pseudo-documentary”?

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Mark Perakh now resorts to calling Ben Stein’s EXPELLED a “pseudo-documentary” (go here)? I know what a pseudo-science is (e.g., Darwinism, in its claim to account for biological complexity). And I know what a “mockumentary” is (e.g., This is Spinal Tap). But how does one interview real people about what they really believe and come out with a “pseudo-documentary”?

Well, perhaps we should not be surprised. Mark Perakh offered this insight at the Panda’s Thumb pseudo-blog.

Comments
I just found this thread. DaveScot, can you reconsider #69 and #77? I understand your frustration. This past Sunday my preacher gave a sermon supporting ideas similar to ideas Gerry promotes, viz., that Christians should not waste time with politics and government. I, on the other hand, believe that deciding not to participate in government is looking a gift horse in the mouth; specifically, if God put us in a country that allows us to participate, and allows us to have our voices heard, we should participate and make our voices heard. I disagree with my preacher. It is as though he is on the side of the liberals who also want Christians not to participate. But I still attend his church. I chalk up his sermon to the fact that we have to choose between McCain and Obmma/Clinton, which is a frustrating choice. Well, hopfully things will cool down, and both DaveScot and Gerry will allow much longer time frames for ideas to sprout. My Father was in the Marines. Based on my conversations and studies, "training" was important, but only in a way that is important in war.William Wallace
May 6, 2008
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PO Gerry's been on borrowed time here for quite a while. I've been very lax in trying to keep this blog focused on science. People like Gerry who bring nothing but the bible to the conversation are the reason why the rest of us get shut out. Worse, Gerry doesn't care about being shut out. His only goal is biblical evangelism. He knows that won't fly in science education and would rather just shun the scientific establishment instead of modifying his own obsessive/compulsive religious fervor. "Sheesh" indeed. DaveScot
May 3, 2008
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I can't believe Gerry has been banned. Jeesh.PannenbergOmega
May 3, 2008
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Speaking strictly as a pseudohuman, it strikes me that there is potential for a big tent if the goal is the overthrow of materialism; if ID is a manifestation of love of God and weariness with the egotism of Big Science and its supermen. That's a groundswell, rising with pent-up frustration, a natural cause looking for a voice. But if the goal is nothing more than a new type of materialism, based on the amazing notion that matter can design itself, and larded with the same old worn-out caricatures and contempt for religion, then ID is no longer a resistance movement, no longer fresh and new. It's nothing more than Darwinism with an improbable new face.allanius
May 3, 2008
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"our" is meant to be "Your"Frost122585
May 3, 2008
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and to be off topic for a second and a little schizophrenic Dave, with respect to our back ground with computers; posting on this site all of time, especially at night, I often have the lap top on my chest while I’m in bed. Is this bad for your body? Do lap tops emit radiation in any significant quantities? could it give you cancer? I have always wondered this.Frost122585
May 3, 2008
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Lol, ok. Well obviously it is not an argument to say "one must have been in the military to have an understanding of what goes on there." My father was, so I have plenty of stories. And I might say in defense to what you say, his training does seem to have had a noticeable “formal” effect on his personality and the character of his personal conduct. I understand where you are coming from. I though, as Gerry pointed out, am amazed by the altruistic characteristics of man kind (when he is choose to be so). I find them quite a reasonable refutation of a Darwinian world view. It is in large part this human characteristic that separates us from the animal, and now-a-days, the machine kingdom. Your point about training is cogent, but I think it still takes a little something "miraculous" for these kinds of events to take place. I'm guessing in principle you would agree with me on this, even if your post above understated it's objectively real significance. I mean all of this with due respect to your back and forth with Gerry. I just thought that this aspect of your conversation needed a little more elucidation. After all, the manifestation of the human spirit through human action is one of the prime things that we are concerned with as living beings struggling in this existence.Frost122585
May 3, 2008
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Frost When YOU have gone through the training, get back to me. Otherwise yours, like Gerry's, is a voice of ignorance. But that's not why I banned him. I banned him for trying to drag my children and grandchildren through the polluted waters of his so-called mind. DaveScot
May 3, 2008
