Intelligent Design

Chuck Norris reviews Expelled in Town Hall column

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Win Ben Stein’s Monkey
By Chuck Norris
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Evolution. Intelligent design. These are terms that can cause great consternation in the minds and hearts of many, particularly opponents of each view. Now, that anxiety and debate have resurfaced in theaters everywhere with Ben Stein’s new documentary, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The press kit says, “(‘Expelled’) exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy.” (To see a trailer of the movie or access its free resources, go to www.getexpelled.com.)

I like Ben Stein. I think he’s funny, creative and an insightful commentator on a host of issues. I’m not bent on defending him or “Expelled,” but I’m glad he made it. I saw it last weekend, and I liked it. I think it will wake up many people to the truth. What truth? That educational arenas have become limited learning environments because of biases against God, the Bible and creationism. Stein is correct in saying that passionate antagonism and hostility (that parallels any fundamentalist extremism) equally exists in naturalist and Neo-Darwinian camps. Proof of their avid bias easily can be seen in some evolutionists’ reviews of this film. Many are loaded with as much inflammatory language, intolerance and bigotry as any hate-filled group.

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42 Replies to “Chuck Norris reviews Expelled in Town Hall column

  1. 1
    wnelson says:

    Huh, Norris can actually write….wait — wait for it!

    Chuck Norris, doesn’t write, he commands the language.

  2. 2
    alext says:

    Norris simply argues that creationism (he doesn’t seem to distinguish between this and ID) is different from science, and yet it is being surpressed by scientists, who claim it is not science.

    “Why can’t variant theories of the origin of life be presented even outside science courses?”

    they are. religious education classes, churches, books, internet – the info is readily available outside of science classes. have i missed his point?

  3. 3
    Graceout says:

    Very Impressive, but where is the flying roundhouse kick?

  4. 4
    Barb says:

    There is no evolution – only the animals Chuck Norris allows to live.

  5. 5
    Berceuse says:

    I agree, Graceout. Nothing gets the point across like a swift roundhouse.

  6. 6
    PannenbergOmega says:

    I remember seeing an interview with Chuck Norris when he was campaigning for Mike Huckabee. I was impressed by his humility, gentleness and sincere Christian faith.

  7. 7
    Keep the Reason says:

    Alext, you are, of course, totally spot on. The idea that educational institutions deny god, the bible, and even creationism is simply a falsehood. The fact is, god, the bible, and creationism is not science — that’s all there is to it!

    Thus they are rightfully not in the science classroom, precisely for the same reasons that chemistry and Euclidean geometry are not included in British Literature studies — they don’t belong there, there belong elsewhere.

    We can only wonder why pro-ID arguments which consistently repeat this are not understanding their statements are wrong, and very misleading.

    Perhaps someone can explain it?

  8. 8
    ericB says:

    To Keep the Reason and Alext, I would agree that topics such as discussing God, the Bible, or the Bible’s writings about creation are not within the reach of science.

    If Chuck Norris does not understand the difference between these and the ID hypothesis, that is unfortunate. Nevertheless, the ID hypothesis is necessarily within the scope of science. It is a question we should be using science to address.

    Keep the Reason: “Perhaps someone can explain it?”

    Consider:

    1. Anyone who holds that life could have developed spontaneously here on Earth would likely concede that in principle it could also have developed at one or more other locations in the universe. True? (If false, the claim Earth is in principle unique in the universe would be quite interesting.)

    2. If life advanced here, it could have advanced elsewhere. True?

    3. We are approaching the ability to manipulate and perhaps even create biological organisms. If we could do so, then there is no reason in principle that another advanced life could not have done so. True?

    4. We are already potentially introducing life into other worlds, e.g. Mars, though we have not done so intentionally. That being so, it is possible in principle that others from elsewhere could have done so here. True?

    5. Ergo, it is possible in principle that the biological life we see here on Earth may have been designed rather than being the result of entirely undirected processes (just as Dawkins acknowledges in Expelled).

    6. In short, it may be the case that our biological life is truly designed in regard to its origin, not merely apparently designed.

