Monday, May 19, 2008

"Expelled" exposed: eohippus as hyrax hoax??

The movie "Expelled" by Ben Stein has received a lot of publicity for its premise that scientists who show flaws in evolution face blacklisting. The movie cites several examples of scientists or lecturers who apparently faced career penalties for going against the trend. Here is my take on it.

First of all, I am an unabashed Old Earth Creationist. My views on evolution and creation have been highly influenced by Hugh Ross and the organization Reasons to Believe. They hold that Genesis is literal history, including the creation of Adam, but also come to a conclusion that the the text is not incompatible with the general view that the earth and universe are billions of years old. They make a big deal of how Christian writings are unique in citing a Creation Event for the Universe, aka the Big Bang. This view is articulated in Ross' book, Creation and Time.

Here is Reasons to Believe's response to the movie:
The theater release of EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed has generated much discussion about the interaction between scientific and Christian thought. The movie gives the impression that any deviation from naturalistic, Darwinian thought leads to censorship and removal from their occupations, especially in the academic environment. Many people have asked Reasons to Believe (RTB) to comment on the movie. Some have asked us to endorse or promote it, but we cannot.
RTB Scholars Expound on EXPELLED, the Movie.

Mind you, this comes from folks who go around denying neoDarwinism. They have received a lot of heat from Darwinists for doing so-- they've got as they say, "skin in the game" on this.

Ultimately, when Christians start talking and sharing, they can proclaim the Gospel, and/or they can start spreading propaganda which they posit as supporting the framework of the Gospel. I submit that the support for Ben Stein's movie is propaganda, which is ultimately unhelpful to the cause of the Gospel, especially because it is demonstrably false.

Did all those researchers and lecturers really get fired for pointing out flaws in evolution, or did they suffer for sloppy work? It's too easy to find evidence for the latter. The Christian obligation under the 8th Commandment to put the best construction on our neighbor's words probably also applies to that of enemies of the church. Here I'm talking about the employers of those folks. It may especially apply to those who didn't know their actions were going to be painted in the light of being an enemy of the church.

The web site, Expelled Exposed examines in detail the charges of mistreatment against of the folks profiled in the film. One such case is Caroline Crocker.

"She [Dr. Crocker] cited another experiment, involving researcher Bernard Kettlewell, who produced pictures of variously colored peppered moths on tree trunks to show that when the moths were not well camouflaged, they were more likely to be eaten by birds -- a process of natural selection that influenced the color of the moths. "This comes from your book -- it is not actually true," Crocker said. "The experiment was falsified. He glued his moths to the trees.""
cited in the Washington Post article, Eden and Evolution

Dr. Caroline Crocker apparently cited in her lectures the propaganda of the young-earth creationist movement, several of which are either untrue or disowned by the more responsible young earth think-tanks. For the pepper-moth experiment, moths were in fact glued to the trees for a photograph, but the data were in fact real. It appears that she only half-remembered the propaganda. Dr. Crocker also apparently cited that the extinct animal "eohippus" is in fact a "hyrax."

"Eohippus is same as modern-day hyrax."
I respond with these images I got from
Photo of eohippus model by mharrsch.

hyrax photo by ladigue_99

To sum up:

1) I pray that as folks consider the implications of a Creation Event for the universe, that their hearts might be softened to the rest of the content of the bible.

2) I pray that my son, when he goes to college, never hears a lecturer state the demonstrably false as fact. I sorely pray that he never hears a lecturer state the demonstrably false as reason to believe in Jesus Christ.

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