Dispelled: No Integrity (or Honesty) Allowed

Ben Stein engages a sculpture of Charles Darwin in a staring contest, in a scene from "Expelled." (Image source: nytimes.com)

Editor’s note: The 2008 pro-intelligent design propaganda film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” was roundly refuted long ago. And yet, as legions of Internet-savvy IDers continue to parrot the movie’s unfounded claims and deceptions as though they were possessed by the spirit of Ben Stein himself, one of our guest contributors, Race Hochdorf, thought it couldn’t hurt to revisit the subject. If nothing else, we hope to reassure readers that, five years later, yes, “Expelled” is still wrong.

In a previous article, I touched briefly on the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” and the deceptive claims it makes. But being conscious of word count, I was not able to detail most of the mistruths that I would have liked to, which I hope to rectify now.

“Expelled” is a documentary featuring Ben Stein, that seeks to challenge the “academic establishment’s” insistence on evolution, as opposed to giving equal time to intelligent design advocates. The film opens and concludes with Stein giving his pro-ID presentation in front of a large group of admiring college students, and contains interviews with outspoken atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, skeptic and pseudoscientific claims investigator Michael Shermer and longtime director of the National Center for Science Education Eugenie Scott — all people you might be surprised to find in a pro-ID movie.

Furthermore, the film makes several claims:

1. Academia is poised against intelligent design even though it values free exchange of ideas and academic freedom.
2. Evolution and Darwin led to Nazism and the Holocaust.
3. An intelligent design sympathizer lost his job at the Smithsonian Institute because of his views.

Addressing the first claim, the notion that academia is part of an “anti-God” conspiracy is ridiculous on two grounds. One, “academia” is simply a word that’s needed in order to refer to colleges, universities and university-related institutions collectively. “Academia” is not all the universities of the world in regular communication with one another, combining to become a Megazord and take down Godzilla.

“Academia” does not conspire in favor of an agenda, because any definition of “academia” that could allow for such simply doesn’t exist. It is not a collective “body,” just a categorical classification. Therefore, “academia” can never truly be “anti-God” or anti-anything any more than all of humanity could be described as supporting or opposing any one thing. Second, even if academia were capable of conspiring against theism, it clearly is not conspiring against theism. At least, not according to the LA Times, which reported that 51 percent of American scientists believe in God or a higher power.

Why then, do ID proponents (including and especially “Expelled”) and young-earth creationists claim that “academia” is anti-God? Because indeed, most colleges and academic institutions, reject ID and creationism as legitimate scientific theories. This causes many in the ID and creationist movements to decry “academia” as betraying its own value of “free exchange of ideas.” However, nobody would criticize a university for being “hypocritical” if it refused to hire a professor who taught that the moon landing, or the Holocaust, never took place. In fact, I would suspect outrage if parents and students found out their money was going toward the proliferation of such ideas in the classroom.

Recognizing that “academia” as a singularly minded Leviathan is a cooked-up illusion, recognizing that 51 percent of American scientists believe in God and recognizing finally, that “free exchange of ideas” has limits (like, if an idea is disproven, it should be thrown out) we must recognize that this first premise of “Expelled” is debunked.

Next up is the claim that Darwin and an evolutionary mentality led to the Holocaust. In order to establish this, Stein quotes from “The Descent Of Man,” as follows:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The only problem is, that’s not actually what Darwin said. Here’s the real quote, with the filmmakers’ omissions in bold:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.

It was not an “oops” of research on the part of the makers of “Expelled” that caused them to arrive at the conclusion that evolution led to genocide. It was a deliberate lie, and one that would get any journalist at even a mediocre newspaper fired.

Speaking of which, the final claim we’ll examine in depth involves the movie’s interview with Richard Sternberg, described as a former employee of the Smithsonian Institution who was demoted and soon fired for approving an intelligent design article by Stephen Meyer to be published in a journal that he was editor of. But it’s difficult to be fired from a place, when as it turns out, you never worked there at all. Sternberg was not an employee of the Smithsonian, but rather, an unpaid, temporary research associate.

As the voluntary, unpaid editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington journal, Sternberg elected to “peer review” and approve Meyer’s paper by himself (even though the subject of Meyer’s paper was not in Sternberg’s field of expertise), and the journal that published the article repudiated it. Even then, it’s inaccurate to say Sternberg was forced out of his position because of his actions — he had given notice of his resignation six months before the controversial paper was published (in an issue that had already been scheduled to be Sternberg’s second to last as editor).

Isn’t it funny how the Meyer paper ended up being published right around the same time Sternberg had planned to leave his position anyway? It’s almost as if he was trying to make it look like he was being “fired” for his intelligent design sympathies.

There’s far more that could be said about “Expelled.” The crowd of admiring college students who cheered for Stein during his appearance at the beginning and conclusion of the film? They weren’t students at all. They were extras. While the scene was filmed in an auditorium at Pepperdine University, only a handful were actual students. The rest were “stand-ins,” whose job it was to clap at the right times and give Stein a standing ovation at the end.

And how about those interviews? Why in the world did Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Eugenie Scott agree to be featured in a pro-ID film? Probably because they thought they were being interviewed for a different movie entirely. Producers informed Dawkins, Shermer and Scott that they were being approached for a project called “Crossroads,” on “the intersection of science and religion.” All three, no doubt, received a nasty shock when they discovered they had instead been featured in a film titled “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

Race Hochdorf

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  • Julian

    Dietrich, care to debate your thesis?

  • Julian

    Dispelled: No Integrity (or Honesty) Allowed in guest post at God of Evolution

    “The 2008 pro-intelligent design propaganda film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” was roundly refuted long ago.”

    Tyler, propaganda is a very poor word chose on your part. As far as the movie being refuted, no it has not. All you had to do was read any recent article on Dr Hedin and Dr Gonzales at Ball State University and it proves the whole point of the movie. Five years later, yes, “Expelled” is still right. Now let’s analyze Dietrich Kessler’s arguments a little closer, shall we?

    “I was not able to detail most of the mistruths that I would have liked to, which I hope to rectify now.”

    By mistruths Dietrich, I can only assume you are referring to your own writing. It’s hard to actually get to the numerous strawman arguments you make because of all your muddled thinking. It’s like a Gordian knot of false statements but I will cut through it. This will be divided into three posts to answer your claims.

    “Expelled” is a documentary featuring Ben Stein”

    This is about the only correct statement in your whole post. Hat’s off to you. You are not completely wrong.

    “seeks to challenge the “academic establishment’s” insistence on evolution, as opposed to giving equal time to intelligent design advocates.”

