I Finally Watched ‘Expelled’

Last night I finally watched ‘Expelled’ (just came to video apparently). I liked the movie – some things spoke to me:

  • The amount of people that have problems with Neo-Darwinism was interesting – some of their viewpoints were interesting to hear
  • I was a little saddened by the scientific community and the fact some people lost careers due to even ‘playing’ with Intelligent Design
  • Some of the early connections from the 1920’s and Darwinism were a little ‘scary’ – and then to hear about the close mindedness on the subject (and alienation of people not holding their views) – kind of saddened me and left me with ‘something to chew on’
  • I like the idea that there is design within the cells and structures of human life – it may help to deal with some problems in some scientific fields (3 examples were given)
  • I can’t stand the fact science feels it can impinge on faith – as if science and faith are in opposite corners. I think it is both sad and tragic when Darwinism is the moral ground by which one has to defend from – specially when we get into ‘survival of the fittest’ and this consequence on humanity

All in all, I enjoyed what the movie had to say and the questions it raised. I think the fact the science community has to link ID just to religion is a weak viewpoint to debate from – it was not true according to the film (although religious communities do like the idea) – ID is based in the idea of design within science.

Now I am no scientist – but I sure ain’t no Darwinist (morally speaking here). I think Darwin’s ideas, as much as they have helped science evolve, if played out to their extremes lead to moral ambiguity. Life starts to a back-seat to progress – and morality takes a seat to moral concensus (anyway the wind blows that year). Germany was a stark example of this extreme – morality becoming subject to scientific ideal (namely Darwinism). I was quite saddened by that extreme (the other example they used was planned parenthood and its connection to eugenics).

Faith has inherent to its system – and close to its heart – the idea of morality and people. Are we so sure we want to trash something that seems to help people?

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37 thoughts on “I Finally Watched ‘Expelled’

  1. Thanks for reminding me that I need to add this to my Netflix queue. When Religulous comes out on DVD, I’ll have to add it too. I’m commented on both these films without having seen them, so need to step up and actually watch ’em and make final comments on both.

  2. bobxxx seems like he’d be a good friend to keep around.

    i’ll have to watch this and then comment… i think this, and Religulous as DB stated. thanks for the heads up and take’n the time to review.

  3. I haven’t seen expelled, but you have certainly peaked my interest. I will check it out. I agree with you on the social Darwinism. It is bad medicine, and I think that WW2 basically showed us that the myth of progress born out of Enlightenment style modernism is in fact a myth. Thanks for reminding me. NT Wright has a lot to say about the myth of progress.

  4. ** I think the fact the science community has to link ID just to religion is a weak viewpoint to debate from – it was not true according to the film (although religious communities do like the idea)**

    Society, I’m not sure what you mean by this statement. Are you saying that the only reason why ID has religious assocations is because scientists connect the two? Because there are reasons why ID is linked to religion. See the link below on a summary of the Wedge Document from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_Document.

    I’ve also read parts from the Dover trial, and here’s some of the quotes it had from ID leaders:

    From William Dembski in his “Signs of Intelligence: A primer on the Discernment of INtelligent Design: “The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, Intelligent Design is just the Logos theology of John’s gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

    The goal stated in the Wedge document is: “To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies; To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God”

    Or Phillip Johnson: “My colleagues and I speak of theistic realism, or sometimes mere creation, as the defining concept of our movement. This means that we affirm that God is objectively real as creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology.” — http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Phillip_Johnson. Also from the book I read on the Dover trial, called “Monkey Girl,” by Edward Humes.

    Also, while bobxxxx’s words were harsh, s/he is linking to a transcript from the Dover trial, which you might find interesting.

  5. “No shit asshole. You don’t even know what science is” (Bobx)

    And you do – with a link to the Dover trial? Thank God courts of law can decide good science from bad science. I may not have a full understanding of science – but I do know its limits…and law deciding its validity is one of them.

    “Because there are reasons why ID is linked to religion. See the link below on a summary of the Wedge Document from Wikipedia:” (OSS)

    I forgot about this document – good catch. I guess they are linked no matter how much the denial from ID is made (unless they have formally denied the use of that document).

    I would also point out though – is there no validity in what the people from ID are saying? Wedge document or not – is some of the perspectives they are devleloping going to aide science or hurt it?

    “I’ve also read parts from the Dover trial” (OSS)

    I watched a documentary on this trial – and the evidences presented in that case – including the Wedge document. I thought science was portrayed very well in that trial – however – I felt ID was not. I agree with the verdict in that trial concerning the text books and the non-use of ID in the classroom – namely because ID is very limited in scope. I will also point out it is a trial concerning the use of text books in a classroom – not concerning the validity of the science (like a court can decide that).

    Where I can disagree with science is in this ban on people in the ID camp and a refusal to discuss the issues involved. I am not saying ID has all the answers and is an alternative to science – not at all – but maybe it is supplemental. After watching some of the ideas from people in the ID camp – I don’t think it is all that easy. Evolution makes mistakes – and this is clear to many that come from within the heart of the science community itself.

