Home » Expelled » Expelled ten days later … plus other news

Expelled ten days later … plus other news

According to Box Office Mojo, Expelled is estimated to have

- earned $5,282,000 in 10 days.

- it is currently ranked 6th in political documentary, 12th in Christian, and 15th in documentary.

- It is currently ranked 13 in films, but every film ranked above it was released in far more theatres.

Meanwhile, John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, is suing the Expelled filmmakers over their use of his 1971 song Imagine, ranked all time # 3 by Rolling Stone. The producers claim they cited it under fair use for commentary and criticism.

The Expelled producers replied to Ms. Ono, “Let it be,” adding,

Premise did not pursue a license for the song and had no obligation to do so. Unbiased viewers of the film will see that the Imagine clip was used as part of a social commentary in the exercise of free speech. The brief clip – consisting of a mere 10 words – was used to contrast the messages in the documentary and was not used as an endorsement of EXPELLED.

But the irony of this lawsuit was not lost on the film’s star Ben Stein, “So Yoko Ono is suing over the brief Constitutionally protected use of a song that wants us to ‘Imagine no possessions’? Maybe instead of wasting everyone’s time trying to silence a documentary she should give the song to the world for free? After all, ‘imagine all the people sharing all the world…You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the World can live as one.’”

John P. Meyer at Pegasus News thinks, as I do, that

Frankly, it looks like the instigators of the lawsuit are playing right into the hands of the filmmakers, who’re naturally (and in time-honored fashion) taking the approach that “all publicity is good publicity.”

Apparently, Ms. Ono is trying to stop the distribution of Expelled, but there she certainly hasn’t the advantage of originality. At least one group of fans has sent me a message urging that people see the film soon in case she succeeds.

In case she succeeds? Huh, what? I can’t think of a better way to be sure that a billion people see it.

Meanwhile, if you want to hear and see Lennon’s Imagine, go here, and here’s Lennon with the other Beatles, in Let it be.

Also: Just up at The Post-Darwinist

Darwin dating: Only a Darwinist would think of something this vulgar (honestly!)

US politics: Churches should holler for Jesus and schools should indoctrinate Darwin?

The miracle of the disappearing prof: St. Charles Darwin’s fanatics make Prof. Nancy Bryson disappear

Blogging: Crocodile, crocodile, cry me some tears (The circulation-bleeding New York Times feels sorry for people like me. Yeah really.)

Blog seeks the firing of Baylor U’s anti-ID president

Darwinism and atheism: No connection whatever?

Expelled: Did Darwin really lead to Hitler? Better question: Did the suggestion lead to free publicity?

A kind correspondent wants to know why I am not in Expelled (“Well, for one thing, I wasn’t kicked out of anything for making the intelligent design controversy my major beat. Oh sure, people laughed at me in 2001 when I said it would be one of the biggest stories of the decade by mid-decade.”)

Reasons to Believe: Reasons to Believe: Old Earth Creation ministry thumbs down on Expelled film – claims there is no persecution of ID theorists

New for blogroll: Atheism is dead

Just up at The Mindful Hack

Things we know but cannot prove: Another nail in the coffin of materialism.

Excerpt: “We are at an undisputed edge of naturalism in computing and math. There is no TOE. Does science have a TOE? If so, will we ever know we are at the edge?”

The fours be with you! (You will be “fours”ed to cooperate with this words/numbers game. (Hey, it’s Friday night!)

Altruism: Why it can’t really exist but why it does anyway

Evolutionary psychology: Eliot Spitzer is a kludgebrain!, psychologist opines (but so are we all)

Mind and medicine: The placebo effect – Did your doctor just prescribe you a quarter teaspoon of coloured sugar? Maybe …

Materialism: When the store is on fire, hold a fire sale:
Excerpt: So this is the latest pseudo-explanation of the soul? I could do better myself! How about this: Minds that are accustomed to think in terms of a future have difficulty grasping the idea that there is no future after death.

Way simpler, to be sure, but materialists wouldn’t buy it because I forgot to drag in the Paleolithic cave guys telling stories around the fireside – the staple of evolutionary psychology.

Fitna: A thoughtful Muslim’s response The predicted riots largely didn’t happen, but where to go from here?
Excerpt: And while we are here: Dial-a-mob/rent-a-riot behaviour is NOT copyright to Middle Eastern Muslims. I ran into the same thing among the American Ivy League elite in May 2005, when the New York Times bungled a story I broke on my other blog, The Post-Darwinist, claiming that a film about to be shown at the Smithsonian was “anti-evolution.” It wasn’t; it did not even address the subject. But zillions of Darwinbots, as I called them, behaved exactly as if it had. It’s a good thing that no one gives them sharp objects to play with.

Rupert Sheldrake’s guide to New Atheism (which makes it sound like New Coke, really)

Can a transplanted heart lead to transplanted thoughts? Well, maybe, but the mechanism might be fairly conventional.

