Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

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Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby ATCG » Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:45 am UTC

Yesterday I saw for the first time a trailer for what might just become the most discussed movie - in these fora at least - of 2008.

I have to admit that, based on the banner ad that took me to the trailer, I was expecting another Ferris Bueller's Day Off. What I wound up seeing was anything but. This led me to Google around a bit, taking me to a rather candid review. Neither side is taking prisoners in this war.

My intention is not to launch yet another intelligent design vs. evolution thread. There are more than enough of those already. What interests me is how effective each side of the debate (if it can be called that) is in its advocacy. In the spirit of full disclosure, I identify myself as a neo-Darwinist. But I have to express grudging admiration for the media savvy of the ID crowd. They have seized eagerly onto what Michael Moore has taught about advancing a point of view. Meanwhile, the evolutionist camp lags woefully in the battle for hearts and minds.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:00 am UTC

Why do these articles always do this?
The article wrote:Incompatible worldviews are at stake.

No, they aren't. I made the gradual slide from full-blown creationism to non-ID evolutionism. My worldview hasn't changed, just my stance on an ultimately insignificant aspect of my religion.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Minerva » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:55 am UTC

Goal: To expose and renounce the suppression in academia.

Big Science has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom.

Which is of course the precise point we make in “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed.” It’s called freedom of speech.

And this year, we are proud to report that in every subject but Science, students and faculty are free to challenge ideas, and seek truth wherever it may lead.


Stein claims that the film presents evidence that scientists do not have the freedom to work within the framework of believing there is a God.

They allege evidence of widespread persecution of educators and scientists who promote intelligent design, and of a "conspiracy" to keep God out of the nation’s laboratories and classrooms.

According to Wikipedia, the film blames the theory of evolution for a range of things the film portrays as societal ills, from Communism to Planned Parenthood, and implies that Darwin's theory of evolution was responsible for the Holocaust. :lol:

The Discovery Institute makes the claim that Expelled "reveals the stark truth: Darwinists have been conspiring to keep design out of classrooms, out of journals, and out of public discourse."

The film alleges "that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly-funded high schools, universities and research institutions."


The freedom to challenge ideas and "seek truth wherever it may lead" is certainly not rejected in science, and it is indeed an important part of the scientific method.

Nobody is being "persecuted for their belief that there is evidence of “design” in nature".

Scientists do have the freedom to work within the framework of personally believing there is a God - there are plenty of scientists and academics out there, good ones, that do.

This is not at all about suppressing freedom of religion or freedom of speech at all. Remember that the United States is a secular nation.

There is a "conspiracy" to keep God out of the teaching in the nation's science laboratories and classrooms, because it is not science. That's all this is about, and it really is that simple.

It claims that “Big Science" allows no dissent from the scientific theory of evolution.


There is no alternative scientific theory, hypothesis or model that explains the mechanism of speciation, the change in allele frequency over time, and so forth, that has any real body of evidence for it, that can be a competing scientific theory to that of Darwinian evolutionary biology.

There is no alternative scientific explanation.

There's no persecution of religious people, or anything like that, going on here - this is just about some things being science, and some things not being science, and the things that are science being taught as science, and not the things that aren't.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Enneract » Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:26 pm UTC

Another thing to note is that most of the scientists 'interviewed' for this movie were done so under false pretenses, and then mercilessly quote-mined (ie, removing entire sections of sentences, or otherwise removing statements from any resemblance of context) to produce the 'damning' evidence provided by this lie... I mean, 'documentary'.


For those of you who are not familiar with it PZ Myers (one of said interviewed scientists) has been following this, and the reality of this movie is interesting to see, once you get past the lies and double talk put out by the publisher\stein.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Maurog » Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:59 pm UTC

Hmm, if someone have been quote-mined and put in the movie, don't they have legal grounds to sue the movie-makers? I'm pretty sure it violates some right of other. The right not to look like a fool by having your quotes twisted?
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Indon » Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:20 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:and implies that Darwin's theory of evolution was responsible for the Holocaust. :lol:


The movie's pulled a Godwin before it even got released.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby chaosspawn » Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:31 pm UTC

I'm sorry I stopped reading the article at the mention of Nazis, Godwin's Law FTL.

As for the propaganda issue, I think the reason evolution does have just about an equal amount of support propaganda. However, it is much less sensationalist because arguing for evolution is a largely defensive process. Most anything I've heard of pro-evolution seems to be in reaction to criticism about it. Whereas pro-creationism pieces are all about attacking evolution in whatever manner they can (truth and logic be damned). I see the difference arising because evolution is actual science and creationism (or ID or whatever) is not. It's just about impossible to attack intelligent design or any sort of creationism in the same manner because they don't really make any predictive arguments unlike a scientific theory which is testable. Only young earth creationists really have anything to defend, and they're a rather small subset of the overall movement.

Also I really dislike that one of the arguments against evolution is that it is anti-religious. That's just a horrendously false dichotomy and implied ad-hominim attack. There's no reason religion can't incorporate evolution into the rest of it's beliefs, it's not like they're still preaching that the sun orbits the earth.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Enneract » Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:20 pm UTC

anti-religious not a bad thing, ever.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Aluminus » Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

The author of the article admits that a "diplomatic" option would be better than the actual truth.
This seeks to keep everyone happy by agreeing that evolution happened on schedule but allowing also that God arranged things that way. It's the position taken by Ken Miller of Brown University, Francis Collins of the Human Genome Institute, and by many religious figures. It puts diplomacy before truth and adopts the Rodney King mantra: "Can't we all just get along?"
[The Author] was surprised that the film would take the war to the enemy.
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I think a major problem here is that the people who want to believe in intelligent design will come up with astounding ways to rationalize it and then claim it as truth. But when scientists are faced with that challenge, they are not in a position to do much. If they tell them about the science, it is flawed. If they try to keep I.D. out of the classroom, then it becomes a personal attack. There's no winning. Nobody wants to watch a documentary about mutation generation and propagation of a population in isolation.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby diotimajsh » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:19 pm UTC

Did anyone else watch the trailer and seriously crack up when Stein said, "publishing Dr. Meyer's paper would not have been an issue if we were living in the time of Galileo or Einstein," (emphasis mine) and then went on about how in the contemporary era of Darwin, "those who challenge the status quo seldom go unpunished"?

That's such a perfect example. Yes, lets complain about the persecution that modern day anti-evolutionists face while comparing it to the halcyon days of academic freedom enjoyed by Galileo--Galileo, who is one of the paradigmatic examples of scientific knowledge being impeded by the church. Wonderful.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Dobblesworth » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:37 pm UTC

I also watched the trailer. I seriously roffled when they gave another Godwin's Law example
Paraphrased from trailer wrote:After all we believe in a free society - this isn't Nazi Germany.


And then the 2nd Godwin's Law bit in the trailer where it comes to "Evolution is dangerous, it caused the Holocaust", also laughable for the logic leaps of faith required and wide-ranging assumptions required to believe such a statement.

Also interesting about the section mentioned by diotimajsh, regarding the eras of Galileo, Einstein and Darwin, he kinda screws up. Galileo and Einstein are lauded as times of free speech and that challenges to the status quo are all fine-and-dandy. He then says "we live in the time of Darwin", when it is considered heresy to preach against evolution under the guise of a scientist. Surely if he sees the 'time of Einstein' as a good era of science, then that applies to now, seeing as, surprisingly, Darwin came before Einstein?

This guy objects to the school system conspiring to keep intelligent design out of the classroom. Well, that's because evolution and the Big Bang are widely accepted scientific theories. Lisa Simpson summarises the science v religion debate perfectly in the episode parodying events in the Kansas (I think these are the guys who had I.D. as the curriculum) school system of late:
Lisa (paraphrased) wrote:Mr. Flanders, I respect your beliefs and I didn't intend to hurt you or disprove them. I just don't think Creationism should be taught in my school, just like you wouldn't want be preaching Evolution at your Church.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Jessica » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:57 pm UTC

This makes me sad, as I didn't know that Ben Stein held these beliefs. I always am saddened when public figures show crazy sides.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby tiny » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:46 am UTC

This whole thing makes me indescribably angry. Why can't these people just shut it?
Their arrogance and righteousness... I can't help but feel like their hiding something behind that shield. And it's not just stupidity or a closed mind.

