Entertainment/culture Intelligent design/creationism Movies Pseudoscience Skepticism/critical thinking

A hometown publication “gets it” about Expelled!


Before I abandon the disgusting piece of fecal matter that is Ben Stein’s Expelled! for (hopefully) a long, long time, if not forever, I can’t resist pointing out that it’s good to see that at least someone totally gets it and sees through the lies. It’s even better to see it coming from a hometown publication Real Detroit Weekly (you’ll need to scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the web page to get past all the other movie reviews). A couple of gems:

  • In addition to the standard creationist claptrap, Ben Stein argues that there is a link between acceptance of evolution and Nazism.  To be fair, this would explain why so many of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists have a penchant for slaughtering scores of Jews. Thankfully for Stein, the name of God has never been used as a justification for heinous acts–otherwise his argument would seem laughably inconsistent and intellectually dishonest.
  • Since this movie is more chuck-full of errors than Kim Jong Il’s Ethics final, I’ll direct those who are interested to
  • Proponents of ID are fond of saying that it’s not the same as creationism (read: creationism sans the talking snake and the magic rib). But if ID isn’t creationism, then oral sex isn’t sexual relations. Beyond semantic nuances, the underlying argument of creationism and ID is the same: If there is any phenomenon that science has yet to provide an explanation for, there clearly is no scientific explanation–God did it.

And perhaps my favorite bit:

If we do decide to teach Intelligent Design along with evolution, let’s at least be consistent and give equal time to other supernatural theories.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • The theory of relativity will be taught alongside the theory of divinity, which maintains that E = whatever God good and well pleases.
  • Gravitational theory will be taught alongside the theory of Deliberate Motion, which proposes that celestial bodies do not move as a result of gravitational force, but as a result of an Intelligent Mover pushing them around.
  • The germ theory of disease will be considered, but so will the Divine Retribution theory, which posits the existence of an intelligence who distributes diseases in order to punish sins. Of course, this will necessitate that medical schools give time to traditional pharmaceutical approaches to healthcare, as well as “faith-based” approaches, which will rely on prayer and the sacrifice of baby rams.

Sadly, this last one is far closer to the truth than I think Jay Davis (the critic reviewing the movie and interviewing Mark Mathis) knows, as I’ve shown with my Academic Woo Aggregator (which is already in dire need of an update again). I have to wonder if Davis has a background in biology. Whatever the case, it’s good to see a hometown publication taking this on.

There, like many others, I think I’ve now had enough of Expelled! and probably won’t mention it again unless something new or really interesting develops. I just wanted to send a shout out to a hometown publication. Too bad it’s one of those free weekly entertainment mags and doesn’t have much of a distribution beyond the metro Detroit area. In the meantime, Your Friday Dose of Woo is set to appear tomorrow, and I have a couple of journal articles that I hope to get to next week.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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