Home » Expelled » John Derbyshire: EXPELLED as “Creationist Porn”

John Derbyshire: EXPELLED as “Creationist Porn”

Back last year I reported on this blog that (go here) that John Derbyshire, despite repeatedly weighing in against intelligent design online and in print, gave no evidence of understanding the topic (to say nothing of doing any first-hand reading in it). Below he weighs in against Ben Stein’s EXPELLED, reviewing the movie despite refusing to see it. Derbyshire’s education, it appears, consists mainly in learning to sneer while striking an erudite pose.

A Blood Libel on Our Civilization — Can I expell Expelled?
John Derbyshire | April 28, 2008 | National Review Online

What on earth has happened to Ben Stein? He and I go back a long way. No, I’ve never met the guy. Back in the 1970s, though, when The American Spectator was in its broadsheet format, I would always turn first to Ben Stein’s diary, which appeared in every issue. He was funny and clever and worldly in a way I liked a lot. The very few times I’ve caught him on-screen, he seems to have had a nice line in deadpan self-deprecation, also something I like. Though I’ve never met him, I know people who know him, and they all speak well of him. Larry Kudlow, whose opinion is worth a dozen average opinions on any topic, thinks the world of Ben.

So what’s going on here with this stupid Expelled movie? No, I haven’t seen the dang thing. I’ve been reading about it steadily for weeks now though, both pro (including the pieces by David Klinghoffer and Dave Berg on National Review Online) and con, and I can’t believe it would yield up many surprises on an actual viewing. It’s pretty plain that the thing is creationist porn, propaganda for ignorance and obscurantism. How could a guy like this do a thing like that?

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31 Responses to John Derbyshire: EXPELLED as “Creationist Porn”

  1. Is this a new newspaper methodology that I’m unaware of? I thought it was assumed that movie reviewers should have seen the movie first.

  2. When talking about the creationists to people who don’t follow these controversies closely…

    Which is to say, “when John Derbyshire talks to himself”.

  3. I thought it was assumed that movie reviewers should have seen the movie first.

    I can understand, perhaps, the temptation not to actually read hundreds of pages before reviewing a book. But how hard is it to sit down for 90 minutes in a plush stadium seat with a bag of popcorn before accepting money to critique a movie? John Derbyshire is willfully ignorant and he’s ripping off whomever paid him for the review. (And I am a political Conservative who reades National Review.)

  4. “Creationist porn”? Were the scientists all naked when they were interviewed? LOL!

  5. Derbyshire is embarrassingly incompetent as regards science and philosophy. He pretty much just parrots NCSE talking points and NCSE is as propagandistic as Goebbels ever dreamed of being. When it comes to evolution, Derbyshire’s motor neurons control his pen so that his brain is totally bypassed.

    It’s very sad.

  6. Derbyshire reminds me of me when I was convinced that any dissent from Darwinian orthodoxy was a sign of hideous scientific ignorance. Such being the case, there is no need to consider evidence, or to watch a movie, because one is so pre-enlightened that he knows in advance there cannot possibly be any substance to challenges presented by what must certainly be mindless religious fanatics. By definition, any dissent is an indicator of mindless religious fanaticism.

    The only problem for me was that it turned out I was dead wrong. The “science” in which I put so much trust and faith turned out to be vacuous at best in defense of the orthodoxy, and orthodoxy-refuting at worst.

    Fortunately, I was challenged by a friend to actually look at the evidence. Everything quickly went downhill from there. :-)

  7. ““Creationist porn”? Were the scientists all naked when they were interviewed? LOL!”

    Depends how far you want to take the Emperor has no clothes analogy I guess.

  8. My friends call me Gloppy. You can call me Galapagos.

    In calling Expelled “Creationist Porn,” John Derbyshire has plagiarized Professor Richard Knuther plain and simple. Look HERE. We even have “Thought porn” coffee cups for crying out loud.