    Equal time? How about any time?

    “Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Eugenie Scott — all people you might be surprised to find in a pro-ID movie.”

    Not really. They will show up in just anything as long as it gets them in front of a camera.

    “nobody would criticize a university for being “hypocritical” if it refused to hire a professor who taught that the moon landing, or the Holocaust, never took place.”

    Not an appropriate analogy Dietrich. The moon landing and the Holocaust both had many eye witnesses. There has never been an eye witness to the Darwinian fairytale called evolution yet you seem to have no problems with it being taught in Universities.

    “I would suspect outrage if parents and students found out their money was going toward the proliferation of such ideas in the classroom.”

    I do too. You better make sure nobody finds out the truth about evolution. If anybody even believes in Intelligent Design, lie, smear and fire them.

    The film makes several claims:

    1. Academia is poised against intelligent design even though it values free exchange of ideas and academic freedom.
    2. Evolution and Darwin led to Nazism and the Holocaust.
    3. An intelligent design sympathizer lost his job at the Smithsonian Institute because of his views.

    “Addressing the first claim, the notion that academia is part of an “anti-God” conspiracy is ridiculous on two grounds.”

    Dietrich, actually the first claim is: 1. Academia is poised against intelligent design even though it values free exchange of ideas and academic freedom. See that one at the beginning of the sentence? Do you even read or think about what you are writing? As far as that claim goes, the answer surely is yes.

    “academia” can never truly be “anti-God” Yes, just as science cannot truly say anything. But academia is made up of people, so we can analyze what beliefs they hold and what they say.

    Recognizing that “academia” as a singularly minded Leviathan is a cooked-up illusion, recognizing that 51 percent of American scientists believe in God and recognizing finally, that “free exchange of ideas” has limits.

    “51 percent of American scientists believe in God”

    Reading comprehension Dietrich.
    It says 51 percent of American scientists who are AAAS members (American Association for the Advancement of Science) believe in God. “It may not be representative of all scientists in the U.S.” I’ll have more on this poll later. As far as a single minded Leviathan, I would recommend you reading Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. That’s the whole point of one of the most influential philosophy of science books ever written. You have heard the term “paradigm shift”? That’s Kuhn. He says: “Conversions will occur a few at a time until, after the last hold-outs have died, the whole profession will again be practicing under a single, but now different, paradigm.” And here is a great quote from Max Planck that makes the same point “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”.

    “51 percent of American scientists believe in God or a higher power.” (Pew Research Center 2009)
    Why then, do ID proponents (including and especially “Expelled”) and young-earth creationists claim that “academia” is anti-God?

    Well that does it, just look at that survey! Wait, what? You’re going to actually look at the survey?
    This is an interesting survey for many reasons. The poll combines biological and medical sciences together. The medical profession always has a larger percent who believe in a higher power and biological always smaller. I would like to see a breakdown of these independently. The problem is AAAS is a general science organization that includes categories such as dentistry, science and human rights, social and political science, and geography. Nobody cares what a geologist in Tampa, much less a chemistry teacher in South Dakota thinks. This is what you would refer to as ordinary “scientist” and it includes many who are general teachers or who work with relatively narrow technology application.

    What we are interested in is the greater scientist of academia. The elite scientist. Scientist that teach at the large Universities and get the majority of research grants such as Harvard, Berkeley, Yale, University of Chicago ect. The real power structure of science and for that we need to go to another survey.

    In 1998 Edward Larson and Larry Witham conducted a survey of elite scientist, defined specifically as those elected to membership in the National Academy of Science. Disbelief in supernatural theism among Academy members was over 90% and for biologist it was 95%. Larson and Witham’s survey was published in a 1999 Scientific American article.

    “Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever — almost total. Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS [National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)] natural scientists. Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality). As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the teaching of evolution in public schools. NAS president Bruce Alberts said: “There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists”. Our survey suggests otherwise. — Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham. 1998 (Jul 23). “Leading scientists still reject God.” Nature 394:313.

    Ernst Mayer, the acknowledged dean of evolutionary biologist surveyed his own Harvard colleagues at the time and stated “It turned out we were all atheist”.

    It’s a safe bet that almost every scientist at the major Universities, that you see on the BBC, Nova, Nat Geo, Science channel or writes a popular book does not believe in God. So calling them “anti-God” would be ridiculous because that would mean they actually believed in God to be against him.

    Side note: Larry Witham appears in Expelled. You won’t be able to besmirch his character.

    Dietrich, if you are going to post such drivel, be man enough to answer your critics.
    Coming soon: claim #2 Evolution and Darwin led to Nazism and the Holocaust.

    • Hey Julian! I contacted the author this morning and encouraged him to respond to your comments, and I expect that he will. In the meantime, I’ll reply to the portion of your post that is directed to me.

      Tyler, propaganda is a very poor word chose on your part.

      Word “chose” — LOL. A minor typo; no big deal. Just a funny coincidence that it occurred in a sentence critiquing me on my choice of words. As to your actual point, I think propaganda can be best defined in the sense I was using it as “information or ideas, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular cause or point of view.” To be completely fair, this could probably describe many, probably even most, documentaries, and it also must be noted that just because something is propaganda doesn’t necessarily even mean it’s wrong. But in any case, I believe the above definition aptly describes “Expelled.”

      As far as the movie being refuted, no it has not. All you had to do was read any recent article on Dr Hedin and Dr Gonzales at Ball State University and it proves the whole point of the movie. Five years later, yes, “Expelled” is still right.

      I disagree. In fact, I would argue the cases of Hedin and Gonzalez actually contradict the state of academia as claimed by “Expelled.” Hedin has been criticized primarily by the nonprofit advocacy organization Freedom From Religion Foundation, as well as a few notable individual academics, like University of Chicago biology professor Jerry Coyne. The FFRF’s stated concern is not that Hedin taught about the intersections of religion and science in one of his courses, but that he might have done so in a biased and dishonest way. According to the foundation’s attorney, “This class does not appear to be an honest investigation into the intersection of science and religion.” The FFRF has also alleged that Hedin expressed his Christian beliefs in an introductory astronomy course in a way that did not invite discussion. The FFRF has not advocated for Hedin to be fired, or even for the “Boundaries of Science” class he taught to be discontinued; it has merely asked for the matter to be investigated, and if the allegations against Hedin are confirmed, that he be dismissed from teaching that particular course.

