Re: [asa] Expelled

From: j burg <>
Date: Thu Apr 24 2008 - 16:14:36 EDT

Thanks for the good review, Randy. It is appreciated.


On 4/24/08, Randy Isaac <> wrote:
> Having read too many second-hand reports, I was glad to be able to see the
> movie Expelled first hand yesterday. The cell animation sequence in the
> middle was great and worth the price of admission by itself, though it was a
> bargain matinee. It was also good to see a lot of friends and familiar faces
> featured in the film.
> I had just finished reading John Hedley Brooke's "Science and Religion: Some
> Historical Observations." As one of the premier historians of science and
> religion, he stresses "complexity." He amply demonstrates that no simple
> description of the relationship between science and religion is adequate. In
> contrast, it seemed that Ben Stein stressed simplicity and actively avoided
> complexity in the movie. Good and evil were cast in black and white. Lining
> up on one side were evolution and eugenics, Darwin and Dawkins, Hitler,
> Provine, mainstream scientists, suppression of ideas. On the other were
> Intelligent Design, Dembski and Berlinski, Discovery Institute, academic
> freedom, basic American freedoms. The Berlin wall symbolized the crisp
> distinction between the two. Yet this veneer of superficial "truth" masked a
> wealth of complexity that was ignored presumably to avoid confusing the
> audience. Unfortunately, the result was a blurred message that depended on
> the background knowledge of the viewer.
> Notwithstanding a verbal disclaimer, the juxtaposition of the atrocities of
> eugenics and the evil of Hitler with evolution conveyed an inherent and
> necessary connection. Stein missed an opportunity to assail the derivation
> of a prescriptive behavioral mandate from a descriptive theory of nature. By
> pointing the finger at the description itself, the fallacious moral
> extrapolation was implicitly validated.
> The movie makes no attempt to help us tease fact from fiction in either
> evolution or Intelligent Design, offering no definition or explanation. It
> does raise critically important issues for our times such as academic
> freedom and the conflation of religious and scientific ideas but with little
> guidance for resolving them. If it stimulates substantive discussion on
> these and related issues, the movie will have been worthwhile.
> Randy

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Received on Thu Apr 24 16:15:38 2008

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