Still I see the possibility of an RL flame war of epic and highly entertaining proportions.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Aluminus » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:59 am UTC

A Certain Website By Ben Stein wrote:"It's (EXPELLED) going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant –– which means they're going to draw in about 90% of the American market."
-Atheist blogger and fabulist PZ Myers, on a film he has not yet seen.
I think PZ is onto something.

Also: :x http://www.expelledthemovie.com/bigscie ... pelled.php
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Freakish » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:14 am UTC

This things really piss me off... Einstein wasn't even a theist!
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby iop » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:18 am UTC

Maurog wrote:Hmm, if someone have been quote-mined and put in the movie, don't they have legal grounds to sue the movie-makers? I'm pretty sure it violates some right of other. The right not to look like a fool by having your quotes twisted?

Ask the people who appeared in Borat.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Namaps » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:56 am UTC

In the movie there are somber moments, as when Stein visits World War II death camps and traces the Nazi philosophy back to the godless Darwinian world in which fitness must prevail and everything is permitted.


I was really motivated to stop reading at that point.


Expelled makes use of Cold War imagery, and the producers might have extended that metaphor by saying that we are now in the Samizdat period (before the fall of the Berlin Wall). That was a time when the most interesting Soviet authors used pen names to avoid being "expelled" -- to the Gulag.


Because, you know, being academically shunned and being tortured and executed are so very similar.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby 22/7 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:58 am UTC

Namaps wrote:Because, you know, being academically shunned and being tortured and executed are so very similar.

Well no, but shades of the same gray.
Freakish wrote:This things really piss me off... Einstein wasn't even a theist!
No, he wasn't, but he also was not an atheist.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Minerva » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:22 am UTC

Well, Einstein was a Spinozist (sp? - Spinoza-ist, maybe?) - which is effectively the same thing as being a kind of atheist, at least it was viewed that way by theists in Spinoza's era.

Just because Einstein used the word "God" a bit doesn't at all make him a theist in anything like the usual sense - but that's what the theists try to imply when they evoke mention of Einstein.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby 22/7 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:43 am UTC

Einstein was a self-proclaimed agnostic.
Albert Einstein wrote:My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.
I do not know how that fits in with Spinozism, as I'm not particularly familiar with the tenants. Wikipedia was not particularly helpful, either. Please, enlighten.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Malice » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:51 am UTC

It fits in perfectly, except for the word "agnostic". Spinoza's philosophy was basically that the concepts attributed to God and Nature were the same thing, and that God had no personality, and was merely one term for the rules (the law of gravity, for example) which guide our existence. Essentially he said, "The universe is God," not in order to expand the role of the universe (as some people who make that statement do), but to do the opposite, denigrating any role of God.

It's a way of saying "There is no God" without necessarily offending the sort of people who would be offended by hearing "There is no God."

You can think of it as an extreme variant on Deism: God not as the watchmaker, setting things in motion, but as the watch itself.

See this, as well, for further explanation.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby tiny » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:23 pm UTC

Spinoza was the guy who researched the Thora and suggested Ezra as the man who collected all the different parts of it together, adding the 5th book of Moses. Thus Spinoza stated the thesis that the Thora wasn't of devine origin (or at least not in the way this term is mostly understood).
(Been some time since I read about it, so I can't remember all the details.)


EDIT for a P.S.: I respect the Thora as a work of art and a work of history, depicting the struggles of a people - not in the form of a chronicle of facts, but as a chronicle of basic human needs according to which historical facts were manufactured into myths. It's fascinating and awe inspiring.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:51 pm UTC

Honestly, what would you expect from a former Nixon speechwriter and current Nixon apologist? He called it "insight" when Billy Graham's daughter suggested that the devastation of Katrina was God removing his bubble of protection from us after we forced Him out of our schools.

He isn't really a hell of a lot better than Tom Cruise. And worse, people actually respect him.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby diotimajsh » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:38 pm UTC

Malice wrote:You can think of it as an extreme variant on Deism: God not as the watchmaker, setting things in motion, but as the watch itself.

