Sonntag, 13. April 2008

The Blatant Insult at the heart of "Expelled"

This post is taken from my journal, using it as a first test, as I am not familiar with blogs just yet.

Sorry, I shall talk about Expelled again.

Harvard, Dembski, and the great Insult of Expelled

There's an awesome video I posted a while ago made by Harvard depicting the inner life of a cell (called "Inner Life" by XVIVO). It's a compromise between biological fact and aesthetics - because if you pictured the cell correctly, you'd not see anything: Cells are PACKED with functional elements, most of all proteins. In order to see something, you just have to leave something out - and make your choice as to what you'll leave in. In short, this video is a selective distortion of reality, and with the deliberate changes made, it bears the unmistakable handwriting of XVIVO.

Expelled took the easy way: It took the Harvard video and made it's own version of it: crappier, recolored, but definitely using the Harvard version as their template. It's actually so much of a bad copy, they have a lawyer, Peter Irons, onto them for plagiarism. The reason this makes me rather angry, because Harvard took lots of time and effort and editing to complete this video - lots of research, paper reading, rendering, designing, etc. ... Being familiar with scientific literature and some computer things, I can barely begin to understand how much work this must have been. So then, some lazy creationists who are already known for not working much (ever saw Intelligent Design proponents who claim they're so scientific creationists do actual research, experiments, etc.? Didn't think you did!), to come along and steal scientific work for a movie that claims that the scientific community consists of censoring, immoral, undermining people who caused the Holocaust (and without even asking permission, which they certainly would not have gotten).

But you know what now REALLY makes me angry?

There are scientists, a good bunch of them, who can reconcile their faith with science, including evolution. Kenneth Miller of Brown University (author of "Finding Darwin's God") is a devoted Roman Catholic, and there are scientists who are preaching at churches in their free time. Even the pope can reconcile his faith with evolution - and when asked where these people are in their 'documentary', not only does producer Mark Mathis say they're not really catholics, as if it was up to him (and not the pope) to decide that, no, he also says they would have "confused the film unnecessarily". The only thing that would have done is destroy the blatant creationist propaganda that scientists necessarily are atheists, nazis, holocaust-causers and immoral killers of freedom of speech. Where in the world would you put religious scientists (the majority of scientists, by the way) when trying to impose this belief onto people?

The Insult

Blatantly: I've had it. I am (almost) a scientists and I am German. I do feel somewhat insulted by this outrageous propaganda of falsely narrowing the nazi regime down to something that has absolutely nothing to do with it.

You don't believe me? Evolution "sort of" has something to do with it? No, it doesn't. Read PZ Myers' account on that: It can't, for the simple reason that evolution merely states that nature does the same thing that men have done for centuries: Breeding. All Darwin said is that nature does it, too, but in a different way. The crucial point is that evolution is a purely. natural. process.

The holocaust has absolutely nothing to do with any natural process. And if you think that the idea that drove Hitler was wiping the earth clean from 'inferior' folk - he didn't need to know a thing about evolution: Every good farmer has, at some point, 'wiped the soil clean' of inferior plants and used the seed of the better ones for next year. It doesn't need Darwin or any sort of evolution or knowledge on evolution to draw sick, immoral conclusions from breeding. In fact, evolution would be a reason against such actions - if you really and honestly thought 'Jews' were inferior, you could lean back and wait for evolution to naturally wipe them off the face of the planet.

Expelled claims pretty much everything about science it is not

Such things as censoring, distorting reality, conspiracies, unwillingness to look into new ideas, immorality, insincerity, uncooperative behavior, irrationality, illogic, etc. etc.... seem to all be things Expelled claims, subtly or not, are widespread among science, despite the fact that science, at the very core, can only function on the very opposite of these things... and are part of the reasons why I love it so much.

Science is transparent, dependent on criticism and on accepting such criticism, and the point is to find out how the real world runs, how things are, and how we can interfere with them for such benefits as curing illnesses and preventing natural disasters - or what we can do to stop ourselves from destroying what we have. Any form of conspiracy, of accepting falsehoods, of allowing lies, etc. would completely undermine the very point of science. In science, liars are exposed, mistakes are pointed out and (hopefully) corrected, through the very way in which science works. Granted, a good cheater might not easily be exposed, but a cheater in science has obviously not understood the point of it.

Science is something I love, for these things among others. And denouncing it to the opposite of everything I love it for is an insult to that love - equally painful to the idea of someone really hurting my loving partner, who has to share my love with science (and willingly does so).

"When you’re in love, you want to tell the world. This book is a personal statement, reflecting my lifelong love affair with science." - Carl Sagan.

