Published: April 26, 2008
Talk About Movies: “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”
Matthew Lickona and Ernie Grimm discuss current and classic films from a Catholic perspective
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Directed By Nathan Frankowski
Starring Ben Stein
USA, 90 minutes, Color, English, 2008
Bishops' rating: Not yet rated
I didn't object to Ben's visiting Hadamar and Dachau. It didn't play
like exploitation to me, because he made his case -- Darwin noting that
humanity worked against natural selection by caring for its weakest
members and allowing them to propagate, and then implying that such a
practice was absurd, since no farmer would ever allow his weakest
animals to breed. Such a notion dovetailed nicely with the
extermination of the disabled at Hadamar, which in turn dovetailed with
the idea of eliminating inferior races at Dachau. And Ben even got the
Cornell prof to lay it out in explicit fashion: Considered in a certain
light, evolution eliminates the foundations of morality, and even human
free will. But what made it jarring, and possibly problematic to a
hostile viewer, was the sudden shift in tone, from an almost flippant
tour of academic hijinks to a solemn meditation on humanity's capacity
to embrace evil on intellectual grounds. Granted, Ben is trying to make
the case that the academic hijinks are linked to the embrace of evil,
but the shift still feels extreme.
Ernie: The shift is abrupt, but I had no problem with it.
Neo-Darwinists, and those who blindly follow them, need to be
confronted with the reality that, as mathematician David Berlinski told
Stein, Darwinism, though not a sufficient cause of Naziism, is a
necessary cause. The leap from Darwinism to eugenicism is very short,
and Stein quotes Darwin making that very leap himself. ("No farmer
would ever allow...") And Bringing Nazis (and the Berlin Wall stuff)
into the film serves another purpose -- to illustrate the absolutism
and ruthlessness that exists in academia surrounding the theory of
evolution. Now that Darwinists rule academia, they will brook no
contradiction, and they will happily commit employment assassination
even against tenured professors who dare even to mention intelligent
design. The Darwinists even have their own Gestapo in the National
Center for Science Education led by a modern day Heinrich Himmler named
Matthew: But that's my point. The tenured professor didn't
lose tenure; he had a web site shut down. Granted, it was a web site
set up to fish for grants, and grants are important. But he didn't lose
his job, and that was the only time he'd ever had that happen. Was it
lame? Yes. Was he really "Expelled"? Not quite. One guy did get denied
tenure, and others really did suffer. But I can see how some people
would argue that Ben was stretching things with the analogy. Still,
let's not quibble. Let's talk about Dawkins and seeded life on earth...
Ernie: You and "some people" are quibbling over semantics.
One lady did lose her job. The astronomist lost his job. The journalist
lost her job. And the guy from Baylor had his funding web site taken
away and presumably would have lost his job were he not tenured. I
think Stein was well within the bounds of artistic license to call it
Richard Dawkins showed utter disdain for anybody with any religious
faith. You have to be pretty sure of yourself to call 97% of the
world's people delusional because they believe in a deity. I love that
Stein got him to talk about "the very interesting possibility" that
aliens much more intelligent than ourselves had planted the seeds of
life on earth. Belief in God: delusional. The idea of aliens of higher
intelligence seeding the earth with all future life: intriguing theory.
The smug grin on Stein's face during that exchange was priceless.
Matthew: And kudos to Ben for not pressing Dawkins on the
point. He could have pointed out that Dawkins' alien intelligence
theory was a big fancy dodge, because the natural next question is,
"Where did that super-intelligent alien life come from?" Perhaps an
even more ancient super-intelligent race of aliens. But if you keep
working back like that, you start sidling up to the Uncaused Cause,
don't you? But instead of asking about this, he lets the viewer think
this up on his own, and it's to his credit. Instead, he asks Dawkins if
he's sure he doesn't believe in some form of deity -- since
that's what he's basically just described with his super-intelligent
being capable of bringing forth life from what is lifeless.
No reader comments yet - post yours now
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 12:55 AM By Pierre JC
If this is what passes for critical thinking among believers, then
no wonder you indulge in infantile fantasies about magical, invisible
Anyone who cannot distinguish between biological evolution and social
Darwinism should go back to the fifth grade (and actually listen this
"The Darwinists have their own Gestapo." You obviously mean to imply
that supporters of evolution use violence and torture. This is a
disgusting lie. You must be confusing supporters of evolution with the
Catholic Church, which did, in fact, torture people most horribly. You
people are a disgrace to honesty and reason; you really should be
ashamed of yourselves. Repent!
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:28 AM By Tom
The Bishops' film office has rated and reviewed the movie
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed By Harry Forbes and John Mulderig
Catholic News Service NEW YORK (CNS) -- Unlike some Christian
communities, the Catholic Church considers the theory that the human
body evolved from pre-existing living matter, proposed originally by
Charles Darwin (1809-1882), to be compatible with the religious truth
revealed in the creation narratives in the Book of Genesis -- provided
the theory does not pass beyond the realm of science to a denial of
humanity's spiritual dimension, the creation of each human soul by God
and God's creative providence itself. "Expelled: No Intelligence
Allowed" (Premise/Rampant) is a provocative documentary that focuses on
the conflict between adherents of what is called today Neo-Darwinism,
which denies any such purposeful providence, and proponents of the
alternate theory of intelligent design, known as ID. The film's purpose
is to show that academics and research scientists are penalized for
even suggesting that there might be flaws in prevailing evolutionary
theory and that scientific evidence for intelligent design is
systematically ignored. Director Nathan Frankowski's unabashedly
partisan movie is hosted by former presidential speechwriter, economist
and sometime actor Ben Stein, who co-wrote the script with Kevin
Miller. In his impish manner, Stein interviews several members of the
scientific community who say they lost grants, were denied tenure or
were dismissed from their jobs for their views. After a scientific
journal edited by Richard Sternberg ("Proceedings of the Biological
Society of Washington") published an article advocating intelligent
design, for instance, Sternberg asserts there was a concerted effort to
force him out of his position as a research associate at the
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in
Washington. (A preliminary investigation by the federal Office of
Special Counsel did indeed find evidence upholding Sternberg's charges.