      But all that is sort of irrelevant. The bottom line is that the FFRF is not a part of “academia,” it is an outside group. Ball State University, Hedin’s employer, has not terminated or otherwise excommunicated the professor for his support of intelligent design. In fact, in the midst of all this, it hired another professor (Gonzalez) who is a proponent of ID. Now, we don’t know for sure whether BSU’s treatment of Hedin has been fair or not since it hasn’t released the findings of its review of the matter. But the college’s decisions to retain Hedin and hire Gonzalez would both appear to refute “Expelled’s” claim that the scientific community has it out for anyone who believes in a God who is active in the universe.

    • Dietrich Kessler

      Claim #1: “The moon landing and the Holocaust both had many eye witnesses. There has never been an eye witness to the Darwinian fairytale called evolution yet you seem to have no problems with it being taught in Universities.”

      Julian I don’t know if you’re a creationist, though I suspect you are, but even you’re not– even if you’re an advocate of some other ID theory– you must recognize that if your objection to world origins being evolution is that there were no eyewitnesses, then every theory of origins, including your own is doomed to fail, because OF COURSE there are “no eyewitnesses” to the beginning of earth and the universe (unless you believe somehow human beings are infinite?) Secondly, we witness evolution everyday through the smaller scope of microevolution, as well as studying genetic mutation and finding transitional fossils. It’s also important to note simpler organisms are found in deeper layers of the earth, and more complex organism are found in layers more shallow. We haven’t even touched upon the evolution of the universe yet. Again, I do not know if you are a Young Earth Creationist or an advocate of some other theory. You seem to have neglected stating your specific beliefs (though I have had courage in stating mine), but ASSUMING (and I am assuming, correct me if I’m wrong) that you believe in a young universe, how do you explain the distance of planets and galaxies millions, even billions, of light years away from our earth? Logic would indicate then, that the universe is at least as old as those distances.

      Claim #2: “As far as a single minded Leviathan, I would recommend you reading Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’. That’s the whole point of one of the most influential philosophy of science books ever written. You have heard the term ‘paradigm shift’? That’s Kuhn. He says: ‘Conversions will occur a few at a time until, after the last hold-outs have died, the whole profession will again be practicing under a single, but now different, paradigm.'”

      While Kuhn was certainly no dummy, many critics said that the “Structure of Scientific Revolutions” was relativistic in its nature, and if Kuhn could see the current academic debate over neuroscience (whether it claims more than it can back up or not), he might reconsider “the whole profession will again be practicing under a single, but now different, paradigm” statement. For an example of how academia and science do NOT practice under a single, but now different, paradigm, compare Sam Harris’s “Free Will” to Sally Stel’s “Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal Of Mindless Neuroscience”

      But, it’s interesting you should quote Kuhn’s “Conversions will occur a few at a time until, after the last holdouts have died, the whole profession will again be practicing under a single, but now different, paradigm.”… That appears to be what is happening to evangelical insistence on creationism.

      Claim #3: “Nobody cares what a geologist in Tampa, much less a chemistry teacher in South Dakota thinks. This is what you would refer to as ordinary ‘scientist’ and it includes many who are general teachers or who work with relatively narrow technology application. What we are interested in is the greater scientist of academia. The elite scientist.”

      This is interesting how you differentiate between “elite” scientists and “ordinary” scientists. I have never heard of that distinction before. While Harvard, Yale and Berkeley are all highly respected institutions (as they should be), I fail to see what makes their scientists any better than the ones polled by the AAAS and cited by the LA Times. Regarding the study conducted at the NAS, your logic that such a study showed the reality, was the same as mine when I referred to the LA Times poll, yet you condemned the logic when I used it (I should also mention that your assumption that the NAS study is more relevant than mine is based on the strawman you built about “elite” scientists versus “ordinary ones)

      Claim #4: “Ernst Mayer, the acknowledged dean of evolutionary biologist surveyed his own Harvard colleagues at the time and stated ‘It turned out we were all atheist’.”

      Could I get a citation for Mayer’s statement? And a reason as to why his “Are my coworkers the same as me?” study is somehow definitive?

      Claim #5: “It’s a safe bet that almost every scientist at the major Universities, that you see on the BBC, Nova, Nat Geo, Science channel or writes a popular book does not believe in God.”

      While I will not dedicate my entire day into going through channel by channel, university by university, finding theists present in all of them to debunk this outrageous claim, I will make an observation regarding your accusation toward the BBC. Sir David Attenborough, who has narrated for countless BBC nature programs and has a background in Natural Science from Cambridge, as well as a background in Social Anthropology from London School of Economics, though an agnostic, has stated multiple times that evolution does not exclude a belief in God. As I will link here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2093356/Evolutionist-David-Attenborough-says-God-claims-beliefs-incompatible.html

      Claim #6: “Dietrich, if you are going to post such drivel, be man enough to answer your critics. Coming soon: Claim 2- Evolution and Darwin led to Nazism and the Holocaust.”

      Julian, some of us have jobs and dare I say, universities to attend and prepare for. Not to mention I’ve been spending a great deal of time writing my book “A Snake In Eden: How The Religious Right Poisons Genuine Faith & Threatens Americans” Besides, I don’t get notifications on who posts what under my articles, because I’m just not going to spend all day replying to objections to writing I know is obviously controversial. I have a girlfriend, a family, a life. Secondly, you fail to address the deceit used to get interviewees on “Expelled”. Are you not bothered by it? Thirdly, I await very eagerly your holocaust post, as my family is made up of German Jews, with a very colorful history of what we did to the Nazis in the Second World War. Do think carefully before you post. Ta!

      • Julian

        Hello Dietrich,

        Claim #1: “The moon landing and the Holocaust both had many eye witnesses. There has never been an eye witness to the Darwinian fairytale called evolution yet you seem to have no problems with it being taught in Universities.”

        “you must recognize that if your objection to world origins being evolution is that there were no eyewitnesses, then every theory of origins, including your own is doomed to fail, because OF COURSE there are “no eyewitnesses” to the beginning of earth and the universe (unless you believe somehow human beings are infinite?”

        That is correct. They are only speculations. Origin of life research and origins of the universe theories are not empirical science. Waste of money in my opinion.

        “Secondly, we witness evolution everyday through the smaller scope of microevolution, as well as studying genetic mutation and finding transitional fossils. It’s also important to note simpler organisms are found in deeper layers of the earth, and more complex organism are found in layers more shallow.”

        Microevolution happens but in only limited terms. Macroevolution has never been proven and that is what’s at issue. About your fabulous fossil record, here is a great quote from Henry Gee, one of the editors of the journal Nature: “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way. To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific”.

        “We haven’t even touched upon the evolution of the universe yet”.

        We can if you like.