    7. If so, it may be hopelessly futile to try to distort and disfigure our understanding of undirected processes in the vain attempt to force them to account for what are actually the products of intelligent agency.

    For the sake of a proper and correct understanding of undirected processes, such as chemical processes, it is essential that science must be able to distinguish between artifacts and the actual results of undirected processes.

    “Can undirected chemical processes plausibly create peer-replicating RNA from scratch?” is not a question that can be addressed by a religion class or any other non-science class. Neither is “Can undirected chemical processes invent symbolic codes and encode symbolic information?” Likewise for other relevant questions.

    These must be addressed and answered within science. If the answer is “No”, the best causal inference science can make is that biological life is an artifact of intelligent agency, i.e. it is designed.

    This is highly pertinent to science and to sound scientific investigation.

    Imagine for a moment the distortion to our understanding of the Earth if we were forbidden to consider the moon when explaining tides? Excluding intelligent agency from consideration likewise distorts our research about undirected processes, including Darwinistic processes.

  9. 10
    Scottus says:

    “There is no evolution – only the animals Chuck Norris allows to live.”

    +1 barb

  10. 11
    bFast says:

    Keep the Reason, if Creationism is defined appropriately for your case, then your case is valid. However, I contend that if Creationism is defined in such a way as to include ID, then your case is no longer valid.

    So please provide your definition of Creationism to complete your argument.

  11. 12
    Shady_Milkman says:

    Keep the Reason-

    The argument being made here specifically has nothing to do about educational systems denying Christian doctrine. But rather that objectively thinking scientists who don’t fit into the hive mind of Darwinistic society are making more and more discoveries that lead them to question fundamental holes in Darwinistic theory.

    You do not have to be a creationist or even a supporter of ID or any other alternative stance in order to hold a theory up to scientific scrutiny. You do not require religious motives to be able to critically question a theory that is gradually going down hill.

    The fact is that a major part of the true spirit of science is being quelled by the suppression of critical scientific freedom of inquiry. This is the focus of the movie, not the scientific details that serve to challenge Darwinism on a fundamental level (which, by the way there are many).

    I’ll say it again in this fashion, you could be the most influential scientific proponent of evolution one minute, and then make new discoveries that challenge evolution on a fundamental level the next minute. If you brought up these new discoveries, questions, scrutiny, and/or critical analysis, you’d be thrown right back into the cage with the rest of the dissenters and even possibly labeled as religiously motivated. Regardless of how much scientific weight your argument carries, evolution has become such a dogma that it can’t so much as be questioned in modern day society without serious repercussions.

    THIS is not science.

  12. 13
    Daniel King says:

    I’ll say it again in this fashion, you could be the most influential scientific proponent of evolution one minute, and then make new discoveries that challenge evolution on a fundamental level the next minute. If you brought up these new discoveries, questions, scrutiny, and/or critical analysis, you’d be thrown right back into the cage with the rest of the dissenters and even possibly labeled as religiously motivated.

    Interesting speculations, Milkman, that prick my curiosity.

    What kinds of new discoveries do you envision?

    I know scientists who’d give their eye teeth to shake up the establishment.

  13. 14
    scordova says:

    Perhaps the most important pro-ID discovery would be that biotic reality is organized to optimize scientific exploration. See my post on biotic-steganography: How IDers can win the War

  14. 15
    scordova says:

    By the way Daniel King,

    Walt Ruloff mentioned that in filming Expelled he observed there is active suppression of the exploration of RNA synthesis at places like the NIH. These discoveries would overturn much of neo-Darwinism but these medical advances can’t be funded because they violate the party line.

    Salvador

  15. 16
    DLH says:

    ericB at 8
    Good points.

    Life elsewhere able to design and seed the earth is the Panspermia model – to try to avoid the extreme improbabilities of life arising on Earth.

    The issue then is where did that life originate. Regression analysis eventually results in abiogenesis within the life of the universe if other intelligent cause(s) are excluded.

    Dawkins points this out as well in the Expelled.

    So Panspermia highlights both issues – intelligent causation along with the challenge of detection, and abiogenesis following the Big Bang if other intelligent sources are excluded.