Also known as pantheism.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Robin S » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:52 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:I made the gradual slide from full-blown creationism to non-ID evolutionism. My worldview hasn't changed, just my stance on an ultimately insignificant aspect of my religion.
Did you ever believe that God was the only possible explanation for things such as biodiversity, and use intuitionist, illogical arguments against anyone who contradicted you?

Enneract wrote:anti-religious not a bad thing, ever.
Some of the people arguing in this thread might beg to differ.

tiny wrote:This whole thing makes me indescribably angry. Why can't these people just shut it?
Freedom of expression has its downsides.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby tiny » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:50 pm UTC

Robin S wrote:
tiny wrote:This whole thing makes me indescribably angry. Why can't these people just shut it?
Freedom of expression has its downsides.
I see a difference between expressing an opinion and rubbing it in with the rhetoric means of an RL troll.

EDIT: Meaning I feel like they are not making use of but exploiting this right.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Kizyr » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:13 pm UTC

Crud, I used to kind of like Ben Stein, despite him being Republican.

Oh well. I suppose that given his background, I shouldn't be all that surprised.

Maybe I'm a bit more sensitive to this entire issue. My high school didn't teach evolution in biology (except AP bio, which I didn't take). So, I think up 'til I was 15-16, I didn't "believe" in evolution because I was under the mistaken belief that it contradicted my religious beliefs. Then, I learned what evolution was, and reassessed how I was approaching my own beliefs, and found there wasn't any contradiction. (On the contrary; now I'm of the belief that we have a religious duty to seek out knowledge--but, that's another point altogether.)

So on account of that, I get really pissed off at folks trying to push an agenda that's specifically aimed at shoving teaching theory of evolution out of classrooms. And, I'm just as pissed off when folks come at evolution with a completely misguided idea of what the theory is. It reminds me of my own mistakes back when I was in high school.

...except these folks are supposed to be college educated.

Although, the other thing that irritates me is the (already-mentioned) assumption of there being a dichotomy between belief in God and evolution. Admittedly, I have seen some pro-evolutionists (...there has to be a better term than that, sorry) push an all-or-nothing view of evolution--that is, you either accept evolution and renounce belief in God, or you have to reject evolution and are therefore an idiot. It strikes me as being a very reactionary point-of-view.

But, it's a pretty small handful of folks who do this... and it looks like this film is capitalizing on the existence of said handful to push their view. KF
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Enneract » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:27 am UTC

Robin S wrote:
Enneract wrote:anti-religious not a bad thing, ever.
Some of the people arguing in this thread might beg to differ.


Well, they are wrong :)

And that is all I was say about that on this thread, so as not to derail.

Back on subject, however, this kind of dogmatic nonsense is very easy to put forth - it takes 0 scientific knowledge to attempt to poke holes in evolutionary theory, whereas it takes a large and extremely diverse knowledge base to refute said attempts - or even to understand someone who is refuting those attempts (after all, its not like everyone carries around a hardcopy of the Index to Creationist Claims with them)

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Robin S » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:36 am UTC

If you think we're wrong, I suggest you participate in that thread. It might change your viewpoint (unlikely), or at least challenge it.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby bbctol » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:54 am UTC

Yeah. Because if we believe that the strongest always survive, this means that we believe the strongest have a duty to kill off everyone else. Deutschland ueber alles!

I love this movie's logic. "Darwinists say the strong kill the weak! You know who was strong and killed the weak? THE NAZIS!!!"

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Malice » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:46 am UTC

Enneract wrote:Back on subject, however, this kind of dogmatic nonsense is very easy to put forth - it takes 0 scientific knowledge to attempt to poke holes in evolutionary theory, whereas it takes a large and extremely diverse knowledge base to refute said attempts - or even to understand someone who is refuting those attempts (after all, its not like everyone carries around a hardcopy of the Index to Creationist Claims with them)


Not everyone carries around a hard-copy of "The Origin of Species", either. Honestly, it takes very little knowledge to say "Evolution's unlikely!" but it takes plenty of knowledge to look at specific examples and read the research and say "Well, you can't say for certain that amino acids would have formed" and things like that.

