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Australian Media on EXPELLED

In reading an Australian news report on Ben Stein’s EXPELLED, I came across this paragraph (go here for full story):

Stein is [a man] with a mission: to prove US academics are being expelled from universities for daring to suggest creationism should be taught in science classes. And to prove that creationism — the belief that God created everything in six days, a creed accepted by 80 per cent of Americans — is the only riposte to Darwinism. Evolution, in Stein’s narrative, is linked to “communism, the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust and planned parenthood”.

Whereas the American media by now understands that ID is different from young-earth creationism, it appears that some of the foreign media are still clueless. I would encourage readers of this blog to contact the author of this ridiculous comment — John Harlow — and try to talk some sense into him.

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38 Responses to Australian Media on EXPELLED

  1. What a mistaka to maka.

    Mr Harlow is clearly talking about young earth creationism, and ID is obviously not young earth creationism.

    The error probably stems from the slightness of creationism as an issue in Australia.

  2. Last person to find his email addy is a rotten egg.

  3. G’day Bill,

    The first comment to make about my fellow Australian, John Harlow, is that he obviously has come from a similar background to that of Derbyshire in the last thread: neither have seen the movie!!!

    Unless Harlow has been able to jet around to the States or has has an illegal download, he wouldn’t have seen the movie on our shores. I’ve tried to find a movie theatre that is showing it and can’t. I’ve also written to Expelled, and although they have most courteously answered some questions, they haven’t been able to tell me who a partner would be in Australia for its release. [Mental note: wait for DVD release]

    So, Bill, I think what I can draw from Harlow’s comments is simply is that idiocy has no defining barrier and can be found in every country. Australians really don’t care and don’t see an issue on ID. It’s not apathy, it’s just not seemingly relevant in their mindset. And Harlow is able to use this and blithely state stuff that WE know to be incorrect but will generally go unnoticed by the usual reader.

    Sad, eh!

    I hope the other Aussie bloggers – like Jono Safarti and Jason Rennie – may find a moment to comment too.

  4. When one of the moderators of this blog runs a site called “youngcosmos” which is also linked to on the side bar (albiet marked as a personal site) is this really that surprising? Somebody coming along and just opening all the links up could easily get the impression that ID = Creationism.

  5. Praxiteles:

    “The error probably stems from the slightness of creationism as an issue in Australia.”

    That displays a slightness of understanding any other country by many Americans :P

    That article was crass, yet the Australian is actually one of our better newspapers!

    Oh, CMI is giving a “World by Design” later this year:

    * Did everything just happen?
    * Why has ‘intelligent design’ caused such opposition?
    * Why don’t more people get to hear all the evidence for design?
    * What about so-called ‘bad designs’?
    * Who is the designer and why does it matter?

  6. Somebody coming along and just opening all the links up could easily get the impression that ID = Creationism.

    THE AUSTRALIAN webpage has a huge banner ad for World Vision, a Christian relief organization. I didn’t know THE AUSTRALIAN was a Christian news service, but how easy it was for me to get that impression! ;)

    I thought journalism was supposed to be a profession, not a careless pasttime like crossword puzzles or Sudoku.

  7. Intelligent Design has certainly not gone unnoticed in Australian universities, at least amongst students. I think all countries – America included – have people who confuse ID with YEC. I’ve certainly seen it amongst Americans.

    At one university here in Australia a video was shown in a science subject with some info on the Dover trial. Surprisingly, even though the lecturer displayed this clearly anti-ID video, her comments were very enigmatic in terms of her own opinion. She showed a definition of science that the schools wanted to implement, and pointed out that it seemed like a good one without mentioning any problems with it. She did not state that ID was not science.

    In philosophy of religion, Michael Behe’s Irreducible Complexity is examined.

    I think that John Harlow may not be taken representatively of Australia’s general level of awareness of ID and its claims. The general levels of animosity and understanding here seem to conform well to my experience with citizens of other nations online.

    I’m not sure if ID gets much media attention here though, and I realise my comments have been only tangentially related to the media.

  8. Harlow’s view on Expelled is very predictable. Most journalists are aware of the old censorship laws that existed before western societies became secular. Journalists like Harlow and Derbyshire have an instinctive antipathy to religion because they fear the ascendancy of the church and the potential loss of there own freedom. It has been show in studies (which don’t get any press coverage) that journalists favor no-fault divorce, abortion, gay marriage, and assisted suicide. Christian morality is a plague to many of them. So they have to trash Expelled no matter how good the science and sociology is. If ID is accepted then there must be a designer. If there is a designer then we are accountable. Through years of effort the press has been able to gain control of the morality in society through a relentless campaign to foist their view through the mass media. It has been successful. Harlow writes a review of a film no one in the country can see so that his society does not move toward religious values which would threaten journalist’s secular accomplishments and their future goals for gay marriage and assisted suicide. Harlow and Derbyshire are worried that their power will diminish and that their secular world view will be shattered. The possibility that there world view may be shattered is so frightening to them that they will not even see Expelled to write a review. This shows however, the potency of ID. Secularists are too frightened to give it a fair review. We must be on the right track and only need to continue our efforts to spread the truth.