  16. 17
    DLH says:

    Noris continues:

    Whether theories of life’s origin are classified as religion, science, philosophy or social studies, our Founding Fathers would disagree adamantly that any theory should be locked out of classroom instruction. In fact, when Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, he did so with an expectation that a spirit of freedom would flourish among alternative educational views. While he prohibited sectarian theology in that particular university in order to establish its distinction from other denominationally affiliated higher institutions, Jefferson did not abolish instruction or debate on Providence, theism or creationism (which he even embedded in the Declaration of Independence).

    On Dec. 26, 1820, he wrote to Destutt de Tracy, “This institution of my native state, the hobby of my old age, will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and expose every subject susceptible of its contemplation.” One day later, he charged William Roscoe: “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

    If America’s Founding Fathers espoused openness to religion, creationism and the Bible being taught in schools, then it beckons the question, Why don’t we?

    Key insights.

  17. 18
    Keep the Reason says:

    If America’s Founding Fathers espoused openness to religion, creationism and the Bible being taught in schools, then it beckons the question, Why don’t we?

    They can be but –not as science–

  18. 19
    Keep the Reason says:

    bfast @ 11

    My definition of “creationism” would be how “Of Pandas and People” read in the drafts previous to the 1987 Edwards vs. Aguillard case in Louisiana. Creationism / ID in its “popularist” (i.e., relgious) version.

    Sidenote:

    Forgive my short reply. I engaged in posting many complex arguments in the “The Road to Holocaust” topic, only to have all my posts summarily removed by DLH (he’ll argue ad homs; I dispute the charge and asked him to speak to others about direct attacks, but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

    Of course, being a cautious individual, I made a personal copy of the thread (as I’m doing with this one), though I included screen-grabs showing where my posts were stripped out on the other thread– just in case something went haywire with the site (there seems to be posting problems per mine and others experiences, and per a post elsewhere on the site).

    If anyone would like to read the thread with my involvement intact, in accordance with free speech which seems to be a very strongly prized virtue here, they can (if I am permitted to post my email address anywhere– I’ll be happy to email my posts).

  19. 20
    Keep the Reason says:

    Shady@13

    Norris says:
    “That educational arenas have become limited learning environments because of biases against God, the Bible and creationism.”
    =============
    That is what the article addresses, and that is what I have posted regarding.

  20. 21
    Graceout says:

    To TheMissingLink:

    ID does NOT equal creationism. (As everyone else who posts here understands.

    As a creationist, let me try just once. Creationism belives in a specific God who created by verbal fiat all that exists, and who lives outside of His creation.

    THIS is outside the perview of science. Therefore it is not a scientific premise, and ID deliberately eschews any such faith-based, metaphysical conclusions.

    Again, as a creationist, I heartily enjoy ID, and consider it a co-beligerant in the war against materialism and atheism.

    But ID and Creationism are two seperate arenas, and we dishonor our veracity when we try and confuse or muddle these arenas.

  21. 22
    StephenB says:

    —–Norris: “If America’s Founding Fathers espoused openness to religion, creationism and the Bible being taught in schools, then it beckons the question, Why don’t we?”

    The notion that no discussion of religion should be allowed in a science classroom is recent aberration that should end. All important disciplines overlap. That is why truly educated people understand such subjects as the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science, while uneducated people have scarcely even heard of them. It is one thing to bracket various areas of study in order to focus the mind, it is quite another thing to radically separate them as if one had absolutely nothing to do with the other. This attempt to “purify” science from religion was introduced by elitist power brokers who want to create a nation of myopic specialists—faithful little worker bees who will follow the party line and avoid the hard questions.

    This artificial line of demarcation among disciplines is one of the reasons why a college education today is equivalent to a high school education of past generations. Indeed, many of the important questions occur at the intersection of the various specializations such as [sociology/anthropology] , [[paleontology/archeology] ,[ psychology/social psychology/sociology], [biology/embryology/fetology], and [theology/philosophy/ science], just to name a few.

