Intelligent Design

Reviews of Ben Stein – Expelled

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(In his review of Expelled, Dinesh D’Souza appears to be using arguments from Intelligent Design – despite his previous apparent opposition.)—————-

Ben Stein Exposes Richard Dawkins
By Dinesh D’Souza, Monday, April 21, 2008

. . .So Stein puts to Dawkins a simple question, “How did life begin?” One would think that this is a question that could be easily answered. Dawkins, however, frankly admits that he has no idea. . . . Franklin Harold writes in The Way of the Cell that even the simplest cells are more ingeniously complicated than man’s most elaborate inventions: the factory system or the computer. Moreover, Harold writes that the various components of the cell do not function like random widgets; rather, they work purposefully together, as if cooperating in a planned organized venture. Dawkins himself has described the cell as the kind of supercomputer, noting that it functions through an information system that resembles the software code. Is it possible that living cells somehow assembled themselves from nonliving things by chance? The probabilities here are so infinitesimal that they approach zero. . . .Is it reasonable to posit that a chance combination of atoms and molecules, under those conditions, somehow generated a living thing? Could the random collision of molecules somehow produce a computer? It is ridiculously implausible to think so. . . . Unwilling to consider the possibility of divine or supernatural creation, Crick suggested that maybe aliens brought life to earth from another planet. And this is precisely the suggestion that Richard Dawkins makes in his response to Ben Stein. Perhaps, he notes, life was delivered to our planet by highly-evolved aliens. Let’s call this the “ET” explanation.
Stein brilliantly responds that he had no idea Richard Dawkins believes in intelligent design! And indeed Dawkins does seem to be saying that alien intelligence is responsible for life arriving on earth. What are we to make of this? Basically Dawkins is surrendering on the claim that evolution can account for the origins of life. It can’t. The issue now is simply whether a natural intelligence (ET) or a supernatural intelligence (God) created life. . . .

See full article

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Ben Stein Vs. Sputtering Atheists
By Brent Bozell III, (Founder and President of the Media Research Center, ) Friday, April 18, 2008

Stein insists that he isn’t accusing today’s Darwinists of Nazism. He points out, however, that Hitler’s mad science was inspired by Darwinism. . . .

. . .Ben Stein’s extraordinary presentation documents how the worlds of science and academia not only crush debate on the origins of life, but also crush the careers of professors who dare to question the Darwinian hypothesis of evolution and natural selection.

Stein asks a simple question: What if the universe began with an intelligent designer, a designer named God? He assembles a stable of academics — experts all — who dared to question Darwinist assumptions and found themselves “expelled” from intellectual discourse as a result. . . . That’s disturbing enough, but what Stein does next is truly shocking. He allows the principal advocates of Darwinism to speak their minds. . . .Stein engages them in conversation. They speak their minds. They become sputtering ranters, openly championing their sheer hatred of religion. . . .
Everyone should take the opportunity to see “Expelled” — if nothing else, as a bracing antidote to the atheism-friendly culture of PC liberalism. But it’s far more than that. It’s a spotlight on the arrogance of this movement and its leaders, a spotlight on the choking intolerance of academia, and a spotlight on the ignorance of so many who say so much, yet know so very little.

See Full Article

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FIRST-PERSON: The difference ‘Expelled’ will make
William A. Dembski Posted on Apr 18, 2008

Who’s right? That’s the wrong question. Anyone who has studied the history of science knows about “the pessimistic induction.” The pessimistic induction says that all scientific theories of the past have to varying degrees been wrong and required modification (some were so wrong that they had to be abandoned outright). No scientific theory is written in stone. No scientific theory should be venerated. Every scientific theory should now and again be subjected to severe scrutiny. This is healthy for science. . . .
The unwashed masses, in which I place myself, will love the film. Ordinary people, who often pay the Darwinists’ salaries through their tax dollars, will rightly be incensed. They’ll see that enough is enough: . . . Expelled’s impact will be felt immediately. But its long-term impact will be even greater. The film opens with documentary footage of the Berlin Wall going up and closes with it coming down. The day Darwinism and Intelligent Design can be fairly discussed without fear of reprisal represents the removal of a barrier even greater than the Berlin Wall.

