Exposing the Darwinist Conspiracy

March 12, 2008 | By | 16 Replies More

It seems to me that Darwinism is to this election cycle as Family Values and Abortion have been to previous ones. There has been a recent rash of books and now a movie all pointing out how a conspiracy of elites are following the Darwin manifesto to create a facist atheist state.

Am I overstating it? Read this criticism (including their own release blurb) of Ben Stein’s new movie, “Expelled”. This movie about how bully tactics are what keeps the theory of evolution uncontested is scheduled for a mid-April release. But is already playing to mega-churches and closed-door sessions of school boards and state legislatures. Mainstream press has not yet officially had access to it.

Legislatures? According to NowPress.com in this short article:

The invitation to “Expelled” is just for legislators and their spouses, along with legislative aides. The press and public is excluded.

House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, asked House general counsel Jeremiah Hawkes if that’s legal — since Florida law requires open meetings whenever two or more lawmakers meet to discuss pending business. Hawkes replied that, as long as they just watch the film and don’t discuss the issue or arrange any future votes, it’s technically legal.

Why? Because Florida just modified its education policy to require the Evolution to be mentioned in biology classes as a Scientific Theory. Two representatives have now introduced bills that would allow teachers to present discussion of “Intelligent Design” in science classes. The Florida Family Policy Council (one of the many branches of Focus on the Family) is the group sponsoring the showing.

Scientists discovered in the 1980’s that it is futile to debate Creationism in a live public forum. “God Did It, it’s in the Bible” is an easy to absorb sound bite. But delivering the background necessary to explain why evolution is solid science puts an audience to sleep, even if they are initially receptive. Scientists do not have the storyteller training that ministers receive. One cannot connect with an audience without this skill. Facts never have swayed an audience.

However, the damage done by not publicly resisting Creation “Science” claims (or those of Intelligent Design) is that the public sees only one set of arguments with an apparently embarrassed silence on the other side. This article from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation describes the problem quite well. It also points out how Dawkins and his ilk may have done a great disservice to understanding evolution by openly claiming that one cannot believe in both God and in Evolution.

Most Americans internalize God as a significant part of their identity. Given the implication of atheism attached to evolution, they cannot accept the latter. But that is fodder for another ramble. It actually gives the Bible thumpers ammunition against Evolution, as a tool of Satan.

So this year, voters may well be presented with a choice between a man of Truth (as determined by their church) or a closet atheist who will use the Darwin Conspiracy to lead our country to ruin.

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Category: Communication, Current Events, Education, Evolution, Good and Evil, History, Law, Politics, Religion, Science

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (16)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    This is bad news, indeed. The scientists can no longer simply expect the People to come to them for wisdom. The scientists need to affirmatively make their case, over and over. They need to make their case in easily digestible ways. And I agree with your comment about Richard Dawkins (who I much admire), that he shouldn't drive a wedge between those who belive in God and those who believe in evolution. There's a big gray line in between the two camps where many full-fledged supporters of natural selection also believe in God.

    I would also offer the recent Pew study as somewhat of a counter-balance to the ominous news of these new efforts by anti-evolutionists. The very recent Pew survey found:

    The survey finds that the number of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith today (16.1%) is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children. Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.

    http://religions.pewforum.org/reports The trend is clearly for people to be unaffiliated and not following a religion, and the trend is strongest among younger folks. Perhaps this is evidence of a renewed interest in skeptical inquiry, the kind that will vigorously test evolutionary theory and nonetheless find it compelling.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Erich writes: "…I agree with your comment about Richard Dawkins (who I much admire), that he shouldn’t drive a wedge between those who belive in God and those who believe in evolution."

    I think it's necessary to be more specific about the "God" we are talking about. After all, it's one thing to believe in a deist god, who starts the process of life and then sits back (spiritually speaking) and lets evolution run its course over the millenia, but it is something else entirely to believe in a god who personally oversees and directs daily life on our planet. In the first case, there is virtually no conflict between a belief in that god and a belief in evolution, so it would, indeed, be inappropriate to drive a wedge between them. However, in the second case, where there is an unavoidable conflict between the two belief systems, it seems to me entirely appropriate — indeed, necessary — to drive a wedge between the two groups and, ultimately, to marginalize the god-believers and drive them out of the ranks of intellectual (or, at least, scientific) society. When someone wants to claim that their god is the world's bookkeeper, and wants to distort the theory of evolution in order to undermine it, that's a level of intellectual destruction that simply cannot be justified and should not be tolerated. It would be like sitting idly by while people claimed the earth was flat or that the earth was the center of the universe. Truth is more important than maintaining empty doctrine.