        Again, I do not know if you are a Young Earth Creationist or an advocate of some other theory. You seem to have neglected stating your specific beliefs (though I have had courage in stating mine), but ASSUMING (and I am assuming, correct me if I’m wrong) that you believe in a young universe, how do you explain the distance of planets and galaxies millions, even billions, of light years away from our earth? Logic would indicate then, that the universe is at least as old as those distances.

        After careful study I have come to the conclusion that Intelligent Design fits the evidence the best. I believe the evidence for the age of the Universe is around 13.8 billion years old last time I checked.

        Claim #2: “As far as a single minded Leviathan, I would recommend you reading Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’. That’s the whole point of one of the most influential philosophy of science books ever written. You have heard the term ‘paradigm shift’? That’s Kuhn. He says: ‘Conversions will occur a few at a time until, after the last hold-outs have died, the whole profession will again be practicing under a single, but now different, paradigm.'”

        “many critics said that the “Structure of Scientific Revolutions” was relativistic in its nature”

        Why yes they did. They misinterpreted his book completely. Favorite quote about Kuhn: “Kuhn expressed the opinion that his critic’s readings of his book were so inconsistent with his own understanding of it that he was “tempted to posit the existence of two Thomas Kuhn’s”. I tend to look at Kuhn as an “Irrationalist”.

        “if Kuhn could see the current academic debate over neuroscience (whether it claims more than it can back up or not), he might reconsider “the whole profession will again be practicing under a single, but now different, paradigm” statement. For an example of how academia and science do NOT practice under a single, but now different, paradigm, compare Sam Harris’s “Free Will” to Sally Stel’s “Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal Of Mindless Neuroscience”

        I doubt it. Does anyone actually take Sam Harris’s “Free Will” book serious? Really? More like pop psychobabble to me. I haven’t read Sally Stel’s Brainwashed yet but I heard it’s really good. Isn’t it saying most of what the scientist have been telling us about neuroscience is wrong? Time for a paradigm shift as Kuhn would say.

        “it’s interesting you should quote Kuhn’s “Conversions will occur a few at a time until, after the last holdouts have died, the whole profession will again be practicing under a single, but now different, paradigm.”… That appears to be what is happening to evangelical insistence on creationism.”

        Or it could be Darwinian evolution on its way out. How’s that junk DNA working out for you guys?

        Claim #3: “Nobody cares what a geologist in Tampa, much less a chemistry teacher in South Dakota thinks. This is what you would refer to as ordinary ‘scientist’ and it includes many who are general teachers or who work with relatively narrow technology application. What we are interested in is the greater scientist of academia. The elite scientist.”

        “This is interesting how you differentiate between “elite” scientists and “ordinary” scientists. I have never heard of that distinction before. While Harvard, Yale and Berkeley are all highly respected institutions (as they should be), I fail to see what makes their scientists any better than the ones polled by the AAAS and cited by the LA Times.”

        I didn’t differentiate between “elite” scientists and “ordinary” scientists, Leuba, Larson and Witham did. The 1998 Larson and Witham study was based off James Leuba’s 1914 survey. Leuba obtained a random sample of names from the American Men of Science directory and within that sample, set aside a group of “greater scientist” (his words) so designated in the directory by stars next to their names. In 1998 Larson and Witham repeated the survey for “elite” (their words) scientist, designed specifically (since the directory no longer gives stars to the “greater scientist”) as those who have been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Those are the terms they used.

        “Regarding the study conducted at the NAS, your logic that such a study showed the reality, was the same as mine when I referred to the LA Times poll, yet you condemned the logic when I used it (I should also mention that your assumption that the NAS study is more relevant than mine is based on the strawman you built about “elite” scientists versus “ordinary ones)”.

        I don’t think you even know what a strawman is. There is a real power structure in science. Just follow the money as they say. All we care about it is the people who wield influence in the major branches of science, not some orthodontist in Poughkeepsie.

        Claim #4: “Ernst Mayr, the acknowledged dean of evolutionary biologist surveyed his own Harvard colleagues at the time and stated ‘It turned out we were all atheist’.”

        Could I get a citation for Mayer’s statement? And a reason as to why his “Are my coworkers the same as me?” study is somehow definitive?

        The Creation-Evolution Debate: Historical Perspectives By Edward J. Larson (2007)

        page 51. It’s definitive that his own Harvard colleagues were atheist.

        Claim #5: “It’s a safe bet that almost every scientist at the major Universities, that you see on the BBC, Nova, Nat Geo, Science channel or writes a popular book does not believe in God.”

        While I will not dedicate my entire day into going through channel by channel, university by university, finding theists present in all of them to debunk this outrageous claim, I will make an observation regarding your accusation toward the BBC. Sir David Attenborough, who has narrated for countless BBC nature programs and has a background in Natural Science from Cambridge, as well as a background in Social Anthropology from London School of Economics, though an agnostic, has stated multiple times that evolution does not exclude a belief in God. As I will link here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new

        “Methinks doth protest too much”. Let’s look at my sentence, “does not believe in God”. You give me David Attenborough, an agnostic, who does not believe in God. Way to go Einstein. Like I said, it’s a safe bet that almost every scientist at the major Universities, that you see on the BBC, Nova, Nat Geo, Science channel or writes a popular book does not believe in God.”

        About the unbiased BBC, let’s look at a recent survey of them: “The BBC employs more atheists and non-believers than Christians, an internal “diversity” survey has found. The new research has been seized on by critics who accuse the Corporation of bias against Christianity and marginalizing the faith in its output. The survey found that just 22.5 per cent of all staff professed to be Christians. Yet the combination of those who said they were atheists and those who had no faith came to a total of 23.5 per cent. Some 40 per cent of staff failed to respond to the questionnaire. Other beliefs represented in the workforce included Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. BBC veteran Roger Bolton, who until recently presented BBC Radio 4’s religious current affairs programme, Sunday, said: “There is an inbuilt but unconscious bias against religion, fuelled by the fact staff are not representative of the public. It is not a conspiracy but it needs a correction”.

        Claim #6: “Dietrich, if you are going to post such drivel, be man enough to answer your critics. Coming soon: Claim 2- Evolution and Darwin led to Nazism and the Holocaust.”

        “Julian, some of us have jobs and dare I say, universities to attend and prepare for. Not to mention I’ve been spending a great deal of time writing my book “A Snake In Eden: How The Religious Right Poisons Genuine Faith & Threatens Americans”

        You’re kidding? A Snake In Eden? This is a joke right?

        “Besides, I don’t get notifications on who posts what under my articles; because I’m just not going to spend all day replying to objections to writing I know is obviously controversial.”

