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Old 04-28-2008, 12:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed

Anyone else go see it?

Not a lot of theaters that are showing it, and it was a little different than what I had expected.

Stein does a fair job of keeping it interesting with a lot of his style of humor (right down to wearing a nice suit with converse sneakers) it is definitely a documentary and not designed for entertainment.

Regardless of which side of the argument a person believes when it comes to the origin of the universe and of life, he makes some very compelling arguments about the dangers to a society if they seek to silence an open scientific debate. In short, it can be disastrous if they give up their rights to free speech, just to silence the other side.

Especially troubling was seeing how even the opportunity to research alternative theories is deliberately and actively being prevented, and the avenues to make public any opposing results closed.

This reminded me of a rather long statement by Steven Hawking when talking about a "complete unified theory" of the universe. I'll try to condense it.

"But there is a fundamental paradox in the search for such a complete unified theory.........(this theory)......assumes we are rational beings who are free to observe the universe as we want and to draw logical deductions from what we see. In such a scheme it is reasonable to suppose that we might progress ever closer toward the laws that govern our universe. Yet ....(this theory)....would presumably determine our actions. And so the theory itself would determine the outcome of our search for it."

Hawking's concern by what he calls a "paradox", is how can we assume that we will make the right conclusions from the evidence, and suggests that it is equally possible that we could make the wrong ones, or no conclusion at all?

My concern is that we try to "second guess" this law, and try to "assist" before we connect all the dots, I think this could be labeled as "societal insanity!"

Stein suggests that we can almost guarantee the wrong conclusion if we forbid and silence the free exchange of ideas before all of the important questions have been answered. His historical examples of people that believed they had the right conclusions, and thus acted in the best interest of their society and people are pretty shocking.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The problem is that you're elevating 'creationism' and 'intelligent design' to the level of a scientific theory, and they just aren't.

That 'movie' presents nothing but specious arguments - like the one where they demand to hear how 'Darwinism explains where life came from'; sorry, but that's not what the evolutionary theory is about.

The actual argument being made by that film would be more clearly demonstrated if Ben Stein were going around demanding that the 'Theory of Santas Claus' be taught in school.

Debate on scientific theories have NOT been stifled in the least; or rather, yes they have, if you want to insist that keeping religious parables out of biology class is stifling the debate.

Next they'll be wanting astrology taught alongside astronomy and numerology taught in algebra class.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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First I'll say that no good can come of this discussion here on MCB. Hurt feelings and bruised relationships are sure to ensue.

In regards to the topic I'll say: History is written by the winners. We'll never truly understand these things because those with power will silence anyone who contradicts their doctrine.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The problem is that you're elevating 'creationism' and 'intelligent design' to the level of a scientific theory, and they just aren't.
I would agree.
I treat religion as religion, and science as science. Both can coexist peacefully. Religion does not explain the universe, any more then science explains morality.

Too often people try to make then battle each other, when they can easily work together. The person who discovered the "big bang" was a priest. The "scientific" view was that the universe had always existed in its present form, and he changed that.

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Next they'll be wanting astrology taught alongside astronomy and numerology taught in algebra class.
This however I will differ.

Some schools DO teach global warming, which is far worse then astronomy, or intelligent design.
Not long ago, schools in America taugh Eugenics as well. Both examples of "science" without any actual "science" to back it up.

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Old 04-28-2008, 11:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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my big issue with teaching "Intelligent Design" in schools is that they only teach the Christian/Catholic view of "Intelligent Design"

My thought is, that if they wish to teach such in schools, they should be presenting it in the same manner as the Theory of Evolution and they should be presenting several 'Competing' versions of "Intelligent Design"

I'm all for learning, but if we want to teach the current and upcoming generations about alternative thoughts on where humanity and the universe started, they should also be approached in the same manner and a great deal of thought should be given over to *all* the opinions on "Intelligent Design".

Really, what this fight will boil down to, is the teaching of a Catholic/Christian belief in public schools; not to mention that other than The Book of Genesis, which is not what i would call a scientific or wholly reliable source (calm down for a second!). The reason i would not call it a reliable source is because of the many translations and the length of time between the original writing and what we are seeing today, not to mention the fact that if the original was written some 2000-6000 years ago (many competing thoughts on that too) then the material is highly fallible due to the nature of the persons who are responsible for the original writing.

Now, as for teaching religion in school - I do not personally believe that there is a place for it outside of a sociology/world culture class. I believe that with so many diverse varieties of Catholisism and Christianity, that it would be difficult enough teaching just that view, not to mention the views of even just the remaining 6-8 other major world religions. Yes, the United States and Canada may be primarily Catholic or Christian (or denominations thereof) but it is not our place to force our views on others who wish to live in our countries, nor is it their place to force their views on us.

If they are going to teach it though, they need to take a different tact and teach it all, or none of it. It is not right to just teach one view on "Intelligent Design" anymore than it is right to leave Shakespeare or Proust out of discussion in literature.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I would agree.
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count me in as the third one.

now i wanna see it.

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If they are going to teach it though, they need to take a different tact and teach it all, or none of it. It is not right to just teach one view on "Intelligent Design" anymore than it is right to leave Shakespeare or Proust out of discussion in literature.
the fact that it is varied enough to have more than 1 view even when you dumb it down enough to teach grade schoolers is an indication that it is not valid enough to be taught in grade school.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Really, what this fight will boil down to, is the teaching of a Catholic/Christian belief in public schools; not to mention that other than The Book of Genesis, which is not what i would call a scientific or wholly reliable source
Though not all private schools use the Bible the same way.

I went to a private Christian school for grade school, and they treated the Bible as alegorical anecdotes designed to teach, and enlighten. Jesus didn't really turn water into wine, but it was a metaphor for turning a sinful life into a meaningful one.

And so on. The bible was written during a time when most could not read or write. So they were taught using stories, since they were easy to remember. Such as "Man can not serve 2 masters", and so on. All very important stories, teaching through metaphor.

Now, clearly, not all christian schools take that approach. I'm not pointing fingers, but some take the bible very literally, and I don't see how that benefits the student. You sometimes have to question the motivation. Are they trying to educate, or simply trap them within a particular system?

Not sure. My kids both go to a Catholic school. very strict, as far as manners. But they don't mix science and religion. Like I said above, science is science. Religion is religion.

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Old 04-28-2008, 11:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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And i would agree with you Nick,

The bible, taken as stories and anecdotes, is a useful tool for teaching right and wrong and other such lessons; The thing is, in my experience, those who are pushing for Intelligent Design to be taught are usually those who take it very literally.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I feel like the whole thing is taken too literally by some, not literally enough by others, and just wrong by yet more.

What needs to be realized is this: no one knows the right answer, scientifically speaking. On that we can agree, as there is no way to test via experimentation.

So evolution is still a theory, abiogenesis is still a theory, creationism is still a theory, intelligent design is still a theory. Many people associate some with religion and others with atheism, but both parties are on both sides. One of the most compelling arguments I have read in a long time was from a rather brilliant, extremely well credited, respected Canadian astronomy and astrophysics professor. He set out to disprove religion, and any associated scientific theories, and was entirely unable to do so. Instead, he actually has accepted the theories he set out to disprove.

Evolution can coexist peacefully with intelligent design and creationism, as long as people don't get too extreme. Abiogenesis is a bit more shaky, as it defies pretty much every law of nature and has never been observed, even on an extraordinarily small scale. But the short of it is this:

Until something is proven wrong, it should be presented in a classroom as an alternate theory, especially if it is widely accepted, and not damaging in any way. Teaching that Aryans are the master race is one thing... teaching that God had a role is another entirely, especially because a) it is presented as a theory, and the kids are gonna make up their own mind about God anyways, and b) nobody gets hurt by it. Oh, and c) there's plenty of other, (sometimes) conflicting theories presented.

If the discussion was related to the shape of the earth, and we didn't have satellites to take pictures or mathematicians to measure the sun's angle at different locations, we would have about as much data as we have on the conception of the earth. And we all know what the commonly held belief was, and just how correct it was. As far as atomic structures, our ideas changed rapidly once we saw things through advanced optics. If nothing else, we should know by now to be open-minded, and encourage kids to do the same.

Nothing's going to cripple education more than a closed mind, and shoving a single idea down someone's throat. I don't believe abiogenesis is a valid theory, but I hope my kids learn it, when I eventually have kids to teach. They have the right to know what researchers think, and why, so they can make their own decisions.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So evolution is still a theory, abiogenesis is still a theory, creationism is still a theory, intelligent design is still a theory.
This is a problem I see so many non-scientifically-educated people seem to have.

They always confuse the use of the word "theory" in the fields of sciences with its use in common life.

A SCIENTIFIC THEORY is an idea that is very strong due to substancial amounts of evidence supporting it. A common life theory is just a hypothetical idea, which in the world of science is called "hypothesis."

Evolution is called a theory because it already has massive amounts of clues supporting it. Not the case with intelligent design. To bunch the two together and call them both theories may sound fine for the common person but when talking about science it is a mistake.

People need to shake off the connotation of the word "theory" when they want to talk about science. A scientific theory is not the same, and much stronger a statement, than those everyday idle pondering theories.

but you bring up a good point: only a handful of us has seen the earth as a ball with our own two eyes. The rest of us like you and me only see it in photos, so who are we to say earth is round? :P
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