    That is also why some of the most naïve questions come from specialists who have never even begun to enter into the life of the mind, much less consider the various meta-theories, world views, or systems of thought that frame these issues.. Notice, for example, how often some raise that mindless objection about Dembski’s discussion on ID and ‘Logos’ theory,” attempting to prove that ID is faith based. What do you say to those who know nothing about contextual frameworks or overlapping paradigms?. How do you debate with those who are clueless about the theological and metaphysical foundations of science? At what point do you stop debating and start the remedial education?

    True education is less about accumulating facts and more about mastering paradigms that allow the intelligent processing of facts. Without some knowledge of the big picture and the ability to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together, a man is a slave, even if he doesn’t know it. Indeed, I have noticed that those who know the least are the most cynical. They are the ones who flood the internet with spams, militate against freedom of speech, and allow only one perspective on science. They are the one’s who lampoon, persecute, and “expel,” and yes, they are the ones who insist that no discussion of theology and religion should ever take place in a science classroom.

  22. 23
    Stone says:

    … the man who played walker texas ranger has an opinion on Origin of life arguments? huh…

  23. 24
    bFast says:

    Keep the Reason:

    My definition of “creationism” would be how “Of Pandas and People” read in the drafts previous to the 1987 Edwards vs. Aguillard case in Louisiana. Creationism / ID in its “popularist” (i.e., relgious) version.

    C’mon, Reason, this answer is yellah! I bet that the copyright holders of Pandas would consider it to be “fair use” to quote their definition. I don’t have an original copy of Pandas. While I do have the updated copy, it is not in my short stack because, like most IDers, I don’t particularly respect it.

    ID defines itself as:
    “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection”. (from wikipedia) Does this definition define “Creationism” as you use the term when making your case in post #7.

    Let me reherse, you said:

    creationism is not science — that’s all there is to it!

  24. 25
    Apollos says:

    “… the man who played walker texas ranger has an opinion on Origin of life arguments? huh…”

    Yeah, some nerve. Who does he think he is?

    When Chuck Norris does push-ups, he’s not lifting his body up…he’s pushing the earth down.

  25. 26
    Megan.Alavi says:

    Salvador @ 15

    Walt Ruloff mentioned that in filming Expelled he observed there is active suppression of the exploration of RNA synthesis at places like the NIH. These discoveries would overturn much of neo-Darwinism but these medical advances can’t be funded because they violate the party line.

    Without breaking any confidences, would it be possible for you to go into any further detail on this very serious allegation?

    I’ve some contacts in the profession that would be very interested to hear the specifics of this suppression of the exploration of RNA synthesis at the NIH and I’d be happy to pass the details onto them. I assure you it would be looked into by open minded people.

  26. 27
    alext says:

    Shady_Milkman:
    You do not have to be a creationist or even a supporter of ID or any other alternative stance in order to hold a theory up to scientific scrutiny. You do not require religious motives to be able to critically question a theory that is gradually going down hill.

    The fact is that a major part of the true spirit of science is being quelled by the suppression of critical scientific freedom of inquiry. This is the focus of the movie, not the scientific details that serve to challenge Darwinism on a fundamental level (which, by the way there are many).

    all scientists continuously question their understanding of the world. this is what science is. to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

  27. 28
    Phinehas says:

    KtR:

    Thus they are rightfully not in the science classroom, precisely for the same reasons that chemistry and Euclidean geometry are not included in British Literature studies…

    And why mathematics and logic are not included in scien…oh. Wait. Nevermind.

    😛

  28. 29
    StephenB says:

    —–Keep the Reason: “My definition of “creationism” would be how “Of Pandas and People” read in the drafts previous to the 1987 Edwards vs. Aguillard case in Louisiana. Creationism / ID in its “popularist” (i.e., relgious) version.”

    This is exactly the kind of myopia and confusion about context that I was talking about @27. Except the for those few words that were changed in Pandas and People, for reasons that had nothing to do with stealth, there was no alteration in the substance of the material are the arguments being made. You can’t change a creationist textbook into an ID textbook by tweaking a few words. Such an alteration would require a complete rewrite, a radical restructuring of arguments, and new way of orgazning the material. Otherwise, the presentation would lack unity and coherence. 100 words out of 100,000 words is almost nothing. No one who has ever read the before and after would ever say that this is or was a creationist textbook. That Judge John Jones would rule on its contents without even having bothered to read it is a scandal that should give everyone pause—even Darwinist idealogues.

