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The Intelligent Dust Bunny 05 Jun 2008

Posted by Jessa in Religion.
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Ben Stein on CNN 18 Apr 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Science.
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I just got finished watching Wolf Blitzer interview Ben Stein. Of course, he is promoting Expelled, which opens today.

During the interview, he stressed several times that he believes in evolution. Well, some parts of it. Like “microevolution”, a creationist-coined term that allows them to avoid being tripped up by readily-observable examples of evolution such as the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. “Macroevolution”? Not so much.

His big problem with evolution? It’s not the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything:

Evolutionism, as taught by Darwinism, has nothing – nothing – to say about how life originated. Has nothing to say about how the governing principles in the universe – gravity, thermodynamics, motion, fluid motion – how any of those originated. It’s…it’s got some gigantic missing pieces.

So the theory of evolution is wrong because it doesn’t explain things that it was never meant to explain. Evolution is an attempt to explain how the diversity of life on Earth arose. Issues of how life began in the first place, how gravity works, or how the universe began are way outside the scope of the theory of evolution. Apparently Ben is unaware that these issues are being examined under other theories. You know, little-known theories like abiogenesis, the theory of relativity, and the Big Bang theory. Perhaps you’ve heard of them in passing, Mr. Stein?

Ben Stein’s statement shows that he clearly has little understanding about what the theory of evolution actually says, since he can’t even figure out exactly what it is supposed to explain. Which is really pathetic, considering that he just spent months working on a movie about it.

I guess Ben Stein doesn’t accept the explanation of why the grass is green either because it doesn’t explain how birds fly.

Side note: I noticed that one of the clips showing behind Ben during the interview was the animation that was allegedly plagiarized. Not the smartest move.

UPDATE:  I have received several e-mails accusing me of “quote mining“.  The transcript of the entire interview can be found here – you can judge for yourself if the quote was taken out of context.

Expelled Exposed 14 Apr 2008

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Want to know the NCSE’s take on the movie Expelled? Want to find out more about the “martyrs” in Expelled?

Go to Expelled Exposed. They have all the dish.

My favorite part?

The Claim: Michael Egnor says in Expelled that he expected criticism, but was shocked by the “viciousness” and “baseness” of the response.

The Facts: Michael Egnor had apparently never been on the Internet before.

PZ-Away 31 Mar 2008

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Click pic for source.

Bwahahaha! 20 Mar 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Religion, Non-Science, Religion, Science.
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PZ Myers shares a delicious bit of irony.

It seems that he was specifically barred, on threat of arrest, from attending an advance screening of Expelled. Expelled from Expelled!

But that’s not the best part:

I’m still laughing though. You don’t know how hilarious this is. Not only is it the extreme hypocrisy of being expelled from their Expelled movie, but there’s another layer of amusement. Deep, belly laugh funny. Yeah, I’d be rolling around on the floor right now, if I weren’t so dang dignified.

You see … well, have you ever heard of a sabot? It’s a kind of sleeve or lightweight carrier used to surround a piece of munition fired from a gun. It isn’t the actually load intended to strike the target, but may even be discarded as it leaves the barrel.

I’m a kind of sabot right now.

They singled me out and evicted me, but they didn’t notice my guest. They let him go in escorted by my wife and daughter. I guess they didn’t recognize him. My guest was …

Richard Dawkins.

He’s in the theater right now, watching their movie.

AWESOME!

Expelled Security “Breech” 27 Feb 2008

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OH NOES! The makers of Expelled are hopping mad that someone “snuck in” to a private screening and then wrote a negative review of the movie.

We already had our first security breech [sic] and are asking YOU now for your support to stand up for EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. Hosted by Ben Stein, EXPELLED contains a critical message at a critical time. As an underdog in Hollywood right now, we need your support.

Recently Robert Moore, a film critic from The Orlando Sentinel pretending to be a minister, snuck into a private screening, did not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and criticized the film the next day in his article.

Moore compared Stein, who is Jewish, to Holocaust Deniers and charge that Stein’s linking of Darwinism to the Holocaust was “despicable.” Stein states, “The only thing I find despicable is when reporters sneak into screenings by pretending to be ministers. This is a new low even for liberal reporters.”

