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  #1  
Unread April 18th, 2008, 11:27 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Ben Stein’s Expelled

Just saw Expelled. Among other things it’s about biologists/academics that fall out of favor with the neo-Darwinian establishment/academia for entertaining the possibility of intelligent design----i.e. Einstein’s “spirit manifest in the laws of the Universe [that is] vastly superior to that of man,” and/or Max Planck’s “mind that is the matrix of all matter.”

Great flick. Well done, funny at times, and thought provoking, and I’d say much better and certainly a more objective documentary than any of the crap that Michael Moore produces.

However I doubt most neo-Darwinians will like it b/c they generally come off looking like the intolerant and substandard academics they typically are, driven far more by their atheistic worldview than by actual hard science, evidence, and logic. OTOH, I must say that the neo-Darwinian atheist William Provine, the distinguished evolutionary scholar who sits in an endowed Chair in biological sciences at Cornell, is brutally honest about how neo-Darwinism inexorably and unavoidably engenders atheism and the unpleasant implications of that atheism. (He’s also brutally honest, elsewhere, about the neo-Darwinism’s empty natural selection language.)

The uber-atheist neo-Darwinian Dick Dawkins also acknowledges that neo-Darwimism inexorably engenders atheism, but he looks rather daft when he responds to Ben that space aliens may have started/designed life on earth----IOW, Dawkins is acknowledging that life here on earth may have been intelligently started/designed after all, in spite of his and the neo-Darwinian insistence elsewhere that only non-directed natural selection explains life (obviously here on earth b/c I doubt any neo-Darwinians have studied/investigated life on other planets), and that any inference of design is an illusion.

I give it five out of five stars.
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  #2  
Unread April 19th, 2008, 01:35 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Cool Re: Ben Stein?s Expelled

Fred,

Thanks for the review! I enjoyed your remarks and they motivate me to get back to my keyboard on another paper. I also think you give ID more of a crown and scepter than it deserves: "Einstein's spirit manifest in the laws of the Universe [that is] vastly superior to that of man," and/or Max Planck's "mind that is the matrix of all matter."

This is a known Fred-ism that speaks well of your talent and would be appreciated by Al and Max but approaches circularity ("pattern," therefore "mind") and sets a poetic standard unreachable by many who are into ID.

As for the NeoDs: most of them are disliked and it is unfortunate that evolutionary psychology folks adopted NeoD as their banner and, with it, acquired their own cemeteries to defend.

Lynn Margulis is particularly bitter about them in her Slanted Truths and I've personally found the ideas of evo-devo (evolution occurs when developmental sequences evolve) far more comfortable. Further, I doubt there is a "pure" NeoD left anywhere between the ages of 18 and 35!


This part, however, shocks me: "The uber-atheist neo-Darwinian Dick Dawkins also acknowledges that neo-Darwimism inexorably engenders atheism, but he looks rather daft when he responds to Ben that space aliens may have started/designed life on earth..."

Sarcasm on Dawkins part?

Jim


References:

Margulis L. & Sagan D. (1997) Slanted Truths: Essays in Gaia, Symbiosis, and Evolution. NY: Springer-Verlag. See also Margulis, L. & Sagan, D. (2002) Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species. NY: Basic Books.

And the usual suspects:

Carroll, S. (2004) Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. NY: Norton.
Carroll S (2006) The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution. NY: Norton.
Carroll, Sean, Grenier, J., & Weatherbee, S. (2001) From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Kirschner, M. & Gerhart, J. (1998) Perspective: Evolvability. Proceedings National Academy of Science. 95(15), 8420-8427.
Kirschner, M. & Gerhart, J. (2005) The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Last edited by James Brody; April 19th, 2008 at 01:56 PM.
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  #3  
Unread April 19th, 2008, 03:38 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Ben Stein’s Expelled

JimB says:
Quote:
This part, however, shocks me: "The uber-atheist neo-Darwinian Dick Dawkins also acknowledges that neo-Darwimism inexorably engenders atheism, but he looks rather daft when he responds to Ben that space aliens may have started/designed life on earth..." Sarcasm on Dawkins part?
After the space alien comments Stein asks how certain he was that there is no ultimate Creator, and Dawkins said 99% and then Stein asks, in his deadpan way, how he determined that and that maybe the odds were 98% or maybe 49%. Can’t remember exactly what Dawkins mumbled in response, but by then the damage was done.

