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

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sun Mar 23 2008 - 23:52:34 EDT

Thank you John, it seems we are taking steps toward each other. First, Ben Stein is an original, as are we all. You try to package him, label him in this one role, but it is unfair. We all come to the throne of decision on our own, as human persons. Please don't take the red carpet path of thinking that human beings are all alike, as in a Hollowood Film, 'I, Robot.' As a sociologist, I don't like this 'others like him' paintbrush, when it could be equally and as easily applied to you. What you think is 'switching' the meaning of evolution is entirely relevant on its on, on its side of the switch, which you and most at ASA tend to ignore.
  Second, no, I am not referring to a 'Dawkinsian flavour embedded in an atheistic qualifier' for evolution. The problem comes long before R.D., the most well-known British thinker alive today (nod to R. Baskhar, M. Midgley & A. Giddens). The 'two sides' are speaking past each other in your neighbourhood, not in mine. On this topic, things are more sophisticated outside than inside the USA. In my neighbourhood, Dawkins' atheistic evolution is 'put in it's place' by speaking scientitifically, whereas in yours he is put in his place by speaking theologically (letting you claim A. McGrath in the process). There is a BIG difference here, moreso because R.D. is in America right now and also because Pope Benedict XVI is soon 'coming to America.' The universalism of evolutionary worldview is deservedly under threat.
  TE/EC seems to have no vision to stomp out Dawkinsian/Darwnism. IDism makes a start, but it fails in important ways. An alternative to ID is preferable, but it would sting the TE/EC position so deeply that they would have to give up the notion (and others like it) that Jesus 'evolved' onto the Cross! This would be something extremely hard for them to do. They are probably too 'hidden' and interpretively late-moderns to accept it. I was frankly stunned by a late-modern Christian speech here in St. Petersburg yesterday. The nuance of anti-ID TEism is likewise far from satisfactory.

John Walley <> wrote:
  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:
      v\:* { BEHAVIOR: url(#default#VML) } o\:* { BEHAVIOR: url(#default#VML) } w\:* { BEHAVIOR: url(#default#VML) } .shape { BEHAVIOR: url(#default#VML) } st1\:* { BEHAVIOR: url(#default#ieooui) } @font-face { font-family: Tahoma; } @page Section1 {size: 8.5in 11.0in; margin: 1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; } P.MsoNormal { FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; FONT-FAMILY: "Times New Roman" } LI.MsoNormal { FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; FONT-FAMILY: "Times New Roman" } DIV.MsoNormal { FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; FONT-FAMILY: "Times New Roman" } A:link { COLOR: blue; TEXT-DECORATION: underline } SPAN.MsoHyperlink { COLOR: blue; TEXT-DECORATION: underline } A:visited { COLOR: blue; TEXT-DECORATION: underline } SPAN.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { COLOR: blue; TEXT-DECORATION: underline } SPAN.EmailStyle17 { FONT-WEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black; FONT-STYLE: normal; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; TEXT-DECORATION: none;
 mso-style-type: personal } SPAN.EmailStyle18 { COLOR: navy; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; mso-style-type: personal-reply } DIV.Section1 { page: Section1 } 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 conclusion.
  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 23:53:38 2008

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