Why science without God destroys itself: Because the alternative idea of a multiverse is a step into magic, that’s why

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61 Responses to Expelled ten days later … plus other news

  1. It boggles my mind how anyone could categorize “Expelled” as a “flop.” A documentary debuting in the top 10 is hardly a flop!

  2. I personally have a great deal of respect for Hugh Ross and RTB. It sounds like they don’t dispute that some Christians have been treated unfairly. My guess is that they just want to avoid controversy as that could take away from from what they are trying to accomplish.

  3. Hugh Ross… That’s the final straw for me. He just moved from being someone I have ignored to be someone I am going to warn people about.

  4. C_G_K – 2, I wish I could be as charitable in this matter as your comment offers to be, but unfortunately, the press release explicitly says “In Reasons To Believe’s interaction with professional scientists, scientific institutions, universities, and publishers of scientific journals we have encountered no significant evidence of censorship, blackballing, or disrespect.”

    If so, that is because their “creation model” is completely irrelevant to science*, unlike fellow astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez’s “galactic habitable zone” hypothesis, which is entirely testable and falsifiable – and THAT’S the problem with it. Win or lose, it’s still science based on ID assumptions.

    The conflict from which Hugh Ross and his team have chosen to be absent is primarily between people for whom science exists to defend materialism – no matter how ridiculous its theories, as Lewontin has so usefully pointed out – and people for whom evidence trumps theory In other words, Darwin fans vs. ID theorists.

    The conflict is secondarily between people for whom science faculties are a tax-subsized private playground for materialist atheists and people who want to restore academic freedom of enquiry for all scholars whose research produces results -like Gonzalez, for example. Again, a conflict between Darwin fans and ID theorists.

    *completely irrelevant to science? – If your answer to the question “How did life begin?” is that God zapped it into existence (RtB’s view, I gather), then the origin of life is not researchable. That’s because the key actions take place in a zone we cannot research.

    If, however, you are an ID theorist, you might say “The origin of life shows evidence of design rather than chance.” That doesn’t mean it cannot be researched. It can be researched in depth. But the purpose of the research is to reconstruct a series of designed events, not to come up with a scenario about how it might all have happened by chance. The ID theorist sees such fantastically improbable scenarios as a waste of time compared to backward engineering the design.

    In other words, studying the cell becomes more like studying ancient manuscripts to reconstruct the history of a civilization. We know that the manuscript (and the civilization) didn’t all happen by chance, so we are not looking for some “rainwater dripping from a leaky roof” explanation for the marks on the paper. We are looking for what we can learn from the information they convey.

    Thats the future.

  5. As we have persisted in publicly presenting our testable creation model in the context of the scientific method, we have witnessed an increasing openness on the part of unbelieving scientists to offer their honest and respectful critique.

    thats because Hugh Ross speaks mostly in churches, and makes his living from donations from church people. Lets see him enter the open market of science and try to get funding for his ideas.

    Like Gods ipod, I’m done with this guy…

  6. What do you expect from Hugh Ross? He’s always been one to appease materialists and attack his fellow Christians (see documentation in Refuting Compromise. His latest WFJ attack on Expelled doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s a shame that ID books like Mere Creation included stuff from such a dogmatic old-earther, despite the pretence of not taking a stand on the age of the earth

  7. Jonathan Sarfati: As it is, RTB carries none of my books, including MERE CREATION, which, as you note, has an essay by Hugh. By contrast, I’ve found the Young Earth community much more open and inviting.

  8. Bill I am excited for Stephen’s new book The DNA Enigma. I trust you two are working together? I know that you and Behe worked together on Edge of Evolution and being that your all brothers at the DI I figure as much with Stephen’s.

    Also, for what its worth I REALLY loved your book NFL. It really describes the the problem with DE. DE seems, through the icon of common descent, to be so simple and thus so true but NFL seems so simple and so true as well. It is very theory that begs the sythetic explanation.

    One of the two theories has to be wrong and like Maxwell and Newton there will be a final round. I think we will find that DE cant be purchased without “that fancy stuff.” Who knows who the Einstein of origin science will be. One thing is for sure the punctuation of that final theory will be the most profound ever. The only question reamins will anyone accept it?

  9. This is quite amusing: “Circling the Paradigm: Protecting the Theory at Any Cost” The author doesn’t appear to be an ID supporter or creationist, but he has fun with the just-so stories that evolutionists tell:

    I once asked a list of ardent evolutionists why humans, in evolving from lower primates, had largely lost their sense of smell. Their answer was in two parts.

    First, men evolved an upright posture, and evolved it in the savanna, where the comparatively unobstructed terrain allowed them to see all around them. They therefore did not need a sense of smell. This makes no sense. At night it obviously would be useful to know when predators were about. Lions are astute at using cover to approach their prey, and are the color of dirt. Horses, which have eyes at about the height of a man’s, and have good eyesight, also have an acute sense of smell. The upright-posture stuff is sheer story-telling.

