Friday 21 March 2008

Myers, Dawkins and Popcorn...& LOLTrilobites!

It's rare that I post simply to direct my readers to another blog. I like to make sure I have something original and hopefully insightful to say.

If you need a good laugh though, you have to check these out.

The brief background: Noted biologists and atheists PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins were both interviewed for a movie featuring Ben Stein, under false pretenses. The movie is called Expelled, and both professors were told it would be about the false claims of creationists. In fact it seems to be shaping up to be a propaganda film trying to persuade the public that pseudo-scientists who support the theological idea of intelligent design (ick) are being 'expelled' from scientific academia by mean old biologists who understand Darwin's theory of natural selection. Got all that? Good. Ready for an I-can't-breathe laugh? Good.

Read PZ Myers' post from inside the mall where he went to finally see the movie.

You're back? Excellent. Want more?

Brian Switek over at Laelaps (one of my new favourite places) has commentary on the Expelled story and....LOLTrilobites! I'll be chuckling myself to sleep tonight.

All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.


normdoering said...

I blogged on the PZ Expelled incident too. Here's a taste:

The film doesn't really work on the level of rational argument, it sounds more like its about psychological manipulation and it exploits how we judge the thoughts of others. It will probably be effective, in a limited way, in increasing the divisiveness of the theist/atheist debate and push a certain group of theists deeper into a delusional interpretation of science, history and the nature of the current culture war. Atheists will be provoked into becoming more insulting and dismissive of all theists.

There's something very Rovian about this movie. It may work to the advantage of the Republican think tanks that want to prevent the political compromises some evangelicals might want to make with the Democratic side.

It wasn't too long ago that this debate seemed to take place at a higher level. When people argued about why irreducible complexity wasn't a valid biological concept and the arguments were academic. But after the Dover trial things started to get nasty.

Knowing now that they can't win either a legal or scientific battle the proponents of ID and creationism have shifted into a new strategy. I'm not exactly sure what they are trying to do with this Expelled movie (I haven't even seen it) but it wouldn't surprise me if increasing divisiveness and pushing the argument down to lower levels is exactly what they want. Their reasons are probably political and have little to do with either getting ID accepted as science or academic freedom. This is, rather, a Swift-boating of science and academy.

Glendon Mellow said...

You bring up a lot of decent points, Norm.

I think that the creationists are left with fewer and fewer "higher levels" to argue in. Irreducible complexity is not an area where too many people can take refuge in, unless the only thing they read is Behe.

Which is probably why outright lies and bullying is the only place left for creationists who keep the faith to go.

Whether or not atheists will be provoked, I don't mind. I'm fairly low-key, but I believe there is an important role for all kinds of voices; rational like Dawkins, mocking and frustrated like Myers, and verbally aggressive like Sekhar used to be when she had a blog. The different voices lend themselves to different ears.

In the end, there is faith, and reason, supernatural and natural. One of them is showing its proof. The other leaves us waiting.

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