RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?

From: John Walley <>
Date: Sun Mar 23 2008 - 18:22:44 EDT

I agree it is a valid observation that evolution is pressed by some too far
as well and that is in part the cause of the backlash of Ben Stein and
others like him. However this observation switches the meaning of the term
evolution. I obviously used it in the sense of being prefaced with the
theistic qualifier rendering it to be just a specific mechanism of creation
in which their would be no conflict with the social sciences, but the
evolution you are referring to is of the Dawkinsian flavor embedded with the
implicit atheistic qualifier and therein lies the problem. The two sides are
talking past each other with these faulty battle lines being drawn with no
voices of reason calling out from this middle ground.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gregory Arago []
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 5:40 PM
To: John Walley; 'Dehler, Bernie'; 'ASA'
Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?

With Easter Greetings from an Orthodox Country!
If you want 'to be ready for it' (Expelled) then you should likely invite to
the ASA list a different cast of characters than currently exists. You
should (but likely won't) invite anthropologists (to look at how this
phenomenon of Expelled could take place 'Only in America'), sociologists and
economists (to explore who is watching the film and why they are parting
with their greenbacks to see it), psychologists (to consider the mentality
of people who are attracted to this 'controversy' and why some people are so
fearful of the unknown/unknowable that they literally do 'expel' certain
ideas and the people behind them/pushing them from the public arena and
academia in America) and culturologists/cultural studies theoriests (who can
help put into context the meaning of pop film culture for the contemporary
human psyche). Otherwise, all you're going to get is a bunch of armchair
opinions from natural scientists and theologians who have little training or
sensibility to fairly address the meaning of the topic they are commenting
about. This doesn't mean unprofessional/amateur opinions are nevertheless
fun or interesting to read!

John Walley writes:
ID presses the design argument too far and it appears to break down as you
try to extend it into the biological sciences.
This may very well be accurate. I agree with the thrust of his opposition to
ID. However, the other side of the coin is also fair to highlight, that is,
biological evolution is (all-too-often) pressed too far into human-social
sciences. Evolution theoretically and methodologically breaks down as one
tries to extend it into the human-social sciences!
Now of course, one could simply say 'So What?' - 'Why does it matter if
evolution is over-stretched into human-social linguistic usage?' That's just
'soft' talk! Well, I have been arguing for months and months at ASA that
this is EXACTLY the point that ID (if it could calibrate its message more
accurately, by including human-social thought, instead of making the 'too
far' analogies, e.g. Easter Island and mousetraps) should press, and that it
is pressing through such things as the Expelled movie.
It even belittles Dawkins to take a preview ticket in order to critique it
(on his trip to America where TE/EC's will only critique his theology and
NOT his Science)!! This is something that seems to suggest a great
possibility for raising a dignity to inspirational academia that has not
come about in the United States of America for a long time in science and
religion discourse. Anti-IDists who have little understanding of the
sociological context surrounding this film may knock the 'pure science'
content, but they, especially the TE/EC's, are actually losing the argument
just by the point of fact that this movie is being played in theatres across
that nation. Go figure!
Opposed to the warfare model, challenging the wedge. Promoting a middle way.
Celebrating Easter,
Outside of America,
Thinking of Jerusalem, many years ago,

John Walley <> wrote:

After considerable debate on this topic many months ago, I think the generic
design argument which I will define as the just-so parameters of the
physical universe, is still a powerful apologetic and it deserves a some
recognition and support of thinking Christians. I extracted this concession
out of many on this list under duress including Pim although for him it was
by the hardest.
The problem though and the source of the resistance of science to supporting
ID, is that ID presses the design argument too far and it appears to break
down as you try to extend it into the biological sciences. There are a lot
of just-so coincidences in biology as well but some examples of a lack of,
or broken design that cause thorny problems for the design argument if you
are intellectually honest about it.
I also think it is a mistake to bet the design farm on mechanisms like
irreducible complexity because that may be contested and disproven and the
true design is embedded at a lower level and that is where the design
argument should be framed. And the fatal fundamental flaw of ID is my
opinion is the conclusion that all this unexplained just-so complexity had
to be the product of special creation which is just wrong and
counterproductive. Ken Miller points out in his presentation that ID is
defined by Behe himself as special creation but interestingly Miller himself
accepts the design argument if you factor out the special creation
Guys like Ben Stein [why pluralise?] and other proponents of ID could be
useful to the church if they appreciated this distinction and adapted their
content accordingly. Unfortunately, they [vs. 'We'] appear instead to be
promoting the warfare model as Dick mentioned earlier which really just
drives the wedge between science and the church in even deeper. This is a
real opportunity for those in ASA to try to reach Stein and others in our
post-Dover climate to try to help them see this and why it makes such an
important difference.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2008 3:58 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?

I have a feeling this movie is going to make a lot of commotion-we should be
ready for it!


From: [] On
Behalf Of Dick Fischer
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2008 8:54 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?
I met Ben when he was in Washington hawking his anti-evolution movie.
Frankly, I liked him better in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." His movie
character made better sense too.
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham <>
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Jack
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2008 10:44 PM
Subject: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?
Apparently Dawkins himself went to an invite only preview last night in
Minnesota, without an invitation, but was introduced at the end. This is
a pro ID/anti "darwinism" documentary.
Ben Stein?!


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Received on Sun Mar 23 18:24:29 2008

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