But the investigation was apparently stymied when the Smithsonian
exercised its right
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 4:38 AM By Pauli Ojala
Haeckelian type of vulgar evolutionism drove not only the
'Politics-is-applied-biology' Nazi takeover, but also the nationalistic
collision at the World War I. It was Charles Darwin himself, who
praised and raised the monstrous Haeckel in the spotlight as the
greatest authority in the field of human evolution, even in the preface
to his Descent of man in 1871:
Biochemist, drop-out (Master of Sciing)
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 6:31 AM By 4unborn
"Expelled" is a powerful movie which shows what is happening to intelligence and freedom in our country.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 6:53 AM By John L. Sillasen
For a university to push somebody up against the ropes of tenure
demonstrates what the institution of tenure is all about ... it was put
in place to prevent censure.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 7:50 AM By Warren Tappe
Two points are worth considering as far as "Expelled" goes. One,
Dawkins is a consumate scientist and therefore, if asked, should have
no compunction whatsoever speculating on the possibility of an
extraterrestrial intelligence being the "seed" or "cause" of life on
Earth. The fact that it very well might be true does not explain where
that intelligence came from but, then again, neither does the claim
that God was the creator. Two, I never cease to be amazed by how often
religious apologetics are completely willing to deploy the, "97% of the
people believe in a deity, how can we all be delusional?" argument. It
is as obvious as a poke in the eye (credit: Sam Harris) that truth is
not determined by plebescite and, as Dennett and others have clearly
demonstrated, it is entirely possible, if not outright likely, that
religious belief could very possibly be the result of Darwinian
selection whose pressures have nothing at all to do with metaphysics. A
huge distinction must be made between the God of the Bible and "God" as
defined in a countless number of other ways. To believe that the God of
the Bible created the Universe is to refuse to relinquish a 2,000 year
old, mildy quaint and relentlessley violent mythology. Let's all move
on. Stein's smug grin WAS priceless. The clearest sign of ignorance I
have seen in a long, long time. Let's not forget Dover.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:53 AM By Darron S
My biggest problem with the movie was the vilification of a
scientific theory. For all I know Darwin might have been the most evil
racist bigot who hated anyone and everyone within spitting distance. He
might have run down the streets yelling, "hoooray! Eugenics is the way
of the future!!" He might have been a stark raving lunatic bent on
world domination... or any other crazy things that I can be inspired to
write after 2 cups of coffee! However, it would not change the validity
of the scientific theory of evolution via natural selection in the
least. He put the theory out there, and for 150 years we've been
gathering new evidence and data and refining the theory to take that
new information into account. Scientific theories are just Frameworks
that BEST explain the evidence. If new evidence comes up that
contradicts the theory we adjust the theory to explain the evidence (or
toss out the theory and start again if we have to!).
The point of my post is that scientific theories are neither good nor
evil. It's our conscious application of gained knowledge that can be
used for good or evil. There's no better example of this that the
development of Nuclear Theory in the first half of the 20th century.
You wouldn't call Nuclear Theory good or evil, but you might have an
opinion on applying that knowledge to build bombs to nuke Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in Japan. Also, there were a bunch of other issues I had with
the film, such as Ben coming down on evolutionary biologists for not
having an answer to how life started, when that question isn't even in
the domain of evolutionary biology. He should have interviewed some
cutting edge biochemists if he wanted a detailed answer on work
currently being done on abiogenesis (life from non-life). Anyways, I'm
Have a good day everyone!
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:11 AM By Steve
You two are not very well informed about this movie. As a minimum,
I hope you will read the truth about the "expelled" academics at
As I recall the movie, Dawkins did not suggest an succession of alien
species creators, but said that an alien species would have had to
Dawkins has said that the question he was posed was, "Under what
scenario could intelligent design be a valid scientific theory?"
Definitely, he does not take that as a realistic scientific hypothesis
to be researched.
From a philosophical and theological perspective, the problem with
explaining the existence of a complicated universe by claiming that it
was created by a more complex God, is that doing so is to commit the
logical fallacy known as "infinite regress."
You may be interested in my discussions of this movie and related
issues (ever heard of tree kangaroos?) at my blog:
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:59 AM By garvan
Openly expressing belief in an Intelligent Designer is usually
enough to torpedo an assistant professor's application for tenure. But
should one express belief in literal, biblical creationism - that can
be the kiss of death for one's doctoral degree itself. One such Ph.D.
-- I can't recall his name -- made the mistake of taking a teaching job
at a creationist-oriented college. The university at which he had
earned his degree thereupon revoked his Ph.D.! He subsequently took
them to court, won his case, and had his degree reinstated. This is
just another example of how threatened the Darwinists feel about their
religion of evolutionism.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 11:58 AM By John L. Sillasen
Warren Tappe, what difference does it make whether your are amazed
at anything at all? BTW, for all your eloquence, the creation story in
the Bible has been with us for much longer than the 2000 years you
claim ... get your facts straight, or if you don't want to, then just
stay with the Darwinist illusion which falsely claims its theories are
based on facts. They are conjectures that spring from the mind of men
and perhaps from other beings which might be more intelligent than some
men but not all men. +++ And the "DUH" award goes out to Steve, who
claims Dawkins didn't suggest a progression of alien creatures but that
such species would have evolved ... from what, Steve? You seem to want
badly to hide dullness of mind in semantics: Dawkins claims there is no
God, but fails abjectly to make a credible hypothesis as to the
beginning of the matter he believes in. Interesting observation is that
creation faith has been consistent for thousands of years in the face
of every device man and angel have thrown at it ... because it is the
only thing that makes any sense at all. All nature points to God, not
otherwise. Atheists pretend to be honest, but they are the most
dishonest people on the face of the planet.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 1:15 PM By An observer
"One such Ph.D. -- I can't recall his name -- made the mistake of
taking a teaching job at a creationist-oriented college. The university
at which he had earned his degree thereupon revoked his Ph.D.! He
subsequently took them to court, won his case, and had his degree
If you can't show a source, it's not much better than making it up.