  9. 9

    Excellent post, Peter.

  10. I think perhaps an essay dileneating the differences between the two and being circulated amongst journalists would be helpful (if they are willing to listen). I can write something to that effect.

    In brief, YEC benefits from science of ID, but YEC also benefits from the science of thermodynamics, biochemistry, and population genetics, geophysics, etc. etc..

    That is the proper way to view the relationship of ID to YEC. ID is but one of the scientific disiplines (among many) that can be used to support a Young Universe hypothesis.

  11. I doubt that Harlow is Australian since the article seems to have been sourced from The Sunday Times. But who cares? It’s nice to see that the film is finally getting some publicity here. No one I know has heard of it yet.

  12. Creationism creationism, creationism, creationism, creationism, creationism, creationism, creationism, creationism,….Ad infintum.

    I need OCD meds after reading that article and seeing that “stupid word” confalted 100% with ID for the bazillionth time.

    Not that creation is a stupid doctrine per se’ but its harldy an “ism” and has functionally nothing to do with IDT.

  13. I couldn’t find Harlow’s e-mail. I’m willing to e-mail. Has anyone found it?

    Is it best to write a printed letter on paper an send it to the newspaper?

    Rob Crowther might be able to help. He’s good about trying to set the media straight….

  14. salvador,

    important, but I think more important would be a short booklet answering the main popular objections to ID (i.e ID is not science, God of the Gaps, etc…) that can be distributed to journalists to help prevent so much misinformation.

    The material out at the moment is great for academics but for many journalists most of it is probably a bit overwhelming.

    Perhaps ‘ID for the Layman’ would be a good title. And it needs to be short and hard-hitting, too long or too complicated and it won’t get read. Too bad the title ‘Intelligent Design 101′ has recently been used up, that will attract an investigating journalist but I just hope is it simple and short enough? I have not read it.

    BTW what about this article on the DI website for diff between ID and Creationsim:

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=3191

  15. Bill wrote,

    “Whereas the American media by now understands that ID is different from young-earth creationism,”

    Incorrect Bill. I saw on TV last week a special where they interviewed Ben Stein on Foxnews and the headline on the screen read “Creationism vs Evolution movie is controversial.” And Stein had to say in a clearly annoyed way “this movie is about neither idea and neither is being challenged.” So the creationism gig is still in full swing- here in the states and all.

  16. However I agree that the US media “knows better.” The creationism thing is just a deflector shield they put up for arguments sake to frame the discussion before it starts and to prevent the real message of ID from getting any air time. Instead of being able to say “ID is about inferring design using scientific methods” and then explain examples- you have to waste half of your short air time, every time, saying “ID is different from creationism…” but you know this Bill.

  17. john1989,

    ID==>designer==>accountability==>gay marriage bad!!

    And you wonder why people conflate intelligent design and young earth creationism.

    People conflate ID with creationism to destroy ID and to preserve their secular society. I did not create the nexus of beliefs of secularists; I merely report it truthfully and showed how they impacted their treatment of ID. I did not value them, you did. That is a discussion for another thread.

  18. I’m sorry, but I really can’t accept the notion that any reasonably-read individual truly believes that ID and YEC Creationism are synonomous.

    Anyone (like John Harlow) MUST know this, and I can only conlude that he (and they) are deliberatly obfuscating the issue.

    The intent is to convice the public (in spite of the truth) that ID should be discarded since (we all know) it just creationism.

    TO reiterate for the umpteenth time:

    ID says, “Who knows? Maybe stuff might be designed, perhaps. Kinda looks like it, sorta. Let’s check it out…”

    Creationism says, “Thus sayeth the Lord.”

    One is open to the scientific method and one is not.

  19. hmmm, “ID==>designer==>accountability==>gay marriage bad!!”

    Not ID ==> not designer ==> no accountability ==> good and evil irrelevant ==> gay marriage ok.

    However, ID ==> designer, yes.
    Designer ==> accountability, maybe.
    accountabliity ==> gay marriage bad, maybe.

