Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Bearding the Designed Lions in Their Den

Well, I saw the movie today- Expelled. I can say I wasn't disappointed. I was expecting to be disappointed, and my expectations were met. Panda's Thumb has had a wealth of information on the fraud perpetrated by this movie, on the lies they told, and how bad the science is. Here I want only to share my impressions.

It was long. I'm not saying it was exactly boring, but I fell asleep briefly in the middle of it. Ben Stein seemed to want to repeat the same allegations ad nausea. People in academia who supported Intelligent Design had faced troubles with their jobs, though no proof was offered for them losing their jobs. (Stein had the same Gotcha Moments and interviews of Michael Moore movies, but without the statistics to indicate how common these one-on-one interviews might be.)

No interviews were done with Christian evolutionists, for it was important to maintain the fable that all evolutionists (who Stein pejoratively refers to as "Darwinists") were atheists, and all the religious folks were on the ID side. Interviews with prominent evolutionists were very obviously taken out of context throughout the movie, as were quotes by Darwin himself. (Darwin discusses how eugenics is workable, but Stein leaves out the next sentence of the quote, where Darwin states we should never do it.) Numerous fellows of the Discovery Institute were interviewed, but strangely in various places away from the DI, even as far as Berlinski in France. The film doesn't even mention that Berlinski is a DI fellow. It's as if the film wanted to give the impression of a vast coalition of ID activists from all over the globe, rather than a small narrow group primarily based in Seattle.

The best part was the cell interior video that the was ripped off from Harvard. I've heard that music also somewhere before, though with slightly different notes. Where was it? Oh yes. Also on the Harvard video.

The last third of the film focused on how evolution lead to the Nazis. No mention was made of how Christianity was also a foundation, or how obviously Hitler misused evolution (or for that matter Christianity). Some rather graphic footage of the Holocaust was shown, and I closed my eyes. (This was about the time I nodded off for a bit.)

True to the speculation on box office receipts, there were about 35 people in the theatre, for the 2:00 Sunday matinee at the Uptown Theater in Seattle. 12 were with our group, a mixed bag of ID supporters and detractors. It should be noted, this is the crowd in the theatre that is the closest proximity to the Discovery Institute. Judging from audience reaction, most had a limited understanding of biology. I tried to assist by handing out slips of paper outside the theatre afterward, stating
Read the Controversy. Visit
Though there were a small number of patrons exiting the theatre, they appeared to be appreciative of the suggestion.

Afterwards our party gathered at a local restaurant to discuss the movie.
I found myself seated across from a guy named Casey who worked as a lawyer for the Discovery Institute. It was only after leaving the party that I realized that he was the infamous Casey Luskin, of whom I've read so much at Panda's Thumb. I was surprised to learn that the DI had actually moved from it's long-term location noted in the movie, over to 2nd and Columbia- just across the street from where I used to work for United Way! (Indeed, they moved in November, the same month I left UW.)

Casey shared that the DI had had little to do with the making of the movie, and even its inception, though naturally he agreed with the movie (if feeling that some areas were over the top.) I shared with him some of my story. When he heard about the experiences of my professor, he shared from his own experience, knowing Philip Johnson fairly well. As soon as the Washington Post article had come out, he had asked Johnson about it, and Johnson had stated he had only been asked for input by a Fuller trustee after the fact, who had spearheaded the attack on Dr. Murphey. (Needless to say, Johnson's statement disagrees with Dr. Murphy's rendition of events.)

To tell the truth, though Casey and I strongly disagreed on almost every issue, I found him a delightful guy with a warm personality. It made me realize how much the web is like the freeway- we see only the cars, or the words on the screen, and forget that there are real people in the image of God behind the wheel, and behind the screen. Its so easy to fall into fear, anger, and name-calling online, going to lengths of mean-spiritedness we would never go to in real life, for we don't interact directly with people on a blog or a discussion board. And I preach to myself most of all.

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