"This is just another example of how threatened the Darwinists feel
about their religion of evolutionism."
I can say with absolute assurance that the "Darwinists" do not feel
"threatened" at all about the biology of evolution, but they are
constantly amazed at the number of people who will reject reality in
order to maintain a false understanding of themselves and of the world
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 1:24 PM By John L. Sillasen
One critical mistake you make, Steve, in claiming you know
something of theology, is your idea of God being "complex"; not so,
rather, God is absolutely simple. It is His creation which is complex.
You see, complexity can come from simplicity, but simplicity cannot
come from complexity. That is Darwin's primary philosophical error,
following his primary theological error which is to believe there is no
God, an error which also springs from a lack of observation and
rational conclusion. This type of error is one of sloth in the sense of
the refusal to think.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 5:47 PM By Ray
I has always bothered me to hear someone claim that evolution is
powered by "natural selection" or the "survival of the fittest." What
can possibly be meant by these words? The "fittest," for example, are
merely those who survive. These phrases appear to be mere tautologies
without meaning. It is a wonder that intelligent professors keep
mouthing these meaningless phrases as if there were something
comprehensible in them.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 6:50 PM By WB
Excellent review - and thanks for going out to see this film. I
found it to be an excellent exposé of how some people are misusing
science to advance an atheistic agenda. PZ Myers' segment was priceless
-- people need to see and hear his hope for a utopia where religion has
disappeared. Dawkins stated that evolution enabled him to become a
convinced atheist -- and then later he revealed his belief in alien
seeding of the planet (with no scientific foundation for that belief).
The Nazi scenes were frightening and yes, perhaps too jarring -- but I
think Ben Stein was right to bring that point up. The science
establishment still tries to cover-up how these big name spokesmen
(Dawkins, Myers, Ruse and others) push a philosophical-materialism in
the name of science. Any evolutionists who cannot see how bad the
Darwinists really look in this film (because we got to see their
unfiltered opinions) are blind to the errors and dangers that Darwinian
theory contains -- and certainly of the evils that its prominent
spokesment promote. I can't see any question that intelligent design
scientists were silenced and repressed, that was quite clear. The
University of Iowa spokesman admitted it. A peer-reviewe ID paper was
withdrawn from this pressure. There are certainly not many Hollywood
films that affirm God's role in the world -- Expelled is one of them
and for that it deserves our support. Thanks Matt & Ernie for
bringing your thoughts to this. There was another great bit of humor in
the film -- where Ben Stein asks Dawkins how improbable is it that God
exists, and Dawkins says "it's 99%". Then Stein asks, "how do you know
it's not 97% or 96%?" Dawkins says "I really don't know." Stein then
says, "ok, then it could be 47%, right?" Dawkins says, "I don't know,
but I'm sure it's much higher than that." Ben Stein played that
perfectly -- subtle humor at it's best. I liked that comedic element.
Bringing the pompous scholars down and making them look laughable.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 6:55 PM By WB
"Definitely, he does not take that as a realistic scientific
hypothesis to be researched" -- it's clear from the film that he takes
it seriously. He can't accept the possibility of God, but he can accept
the possibility that aliens brought life to earth (and he can accept
intelligent design in those terms). Michael Ruse claimed that life
fiirst emerged "on the backs of crystals) -- he then got quite testy
when Ben Stein questioned this (absurd) theory. It's all there in the
film -- atheists caught on camera saying the things that they really
believe, but which the science community likes to cover up because
they're so embarrassing.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 7:03 PM By WB
I'm surprised to see atheists posting here on CalCatholic Daily --
any criticism of Charles Darwin will apparently bring them out in
droves. I also think a lot of Catholic-Darwinists do not realize how
hostile the voices of atheistic-science really are towards God and
religion. I think it's good if they can read some of the comments
posted here. Go out to see Expelled also - it will open your eyes.
German historians are just about unanimous in affirming the Darwin-Nazi
linkage. Darwinists have not been able to admit that Richard Dawkins
and PZ Myers are abusing science for their own philosophical goals
either. Apparently, those guys are immune from criticism because they
support Darwinian theory.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:36 PM By Steve
To John L. Sillasen,
Wm. Paley's Watchmaker Argument is the most common form of this
fallacy. It posits that if you find a watch (relatively simple), that
implies a watchmaker (relatively complex).
It is not actually necessary to impute that the watchmaker-God is
complex. What matters is that it was able to create the Universe
because it is superior to the Universe. (If a God is inferior to his
creation, He is not a God in the usual sense.) This, too, leads to an
infinite regress of ever more superior Gods.