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I have to admit Dave, with all due respect, I think Gerry has a point. You can't chalk up stories like that just to training. That sounds more like a Darwinian reductionist attitude to me.Frost122585
May 3, 2008
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Gerry I've had all I can stand from you. You're out of here.DaveScot
May 2, 2008
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And you claim that those three children and three grandchildren, given the same "proper training", will be equally heroic when the time comes?Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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Gerry I’m beginning to suspect that you don’t have kids. Three children and three grandchildren. Any more demonstrations of stupidity you'd like to make or will that be enough for you for one day? DaveScot
May 2, 2008
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I'm beginning to suspect that you don't have kids.Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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Gerry Perhaps you could tell me, then, why one man is a hero while another is a coward. Improper training. And how we might modify the latter to behave like the former. Proper training. DaveScot
May 2, 2008
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DaveScot says, "As a former sergeant in the United States Marine Corps I don’t find it mystical at all [that a man would jump on a grenade to save his fellows]." Perhaps you could tell me, then, why one man is a hero while another is a coward. And how we might modify the latter to behave like the former.Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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Gerry The mystical part is where he jumps on the grenade. Mystical to you, perhaps. As a former sergeant in the United States Marine Corps I don't find it mystical at all. I'm sure there's a good scientific explanation for why he happened to survive. DaveScot
May 2, 2008
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DaveScot says, "The guy described what I thought was a rational thought process. It’s either 4 of us get dead or badly injured or 1 of us gets dead or badly injured. The mathematical solution to that question isn’t exactly rocket science." Yes, the math is easy. But that's not the interesting part. It rarely is. The mystical part is where he jumps on the grenade. Not everyone who can do the math comes to that conclusion, y'know.Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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DaveScot asks, "What do you think is mystical about self-sacrifice?" Everything. And when the guy comes out of it with barely a scratch -- did you read that far? -- it's even more glorious. Reminds me of those boys in the book of Daniel who willingly went into the furnace and came out smelling fresh as a spring day.Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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Apollos Homer Simpson said "What if you pick the wrong religion and every time you go to the wrong church God just gets madder and madder at you?" That said, I took up Pascal's Wager decades ago. The wager at least makes sense.DaveScot
May 2, 2008
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Gerry Well, you're wrong about it not fitting into a test tube. They make test tubes as big you need these days. Putting people into test tubes is frowned upon so I suggest you do your experiment with a rat or something. Your mileage may vary. What do you think is mystical about self-sacrifice? The guy described what I thought was a rational thought process. It's either 4 of us get dead or badly injured or 1 of us gets dead or badly injured. The mathematical solution to that question isn't exactly rocket science.DaveScot
May 2, 2008
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Also, Messiah makes serious claims which warrant serious examination:
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9b)
One of the most interesting to me is this one:
"No one can come to me [Jesus] unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)
God must draw you to Him, and this requires a sincere willingness to accept this truth, regardless of how ridiculous it might appear.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Those who honestly ask God to show them the truth of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice will be shown it -- I sincerely believe this. Otherwise they are limited to seeing only a caricature of Him, who is the maker of all things.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)
You're in my prayers, Dave. This is worth consideration, as the promise is one of limitless life in the presence of the Maker. If one can accept that it might be true, and express a willingness to believe if the truth can be made clear, then this person is poised to be drawn to Him.Apollos
May 2, 2008
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That should read, what kind of a test should we use to "ascertain the unique status of such a figure.StephenB
May 2, 2008
