Re: [asa] Expelled Explained

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Sat Apr 12 2008 - 10:56:33 EDT

On Apr 11, 2008, at 11:57 PM, Dennis Venema wrote:
>
> Thanks everyone, for the links. That is a certainly a lot more
> neutral than I thought it would be. I was under the impression that
> the ASA no longer had a significant YEC contingent.
>
> Now Iím a little confused: does the ASA officially accept the YEC
> and ID positions as valid scientific positions that Christians
> merely happen to disagree on?
>
> dennis

Not exactly. We don't bar YEC and ID proponents from membership. It is
at least semi-official -- in that this was made as a statement by our
executive director -- making the claim that there is current
scientific evidence for a young earth is not in keeping with
scientific integrity. You can be a YEC but you have to be one because
the Bible trumps science and/or the Universe has the appearance of age.

What makes Expelled dangerous over and above the heavy-handed
propaganda, deceiving interviewees, and lying about times of and
arbitrary banning from screenings is the misrepresentation of the
state of the science. Science advances through peer review and
repeatability. YEC and ID have fostered and promoted a misperception
of the state of the science. It is one thing to be honest of having an
extreme minority position and that the preponderance of the evidence
goes in the other direction. But, that's not what YEC and ID does.
They make claims that run in the teeth of scientific integrity.
Namely, the claim there is serious debate concerning evolution and the
age of the earth. Avoiding the honest choice of admitting that they
are opposed because there is massive evidence against them they
deflect it with the lie that they are being unfairly persecuted by an
opposition that secretly believes like they do. For example, the
associate producer of Expelled, Mark Mathis, explained they did not
interview Ken Miller because it would be "would have confused the film
unnecessarily".[1] In other words, it doesn't play into the template
of being "persecuted". This corrosive effect bleeds over into other
areas such as evidence-based medicine and anthropogenic climate change.

I am making a presentation at my church tomorrow evening on the
latter. Specifically, I am trying to deal with the very real
perception amongst evangelicals that there is a lack of consensus
concerning anthropogenic climate change. The presentation will attempt
to show -- following the work of Naomi Oreskes whom I highly
recommend -- that the consensus is unbelievable strong, 150 years in
development, and the perception of the lack of consensus is largely
due to propaganda by groups whose agenda is the opposition of
government regulation. It is my opinion that one reason why
evangelical lay people are susceptible to such propaganda is because
YEC and ID have destroyed the concept of what scientific consensus is
and have replaced it with the post-modern concept of not only can
everybody have their own opinion but they can have their own facts, too.

A core mission of the ASA is scientific integrity -- and I would like
to personally add the opposition to the politicization of science.
What this means in the context of YEC and ID is not that you cannot
hold these positions but rather the current scientific consensus not
be misrepresented in the process of arguing for your position. By
having the *rhetoric* which is not in keeping with scientific
integrity YEC and ID has shipwrecked the faith of many -- including
the most recent example I gave of skeptic Michael Schermer. The
spillover effect in climate change may also delay solutions, losing
the opportunity to truly solve the problem, and thus put the physical
lives of many in jeopardy. Scripture commands us to tell the truth in
love. Here we have an example of neither truth nor love.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

[1] http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-conversation-with-mark-
mathis, approx. 18 minutes into part 1.

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Received on Sat Apr 12 10:58:03 2008

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