I'm not saying that's what this documentary did, and I'm not saying Creationists are correct. But I do think that it does your own argument, and the culture in general, at risk to dismiss somebody else's criticism as "dogmatic nonsense" put together by idiots.

A true follower of science should welcome others' critical evaluation of current theory.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Enneract » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:57 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Enneract wrote:Back on subject, however, this kind of dogmatic nonsense is very easy to put forth - it takes 0 scientific knowledge to attempt to poke holes in evolutionary theory, whereas it takes a large and extremely diverse knowledge base to refute said attempts - or even to understand someone who is refuting those attempts (after all, its not like everyone carries around a hardcopy of the Index to Creationist Claims with them)


Not everyone carries around a hard-copy of "The Origin of Species", either. Honestly, it takes very little knowledge to say "Evolution's unlikely!" but it takes plenty of knowledge to look at specific examples and read the research and say "Well, you can't say for certain that amino acids would have formed" and things like that.

I'm not saying that's what this documentary did, and I'm not saying Creationists are correct. But I do think that it does your own argument, and the culture in general, at risk to dismiss somebody else's criticism as "dogmatic nonsense" put together by idiots.

A true follower of science should welcome others' critical evaluation of current theory.



In principle, yes - however, religious based arguments are, at the core, nothing more than dogmatic nonsense, in terms of science.

Evolutionary theory is pretty bloody obvious, as a framework for the development of knowledge - even if 99% of the specific information that we have deduced turns out to be incorrect, the overall concept of speciation change over time due to survival of the fittest is going to be an accurate basis upon which every other biological concept can be built. Simply throwing everything away for the sake of 'goddidit', over any small point which creationists attempt to niggle at is silly... even if that one point is wrong, it does not 'endanger' the theory as a whole.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby iop » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:38 pm UTC

bbctol wrote:I love this movie's logic. "Darwinists say the strong kill the weak! You know who was strong and killed the weak? THE NAZIS!!!"

Be careful what you make fun of.
Charles Darwin wrote:Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

Despite this quote, Darwin himself cautioned against Social Darwinism, but the whole purity of race and weeding out the weak the Nazis propagated (they weren't the only ones, btw.) did come out of Darwinism. Never mind that his fears are most likely unfounded, because he didn't figure out all of evolution.

Of course, what may be hard to understand for Bible literalists is that being an evolutionist doesn't mean that Darwin's writings are held to be the unalterable Word of Darwin.

Malice wrote:A true follower of science should welcome others' critical evaluation of current theory.

Depends on the quality of the "critical evaluation", in science and elsewhere. If someone claims you're doing a poor job without actually understanding what you're doing, I doubt you'd be giving the critique much weight. If someone expertly claims you're doing a poor job, but just points out some known weaknesses of your implementation about which you can't actually do much, then I doubt you'd be giving the critique much thought. It is only if there is a well-founded critique of things that you can actually do better (even better if the one evaluating is offering suggestions about how to do better) that the critique is actually relevant and useful.
Saying "an unknown designer did it" is not science, however much you sugercoat it. Thus, it is a kind of critical evaluation that is never going to be much welcomed, because listening to it is a waste of time.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Nath » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:36 pm UTC

iop wrote:
bbctol wrote:I love this movie's logic. "Darwinists say the strong kill the weak! You know who was strong and killed the weak? THE NAZIS!!!"

Be careful what you make fun of.

How does this whole line of argument have anything to do with whether life evolved or was magicked into existence? The fact that a hypothesis had bad side effects has no impact on whether it's true or not.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:48 pm UTC

Exactly. That's like saying that Newton's Laws of motion are wrong because they lead to ICBMs.

Ok so not exactly like that but you get the point
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby iop » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:58 pm UTC

Nath wrote:
iop wrote:
bbctol wrote:I love this movie's logic. "Darwinists say the strong kill the weak! You know who was strong and killed the weak? THE NAZIS!!!"

Be careful what you make fun of.

How does this whole line of argument have anything to do with whether life evolved or was magicked into existence? The fact that a hypothesis had bad side effects has no impact on whether it's true or not.

I assumed that bbctol was claiming that the connection between Darwinism and Eugenics was ludicrous, which it isn't.

