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Roger Ebert: Film Critic, Expert on Evolution, ID Basher, and Overall Supergenius …


… Or is Ebert just another clueless bonehead whose imagined expertise is in exact disproportion to his actual knowledge …

Dr Dembski,

Below is a letter to the editor from today’s Boulder Daily Camera (www.dailycamera.com) regarding a panel discussion at the recent University of Colorado at Boulder’s annual Conference on World Affairs. Roger Ebert has been a regular at the conference for decades, and in recent years has been serving on panels beyond his noted area of expertise (in the style of Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect”, they will toss together a mix of panelists from many backgrounds to make things interesting). Still, reading that Ebert was defending Darwinism with such confidence was a big surprise to me. (Note “Boulder High” refers to the venue for the discussion, Boulder High School’s auditorium, a short walk from the CU campus. “WAC” refers to the World Affairs Conference)



A friend and I attended two of the World Affairs Conference presentations on intelligent design. My friend, a Ph.D. in an area related to information and the genome, asked (rhetorically) how the information arose spontaneously for the estimated minimum requirement of 250 genes needed for first life. The question was taken by Ebert, the film critic, who pronounced it stupid and already addressed with various “scenarios.” A search of the literature will show that this problem does appear intractable by some very big names in origin-of-life studies. To have Ebert as an expert is a joke.

The Boulder High discussion was billed as “Darwin vs. Jesus.” I thought this was overly inflammatory, but if you can throw gas on the culture war, why not?

The whipping boy for this exercise was ID think tank, the Discovery Institute. The tactic was to conjoin this enterprise with the vast right-wing conspiracy, flat-earthers, a young earth literal Genesis and, a dash of W. to really fire up the base. In fact I know three agnostics, a Jew, a Catholic and a Moonie at Discovery. And yes, some evangelicals with Ph.D.s from the University of Chicago, Oxford and Princeton.

It is not my intent to debate the merits of Discovery or ID, but to point to the hypocritical way the WAC used these issues. The panelist who said the Discovery scholars were all fundamentalists admitted (to me) he was wrong and it needed correction. Another asserted that religion was all in our head and corresponded to no external reality — as did all sincerely held beliefs. When asked if this applied to his own “sincerely held beliefs” on the subject, he admitted it did!

The next honest step would have been to remove himself from the discussion as an admission of the lack of truth in his own statements.

The WAC needs some work on true diversity of ideas. How about inviting someone from the Discovery Institute next year?


When the defense of Darwinism consists of nothing more than ad hominem attacks, well, what's to prevent anyone from wading in and lambasting those dastardly IDers? The only credentials necessary for the smear are: (1)name recognition, and (2) a fiery tongue. Seems like film critics nicely fulfill both requirements. PaV
In addition to being an ID basher, Ebert was nominated for one of the world's top 5 unsexiest men: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12371978/?GT1=7938 Salvador scordova
"Ebert is an excellent commentator on film" I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you, he gives movies like American Dreams "thumbs up" on his TV show... http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060420/REVIEWS/60419002/1023 I also remember him giving rave reviews to Farenheight 911 and claiming that much of what was presented in the movie was "irrefutable". For someone as arrogant as he is, I find it ironic that he fell for all the blatant propaganda and editing that was used in that film. And don't get me wrong, I don't mind the fact that he is a Democrat and isn't fond of the current administration, I just find it funny that he thought the "arguments" presented in that specific movie were compelling. eldinus
This isn't the first time Ebert has pontificated on ID. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/index.php/archives/191 crandaddy
Bevets wrote: "Ebert is an excellent commentator on film. He is also very arrogant. Here is an open letter I sent to him on evolutionism a year ago." Per the topic of your letter...Didn't evolutionists almost block the showing of "The Priviledged Planet" at the Smithsonian? russ
Ebert is an excellent commentator on film. He is also very arrogant. Here is an open letter I sent to him on evolutionism a year ago. bevets
Essential genes of a minimal bacterium: "These data suggest that a genome constructed to encode 387 protein-coding and 43 structural RNA genes could sustain a viable synthetic cell, a Mycoplasma laboratorium (22). Rapid advances in gene synthesis technology and efforts at developing genome transplantation methods set the stage for experimental determination of how close this M. genitalium essential gene set based on disruption of individual genes comes to being the minimal set of genes needed to support cellular growth." It should be noted that this is a pathogen. IOW it could not be the first population. But I am sure Ebert the OoL expert's answer would still be the same. But seeing that his other forte is video he needs to take "the challenge", or just shut up. And if someone needs a good dose of ID and the DI is too busy or not interested, I will volunteer my presence: frisbee_kid@yahoo.com or visit my blog: Intelligent Reasoning To quote "The Joker"- "Wait till they get a load of me." (cue maniacal laugh) Joseph
Depending on how influential this forum actually is, I wonder if the Discovery guys should even grace it with their presence. Keith
Perhaps Ebert should take the 3-hour ID challenge. Joseph

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