    I watched a discovery channel documentary not to long ago – on an archaeological finding on a remote island in Indonesia. This single find was turning the chain of evolution of the human species on its head – causing confusion as to how and why such a person could exist in such a place and during such a time (they placed the bones to homo erectus – when the species was like 3 feet tall as a full grown human). Point being, one find caused for changes to the chain – a serious re-evaluation of it. Why can’t some of the findings of ID fall into a similar category?

    I will also point out my biggest problem with science (in our present era) – it’s step into the faith realm. Many scientists believes they can prove there is no God (ie: Dawkins, Hitchens, and others). That’s a step over a line that I think can be ‘playing with fire’.

    Dawkins and his ilk are saying ‘science is true’ to the comparison ‘faith is not’. This has some rather dynamic implications – the first being science entering a moral position. I would ask – what is their moral position based on evolution? One man in the film – who based his life on Darwinism – was tantamount to ‘insane’ and made no bones about it (he could do whatever he wanted on the basis ‘he is the sole judge of his life’). Question is – who decides he is wrong?

    I think science is not meant to deal with social systems and the human connection on that level – namely morality. Science is only uncovering the way the whole system works – but it cannot help someone who has issues with memories from the past (unless we consider drugging that person as a solution). Science is very limited when it comes to dealing with social systems of humanity (by this I mean evolutionary science). The standards for continued human existence cannot be found in science.

    I guess this has made me have some kick-back to the scientific community – namely evolutionary ideas – since it pre-supposes that meaning of life can be derived from evolution (and I do not buy into that idea at all). It also pre-supposes to be able to do away with faith in God – something I will also stand against. I do not like the idea we came from nothing – if it is so – then one is also nothing (isn’t that most inevitable conclusion one can make?).

  6. Many scientists believes they can prove there is no God (ie: Dawkins, Hitchens, and others). That’s a step over a line that I think can be ‘playing with fire’. (Jason)

    My friend, I think it is you whose playing with fire. I dont believe they are trying to disprove “God”. I think they are pointing out the obvious, that there is no proof for a God of the Bible or any other religion. And the burden of proof lies with the one whose is making the claim. I believe some of them havnt ruled out completely the idea of creator or starting point, they have just come to the conclusion that none of the religions are right. And with that point I would agree.

  7. “My friend, I think it is you whose playing with fire” (John)

    Not really, good religion is about morals and values – now whether one wants to debate about all religions being the same or the One God notion – those are ‘faith steps’ – I agree (unproveable – also agreed). But religion exists to provide a pathway to moral ideals – and this fails in some examples – but that’s at the core of most faith teachings (ie: making you the best human you can be).

    “I dont believe they are trying to disprove “God”.” (John)

    I think you are right – this is not their purpose – but when I am hearing science being used to disprove God (hauled as proof by some scientists) – I have to wonder? Dawkins isn’t saying there is no God based on some notion he conjured up – no – he is saying science led him there. I feel this may be what he thinks science ‘can do’ – but I am not sure about that.

    The debate speaks to the origin of the universe – how did it get here…or humanity and it’s set-up? Evolution can speak to portions of this (I agree) – but it cannot speak to what was the causation of life on earth. How can on rule our God from that equation? Because one refuses to think this is science? Maybe – but still – we all got here somehow and I am not dead set science has those answers in full measure. There is still room for more discourse and more testing on such things.

    “And the burden of proof lies with the one whose is making the claim.” (John)

    According to what measures of law/evidence are we using here? Burden of proof is a law term – not a science one (as far as I know) – dealing with the evidence…we both know that I am sure. But what is admissable and not admissable is a bigger question in the ‘God’ debate – and this is where the heart of this debate gets realistic.

    Are not sworn testimonies useable in a court of law? They may be lesser evidence than what science has to bring to the table (which I am not sure how they are disproving God per se) – but evidence is evidence – even circumstantial evidence need be considered in such cases (ie: the effects one says they have from said God). If we are going to play fairly in some imaginery court we have conjured up in all these debates – then I say all evidence needs to be heard (which will include ID aspects).

    “I believe some of them havnt ruled out completely the idea of creator or starting point, they have just come to the conclusion that none of the religions are right. ” (John)

    That’s not a ruling for them to make – they are out of their personal realms of expertise. If some scientist wants to believe Judaism is wrong because evolution is correct – speaks nothing to Judaism whatsoever. Adam and Eve are the first humans (and likely myth at that) – evolution can say nothing to that debate – it knows damn well humans existed. It may not like the story – but scientists aren’t given research money for their personal feelings on some stories.

    It’s debate should focus on what is problematic scientifically and deal with those issues alone – and biblically all it can truly can contend with is the creation story…where they differ in causation. Now if science doesn’t like people in faith contending God created at some point – then they need to prove something other than that theory with some real substance. As it stands – no one knows anything about the ‘start’ – we are basically playing with theories here.

