Home » Expelled » Real Christians would not have made the Expelled film, right?

Real Christians would not have made the Expelled film, right?

The essay by Jeffrey Schloss – excerpted in considerable part here - worriting about the “walls” the Expelled documentary is creating is a classic.

Real Christians, presumably, wouldn’t demand an accounting about the rapidly growing evidence against Darwinism and other materialist isms. And real Christians wouldn’t make a film about the people who get Expelled for doing so.

(Of course, all ID sympathizers are Christians, right? Hear that, Ben? David? Gerald?)

Schloss’s essay illustrates the fact that theistic evolutionism (vending Darwin to the masses on behalf of Christ) is dead. Dead because it is a solution to a problem that does not exist any more.

In the twentieth century – a violent, materialist age  -  dogma insisted that life forms do not show evidence of design – Then the theistic evolutionist had a purpose.

But life forms do show evidence of design. And Darwin’s mechanism is not a reasonable explanation for why they do. Nor is any other materialist mechanism. And gradually more and more people know the actual reasons.

The theistic evolutionist can now survive only by justifying (or denying) the Darwinist’s Expulsion of those who accept the evidence. As the Darwinist loses credibility, so does the theistic evolutionist.

I expect that they will go extinct together, but the former will be a magnificent bloody failure and the latter merely an overlong, tendentious footnote.

Also, just up at the Post-Darwinist

Expelling astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez called one of Iowa State University’s missteps

No one makes a big-budget movie about faith-and-science bores

Fun with David Berlinski: The Devil sketches what we do not know

Darwin strikes back: Making intellectual freedom sound scary

Darwin and the Nazis (yes, again, but this is interesting): Nazism as a “biological” political program

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22 Responses to Real Christians would not have made the Expelled film, right?

  1. It’s a shame. Theistic evolution is such a nice tool to wean society from religion. Compare:

    Belief in God (or gods) -> absence/denial of belief.

    Belief in God (or gods) -> Belief in God (or gods) but with the knowledge that He/they weren’t necessary for creation -> absence/denial of belief.

    Why would any real Christian, or any real man or woman make a film to raise awareness about truth and freedom (should they be shielding the debate instead?)? Regardless of religious ties, isn’t truth and freedom a good thing? Isn’t that something that most religions insist on anyway?

  2. “Theistic evolutionism (vending Darwin to the masses on behalf of Christ) is dead because it is a solution to a problem that does not exist any more.”

    Well said Denyse!

  3. Actually, Avonwatches, in my own cultural venue, theistic evolution does not so much wean society from religion as it vends a religion that had little impact on society, except for confusing Christians and preventing them from acting to defend themselves and others.

    Keep in mind, for example, that if theistic evolution meant what it appears to mean, Michael Behe would be the prince of theistic evolutionists (he does not think that design requires acts of creation; he believes that it was all encoded in the Big Bang).

    Yet they revile him.

    Why? Because he thinks that if design is real, then evidence matters.

    To the theistic evolutionist, anything to do with design or purpose (or if you like, God) is mere uncheckable testimonies, tears, and flapdoodle.

    But that is not the universe we are living in, never was, and never will be.

    Whatever is true, that is not.

  4. 4
    Vladimir Krondan

    Theistic evolution is such a nice tool to wean society from religion.

    “Theistic evolution may be described as an anesthetic which deadens the pain while the patient’s religion is being gradually removed”

    - William Jennings Bryan

  5. Michael Behe would be the prince of theistic evolutionists (he does not think that design requires acts of creation; he believes that it was all encoded in the Big Bang).

    Are you sure about that? I thought that was his previous position but currently he believes that a single “act of creation” occurred for the OOL and the majority of modular components were front-loaded.

  6. Actually O’Leary, I hadn’t thought about it like that. I agree, though. It does somewhat nullify the impact of that religion on a person’s life, the same way pure neo-Darwinism does: lessen/wave away God (or gods) -> reduced accountability.

  7. Behe’s position has not changed. He believes that design can be detected, right to the level of events (moon-formation, OOL) and the differentiations between biological classes (and potentially down to genera) and yet be instantiated in the original design event.
    He agrees with the NAS-approved position that the laws of nature could have been fine-tuned by an intelligent agent in a single original act.
    He points out that the theistic evolutionist’s position about God producing the universe in ” ‘a single creative act of HIs will …[and] its natural development by laws implanted by a Creator’ ” is not compatible with the Darwinism they are trying to accommodate.
    In addition:

    There’s no reason that the extended fine-tuning I am presenting here necessarily requires active meddling with nature any more than the fine-tuning of theistic evolution does. One can think the universe is finely tuned toany degree and still conceive that “the universe [originated] by a single creative act” and underwent “it’s natural development by laws implanted in it.” One simply has to envision that the agent who caused the universe was able to specify from the start not only laws but much more.

    231, Edge Of Evolution

  8. Charile I think you are going a bit far. In the Behe quote

    “There’s no reason that the extended fine-tuning I am presenting here necessarily requires active meddling with nature any more than the fine-tuning of theistic evolution does.”

    Behe is talking about fine tuning and theistic evolution logically speaking in the sense that in both views there is “no constant or intervening design going on after the first cause- or what is naturally originally instantiated from the top down plan. He does not hold the theistic evolutionist perspective that most TEs hold which is that Darwinian Evolution is correct and thus God used Darwinian Evolution to make the world. Behe is an advocate of ID and thinks life forms ARE designed. ID is not championed by all or even most of the so called theistic evolutionists. I think that distinction should be made. Theistic evolution is to me a bit of a dirty word- how about “theistic design evolutionist.”

    I have exchanged recent emails with him and asked him tough questions on his position on all of this. I asked him if the designer is in his opinion still intervening and designing through laws- if the universe is front loaded and if the designer can and does on occasion use special design. Behe wrote that he is “agnostic” on these issues. He said there is not enough data yet to discern how the design work is being done. So as far as discerning where the design is going on – Im not sure that would make sense in a law like or front loading design situation. The tools used to detect design of a non-intervening designer are improbability and specificity and such. The Edge of Evolution may not point to a single event as much as an improbable design. Im not sure you can exactly point to the one time and place where the design went on. When we look at body plans and DNA we point to the multitude of specified complexity and when we look at irreducible complex organisms we are actually pointing to ALL of the parts interacting because we don’t know how or when they could have come together.

    Maybe we can point to an exact design point and maybe not but I think Edge of Evolution still works either way.

    If by “theistic evolutionists” you mean theists who also believe in evolution (and I assume you also imply common ancestry) in a loose sense, then I think you are right. But remember ID is not theology- the bible does not lay out what ID is and hence Behe is unique from standard theistic evolutionists in that important sense. Behe does believe in common ancestry.

    He did however say that he personally does not think that aliens could have played a part. Behe thinks the panspermia theory and or direct alien intervention would require too much improbability, too much intelligence and too much intervention to be effective.

  9. Hi Frost,

    He does not hold the theistic evolutionist perspective that most TEs hold which is that Darwinian Evolution is correct and thus God used Darwinian Evolution to make the world.

    Exactly. I think Behe is very clear on this point and of course you are right about his position.
    If oyu think I’ve contradicted this it is because of my own lack of clarity and that ought not reflect upon his.
    As he said, theistic evolutionists are kidding themselves if they think their idea of a designed and purposeful evolution leading to intelligent life is compatible with Darwinism.

    Behe is an advocate of ID and thinks life forms ARE designed. ID is not championed by all or even most of the so called theistic evolutionists. I think that distinction should be made.

    I know. As he said, design is implicated all the way down to biological classes, and maybe further.

    Behe wrote that he is “agnostic” on these issues.

    That’s how I read him in his books. He is always clear that what he is discussing is what the design inference necessarily entails and what can be known from the scientific investigation.

    Maybe we can point to an exact design point and maybe not but I think Edge of Evolution still works either way.

    Me too. Like Dembski, Behe says that ID is not an interventionist theory and does not describe when and where design was realized.

    If by “theistic evolutionists” you mean theists who also believe in evolution (and I assume you also imply common ancestry) in a loose sense, then I think you are right. But remember ID is not theology- the bible does not lay out what ID is and hence Behe is unique from standard theistic evolutionists in that important sense. Behe does believe in common ancestry.

    I’m not quite sure what all you are attributing to me here.
    All I’ve done is answer the question about whether Behe has changed his position on design and the possibility that it was all instantiated at the front end. He hasn’t.
    I don’t see where you and I are not on the exact same page.

  10. 10

    Charlie, I think we are on the exact same page. I was just merely clarifying. I think that I was under the suspicion that you were conflating Behe and general Theistic Evolutionism- You post above lays those concerns to rest. Great post.

  11. Hi Frost,
    Thanks for the chance to clarify and the information about your email exchanges with Behe.

  12. —–O Leary: “Keep in mind, for example, that if theistic evolution meant what it appears to mean, Michael Behe would be the prince of theistic evolutionists (he does not think that design requires acts of creation; he believes that it was all encoded in the Big Bang).”

    Exactly right.

    Theistic evolution is a self contradictory formulation. According to TE’s God stacked the deck so that life would “unfold” through a Darwinian process. In this, they twist the language to fit their twisted logic. Think for a moment about what it means to “unfold”. To unfold is to proceed according to some “internal principle” or plan– to develop along a purposeful pathway with end in mind. An acorn, for example, “unfolds” to become a tree. The process of unfolding is inseparable from teleology. In other words, it knows where it is going.

    But Darwinian evolution does not unfold according to an INTERNAL PRINCIPLE, it adapts randomly to the EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT. It doesn’t know where it is going. Even a preordained fitness function would require some kind of internal principle. According to TE’s, there is no “internal” or teleological principle at all, because that would negate their Darwinian paradigm that rules out teleology apriori. The point is, randomness or chance, cannot “unfold” because it doesn’t know where it is going. For Darwinism, there is no way of knowing the final outcome of the organism, because its fate has been left to chance. Thus, it can’t unfold, because to unfold means that its fate has NOT been left to chance.

    Either an organism’s fate will be determined by the “unfolding” of an internal principle (directed evolution), in which case there is only one possible outcome, or its fate will be determined by chance (Darwinian evolution), in which case there are many possible outcomes. Contrary to the fantasies of theistic evolution, Darwinian evolution cannot “unfold.” They use that word so that they can smuggle in the rhetoric of purpose, while positing a non-purposeful process. It is total schizophrenia.

  13. “I expect that they will go extinct together, but the former will be a magnificent bloody failure and the latter merely an overlong, tendentious footnote.”

    Would you hazard a guess as to when?

  14. StephenB,

    I know we’ve gone over all this between each other before. But I just want to register the usual disagreement – you say that by arguing evolution can be guided by purpose, TEs are displaying a twist of logic and intention, because darwinian evolution can’t have purpose. I’d only say that many TEs only believe that proving front-loaded, ‘by falsification rules’ purpose in evolution isn’t attainable. But it can still be argued, and powerfully so, in philosophy. They’re not making a mistake by arguing evolution has purpose – they are rejecting the smuggled metaphysics so common with the theory. It’s not an accident, it’s purposeful.

    As a side note, let me add: I will say outright one TE at least makes me suspicious: Francisco Ayala. I know he recently has said that one can believe in evolution as a thing planned out by God. But his past writings on the topic show his hand – as far as I’m concerned, they were a clumsy PR attempt that showed his hand, and demonstrated he is downright fearful of the idea of people connecting design with the natural sciences. And I can’t help but think it’s the same kind of fear Dawkins and the rest display, and why they insist that the only Christian view of creation must positively be young earth creationism of the most limited stripe.

    I don’t see the hostility between some TEs and ID as necessary. I think it’s a mistake first and foremost, and that real communication would go a long way towards making them understand each other’s positions – which may have more to do with politics than philosophy or theology.

    I’ve lately seen a lot of talk about conferences or debates between ID proponents and atheists evolution-hawks. I’d really like to see debates between and conferences with ID proponents and TEs.

  15. Nullasalus: For all the many issues that we agree on, and they are many, this is probably the one which will remain the exception. As the pundits used to say, if we agreed about everything, one of us wouldn’t be necessary. So, I accept your objections in the spirit of friendliness and mutual respect.

    I have heard the many ways that TE’s try to make their scheme work, and, for my part, their arguments just don’t hang together. They usually end up saying something to the effect that what seems irrational to us is clear in the mind of God. But that is long way from the classic notion that we are “thinking God’s thoughts after him,” or that God left “clues.” While we will likely remain ignorant of many of life’s mysteries, the universe is still a rational place. Those things that appear to be designed usually are. If, as the TE’s would have us believe, God’s notion of contingency is so different that ours, maybe his idea of law, design, and purpose are different as well. Where would it all end? The thing just doesn’t hang together. The mechanism that drives evolution is either conscious and intentional (design) or it is unconscious and accidental (Darwin). The TE’s can’t have it both ways. If someone can break their code for me, I will be the first to concede the point. Believe it or not, I am a sucker for good argument.

    A great teacher once told me that anyone who truly understands a subject can explain it in such a way that a twelve year old can understand it. I have always found that to be the case, and, whenever possible, I tried to follow that principle when I am teaching. Someone once unwrapped the theory of relativity to me in royally simple terms, and I understood it. To be sure, he left out some of the details, but I got the idea. He knew how to make things simple without being simplistic. Whenever someone keeps adding nuance after nuance to make a case, I start to be suspicious that there is no case to be made. The clues are always there—excessive use of the passive voice—passionate appeals to authority—shameless rewriting of history—and, oh yes, a blatant mischaracterization of their adversaries arguments. This is what I find among the TE’s. Sorry, but, in my judgment, “design by chance” doesn’t work.

  16. StephenB,

    I think one problem here is that, among the TEs, there are guys like Ayala who really confuse the issue. Just like there’s not just one ID view of nature, I don’t think there’s one TE view either. Ken Miller is prominent and hostile – but he also likes to argue that he’s not a TE either. So go figure.

    For my part, the view would be along these lines: I don’t believe that accepting evolution necessitates a belief in true (as in, unknown to God) chance, much less a lack of guidance. The world is not only rational and intelligible (And in a world without design, it’s under no need to be so), but it contains human agents who have had fantastic success with design. Even people who insist on materialism and atheism are placed in the unfortunate position of having to accept that the whole universe as we know it could be the creation of an intelligent being (Nick Bostrom’s simulation theory comes to mind), and guys like Dawkins and Crick accept that some kind of intelligence could even be responsible for our OOL – they just reject God for awkward reasons.

    I also believe that as we understand more about science, even the so-called ‘naturalistic’ mechanisms indicate design. They are elegant pathways to development, and if they arose from a single origin of life, so much more amazing is the design. I believe these pathways, along with design possibilities, should be studied, absorbed, considered, debated, etc. The problem is that, under typical views of science, I don’t think this exploration is the kind that can be falsified in a peer-reviewed paper. We’re not dealing with yet another design or artifact, but ultimate design, design in the most singular and fantastic sense. And the alternative is ‘some chaotic, unguided universe – and coincidentally, it’s a fantastic design mimic’. I believe the alternative explanation is nonsense – but how do you prove one over the other scientifically? I don’t think it’s possible.

    So, I think the argument stays in philosophy and theology. However, I will say in turn that I agree with Dinesh D’Souza in that a lot of philosophical concepts are smuggled in with evolution fairly often. I may have skepticism of design being able to be proven in nature, but I have more skepticism that it’s lack can be demonstrated. And if hypocrites insist on teaching the lack as if it were truth in a science class, then it gives license to include ID alongside it.

  17. Hello nullasalus,

    Do you also comment at Telic Thoughts under the same handle?

    I have been following your comments here and there and I find them to be extremely similar to my own views.

    My only hang up is that I do think that the issue of intelligence and its effects can be examined scientifically — especially since we are now able to artificially simulate intelligence and measure its effects information theoretically and since we can now quantify chance and statistical randomness vs. guiding information in the same manner.

    However, if that were not the case, then yes I would agree with your full comment above.

    I haven’t had time to drop some of my own two “sense” in the blogosphere for a while because of the time constraints of a course that I’m focusing on.

    If possible, I would like to coorespond with you in the future.

  18. nullasalus: Thanks for your thoughtful and courteous comment. It is interesting that we could agree so much in principle and yet fail to find common ground in the application of the principle.

    Clearly, there are no logical problems associated with integrating theism with some non- Darwinian evolutionary paradigms. For all I know, God planted the seeds of evolution and the process unfolded according to his will. I would go even one step further. God can and probably did use some naturalistic, indeed even some contingent processes, to fashion a portion of the universe. It is conceivable to me, for example, that the creator used physical laws that “allowed” snowflakes and moon craters to form, with is another way of saying that they were not designed in an ID sense.

    However, most TE’s insist that God must have created EVERYTHING in this fashion, including the DNA molecule. There is simply no reason to believe that these two kinds of elements (snowflakes vs. DNA molecules) arrived on the scene in exactly the same way. Keep in mind that most TE’s are Christian Darwinists, (Miller included) and yet those two terms (Christianity, Darwinism) are diametrically opposed on the issue of design. Unlike Christianity, which declares design as God’s manifest handiwork, Darwinian science repudiates design, period, relegating it to the status of “illusion.” How, then, does anyone propose that God designed a non-design Darwinian process. If it was designed, then obviously it did not arrive via non-design Darwinian process. If it arrived via a non-design Darwinian process, then it was not designed. How can design be both an illusion and a reality?

    Are these not fair questions? I have often asked them, but I have never received anything close to a reasonable answer from the TE camp. Also, as I have pointed out, Darwinism cannot unfold, because it has no end in mind. Further, I have often asked the question about how a process can be both intentional and unintentional. These are not small objections. When TEs avoid facing them, I have to conclude that they can’t answer them.

    By the way, what is your difficulty with appealing to functionally specified complex information as evidence of design? We find intelligence producing it all the time, and in each case we have confirmed that it was the product of an intelligent agent. It has a definite pattern and a recognizable texture. So, if we find it in nature, and if there is good reason to discount out other possible causes, what is wrong with making a design inference? Granted, we could be wrong, but isn’t it a reasonable explanation, given that the only possible sources can be law, chance, or intelligent agency. Why isn’t a 15 year old ID promise better than a 150 year old Darwinian failure?

  19. CJYman,

    One and the same. I haven’t bumped into another nullasalus yet, but who knows, they may be out there.

    I think human and animal intelligence can be examined, absolutely. And other models of intelligence can be proposed and considered in a theoretical or at least philosophical sense. But at the ultimate level, ‘intelligent ground of all being’, difficulties come in. Even with the findings of QM, I’m not convinced the truly unforeseen/’chance’ must exist to such a Designer. Or so it seems to me.

    As for corresponding, just pick your place and I’ll talk there. Nice to know others at least come close to how I perceive the issue.

  20. StephenB,

    Well, for one, I’m hesitant to make the case between ‘allowed’ and ‘designed’ from a theistic perspective. A small event may be contingently allowed because it will fan out and have tremendous chaos-theory style effects by design. For all I know, every incident is the stuff of penultimate design.

    Again, if you define evolution as casting all design as illusory, my response is – then that part of the theory is philosophical baggage, and can be discarded. I’ll repudiate such a view on the spot personally, though I only speak for myself (but I imagine many others would argue the same). Design is design, whether contingent or direct, and I regard even a naturalistic explanation for what we see in the world as describing rational methods God may have used. So my response to ‘How can it be both illusion and reality?’ is ‘Because it’s only the latter, not the former.’ Meaningless chance, the lack of intention – that’s the illusion.

    So summed up – if evolution is blind, it’s blind in the way that a hammer and chisel is blind. Those things have no intention, no foresight. But they can be wielded, even created, by an agent who does have intention and foresight.

    As for specified complexity, I don’t understand it enough to repudiate it – I stay out of that arena and am neutral. And I don’t accept every ‘mainstream’ claim of Darwinism either. Philosophically, I think both what we see in nature, coupled with our ability to discover it to begin with, has been steadily increasing the force on the ‘evolution proves atheism’ windpipe for a long time now. That play had more success back when the idea was vague, and made nature look more like a chaotic blob than a very particular, brilliant, efficient, amazing machine. I think from Margulis to Gould to others there are plenty of good scientific issues alive in darwinism, and I absolutely believe the science gets warped to advance a certain view of the world time and again. Just because I think, for philosophical reasons, that only so much design can be tested for in a lab doesn’t mean I have to buy into everything EO Wilson (for example) says.

    Even saying all this, I have strong sympathy for the spirit of ID, certainly the philosophical belief, and even a lot of the criticisms of parts of evolutionary theory. And I’m a fierce critic of people who pawn off evolution as indicating blindness and purposelessness in nature as a scientific truth. I honestly suspect a lot of that attitude was well-poisoning – realizing that someone could take a theistic ‘design’ view of evolution, and it would make vastly more sense than the atheist competitor of ‘All is sprung from meaningless chaos’. So an attempt has been made to try and make evolution something that Christians and other religious will not touch. Which is why the same people who thought YEC was silly and funny went absolutely crazy when Behe and Dembski arrived on the scene. Too close for their comfort.

  21. nullasalus: Thanks again for commenting.

    I have to start winding down, so I will just ask this as a kind of follow up.

    —-Considering your comment, …..”and I regard even a naturalistic explanation for what we see in the world as describing rational methods God may have used.”

    It would help a lot to know what you mean by that. Remember, I am not going to pounce on the answer, I am just tying to understand. How does God USE random variation and natural selection? How can both God and nature both do the selecting? If the variations are random, how can they produce a finished produce that God would have in mind? If they produce the finished product that God had in mind, how can they be random?

    Either an organism’s fate will be determined by the “unfolding” of an internal principle (directed evolution), in which case there is only one possible outcome, or its fate will be determined by random chance (Darwinian evolution), in which case there are many possible outcomes. Do you see my problem here?

  22. StephenB,

    Just wanted to let you know that I have a reply for you, but I think it’s caught up in the filter at the moment. Sorry for the delay.

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