  10. Horses, which have eyes at about the height of a man’s, and have good eyesight, also have an acute sense of smell.

    Haven’t seen many horses, have you? As a horse owner, I can tell you that they spend most of their time with their noses less than an inch from the ground.

  11. In a six state exit poll of 1,100 viewers, 96 percent said they’d recommend Expelled. See: Intelligent design documentary creates stir Dallas Morning News 12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, April 27, 2008

  12. “96 percent said they’d recommend Expelled” Yet on boxofficemojo.com 33% gave it an F. This would indicate that about 30% of boxofficemojo.com voters never saw the movie.

  13. At a friend’s request I attended a Hugh Ross presentation at Florida Institute of Technology on April 9 & 11. During his presentation he bashed Expelled, stating that RtB felt that it was insulting to the scientific community (primary objection). (At the time I had not seen the movie. But now that I have, I’d agree it’s insulting toward a very specific subsection of the scientific community, but not as a whole.)

    He also seemed to believe that ID was useless since “we’ve been doing ID all along”. Among several things that I considered incorrect, he stated that major ID proponents (mentioning Bill by name) have refused to state in writing a position on the age of the earth, which I knew to be false (see designinference.com).

    During Q&A I stood up and asked him how he could state that considering that the EF and UPB implicitly presume the standard model in the first place. I also mentioned that Bill had written his position years before, but that he’s willing to openly work with YECs, and that many ID proponents are not Christian in the first place and thus would not be YEC. His response essentially was that he wanted a stronger position taken against YEC. He also wanted ID to broaden its scope and adopt an official model (obviously he’d prefer RtB’s own). I was trying to be polite so I did not argue this point all too much.

    After the presentation I had a chance to talk face-to-face for about 15 minutes. I wanted to understand his position on ID better. I told him my understanding was that ID proponents were focused on stopping the needless division (constructive critiques of hypotheses is another thing entirely) between those who support the general position that Design was involved “some time” after the Big Bang singularity. There needs to be a united front against those who strive to prevent this position from even being considered. We want to stop the persecution, maintain our jobs, and be capable of receiving research funding. Thus we cooperate with those who are willing (including Darwinists, if individuals allow it). Once the basic questions are settled then we’d turn to considering competing hypotheses.

    He stated that the end goals are pretty much the same but his preferred approach is to have an “vigorous open debate in the scientific community” now. So apparently his biggest beef with ID is that he doesn’t like the approach we’re taking. His dislike for YEC is the bone he cannot stop chewing on. Although I didn’t voice it, I also doubt his Creation Model is getting much consideration, so where’s the debate in the first place (other than from YECs, of course).

    Also, in the 2nd presentation I asked him some basic questions related to biology and he couldn’t answer them. I believe that explains his opposition to ID a little better, in my opinion. His position is so very wrapped up in cosmology while ID tends to focus on biology.

    All in all, I don’t understand RtB. I personally highly doubt the earth/universe is 6000-10000 years old but I don’t see a need to be so dogmatic. Why cannot those who disagree work together?

    As it is, RTB carries none of my books, including MERE CREATION, which, as you note, has an essay by Hugh.

    Hugh said to me that you were “personal friends”. That doesn’t sound too friendly to me…

  14. I asked him some basic questions related to biology and he couldn’t answer them.

    he is out of his league here. He doesn’t understand it, and adheres to a “special creation” model. I wish you had had the opportunity to present evidence for common descent to him, as RtB seems to reject CD, in favor of each group being created individually separate and distinct from the others.

    Even though Fuz is a biologist, I think these guys are primarily and Old Earth organization, and their biological knowledge is really poor.

  15. “He also wanted ID to broaden its scope and adopt an official model (obviously he’d prefer RtB’s own).”

    The beauty of ID is that it is a theory of causation, not a theory of origins. However, if ID is correct, any theory of origins which does not take ID into consideration is fundamentally flawed.

  16. Ugh! The pettiness! That’s why I love ID—it’s the greatest thing to come along in my lifetime. Young Earth, Day-Age, Gap-Theory, TE … finally a movement that has gotten it exactly right!

  17. TomRiddle: I am working on understanding “Common Descent” I would like to see the evidence for “Trans-Speciation” or do you mean that species do change, but still retain their Phylum, Genus & Species classification?
    thanks

  18. I for one do not agree with Common Descent. I have suspicions that some do in order to build something of a bridge to the other side.

    I am not a YEC, but I do believe in a specific, very-Genesis-style creation event. It seems rather simple to me. God created life, the cell, dna, the lot, and then using that raw material like a CPU of sorts, powered all life from it, making subtle changes to create massive differences in the end result. In THAT regard you could say we have common descent, but that’s not what’s inferred by the term.

    If everything had common descent, then would not the only real question be how did life begin?

