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Expelled

Entry 733, on 2008-04-04 at 11:28:58 (Rating 5, Religion)

I don't like liars much. I like liars even less when they consistently lie over many years, even when what they have been saying is shown to be untrue many times. And it makes it worse still when the liars like to think of themselves as the sole source of truth in the world. It makes me think of the famous novel 1984 where the Ministry of Truth was in charge of propaganda and lies. Maybe the word "ministry" here is more appropriate than it seems because the other great source of lies (apart from politics) is religion!

Why have I indulged in this vicious invective? Because of a movie which has been made in the US and is currently being previewed to select audiences called "Expelled". When I say select audiences I really mean it because they won't allow people to watch it even if they invited them - if that person is likely to disagree with the lies they have presented in the movie. Noted biologist P. Z. Myers (who featured in the movie itself) had an official invitation but still wasn't allowed to watch the preview. Strangely, Richard Dawkins (who is far more critical of religion than Myers) was allowed in and has written a damning review of the movie.

The movie is anti-evolution and supports intelligent design creationism. Creationism and ID have been totally discredited but that doesn't stop misinformation being presented in a movie like this which is specifically designed to delude the poor suckers who already believe a worthless pile of total nonsense: fundamentalist Christians. There really can't be a more pathetic bunch of misfits on the face of the planet, except I guess fundamentalist believers in other religions who are just as bad.

The movie seems to present a conspiracy theory, and like almost every conspiracy movie it doesn't stand up to any scrutiny. The basic claim is that intelligent design creationism is being suppressed by "big science". This has been a common tactic used to push creationism in the US. The idea that all ideas deserve time in the science class seems reasonable on the surface. But, of course, it isn't. Only science should be taught in science class, and there's little point in teaching something which is untrue even if it is science.

I would like to quote Richard Dawkins from a podcast: "Evolution is a fact, evolution is a fact, I repeat again: evolution is a fact". Now we all know that nothing can ever be proved 100% but there are certain things which are so well supported that calling them a fact is a fair approximation. Evolution belongs in that category. We don't fully understand every mechanism which causes evolution to happen, so the theory of evolution is incomplete, but the phenomenon of evolution is undoubtedly true and if the religious nuts who can't accept this don't like it they should crawl under a rock and keep their mindless nonsense to themselves instead of trying to spread their self-centered propaganda in the schools.

Wow, I'm really enjoying this. Ranting about creationists is very cathartic to me. It gives me a chance to express my disgust at all the pseudoscientific nonsense spread throughout the world. When I'm criticising other forms of paranormal belief, like alternative medicine, I have to be careful because there are some forms of alt med that actually work. But with creationism I can give my contempt full reign because there ideas are just so totally ridiculous.

I do feel a little bit sorry for the more moderate religious people of the world because they do tend to get tarred with the same brush, and that's not really fair. Most Christians accept evolution to varying degrees and most Muslims are disgusted at the actions of the fundamentalist nutters on the fringe. But in the end belief in obvious nonsense, like all major religions espouse, is the platform which the more extreme elements work from.

Part of supporting a lie is refusing to allow contrary views to be expressed. Its ironic that the people showing this movie have kept contrary views out of the advanced screenings because expelling contrary views is exactly what they are claiming science is doing in the classroom. But a group with years, centuries, and millennia spent lying to both themselves and to others tends to be blind to these subtleties. The subtitle of the movie is: "No Intelligence Allowed". I presume they meant this in relation to the classroom but it seems to fit the movie and its supporters far better!

According to the Bible Jesus said "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness". All I can say is: yeah, right!

If you need facts to support the conclusions I have presented above, here's some links to my web site which support the truth of evolution and the lie of ID creationism: skepticism of ID and support for evolution. Commentary on the movie and the "expelled from Expelled incident" is on Richard Dawkins' web site. There is also extensive criticism of the movie at Expelled Exposed.

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Comment 1 (1390) by Anonymous on 2008-04-06 at 21:36:01:

Don't you think its being totally arrogant to say that science is right about evolution. Science has got it wrong so often in the past. How do we know it hasn't got it wrong with evolution as well?

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Comment 2 (1391) by OJB on 2008-04-07 at 13:37:42:

I don't know how many times I have to repeat this to evolution deniers but, here it is again...

Nothing in science is ever 100% certain but we can say we "know" something with when its a reasonable approximation (even if not technically correct) to say that it is certain. There is no realistic alternative to evolution, and evolution is proved through multiple independent lines of evidence. Its so unlikely to be untrue that its fair to say its a fact.

For a brief discussion of the subject see my evolution web page.

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Comment 3 (1484) by Anonymous on 2008-07-15 at 04:40:38:

A little late with this comment, but have you seen the Rational Wiki page on the film? The "Darwin and Hitler" section is particularly amusing.

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Comment 4 (1485) by OJB on 2008-07-15 at 14:25:47:

Nice! Thanks for that reference.

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