    I am encouraging Knute to engage Yoko’s attorneys and seek material damages. This blatant phrase stealing is costing us revenue in mug sales.

    Galapagos (Mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!) Finch.

  9. ““Creationist porn”? Were the scientists all naked when they were interviewed? LOL!”

    That will be in the sequel: Darwinists get tricked into wrestling in the nude for a documentary, then complain about it on their blogs.

  10. There is nothing surprising about the fact that John Derbyshire doesn’t like ID. His mathematical books show that he is attracted to beautiful theories. Evolution is a beautiful construct (comparable in its simplicity and elegance to the Copernican system or the laws of electromagnetism) while ID is not a beautiful theory.

  11. The word “porn” is being used as if the writers are uneducated. To use a word like that to describe a movie like Expelled is esoteric at best and in truth just plain stupid. Porn means artistic portrayals of “exposed” people. If by “porn” he means Expelled EXPOSED the behind the curtain bigoted politics that permeates all throughout the mainstream so called “secular sciences” and public education then in that case yes… Expelled was some class A porn and I’m darn proud of it. ;)

  12. 12

    I’ve purchased and read a good twenty or so books over the last ten years as a result of John Derbyshire’s book reviews. Books on culture, science and politics. He is generally a strong skeptic of our established notions, popular conceptions and very willing to question various dogmas. Specifically, his writing on China and his two popular books on mathematics are truly brilliant. Like Derbyshire, my undergrad degree is in mathematics. Also like me, he is a do-it-yourself home remodeler and we even both married Asian women with common family activities. I could go on and on with other similarities. I have exchanged many pleasant emails with him for the past few years. I really like the guy and am happy he chose to immigrate to our country and become an American.

    So, his rants about anybody who might critique Darwin have always perplexed me. I thought it be a psychic tic of some kind. And now, this latest thing he has written at NRO is so truly weird and paranoid I really am absolutely puzzled by him. There must be something so basic about him and his understanding of the Western Civilization that he claims to defend that I am unable to fathom. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything in National Review that could be called a “screed” until I saw what John wrote today.

    Just when you think you understand somebody some part of them turns out to be a complete nut-ball.

  13. Stuart,

    He probably just listens to CNN and NPR and thinks deep down that they are in the business of telling the truth.

  14. Please don’t judge Mr. Derbyshire on this topic; he’s as irrational as my husband is when confronted with the Church.

    Either he–or his editors– should have enough sense to keep him from commenting on it, but he really is generally a very smart man.

    His brain just turns off when it hits this subject.

  15. The darwinians need to relax. Once they’ve at least tried to understand the issues raised in this “creationist porn” then they are free, if they choose, to go back to their usual porn with undirected, random and just-so storylines.

  16. He probably just listens to CNN and NPR and thinks deep down that they are in the business of telling the truth.

    Seems unlikely since he writes regularly for a Conservative opinion magazine. Like Stuart said, he seems rational on every other topic. Its just this thing that seems to make him weird.

  17. John Derbyshire?

    What’s a John Derbyshire?

  18. A “John Derbyshire” is a place, like a “Jacques,” that even the fools of Arden are somewhat abashed to mention in public. Hence the popular rhyme:

    Good John Derbyshire!
    Great movements he doth inspire.
    Those seeking relief
    Salute him as Chief
    When their situation is dire.

  19. 19

    John’s review is simply inconceivable. Is there any angle that wasn’t used? Any slime left in the bucket? Was anything left out? Was he able to work in the “Chinese Creationist” somewhere?

    Could anyone sound more stupid and uninformed that John Derbyshire?

  20. “No, I haven’t seen the dang thing.”

    Ooooooookay….

    Why was anyone supposed to finish reading this article?

    Anyone?

    Anyone???

  21. 21
    irreducible_complacency

    I completely agree with your analysis. Just like I think that people who do not vote should not complian, women who have not had abortions should keep their mouths shut about those who have, when my 2 year old says she doesn’t like broccoli when she has not tried it etc. If you can’t walk the walk don’t talk the talk.