    I can’t see how common descent supports ID theory, quite the opposite.

  19. Well, here is an RTB trained apologist who works very well with the ID movement. My work is in cosmology and sometime this year I will have an essay co-written with William Lane Craig in print in the “Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology”. I have collaborated with Bruce Gordon at the Discovery Institute and we both have a friendly relationship critiquing each other’s work. (He has an essay in a forthcoming book by Eerdmans edited by Fr. Robert Spitzer of Gonzaga University. The subject is the viability of inflationary cosmology)

    I have commented on this site before that one must keep in mind the very different missions of RTB & the ID movement. RTB is first and foremost a ministry with an apologetics mandate. ID is not. There is a consonance of goals, but one should not expect 100% agreement.

  20. He is also deleting statements showing evidence favorable to Expelled.

    Yes, Wikipedia editors are censoring on the topic of Darwinism in general.

    I am not a YEC, but I do believe in a specific, very-Genesis-style creation event.

    You could say the same thing about the notion of the Big Bang, such a singularity sounds a lot like a Genesis style creation event. It’s interesting that although uniformitarian views may be false (We may not be able to decode the past by reading a knowledge of current regularities back into it.) it’s not even really necessary to challenge uniformitarian views to point out the possibility of singularities.

    At some point even ID proponents who accept common descent believe that singularities and creation events of some form took place. Many would say that the origin of Life is a good candidate, yet if they admit that information or language can be input into the system of Nature then there is no longer any reason to exclude the divine Word as a matter of principle, supposedly based on the principles of matter. As the materialist Lewtonin noted, if materialism gives way at any point then at that point the divine foot is in the door. And as Berinksi recently wrote:

    If one is obliged to accept absurdities [based on materialism] for fear of a Divine Foot, imagine what prodigies of effort would be required were the rest of the Divine Torso found wedged at the door and with some justifiable irritation demanding to be let in?(The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinski :9)

  21. I would have seen the movie if it was showing somewhere near me in Northern Idaho. I think a lot of people up here would have too.

  22. Collin
    Try calling your theater and asking for it to be shown.

  23. Florida’s legislation conflict:
    Bill Requires ‘Critical Analysis’ of Evolution

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A requirement for public schools to teach “critical analysis” of evolution, a term used by intelligent design supporters, passed Monday in the Florida House. The issue now returns to the Senate, which already has rejected the House approach and passed a different version.

    Majorities in both chambers, however, agree teachers should not be punished for challenging evolution.

    Opponents may be trying to force differences to prevent the bill from passing.

  24. Gods IPod:

    God created life, the cell, dna, the lot, and then using that raw material like a CPU of sorts, powered all life from it, making subtle changes to create massive differences in the end result. In THAT regard you could say we have common descent, but that’s not what’s inferred by the term.

    As far as I can see, that is exactly what is inferred by the term. If, in a world of all knowledge, my ancestry could be traced back to a microorganism in a distant swamp, I am the product of common descent. Common descent does not imply the mechanism of new information.

    The neo-Darwinian theory suggests that all new information is the result of random events — mostly “errors” or is the product of a mechanims that was developed by such a random system. The neo-Darwinan theory requires universal common descent (well, it could be possible, I suppose, that each of the domains were separate spawnings of life.) However, Universal Common Descent does not require neo-Darwinism. If there is a genetic twiddler that, using foresight, has guided the development of life from amoeba to man, even if the twiddler periodically injected huge chunks of data, if the twiddler twiddled with an existing species to get the new one, rather than creating ex-nihlo, then we have UCD.

    I hold firmly to common descent (I believe that many species were the product of twiddling (natural or supernatural) from previous species. I hold loosely to universal common descent, believing that my ancestry could theoretically be traced back to an amoeba 3.5 billion years ago. I say that I hold this loosely because there seem to be some surprising events that may have required an ex-nihlo rewrite, such as the cambrian explosion. I am by all means not a neo-Darwinist (I believe that the neo-Darwinian orthodoxy with all of its modern variety is still missing a huge chunk — input from an intelligent, foresited agent.

  25. 26

    Okay, I am starting to get conspiracy theories in my head waiting for the weekend box office to come in. What is the delay?

    I tried a few of my studio contacts to get a handle on how the box office “estimate” is derived, but cannot find a consistent methodology, which means it would be arbitrary for any given source.

    I do note that, as far as mojo is concerned, they have given the Expelled the largest drop in week-to-week revenue of any movie in the Top 20, and also of any movie in its second week.

    I don’t buy it, but without a line on the est method, who can say. I know the weekend was slow overall, but still, they gave it a Fri-to-Fri drop of almost 63%. It would seem that a number in the high 40′s low 50′s is more in line with histiorical tracks.