    Frost, “I saw on TV last week a special where they interviewed Ben Stein on Foxnews and the headline on the screen read “Creationism vs Evolution movie is controversial.” ” This statement does not say that Foxnews is equating Stein’s movie with “Young Earth” creationism. What is clear, however, is that the ID = Creationism screed implies that ID is young earth. It is this implication, and the implication that ID is the conclusion one comes to only by reading holy writ that cause me to find the correlation functionally eronious.

  20. If one went around doing research and asked people if they supported ID, what are the chances this person is a YEC? If you asked those who support ID and if they have had a conversation with friends on this 3-4 times a year, what are the chances this person is YEC? If you asked those who support ID and if they have tried to convince someone else that they should consider ID, what are the chances that this person is YEC.

    I happen to think the percentage would be pretty high. Now I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

    If you asked the average person, if ID is associated with fundamentalist religious beliefs what would be the percentage that would answer yes? I happen to think the percentage would be pretty high here too.

    If this is so, then we have to ask why? I am not sure conspiracy theory explains it all or even most of it.

  21. scordova says, “In brief, YEC benefits from science of ID, but YEC also benefits from the science of thermodynamics, biochemistry, and population genetics, geophysics, etc. etc. That is the proper way to view the relationship of ID to YEC. ID is but one of the scientific disiplines (among many) that can be used to support a Young Universe hypothesis.”

    Getting warmer.
    All of the various scientific specialties — physics, biology, etc, and ID, YEC as well — are contributors to Theology, the Study of God and His Works.

    Implicitly or explicitly, scientists either assume that God the Creator exists and proceed in the attempt to think His thoughts after Him; or they deny His existence and proceed to attempt a demonstration that He is superfluous. A beginner may may find himself with a muddled conceptual framework somewhere between these two alternatives, but in the end, every scientist — every man — must make the choice and will speak and act accordingly.

    There’s no middle ground with God, Matthew 12:30.

  22. 22
    irreducible_complacency

    I am YEC but I realise that many here are not but still call themselves Christians. That is OK we will be praying for you too, as well as the materialist bible deniers.

    The big tent is a great idea because it allows us to minister to each other, as well as unite a common front against those who oppose God.

  23. All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

    Arthur Schopenhauer

    We’re in the 2nd stage right now. The 3rd will come.

  24. @19

    “ID says…”

    “Creationism says…”

    “One is open to the scientific method, the other is not.”

    In a sense, yes. After all, origins is primarily a matter of history. Our world came into existence once, sometime in the distant past, by a process that we may attempt to understand but probably cannot actually know from science. Rather, as with any one-time historical event, the most credible source of information should be historical record. Thus, for instance, we know that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States, not from science but from history.

    ID makes observations in the present (e.g., the complexity of the cell, or the encoding of DNA) and infers design, based on a great deal of experience with what design looks like.

    Creationism derives primarily from the history recorded in the Bible by Moses. While science may not be in the best position to offer authoritative pronouncements on origins, it can, if informed by the historical record, make good guesses.

  25. 25

    RickToews (25):

    Well said; you have hit the nail on the head.

    ID and YEC are certainly not the same; the evidence provided by ID is necessary, but not sufficient, to support a YEC position.

    Put another way, anybody who subscribes to YEC has necessarily to subscribe to ID, but you can accept ID without having to subscribe to YEC. The latter is informed by history just as much as by science, and your Abraham Lincoln analogy is spot on.

  26. Graceout wrote:

    “I’m sorry, but I really can’t accept the notion that any reasonably-read individual truly believes that ID and YEC Creationism are synonomous.”

    This is absolutely correct. Nobody even mildly educated on ID will confuse it with creationism. The conflation is a tactic, and will persist regardless of how many YECs are thrown under the bus.

    It is akin to labeling someone a racist. Once the label sticks, you don’t need to debate a person’s ideas because, well, they’re racist. It’s simply an evasion. Here’s a tip: use invective and ad hominem attacks, when engaging arguments leads to the loss of the debate on merit.

    Materialism loses everything to Design when OOL is under the magnifying glass; so…just label ID as creationism, and no more need for debate — they’re all just silly creationists, don’t listen to them. Demonization is the only defense for the failing ideology of materialism.

    Here’s another tip: ID can be further sabotaged by driving a wedge between the Six Day crowd and everyone else. When ID ostracizes YEC, you will see ID’s opponents point out how poorly ID supporters treat their own. It does nothing but create more ammunition against ID, and in that case, justifiably so.

    irreducible_complacency wrote:

    “The big tent is a great idea because it allows us to minister to each other, as well as unite a common front against those who oppose God.”