    Indeed, in my observations of the anti-evolution crowd, I find their main argument seems to be not that evolution is scientifically invalid (mainly because they lack the scientific understanding to sustain this claim), but, rather, that the theory is demeaning to the human race. In essence, they argue that maintaining empty doctrine is more important than truth; i.e., that it is better to believe that humans were designed in god's image than to believe that humans are merely one of the many species to have randomly evolved on this planet. They reject the notion of evolution because they find it disturbing: they believe that human society would collapse if it loses the fear of a wrathful god.

  3. Edgar Montrose says:

    "… they believe that human society would collapse if it loses the fear of a wrathful god."

    They're probably right. Notwithstanding the occasional small, peaceful native tribe, it appears to me that large human societies have always resorted either to hatred of an enemy or fear of a deity (or hatred and fear of enemies that don't worship their deity) as the tie that binds them. More generally, it does not matter whether it's a deity, an enemy, an oppressive government, religious or racial or cultural persecution, etc., as long as it gives people a way to justify their actions … often negative actions.

    I think that people intuitively know this. And they know that having to find a substitute for their current "excuse" for existing will not only be uncomfortable and difficult, it might put them into a different social stratum and/or force them to learn a whole new set of rules.

    An interesting side note; in our current culture this manifests itself partially as "the Politics of Fear", embodying aspects of both deity worship and common enemy. Oddly enough, attempts to refocus all of this "negative" energy into "positive" energy, for example Barack Obama's message of hope and change and improvement, is answered with ridicule and contempt! It's almost as though people ENJOY fear and hatred, and the idea of creating rather than destroying just looks like too much hard work.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Well said, Edgar. I often think that our leaders really don't care whether their God-stories are true or whether the "enemy" is really much different than we are. To conjure up these things simply "works," so they continue doing it. I gathers the herd and makes it easier to see many (though not all) people fall in line to do something (even if it is a destructive thing) rather than nothing.

  5. grumpypilgrim says:

    Edgar and I might be talking about apples and oranges. Societies that are based on the rule of law seem to do just fine regardless of how little religious doctrine infests their legislature. Indeed, the more theocratic a government is, the more unstable it seems to be. Compare, for example, Denmark (secular) and Indonesia (Muslim), France (secular) and Ireland (Christian), Canada (secular) and Israel (Jewish), or Brazil (secular) and India (Hindu). In each case (and in many more throughout history), governments that attempt to make real the power of a wrathful god or gods wind up with much more internal strife than do government that do not. Accordingly, I don't believe that human society would collapse if it were to lose the fear of a wrathful god.

    Edgar's comment, however, points to something else: the unifying effect that fear and hatred have on a population. This, I think, is simply the end result of thousands of years of human evolution: no doubt the humans who were our ancestors defeated their rival humans in part because of their ability to channel their fear and hatred against a common threat. I believe this is a separate issue from the one I was discussing.

  6. Edgar Montrose says:

    Perhaps not apples and oranges, grumpy, as much as different varieties of apples; specifically the definition of "societal collapse". While you and I might believe that a secular but stable society is not only acceptable but preferable to a strife-ridden but non-secular society, those who worship the wrathful deity also reason that such a secular society IS the very definition of "collapse", and is therefore to be feared. By (their) definition, a moral, ethical society cannot exist WITHOUT the hands-on guidance of their deity, so any examples of one that does are rejected or vilified. By extension, a world in which the far more complex day-to-day operations of Nature are not guided by their deity is incomprehensible.

  7. Erich Vieth says:

    Edgar: Your comment reminds me of John Paulos' observation that even fundies freely accept the idea of the leaderless market as keeping order. http://dangerousintersection.org/2006/11/26/no-in… They just cannot take that final step that biology can (in the words of Stuart Kaufman) give us "order for free."

  8. grumpypilgrim says:

    Good point, Edgar, I hadn't considered the definitional problem you mention. However, if the fundies are allowed to *define* a secular society as inherently defective, then there can't be much of a debate: we could just as easily define a fundie theocracy as inherently defective and we would have plenty of data to support the argument. The result would simply be a stand-off. Accordingly, I think we have to reject such game playing and address whether the society meets reasonable, objective measures of success: mortality rates, education rates, economic growth, crime, mental health, etc. Sure, the fundies might insist on a metric such as "sinfulness," but there is hardly any objective way to measure it.

  9. Edgar Montrose says:

    grumpypilgrim: "The result would simply be a stand-off."

