Sunday, April 20, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed


I attended an opening night showing of the new Ben Stein documentary with friends and colleagues on Friday. Interspersed with his trademark humor and some hilarious old and new footage, 'Expelled' follows Stein as he goes in search of the truth. Why, he asks, does America celebrate and uphold freedom of thought and expression in every other area except this one - science and its relationship to the big questions - the origins of life, the importance of human life, and that pesky question that just won't go away - from where did the first self-replicating cell come?
According to Richard Dawkins, one of the best known atheists in the world of unbelief, the answer to that last question is unknown. Why, then, do they seem so confident? Why do Darwinists take such great pains to defend what they don't know? And why are they so hostile to other theories? As Stein points out in the film, those who are confident about their beliefs are not going to turn to hostility when they are
challenged. It seems the first to do that would be the unsure and the confused. And yet, here they come, the new atheists, guns blazing as they attack and vilify religion. They have their theories, and we have ours.

It all boils down to the simple argument of design versus chance.

Did all this just happen, or was it planned and designed to happen this way? Are humans a special creation or are they just one of many species? Are our actions a product of genuine free will, or are they simply the result of natural selection? Why is there evil and suffering in the world? Is it somehow connected to us, or are we mere victims? Could it be that we are responsible to something bigger than us, a designer, a creator? And even more than that, could it be that this designer loves us deeply and has a purpose for our existence? Some say it is a bedtime story, a fairy tale. One of the scientists in 'Expelled' scoffs that they shouldn't even insult children with it. What if it were true? What if science could explore and reveal aspects of it? Are we going to let it?

Has life come to us by design or by chance? Do humans have a purpose? Are we special? Is science big enough to let God in?

Join the discussion here at LifeNotes: Design or Chance?

1 comment:

Stephanie Yeazell said...

As a teacher, occasionally I have had a student who keeps blurting out pointless questions to waste time, in the hope that we will not cover the needed ground and I will be unable to assign homework. It is my habit, when such situations arise, to say, "Raise your hand if you want to ask a question," and then, when that student raises his hand, to add, "And I am not taking questions."

I was reminded of this while watching Expelled, when Eugenie Scott stated that there has been no rigorous, peer-reviewed research published. The impression left by her comments was that no such research exists.

The truth is, much research-derived data exists, not only in support of the baseline notion of Intelligent Design but also in support of other unrelated but equally blackballed notions such as a young earth and a global Flood.

The whole point of the film was that conscientious and brilliant scientists credentialed with terminal degrees from prestigious institutions and with many years of research science under their belts are being muzzled because their research results contradict the party line, or because those scientists support academic freedom. The damnable thing about this is that the average Joe Citizen on the street is left thinking that there is no evidence from science to support such hypotheses; therefore only an ignorant man would give them any thought.

In fact there is much evidence, and the reason the average citizen does not know about it is that no one will let it be published in mainline journals. But there are other journals, and they are publishing.

The beauty of this film is that its producers and most of those interviewed are neither Christians nor Creationists, and an agnostic cannot be accused of a religious agenda. That leaves him free to talk about how much good research and data is roundfiled or shoved under the table to keep it quiet.

The film shows me that the roar from under the table is getting too loud to go without notice much longer. The public has been ripped off, and it's thankfully getting harder to hide that fact.