    Assuming for a moment that you’re not a sock puppet, ID isn’t about ministering to believers, it’s about expanding the arguments for quantifiable and reliable design detection. It isn’t about opposing people, but opposing fallacious ideas and reasoning, and allowing all the evidence to speak on issue of origins.

    “That is OK we will be praying for you too, as well as the materialist bible deniers.”

    Does anyone really talk this way? You can safely assume this as a rhetorical question with a likely answer of “no.”

    I am YEC but I realise that many here are not but still call themselves Christians.

    By “call themselves Christians” are you implying that those unconvinced of a young earth are illegitimate? Combining that view with a parsing of your name leads me to suspect that you have a low opinion of ID proponents who claim to be Christian, and that perhaps you view them as moral or spiritual compromisers. Maybe you could clarify.

  27. Just to note, by “sock puppet” I mean “dissembler.” I hope that’s perfectly clear.

  28. Oh wow we have some clown in the Australian press. This guy is a walking advert for the benefits of eugenics it seems :S

    Any idea if and when the movie will show down under ? Or will I just have to order the DVD and start passing it around my friends ?

  29. 29

    It’s interesting though that almost every discussion on ID turns its eye (irreducibly complex, since it’s a man-made eye in this case) to morality. Certainly “Expelled” relies on this device– in speaking about “freedom of academia”, it goes on to make the case (erroneous) that “Evolution is responsible for the Holocaust”.

    More than anything, this belies ID’s roots as a religious-oriented foray into science, and that responsibility lies 100% with IDers themselves. Not the media, not the “secular boogeymen”, not academia, but ID as a movement itself.

  30. 31

    KTR, be honest, it really doesn’t matter how many times Ben Stein says that Darwin is not responsible for Hitler does it? The fact he said it in proper English within the movie itself doesn’t matter either does it? It doesn’t matter how many times Berlinskli says it, nor Weikart?

    You’ve got your obvious line; by all means use it again and again. The subtleties of the reasoning be damned.

  31. “It’s interesting though that almost every discussion on ID turns its eye (irreducibly complex, since it’s a man-made eye in this case) to morality.”

    Nothing exists in a vacuum and besides, it is actually the Darwinists that have been turning to questions of morality for decades already.

  32. Reason, is it your contention that neo-Darwinian evolution carries no moral connotation? Is it your contention that Dawkins, “The God Delusion” has no base in neo-Darwinian evolution?

    Reason, is it possible that there are two separate phenomena titled “ID”, a science, and a movement. Is it possible that the science is purely conserned with the scientific evidence, that it suggests that a new paradyme does a better job of explaining the evidence than the current neo-Darwinian one? Is it possible that the ID movement is quite conserned about the social and moral effects of the science of neo-Darwinism, and of the science of ID?

  33. Here is what I may write:

    Mr. Harlow,

    Your article “Ferris Bueller’s way off as creationist damns Dawkins” has some factual misstatements, and given that people in the newspaper industry pride themselves on accurate reporting, I think you’ll be swift to acknowledge that you recently made some factually incorrect statements in that article.

    You mentioned Ben Stein’s movie was about academics advocating the teaching of six-day creation. That is factually incorrect because the following individuals featured in the movie reject the notion of a literal six day, young earth creation:

    Guillermo Gonzalez
    Caroline Crocker
    William Dembski
    David Berlinski
    Gerald Schroeder
    Richard Sternberg
    William Dembski
    Stephen Meyer
    Walter Bradley

    I would hope someone with a desire for accuracy in reporting wouldn’t be so sloppy to fabricate facts just to make a few headlines. I hope a retraction from you will be forthcoming.

    If you doubt my statements, perhaps you, as a reporter can ask them yourself and get the facts straight rather than pulling them out of the air (or some place more vulgar).

    Salvador Cordova

  34. G’day scordova,

    2 points: Firstly I start off with, “Maaaate”; Secondly, I’d probably not be too worried if he never retracts his number of errors.

    It can’t hurt sending it but, as we are both well aware from many years of this type of stuff, it is virtually impossible to get a gracious and truthful response from someone such as he.

  35. I would add in so many words …

    “creationism is not related to any of the tenants of IDT and the names above constitute virtually ALL of the participants in the film. The film was about professionals in various different fields being disciplined, ostracized and loosing their jobs because they support IDT not six day creationism or creationism of any kind. An infinite universe where matter is neither created nor destroyed is compatible with IDT.

  36. Well, all of us can now e-mail him ourselves since mentok was so kind to provide his e-mail to us.

    We can then invite him here to UD to be set straight. :-)

    The one person who might actually hold sway might be a fellow journalist like Denyse O’leary…

  37. What are the odds that some of these ridiculous, demeaning articles are orchestrated from NCSE?

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