See Full Article
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I encourage readers post links to further quality reviews

18 Replies to “Reviews of Ben Stein – Expelled

  1. 1
    DLH says:

    Ben Stein is being reviewed on TBN 8:15 pm EST

  2. 2

    See also http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24239755/

    This is going to get ugly. REALLY ugly. Now we are back to “its SO unfair to make the NAZI-Darwin link when so much is left out from the Darwinian opinions of the Robber Barons, which some of us apparently like” as well as the usual “ID cannot be falsified” and then not to be left out “nothing Darwin said can really be used to diss faith–that’s a conspiratorial nut idea that comes from Bible thump fruitcakes in the Deep South only” and not “real theologians” and then “Dawkins is made to look like a frizzled grump” and “does not speak for Darwin after all”….etc….

  3. 3

    Regarding the film, I may know too much to give the film a high rating.

    But the interview with Dawkins was brilliant. Ben Stein outsmarted the Dick to the Dawk.

    Does Ben have a science degree? A Ph.D.?

    In general, Expelled performs an important function of illustrating the perniciousness, arrogance, ignorance, and ridiculous confusion of the evolander leadership.

    Just in case anybody cares, Michael Edmondson has admitted to being the animator of the Age of the Machine Video.

    Animation: Michael Edmondson

    Written By: Matt Chandler

    Produced by: John Sullivan; Walt Ruloff; and Logan Craft

    The evolanders are still trying to spin this to mean that the video was on their side.

    In Vitro Veritas.

    Just though DaveScot would get a kick out of this. Check out my blog for more information, the evolanders confess.

  4. 4
  5. 5

    Repost (false positive?)

    Regarding the film, I may know too much to give the film a high rating.

    But the interview with Dawkins was brilliant. Ben Stein outsmarted the Dick to the Dawk.

    Does Ben have a science degree? A Ph.D.?

    In general, Expelled performs an important function of illustrating the perniciousness, arrogance, ignorance, and ridiculous confusion of the evolander leadership.

    Just in case anybody cares, Michael Edmondson has admitted to being the animator of the Age of the Machine Video.

    Animation: Michael Edmondson

    Written By: Matt Chandler

    Produced by: John Sullivan; Walt Ruloff; and Logan Craft

    The evolanders are still trying to spin this to mean that the video was on their side.

    In Vitro Veritas.

    Just though DaveScot would get a kick out of this. Check out my blog for more information, the evolanders confess.

    [Yes, it’s quite entertaining and I thank you for blogging it so well. -ds]

  6. 6
    Frost122585 says:

    I think the Berlin wall analogy is an excellent one. Hopefully now that the movie has hit the mainstream people will stand up and protest not the theory of Darwinian Evolution per se but the bigotry of those who [“seek to keep science in a little box”} as Ben Stein so ably put it. Materialism is a belief but logically not a necessity of science. People have the right to look for inferences of Design in biology (especially since they are easy to find) and use them to spur scientific understanding and discovery. ID is a hypothesis like any other that can be tested and debated based upon the scientific evidence. Its about time the public has been awakened and informed about reality.

  7. 7
    DLH says:

    Bruce Gordon reviews Dawkins efforts to explain his Expelled comments:

    The Divine Comedy: Dawkins’ Disco Inferno By: Bruce L. Gordon, Ph.D., Discovery Institute, April 21, 2008

    Richard Dawkins has got himself in a bit of a pickle and, in an effort to wash off the brine, now appears to be lathering up mountains of foam. In an article in the LA Times (see here), he is at pains to distance himself from remarks he made in the newly released movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. . . . It turns out that he has decided to have a go at philosophical theology. Unfortunately, he appears to have even less talent in this arena.. . .As Alvin Plantinga — a formidable intellect and the world’s foremost analytic philosopher of religion — remarked in a review of Dawkins’ book, “You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores” (see here).
    . . . Regardless of which scenario you choose, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem demonstrates that the universe/multiverse has a beginning in the finite past. Prior to the universe, therefore, there was no time, and God, who is logically and ontologically prior to the universe, was therefore not temporally prior to it. Before the universe was created, God existed timelessly and so had no beginning; his relationship to time began with his creation of time. So Richard, please take note: there is a fundamental difference between the claim that God had no beginning and the claim that flagellar motors were always there.
    . . .

  8. 8
    DLH says:

    Is the “Science” of Richard Dawkins Science Fiction?
    By: Jonathan Wells, Discovery Institute, April 21, 2008

    Atheist Richard Dawkins is hopping mad at the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Dawkins accuses the filmmakers of “lying for Jesus” because they make it seem that he believes in intelligent design and space aliens. . . .
    Clearly, Darwinian evolution and intelligent design have different implications for God’s existence.