Quote: You see, complexity can come from simplicity, but simplicity
cannot come from complexity. End Quote. That's bull.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:46 PM By Steve
Again, to John L. Sillasen: (I didn't see your 11:58 posting until
I had already submitted my response to your 1:24 post.) The Theory of
Evolution begins with the first lifeform and explains how species
evolved from it. The idea of life arising by natural process from
nonliving substances is called Abiogenesis. There are quite a few
Theories of Abiogenesis, but so far, none of them has persuaded most
scientists that it is correct. This would be done by presenting
scientific experiments and/or observations that prove the theory
correct to very skeptical scientists. Do you believe the earth is flat
and disease is caused by demons and spells? By your reasoning, you
should, because human beings have believed those things much longer
than they have believed scientific explanations. The length of time
that the general population has believed something has nothing to do
with its veracity.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:24 PM By John Teresa
I have not yet seen the movie, but have discussed it with friends.
I doubt seriously the movie's intention is science or to debunk
Darwinism. It's more to highlight the tactics used by some academics to
persecute non-believers. Man needs principles to govern the affairs of
life. If one choses materialist principles to shape society, that
society will be merciless. Materialists (e.g. communists, fascists,
etc.) have committed the greatest crimes against humanity in all
history. Pierre JC comment is a small but helpful demonstration of what
Expelled hopes to highlight. There was no attempt to dialog or
understand, just attack. Instead of making a convert, he proves the
rule--materialists are merciless. Lucky we live here where speech is
protected (kind of).
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:25 PM By John L. Sillasen
Steve, your attempt at theology seems to have ended in "bull"; would
that be in the same sense as "golden calf"? You do not even seem to
understand the watchmaker analogy ... a bit further study might help
you. Here is a clue: consider the concept of "simple", instead of
"simplicity". There is no regression from simple. Also, you'd do well
to unhinge your thoughts from "regression"; it just does not apply to
theology. Steve you err in your second post to me also, when you launch
into the longevity of beliefs. See, what you tend to do is take less
than your opponent's argument and make it into a strawman. What I said
was that no argument has ever defeated the belief in creation; yet the
belief in evolution can be defeated easily. You've de facto done it
yourself. Read your most recent post: "first lifeform" ... pray tell
whether it was simple or complex, material or immaterial?
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:41 PM By John Teresa
"You obviously mean to imply that supporters of evolution use
violence and torture." Yes Pierre JC we do. Most believers would
understand that all war has an economic component. Besides killing
them, depriving the enemy the ability to live in peace and comfort is
the means used to win a war. That is how the combatants achieve their
end. Typically believers use rhetorical violence (as you did above) to
deny non-believers the ability to peacefully pursue their goals. This
inflicts a type of emotional torture on the non-believer until that
individual converts or quits the field. The end for the materialist
believer is they can rid the university of heretics without having to
actually kill the person. The end for the heretic is still the same,
they are denied the ability to live to their full potential in the
field of their choice.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 10:01 PM By John Teresa
"The idea of life arising by natural process from nonliving substances
is called Abiogenesis." Steve, what do you mean by the words "life" and
"nonliving"? I think if I understand those words it will help me to
understand the difference between the calcium and iron in a creature
and the same calcium and iron in geological formations.
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 10:30 PM By Steve
To John Teresa: I forgot to post the link to Abiogenesis. Here it is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis . There is no one definition
of life accepted by all biologists. See here for what are the usually
accepted qualities of living organisms:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life#Definitions . Non-life would be
anything that does not qualify as life. For the purpose of Abiogenesis,
most scientists would accept that "non-life" includes chemical elements
and compounds found in the environment, plus one or more sources of
energy, e.g. heat, pressure, lightening, sunlight, etc. The CA and Fe
atoms and ions found in living things are exactly like those found in
rocks. The only things that distinguish them is their participation in
the life process. For example, the iron in our blood is used to carry
oxygen to and carbon dioxide from our tissues and exchange them with
the air. In fact, the calcium and iron in our bodies come from the
environment. Drink your milk and eat your spinach!
My blog has several posts that relate to this movie and evolution. Ever
heard of a tree kangaroo? Check it out:
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 5:55 AM By John Andersen
John Teresa -- Very well said!! The parody of the movie was
completely lost on many of the Darwinists. It has been said before and
it deserves repeating: The goal of the New Atheists (Dawkins, et.al.)
is not to promote science, but to deny God.
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 8:35 AM By John Teresa
Thank you Steve for the links. They are pretty long. I kind of
browsed through them. I did read some of all three. What came to mind
first when reading about the qualities of life is that it strengthens
the Pro-life arguments. By definition a fertilized egg is life, and
should be defined as such. Abortion kills life. Evolution is really a
description of a process. Can we say that it describes the development
of self-replicating and self-sustaining systems? If that were the case,
then why limit it to only carbon chemistry? There is no reason that we
could not include silicon based life. Also if the evolutionary sequence
is random, why don't see other forms of life that are not based on DNA?
Do the worms on the bottom of the ocean have DNA? If this is choppy
please remeber the 1500 char limit.
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:38 PM By JohnnyV13
All the evils of the "aethistic darwinists" do not change the cold hard fact that ID is garbage science.
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:51 PM By JohnnyV13
WB, you seem to think there are two "sides" to the ID debate: 1) the
"faithful" who believe in God and ID and 2) the "atheists" who believe
in science and no god. You don't seem to realize that there those who
find no conflict with evolution and God. And, furthermore, that JOHN
PAUL II fit this 3rd category. The Vatican ordains and regularly
accepts the counsel of clergy who hold advanced degrees in evolutionary
theory. If the Church believed this theory was as toxic as you claim,
then the Pope would not allow these practices to continue. I find it
interesting how you trumpet your reverence for Church authority, yet
conveniently forget your respect for the heirarchy on this issue. Of
course, the Church has in no way adopted evolution as doctirne, but
clearly does not see evolutionary theory as something inherently
destructive to moral life. I sometimes wonder if you have become
influenced by the literalism espoused by many protestant faiths. Is
your faith so weak that your belief is shaken if the bible might be
factually incorrect in some areas?