I never said (and I don't believe) that this line of argument has any bearing on whether Evolution happens or not.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby 22/7 » Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:23 pm UTC

Enneract wrote:In principle, yes - however, religious based arguments are, at the core, nothing more than dogmatic nonsense, in terms of science.
Ok, then. Use science to prove that 100% of all "religious based arguments" are "nothing more than dogmatic nonsense". Completely disregarding a stance because it disagrees with your stance is, at it's very core, unscientific. So is this
Enneract wrote:Evolutionary theory is pretty bloody obvious, as a framework for the development of knowledge - even if 99% of the specific information that we have deduced turns out to be incorrect, the overall concept of speciation change over time due to survival of the fittest is going to be an accurate basis upon which every other biological concept can be built. Simply throwing everything away for the sake of 'goddidit', over any small point which creationists attempt to niggle at is silly... even if that one point is wrong, it does not 'endanger' the theory as a whole.
If the point is wrong, the point is wrong. It doesn't matter who first declares that the point is wrong.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Malice » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:51 pm UTC

iop wrote:
Malice wrote:A true follower of science should welcome others' critical evaluation of current theory.

Depends on the quality of the "critical evaluation", in science and elsewhere. If someone claims you're doing a poor job without actually understanding what you're doing, I doubt you'd be giving the critique much weight. If someone expertly claims you're doing a poor job, but just points out some known weaknesses of your implementation about which you can't actually do much, then I doubt you'd be giving the critique much thought. It is only if there is a well-founded critique of things that you can actually do better (even better if the one evaluating is offering suggestions about how to do better) that the critique is actually relevant and useful.
Saying "an unknown designer did it" is not science, however much you sugercoat it. Thus, it is a kind of critical evaluation that is never going to be much welcomed, because listening to it is a waste of time.


Sure. I'm just saying I've seen plenty of critiques of evolution out there that at least look scientific and are on a higher level than some jerk on the internet saying "God did it!". I'm just trying to suggest that lumping in the "Hi, I'm a scientist and I think I see some inaccuracies in your geological dating methods" people in with the "God did it 'cuz the Bible says so!" people is kinda stupid and mean and bigoted and all that.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby iop » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:05 pm UTC

Malice wrote:I'm just saying I've seen plenty of critiques of evolution out there that at least look scientific and are on a higher level than some jerk on the internet saying "God did it!". I'm just trying to suggest that lumping in the "Hi, I'm a scientist and I think I see some inaccuracies in your geological dating methods" people in with the "God did it 'cuz the Bible says so!" people is kinda stupid and mean and bigoted and all that.


Agreed. Of course, this kind of scientific critique may fall into the second category of "thanks, you have pointed out a weakness of the dating method which I know already. That's why I'm doing all the controls, by the way."

Also, who is "you"? It's a bit easy to go around saying "Hi, I have carefully researched geological dating methods. You, who believes in evolution because you heard so in high school are completely wrong in stating carbon dating works fine, and thus your support of evolution is not much more than belief in what some scientists say."

Most people supporting evolution don't actually know a lot about it (most people who do not support evolution don't know a lot about the details of creationism or ID, either). Thus, all they can do is quote talkorigins, and when they run out of internet, they are rather lost. [edit] Actually, these are the people who, on both sides, will argue very dogmatically. They believe what some higher authority told them, and since they don't actually know th stuff in any depth, they cling to their beliefs with a lot of fervor (at least those who don't want to admit that they just don't know).[/edit]

/aside: Nature just had an editorial that the US is not actually getting less scientific, and one argument goes along the lines that supporters of ID try to make their arguments as scientific-looking as possible in order to be more believable.
Last edited by iop on Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:20 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Nath » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:10 pm UTC

iop wrote:I assumed that bbctol was claiming that the connection between Darwinism and Eugenics was ludicrous, which it isn't.

I never said (and I don't believe) that this line of argument has any bearing on whether Evolution happens or not.

I didn't mean you, specifically. It's just that people seem to bring that up as an argument against evolution, and that doesn't make sense. It's rather like people who are religious because they find the idea of a godless universe depressing.


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