    Surprisingly, in a lengthy interview with Ben Stein in Expelled, Dawkins says that living things on the Earth could be actually (and not just apparently) designed — and that the design might be detectable. Dawkins thereby concedes the central claim of ID, though he insists that the designers — if there were any — must have been highly evolved space aliens, not God. . . .
    “Natural selection,” he continued, “is the only ultimate explanation we know for complex, improbable things. Even if our species was created by space alien designers, those designers themselves would have to have arisen from simpler antecedents — so they can’t be an ultimate explanation for anything.”
    . . .

    OK. Probably everyone would concede that attributing design to space aliens doesn’t ultimately solve the problem; it just moves the solution further away. But how does Dawkins “know” that natural selection is “the only ultimate explanation?” Why not God? Intelligent Design doesn’t tell us that the designer is God, but how does Dawkins know it isn’t? . . . Clearly, Dawkins’ devotion to Darwinism and dismissal of God have nothing whatever to do with probability — or for that matter, with science. His improbability argument is an empty bluff. . . .
    See full article

  9. 9
    DLH says:


    Expelled Resources
    at ARN.org

    Connecting Hitler and Darwin
    By: David Berlinski
    Human Events, April 18, 2008

    One man — Charles Darwin — says: “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals. …”

    Another man — Adolf Hitler — says: Let us kill all the Jews of Europe.

    Is there a connection?

    Yes obviously is the answer of the historical record and common sense. . . .

    What is often called social Darwinism was a malignant force in Germany, England and the United States from the moment that social thinkers forged the obvious connection between what Darwin said and what his ideas implied. Justifying involuntary sterilization, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that “three generations of imbeciles is enough.” . . .
    These historical connections are so plain that from time to time, those most committed to Darwin’s theory of evolution are moved to acknowledge them. Having dismissed a connection between Darwin and Hitler with florid indignation, the authors of the site Expelled Exposed at once proceed to acknowledge it: “The Nazis appropriated language and concepts from evolution,” they write, “as well as from genetics, medicine (especially the germ theory of disease), and anthropology as propaganda tools to promote their perverted ideology of ‘racial purity.’”. . .

    Just so.
    Would he care to live in a society shaped by Darwinian principles? The question was asked of Richard Dawkins.

    Not at all, he at once responded.

    And why not?

    Because the result would be fascism.

    In this, Richard Dawkins was entirely correct; and it is entirely to his credit that he said so.

    See Full article at Discovery.org

    Connecting Hitler and Darwin
    by David Berlinski, Posted: 04/18/2008 Human Events

  10. 10
    DLH says:

    Don’t Doubt It – An important historic sidebar on Hitler and Darwin
    By: David Klinghoffer
    National Review Online
    April 18, 2008″

    The movie is Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, opening this weekend, a cheeky documentary that is not primarily about evolutionism in prewar Germany. Reviewers in Time, Scientific American, Variety, Fox News, and elsewhere have denounced the filmmakers for suggesting that Hitlerism without the contribution of Darwinism would be hard to imagine. . . .
    But for about ten minutes, Expelled touches on Darwinism’s historical social costs, notably the unintended contribution to Nazi racial theories. That part packs an emotional wallop. It also happens to be based on impeccable scholarship.

    The Darwin-Hitler connection is no recent discovery. In her classic 1951 work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote: “Underlying the Nazis’ belief in race laws as the expression of the law of nature in man, is Darwin’s idea of man as the product of a natural development which does not necessarily stop with the present species of human being.”

    The standard biographies of Hitler almost all point to the influence of Darwinism on their subject. In Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Alan Bullock writes: “The basis of Hitler’s political beliefs was a crude Darwinism.” What Hitler found objectionable about Christianity was its rejection of Darwin’s theory: “Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest.”

    John Toland’s Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography says this of Hitler’s Second Book published in 1928: “An essential of Hitler’s conclusions in this book was the conviction drawn from Darwin that might makes right.”

    In his biography, Hitler: 1889-1936: Hubris, Ian Kershaw explains that “crude social-Darwinism” gave Hitler “his entire political ‘world-view.’ ” Hitler, like lots of other Europeans and Americans of his day, saw Darwinism as offering a total picture of social reality. This view called “social Darwinism” is a logical extension of Darwinian evolutionary theory and was articulated by Darwin himself.
    . . .
    Yet it is surely of interest that, at the very heart of his message, Hitler appealed to Germans primarily as devotees of modern biological science. He could have framed his pitch in any terms he liked. He chose evolutionary terms. No one knows what he believed in his heart, if he had one. But we know what he judged would stir up fellow Nazis and ordinary citizens to commit themselves to his movement. In that, he judged correctly.

