In Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism Michelle Goldberg discusses a document called “The Wedge Strategy,” a five year plan for attacking evolution and pushing (so-called) intelligent design. She writes:
The plan, then, is to undermine the Enlightenment conception of the physical world as a prelude to undermining the Enlightenment’s social legacies. What the authors of “The Wedge Strategy” want to discredit isn’t just Charles Darwin–it’s the very idea that truth can be ascertained without reference to the divine. Religious law makes much more sense when religion is seen as the foundation of reality.
Well, this strategy is back in the form of a new movie moderated by Ben Stein called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This seems to be in line with Pamela Winnick’s A Jealous God: Science’s Attack on Religion, which attempts to show how biotech companies and powerful lobbies associated with the same have mounted a distorted attack on religious groups from the Catholic church to the Evangelicals (the argument is something like this: religion’s resistance to things like stem cell research, cloning, etc., have frustrated private labs obsessed with profits). I’m sorry, but I don’t quite buy into the idea that design theorists are anything but a representation of “alternative experts.” Nor, am I sure why design theory is once again making the rounds masquerading as a legitimate scientific theory. Election year?
Many on the design side like to point to the experiment at MIT from the 60’s in which one mathematician dryly noted that a whirlwind whipping through a junkyard would stand a better chance of spontaneously assembling a 747 than the current state of life on the planet having come about through Darwinian mechanism. They go on to suggest that Darwinism has been unable to come up with answers to problems like homologous structures and disjunctions, point mutations and their survival value, amino acid sequences that lead to no evolutionary sequence across phyla (claiming that microevolution is at best a fairytale), and oddest of all, gesture to the “huge gaps” in the fossil record (Err….really?) and love to gesture to all of this as so-called irreducible complexity (as if complexity is enough to drive a wedge into Darwinism and make a case for a designer). Finally, proponents of design like to suggest that we have no idea how life began and suggest that evolutionary biology’s best response so far has been the punctuated equilibirium theory, which is a failure because it is much more descriptive than explanatory. The fact is that we can duplicate evolution in a high school science classroom in a glass jar! Now, it would be good to have a bunch of “science smarties” go at it and talk about this stuff, which on the face of it seems to be independent from religion or concepts of God (as far as I can tell they tend to sneak all that in later). Yet, according to a review I came across not only does the film do none of this it even goes so far as to suggest that evolutionary biology makes us more likely to give into totalitarianism. Spooky! For some reason though I’m quite looking forward to watching what seems to be a disaster of a documentary. Read the full review below the fold:
“This is not a religious argument,” asserts Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman in conservative Hollywood gadfly Ben Stein’s new anti-science propaganda film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The movie opens this Friday in 1,100 theaters, the largest theatrical release ever for a documentary, according to Expelled‘s producers. The movie’s basic point? To quote a transcript from a Rush Limbaugh show posted to the movie’s offical website: “Darwinism has taken root, taken hold at every major intellectual institution around the world in Western Society, from Great Britain to the United States, you name it. Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God.” Continue reading