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 1:01 PM By JohnnyV13
You know, I think the correlation between Darwinism and Evolutionary
theory in "Expelled" was an exemplary example of journalistic
integrity. I am using a similar technique on my documentary on the
modern church. I am intercutting Benedict commenting on the need to
speak the Good News of Jesus Christ with re-created movies scens of
christian soldiers during the Crusades butchering people in eastern
europe and the Holy Land. I will also prominently display the papal
endorsement of the book "Hammer of God" with documentary recreations of
trial by ordeal and witch trials described in the 16th century. These,
too, are the obvious, inevitable result of catholic faith. As a
catholic myself, I feel compelled to express the truth about the church
using such accurate journalistic methods.
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 3:10 PM By Steve
To John Teresa: Reading some and browsing the rest is a good way to
use knowledge sources! Regarding pro-life and pro-choice discussions: I
think the pro-choice people agree that a fertilized egg is alive. The
point of departure is that pro-lifers believe it is human life and
pro-choicers believe that it gradually becomes human as it develops.
Regarding evolution: Yes, evolution is a process that describes the
development of self-replicating and self-sustaining systems. If we ever
build such nano-robots, evolution would describe their progressive
change. Scientists would love to find silicon-based life! Apparently,
it does not exist on earth; maybe silicon-based life is impossible, or
maybe it is impossible on a planet with carbon-based life. Nobody
knows. All life on earth has DNA or RNA, which is a very similar
molecule. You are asking the right questions! Keep inquiring!
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 3:27 PM By Fr. M.P.
JohnnyV13, just remember to distinguish between the sinner and the
teachings of the Church. The Catholic Church is the spotless Bride of
Christ. (Are you Catholic?) But we individual sinners don't always live
up to that requirement. That's what sin is. Using your same logic, for
example, the laws preventing murder of people are bad because certain
people still murder, so should we remove those laws? Should the
government and police and constitution also be removed? After all,
murder then is the obvious inevitable result of having said
constitution, government, and police force, isn't it?
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 3:31 PM By Steve
"We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different
traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the
discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that
the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that
has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human
knowledge and achievement rests." The preceding is a part of the
"Clergy Letter" signed by over 11,000 members of clergy from various
faiths. You can read the entire letter and find more information, at:
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 3:44 PM By Steve
To those who are interested in my posts: This is a place for
discussing movies and is not a good venue for discussing the details of
the ID-evolution issue. I suggest that we continue this at my blog.
http://RockyMeanders.WordPress.com . There, I have some posts on
Expelled as a movie, and others on evolution and ID. You are welcome to
respond to any of these. I will add another post titled "Evolution and
ID General Discussion" which we can use for general discussions of the
issues. This will be my last post here. Thank you for the discussion.
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 3:59 PM By WB
It's interesting that you compare Darwinism with the Catholic
faith. Supposedly the one is a scientific theory. But it's easy to see
from its defenders (and Expelled makes this clear) that Darwinism is an
ideology -- a secular religion.
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 5:58 PM By John L. Sillasen
JohnnyV13, you seem to be demonstrating as best you can, of course,
how you are made in the image and likeness of God. In that God spoke
and creation came into existence, you JohnnyV13 spoke and Intelligent
Design became garbage. Yep, your argument is making progress, evolving
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 6:01 PM By John L. Sillasen
Steve, how do 11,000 clergy who believe in evolution stack up
opinionwise to approximately threebillion people who believe God
started it all, by speaking everything but Himself into existence?
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 7:15 PM By John Teresa
Steve, thank you so much for answering. There is no legit science
that is threatening to faith. I don't think the pro-choicers have a leg
to stand on, how does a fertilized human egg be anyhing but human? What
I don't hear in science is an honest discussion of what is
Consciousness? It's not measurable so it and other intangibles are
pushed off the table. People who are not informed by Catholic faith are
going to fill the void with pure reason. When you have a science that
justifies their embrace of materialism, then expect a society that is
cruel. We have the history of the 20C to refer to when God is removed
from the picture. When you have science and law coming together to
redefine human life, you have a moral crisis.
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 7:25 PM By John Teresa
What is very exciting about science is quantum mechanics. We are an
assemblage of atoms that is capable of consciousness. The nature of
these particles and the forces that act on them are just amazing, and
really makes you wonder what you are. It should only strengthen faith.
There are mathematics that describe more dimensions of which we are
incapable of observing. These findings only heighten my faith. How
would an evolutionist explain Consciousness? Also how would they
explain the consistency of the process of evolution? Like the sharing
of DNA between species, an almost modular efficiency in the approach to
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 12:45 AM By Doorman
You lauded John Teresa for asking the right questions, and your right.
It's important that we utilize our intellect in discovering truth. But
it's also equally important for us to have some understanding with
regards to the limits of our human intellect. Just the admission that
their are limits is important. That being said, I pose this question to
you, from one scientist to another. Knowing that all scientific
learning is based upon the principle of observation, theory, test and
proof, we can know that all Scientific knowledge is a function of the
principle of Cause and effect. We learn things scientifically by
observing effects, so that we can determine their cause. We prove a
theory when we recreate the cause, with the same previously observed
effect. Of course, we also know that the cause we utilized, was also an
effect of something else. Each Cause is also the effect of another
Cause. That cause is also the effect of another previous cause
continuously until scientifically we would end at the 'First Cause'.
What do you call this first cause? There has to be at the beginning an
uncaused Cause, or else all of science breaks down. We know the
universe is finite, so the causes are also finite. There MUST be a
first cause! Have you pondered this? And don't bring up the Infinite
loop theories which are a cop out to avoid the question of God.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 6:43 AM By John L. Sillasen
John Teresa, what do you think the next great science discovery might be?