    Now if Dawkins wants to delve into the fact God is some monster and myth – he has no right to use science on that matter. Science cannot prove that worth a dime – he is reading books of religion to make a case (like a theologian or philosopher – we can both agree those are not sciences). And he is reading books of religion – namely in Judaism – with which he has no previous deep study in – nor expertise. He takes a base idea and builds from it – he’s a literalist in most cases when it suits him. Where is this man’s credentials concerning Torah, halakah, talmud, or the Hebrew lamguage? I fail to find them.

    Then he wants to go and bash those faiths that use that story based on ‘science’? Maybe it’s just me – but those fools need to give it a break and stick to what it is they are good at – science.

    if science wants to play in the field of theology and vice versa – then all pieces of evidence need to be examined and discussed. It is okay to hold to a hypothesis that religion is a myth – fine – but to think science is going to prove this holds little weight. The resurrection for example – can science dis-prove it? They can reason amongst themselves about possibilities of the event (or the event happening) – but it cannot make that decision because what has it to say about it? I haven’t seen very many scientific theological tests on pretty much anything.

    I have become aware of Darwinism (evolutionary science) and its leaking into morality – and I think when someone can say ‘there is no god’ based on their evidence – they are left with their base scientific data (we come from nothing or survival of the fittest). Within those ideals is not the concept of love – but the concept of devaluing human life.

    There is no hope in knowing you came from ‘nothing’ (is there?) – but chance played its part (everything was just right for life to come about – the odds in the multi trillions). How do you form any deep philosophy from that?

    Regarding an idea like ‘survival of the fittest’ (an evolutionary idea) – well human life becomes even more porous. What is the defintion of the ‘fittest’ and who does that include/exclude? Hitler did use ideas like this for his war machine – and ended up deciding who was ‘in’ and who was ‘out’ – as a type of ‘only the strong survive’. He ended up murdering people with disabilities, mental diseases, and then moved onto races he considered inferior. Who is to say his views of the ‘fittest’ were wrong?

    Science is not a moral ethic – just like how business is not.

  8. Society,

    ** would also point out though – is there no validity in what the people from ID are saying? Wedge document or not – is some of the perspectives they are devleloping going to aide science or hurt it?**

    I would think it would hurt science. In the Dover trial, Michael Behe admitted that if science were expanded to include what ID contains, then astrology would also have to be considered a scientific theory.

    **I will also point out it is a trial concerning the use of text books in a classroom – not concerning the validity of the science (like a court can decide that). **
    Except a lot of the testimonies came from biological experts explaining why ID can’t qualify as science, based on the current definition of science. What the experts were called to do was to confirm the validity of how they were currently teaching evolution, in contrast to teaching ID and evolution.

    **Point being, one find caused for changes to the chain – a serious re-evaluation of it. Why can’t some of the findings of ID fall into a similar category?**
    Because this change wasn’t changing definition of evolution itself, it was expanding upon the way in which one group evolved. If ID is accepted, it means that the definition of evolution has to be altered. One says that humans evolved from the ancestor B, rather than the ancestor A. ID says that there some things are just too complex to be evolved through natural selection and rather an intelligent creator is behind them. The former doens’t change the basic theory of evolution itself. The latter does.

    **I guess this has made me have some kick-back to the scientific community – namely evolutionary ideas – since it pre-supposes that meaning of life can be derived from evolution (and I do not buy into that idea at all). It also pre-supposes to be able to do away with faith in God – something I will also stand against. I do not like the idea we came from nothing – if it is so – then one is also nothing (isn’t that most inevitable conclusion one can make?).**

    I feel like there are a few different things going on here: are you defining “coming from nothing” in terms of how the universe was created? Because that’s not what evolution deals with. Evolution already has life here, the “common ancestor” from which everything else descended. So that is something — us — coming from something — the “common ancestor.”

    Or are you saing “coming from nothing” in terms of how natural selection operates?

    But I wouldnt’ say evolution pre-supposes the meaning of life. Science isn’t supposed to speak on those matters, period. Nor would science pre-suppose doing away with a faith in God. There are those who feel that evolution proves that there is no God, like Dawkins. But I don’t think biologists enter their field pre-supposing that evolution is going to give them the meaning of life.

    You might also be interested in this website: http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth

    It provided a critique of the film, as well as where it felt the film had missed on some key points.

    **Dawkins and his ilk are saying ‘science is true’ to the comparison ‘faith is not’. This has some rather dynamic implications – the first being science entering a moral position. I would ask – what is their moral position based on evolution?**

    I’ve read this paragraph, and the one where you responded to John. My impression is that you feel Dawkins and company are using science to make moral claims? Since Dawkins feels that his experience in science has lead him to conclude that there is no God? But even if they do say that science is true, and faith is not: are they insisting that churches take that position? Or society? (Granted, Dawkins would no doubt like society to move more in the direction of atheism).

  9. Adam and Eve are the first humans (and likely myth at that) – evolution can say nothing to that debate – it knows damn well humans existed. It may not like the story – but scientists aren’t given research money for their personal feelings on some stories. (jason)

    Sometimes you surprise me. You are so systematic at times and then you make a statement like this. Science has pretty much proven Adam and Eve didnt just pop up. Evolution pretty much guarantees that.

