It is very risky business indeed to seek to cross the atheist/materialist/Darwinist camp. If anyone dares to question the conventional wisdom here, the inquisition immediately snaps into place, the storm troopers are unleashed, and the heresy trials begin.
Science is supposed to be about free inquiry and the pursuit of truth. Evidence should be followed wherever it leads. But scientism is a different story. It comes complete with a set of materialistic presuppositions, and any challenges to the ideology are treated as heresy or apostasy.
A great example of this is the reaction of the atheists and the anti-supernaturalistic scientists to the new film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Expelled was released today in the US. It is a documentary produced by Ben Stein about how those who even think about questioning the materialistic assumptions of Darwinism find themselves becoming persona non grata in the universities and scientific community.
Specifically it is how those who think there might be some scientific merit to the concept of Intelligent Design are hounded out of our schools and treated like Nazi scum. This is a documentary, in other words, about censorship, anti-theistic bigotry, and the witch hunts of scientism.
The film was released in some 1200 cinemas, the most for any documentary. In it Stein interviews both proponents of ID, and its critics. But already the atheist websites and magazines are running hot, claiming the film is simply propaganda, that Darwinists were deceived into appearing in the film, and making all sorts of other nasty charges about Stein and the film.
Indeed, it is the typical case of ad hominem attacks by the atheists and Darwinists. Instead of actually dealing with the issues, better to simply assault the messenger. Some of the articles are less bitter and ugly than others, but all are intent on crucifying the man and his message.
Consider the review of the film by Ronald Bailey. Writing for Reason magazine, he makes clear his dislike of the whole project. He is not quite as pugnacious and cruel as other reviewers, but he does his best to dissuade people from even seeing the film.
Yet there are a few very interesting admissions found in his critique. For example, he actually admits on a number of occasions that Stein is right, and people are losing their jobs because of their scepticism of Darwinism.
Take this representative sentence: “But ID proponents in the academy are not being dragged off to concentration camps by goose-stepping Darwinist thugs – the worst thing they suffer is the loss of their jobs.” Thus he in fact concedes the case of the film, that there is censorship going on and people are being kicked out of their positions. But he simply dismisses all this as not being as bad as what might have happened in Nazi Germany.
He also claims that ID is “all worldview and no evidence”. Many would argue that this is certainly true of philosophical naturalism, scientism, and much of Darwinism. Assumptions are made without evidence, and everything else is meant to fit into that preconceived mould.
Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin expressed this well: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs . . . because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Such quotes can be multiplied at length.
Such is the animus against God, that many intellectuals have simply ruled him out a priori. They would rather believe in any nonsense instead of God. Thus one often needs more faith to be an atheist, because of some of the bizarre scenarios posited by the anti-theists.
Stein for example asks these true believers how they believe life emerged. Dawkins “incautiously” (as Bailey phrases it) brings up the notion that aliens may have seeded life on earth. Of course this is the old “directed panspermia” idea promoted by Crick and Orgel in 1973, one which seems to require as much faith as any other theory of life’s origins. But because it does not entail God, secular scientists are quite happy to latch on to it.
And despite the criticisms, the words of scientists make up a good portion of this film. As Chuck Colson explains, “Many distinguished scientists were interviewed for this film and given the chance to express their views. Just like their Darwinist counterparts, the advocates of intelligent design and their supporters who are interviewed are there to talk about science, not to dismiss it. These are people like Cambridge physicist John Polkinghorne; Oxford mathematician and philosopher John Lennox; journalist Pamela Winnick, who has received hate mail for covering the issue; and biologist Caroline Crocker, who was fired from George Mason University for discussing intelligent design in the classroom. Some of them are religious believers; some are not. But what they share is a commitment to science and the unfettered pursuit of truth. Expelled is not anti-science; it is anti-censorship.”
The truth is, everyone has a worldview. The evidence that is available to examine is the same evidence which atheists or theists look at. Atheists and reductionist scientists may not like the way Intelligent Design theorists assess the evidence, but the IDers have every right to at least be allowed to make their case.
Militant atheist Michael Shermer, in his denunciation of Stein and the film, simply ends his piece by saying that we must “build up that wall separating church and state”. Again, as Colson reminds us, not all who are critical of Darwinism or are supportive of ID are religious, yet Shermer just tries to make this a battle between religion and science, a typical atheist trick that does not get one very far.
Indeed, this is simply playing fast and loose with the truth. The Darwinist camp itself admits that their commitment to evolution is often as much an article of religious belief as sound science. Thus even Dawkins, in one of his more candid moments, can confess, “Natural selection – well, I suppose that is a sort of matter of faith on my part since the theory is so coherent, and so powerful.”
Or as Michael Ruse could admit, “Evolution came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity. . . . I must admit that in this one complaint . . . the [biblical] literalists are right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”
Thus the old science verses religion myth must be put to rest. The Darwinists who insist on their reductionist materialism are every bit as religious and faith-based as any Christian. But most do not want to admit this, and thus they take cheap pot-shots at anyone who dares to challenge their ideological hegemony.
But Stein’s film deserves a wide hearing. Truth matters, and the evidence should be heard. It is hoped that later this year the film will be released here in Australia. In the meantime, trailers of the film are widely available, including here: www.getexpelled.com/
And for more information, discussion and reviews of the film, see this site: www.discovery.org/expelled/