        Controversial? How about fabrications and libel?

        “I have a girlfriend, a family, a life. Secondly, you fail to address the deceit used to get interviewees on “Expelled”. Are you not bothered by it? Thirdly, I await very eagerly your holocaust post, as my family is made up of German Jews, with a very colorful history of what we did to the Nazis in the Second World War. Do think carefully before you post. Ta!”

        I always think carefully and logically when writing. You don’t seem to think at all. OK, up next: Darwin and Nazi’s again.

  • Julian

    Hi Tyler, thanks for contacting Dietrich to reply. Like I said the next few days are very busy for me.
    “Word “chose” — LOL. A minor typo”
    Your too kind:) That is completely the wrong word haha.

    Hello Dietrich, let’s get to your post.

    2. Evolution and Darwin led to Nazism and the Holocaust.

    “Next up is the claim that Darwin and an evolutionary mentality led to the Holocaust” and “that caused them to arrive at the conclusion that evolution led to genocide.”

    Expelled touches on Darwinism’s historical social costs, notably the unintended contribution to Nazi racial theories. It’s hard to tell from your faux outrage if you actually believe that Hitler and the Nazi Eugenics program were not influenced by Darwinian theory. I will start and end this section with quotes from David Berlinski.

    In the movie, David Berlinski says: “Of course you have to add every historical caution. Not everyone who read Darwin became a Nazi, obviously not. No one is making that case. Darwinism is not a sufficient condition for a phenomenon like Nazism, but I think it’s certainly a necessary one.” Key words in this statement are “not a sufficient condition”. Now let’s go to the scholars.

    Connecting Hitler and Darwin

    The Darwin-Hitler connection is no recent discovery. In her classic 1951 work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote: “Underlying the Nazis’ belief in race laws as the expression of the law of nature in man, is Darwin’s idea of man as the product of a natural development which does not necessarily stop with the present species of human being.”

    British anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith drew this conclusion in the book Evolution and Ethics published in 1947, “The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.”

    The standard biographies of Hitler almost all point to the influence of Darwinism on their subject. In Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Alan Bullock writes: “The basis of Hitler’s political beliefs was a crude Darwinism.” What Hitler found objectionable about Christianity was its rejection of Darwin’s theory: “Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest.”

    John Toland’s Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography says this of Hitler’s Second Book published in 1928: “An essential of Hitler’s conclusions in this book was the conviction drawn from Darwin that might makes right.”

    In his biography, Hitler: 1889-1936: Hubris, Ian Kershaw explains that “crude social-Darwinism” gave Hitler “his entire political ‘world-view.’ ” Hitler, like lots of other Europeans and Americans of his day, saw Darwinism as offering a total picture of social reality. This view called “social Darwinism” is a logical extension of Darwinian evolutionary theory and was articulated by Darwin himself.

    I would suggest you read up on Eugenics. Eugenics was originally developed by Francis Galton after reading his cousins (Charles Darwin) book The Origin of Species and desired to apply it to humans. In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name, Eugenics.

    In his book The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, Stefan Kuhl documents the consensus between Nazi race policies and those of eugenicists in other countries, including the United States. He points out that eugenicists understood Nazi policies and measures as the realization of their goals and demands. Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws. If you still fail to see a connection, here is the only one you need. The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs, including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

    David Berlinski: These historical connections are so plain that from time to time, those most committed to Darwin’s theory of evolution are moved to acknowledge them. Having dismissed a connection between Darwin and Hitler with florid indignation, the authors of the site ‘Expelled Exposed’ at once proceed to acknowledge it: “The Nazis appropriated language and concepts from evolution,” they write, “as well as from genetics, medicine (especially the germ theory of disease), and anthropology as propaganda tools to promote their perverted ideology of ‘racial purity.”

    Dietrich, you are 0 for 2 so far. I don’t think you’re going to do any better on the last claim.

    I’ll post my third reply tomorrow and hopefully will be able to answer all you questions on Thursday, time permitting.

    • Dietrich Kessler

      Julian, first of all, Darwin’s own words precluded any excuse for the Nazis to do what they did.

      “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.” -Descent Of Man

      There is simply no way, as I demonstrated in the article you seem to be getting further and further away from (only taking small snippets and still never addressing the charges of dishonesty against the actual film), that any Nazi could, HONESTLY (though perhaps dishonestly) use Darwin as an excuse to commit their mass genocide. He explicitly speaks against that. Now I suppose you could use his cousin, who indeed was one of the founders of the eugenics movement. But dear God I hope my writings aren’t judged a century from now based on what my cousin does with it. Not to mention that Joseph Goebbels, when asked what the inspiration for Nazi actions came from, cited the Woodrow Wilson administration, not Charles Darwin.

      There is no doubt that a few historians, including Sir Arthur Keith (who was behind the Piltdown Man hoax and thus his honesty comes into question) believed that the mass genocide had some connection with evolution. However, most respected historians, not including David Berlinski senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, conclude that the extermination of Jews had more to do with post-World War 1 antisemitism. In fact there was strong anti-Jewish sentiment even before WW1 but after the war it intensified. I also have no doubt that eugenics did play a role in the Nazi mentality, but there is nothing to suggest that there is a link between the pseudoscience of eugenics and evolution– except Darwin (who by the way did not come up with the theory of evolution but simply gave it publicity like it never had before) had a cousin that thought he could apply Darwin’s theory to that which Darwin explicitly said one could not apply.

      Now regarding your beginning quote of David Berlinski, “Of course you have to add every historical caution. Not everyone who read Darwin became a Nazi, obviously not. No one is making that case. Darwinism is not a sufficient condition for a phenomenon like Nazism, but I think it’s certainly a necessary one.”

      This is a clever trick. One could equally say, “Of course you have to add every historical caution. Not everyone who read the Bible became a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, obviously not. No one is making that case. The Bible is not a sufficient condition for a phenomenon like fanaticism, but I think it’s certainly a necessary one.” See what I did there? If an atheist, or a sympathizer to atheism, were to make a statement such as that, most would recognize that while he stayed “safe” by preserving the innocence of the Bible, the goal was still to implicate it as a motivator for unfavorable actions, and thus in a roundabout way, cast doubt or negativity toward the Bible. It was the same with Berlinski, so let’s not play stupid.