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It is also within the realm of possibility, that one of those characters who seem to be perpetuating a myth may actually be telling the truth. Perhaps, among all the claimants, one of them stands out among the rest and deserves to be heard more than the rest. What kind of a test would one use to ascertain such a figure? [A] He would have to be foretold. The least that the Creator would do is tip us off that someone is coming to teach and sanctify in his name. Most just appear on the scene and say, “trust me.” This one would be different. [B] He would prove his identity by performing miracles and raise himself from the dead. Following that, he would reappear just to seal the deal. He would do many of these things in the presence of those who would deny the whole thing if they could get away with it. [C] He would never say or do anything that violates the principles of right reason, and all of his activities would take place in time, space, history, so no one could shrug it off as a myth. Does that sound like anyone that we know? Hint: Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, and Mohammed do not make the cut.StephenB
May 2, 2008
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I don't know, Dave. Stories like this: www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3648975.ece strike me as a bit mystical. At least I'm pretty sure they won't fit in a test tube.Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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I have a problem with mythology in general, Gerry, when people start presenting it as truth instead of fiction. Bearded thunderers, fat buddhas, sacred cows, earth goddesses, dragons, unicorns, whatever, they're all the same to me - mythical creations. Do you have any idea how it looks to an outsider when two bible believers can't even agree on what it means to be created in God's image? Maybe we should just let lawyers and judges decide these matters. That tack seems to be working for the Darwinian mystics. DaveScot
May 2, 2008
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Leo Hales quotes Rumi: "God, like the kings of the world, does not grant to just anyone the privilege of directly speaking with him. Rather, he sends honoured ambassadors to convey his messages." Well said. Leo Hales says to DaveScot, "Where did you get the idea that we are dealing with a bearded thunderer? In classical theism, God is outside space and time and bears no resemblance to created entities." Yes, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. But "no resemblance to created entities" might be going a bit too far. We have been created in His image, after all. And I think it's important not to underestimate the practical effect of anthropomorphic images of God. I have no idea how to relate to a being who is "outside space and time". But I can take some obvious steps toward reconciling with, and dutifully pleasing, a "thundering" Father in Heaven (bearded or not). It seems that DaveScot, like many empirically-minded individuals, has difficulty with analogies and metaphors.Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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LOL @ 51!!!! With regard to the question asked by Dave Scot: “Yet you’d have me respect a bearded thunderer who can only speak through the written word of mortal men instead?” The famous 12th century poet Rumi wrote "God, like the kings of the world, does not grant to just anyone the privilege of directly speaking with him. Rather, he sends honoured ambassadors to convey his messages." Where did you get the idea that we are dealing with a bearded thunderer? In classical theism, God is outside space and time and bears no resemblance to created entities.Leo Hales
May 2, 2008
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DaveScot said: "Yet you’d have me respect a bearded thunderer who can only speak through the written word of mortal men instead?" Are you referring to PZ?Eric Anderson
May 2, 2008
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O'Leary says, "The way I see it is this: “Documentary” should = non-fiction. It does not need to = truth. The viewer must decide about that." Exactly. The relevance and value of a fact depends entirely on the viewer's mental framework. A believer in common descent will see a fossil that is midway between a cow and a whale as a great discovery and in irrefutable proof of his theory; the disbeliever will see it as a fluke, pointing out the conspicuous absence of the 49,999 other necessary links. But both positions will seem perfectly reasonable, perfectly true, to the individuals working within those frameworks. Thogan was right to recommend Polanyi to DaveScot (and all) above. There can be little reasoned discourse between people of diametrically opposed worldviews since each side is really asking the other to invert essential but essentially unprovable aspects of the other's framework.Gerry Rzeppa
May 2, 2008
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Jason, you are right. Documentaries can make some stuff up wholesale and still win awards. An industry group sponsoring awards faces its biggest problem not in getting entrants but in getting judges. One thing that usually will not happen is a big enough investigation to reveal questionable practices. That happens later, when angry, highly motivated critics take the film apart. Then there is the much more difficult problem of genuine matters of judgment. The way I see it is this: "Documentary" should = non-fiction. It does not need to = truth. The viewer must decide about that.O'Leary
May 2, 2008
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