    Remember if Fundamentalist Christians didnt try to get “their” version of “science” taught in the classrooms of the states, we wouldnt even be having this conversation. I think it was the Fundies who picked the fight, unfortunately it seems they over estimated their abilities.

  10. JT,
    Be fair. You know evolution has a lot of problems. The progression of life is influenced by circumstances (Natural Selection) but NOT guided by them. Darwin made the leap from influence to guidance but, honestly, we see a whole world of information that the 19th century scientists couldn’t see. ID has come to the fore because of the questions evolution fails to answer. ID is not religious fundamentalism but common sense. Both interpretations are valid.

    As for God not being “provable” I do find that annoying. I’d much rather Him come down and bite our butts so I won’t have to debate this any more. Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal reached the conclusion that God leaves His own existence up for grabs way back in 1660. But he went further in his quest and found Him. You have to admit; it’s quite impossible that we are here. If we exist, He must exist.

  11. Not sure how we came around to the point of saying Judaism is wrong because evolution is correct? I’m not sure what Judaism has to do with evolution at all. Our sacred texts are just that, sacred texts, not history books, not science books.

    What does it mean to be ‘wrong’ anyway? How would all religions be different if they were ‘right’? What is the basis for making the claim they are all wrong? Extensive research into each and every one of them, or is this just a general paint brush across them all on the basis of not liking one or more particular religions?

  12. What is the basis for making the claim they are all wrong? (Yael)

    I guess the basis is when the claim becomes one that says the religion is literal fact. If the claim is the texts of any religion are there for moral guidance, then who cares. Unfortunately most extremists dont make that claim, and they are the ones most science people are railing against.

    Jason

    The movie Constantines Sword was pretty good. Some of it ties in with your look at Judaism and Christianity. If I didnt have enough to push me away from ever calling myself Christian, this movie and its information on how Christianity treated the Jews pretty much put the final nail in the coffin. Not a very pleasant History lesson.

  13. JT
    I just wish people would stop calling it by name until they actually meet.

    Hmm. It was the name of God in Exodus 3:14 that shattered my last doubts: “I am that I am”. That name is profoundly logical, and unique amongst world religions. The bedrock for philosophy for centuries was “I think therefore I am” until Wittgenstein showed that the “I” of that statement is of little consequence, and, itself, a mere thought. The only “I am” that matters in reality is the Creator’s. Interesting how, after 2500 years of philosophical wrangling, people are settling for the 3500 year old NAME of God in Exodus as the basis for truth.

    And JT, what do you say to the masses of witnesses (incl. moi) who say they have met Him?

  14. And JT, what do you say to the masses of witnesses (incl. moi) who say they have met Him?(Jim)

    JJ

    I would say to you. Has your faith made you more loving, has it improved your life and the people around you? If yes, good for you, just dont try to make it part of public policy, the educational system, or an absolute moral code for everyone on this planet. If you do that you surely will cause death, destruction and despair in the world. Jim I think you and the masses of witnesses are misguided in thinking you “Know” what is best for the whole world, and that is the problem when you make absolute claims that “your” version of “your” religion is what everyone needs to be saved. Thats what I would say to you and the Masses who claim to have met God. Also, I AM sure that I AM not going to be using the God in Exodus for truth anytime soon.

  15. “What the experts were called to do was to confirm the validity of how they were currently teaching evolution, in contrast to teaching ID and evolution. (OSS)

    I agree there – the science presented in that trial was very sound. I personally do not believe ID components were delivered in there best form. I am not actually proporting ID become a type of science (I don’t even think ID is suggesting that) – but sections of scientific theory can be re-examined and looked at in various lights. Not that all of science would be changed because ID came along.

    “ID says that there some things are just too complex to be evolved through natural selection and rather an intelligent creator is behind them. The former doens’t change the basic theory of evolution itself. The latter does” (OSS)

    Here is my personal problem with this whole ‘evolving’ thing. Don’t you find it kind of odd that only one type of human evolved? We have various cats, birds, fish, etc. But humanity – is one type of dominant being – not in the food chain – but sitting at the top of it (ruling it so to speak). I find that very odd.

    Also how humanity came to this planet is very questionable – it’s rather unknown. How come one cannot consider the idea of a Creator behind the design or the spark for the first cell of evolution (life)? Is it really going to matter anyways?

    Evolution – what has evolved? There are spackles of physical proof for that idea and yet it holds as if it’s built upon solid bedrock. There are handfuls of human skulls to be looked into and few fossils that can even speak to the process (concerning change/evolving). Maybe it’s just me, but I have a tough time swallowing something like that – I came from a lineage of apes or whatever – when the proof for that claim is quite scant in all reality.

    Why does evolution stop at humans? Are we going to evolve into something else? If so, I see no signs of it any history whatsoever. The only thing I have ever seen evolve is what humans create (ie: music, technology, political systems, etc). Humans themselves haven’t.

