Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

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fusillade2
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby fusillade2 » Thu May 01, 2008 9:03 pm UTC

I'm saddened that so many people in my area are taking this movie seriously. :(

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ATCG
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby ATCG » Thu May 01, 2008 10:40 pm UTC

Just a few stats from Box Office Mojo, as of April 29:

Opening Weekend: $2,970,848 (52.9% of total gross)
Domestic Gross: $5,617,447
Widest Release: 1,052 theaters

The movie is actually doing better domestically than Shine a Light, the Martin Scorsese Rolling Stones documentary. (But then EXPELLED is showing on four times as many screens.)
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DougP
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby DougP » Sun May 04, 2008 2:18 pm UTC

Suggesting there is a conspiracy trying to keep ID out of science classrooms and magazines is kind of like suggesting there is a conspiracy trying to keep calculus out of literary journals. Its not the same subject.

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Kaiyas
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Kaiyas » Sun May 04, 2008 3:35 pm UTC

DougP wrote:Suggesting there is a conspiracy trying to keep ID out of science classrooms and magazines is kind of like suggesting there is a conspiracy trying to keep calculus out of literary journals. Its not the same subject.

I'm sorely tempted to sig that. Very nice analogy.
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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby CadetMKultra » Mon May 05, 2008 7:34 pm UTC

I just hope that not too many scientists bother to publicly rebut this silly piece of propaganda. I'd much rather see it become a forgotten waste of money than the controversial rallying point it's meant to be.
"Science is interesting and if you don't agree, you can fuck off." - Richard Dawkins

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Re: Ben Stein vs. Darwin: The Movie

Postby Mettra » Wed May 07, 2008 2:42 pm UTC

CadetMKultra wrote:I just hope that not too many scientists bother to publicly rebut this silly piece of propaganda. I'd much rather see it become a forgotten waste of money than the controversial rallying point it's meant to be.


The fundamental problem with this is that people are, in general, uninformed. This is an INEVITABLE outcome since no one could possibly be well-informed on every existing subject. For every discipline, there are sub-disciplines, and sometimes it goes even beyond that. I would consider some people in my own field woefully inadequate in some areas but that doesn't matter - academia in particular is very geared towards specialization. This is a good thing since society as a whole benefits from the advanced knowledge, but it has the drawback of society as a whole lacking even general understanding of everything.

Everyone has biases, some more or less justified than others. A bias isn't a home-run though. It's a tendency, especially if it's not a very strong bias. If people go to watch this movie and become ill-informed because of its dishonesty, society will be worse off if no one takes up the debate.

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Most people don't know what a straw-man is or what begging the question is or tons of other logical fallacies that basically self-debunk an argument. These kinds of things will slip through the cracks and must be pointed out by others. For example, the argument that evolution somehow caused the Holocaust.

What the film is ACTUALLY saying is that the philosophical conversation posed by Darwin might have had that effect. But that's not science, it's not evolution. Even what Darwin was talking about is not 'real evolution' (in other words, it isn't natural selection), it's selective breeding. 'Survival of the fittest' is nothing more than a tautology - it's not a suggestion or a roadmap. It's a mechanism by which the world has entered the state it is in now. That's what science tells us. Should we breed humans selectively to become a 'superior' race? Science doesn't tell us an answer to that question - it's a moral question which has literally nothing to do with science. Science might explain WHAT might happen if we were to do that, but that's as far as it goes.

Beyond that, even IF it could be SOMEHOW demonstrated that the scientific theory of evolution caused the Holocaust: so what? Should we abandon the theory even though it's useful? It's like banning planes because they might be flown into buildings. Turn it around the other way: look at all the horrors that were 'caused' by Christianity and Islam. It's the same exact kind of argument (it fails the first test in the previous paragraph too). Maybe we should all convert to Buddhism since bad things happened because of the other two, right? Reductio ad absurdum, another thing people in general are unfamiliar with.

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Many have said in this thread that ID should not be taught as science because it isn't science. This bears repeating. Science is something very specific and there are stringent requirements to be in the science 'club'. One of the main reasons we use science is that it provides predictive value. We can form a system of things, then make predictions using that system. We can drop 10,000 balls to the ground and form a theory of gravity. Then we can set up an experiment at X feet above the ground and PREDICT BEFOREHAND how long it will take or at what speed or with what force it will hit the ground.

On the other hand, saying 'God created stuff and that's the way it is' doesn't provide predictive value - EVEN IF IT'S TRUE. ID is not an alternative theory because it ISN'T a THEORY. A theory is a very solid framework within which there exists either: mathematics to model some physical system, or some kind of repeatable reference experiment. ID hasn't even a single quality in common with a theory.

Even string theory is not accepted as science because it doesn't offer predictive value. They do have an entire complex system with models galore and all kinds of mathematics, and they do predict things that other theories predict, but they don't predict anything NEW that we can test. If string theory is not accepted as science yet, there is no way ID should even be remotely considered as science.
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