Several weeks ago Dawkins saw an early screening of the flick and how foolish he looked, apparently had regrets, and has attempted to distance himself from the space aliens scenario saying he doesn’t really believe his own science fiction thought experiment; and also that he doesn’t think Crick believed it either back when Crick proposed that the earth could have been seeded by aliens. Yeah, well, maybe someday he’ll look back on his blind faith in neo-Darwinism’s empty natural selection language and say something similar.
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Unread April 19th, 2008, 05:42 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Ben Stein’s Expelled

JimB says:
Quote:
I also think you give ID more of a crown and scepter than it deserves: "Einstein's spirit manifest in the laws of the Universe [that is] vastly superior to that of man," and/or Max Planck's "mind that is the matrix of all matter."

This is a known Fred-ism that speaks well of your talent and would be appreciated by Al and Max but approaches circularity ("pattern," therefore "mind") and sets a poetic standard unreachable by many who are into ID.
I’d say that throughout history the greatest minds in mathematics, science, and the arts, greater than yours or mine Gunga Din, have generally perceived some sort of ultimate intelligence superior to that of man. Does that approach circularity? Maybe.

Speaking of patterns, it seems to me that while we can be reasonably certain of, define, and test patterns, once we recognize them, we can’t really say the same for randomness, if indeed there is even such a thing as randomness. At the quantum level, the so-called randomness occurs only when “measurements” are attempted; but maybe we’ve just not discovered the pattern yet, or maybe our “measurements” are somehow misguided. You may not know which of three doors the prize is behind, but Monty Hall knows.

BTW, the SAM-e, at 1600mg a day, seems to be working (one must use a good brand), not only for my mental health, but also for my UC (and hopefully my liver too). Who’d have guessed? But then the brain and gut are inextricably linked, so maybe it’s no so surprising.
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  #5  
Unread April 19th, 2008, 05:59 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Cool Re: Ben Stein’s Expelled

"I’d say that throughout history the greatest minds in mathematics, science, and the arts, greater than yours or mine Gunga Din, have generally perceived some sort of ultimate intelligence superior to that of man. Does that approach circularity? Maybe."

No doubt about it! Again, a "gene for" such things may be the difference in the glasses that you wear when selecting ideas and those that I wear. And not a matter of choice except, perhaps, in responses to whatever stresses mom applied to us prenatally. And the genetics of "nonshared, chosen" environments mean that I find Einstein to be kinda quirky, a dreamer sort of guy who managed to get laid a lot: he was smart about some things but I think he imagined "intelligence out there" for reasons similar to your own...

"Speaking of patterns, it seems to me that while we can be reasonably certain of, define, and test patterns, once we recognize them"

Even patterns are suspect: much of what I recognize as a pattern may be nonexistent to you. Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education and a radio talk host, is still a pattern guy whether the talks about music or politics. And his sense of patterns got him into a gambling problem. I think Gore has done a similar thing...

"BTW, the SAM-e, at 1600mg a day, seems to be working (one must use a good brand), not only for my mental health, but also for my UC (and hopefully my liver too). Who’d have guessed? But then the brain and gut are inextricably linked, so maybe it’s no so surprising."

Very damn good news. I once knew a grand lady who wanted to take SAMe for her moods but her psychiatrist objected. The objections vanished when my client's motive was to take SAMe "for fibro." Go figure. As to the gut, my memory is that 80% of your serotonin is in the plexus that controls your bowel. Serotonin is also thought to be a factor in self-esteem. Is there a pattern that people who poop regularly feel better about themselves?

Good to have you back and kicking ass...including mine!

JimB
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  #6  
Unread April 24th, 2008, 10:47 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Ben Stein’s Expelled

In his review of Expelled, MSNBC’s Arthur Caplan, also the Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, claims Ben Stein engages in Holocaust denial.

Imagine that, Ben Stein a Holocaust denier.

So not only did the malevolent Stein trick the neo-Darwinian uber-atheist Richard Dawkins into saying that space aliens may have started/designed life on earth after all, but evil Ben is also a Holocaust denier.

Well, to be frank, I'm skeptical, and think that reviews coming from the likes of Caplan have been less than fair and objective; but maybe I just missed that Holocaust denial stuff in my first viewing of the film. Guess I better go see Expelled again just to be sure.
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