    Also if evolution is true – some things do not add up at all. Isn’t the process of natural selection supposed to keep the best attributes for ‘survival’? Having the ability to breathe underwater (as in gills) is something I would love to have (why did that survival skill decay away?). Birds have the ability to fly – and if we evolved from them (as is believed) – why wouldn’t the use of wings not aide and abet humanity? If you ask me, certain traits disappeared altogether from human use – as if they never existed as possibilities for him/her.

    Then we get into the motif ‘survival of the fittest’ as the basic foundation – it isn’t true when used on humanity. Humanity kind of does things that go against the grain of ‘survival’. Over-population of the earth. Care for the weaker in its society. Some people will die on the behalf of another. The sane treatment of one’s enemy in capture. Etc. Humans do not function in such a primal state. I am not sure there is adequate proof they ever have.

    I am saying evolution – proven fact or not – has questions that do arise from the most base of perspectives (which would be mine in this case). Does it prove ID? No. But it does leave a door open for some conversation with them.

    “Or are you saing “coming from nothing” in terms of how natural selection operates?” (OSS)

    I mean coming from nothing in terms of ‘bang poom bow’ – a cell appears and starts to evolve. That was a multi trillion:1 chance in happening (and it did). That multi trillion chance makes more sense than a Creator? Seems like an equal amount of logic in both.

    “But even if they do say that science is true, and faith is not: are they insisting that churches take that position? Or society?” (OSS)

    I think they want that position to be taken. Dawkins says some pretty harsh things about God (ie: maniacal) – and faith (ie: fairy tale). What does he actually think of people that follow this ‘evil’ God? Whether Dawkins or other scientists like it or not – when they enter the realm of religion they are entering a moral posture on issues.

  16. “Science has pretty much proven Adam and Eve didnt just pop up. Evolution pretty much guarantees that” (John)

    Adam and Eve are not the problem – neither is the God of the bible – and neither are any of the stories – this is theology/religion not the endeavor of science. Science cannot speak to any of that with any real purpose – the only thing I can see it addressing is creation/the beginning.

    What I mean by this is Adam and Eve – evolved or not – were the first humans on earth (mythical or not) – make no real problem for science.

    “Remember if Fundamentalist Christians didnt try to get “their” version of “science” taught in the classrooms of the states, we wouldnt even be having this conversation” (John)

    Not true, we’d still be having this conversation because I am not from some Christian culture and background – I come from a whole nother tradition with a religious background – First Nations cultures. They also believe in a Creator and do not consider evolution much of anything. This conversation is happening because of ID and science today (true) – but I would’ve raised questions concering evolutionary science and faith irregardless.

    “Not sure how we came around to the point of saying Judaism is wrong because evolution is correct?” (Yael)

    Dawkins. Dawkins in Expelled used the God of the Tanakh in his example of how faith was to be considered ‘evil’. I wanted to re-ittrate his position from the film.

    “What does it mean to be ‘wrong’ anyway? How would all religions be different if they were ‘right’? What is the basis for making the claim they are all wrong?” (Yael)

    Good point about the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’. Who can make such a claim that they are all ‘wrong’ anyways – that’s kind of a big statement for any to claim.

  17. hey you moose-ride’n surup jockey, you’re completely wrong and just need to cut it out you jerky-jerkface!

    i think the tradition of bobxxxx shall live on for awhile.. this will be fun >:-D

  18. LOL Luke – I think it’s funny also. Nothing wrong with having a somewhat serious convo and disagreeing – and being able to laugh at some of the stuff that happens along the way.

    Laughter is not the best medicine – it’s the best healer.

  19. I sense a new villian is on the scene. He is greater than Triple X – he’s like 8 x’s in a row. I sense their will be doom and gloom for a bit – then sunshine (lol).

  20. I guess the basis is when the claim becomes one that says the religion is literal fact. If the claim is the texts of any religion are there for moral guidance, then who cares. Unfortunately most extremists dont make that claim, and they are the ones most science people are railing against.

    But how many religious people actually claim their religion is indeed literal fact? From my own personal experience of interacting with many Christians, Jews and Muslims, along with a smattering of Hindus and Buddhists, I would hazard a guess at this being just a small percentage.

    Because there are extremists who claim one view, but a majority who claim otherwise, the extremists are considered the authentic representation of religion, the rest of us an aberration and thus religion is readily dismissed as ‘wrong’? Could we also then claim the views of white extremists are the norm for white people and then use these views to claim all whites are also wrong? Why not instead label the extremists as the aberration and view the moderates as the authentic holders of all things religious? Surely this would be a more accurate depiction of reality?

  21. Why not instead label the extremists as the aberration and view the moderates as the authentic holders of all things religious? Surely this would be a more accurate depiction of reality?(Yael)

    Unfortunately if the moderates dont denounce the extremists and deny them the ability to control or at least influence government policies, then it is reasonable for the secular world to see that it is the Religions that are the problem. Reality is being shown In Israel, United States, Saudi Arabia……….and its not pretty. Im curious to see what kind of power the Christian religious right will wield with Bush out of power, but it seems that any party in Israel needs the extremist to solidify their power. And well Saudi Arabia is pretty self explanatory.