    Tick, Tick, Tick…

  26. Here’s another rant from the conservative columnist of National Review, John Derbyshire….

    http://article.nationalreview......U1YTE5Njk=

    TITLE : A Blood Libel on Our Civilization. Can I expell Expelled

  27. RE:

    ———-
    Florida’s legislation conflict:
    Bill Requires ‘Critical Analysis’ of Evolution
    ————

    I’d prefer legislators to stay out of education altogether. I prefer local school districts to decide what and what not to include in their biology curriculum instead of being dictated upon by some central authority.

  28. Even if the bill passes both the House and Senate in Florida, it could still be vetoed by Governor Crist.

    I find it funny, since my high school biology teacher, who attended a local Methodist church, stood up in class and said, “I don’t know what you believe, whether it’s evolution, creation, or creationism, but this book teaches evolution.” Of course, this was in 1985.

  29. “I have commented on this site before that one must keep in mind the very different missions of RTB & the ID movement. RTB is first and foremost a ministry with an apologetics mandate. ID is not. There is a consonance of goals, but one should not expect 100% agreement.”

    Yes, that much is obvious to me and that is an important distinction. Besides, Ross is an astronomer, so most of his arguments are based on the apparent fine tuning of the universe as evidence of I.D. of the universe. He is less concerned with the evolution debate because that is not his area of expertise.

    Why turn your guns on him when there are people like Dawkins running amok? Seems counter productive to me. I know he has angered YECs. Big deal. Get over it :-)

  30. 31

    Would you folks please stick to acronyms that all of us can understand? RTB, NFL, and DE are not common acronyms. I immediately recognized NFL and finally figured out RTB, but I still don’t know what DE is.

  31. Larry Fafarman
    How about DE=Darwinian Evolution?

  32. 33

    Well, I thought maybe DE meant “developmental evolution,” like in evo-devo, whatever in hell that is.

    I thought Darwinism was commonly abbreviated TE, for theory of evolution.

    And RTB and NFL are not commonly recognized acronyms. I generally avoid acronyms unless they are very common, e.g., ID, or I define them first.

  33. Every time I press a link on Debise’s blog nothing happens. Can anyone explain why?

  34. I thought Darwinism was commonly abbreviated TE, for theory of evolution.

    Around here, that’s usually ToE. NDE is Neo-Darwinian Evolution. TE is Theistic Evolution.

  35. Expelled had a better average per theater take than four of the films above it this weekend:

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/

  36. Larry Farfarman:

    I thought Darwinism was commonly abbreviated TE, for theory of evolution.

    ID is a theory of evolution. Many IDers hold to universal common descent which has been dubbed, “the fact of evolution”. It is for this reason that some have used the acronym IDE — ID evolution. IDs objection is with neo-Darwinism, the hypothesis that all of life arose through non-foresighted variation plus natural selection.

  37. “Every time I press a link on Debise’s blog nothing happens. Can anyone explain why?”

    In my experience, if you are using windows, this is most often caused by some kind of harmful software that has crept onto your computer such as spyware, trojan, etc.

    You might try loading firefox and see if you have any better luck with that.

  38. I just found something over at Richard Dawkins’ site which bears on “Expelled”. It is a description of “The God Delusion”, (which I have not read).

    The author of the article writes that in this book, “Dawkins cites John Lennon’s Imagine to paint the picture of what an atheist world would look like.”

    Now, if this is true, then what is so inappropriate about using a clip of the song in a documentary about atheists? If the most famous atheist in the world refers to the song “Imagine” to illustrate what an atheist world would be like, it is surely appropriate to use the song to illustrate what atheists are aiming for.

    “Fair use” anyone?

  39. Here is the source for what I wrote in #39:

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/.....r-McKnight

  40. Well, as I mentioned above, I found Imagine on YouTube, along with Let It Be.

    Anyone can find out with a touch of a few keys whether something is up on YouTube.

    My guess is that the Expelled team, love ‘em or hate ‘em, are pretty smart. They probably know that Ono has not systematically protected her copyright, but has rather played the queen bee with those who asked her about it. That will probably weaken her case against them. But we’ll see.

    Re links from my site not working, yes, it is a good idea to have Firefox in rerserve even if you prefer Internet Explorer. Whenever that happens to me at any site with either program, I just switch browsers – and it almost always works.

  41. Another browser worth considering is Opera.

  42. Denyse wrote: “Well, as I mentioned above, I found Imagine on YouTube, along with Let It Be.”

    Right. And perhaps the Expelled team can strengthen their case for using the song “Imagine” if they note that a famous atheist like Dawkins cites it as his vision of an atheist paradise. This makes it all the more understandable that the Expelled team would want to use it in a commentary on atheism, and therefore further supports their claim of “fair use” (which is strikingly obvious to my lay legal mind).

  43. For the legal “treasure hunters” out there,
    Google Video includes 4,033 hits for
    ["John Lennon" Imagine]
    (Of which 28 include “copyright”, 289 include “(c)”, and all include ©.)

    Google Scholar lists 2,970 hits for
    {Imagine “John Lennon”}

    A Copernic Professional Agent search with 14 search engines gives 2,606 links. Of those, 29 refer to YouTube.

    Now what are the chances that all those are licensed?

  44. specs:

    “Haven’t seen many horses, have you? As a horse owner, I can tell you that they spend most of their time with their noses less than an inch from the ground.”

    I’ve seen them walk and gallop with heads held high too. So was there any point to this, as opposed to attempted point-scoring?

  45. An obvious parallel: The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud — And Those Who Are Too Fearful to Do So by Lawrence Solomon:

    There is a small and plucky coterie of scientists who, because of their commitment to the facts, are daring to stand up — at great personal cost — against the established global warming myth.
    Solomon explains how Gore and Co. have mounted an all-out campaign against these men, portraying them as hacks bought off by profit-mad oil companies -– or, worse, as global warming “deniers,” a term meant to link them with “Holocaust deniers.” But Solomon knew firsthand from his efforts in the battles over nuclear energy in the 1970s and 1980s that scientists with integrity can hold unconventional and unpopular views, despite the scorn heaped upon them by the establishment. So when the rhetoric began to heat up on the global warming skeptics, he began to look into the claims of the deniers who were being so roundly criticized. In The Deniers he profiles some of the principal dissenters from global warming dogma — all recognized leaders in their fields, with many of them even active in the official body that oversees most of the world’s climate-change research, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

  46. Any conflicts of interest for Gore and global warming?
    Al Gore Investment Body Closes $683M Fund For Environmental Companies

    The investment vehicle headed by Al Gore has closed a new $683m fund to invest in early-stage environmental companies and has mounted a robust defence of green investing.

    The Climate Solutions Fund will be one of the biggest in the growing market for investment funds with an environmental . . .

    Al Gore’s Fund to Close After Attracting $5 Billion (Update1) By Warren Giles

    March 11 (Bloomberg) — Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management Ltd., a fund that invests in companies that follow socially responsible guidelines, plans to close its main Global Equity Fund to new money as assets approach a $5 billion target. . . .

  47. DLH, indeed alGore’s investment fund stands to benefit strongly from government enforcement of greenie laws. This is something that the Leftmedia ignores.

    Another thing ignored is that alGore’s fund really is not all that green! Al Gore’s Inconvenient Stock Portfolio Exposed; SEC Filing Raises Questions About the “Sustainability” of Generation Investment Management’s $438 Million Investment Fund, says JunkScience.com

    (W)ith the exception of General Electric ? which actively lobbies for global warming regulation while its stock significantly underperforms the broad stock market ? GIM’s portfolio doesn’t seem to have anything to do with climate change. Notably absent from GIM’s portfolio are energy and utility companies ? even those that claim they will benefit from global warming regulation. With the exception of GE, corporate members of the pro-global warming regulation lobbying group called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are also missing from GIM’s portfolio.

    “GIM’s portfolio is a run-of-the-mill mix of financial service, healthcare, consumer products, technology and industrial materials companies that hardly seems to live up to Gore’s rhetoric about social and environmental sustainability allegedly driving GIM’s investment choices,” Milloy said.

    “GIM’s investments do not appear to be reducing anyone’s carbon footprint,” said Milloy. “Before falling for GIM’s ‘sustainability’ pitch, investors may want to check out GIM’s portfolio first,” Milloy added.

  48. Particpants and onlookers:

    ALERT!

    Something deeply troubles me on the directions that discussion on Expelled — a long needed expose of massive, institutionalised academic injustice — is being discussed, even here at UD, only 10 days after its release.

    (Notice how we are mostly not discussing the theme of the movie: “Big Science has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom. What they forget is that every generation has its rebel . . . Ben Stein blows the horn on SUPPRESSION.” I believe that is no accident.)

    In the name of too many victims of suppression of the truth and oppression of those who dare to speak today’s real inconvenient truths, I therefore find myself prompted to raise a . . .

    DISTRACTION ALERT!

    For, I beg to remind us all that when one side of an issue stands to lose big-time if the issue on the merits is frankly and seriously faced, it is very tempting to seek to change the subject, in a way that one or both of two things happens.

    Namely,

    [a] people become caught up in the different subject, and/or

    [b] the victim is brought down to the same [im-]moral level as the perpetrator, so that there is a tendency to blame the victim for the crime that victmises him or her.

    The “standard” objectionist rhetorical tactic for that is the use of red herrings as subject-changing distractors that lead out to conveniently set-up strawmen, duly soaked in oil of ad hominem, which are then ignited to hurt the victims further while clouding and poisoning the atmosphere so that a level-headed discussion becomes impossible.

    In this case:

    1 –> Beginning in the weeks leading up to the release of the movie, there was a wave of substantially false allegations of plagiarism. [E.g. the XVIVO -- which turned out to have no standing to sue -- accusation of copying their review of the inner life of the cell, which neatly distracted attention from what was being shown:t he intricately designed organised, functional complexity of the cell.)

