RE: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)

From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
Date: Thu Apr 17 2008 - 14:26:44 EDT

I think the general attitude from RTB is "let's not make this a war."
Intelligent debate is good, and "expelled" violates that to the max
(deceptive interviewing, false dichotomies, etc.).

...Bernie

________________________________

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Stephen Matheson
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2008 11:21 AM
To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)

 

It's a nice statement, but I don't share the prevailing opinion of its
surpassing excellence.

 

First of all, the RTB apologists, being apologists, emphasize the
apologetic angle -- be nice, so we can more effectively reach scientists
with the gospel. Personally, I find this science-as-a-mission-field
attitude to be off-putting, and I don't like the implication that
scientists are more likely to be skeptics than are others. This is a
difference of opinion, albeit a significant one.

 

More importantly, I find too much of RTB's work to be unacceptably
lacking in intellectual integrity. Hugh Ross has concocted numerous
scientific falsehoods in his embarrassing writings on common descent,
publishing and re-publishing elementary errors in basic evolutionary
biology. At least one of his errors, in which he tells a wholly
fictitious story
<http://sfmatheson.blogspot.com/2008/03/hugh-ross-shocking-fairy-tale.ht
ml> of scientific discovery by a misnamed "team of physicists," has a
strong odor of fabrication and was certainly generated without the most
basic attention to professional integrity. And perhaps others who (like
me) have read Fuz Rana's attacks on evolutionary theory will share my
skepticism regarding RTB's claim that they reject Expelled's allegation
"that the scientific community deems certain questions off-limits,
particularly any question about the legitimacy of neo-Darwinian
evolution." Rana has written precisely this
<http://www.reasons.org/tnrtb/2007/09/27/are-biologists-willing-to-test-
evolution/> , recently.

 

So, yes, kudos to RTB for eschewing the brainless and suicidal call to
culture war. But don't be fooled: Reasons To Believe is an embarrassing
repository of potentially dangerous folk science, and their breaches of
professional scientific integrity should be cause for significant
concern. And don't be too impressed by their claim to respect the
scientific community on common descent. Polite contempt is still
contempt.

 

Steve Matheson

  

>>> "David Heddle" <heddle@gmail.com <mailto:heddle@gmail.com> >
04/17/08 12:58 PM >>>

This is excellent. Is is possible to get permission to post this on a
blog

(with favorable commentary?) If not, is there a link to this available?

 

David Heddle

Associate Professor of Physics

Christopher Newport University, &

The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 2:06 PM, gordon brown <Gordon.Brown@colorado.edu
<mailto:Gordon.Brown@colorado.edu> >

wrote:

 

> Here is a reaction to the EXPELLED film.

>

> Gordon Brown (ASA member)

>

>

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------

>

> Dear RTB Chapter members,

>

>

>

> With the impending release of "EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed"
(April

> 18), the Reasons to Believe scholar team thought it best to prepare a

> statement of our position, a guide for answering questions from
chapters,

> networks, and apologists. Keep in mind that the mission of RTB centers
on

> reaching out to science-minded people with two purposes:

>

> 1. to bring the Gospel message to those who would not otherwise hear
it,

> and

>

>

> 2. to strengthen the faith of those who fear that science conflicts
with

> the

> Christian faith-equipping them for ministry in the process.

>

>

>

> In order to accomplish these purposes, we must first earn the right to
be

> heard.

>

>

>

> After previewing the promotional materials provided by the movie's

> marketers, we were concerned that the movie took an adversarial
approach

> to

> the scientific community. A number of RTB scholars and staff attended
a

> prerelease screening in Los Angeles recently and confirmed that
EXPELLED

> definitely does take such an approach. The movie draws an analogy
between

> the Berlin wall and the scientific community's response to intelligent

> design. By doing so, EXPELLED implicitly argues that the scientific

> community deems certain questions off-limits, particularly any
question

> about the legitimacy of neo-Darwinian evolution. The movie further
argues

> that academia, the media, and the courts all conspire as "thought
police"

> to

> oppress any and all dissent from the party line.

>

>

>

> Clearly some oppression and discrimination have occurred, but the

> experience

> of RTB scholars and many of their contacts refutes the movie's premise

> that

> the scientific community systemically and unilaterally fosters these

> injustices. While individual scientists and institutions have behaved

> unfairly at times, this charge cannot in all fairness be leveled
against

> the

> scientific community as a whole.

>

>

>

> Regardless, from RTB's perspective, the central question is this: when

> injustices do occur, how should we respond? Consider the response of
Nate

> Saint to his son's question, as depicted in the movie, End of the
Spear.

> Nate, Jim Eliot, and three other missionaries were preparing to make

> contact

> with the notoriously violent Waodani tribe in Ecuador. Stevie asks if
they

> will shoot the Waodani if attacked. Nate replies: "We can't shoot the

> Waodani, son. They're not ready for heaven. We are."

>

>

>

> If science-minded skeptics indeed represent a mission field, then we

> should

> not come out shooting. EXPELLED seems to do just that. While an

> entertaining

> movie, its main thrust runs counter to RTB's mission of seeking to
engage

> scientists in the scientific arena. Consequently, any endorsement of

> EXPELLED by RTB hinders our ability to spread the Gospel message to
those

> we

> hope to reach.

>

>

>

> Therefore, we ask all chapter members and volunteers to refrain from

> endorsing EXPELLED in any official way. This request does not extend
to

> your

> personal interactions-only to any actions taken in association with or
on

> behalf of Reasons to Believe.

>

>

>

> Thank you for your support and understanding.

>

>

>

> The RTB Scholar Team

>

>

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Received on Thu Apr 17 14:28:14 2008

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