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 7:53 AM By John
"Darwin noting that humanity worked against natural selection by caring
for its weakest members and allowing them to propagate, and then
implying that such a practice was absurd, since no farmer would ever
allow his weakest animals to breed."
That is a perfect example of bearing false witness, Matthew. In fact,
Darwin WROTE in the very next paragraph that it would be morally wrong.
Also, since creationists and IDers accept evolution within a species
and Hitler explicitly denied common descent in Mein Kampf, Hitler's
views were far closer to yours and the filmmakers' than they were to
The film is a pack of lies.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 10:23 AM By John
"The tenured professor didn't lose tenure; he had a web site shut down.
Granted, it was a web site set up to fish for grants, and grants are
Matthew, as someone who has been awarded grants from NIH, NSF, AHA, and
the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, I have no idea how a web site could be
set up to fish for grants. The web site was pseudoscience the subject
matter was far from Marks's expertise, and Baylor didn't want its name
associated with it.
"But he didn't lose his job, and that was the only time he'd ever had
that happen. Was it lame? Yes."
"Was he really "Expelled"? Not quite. One guy did get denied tenure,
and others really did suffer."
Scientists who don't produce data should not be rewarded.
"But I can see how some people would argue that Ben was stretching
things with the analogy."
We know that the audience comes away with a completely false
impression: that these people were fired.
"Ernie: You and "some people" are quibbling over semantics. One lady
did lose her job."
Was she fired? Did she merely "mention" ID, or did she lie to her
students? Her slides are available on the web.
"The astronomist lost his job."
His job was dependent on grant funding that he completely failed to
secure. You're kind of obsessed with the suffix "-ist," aren't you?
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 10:57 AM By Rick DeLano
Loved the movie. Love the red-faced hysteria of the Big Science
apologists, who are not used to having their comfy little intellectual
My suggestion is that they had best get used to it.
Way to go Ben Stein!
PS- I would pay money to watch David Berlinski and Richard Dawkins
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 12:16 PM By JohnnyV13
Fr. MP. I am indeed a catholic, of course, I'm one of those people
you would term a "bad" catholic because I question the heirarchy (due
to the knowledge that Rome has, at times, used their spiritual
authority in immoral ways). I think you miss the point of that post. I
was lampooning the journalistic methods of "Expelled" and the people
who applaud the intercuts between Darwinism and Nazi atrocities. I'm
saying that correlating darwinian theory with nazi atrocities is like
saying that atrocities committed during the middle ages in the name of
the Church are the inevitable result of Catholic faith. I'm no
filmmaker and I'm not making a documentary. Were such a documentary
made and broadcast, I'm sure people here would complain about the
terrible journalistic standards. Why, then, do people here applaud the
hack job in "Expelled"?
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 12:31 PM By JohnnyV13
Funny, John L., how you fail to criticize people who proclaim evolution
to be "fraudulent" and junk science without any qualifications
whatsoever. Could it be because such proclaimations are OK as long as
they express opinions with which you agree?
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 1:14 PM By JohnnyV13
John Teresa, Actually, Harvard has an annual cross-discipline
conference addressing the issue of "consciousness". They invite experts
in law, biology, medicine, philosophy, medical ehtics, psychology,
artificial intelligence and theology. According to a Harvard medical
school nuerology professor that I know, they really haven't been able
to come to any kind of consensus. I do agree, however, that Roe v. Wade
is a poorly reasoned legal decision. To put it in the most basic terms,
if you don't know when consciousness begins, it seems obvious to me
that we should err on the side of caution and protect a fetus from
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 10:07 PM By John Teresa
John, It is not the fault of science or scientists that their theories
are used by politicians to drive policy. Until you can quantify law or
morality or consciousness don't you think it is better to stay out of
public policy debate? That is the basis for our criticism. Most people
have about as much interest in science as they do in religion. Our
views and our beliefs are misunderstood just as much as those of
science. This is a debate on how this material is uncritically
presented to our children, and how it impacts society once
oversimplified hypothesis are presented to the masses. I would rather
have no science than bad science taught in schools.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 10:23 PM By John Teresa
All the Johns, the reason we applaud the film, is to counteract the
lies told about us by the materialist culture. These "atrocities"
committed in the name of the church, can you please site an atrocity?
But let's take it at face value that there were atrocities, you
rightfully said it was in the name of the church. NAZIs or Communists
or any other materialist modality that replaces church with science is
just as wrong. They are looking for institutional justification for
their actions. Also, these people in the film like Dawkins are
anti-Religion. They work to end it. We on the other hand are not
working to end science.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 10:39 PM By John Teresa
The consciousness is difficult to quantify. I suspect that some of the
base biological functions of the brain can be quantified. I've always
struggled with the notion that reality is distorted by the organs or
perception. It seems likely that they are. So to really dial in on the
consciousness will be tough. How does science account for the evolution
of the consciousness? That is perplexing. We do so many counter
evolutionary things. If we were merely rational biological agents, why
don't we live in a totally Hobbesian society?
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 10:40 PM By John Teresa
John L. Sillasen, I hope the next big thing is in cheap energy.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 11:10 PM By John L. Sillasen
John, Hitler was evil. It doesn't matter what nuances might be found in
his professions. Why in the world do you trifle with procedural details
that do not matter? God is the perfect One; his apologists do their
best, but make errors in details at times. But they proclaim the truth
about God. Do you understand that fact and truth are not the same?
Science works with facts; truth is a higher order of being and requires
faith. You need to get on the same page and not make the common error
of trying to disprove something by the use of inappropriate methods.