    2 --> This served nicely to distract attention from the substantial issue: there is evidence that points strongly to design, save to those who are so committed to not see design that they instantly dismiss it by begging the question on the evidence.

    3 --> Hardly had that false accusation collapsed of its own weight, when we heard the even more astonishingly inappropriate one that Expelled was making unfair use of Mr Lennon's atheism-promoting sing, "Imagine." Excuse me, to cite a short clip from a work of art and point out relevant points on it is classic fair use!

    4 --> Even worse, there have been attempts to raise a "how dare you . . ." accusation against the movie for pointing out a painful but all- too- well- substantiated fact of history, namely, the Nazi aggression and even moreso the resulting holocaust are in significant part specifically rooted in the rise of darwinist thought in Germany over preceding decades.

    5 --> It is also worth noting that it is precisely the same system of thought that -- not only philosophically but historically --reduces mind to matter, and morals to "might makes 'right'" which leads to the repeated breakdown of reason and morality. (Darwin's remarks on 'nobility' notwithstanding. And likewise, sure Luther and other Christians and Christendom have been too often sadly guilty of the worst prejudice, but that is in the teeth of some very specific biblical injunctions, as today's YEC movement has so often, and so commendably reminded us: we are of one blood, as Paul put it in Ac 17, and there is no fundamental difference across sexes and races,a s he reminds us in Gal 3.)

    And, by and large the accusations have worled: tehy have distracted us form vital subjects that address a mortal peril to our civilisation [and probably to our souls as well], and they have persuaded many that the victims are to blame for their suffering. The atmosphere is furether polarised.

    So, let us never forget that rhetoric is the art of persuasion, not that of addressing issues on the substantial merits to lead us towards the truth and the right.

    Then, let us turn back to the real challenge we face, and stands up for the truth and the right on the matter of design and let us respond with bold and presistent courage to the Plato’s Cave-style institutionalised oppression, suppression of truth and persecution of those who have dared dissent from the evolutionary materialist partyline.

    Before it is too late to save our liberties and our civilisation.

    GEM of TKI

  49. Hi Kairosfocus,

    persecution of those who have dared dissent from the evolutionary materialist partyline.

    Presumably you want to replace the evolutionary materialist status quo with a non-materilaist view. I’m interested in how one goes about investigating the non-material?

  50. Uthan:

    Every time you think logically, mathematically, propositionally or morally, you are “investigating the non-material.”

    For that matter, every time you are exercising conscious verbalised choice, like in communicating the above, you are doing something that is patently vastly beyond the reach of matter + energy acting under the influence of chance + necessity only on the gamut of the cosmos.

    For instance, the above post you made comprises 272 ASCII characters.

    That is, it comes out as a functional cell from a config space with 128^272 ~ 1.45*10^573 states, vastly beyond the reach of chance + necessity on the gamut of the cosmos. And yet, instead of being lost in the vastness of a random-walk search from an arbitrary initial point across a contingency space, you easily and simply went to the words of a contextually relevant remark in a known language.

    Mind is radically different from and vastly more potent than matter!

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Cf App 6, the always linked.

  51. PPS: And U, I note that you have not engaged the substantial matter on the merits. Think, please, long and hard, about the implications of that in light of the destructive power of the rhetoric of distraction and polarisation, in a context where an issue of manifest, persistent INJUSTICE is on the table.

  52. 53

    kairosfocus: the argument of improbability doesn’t really apply to sentences formed by people, since we don’t do a random walk across that search space, any more than we do when we look up a word in a dictionary.

    For example, if I want to find ‘god’ in a dictionary, I don’t start at page 1 and go through every single word in the book to find it. If it’s a 1000 page dictionary, I open it about one third of the way in, then look forward or backward. More than once I have even opened it exactly on the page I wanted (how unlikely is that to happen by chance!)

    I can do this because it’s sorted. A random walk on sorted data is not necessary as all the computer pros here will tell you. If you know how it’s sorted, you know how to search for it.

    Similarly, our brains are organised, not random. Whether this has anything to do with a supernatural mind has yet to be seen.

    I’m afraid I can’t see how improbability can ever apply to anything except unknown design, since most outputs of any system can be DEFINED as improbable (this changes depending on what you’re looking for – the chance of a slug leaving a trail across your floor is close to 1, but the possible paths it can take are enormous, and the arrangement of the atoms in the trail even more so). Improbability only comes into the argument when one is trying to rule out natural causes (the more possible causes, the less improbable it is). Once we have ruled out all natural laws, and defined intelligence as being outside them, we have then reduced the problem to one of either intelligent design, or supernatural forces that we do not understand.