  29. 30
    Phinehas says:

    Spam filter? Moderation?

  30. 31
    Daniel King says:

    scordova:

    Walt Ruloff mentioned that in filming Expelled he observed there is active suppression of the exploration of RNA synthesis at places like the NIH. These discoveries would overturn much of neo-Darwinism but these medical advances can’t be funded because they violate the party line.

    Wow, that is a stunning revelation! Especially coming from a movie producer! I’m amazed that nobody else here has picked up on this.

    It deserves more than a passing mention, don’t you think?

    What are these discoveries? Who is making them? Who is suppressing them? What elements of neo-Darwinism would they overturn? What are Ruloff’s sources?

    The National Institutes of Health, of all places. If this story can be substantiated, surely a Congressional Investigation is in order.

  31. 32
    magnan says:

    #27 all scientists continuously question their understanding of the world. this is what science is. to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

    This itself is almost too ridiculous to comment on. This conveniently ignores the countless examples of closed-minded rejection and persecution of “heretics” in many fields of science, not just evolutionary biology. I suppose that there is a little open mindedness, but only when it comes to new hypotheses within very narrowly prescribed limits that don’t upset the mainstream paradigms.

  32. 33
    ericB says:

    Daniel King (13): “Interesting speculations, Milkman, that prick my curiosity.

    What kinds of new discoveries do you envision?

    I know scientists who’d give their eye teeth to shake up the establishment.”

    They certainly would not give their eye teeth to have their career trashed. I’m sure Dr. Richard Sternberg has lost any naive notions he might have had about shaking up the establishment with a peer reviewed paper that raised a different perspective on an old problem.

    Major paradigm shifts in science are not typically smooth and easy. Understandably, the establishment has an investment in a current paradigm and does not prefer to be shaken up. It does not do so readily.

    It took the better part of a century to move from scoffing to accepting the idea that rocks could fall from the sky, contrary to Aristotle’s view of the perfection of the heavens. And that change did not require any change to our view of humanity or of life.

    Dean Kenyon was an origin of life scientist who authored a well received text book defending the abiogenesis hypothesis. But the accumulating data eventually convinced him that that hypothesis was unsustainable and he became convinced that the evidence pointed toward intelligent design as the best explanation. What did he get for his this? He had to fight to even continue teaching classes in his own field.

  33. 34
    ericB says:

    Daniel King (13): “Interesting speculations, Milkman, that prick my curiosity.

    What kinds of new discoveries do you envision?

    I know scientists who’d give their eye teeth to shake up the establishment.”

    They certainly would not give their eye teeth to have their career trashed. I’m sure Dr. Richard Sternberg has lost any nieve notions he might have had about shaking up the establishment with a peer reviewd paper that raised a different perspective on an old problem.

    Major paradigm shifts in science are not typically smooth and easy. Understandably, the establishment has an investment in a current paradigm and does not prefer to be shaken up. It does not do so readily.

    It took the better part of a century to move from scoffing to accepting the idea that rocks could fall from the sky, contrary to Aristotles view of the perfection of the heavens. And that change did not require any change to our view of humanity or of life.

    Dean Kenyon was an origin of life scientist who authored a well received text book defending the abiogenesis hypothesis. But the accumulating data eventually convinced him that that hypothesis was unsustainable and he became convinced that the evidence pointed toward intelligent design as the best explanation. What did he get for his this? He had to fight to even continue teaching classes in his own field.

  34. 35
    Jason Rennie says:

    “all scientists continuously question their understanding of the world. this is what science is. ”

    Actually if that is true the discipline of science is unworkable and useless.

  35. 36
    Megan.Alavi says:

    Salvador @ 15

    Walt Ruloff mentioned that in filming Expelled he observed there is active suppression of the exploration of RNA synthesis at places like the NIH. These discoveries would overturn much of neo-Darwinism but these medical advances can’t be funded because they violate the party line.

    Without breaking any confidences, would it be possible for you to go into any further detail on this very serious allegation?