    See Full Article at the National Review

  11. 11
    DaveScot says:

    DLH

    It also happens to be based on impeccable scholarship.

    It’s based on poor scholarship. Simply pointing out that anti-miscegenation laws were on the books in colonial America 200 years before Darwin was born shoots down that “impeccable” scholarship. It’s no more than a pathetic attempt to bolster an argument against Darwinian evolution with a cheap, poorly thought out connection to Hitler.

    Godwin’s Law states that as discussion proceeds in controversial subjects the chance that one side will link the other side to Hitler approaches one.

    Then of course the rebuttal is that there are still valid connections to Hitler. There are exceptions to the law.

    I have come up with a corollary to Godwin’s Law: Everyone thinks their connection to Hitler is one of the valid exceptions to Godwin’s Law.

    I strongly suggest distancing ID as far as possible from Hitler. It’s a huge red flag to most thinking people that the person making the connection has lost the plot…

  12. 12
    DLH says:

    SEEING THROUGH THE HAYES: speaking heresy in a Darwinian culture
    By Josh Hayes / jhayes@crossville-chronicle.com

    . . . As Luther faced Catholicism as the prevailing system of thought in medieval culture, modern-day academics and scholars must answer to a similar foe in Darwinism. . . .
    Still, Darwin held that natural selection left out the need for God. “The view that each variation has been providentially arranged seems to make Natural Selection entirely superfluous, and indeed takes the whole case of the appearance of new species out of the range of science” (Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, vol. 2, 6-7, 28, emphasis mine). With this statement, Darwin planted the seeds for the driving principle that would rule science in the following generations—propositions that aren’t naturalistic or materialistic should not be considered.

    . . . Kansas State University professor S.C. Todd made a similar statement in Nature magazine. “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic” (vol. 401 Sept. 30, 1999, 429).

    Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin made the confession scientists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” What’s more, he admits, “We cannot allow a divine foot in the door” (“Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, 28). Evolutionary authorities forthrightly demonstrate evolutionary theory is not a scientific issue but a philosophical one.

    Darwinism in its contemporary form extends beyond biology, affecting areas from cosmology to psychology to other cultural and social issues. That was my point in saying current Darwinian thinking is equivalent to “nobody multiplied by nothing equals everything.” If any explanation for the origin of the universe must rule out a supernatural agent, then one is left with three possibilities: creation by chance, self-creation and a self-existent universe. Aside from the last concept, the other two leave you with a “something out of nothing” explanation when fully comprehended. . . .

    Pearcey writes, “We distinguish readily between the products of nature and the products of intelligence. Walking on the beach, we may admire the lovely pattern of ripples running across the sand, but we know it is merely a product of the wind and the waves. If, however, we come across a sand castle with walls and turrets and a moat, do we assume it too was created by the wind and waves? Of course not. The material constituents of the castle are nothing but sand and mud and water, just like the ripples all around it. But we intuitively recognize that those starting materials have a different kind of order imposed upon them” (Total Truth, 181). . . .

    Today, I stand in opposition to the ideological authorities in my culture with the same words of a dissenting little monk who called for reform in his culture. . . . I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me” (Martin Luther, Diet of Worms).

    When authority is left unchecked, the people suffer for its errors.

  13. 13
    DLH says:

    Per Godwin’s law
    “Godwin’s Law Faq

    Quirk’s Exception: Intentional invocation of this so-called “Nazi Clause” is ineffectual.

    The critical issue is not the explicit connection with Hitler, but the critical frequent consequence that Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” results in a mentality of “Might makes Right” with the consequence of totalitarianism.

    Expelled’s key message is the need to counter this totalitarianism. In this case, in science by the Darwinian elite.

  14. 14
    JunkyardTornado says:

    DLH wrote:
    Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin made the confession scientists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” What’s more, he admits, “We cannot allow a divine foot in the door”

    If one asserts a designing intelligence is not a mechanism, then there is no explanation for things he designed other than caprice. However, once you can derive a coherent explanation for an entity, whereby you can predict its behavior, you are explicating it (or the portion of it you can comprehend) as a mechanism. So any part of it that is not potentially explicable as a mechanism is RANDOM. Once you succeed in establishing that something is a result of a non-mechanism, you immediately cease any inquiry into the reasons why that thing exists or why it has the features it does. Science is all about identifiying mechanisms that account for observed features of the natural world. If you say, “this thing was not the result of a mechanism”, then what else is there for science to do? Answer: Nothing. So if its an open question whether something has a coherent explanation or not, why shouldn’t Science proceed on the assumption it does. If the only conceivable cause for something is inscrutable divine intelligence, then by definition there is no further explanation.