    I myself, however, do not yet understand how it is possible to rule out all natural laws, which would require a complete body of science (an impossibility by definition) or an exhaustive algorithmic search, which may be impossible if I understand the works of Goedel and Turing. I hope the Biologic Institute can solve that problem.

  53. Venus:

    I see your:

    the argument of improbability doesn’t really apply to sentences formed by people, since we don’t do a random walk across that search space, any more than we do when we look up a word in a dictionary.

    If you will look more carefully at what I said above [and in the always linked, esp. app 6], you will see that this is EXACTLY what I said — we can do it by intelligence, but chance + necessity acting on matter + energy soon runs out of probabilistic resources. (In short you have made an inadvertent strawman fallacy.]

    And, indeed, our brains are highly organised.

    But, the neurones in that organisation are based on DNA [3 bn bases] and are subject to mechanical necessity and and chance forces, which runs right back into the issue of getting to intelleigently functional states in the scope of the config spaces that soon exponentiate themserlves into being vastly beyond the resources of the cosmos to search by chance + necessity.

    So, absent intelligent direction we have no base to get to intelligent action from brain tissue.

    Again, I excerpt Plantinga:

    . . . evolution is interested (so to speak) only in adaptive behavior, not in true belief. Natural selection doesn’t care what you believe; it is interested only in how you behave. It selects for certain kinds of behavior, those that enhance fitness, which is a measure of the chances that one’s genes are widely represented in the next and subsequent generations . . . But then the fact that we have evolved guarantees at most that we behave in certain ways–ways that contribute to our (or our ancestors’) surviving and reproducing in the environment in which we have developed . . . . there are many belief-desire combinations that will lead to the adaptive action; in many of these combinations, the beliefs are false.

    On the issue of natural regularities, observe: we invoke mechanical necessity to explain just the opposite of high contingency — consistent, repeatable patterns. High contingency in our observaiton traces to chance and/or intelligence. And so that is the challenge: chance or intelligence.

    Of these, chance-based searches as Dembski and Marks have discussed, will onb afverage do no better than random search. it is intelligently supplied active information that gets us to the superior performance we have when we write a sentence etc.

    As to identifying the improbablility of any given microstate, what happens is that we cluster them into observably distinguishable macrostates, and see that the functionally specified information rich ones are exceedingly rare in the config spaces. Cf the always linked app 1 and point 6 to illustrate. (In the case of DNA, for instance, the high probability of a stop codon by chance is a strong guarantor of the rarity of functional states by chance. That holds for OOL and it holds for body-plan level biodiversity.]

    GEM of TKI

  54. 55

    kairosfocus: I see, but I believe you have misread Dr Dembski’s work. The ‘on average’ that Dr Dembski speaks of is not ‘on average most of the time’ but ‘on average over all search spaces’.

    It’s a little hard to explain but I’ll do my best. For any config space there are an infinity of functions that can be used to search it. Some perform better than others – for example, with the dictionary, searching the book at a position determined by alphabet is a lot better than, for example, an evolutionary search which evolves an algorithm to map words to page numbers.

    However, averaged over ALL POSSIBLE DICTIONARY ARRANGEMENTS, the alphabetical search will fail more times than it will succeed and be no better than random chance. That’s what Dr Dembski means (at least, I hope – do correct me if I have made an error).

    It is the same for all algorithms, and has no relevancy to the ability of chance-based searches such as evolution, which perform very well in the search spaces to which they are suited, such as the fitness landscape of nature where the best camouflaged, or the fastest are more fit.

    Because the results of that search are more specified than random chance (there are fewer good solutions than there are bad ones), they are therefore less probable, and this is where the probabilistic resources of, as you call it, chance and necessity come from.

  55. 56
    Keep the Reason

    DLH @ 14

    “He is also deleting statements showing evidence favorable to Expelled.”

    You’re one to talk about censorship! You’ve not allowed a single post I’ve written, and frankly what this does is readily define your morality– that which you insist is unexplained in materialists, but superior in IDers such as yourself.

    This comes across as hypocrisy in the extreme, and while I know you will never let this post through, I challenge you to allow my voice to be heard, or at least contact me at [email protected] and let me know why you have EXPELLED me from discourse here.

  56. Keep the Reason at 56
    You falsely accuse without evidence. I don’t recall deleting any posts of yours (unless a duplicate). On hypocrisy and morality, if the shoe fits, wear it. If you wish to rant into the ether rather than discuss constructively, that can be arranged.
    {PS I haven’t deleted anything since the last change in spam filters.)

  57. I find it ironic that they rank Expelled as #12 in the Christian genre when the main proponent is Ben Stein who is Jewish.

  58. Jerry:

    I find it ironic that they rank Expelled as #12 in the Christian genre when the main proponent is Ben Stein who is Jewish.

    That’s probably because it would hve ranked #2 in the all-time list of top Jewish documentaries, after “The Ten Commandments” with Charleton Heston.

  59. I mean, that’s non-fiction, right?

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