That aside: I am a German and a decendent of holocaust-sufferers. My grandfather could barely hear, walk, see and kept spitting up blood because of various bombs exploding around him... he also lost his wife and two children who ran away while he was at war - and his wife married someone else and never contacted him ever again. Yes, my grandfather contributed at the very front to Hitler's advance at the borders - my grandpa who was a loving, good-hearted being who didn't stand against the flow, who didn't cause trouble, and who simply was glad to have a job, given the lack of education that had been granted to him. Even such people share their guilt in Hitler's doings, but even such people have suffered the horrors of war, and even such people had their lives destroyed by it. My grandparents were simple people who wanted their own piece, freedom and happiness. It doesn't excuse their contribution, but at least makes it somewhat understandable - and understandable that asides from very global, humane, moral reasons, I am horrified by this on a personal level.

My grandmother dreamed of being a professional householder, but instead had to work from morning to midnight as a seemstress, always sewing the same damn patterns together to the point where, when passing into old age, she could not unbend her fingers anymore. The reason she ended up where she was is because she had to flee from her home (these days located in Poland), leaving everything behind, fleeing from being in the crossfire of war.

My grandfather eventually became an atheist because of the damn war, saying 'If there was a god, he would not allow such cruelty'...and after seeing that much of this horror was done with the support of religion. My grandmother kept a strong belief, though outside of the church that had taken part in bringing such cruelties to her life.

My point is: I've witnessed just a fraction of the horrors of that war, and I am a scientist... and when Expelled is pointing at my fellow colleagues who've already made their way up the ladder of research, it's pointing at me, too. It's honestly suggesting that I'd willingly and passionately contribute to the very thing that wrecked my grandparents' health and lives and stole my mother's childhood and - involuntarily - her virginity when her grandfather, like many people who had witnessed the war's cruelty and couldn't cope with it - raped her before she could even read.

These things are claimed by creationists, who are the ones who willingly follow the cult that brought us countless more cruelties than Hitler - the most disgusting methods of torture, wars, pogroms and crusades. Surely, it isn't their fault that it was done in the name of religion, but nevertheless, they're still capable of justifying unspeakable cruelties through their faith, even today. Such things should make you think about the dangers of faith.

I don't know about you, but this is making me nauseaus, despite knowing what a bunch of BS it is - that no sane person would buy.

How much shame, moral and decency must a person lack, or how little thinking must they apply, to make such claims - and even top it off with saying they are the most moral beings among us.

I can't even get this into my mind. I can't get into my mind how any human being can be that devoid of a working conscience.

More and more reviews of Expelled turn up - including in places such as BBC, the New York Times, etc. ... as well as interviews with Ben Stein, the producer Mark Mathis... etc.

And of course with every review, either more distorted propaganda of the contents are revealed - or more criminal, immoral actions by the producers. There are people with deliberate criminal intentions pointing at us (who sure are not saints, but most certainly not that low), calling us liars and cheaters, and many people buy it without seeing who is behind such claims. I surf the internet, my usual sites such as, some news channels, The Richard Dawkins Foundation, my livejournal, German news sites, Nature and Science and other journals - and I always seem to run into another piece of lie and propaganda by Expelled and its followers, interspersed with scientific advances, break throughs, discoveries and accomplishments.

This is not an ad hominem attack, by the way - these people are on the absolute low-grounds of morality, not outside of this subject, but at the very center of it. For many of them (people such as Dembski and Sternberg excluded) I don't have any idea whether they're on the low-grounds of morality outside of their work with Expelled - but within them, they most certainly are.

While I originally thought that maybe these people are genuinely confused again, I'm now convinced this is deliberate, immoral and shameful action to scam believers, discredit science and glorify themselves (obviously Dembski is looking forward to publicity gained through their plagiarism).

In conclusion, I simply came to think about what exactly these people are accusing science of. And while everyone laughs and points and easily brings down the facts on science and the holocaust, the scam, the lies, the illegal activity, the fact that they're shamefully insulting people seems somewhat drowned under all these things. In other words, I merely looked beyond the scam and realized what they're saying:

They're insulting every German and international scientist, including myself, including every doctor, pharmacist, nurse, all the biologists that work on improving our agriculture, food, hygiene, etc., people who risk their health by working with the HIV viruses and other infectious or harzardous substances to find a cure for something, or the basics for finding a cure; they're insulting professors, teachers, researchers, lab assistants, universities, Max-Planck institutes, everyone who puts money into funding research, etc. etc. etc.

And why do they do that? Do they do it like many creationists, because after long indoctrination, they genuinely believe they must speak up for the existence of god truth of the bible, no matter what the cost?

I don't think so. I think the producers of Expelled are doing this for scam in the same way televangelists do, for money, for fame, for power. They're dragging some people with them, certainly - it might be that Ben Stein really thinks he's fighting for a genuine cause... but I see no genuine Christian power at the heart of Expelled.

I see scam.

In science, emotions are bad, for they distort results. Maybe that's why nobody ever stands up and points out that the creationists have gotten to the point of really, really insulting people with their lies. Stupidity, lies, insults, are best met in a mature, non-emotional way... but it is tough to stay cool in the face of such propaganda.

Please visit to get the facts.
Here you only get the emotions.

PS: One comment was deleted, not because it was an uninformed creationist comment, but because it was c&p-spammed all over the blogsphere. I delete spam, it's as simple as that.

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