All facts point to the truth; but not all theories are factual ... some
get disproven from time to time by new facts. You should know this; why
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 11:19 PM By John L. Sillasen
JohnnyV13, there you go falling into the trap of using courtroom
theatrics and discomfitures to make a strawman out of an object of your
angst. I never said evolution is fraudulent. It is merely a theory. The
problem is that, as a theory, it is subject to fact ... and this means
sufficient fact, which it has not achieved. Evolution deals with
material, space and time; the conflict derives from its application as
a religion. At this point the "religion of evolution", as distinct from
the theory of evolution, defies God. Those who would prevent Godly
reason from the science need to honest up a bit ... many are their
predecessors in science who believed ardently in God, and did not
exclude Him from their reasoning. To exclude God from any endeavor is a
fundamental sin. Study the story of Cain, who hid from God ... it is a
complex story, and will do you good if you desire that which is of God.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 11:26 PM By John L. Sillasen
Addendum to JohnnyV13: Your rhetoric of attempting to belittle your
nemisis is the same thing being done by DA over on the Knights of
Columbus thread on this site. What is it, that you feel you have to
belittle someone else? You sound to me as though you're fishing for
straws, as you continually distort what others have posted. If you need
a punching bag, tell me; I'll explain what to do about it. OK, I'll
tell you now: It is a sign that you feel insecure, aka anxiety. Well,
think about it; what happens to people when they defy God? They begin
to feel anxious. They then need to level the playing field by bringing
down others into the same quagmire of defiance. Read the story of Cain,
and study it until you know your options.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 11:30 PM By John L. Sillasen
Whoa ... JohnnyV13, you wrote, "protect a fetus from conception". I
thought you were a scientist of biology, but you're saying the fetus
comes before conception?! Or are you advocating contraception? How
conscious are you of this sin? If very, then your claim of being a "bad
catholic" is false, because you're not a Catholic if you hold a
position contrary to Magisterial Doctrine. But if you're not really
aware of this, then you need to get yourself into a confessional and
unload it. Why do you make such sly remarks? Are you trying to deceive
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 11:40 PM By Ernie Grimm
JohnnyV13, there is no philosophical connection between church
teachings and those who committed atrocities in the name of the church.
There is VERY REAL philosophical connection between Darwinism and the
eugenicism, which was a cornerstone of Naziism.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 7:40 AM By John Teresa
John L, Let's give V13 the benefit of the doubt. There are so many
easier and scientifically accurate ways to say "prevent conception in
the first place". I understand that their is a connection between
Sanger and the National Socialists.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 8:57 AM By Lickona
"I'm saying that correlating darwinian theory with nazi atrocities is
like saying that atrocities committed during the middle ages in the
name of the Church are the inevitable result of Catholic faith."
Johnny V13, that's a bit slippery, using the word "inevitable." I tried
to be careful to note that "Considered in a certain light, evolution
eliminates the foundations of morality." (This is something which the
film got a pro-evolution Cornell prof to say, flat-out.) I didn't say
that the correlation between darwinian theory and nazism was an
inevitable result; why do you use "inevitable" in your analogy?
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:07 AM By Lickona
"All the evils of the "aethistic darwinists" do not change the cold
hard fact that ID is garbage science."
JohnnyV13 - if ID is garbage science, you are right that no evils of
the 'atheistic darwinists' will change that fact. I thought the point
of the movie was to claim that there were some good questions raised by
the ID crowd, and that the other side was simply refusing to consider
those questions. Expelled didn't so much make the case for ID as it
made the case that evolutionists may not be operating in a pristine
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:13 AM By Lickona
"Matthew wrote: 'Darwin noting that humanity worked against natural
selection by caring for its weakest members and allowing them to
propagate, and then implying that such a practice was absurd, since no
farmer would ever allow his weakest animals to breed.' That is a
perfect example of bearing false witness, Matthew. In fact, Darwin
WROTE in the very next paragraph that it would be morally wrong."
John, glad to hear it. Though I'm not sure it's bearing false witness -
I think the film was making the point that SOMEONE eventually got over
Darwin's moral qualms and applied this thinking to humanity. And that
much is true.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:09 AM By John
John Sillasen wrote:
"John, Hitler was evil."
Yes, and so is claiming that Darwin was necessary for his evil. Darwin
hypothesized common descent, while Hitler, most of the ID movement, all
of the creationist movement, and apparently you disagree. "It doesn't
matter what nuances might be found in his professions."
This is not a nuance, it is very basic. "Why in the world do you trifle
with procedural details that do not matter?"
Because science does matter, and anyone who claims that "Science leads
you to killing people" is lying and immoral.
"God is the perfect One; his apologists do their best, but make errors
in details at times."
These are not details, they are not mere errors (or they would have
been corrected instead of being repeated), and these people are not
serving God with their lies.
"But they proclaim the truth about God."
No, they do not. They tell lies about other people. Have you forgotten
that the ID movement has been telling us for years that it is not based
"Do you understand that fact and truth are not the same? Science works
with facts; truth is a higher order of being and requires faith."
No. Science works with facts to approach the truth, but all conclusions
are provisional. Scientific conclusions are overturned with new
evidence, something the entire ID movement lacks the FAITH to produce.
"You need to get on the same page and not make the common error of
trying to disprove something by the use of inappropriate methods. All
facts point to the truth; but not all theories are factual ..."
Theories are provisional. There is no ID theory, btw; at best it is a
hypothesis. That's another lie you are regurgitating.
"... some get disproven from time to time by new facts."
Yes, but everyone in the ID movement is afraid to produce any new
facts. They produce apologetics and lies, like this film.
"You should know this; why don't you?"