    I wish that it could be that easy. While you and I would likely be willing to "agree to disagree" with the fundamentalists, the fundamentalists don't seem to be so accommodating. Nonbelievers generally tolerate believers quite well; believers, on the other hand, associate all sorts of evil with nonbelievers (and even with other believers who don't believe exactly as they do), and feel no qualms about seeking to harm or destroy them.

    grumpypilgrim: "Accordingly, I think we have to … address whether the society meets reasonable, objective measures of success …"

    With reference to current societal rejection of objective pursuits such as science and logic, while I acknowledge the correctness of your statement, I do not have high hopes for implementation of what you propose.

    grumpypilgrim: "Sure, the fundies might insist on a metric such as 'sinfulness,' but there is hardly any objective way to measure it."

    Well, it's spelled out in the Bible. Things like divorce, swearing, working on Sunday, acquisition of material wealth, not to mention the Ten Commandments, etc.; all sins. We know this because the fundamentalists adhere to these rules so strictly that they serve as examples of piety for all of us.

  10. Benjamin Franklin says:

    This films' main thesis, that anyone in the science community who believes in God, or is a Darwin dissenter is being "expelled" is false at its core.

    In a New York Times interview, Walter Ruloff (producer of Expelled) said that researchers, who had studied cellular mechanisms, made findings suggestive of an intelligent designer. "But they are afraid to report them".

    Mr. Ruloff also cited Dr. Francis S. Collins, a geneticist who directs the National Human Genome Research Institute and whose book, “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief”, explains how he came to embrace his Christian faith. Mr. Ruloff said that Dr. Collins separates his religious beliefs from his scientific work only because “he is toeing the party line”.

    That’s “just ludicrous,” Dr. Collins said in a telephone interview. While many of his scientific colleagues are not religious and some are “a bit puzzled” by his faith, he said, “they are generally very respectful.” He said that if the problem Mr. Ruloff describes existed, he is certain he would know about it.

    Similarly, Dr. Ken Miller is a professed Christian who wrote "Finding Darwin's God" (which I suggest you read). Dr. Miller has not been "expelled" in any fashion for his belief in God.

    The movie tries to make the case that "Big Science" is nothing but a huge atheist conspiracy out to silence believers, but only presents a very one-sided look at some of the Discovery Institute's "martyrs".

    Carolyn Crocker "expelled"? – No.

    Her annual teaching contract was not renewed. Was she "fired" for daring to bring God into research? – No. She was hired to teach Cell Biology, and she decided to ignore the schools' curriculum and substitute her own curriculum.

    Guillermo Gonzalez "expelled"? – No.

    He was not granted tenure. The film doesn't bring up the fact that in all his years at ISU he had only brought in only a miniscule amount of grant money. Nor does it bring up the fact that in all his years at ISU he failed to mentor a single student through to their PhD. Nor does it mention that in his career at ISU, his previous excellent record of publication had dropped precipitously.

    Richard von Sternberg "expelled"? – No.

    Sternberg continues to work for NIH in the same capacity. Of course the movie doesn't bring up his underhanded tactics in getting Meyers work published.

    This movie attempts to influence it's viewers with dishonesty, half-truths, and by a completely one-sided presentation of the facts.

    If a scientists' research is not accepted by the scientific community, it isn't because the scientist either believes or doesn't believe in God or Darwin, it is usually because they are producing bad science. Like the idea of Intelligent Design.

  11. Ben says:

    PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins went to go see Expelled. Security guards recognized PZ and kicked him out of line (expelled?). Dawkins slipped in unnoticed.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/expell

  12. Dan Klarmann says:

    I skimmed through the first thousand or so comments about the Myers expulsion from expelled.

    The comments fall firmly into 2 camps: How dare they? vs. Well, of course!

    I wonder if there will be a fundamentalist remaining who hasn't seen it by the time it is finally released to the public. Much like the Passion of the Christ, that was publicized and released by the same people.

  13. Dan Klarmann says:

    Here is a later account of Myers removal, with many links to views from all sides:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/a_late

  14. Dan Klarmann says:

    Missouri lawmakers treated to preview of Ben Stein's new movie as HB 1315 (a bill to teach faith based alternatives) makes the rounds.
    http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/574558.html

  15. Ben says:

    Exposing the Expelled conspiracy. Follow this link.

  16. Dan Klarmann says:

    Further Expelled exposure:

    They are offering rebates per ticket or a chance to win $10,000 for school groups that go during the first 2 weeks of release.
    http://www.getexpelled.com/schools.php

    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/08-04-17.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelli

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