  22. PORN IS AN ABOMINATION! how dare you defame my good name sir! you liberal, universal-healthcare have’n, Canadian commies and just sit and your snow and SUCK IT!

    and it shall be i praying for your soul… but then i realized you’re Canadian and don’t have any… i mean Michael Bolton and Alanis Morissette have NO soul what so ever in their music… But the Arcade Fire proves that there are some souls up there in that frozen wasteland, but i’m sure they must have immigrated or been sent on a mission to you Godless pagans.

    wow… that anger is too much fun to write! bobxxxx is onto something here 😉

  23. John,
    I still disagree with you. Most people in the United States claim to be religious and most are moderate. We are the ones who influence the government the most. The extremists may be more vocal, but more times than not their extreme views are rejected. Anti-abortion groups have been fighting this battle since the 70’s and guess what? They keep losing. Fundamentalists fight for prayer in school and the teaching of creation in science class, but how often do they win? They do not represent reality. They merely represent noise!

    Israel is a different story in that the majority of people there are not religious at all and do not claim to be. They use the fundamentalists as a way of gaining power and the fundamentalists use them as a way of increasing their religious control over the country. Very different scenario in that there are very few moderate religious voices in Israel. Those of us outside the country do speak up against the nut jobs there, but since we are not Israeli, it is tough to have much influence.

    No, I would say the reason the secular world paints all religious people with the broad brush is because it’s convenient for their arguments and we, the moderate religious people of the world, do not denounce them for their extremist views of us.

  24. Sort of related in a way, but for sure something I think you’ll enjoy reading, Jason. No Religion is an Island by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

    Just found it tonight as I was reading in an effort to find better ways of dealing with that broad brush of religion bashing. Heschel was quite active in interfaith dialog while never giving up his Jewishness and is held in high esteem by both Jews and Christians. I think this article gives a glimpse as to why.

  25. I still disagree with you. Most people in the United States claim to be religious and most are moderate. We are the ones who influence the government the most. (Yael)

    Yael

    Im not sure how much political, historical and geographical stuff you follow, but the extremists in both Judaism and Christianity have more control right now than the moderates(though that may change soon). The driving force for Bush and the boys has definately been the religious right and they do have an ideology. Also there are many religious reasons the west bank is always under siege, and much of it is driven by the religious extremists on both sides, not the moderates. You may disagree with me, but maybe its just that were seeing different sides of the same coin.

  26. Hi John, you’re talking to a history nut who majored in social science, political science and pursued a master’s in international relations and theology. That doesn’t mean I know anything, but certainly it tells you of my interests.

    I continue to disagree, the religious right do not have control of the world. Yes, Bush was one of their guys, but even he could only do so much on his own. He will soon be gone from the scene. Is that a sign that the religious nuts are in total control of the United States?

    The West Bank situation continues to improve while Gaza continues to be a problem. There are no Jews in Gaza anymore, the religious Jews were removed from there some years back. Is that a sign that the religious nuts are in total control of Israel?

  27. SocietyVS,

    I am no expert in evolution. In fact, I don’t qualify to even have amateur status. More of a person who has dabbled in the study recently because of an on-going debate. I can touch on some of the things you raise, and obviously recommend you do your own research. There is tons out there.

    SocietyVs: I am not actually proporting ID become a type of science (I don’t even think ID is suggesting that) – but sections of scientific theory can be re-examined and looked at in various lights

    Technically, ID is attempting to re-define “science” in order to qualify it becoming science (under the new definition.) Needless to say, science is balking at this, as even ID admits the “new” definition would make things like astrology, ether theory of light (long disproven) and even geocentricism as “legitimate” scientific concerns.

    The theory of evolution is being re-examined all the time. In books, and articles and seminars and study and research and comparative papers, and schools. Don’t buy the creationist propaganda that it is NOT being examined, debated, discussed, probed, etc. The thing the creationists don’t want you to know, is that despite all this dissection, the theory of evolution answers more questions than any other theory, given ALL the facts.

    SocietyVs: Don’t you find it kind of odd that only one type of human evolved?

    Homo Sapien was not the only humanoid to evolve. I suspect you have heard of Neanderthals? They were humanoid, but NOT our direct ancestors. When the humans of the past met the Neanderthals—they killed them.

    Further we can trace the movement of humanity, and its interaction with other humans by DNA sequencing, tracking endogenous retrovirus and mitochondrial DNA. We can follow how humans left Africa, moved through India, came to Europe, etc. Those few humanoid fossils give us DNA to allow the demonstration of human evolution.

    SocietyVs: Also how humanity came to this planet is very questionable – it’s rather unknown. How come one cannot consider the idea of a Creator behind the design or the spark for the first cell of evolution (life)?

    Of course, this is the question of natural abiogenesis—not evolution. The theory of evolution deals with what life does–not how it came into being.

    SocietyVs: Evolution – what has evolved? There are spackles of physical proof for that idea and yet it holds as if it’s built upon solid bedrock.

    Are you saying the proof is scant? Again, don’t buy what the creationists sell. The fossil record is found in very specific form, independently dated by radiometric dating. Over and Over and Over and Over. No rabbits have been found in Pre-Columbian rock. No bird fossils before reptiles. No flowering plants before non-flowering plants.

    Of the millions of fossils discovered—not one has shown up in the “wrong” time to discount evolution.

    Further, we continue to track the genome (DNA.) Over and over and over, the DNA demonstrates a common ancestor line. We share DNA with monkeys we do not share with mice. However, there ARE genes, we DO share with mice—but so do the monkeys. In other words, we can trace back the line that what we have, monkeys do too. But there is nothing that mice have and we do, but monkeys do not. Giving us a demonstration monkeys and humans share an ancestor; mice, monkeys and humans all share an ancestor.

    Every single day, they do more tracking of DNA. Every single day, there are 1000’s of opportunities to find one instance of a lack of common ancestor. And every single day it is not found.

    Literally millions and millions of pieces of evidence all fall into place for evolution.

    Nothing, other than philosophical discourse, disproves it. Nothing.

    SocietyVs: Also if evolution is true – some things do not add up at all. Isn’t the process of natural selection supposed to keep the best attributes for ‘survival’? Having the ability to breathe underwater (as in gills) is something I would love to have (why did that survival skill decay away?).

    Well, yes and no. Evolution is concerned mostly with ability to adapt to environment. Two primary characteristics of that is longevity and reproduction. In the most broadest terms—what allows a creature to live longer, or produce better has a higher likelihood of being passed down to descendents.

    Imagine a colony of white mice with a recessive gene for black. This would mean an occasional mouse would be light gray, dark gray, or even black—but most would be white. If these mice lived in a snowy area—predators would more likely find and eat the darker mice. Over time, the recessive gene would “die out”—leaving only white mice.

    But imagine if the environment changed. What if the snowy region became temperate, with dark ground? In that situation, the white mice would be more likely to die, and the dark gene would become more predominant.

    Humans evolved in the brain department, resulting in the ability to make tools. No longer were we dependant solely on our physical appearance and ability to survive—we could make camouflage to be whatever color we want. We could make clothes to survive different temperatures. We could find and cultivate our own food, rather than rely upon hunt-and-fetch.

    Because we would “like” an ability—we would devise a tool to do so. Sorry, SocietyVs, but your ability to make a submarine has quashed your ability to develop gills. *grin*

    SocietyVs: Birds have the ability to fly – and if we evolved from them (as is believed) –…

    We did not evolve from birds. We evolved from mammals. A point to be made, though. We are stuck with our ancestral line. Because of the creatures we DID evolve from, we are left in a humanoid form. If our ancestors came from bats, for example, we might have the ability to fly! And would bemoan the fact we didn’t have opposable thumbs—so why didn’t we evolve from the apes?

    SocietyVs: Then we get into the motif ‘survival of the fittest’ as the basic foundation – it isn’t true when used on humanity. Humanity kind of does things that go against the grain of ‘survival’. Over-population of the earth. Care for the weaker in its society. Some people will die on the behalf of another.

    Actually, there are evolutionary explanations for all of these things, if one does a bit of research. And humans are not the only creatures who will die for others.

    SocietyVs: I am saying evolution – proven fact or not – has questions that do arise from the most base of perspectives (which would be mine in this case).

    Of course it does. But the question is this—is there an alternative that answers ALL the facts (including fossils, genomes, DNA, mitochondrial DNA, etc.) as well as or better than evolution? The most frustrating aspect of this is that creationists never, NEVER, NEVER propose an alternative theory that even answers all the questions—let alone answer it better. All they can do is provide a “God-of-the-gaps”; when science says “We don’t know” the theist proclaims, “A-Ha—it must be God” and tomorrow when the scientist discovers the answer, the theist again says, “A-HA—it must be God.” “God” is simply tacked on to all the hard work of what a scientist does.

    I’m not saying you need to propose a theory, SocietyVs—all I am saying is that in all my (meager) research, I have yet to find a theory better explaining certain facts. Sure we don’t have a fossil of every creature who ever lived. Yes, abiogenesis hasn’t been replicated. But if you start studying microbiology, it becomes pretty hard to get around the concept of common ancestry.

    SocietyVs: mean coming from nothing in terms of ‘bang poom bow’ – a cell appears and starts to evolve. That was a multi trillion:1 chance in happening (and it did). That multi trillion chance makes more sense than a Creator? Seems like an equal amount of logic in both.

    Really? O.K., assuming 1,000,000,000,000:1 odds for natural abiogenesis—what are the odds for supernatural abiogenesis? How does one go about calculating that? Further, are you aware there were 1 x 10 to the 50th power potential starting chains in early earth? Even at 1 x 10 to the 12th power (your “trillion to one”), it would only be a short matter of time before life developed at that rate!