I do. Why don't you know that blaming Darwin for Hitler is not only
false, but immoral.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:15 AM By John
John Sillasen wrote:
"I never said evolution is fraudulent. It is merely a theory."
I suspect that your use of the term "theory" is fraudulent. Theories
have long track records of successful predictions. ID is at best a
hypothesis that has no such track record, primarily because its
proponents lack sufficient faith to test its predictions.
"The problem is that, as a theory, it is subject to fact ... and this
means sufficient fact, which it has not achieved."
ORLY, John? Tell me more about your analysis of the gigabytes of
sequence freely available to you. What does the Bible say about using
hearsay to judge?
"Evolution deals with material, space and time; the conflict derives
from its application as a religion."
I'm a Christian and a scientist, and I understand the difference
between the two. Apparently the last two Popes do too.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 11:11 AM By Lickona
"Because science does matter, and anyone who claims that 'Science
leads you to killing people' is lying and immoral."
John, I'm sorry if anything I said led you think I was claiming that
science doesn't matter. And I don't think that anyone has said that
science leads you to killing people. But it might be worth reading
"Father Smith's Confession" in Walker Percy's novel The Thanatos
Syndrome. He tells an interesting story about a meeting of the Reich
Commission for the Scientific Registration of Hereditary and
Constitutional Disorders. A meeting, not of Nazis, but of scientists.
Science doesn't occur in a vacuum - it has political dimensions and
implications. I think that's the point of the film.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 11:14 AM By Lickona
Also, John - you are right to say that the film's implication that
Darwin himself approved of treating humanity like livestock and
preventing the weak from breeding is a smear, given his expressed
disapproval of this later in the text. Thanks for letting us know.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:54 PM By Pat
The 'collage' of flashbacks used connecting the 'righteousness' of
Hitler's paradigm of human existence (or not, if you had defects) and
how his belief in Darwinism dove headlong into evil, exterminating
millions, is a stunning eye-opener for me. As was stated...he was not
insane. Very clever, Ben. It clicked, that, following the path of
Darwinism leads, only to an evil, never a good...it cant. It's dead in
the water. Compare that with todays Darwins, leading to..(.as we all
know by now,) denial by its powerful devotees, complete termination of
anyone who disagrees in their system of belief...(for athiests since
they have nothing else) and who dares to explore the hated Intelligent
Design theory. They are the powers that be....and strike like snakes in
order to keep the brainwash flowing. Just like in the 'garden'...eh?
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:00 PM By Ernie Grimm
That "it would be immoral" line in Darwin strikes me as insincere. If
it really thought would be immoral, why did he invite the world to
contemplate the idea of breeding humans the way farmers breed animals.
I think, as Lickona points out, it was politics' effect on science.
Politically, it would be been a bad idea for old Darwin NOT to say,
"but that would be immoral." Can I prove this? No. It's a sneaky
suspicion of mine.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 5:23 PM By Ernie Grimm
Another interesting point brought up in that movie was about cells
not being tiny building blocks but conveyors of extremely complex codes
and information. Information is immaterial. It's the stuff of
intelligence. Another point, one that Ben Stein didn't get into, is
what's going on in subatomic physics. It's been shown that if a nucleus
of an atom is the size of a basketball in San Diego, the orbiting
protons and such are in Los Angeles. The next question, of course, is
"what's in between that's holding them together." Physicists are
calling this immaterial force "dark energy." St. Thomas called it God.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 6:02 PM By John L. Sillasen
John, the issue is who rules. I believe God rules. Evolution leads
and sometimes demands that man rules. So, let's see how you once again
avoid this issue.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 6:15 PM By Nigel
Right, so you'll just simply believe what you want about Darwn because of how you feel, not because of what he actually said.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 8:40 PM By JohnnyV13
John L., I wasn't talking about you when I mentioned those who
issued proclamations about evolution being "fraudulent" and junk
science. Take a look at Garvan's posts. Take a look at Pat's post, who
said, "...following the path of darwinism leads only to evil...".
Notice that this opinion is in direct opposition to John Paul II's
teaching in "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth". Certainly, I can hardly
call anyone to task for questioning Rome. Yet, most who propose this
"evolution is inherently evil" view fail to recognize this opinion is
contrary to the Church's official position.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 8:44 PM By JohnnyV13
John L., when I wrote "protect a fetus from conception", I meant
"legally protect a fetus from the time of conception". Looking back, I
can see that was an awkward statement.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:28 PM By John Teresa
This is not about Darwin it is about the ideas that shape society.
Politicians need some absolute moral authority for their crimes.
Science is perfect since Christianity has that love everyone clause. We
only care about who twisted what Darwin said, and used it to justify
their crimes. Darwin is irrelevant. For example, you may shocked to
know, pro-life is not about oppressing women and individual freedom. It
is a violation of human rights whose poisonous justification can be
expanded to included the old, handicapped, infirmed or any other
undesirables. I am sorry but it was your theories that the national
socialists bastardized to murder millions of people. It was materialist
thought that manifested itself in the murder of countless millions of
people, not to mention the torture, oppression, and other crimes
perpetrated. If you want to change the general atmosphere, I suggest a
little humility at this point. After all you live on taxpayer largess,
it might suit you if you were a little more grateful. Most of you are
guests of the taxpayers, I suggest you start acting as such.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:00 PM By John L. Sillasen
Nigel, the issue is God, not Darwin. Evolutionists insist on making God
tabu in science and among scientists. All Darwin did was bring up an
idea; it's an idea worth looking into, obviously. Yet, evolution is
only an idea. God is not an idea. But there are those who pit an idea
against God. Where do you stand?
© California Catholic Daily 2008. All Rights Reserved.