Expelled: Why are Americans allowed to care so much about freedom?, and other thoughts
|June 28, 2008||Posted by O'Leary under Intelligent Design|
I had become almost proprietorial about the widely denounced #5 political documentary. I had first broken the story of its existence last August. I watched it pitch and roll through accusations of trickery, a threatened lawsuit over plagiarism and a real one over intellectual property, production delays (it was supposed to be released on Darwin’s birthday but was pulled for edit), and, inevitably, street drama.
Okay, so there I am, sitting half-frozen in a half-empty theatre in downtown Toronto, and … I had two main reactions:
Freedom … ?
As a Canadian, I felt confused by all the talk of freedom. Americans think so highly of freedom. It seemed so strange to me that the people in the film consider it normal to worry about life, the universe, and all that.
Here today, if you openly care even about your personal freedom to just be a goof somewhere unmolested, you are at war with society. The Government knows what is Good for us. Dissent caused by our dysfunctionally evolved neurons will be punished.
So the film felt strange – it assumed facts about human nature, such as the reality of the mind, that are everywhere under serious assault in the Western world. Canada used to be freer, but we aren’t supposed to know that any more. And people single themselves out if they say too much.
Intelligent design … ?
Second, the film badly needed an explanation of why there is an intelligent design controversy. Most of my friends and neighbours simply do not know. Legacy media retail tales from the bizarre swamplands of the United States where gun-toting cretins and their obliging sisters espouse unapproved doctrines without ever receiving any proper punishment.
When a Canadian writer wanted to publish articles on intelligent design that actually explain the arguments, he wrote to me wanting to know where he could get them published. I essentially replied, “Search me. I can’t imagine any legacy medium breaking free from the Darwinsludge – and if they did, they would be shut down much faster than in the States. The mere fact of independent ideas is itself the offence, as Maclean’s Magazine and Mark Steyn found. So watch your back.”
TV series needed?
Given the many recent discoveries that challenge Darwinism and materialism, a thirteen-part TV series on the real arguments for and against design is needed. But I can’t think who would show the series. That was likely a key reason for the producers’ decision to just make a film, so that at least people willing to buy tickets could find out something.
The God who had better really be there …
The film’s strongest point is that Stein is way too smart to waste a second on “theistic” evolution – the idea that we know that God exists by faith alone. On that view, God’s actions in the world around us are supposedly indistinguishable from chance events, so design is an illusion and faith means taking a leap without evidence.
So if, for example, neuroscientists had really found a “God gene” which explains why some people believe in God but others do not, well, we know by sheer faith that God put the gene there.
Or if evolutionary psychologists could plausibly explain belief in God as naturally selected for – again, we know by sheer faith that God really exists and caused this selection.
Except that he really didn’t, of course. It would be the other way around. The gene or the selection caused God.
Trust a smart fellow like Ben Stein to see through this gunk far more clearly than some of the Bible school biology profs I’ve dealt with: Put simply, if “theistic” evolution is true, religion is bunk.*
If, n the other hand, design is true, materialist atheism is bunk. Materialist atheists know this perfectly well. That is why they persecute the design guys and cozy up to the “theistic” evolutionists.
And why Expelled was made and has no time for “theistic” evolutionism.
Now here is a quick test: If “theistic” evolution meant anything other than what I am describing above, ID theorist Mike Behe and I should be called theistic evolutionists – we accept conventional dating methods and common descent of living things But we think that God’s actions, if they exist, can be detected. They are indeed distinguishable from chance occurrences. This is the position affirmed by Scripture, tradition, and reason and denied by “theistic” evolution. And it is why we are called “creationists.”
Look, if God doesn’t exist, he doesn’t exist. But if he does exist, we’ll know about it.
Finally, seeing the film shed light on two other controversial topics:
1. The Yoko Ono lawsuit: I got a chance to hear the controversial few bars from Lennon’s “Imagine” theme. Imagine so much fuss over so little! It sure helped me see why the Stanford fair use collective got involved on Expelled’s side. Politically, Expelled was not, perhaps, the most obvious choice. However, when I saw how little use was really made of the Lennon opus minimus, I understood why Expelled was a good choice.
Intellectual property laws were designed to bust knockoff Spongebobs, pirated Two Towers, photocopied textbooks, yada yada – in other words, substantial economic and moral losses – NOT some incidental capture of a cultural icon in a documentary. What a waste of court time! And what an opportunity to start reigning in such waste!
2. The claim that the atheists had been “tricked” into taking part. It was quite obvious that these professional atheists enjoy publicity. And why not? The legacy media have lionized them. The Expelled film is one of the few places ever that some of them are just allowed to be their nasty selves. Why that is anyone’s problem other than theirs, I confess I do not know.
*While we are here: The open theism that many “theistic” evolutionists flirt with just means that there isn’t really a God. A god who is “evolving along with creation” isn’t God. One should not describe open theism as a Christian heresy. It is an atheist heresy. The only important question is, can an atheist believe in superior alien beings like the evolving god?
Also: New at the Post–Darwinist:
Open letter to comedian Guy Earle … the latest to be charged by a Canadian “human rights”commission
Birds: What you thought you knew about their evolution is wrong, all wrong
Governor Bobby Jindal passes Louisiana bill to permit critical thinking about Darwin, and such (But is this a good idea?)
If order just somehow emerges from chaos, why aren’t we all young and beautiful?
Intellectual freedom: Is misunderstanding of Internet part of Canada’s “human rights” problem?
Alarm! Alarm! Critical thinking spotted in vicinity of pop science kludge
Intelligent design and the arts – better that way, actually. Much better.
The Right’s war on science? Lot’s of ink spilled there, but how about the Left’s war on science?
Teacher accused of burning cross on student’s arm and (much worse!) of teaching creationism
Write! Canada coverage highlights intellectual freedom risks, troubles of book industry