    What will Derbyshire say when we get some solid experimental results supporting ID? I have often wondered who will be the first on the bandwagon.

    PS Galapogos I find it hilarious that Derbyshire is just a plagiarizer but I am hesitant to throw the word ‘porn’ around too much, I’m afraid it might tempt younger people to try it and that is not a good idea in our culture. Just witness the Miley Cyrus debacle and then tell me that it’s ok to joke about porn.

  22. Derbyshire displays an infamy of invective, vitriol and ad hominem attack. Underlying his spout is a materialistic or philosophical naturalism worldview. His sole moral base is the Darwinian Might Makes Right (aka “Survival Of the Fittest”). His effort is a prime example of the corrosive impact of Darwinism on culture.

    Derbyshire advocates the polar opposite of the foundations of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence appealed to The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, and to the Supreme Judge of the whole world.

    For his diatribe, Derbyshire cannot appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world for “the rectitude” of his ways. Yet one day he will have to answer to that Judge.

  23. Me thinks ID—what could be more “conservative”?—will eventually divide the conservative camp, and probably draw in a few liberals (which after all is part of the normal process of maturation). According to Wikipedia our hero here would seem to be rather far left of center stage:

    Derbyshire has differed from his fellow writers at National Review on important subjects. For example, Derbyshire supported Michael Schiavo’s position in the Terri Schiavo case, showed sympathy for class-warfare themes in movies such as Titanic … is pro-choice on abortion, supports euthanasia in a fairly wide range of circumstances, and ….

  24. Carl 10 suggests Derbyshire thinks Darwin’s fog is beautiful in the way that the laws of physics and mathematics are beautiful. He should talk to David Berlinski.

  25. John Derbyshire is a crank.

    The important thing here is that the mainstream, whom Expelled was geared to, seems to have rejected the movie and it’s message.

    I hope I am being premature about the conclusion I have just drawn.

  26. John Derbyshire is apparently a theistic evolutionist though he has apparently given up organized religion. Here is a quote from him about ID:

    “ID is not just lousy science, but lousy religion. I dislike it at least as much for religious as for scientific reasons. I dislike it, in fact, for the same reasons, or at least the same KINDS of reasons, that I dislike the “Left Behind” books & movies, and unbelievers telling me that natural
    disasters like the recent tsunami “prove” the non-existence of God.

    All that kind of thinking trivializes God. It belongs to the category of thinking that A.N. Whitehead called “misplaced concreteness.” It shows a dismal poverty of imagination — reducing the divine to science fiction (or in the case of the “Left Behind” books, to a combination of sci-fi and spy thriller). The ID-ers’ God is a sort of scientist himself, sticking his finger in to make things work when natural laws — His laws! — can’t do the job. Well, if that’s your God, I wish you joy of him. My God is much vaster and stranger than that. Are we the children of God, or the children of Wrath? I think about that a lot; but I am certain, at any rate, that we are not the children of some celestial lab technician.”

    I have seen similar rants against ID on ASA.

  27. John Derbyshire seems like a religious fanatic of the evolution-type.

    Why are the evolutionary sectarians so intolerant compared to other christian and non-christian sects?

    How can you review something you have not seen?

  28. I’d just like to add my voice to those asking how can you be paid to review something that you have not seen! It’s amazing. A fanatic of the worst type?

  29. Creationist porn?

    Now that explains why Derbyshire’s column seems like masturbation.

    Who knew?

  30. Derbyshire is afraid to watch Expelled. He would rather not be challenged on a topic where he is not willing to be wrong.

  31. I posted a link to the latest John Derbyshire comments on Expelled and Ben Stein.

    Here it is in quotes so it does not get caught up in the spam filter.

    “http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NWRmOTU2YzZlN2RhMzhjNzEwNzQ3MzFiZDE2NjM3NWE=”

    Take the quote marks out and post it in your browser.

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