    I’ve some contacts in the profession that would be very interested to hear the specifics of this suppression of the exploration of RNA synthesis at the NIH and I’d be happy to pass the details onto them. I assure you it would be looked into by open minded people.

    Thanks

  36. 37
    Megan.Alavi says:

    double post – Sorry about that.

    Jason @ 35

    Actually if that is true the discipline of science is unworkable and useless.

    Out of interest, are you a working scientist and if so don’t you question the status quo? It seems to me that religion is fixed in place and should not (cannot) be questioned, whereas the whole point of science is that it’s provisional and should be continuously questioned. As science is not “unworkable and useless” as evidenced by the fact you are sitting in front of a computer, what’s the reason?

    Daniel King @ 31

    The National Institutes of Health, of all places. If this story can be substantiated, surely a Congressional Investigation is in order.

    Exactly my thinking! My inital thought is this is potentially one of the most explosive things to come out of the whole expelled debate.
    The professional journals would love an opportunity (not all are fans of the NIH) to shine the light of truth on such activities!

    Salvador, any chance of any further details? As I said above, I have some contacts that would love an opportuity to make a name for themselves exposing such behaviour.

  37. 38
    steveO says:

    Step 1: go to http://www.google.com.

    Step 2: type “find chuck norris” in the search box (do not press enter) .

    Step 3: click “I’m feeling lucky” instead.

    🙂

  38. 39
    Dizzy says:

    magnan said

    the countless examples of closed-minded rejection and persecution of “heretics” in many fields of science, not just evolutionary biology.

    I’d love to learn more about the countless examples, links please!

  39. 40
    gleaner63 says:

    Dizzy in #39,
    You stated; “I’d love to learn more about the countless examples (of rejection and perecution), links please!”.
    One of the more well-known examples from history is the rejection of meteorites by mainstream scientists. An excellent summary of this may be found in “Rain of Iron and Ice” by John Lewis. Written accounts of meteors and meteorites date back thousands of years. What was it that kept some scientists from accepting them as genuine? Part of the answer may be found in the “It can’t be therefore it isn’t” mindset. This leads to an unwillingness to look at the actual data. It doesn’t stop the same scientists however from voicing a negative opinion on the subject. A more modern example was a recent debate on the alledged Roswell UFO crash. UFO debunker Phil Klass was asked how many of the witnesses associated with the event he had interviewed. Answer? **None**., You may or may not believe in UFOs, but to reject it without actually looking at and studying the data is not worthy of the calling of a scientist. Otherwise, one should remain neutral.

  40. 41
    ericB says:

    To DLH at 16, Thanks. I was hoping Keep the Reason or Alext would see it and respond. Even if one starts from purely materialist assumptions, it is still true even in that framework that it might be foolish and hopeless to require science to explain the biological life we see only in terms of undirected processes.

    IOW, even if abiogenesis is possible in some fashion, that would not even then guarantee that the form of life we see (based on symbolic information processing) is necessarily explainable by undirected processes.

    Such a priori requirements, whether to exclude design or to exclude rocks falling from the sky (which Aristotle explained couldn’t be possible), are always bad for science, since they can compel scientists to spout nonsense that fits the requirement, though it distorts our understanding of nature. So we end up explaining meteorites as the ejections of volcanoes or assert that chemicals behave in ways they do not.

    Ergo, the issue raised by the intelligent design hypothesis is legitimately a worthwhile scientific issue, not a question that could be settled within a religion class, etc.

    That is not a defense of abiogenesis, but I would hope that those who accept abiogenesis would at least follow their assumptions through and face up to the logical consequences.

  41. 42
    ericB says:

    gleaner63 (40): Excellent points on the plague of ideological prejudice. “I don’t have to look (in Galileo’s telescope, or at the supposed rocks from the sky, or whatever) because I already know …”

    It is unfit for science just as prejudice is a blight in the court room.

    The good news is that the inconsistency of being anti-design out of an anti-God prejudice is becoming too obvious to hide any longer, with thanks lately in part to Dawkins. It won’t work to deny the possibility of design, just because someone hates the idea of anything that might indicate that undirected natural processes are insufficient.

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