      Also, how do you justify the link between Nazism and pure evolutionary thought, when you have Himmler’s attempt at reviving old Nordic paganism and the occult? This certainly does not reflect a group of people whose sole motivation (or motivation at all) was driven by pure Darwinism. Not only this, but those who try and make the case that Nazism was driven by Survival of the Fittest, seem not to understand that the “dog eat dog” mentality is a misunderstood definition of SotF. It’s not “only the strong survive” or as the Nazis might have said, “the master race”, but rather the species that can adapt the best to the current environment, which has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin and thus, a true definition of SotF could not be used by the Nazis.

      I also am still waiting to hear what your position on origins actually is, since again, you have failed to say.

      • I would also like to add a couple thoughts regarding the supposed Darwin-Holocaust connection, if I may.

        First, any discussion of the motivations and various contributing factors behind something as complex as Nazism will always be sketchy, educated guesswork at best. None of us can crawl inside Hitler’s head (and most likely, none of us would want to), and indeed, you would need to get inside a great many heads to understand something that involved as many people as the Holocaust did.

        But the fact remains that humans were killing each other, fighting for land and power, perpetrating slaughter, genocide and ethnic cleansing, and committing all manner of other horrific atrocities thousands of years before we had any inkling of evolution. And, in all likelihood, we would have continued to do all of the above with or without Darwin.

        That alone seems enough reason not to lay the blame for people doing terrible things to each other on anything as modern as a book or a scientific idea. But we should also consider Marxist communism, another 20th-century movement that led to horrific genocides (including those perpetuated under the regimes of Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and Mao Zedong), even though Marxists reject the main tenets that underlie eugenics.

        As cognitive scientist Steven Pinker explained:

        [T]he 20th century suffered “two” ideologies that led to genocides. The other one, Marxism, had no use for race, didn’t believe in genes and denied that human nature was a meaningful concept. Clearly, it’s not an emphasis on genes or evolution that is dangerous. It’s the desire to remake humanity by coercive means (eugenics or social engineering) and the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones.

      • Julian

        Hi Dietrich, second reply to claim # 2. Evolution and Darwin led to Nazism and the Holocaust.

        “Julian, first of all, Darwin’s own words precluded any excuse for the Nazis to do what they did.”
        “There is simply no way, as I demonstrated in the article you seem to be getting further and further away from (only taking small snippets and still never addressing the charges of dishonesty against the actual film), that any Nazi could, HONESTLY (though perhaps dishonestly) use Darwin as an excuse to commit their mass genocide. He explicitly speaks against that. ”

        “Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism… neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy”.
        Richard Weikart

        The distinction between Darwin the man and Darwinism the evolutionary theory is important. While Darwin the man would have been horrified at Hitler and the Nazis, Darwinism proved all too influential in providing a scientific foundation for their racial and eugenic theories.

        German intellectuals found scientific vindication that racial conflict, or more exactly, the subordination or elimination of inferior races, was the one needful task to save the world from evolutionary degradation and to advance humanity physically, morally and intellectually. These were not ideas that German intellectuals twisted out of context from ill conceived offshoots or aberrations. They came directly from Darwin himself.

        “Now I suppose you could use his cousin, who indeed was one of the founders of the eugenics movement. But dear God I hope my writings aren’t judged a century from now based on what my cousin does with it. Not to mention that Joseph Goebbels, when asked what the inspiration for Nazi actions came from, cited the Woodrow Wilson administration, not Charles Darwin.”

        In 1883, Galton coined the term eugenics for the study of ways of improving the physical and mental characteristics of the human race. Galton’s eugenics movement operationalized Darwin’s view to preserve favored races. The complete title of The Origin of Species is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.

        Darwin’s sons clearly saw the connection between their father’s theory and eugenics and for this reason several became leaders in the eugenics movement. As Denis Sewell documents that there is “no doubt about the lineage of eugenics itself”, noting that in the “years leading up to the First World War, the eugenics movement looked like a Darwin family business”. Specifically: “Darwin’s son Leonard replaced his cousin Galton as chairman of the national Eugenics Society in 1911. In the same year an offshoot of the society was formed in Cambridge. Among its leading members were three more of Charles Darwin’s sons, Horace, Francis and George. The group’s treasurer was a young economics lecturer at the university, John Maynard Keynes, whose younger brother Geoffrey would later marry Darwin’s granddaughter Margaret. Meanwhile, Keynes’s mother, Florence, and Horace Darwin’s daughter Ruth, sat together on the committee of the Cambridge Association for the Care of the Feeble-Minded … a front organization for eugenics”.

        “There is no doubt that a few historians”

        A few historians? You mean some of the leading historians of Nazism and Hitler. You better go back and check my list again.

        “conclude that the extermination of Jews had more to do with post-World War 1 antisemitism. In fact there was strong anti-Jewish sentiment even before WW1 but after the war it intensified.”

        Darwinism, of course was not the sole cause of Nazism. As historians correctly point out that cultural and political anti-semitism had infected Germany at least since the time of Luther. The mystical notion of Germany’s pre-Christian pagan roots, the humiliation Germans felt after the First World War and the Great Depression all contributed to the rise of Nazism. That being said though, Darwinism was a significant factor.

        “I also have no doubt that eugenics did play a role in the Nazi mentality”

        Thanks, you just proved my point.

        “there is nothing to suggest that there is a link between the pseudoscience of eugenics and evolution”

        Yes there is. Eugenics is simply the application of Darwinism to humans. As far as “pseudoscience” of eugenics, you better look around because it is being openly discussed again.

        “Darwin (who by the way did not come up with the theory of evolution but simply gave it publicity like it never had before)”

        Correct. Darwin was co-discoverer with Alfred Russel Wallace of what is now known as Darwinian evolution. Darwin was influenced by the work of his Grandfather Erasmus Darwin as well as Edward Blyth, a creationist. Some historians would say Titus Lucretius was one of the first person’s to talk about “evolution”.

        “had a cousin that thought he could apply Darwin’s theory to that which Darwin explicitly said one could not apply”.

        Darwin openly endorsed Galton’s ideas, referring to Galton no less than eleven times in The Descent of Man. Because of this, the practice of eugenics quickly became an institutionalized worldwide phenomenon.

        David Berlinski, “Of course you have to add every historical caution. Not everyone who read Darwin became a Nazi, obviously not. No one is making that case. Darwinism is not a sufficient condition for a phenomenon like Nazism, but I think it’s certainly a necessary one”.

        Let’s look at the key words again “not a sufficient condition” and “but I think it’s certainly a necessary one”. Mr. Berlinski is correct.

        You forgot to include the last quote from Mr. Berlinski: “Expelled Exposed’ at once proceed to acknowledge it: “The Nazis appropriated language and concepts from evolution,” they write, “as well as from genetics, medicine (especially the germ theory of disease), and anthropology as propaganda tools to promote their perverted ideology of ‘racial purity.” Key phrase again “The Nazis appropriated language and concepts from evolution”. You are just plain wrong and you cannot admit it because of your bias.