That’s rich. I re-read the review, and it states that the reviewer received an e-mail invitation to the screening. The screening was tailored for a receptive audience of ministers, but the review does not give any indication that the reviewer was “pretending to be a minister”. That the producers let someone who hadn’t signed and NDA see the movie is their fault, not the reviewer’s. It’s not a security breach.

What pegs my irony meter is that these guys are throwing a hissy fit that someone might have misrepresented themselves to get into a screening. To refresh your memory, these are the same folks that obtained several of their interviews for the movie by misrepresenting their intentions.

Hat tip: Pharyngula

More Discovery Institute Shenanigans 05 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Science.
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Casey Luskin has a new post up where he discusses a paper in PLoS Biology. While his ability to totally misrepresent the point of the paper is not surprising, his post is causing a huge furor in the scientific blogosphere with the use of “Blogging About Peer-Reviewed Research” icon.

For those not familiar with the BPR3 effort, it’s a way for bloggers to tag entries that discuss papers that appear in the literature. What’s great about this effort is that it makes it easy for an interested reader to find out what people are saying about a particular article.

In order to use the BPR3 icon, one must register the site with researchblogging.org and follow a few simple guidelines when posting. Guess how many of these instructions were followed by Casey? If you guessed zero, you get nothing. Not because you’re wrong, but because the choice was obvious.

Instead, Casey copied the icon to the DI’s website and posted it without any link back to researchblogging.org. I’m guessing that he didn’t bother to ask permission to copy the icon, since the DI has been shown to be a bit fuzzy on the whole copyright thing.

But of course, the DI isn’t really interested in becoming engaged in thoughtful scientific debate. What they want to do is to give themselves a veneer of intellectual credibility for the benefit of their credulous followers. I’m guessing they left out the link so that none of their flock strays out of their tightly-controlled propaganda machine.

Of course, the post has been a source of discussion on BPR3. The general consensus is that (surprise!) the post fails to meet both the letter and/or the spirit of several of the guidelines.

I’m sure that Casey will be rectifying this situation promptly. And by “rectifying”, I mean “whining about”. One thing that the DI fellows are highly skilled at is whining.

UPDATE: Mr. Luskin has responded.

Orlando Sentinel Reviews “Expelled” 03 Feb 2008

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Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel has posted his review of Ben Stein’s “Expelled”, and he’s not impressed:

How do you re-package that tried, untested and untestable faith-without-facts warhorse, “Creationism” after its nearly-annual beat-down by an increasingly exasperated scientific community?

After you’ve tried renaming it “Intelligent Design,” I mean.

With comedy. Mock your “Darwinist” foes the way comics, thinkers, scientists and educated people everywhere have been mocking creationism since Scopes took that monkey off our back.

Enjoy some of the “entertainment” for yourself:

Uncommon Descent Silences Its Critics 01 Feb 2008

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…but not in a good way.

PZ Myers was invited to debate Geoffrey Simmons (of the Disco Institute) on Christian radio station KKMS. The topic (which was changed at the last minute) was “Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?”. I listened to the debate, and while it probably didn’t change any minds, it certainly made Dr. Simmons look bad. There were several points where Dr. Myers looked like the more knowledgeable participant, specifically in the area of transitional whale fossils, which Dr. Simmons should know about since it’s apparently in his book.

It seems that even cdesign proponentsists felt that Dr. Simmons’ performance was lacking. Several commenters on Uncommon Descent (where commenting is strictly moderated and generally limited to those who agree with ID) left messages such as:

If I had to use this debate to judge the validity of NeoDarwinism, I would be a Darwinist. Simmons is a terrible dissappointment. I shall pass on his books, though they haven’t been on my short list.

And surprise! That post is now 404! Typical UD tactic: if you don’t like what people are saying in a thread, delete it.

Unfortunately for them, nothing that is posted on the internet can be completely deleted; a poster at Antievolution managed to save a copy.

The Origin of “Cdesign Proponentsists” 09 Dec 2007

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Religion.
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Since the airing of the PBS documentary “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial“, I’ve seen a lot more people use the phrase “cdesign proponentsists”. For the benefit of those who have not seen the documentary and may be confused about the phrase’s origin, here is the relevant clip from the show: