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Author Topic: Ebert's review of "Expelled"  (Read 1778 times)
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Moliere
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« on: December 04, 2008, 02:53:54 PM »

Since the original "Expelled" thread was locked I will start a new one. Roger Ebert posted his review yesterday.

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Farscry
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2008, 04:08:16 PM »

I read the article. Damn. Now I'm curious to watch Stein's film to see for myself just how bad it is. I had no idea he was worse than most of the fundamentalists I've dealt with in my life, and I've dealt with some bad ones (heck, I was once one of them).
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Jaddison
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2008, 04:11:33 PM »

All well and good except Einstein most assuredly believed in God/magic since one of his most famous sayings involves his frustration with quantum physics or at least the implications
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Farscry
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 04:15:35 PM »

Quote from: Jaddison on December 04, 2008, 04:11:33 PM

All well and good except Einstein most assuredly believed in God/magic since one of his most famous sayings involves his frustration with quantum physics or at least the implications

Good point, I forgot that acceptance of the theory of evolution as the most scientifically sound explanation of the origin of species == atheism.

Sorry God, I gotta stop believing in you now. Roll Eyes
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Jeff
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2008, 06:04:07 PM »

Quote from: Farscry on December 04, 2008, 04:15:35 PM

Quote from: Jaddison on December 04, 2008, 04:11:33 PM

All well and good except Einstein most assuredly believed in God/magic since one of his most famous sayings involves his frustration with quantum physics or at least the implications

Good point, I forgot that acceptance of the theory of evolution as the most scientifically sound explanation of the origin of species == atheism.

Sorry God, I gotta stop believing in you now. Roll Eyes

I respect (very much) Farscry, that you can support both belief systems, and that you can handle evolution. That said, I find theism (especially Christianity) and evolution to be strange companions. It seems to me that an all-powerful god, who can do anything (including magic, I suppose), would choose to conduct his creation in a way that has living beings trying desperately to cope in a fairly hostile environment, and who's means of sustenance comes from eating the flesh of other living beings.

Great pain & suffering seems to be built into the evolutionary system.
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Farscry
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2008, 06:38:41 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on December 04, 2008, 06:04:07 PM

I respect (very much) Farscry, that you can support both belief systems, and that you can handle evolution. That said, I find theism (especially Christianity) and evolution to be strange companions. It seems to me that an all-powerful god, who can do anything (including magic, I suppose), would choose to conduct his creation in a way that has living beings trying desperately to cope in a fairly hostile environment, and who's means of sustenance comes from eating the flesh of other living beings.

Great pain & suffering seems to be built into the evolutionary system.

I wouldn't say I'm entirely comfortable in my beliefs, in part because of the classic questions about why, if God is there, so much pain and suffering is allowed to happen in God's creation. Honestly, I have no idea, and it's the source of a lot of my questioning.

I don't have a hard time reconciling science and faith, because I don't think anyone truly understands the nature of God. Heck, even within Christianity (temporarily ignoring all the other faiths that believe in God in some way) just look at the Bible. The concept of God and humanity's understanding of God is quite different between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Seems to me that we're probably just as clueless now as ever, and there's no reason to think there won't be a Third Testament at some point that changes things even more.

If you take the Bible completely literally from cover to cover, there are a lot of contradictions you can find (and yes, I read it that way over the span of a few weeks). There's still an overarching truth behind it, but it's part history, part testimonial, part prophecy, and most frequently an attempt to explain the incomprehensible. slywink

Science is our method of unravelling the mysteries of our universe, mostly the physical ones. I don't see how any of the physical truths of the universe that we learn through science necessarily have any bearing on one's faith. So what if life originated through chemicals and crystals? Cool, I say, that's pretty damn awesome. I love science because I love figuring things out, and learning how things work.

And who knows, maybe there isn't a God. Maybe God really is a construct of humanity's imagining as a way of putting the universe into some sort of context. But I'm pretty convinced on some fundamental level that that's not the case. Maybe it's because I was raised into my faith, but then again, it's not as if I haven't changed (dramatically) from my family's beliefs. My mom and sisters love the Creation Museum and probably think that "eXpelled" is a brilliant scientific rebuttal to nonbelievers. I think they're being willfully ignorant and are allowing their beliefs (and their fervent desire to "prove" their beliefs) to cloud their judgement. I try to remain open to logic and evidence, and then I take the truths that we learn through them and question my beliefs, molding them as necessary based upon what new truths I've learned.

Ben Stein isn't helping anyone here, and I find his attitude insulting.
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Autistic Angel
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2008, 06:45:45 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on December 04, 2008, 06:04:07 PM

Great pain & suffering seems to be built into the evolutionary system.

Great pain & suffering is built into The Sims.  If Will Wright had designed a game where the characters could never starve, get hurt, or experience sadness or loss, would anybody like it?

-Autistic Angel
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Jeff
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2008, 06:57:35 PM »

Quote from: Autistic Angel on December 04, 2008, 06:45:45 PM

Quote from: Jeff Jones on December 04, 2008, 06:04:07 PM

Great pain & suffering seems to be built into the evolutionary system.

Great pain & suffering is built into The Sims.  If Will Wright had designed a game where the characters could never starve, get hurt, or experience sadness or loss, would anybody like it?

-Autistic Angel


I don't know, but I'd like to try. Isn't the goal of Christianity to reach a place where there is no more pain & suffering? AKA their ultimate goal? Not sure how tongue in cheek you meant to be, but are you suggesting that children with cancer and children burning up in house fires, and hundreds of thousands of people drowning in tidal waves are a necessity to make life "interesting"? Just askin'

Farscry, that was a great post. I really respect that, as a Christian, you're willing to at least ask the questions! Most Christians I know wouldn't dare utter the phrase ... 'maybe there isn't a God'. As Bertrand Russell once said: "And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt (or question) His existence."

You also wrote: "I don't see how any of the physical truths of the universe that we learn through science necessarily have any bearing on one's faith."

That may be true. My problem with it is that the physical truths of the universe (as we know them thus far) do not introduce any god or gods to us. If god/gods/God is undetectable, then he's undetectable, period. I ascribe to the Occam's Razor approach, which states that it's best to cut away unnecessary entities. Or better, Wikipedia's explanation:

"The principle (Occam's Razor) states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the explanatory hypothesis or theory."

In my view, introducing a god where there is none detectable, is extemporaneous and unnecessary. It merely pushes the question of existence back one step. (e.g. If 'God' explains the physical universe, how do you explain God?)

Again, very nice post you made above.

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Jaddison
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2008, 07:27:11 PM »

Pain and suffering are required to bring life into the world.  The human race has learned more and advanced due to pain and suffering.

If there is a god one thing that is certain is that it is nearly impossible for us to understand the world as god does.  After all we have come up with religion after religion that says that god requires us to worship and appreciate god...yet if god is really god in terms of love and the universe why would god have human emotions and the need to be validated?

We can only put pain and suffering into our own very prejudiced context with objectivity very difficult to achieve.
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2008, 07:49:05 PM »

You can't have the sweet without the sour.
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2008, 07:59:34 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on December 04, 2008, 06:57:35 PM


Farscry, that was a great post. I really respect that, as a Christian, you're willing to at least ask the questions! Most Christians I know wouldn't dare utter the phrase ... 'maybe there isn't a God'. As Bertrand Russell once said: "And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt (or question) His existence."

Funny, I don't know any Christian's who don't ask those questions.

Quote
That may be true. My problem with it is that the physical truths of the universe (as we know them thus far) do not introduce any god or gods to us. If god/gods/God is undetectable, then he's undetectable, period.


I guess that depends on how you define detectable. I would say he's detectable through our conscience and an underlying morality that puveys everything that science can't explain away by using society as the catch all.


Quote
I ascribe to the Occam's Razor approach, which states that it's best to cut away unnecessary entities.


Again, it defines on how you define unnecessary. If you believe that it's feasible that the universe just appeared out of nowhere out of nothing then God is unnecessary. If you think that such a scenario is beyond unlikely, he's very necessary.


Quote
The human race has learned more and advanced due to pain and suffering.

We've advanced nowhere. The problems mankind has always had mankind still has and will continue to have forever.
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Jeff
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2008, 08:50:09 PM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on December 04, 2008, 07:59:34 PM

I guess that depends on how you define detectable. I would say he's detectable through our conscience and an underlying morality that puveys everything that science can't explain away by using society as the catch all.

If this is true, people are doing a piss-poor job of detecting him, and he's doing a piss-poor job of allowing himself to be detected. Even within Christianity itself, (a religion 2/3 or better of the world does not ascribe to), there are literally tens of thousands of branches of often wildly varying beliefs. Some ascribe deity to Mary, some even take away godship from Jesus. Some believe in a hell, others don't. Biblical interpretation has been all over the chart from one extreme to another.

If inner conscience and underlying morality are the only means of detecting God, then we're in trouble, because it's hard to find even two people who agree what that means. There are millions, if not billions of well-meaning people on this earth who are not finding your version of God with those tools.


Quote
I ascribe to the Occam's Razor approach, which states that it's best to cut away unnecessary entities.


Quote
Again, it defines on how you define unnecessary. If you believe that it's feasible that the universe just appeared out of nowhere out of nothing then God is unnecessary. If you think that such a scenario is beyond unlikely, he's very necessary.

This is, I believe, a false dichotomy. My view of the universe's origin is "I don't know".  Further, there is absolutely nothing in science to suggest that the universe hasn't always been here, at least in a state of singularity (as time, space etc become meaningless in that state). All we know is that there was a big bang and here we are. Before the big bang? who knows.

Theism attributes the pre-big-bang to a god, which answers absolutely nothing. You claim that god becomes a necessity, and I (and Occam's Razor) say that it pushes the question away from you. You are merely exchanging one eternal thing for another. The problem is that it says the universe cannot be eternal, but God gets a pass and is allowed to be.

There is nothing more mind-blowing to me than eternity, and being finite, I realize that it's extremely difficult, if not impossible to grasp the concept, but I refuse to introduce a god to answer a question for the sake of having an answer. I am happy to accept the existence of god (or anything else previously unknown) given proper evidence.

To quote Carl Sagan: "It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is, than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

I'd like to restate my previous thought, that the world as we know it, is not best explained by the Christian god. Far from it. It is an extremely illogical conclusion to an all-powerful, all-knowing, and purportedly all-loving being.

Question: would a perfect god have need of anything?


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Jaddison
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2008, 09:50:02 PM »

Quote
The human race has learned more and advanced due to pain and suffering.

We've advanced nowhere. The problems mankind has always had mankind still has and will continue to have forever.

[/quote]

I guess that depends on what advanced means to you, same with what you define as problems.  As for forever, well that is truly unknowable and unprovable.

I would contend that in almost every area of human endeavor we have come a long way with these being the best days the world has ever seen since humans came on the scene.  Not saying that there are not problems, not that things are perfect.
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Farscry
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2008, 03:16:58 AM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on December 04, 2008, 07:59:34 PM

Quote from: Jeff Jones on December 04, 2008, 06:57:35 PM

The human race has learned more and advanced due to pain and suffering.

We've advanced nowhere. The problems mankind has always had mankind still has and will continue to have forever.


Sadly I do agree with this statement. The core of mankind's problems lies in our greed. If that greed were replaced with caring and generosity wholescale, then most of our species' problems would disappear. Both theists and atheists around the world are guilty of this; it's wrong to point the finger at any one group or individual when our species as a whole demonstrates the behavior.
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Orgull
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2008, 03:15:19 AM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on December 04, 2008, 07:59:34 PM

Quote from: Jeff Jones on December 04, 2008, 06:57:35 PM


Farscry, that was a great post. I really respect that, as a Christian, you're willing to at least ask the questions! Most Christians I know wouldn't dare utter the phrase ... 'maybe there isn't a God'. As Bertrand Russell once said: "And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt (or question) His existence."

Funny, I don't know any Christian's who don't ask those questions.

Then clearly you don't know too many fundamentalist Christians. Try asking a Jehovah's Witness if they've ever dared to think 'maybe there isn't a God'. Fun times guaranteed.
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2008, 11:54:36 AM »

I argue that we have advanced for the better, quite a bit in fact.  The simple reality is that we have, but also that those advancements aren't widespread, nor is it ingrained into the mindset of a majority of the populous.  Because of this, if it isn't maintained, things could collapse back to what they were before.

And by this I don't just mean secular ideals, even though that's what I agree with.

Sorry, but look back through history and at the harsh realities of the past, you'll see that things were much worse.  Sure, the same problems still exist today, but today we are doing things about them and some people have a better life for that, whereas before no one would.

As for expelled, I have to point out to you guys another controversy with the movie.  Specifically how sneaky and underhanded they were about getting the interviews from prominent scientists, skeptics, and others in the humanist movement.  When they contacted the people shown in the movie it was under the name "Crossroads" and the movie was pitched to them as a level headed documentary with a good discussion, even if the film wanted to present a certain view.  They used this false name to get interviews with people who wouldn't do interviews after having been burned by others before.  So after they got the footage they wanted they dropped the name and cut the footage up to try and make these skeptics seem more sinister.

Not only that, when one prominent skeptic came to see an open screening of Expelled, he himself was expelled from the theater before he could see it on orders from one of the movie's producers.  The man had signed up to see it using his own name, with no disguise, and he was amongst a group of similar minded friends.

Expelled is just plain bad on so many levels.

As for the devolving into religious debate.  Well it's important to realize that the movie Expelled does not represent a majority of the religious population.  In fact it's probably just the work of the vocal, and influential few that seek to use religion as a means to gain power.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 12:18:15 PM by Turtle » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2008, 02:22:56 PM »

Excellent post Turtle! So true.

But...

Quote from: Turtle on December 06, 2008, 11:54:36 AM

In fact it's probably just the work of the vocal, and influential few that seek to use religion as a means to gain power.

Isn't that what organized religion is for? A way for a few to control the many? Not faith or belief in itself, just the organization of it.
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2008, 03:50:14 AM »

Not all the time.  Even a small church is an organization unto itself, although I suppose the term organized religion refers mainly to the larger overall hierarchy.  Not all organized religions are out for power, there's quite a few decently large organized religions that don't get involved in politics, and primarily concern themselves with the spiritual side.  Many of these organizations actually help further the secular and humanist goals as it coincides with their own.  Even within the organizations that are facades for power, there are still smaller sub groups that are not involved in its seedier elements.

For example, there were smaller religious organizations that were trying to stop proposition 8 in California.  There have been a surprisingly large amount of religious support against The Discovery Institute (don't be fooled by the name) and its attempts to write intelligent design into school books and policy.  Some of the religious arguments against it range from them already accepting science, to saying that their god and religion should not be forced or sneaked in on others in such a way.  Although clearly it's not as big as support as other larger organizations (and donors) are giving to the other side, it's still important to note this.

I should also add to my previous post that most of the scientists and skeptics interviewed in expelled would have granted them an interview anyway, even if the movie company had come to them and honestly said that they were making a movie that was pro-creationist/ID.  I think all of the skeptics and anti-creationist/ID people interviewed for expelled except 1 or 2 would have gone along with it.

Because of this, it becomes even more clear that the producers of expelled were clearly trying to bait these figures into saying something that they could use.  No doubt they also picked apart anything they filmed to mine for sinister sounding quotes.  I recall one skeptic that had been interviewed was talking about how they chopped down the hour of interview footage they had with him into just a few seconds of a sentence, then they just repeated it over and over to make him sound sinister.

I feel pretty thankful that I was born and raised in a developed nation, and safe area within said nation, with fewer problems and more opportunity than available elsewhere in the world or elsewhere in time.  But, as someone who has read a bit of history, and was educated on some really good writing, I don't see these efforts like the producers of expelled, or the proponents of intelligent design, as simply harmless or just wanting their view.  Instead, I see them as trying, in their own underhanded way, to sway the populous towards the older times and a Theocracy.  Anyone with an inkling of understand of history can see how the big organized religion, or any power base, "expelled" skeptics in some very unpleasant and horrific ways.  So you'll have to forgive me if I don't think basing policy, especially with education, on the scientific method and its results out of line.
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