    SocietyVs, “Expelled” was a propaganda movie. As all such propaganda, it provided hints of truth, tailored to bolster its particular claim—that science is picking on ID. Was there truth in the movie? Sure. Was it packaged in a certain way? Absolutely. Was it edited to put the point across? No question.

    The question has continually remained, and deliberately avoided by ID’s. Science works by testable observation. Give us one (1) experiment to “test” design—where the results could be “not designed.”

  28. Dagoods, most of the stuff you are saying about science (in general) I do not disagree with – it’s all sound science (and I have no problem with science that makes sense). My disagreements are more questions – questions that any normal person will ask on some base level.

    “Homo Sapien was not the only humanoid to evolve. I suspect you have heard of Neanderthals?” (Dagoods)

    I have heard of the whole chain of our ‘species’ – like home erectus and neanderthal – and even a new finding of a smaller person lineage in Indonesia (about the same time as home erectus). For me, the problem with the arguument is one has to think humans think like animals – to kill one another off – do we? Then homo sapien survives – nevermind he comes in all shades, shapes, and sizes – and then that’s it – end of chain (lucky for us).

    Some of that doesn’t add up – when compared to your story about the mice and the genes continuing on. Well we have black, white, brown and every other shade of human on this planet – wouldn’t the killing that happened between homo erectus and homo sapien still continue amongst the variations in homo sapien (to the point of extinction)? Yet I know there is like 6 billion people on this planet – and oddly enough – homo sapien seems to get along. I just do not believe we are ‘animals’.

    “Of the millions of fossils discovered—not one has shown up in the “wrong” time to discount evolution.” (Dagoods)

    Actually I gave one example of a shorter peoples that were found in Indonesia about the same time as homoe erectus – which scienctists could not figure out. It actually has evolution re-thinking how this group pf people (not homo erectus) could be in the same time period (saw it on Discovery channel – a documentary). The same thing appeared in lower Asia also – with these people.

    I don’t disagree that science is on the best track it can be with evolution – it obviously is producing some great science.

    “Humans evolved in the brain department” (Dagoods)

    And you don’t find that strange? Humans – us – evolved to the point of the greatest of the species and now even dictate to ‘it’ how it all happened – in case they ever learn to read. That same story is what we find in the earliest texts of Genesis – humans being at the top of the food chain – humans are no animals food…this has likely always been a fact.

    I find it odd – and this is just me I think – that we the dictates of the science are not exempt from being a type of ‘animal’ – yet are greater than any animal we can find. Funny how nothing else evolved to compete with us – not even us (homo erectus or neanderthals – both dead and long gone). The story seems like a damn fix to me – unless evolution itself has a writer’s ‘bias’.

    “And humans are not the only creatures who will die for others” (Dagoods)

    Name one other example…not dogs either – they are trained by us and will die for ‘us’ – not neccesarily for other dogs (who may be innocent and are being tried by a group of dog bullies for their lunch money).

    “I have yet to find a theory better explaining certain facts” (Dagoods)

    I agree – but to not admit that same theory does not have flaws is ‘blind logic’. That theory has flaws inherent in it that make no sense to human existence. I can admit something very obvious – we are not animals – we are not like the mammals we are linked to. This is so obvious it’s hard to know at what elementary existence of the human even compares with a whale. What did whales evolve from?

    Also the facts are scant – no one has really found proof of the change from animal to animal or what have you. I have seen a few fossils – but a genuine question is – where is all this obvious evidence of change/evolution from species to species – which the whole theory proports happened? You say they have dug and have millions of pieces of evidence – yet I think if like 200 fossils or so of a million pieces of evidence is all they have – then I will believe .0002% that we truly evolved species to species – since that as much proof as their might ever be.

    Call me skeptical – cause I am – but evolution doesn’t make sense at all. The proof of change is practically non-existent – yet they have millions of pieces as proof – just very little that is actually this change/evolution. If I tell you pc’s evolved from staplers and provide hints as to how this happened – but shreds of the actual change(s) – I would hope you would doubt me. That’s called basic practicality.

    Yet for some reason being skeptical about the claims within evolution when it comes to humanity is some kind of societal ‘faux pax’ – like I am questioning God or something – something untouchable. There are questions beyond questions concerning human evolution and the process involved – I could go on for days to the lack of ‘rhyme and reason’ in parts of that idea.

    The theory hinges on the idea we evolved from a single cell – yet science cannot re-produce that same action. How can we be so sure they have the answers to some of life’s basest questions – they cannot even show how a single cell would of created life on earth (but they still say this is what happened with 100% exclusion to questions). My opinion, they might never figure that out and we’ll be ‘hanging on the telephone’ for an answer. Or have they succesfully shown a proces of evolution from a single living cell?

    I am just questioning is all – and the more I learn and study these things – the more my base questions concering human evolution remain. Not saying the science developed doesn’t make sense and a million pieces fit together – that seems to be the case…but some things don’t.

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