        “Also, how do you justify the link between Nazism and pure evolutionary thought, when you have Himmler’s attempt at reviving old Nordic paganism and the occult? This certainly does not reflect a group of people whose sole motivation (or motivation at all) was driven by pure Darwinism”.

        See my reply above on Germany’s pre-Christian pagan roots. Nobody in the movie said it was the “sole motivation”. Really Dietrich, something is not connecting in your neurons. I would suggest you have it checked out ASAP!

        “Not only this, but those who try and make the case that Nazism was driven by Survival of the Fittest, seem not to understand that the “dog eat dog” mentality is a misunderstood definition of SotF. It’s not “only the strong survive” or as the Nazis might have said, “the master race”, but rather the species that can adapt the best to the current environment, which has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin and thus, a true definition of SotF could not be used by the Nazis”.

        The Nazis believed the German people had adapted the best to the current environment. The Aryan race represented an ideal and pure race. What was Darwin’s important book titled again? Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

        “I also am still waiting to hear what your position on origins actually is, since again, you have failed to say”.

        I actually replied to this already.

        OK, on to answer part 3: Richard Sternberg.

  • Julian

    OK, time for part three. Dietrich, the reason I didn’t attack your logic is because you didn’t use any. All you do is repeat smears against a good and decent scientist.

    “3. An intelligent design sympathizer lost his job at the Smithsonian Institute because of his views.”

    “Richard Sternberg, described as a former employee of the Smithsonian Institution who was demoted and soon fired for approving an intelligent design article by Stephen Meyer to be published in a journal that he was editor of. But it’s difficult to be fired from a place, when as it turns out, you never worked there at all. Sternberg was not an employee of the Smithsonian, but rather, an unpaid, temporary research associate.”

    This is such a mess of misinformation it’s hard to see were to start.

    “described as a former employee of the Smithsonian Institution”

    He was not described as “a former employee of the Smithsonian Institution”. Did you even watch the movie? No, he is described this way “His life was nearly ruined when he strayed from the party line while serving as editor of a scientific journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.” Richard Sternberg was the managing editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington which is affiliated with the Smithsonian.

    “Who was demoted and soon fired for approving an intelligent design article by Stephen Meyer to be published in a journal that he was editor of.”

    Yes, he was demoted. They did not say he was fired, they said he lost his job. When you are demoted, you have lost that job. “Despite official assurances of fair treatment from the Smithsonian to Congressional investigators, when I applied for renewal of my Research Associate position in 2006, my application was denied and I was offered the position of Research Collaborator—a demotion—without explanation”.

    But it’s difficult to be fired from a place, when as it turns out, you never worked there at all.

    That would be difficult, but he didn’t claim that. You made that up. He was an employee of the National Institutes of Health and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

    “Sternberg was not an employee of the Smithsonian, but rather, an unpaid, temporary research associate.

    Again, prove he said he was an employee of the Smithsonian.

    “As the voluntary, unpaid editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington journal, Sternberg elected to “peer review” and approve Meyer’s paper by himself (even though the subject of Meyer’s paper was not in Sternberg’s field of expertise), and the journal that published the article repudiated it. Even then, it’s inaccurate to say Sternberg was forced out of his position because of his actions — he had given notice of his resignation six months before the controversial paper was published (in an issue that had already been scheduled to be Sternberg’s second to last as editor).”

    “As the voluntary, unpaid editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington journal”
    And your point is? Was he editor or not?

    “Sternberg elected to “peer review” and approve Meyer’s paper by himself (even though the subject of Meyer’s paper was not in Sternberg’s field of expertise)”

    Do you understand the words slander and libel? The paper was peer reviewed. From Sternberg’s website: “I sent the paper out for review to four experts. Three reviewers responded and were willing to review the paper; all are experts in relevant aspects of evolutionary and molecular biology and hold full-time faculty positions in major research institutions, one at an Ivy League university, another at a major North American public university, a third on a well-known overseas research faculty. There was substantial feedback from reviewers to the author, resulting in significant changes to the paper. The reviewers did not necessarily agree with Dr. Meyer’s arguments or his conclusion but all found the paper meritorious and concluded that it warranted publication.”

    Dr. Roy McDiarmid, the President of the BSW and a scientist at the Smithsonian, admitted that there was no wrongdoing regarding the peer-review process of Meyer’s paper: “I have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments recommended or suggested publication. I was surprised but concluded that there was not inappropriate behavior vs a vis [sic] the review process”. Furthermore: “President Dr. McDiarmid told me by email, “The question came up as to why you didn’t pass the ms [manuscript] on to an associate editor and several examples were mentioned of past editorial activities where a manuscript was dealt with directly by the editor and did not go to an associate editor and no one seemed to be bothered”.

    “journal that published the article repudiated it”. They did but Smithsonian officials determined that there was no wrong-doing in the publication process for the Meyer paper and could find no problems with how Meyer’s paper was handled or reviewed.

    “Even then, it’s inaccurate to say Sternberg was forced out of his position because of his actions — he had given notice of his resignation six months before the controversial paper was published (in an issue that had already been scheduled to be Sternberg’s second to last as editor).”

    That would be inaccurate if they had said that but they did not. Why do you keep getting such simple things wrong? They never claimed he was “fired” from the journal. Really, did you watch the movie or not?

    From Sternberg’s website: “In October of 2003 I resigned as managing editor of the Proceedings; after almost two years I was tiring of my editorial responsibilities and eager to have more time for my own research and writing. At that time, however, no new managing editor could be found, and so without withdrawing my letter of resignation I agreed to continue on as managing editor until such time as the Council could find my replacement. That happened in May 2004, when Dr. Richard Banks agreed to replace me after the issue Volume 117-3 and a major “bulletin” that was nearly complete. So as planned for some time, in September 2004 Dr. Banks took over as managing editor of the Proceedings. This transition had nothing to do with the publication of the Meyer paper.”

    “Isn’t it funny how the Meyer paper ended up being published right around the same time Sternberg had planned to leave his position anyway? It’s almost as if he was trying to make it look like he was being “fired” for his intelligent design sympathies.”

    Isn’t it funny how you keep repeating false statements? Sternberg stepped down from his post as editor, but everybody agrees this has nothing to do with the article, and his term was set to expire before it appeared anyway.

