...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Day 2653: Expelled Exploded


Exciting news! My top chum, Professor Richard – husband of one-time time traveller Romana, who used to be in Doctor Who, and friend of the late Mr Douggie Adams, who used to write for Doctor Who (and some travel books) – is going to be in Doctor Who too!

This seems like an opportune moment to WARN you about another screen appearance for Prof Richard, the man rightly acknowledged as the Theresnosuchthingasgodfather of British Atheism.

It is a movie called "Expelled", which alleges that science is really a conspiracy by atheist Nazis to suppress Unintelligent Design and persecute teachers who believe in Mr God.

And – proving that even the brightest of elephants can be taken in some of the time – Professor Richard got fooled into appearing in it.

“The incredible thing about Expelled is that we don’t resort to manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the ‘shock effect’,”
How did they fool him? Well, when they approached Professor Richard, and also Mr Professor PZ Myers and a number of other REAL scientists, they CLAIMED to be making a documentary called "Crossroads" about a cheap soap set in a Birmingham motel… no, that's not right. They claimed that "Crossroads" would be a dispassionate appraisal of the clash between scientific and religious thinking.

This – as you may have been able to guess – turns out to have been what is technically described as a HONKING GREAT FIB, or in religious language: breaking Commandment Nine.

But Professor Richard got his own back by getting into one of their "invitation only" screenings… though, at the risk of undermining my hero's reputation as a MASTER SPY, that's "invitation only" in the sense of "free tickets available off of the wibbly wobbly web".

In fact, Professor Richard happened to be in town for the American Atheists conference, and Professor PZ was the one who got the tickets…

…which it was probably why it was Prof PZ who the brave little STORMTROOPERS for Freedom of Speech picked out of the queue and EXPELLED from "Expelled".

Clearly not "intelligently designed" with an IRONY GLAND there then.

Professor Richard gives his review of the "movie" here.

But why take HIS word for it, when you can LAUGH and POINT at their own propaganda.
"But even worse, along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment"
What the movie is ACTUALLY about is pushing the assertion that believers in Mr God the entirely scientific and credible (I say SARCASTICALLY) "theory" (likewise) of Unintelligent Design, that has nothing to do with Mr God at all honest injun, are being PERSECUTED: i.e. kept out of teaching jobs and even fired just for no other reason than that they want to ignore the set curriculum (not to mention the Constitutional separation of Church and State) and fill their pupils' heads with religiously motivated brain-bilge instead.

Remembering that this is the country where, when the President's DAD was Vice-President, he said:
"I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under Mr God."
is it COMPLETELY believable that it is the SECRET ATHEIST CABAL who are doing the persecuting, as opposed to, just for example, the blatantly out-in-the-open religious theocrats who make it difficult-verging-on-the-impossible for anyone to get a job in public service in Americaland without expressing a deep and abiding lurve (but not in THAT way) for Mr Jesus?

And anyway, it turns out that their "evidence" doesn't stack up. As this review by Mr Dan Whipple from Colorado shows, the cases of "discrimination" that they cite just don't stand up to examination. Claims that Mr Richard Sternberg was removed from the Smithsonian prove problematic when you learn that he never worked for the Smithsonian. The allegation that Mr Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure because the faculty of astronomy at Iowa State University "unfairly" based their decision on his book about Unintelligent Design collapses when you know that he HIMSELF submitted the book for their consideration. And so on.
"an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma… that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory"
Their OTHER "theory" is that knowing about Mr Darwin automatically turns you into a Nazi.

This is their equation:
"Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany."
which is said in HILARIOUS spoiler tags in this review on the movie's own website.

If you don't want to know the ending look away now… "Adolf did it!"

So, I know, Godwin's Law, but they mentioned the Nazis first so they lose.

Thing is, Mr Adolf WASN'T an atheist. He was some sort of weird cross-breed between Norse Mythology and Roman Catholicism, neither of which are RENOWNED as Atheist belief systems.

And Mr Adolf did NOT base his ideas on evolution.

For that matter "eugenics", which is selective breeding applied to human monkeys rather than pigs or dogs or cows or sheeps or other animals, does NOT follow from evolution either.

Selective breeding had been going on for AGES and AGES before Mr Darwin realised that it was going on in nature TOO. About TEN THOUSAND years, in fact since the agricultural revolution and people started farming crops (your mileage may vary if you believe the Earth was created in 6000 BC).

To say that something is happening in nature is NOT the same as saying that that is a good reason for people to do it too.

It is a FALLACY to suggest that just because a person ACCEPTS a FACT about how something works in one part of nature it means that they believe that that way of working should be IMPOSED universally.

In fact, Professor Richard often says that he is passionately AGAINST Darwinism being APPLIED. He believes in social services, universal education, health care and support for the unemployed. If ANYONE is a "Darwinist" in the area of public policy it is the right-wing Mr-God-bothering THATCHERITES like Mr Balloon with their "get rid of the failures" policies.

Suggestions that "evolution is racist" or that "Mr Darwin was a racist" are just as FALSE. If anything, evolution and genetics show that, for all of your different colours, human monkeys are one of the LEAST differentiated species on the planet. Famously, there is MORE genetic differentiation between two tribes of CHIMPANZEES on opposite sides of a river than between any tow humans ON EARTH. (You can thank a near miss with extinction in the last Ice Age for that, by the way.)

To point at "the Origin if Species" and hoot about the rest of the title being "…or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" is to show DRAMATIC IGNORANCE. Mr Darwin talks about races of CABBAGES, or PIGEONS and all sorts of things. He is talking about VARIATION within species. He's not recruiting for the KKK.

As Professor PZ explains, Mr Darwin was no more a racist than anyone else in the Victorian era… that is to say actually quite a bit racist, but only because he'd been taught all his life that the British were the Best. And certainly no worse than Mr "I freed the slaves" President Lincoln.

If by now you are worrying that I am only going to stop writing my fluffy diary in order to go back to my secret volcano base and polish my black leather jackboots before receiving my next set of secret instructions from Uber-Professor Richard, then I suggest you put on your best TINFOIL HAT and go out to see this movie.

Otherwise, I should look forward to some more EXCITING Doctor Who!
I am indebted to Uncle Alan for bringing this BUNKUM to my fluffy attention.

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