Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Looking for Intelligent Design

I finally took the time to watch Expelled the Movie (thank goodness for Netflix.) I made it halfway through and found myself too bored to continue. Seems like such old news after the initial controversy.

Supposedly Intelligent Design is a scientific means to explain species development. Now I have a question—if it is, are there college courses giving scientific biological explanations within intelligent design parameters? And what kind of lab experiments are being offered.

I found a college course at Biola that seemed to be “How to argue for Intelligent Design”—I am looking for an actual, biological course—not a philosophic one.

One would think, if it was so scientific, the religious colleges would be teaming with such courses by now…right?


  1. Here's are the actual documents from actual Dembski's actual doctoral level course on ID.

    Yes, they're all essay questions.


  2. Thanks, staircaseghost.

    I somewhat remember this when it initially came out. What I am looking for is an actual science class, preferably with a lab, in intelligent design.

    After watching the movie, I was thinking, “If you are complaining so much about intelligent design being barred in public universities—why prevents it from being presented in private universities?” If this is such a viable scientific assertion (as claimed) rather than courses about “Evolution is Bad” we should see courses where lab experiments are performed, animals dissected, etc.

    Yet…we don’t.

    Not even in Christian universities.

    If they don’t think it worthy to be taught…why should the public school?

    1. When I saw “Ishtar” a few decades back, I kept thinking, “It can’t really be this bad; it’s got to get better soon.” But it never did, and neither did “Expelled.” You were right to give up.

      In one scene, Stein gets completely lost while looking for the Discovery Institute in Seattle, a perfect metaphor for the whole movie.

      Trying to find the Disco Tute, Stein asked pedestrians if they knew where the Disco Tute was. What kind of idiot does that? Stein already had the DT’s address. Didn’t it ever occur to him that what he should be asking is how to get to that address? Again, Stein’s clueless bungling seems a perfect metaphor. Advances in science come from asking the right questions. Stein is so clueless, he doesn’t even know how to ask for directions on the street.

      But perhaps the thing that impressed me the most was the basic hypocrisy of the whole movie. Stein starts out with an emotional appeal for academic freedom, but doesn’t say a single word about the Christian schools that prohibit teachers from endorsing evolution. Why doesn’t Stein get all choked up about that?

      Nor is there a single word about the “academic freedom” bills that Christian legislators have been proposing for decades that would force biology teachers to give equal time to creationism, even if they think it is complete nonsense. Why doesn’t Stein get all choked up about that?

      Stein gets all choked up because some of Darwin’s ideas were cited to justify the Holocaust, but he doesn’t say a single word about the millions of Christians who gleefully followed Hitler. Why doesn’t Stein get all choked up about that?

      Stein did manage eventually to find the Disco Tute, and one of the main themes he heard there was a bunch of weeping and wailing about how that mean ole mainstream media kept misrepresenting intelligent design by falsely claiming that it was a religious movement. The ID-proponents’ frustration about being portrayed as a religious movement would generate a lot more sympathy, except for two things:

      1. Stein made a conspicuous point of introducing the topic of religion himself during his interviews. So if ID has nothing to do with religion, then why did Stein himself keep bringing it up?


      2. During Stein’s emotional closing pitch, he said that, according to ID’s own spokesmen, evidence for God may be found in science. So literally in just minutes, the movie lurches from ID spokesmen weeping and wailing about those mean ole media types who keep misrepresenting ID as a religious program to Stein himself commenting about ID spokesmen citing ID’s religious potential.

      So the movie’s subtitle, “No Intelligence Allowed,” appears to refer to the making of the movie itself.

      P.S. I just left a comment about Simon Greenleaf. I got the impression you're pretty knowledgeable about legal stuff. I hope you're still interested in that.

  3. As with the rest of the Republican Party, there is an informational asymmetry between the foot soldiers and the elites who are running the scam.

    You can almost always spot the difference by asking whether the person spouting ID talking points draws a paycheck from doing so. If their employer is Biola or Liberty or the DI, or if they are a touring apologist or are selling books, they are scam artists who know there is no theory of ID to teach, but their livelihood depends on whipping
    the foot soldiers into a froth with horror stories like in _Expelled_ and then passing around the collection plate.

    By the time someone like Bill Pratt or the Dover schoolboard or the average internet commenter learns that they've been scammed, the pros have already moved on to their next mark.

    Check out this revelatory piece you probably will have already seen about the impossibility of distinguishing where the politics end and
    the snake oil begins: