Friday, April 18, 2008

Faith Some More

If you're lucky, you've missed the commercials for a new documentary called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

It hits theaters today and features Ben Stein playing a sort of mischievous, Michael Mooresque troublemaker out to take on the system that's trying hide the truth from you.

And what truth is that, exactly?

That so-called Intelligent Design belongs in the science classroom.

The fact that Ben Stein is being cast as an insurgent -- a man whose last act of rebellion involved choosing Yale over Princeton -- is hilarious in and of itself, although not surprising, considering the tone that the movie wants to hit.

But Expelled retreads a lot of all-too-familiar territory, and most of that territory is covered in knee-deep bullshit.

My latest column for the Huffington Post cuts through it.

Please -- you read.

(The Huffington Post: He Blinded Me Without Science)


Donal said...

Ben Stein is an interesting case. He showed great breadth of knowledge and was hard to beat on his game show. A few years ago he did a ridiculous ode to his Cadillac on CBS Sunday Morning. He was clearly an apologist for the free market and those that became rich therefrom, but lately he seemed to be positioning himself as some sort of voice of the common man, or at least the upper middle class common man. And now I guess he's trying to speak for the upper middle class religious man.

Prophet of Ra said...

If the "intelligent design theory" is correct, then museums are full of God's mistakes.

Anonymous said...

What if you're wrong?

Anonymous said...

Digg It!

Anonymous said...

Chez, for some odd reason Stein wants to remind the world that amongst all his jobs he is a Republican and now, a social conversative to boot

Paul said...

"Don't try to keep me down with your, your gavity man."...quote of the year!

Jayne said...

This is one of my favorite comments on HuffPo:

"Ben Stein is like the Geico lizard--annoying and ubiquitous."

Anonymous said...

Why do you corral Christians in such a rigid way?

...just because Ben Stein says these things about ID and Christians - that does not mean "we" all feel the same!

And... I don't think you should call the incestuous cult of Warren Jeffs in Texas "Christian." They are as close to Christian as David Koresh's group and Rev. Jim Jones group. (I don't appreciate being in the same pen.)

I was raised Catholic, and the label no longer fits me either, but I will not attack their pope or their ways. I would be doing to them what was done to me.

You are such a great writer... why don't you retract your claws and the attacks and go deeper to the real issues. Why are you so offened by Christian beliefs? What do they have to do with you (you know - to each his own)? Your points may be valid, but I want to know where you are coming from. You show such a soft side in some of your writing and then a cold and calloused side... Where or who is the real Chez? Show me - tell me what made you such a wonderful and loving atheist?

Chez said...

Oh, for fuck's sake...

Deacon Blue said...

You know, I'm a Christian who believes in an intelligence behind the design of the universe, but I'm not all that jazzed by having it taught in the classroom. Because there isn't a solid foundation on which to teach it that is respectful of all the students and the wide range of beliefs. Evolution has plenty of holes too, as a comprehensive and unifying theory that is, but evolution does exist as the foundation for the way animals and humans move forward.

What troubles me more about the schools is the way that curricula leave out things that are much more critical...such as the dark side of colonialism (Native Americans, slavery, etc.) that get glossed over, and the focus on standardized testing and slashing of arts education, just to name a few.

Also, I get a little ticked off when schools try to undermine parents who are raising kids with a religious foundation or cherished cultural traditions. I don't think that religion should be taught in public schools but neither do I want to see schools virtually endorsing some things that parents are, at home, telling their children is not appropriate.

Schools are not an appropriate place to talk about intelligent design, and they are ALSO not the place where children should be given their moral compass.

Paul said...

I feel like a comment from Chez's evil twin Garth is needed

slouchmonkey said...

Chez? Why ARE you so offened by Christian beliefs? Please. Please tell us.

VOTAR said...

Yeah Chez you poopy face, I'm gonna send my invisible make-believe magic cloud man (who is different from, superior to, and not to be confused with the obviously non-existent FLDS invisible make-believe magic cloud man) to go beat up your evil, anti- invisible make-believe magic cloud man!

But later, cuz now it's time for Sunny Delite, a diaper change, and a nap.

Doo doo head.

sparksinner said...

I read I read. Is very good.

Amen, Chez.

Riles said...

Nice article(s) Chez.

What's amazing to me is that people actually argue about such things that you can't prove either way. I mean, what will winning the argument of Evolution vs. ID do for someone? What the fuck does it matter? Everyone believe what you will, stop pushing your beliefs onto others, and go on with your lives.

BV said...

But, but...if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

It's too bad they didn't teach magic in school or I might be able to grasp ID, as it was they only taught abstinence and now I have a tight grasp on VD.

Janean said...

First of all, I am wondering why Ben Stein is "famous" exactly. I can't figure that one out.

Whenever I hear anything about this topic I automatically picture the pastor of the church I grew up in stating in a righteously outraged tone "I didn't come from no monkey!" Ugh. I remember all the ranting about how we were all being persecuted because the teachers were teaching evil satanic theories in the classrooms, and children weren't even allowed to pray in school (because you know, kids are just dying to say prayers in school all the time). I don't think the poor dummy ever even knew what evolution actually means. He just knew that somebody told him this here feller named Darwin said there weren't no God and we come from monkeys. I am getting depressed now thinking about it; I am surrounded down here by people whose knowledge of scientific theory could pretty much be summed up by the previous sentence. This is why I am becoming more and more embarrassed to say I have any religious beliefs at all, and I cringe when I try to type anything resembling "I'm a christian......kind of...maybe..not exactly"

But I am struggling to figure out why these two ideas must absolutely be in direct opposition to each other in the first place. If you believe in a god and learn evolutionary theory, then evolution would just be viewed as a process your Supreme Being of Choice inserted into his/her/their creation I should think .
I think the idea that a god created life that would fight so hard to survive it would adapt and alter itself based on its environment is a much more miraculous and wondrous thought than the idea of a giant being creating everything with some supernatural modeling clay.

In any case, I don't think the science behind how something occurred should have anything to do with differing religious views as to who may or may not be behind it all. I find it amusing that people want teachers to tell their children about "God". They'd love that for all of two seconds. Right to the point that the teacher's version of who or what that might be differed slightly from theirs.

Their idea of persecution is not being able to force everyone else to believe the same thing they do, and I think it's because deep inside they don't believe it either. If other people are allowed to have other ideas they might have to accept the fact that they could be wrong about it all. Personally it makes me feel angry; I used to get upset and defensive when someone made fun of christianity, but very recently I've even gotten to the point that I'm so sick of this mentality I can't stand christians anymore myself. So I can only imagine how someone who doesn't believe in any god at all must feel about them at this point!

Peter L. Winkler said...

Your review at HuffPo was great.

BTW, the people who made this film obviously didn't realize that their title is also the transitive form for the verb describing the act of evacuating one's bowels, thereby providing a perfect one-word review of their own film.

Anonymous said...

Chez, if you haven't seen the Richard Dawkins rap, check it out:

Deacon Blue said...

@ Jenean:

It doesn't disturb me when people criticize any or all of the beliefs of Christianity...but I DO get concerned when people start slamming Christians as a whole.

You said:

"...recently I've even gotten to the point that I'm so sick of this mentality I can't stand christians anymore myself."

Not all Christians are the same. Not all Blacks are the Same. Nor Jews. Nor Hispanics. Nor Muslims. Nor Arabs. Nor Maori. Nor redheads. Nor blondes. Etc. Etc.

If I recall, Cez's Huffington Post article mentions how he thinks it's ridiculous that Christians feel persecuted. And yet a comment like yours is a sign of how subtle and pervasive persecution of any group can be.

Are Christians being hunted down or prevented from their worship and beliefs? No.

But look at society and how increasingly secular it has become and you can see how religion (not just Christianity) is whittled away. To an atheist, that is often a good sign. To those of faith, it is not.

You say you are having trouble "standing" Christians. Well, I would argue that many people who truly believe in the tenents of Christianity don't want anyone indoctrinated any more than you do. And I think you will also find that many people who call themselves Christians really don't practice anything related to Christianity in their hearts or their daily actions.

BTW, I'm not offended by your statement. And maybe it's not even exactly what you meant. But it does make me sad to see anyone paint an entire large group of people into such a narrow slice of perceived reality. How are we to get along as people in a society if we relegate any significantly sized group to a "not suitable to deal with" category?

Anonymous said...

Did the intelligent designer that designed the universe evolve from a less intelligent entity or did a super-duper intelligent designer design the intelligent designer that created the universe?