    I think anyone of a sensitive mindset would agree without hesitation that a newborn baby is a creation of God. But what does that observation have to do with science? Nothing. The mechanism is all that is of concern to science. If detailing mechanisms whereby life emerged and developed unsettles the faithful or strengthens the resolve of those who would deny God’s existence, then I guess it does.

    (DLH): Pearcy writes, “We distinguish readily between the products of nature and the products of intelligence. Walking on the beach, we may admire the lovely pattern of ripples running across the sand, but we know it is merely a product of the wind and the waves. If, however, we come across a sand castle with walls and turrets and a moat, do we assume it too was created by the wind and waves”

    What if ripples on the sand were the tracks of a hermit crab. Is the hermit crab an inscrutable designing nonmaterial intelligence? What about the burrow it creates in the sand and retreats to – not the result of a mechanism (i.e. the hermit crab mechanism)? But a castle with a moat, no less, WELL… let’s all fall down and worship the creator of such a thing, because clearly such an entity who could create it must possess some godlike nonmaterial intelligence to accomplish such a feat. And if he doesn’t, if Man’s intelligence is also a mechanism, then why isn’t whatever created us a mechanism.
    Supposing you succeeded in getting every biologist to sign a statement saying, “I believe that ultimately life would not exist if it were not for a divine nonmaterial intelligence which is directly analogous to human intelligence, which is itself also nonmaterial and nonmechanistic.” Would you also preclude them from further inquiry into mechanisms that would flesh out that process.

    {DLH Deleted duplicate of this post. Please be patient with clearing the spamfilter. Note that those quotes are not what “DLH wrote”, but extracts from the relevant reviews.}

  15. 15
    Charlie says:

    Hi Dave,

    I strongly suggest distancing ID as far as possible from Hitler. It’s a huge red flag to most thinking people that the person making the connection has lost the plot…

    This is good practical advice. The Hitler connection is often used only for polemic value, says nothing about the truth of Darwin’s theory, and says nothing about the truth of ID.
    Saying we should distance ourselves from the argument is one thing. Saying we should deny the historical and logical (not necessary) connection is another.

  16. 16
    DLH says:

    From The Lariat Online, Baylor University
    ‘Expelled’ encourages intelligent design discussion, Chen says April 22, 2008

    …Several Baylor professors, including Dr. Robert Marks and Dr. Walter Bradley, both distinguished professors in the engineering and computer science department, were interviewed for the film.

    Marks and Bradley were among the opening night crowd at the Hollywood Theaters.

    ‘”I thought it portrayed things pretty well as they are ­– that science by decree of entrenched Darwinism has no room for a God hypothesis,” Marks said. “I on the other hand think that one cannot pursue truth without consideration of a creator.”

    Marks said if science defines science as void of a creator, then it’s not a pursuit of truth.

    Bradley said in an e-mail to The Baylor Lariat there were areas he would have liked to see explored in more detail.

    “The general thesis that belief in an intelligently designed universe can prevent people from being hired or cause them to lose their job is sadly true in many universities, maybe even in some departments at Baylor,” Bradley said. . . .

    . . . Mark Mathis, associate producer for the film, said Baylor is in a very difficult position, which needs to be addressed — professors are afraid their funding will be pulled with any association with intelligent design.

    “You have a science department that’s denying a god,” Mathis said

    The filmmakers chose to come to Baylor because there was someone here willing to speak to them, he said.

    “Most people aren’t willing to take that heat. That’s why we came to Baylor, because we found a man of courage in Bob Marks,” Mathis said. . . .

  17. 17
    alext says:

    . . .So Stein puts to Dawkins a simple question, “How did life begin?” One would think that this is a question that could be easily answered.

    ha!
    what’s this insistence from people like D’Souza rthat the first unit of life had to be a fully functioning, modern cell? it’s as absurd as saying babies were the first to rise from the “primordial sludge” as it were.

  18. 18
    Stone says:

    D’souza has a poor understanding of both arguments, but he did sort of hand dawkins a pretty harsh blow with his response to the “God Delusion”, Not as bad as Mcgrath’s, but bad all the same.

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