    Let’s go back to the movie and read the claims:
    BS: “It all began when I met Evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg in Washington, D.C.
    His life was nearly ruined when he strayed from the party line while serving as editor of a scientific journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

    BS: Your office was over there?
    RS: That’s correct. This here is the west wing. Directly ahead of us is the west wing of the Natural History Museum.
    BS: So now you’re not there anymore because you were a bad boy.
    RS: No, I’m not. No, I was exiled.
    BS: You were a bad boy.
    BS: What was Sternberg’s crime? He dared to publish an article by Dr. Stephen Meyer, one of the leading lights of the intelligent design movement. The paper ignited a firestorm of controversy merely because it suggested intelligent design might be able to explain how life began. As a result, Dr. Sternberg lost his office, his political and religious beliefs were investigated, and he was pressured to resign.

    Let’s look at the three actual claims made in the movie, not the ones made up in your imagination.

    #1 Lost his office.
    “I lost my office space. I was twice forced to move specimens from my office space on short notice for no good reason, my name plate was removed from my office door, and eventually I was deprived of all official office space and forced to use a shared work area as my work location in the Museum”.

    #2 His political and religious beliefs were investigated.
    “In a memo prepared on February 8, 2005, NMNH scientist Marilyn Schotte admitted that after publication of the Meyer paper, Dr. Coddington wanted to know “if Dr. Sternberg was religious.” Dr. Schotte further admitted telling Coddington that Sternberg “was a Republican.” Schotte even conceded that Coddington may have asked her whether Sternberg “was a fundamentalist” and whether “he was a conservative.”

    “NMNH officials conspired with a special interest group on government time and using government emails to publicly smear Dr. Sternberg; the group was also enlisted to monitor Sternberg’s outside activities in order to find a way to dismiss him.” As one NMNH official wrote in an e-mail: “From now on, I will keep an eye on Dr. (von) Sternberg, and I’d greatly appreciate it if you or other NCSE specialists could let me [know] about further activities by this gentleman in areas outside crustacean systematics.” (Dr. Hans Sues)”.

    #3 He was pressured to resign.
    “Officials at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History created a hostile work environment intended to force Dr. Sternberg to resign his position as a Research Associate in violation of his free speech and civil rights.” As NMNH officials wrote in e-mails:

    “I suppose we could call [Sternberg] on the phone and verbally ask him to do the right thing and resign?” (Dr. Jonathan Coddington)

    “a face to face meeting or at least a “you are welcome to leave or resign” call with this individual, is in order.” (Dr. Rafael Lemaitre)

    “if [Sternberg] had any class he would either entirely desist or resign his appointment.” (Dr. Jonathan Coddington)

    All correct statements. You are wrong and you owe Dr. Sternberg an apology and retraction of your false allegations.

    Here is the exchange Ben Stein has with Michael Shermer:
    BS: What if a person published something, say, at the Smithsonian in favor of intelligent design and lost his job over it? I mean, it had been peer-reviewed and published and then he lost his job over it anyway. What about that situation?
    MS: Well…I think that particular situation, there was something else going on.
    BS: what was going on?
    MS: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know because I don’t know, but I think there had to be something. People don’t get fired over something like that. You roll up your sleeves, you get to work, you do the research, you get your grants, you get your data, you publish, and you work your butt off, and that’s how you get your theories taught.
    BS: What if you try and try and roll up your sleeves and go to work and work your butt off, and they say, “We’re going to fire you if you even mention the word intelligent design”?
    MS: I don’t think that’s happened. Where is that happening?

    I shouldn’t even have to address your last comments but I will because you are so ignorant of how films actually get made.

    The crowd of admiring college students who cheered for Stein during his appearance at the beginning and conclusion of the film? They weren’t students at all. They were extras. While the scene was filmed in an auditorium at Pepperdine University, only a handful were actual students.

    Where in the movie do they say the audience is students? The auditorium was rented from Pepperdine University for filming, but they don’t even mention that in the film. Look at the audience members. They are all age groups. “They were extras.” You mean they have SAG cards? You just made that up. They are an audience. “The rest were “stand-ins,” whose job it was to clap at the right times and give Stein a standing ovation at the end.” Prove it!

    “Why in the world did Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Eugenie Scott agree to be featured in a pro-ID film? Probably because they thought they were being interviewed for a different movie entirely. Producers informed Dawkins, Shermer and Scott that they were being approached for a project called “Crossroads,” on “the intersection of science and religion.” All three, no doubt, received a nasty shock when they discovered they had instead been featured in a film titled “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

    There are reasons why some movies continue going by the working title all the way until editing is done. It’s called contracts. Many large movies will even print swag with the working title on it for the cast and crew, knowing that the name of the movie has officially been changed already.

    All I can make of it is you are simply parroting NCSE, Shermer and Scientific American talking points. Oh, and about journalistic practices. It is unethical for Scientific American not to acknowledge in their article that they engage in the same discrimination as shown in the movie Expelled. I give you the Forrest M. Mims III story.

    The Scientific American Affair

    Scientific American editor Jonathan Piel in a letter to Forrest M. Mims III, December 20, 1988:
    “Dear Mr. Mims: The material that you have shared with us leaves no doubt that you would write a most engaging ‘Amateur Scientist’ column….”

    After Scientific American editor Jonathan Piel and two other editors asked Mims about evolution, abortion and the Bible during a meeting in New York or by telephone:

    “There’s no question that on their own merits the columns are fabulous! If you don’t do them for us you ought to do them for somebody because they’re great…Give me three of them and I’ll run them…I’ll buy them from you… Forrest, I trust you implicitly. You’re a man of honor and integrity…In its own right what you’ve written is first rate. That’s just not an issue. It’s the public relations nightmare that’s keeping me awake.”

    Jonathan Piel during a conversation with Forrest Mims on October 4, 1989. Published in part in Harper’s, March 1991, pp. 28-32.
    His dream came true when I told a newspaper reporter how I lost the column.
    The Wall Street Journal

    “Mr. Mims on Friday [October 19, 1990] played for a reporter a tape he made of a conversation late last year [October 4, 1989] with Scientific American editor Jonathan Piel. “What you’ve written is first rate,” Mr. Piel said. “It’s the public relations nightmare that’s keeping me awake.” ….

    In an interview, Mr. Piel said that “Scientific American has never discriminated against anyone for religious reasons,” but he wouldn’t comment further on the controversy. On the tape recording, however, he told Mr. Mims several times that he worried how creationists somehow might exploit Mr. Mims in their efforts to push creationist textbooks to schools….

    Laurence Tribe, a Harvard University law professor, agreed that the magazine appeared to have discriminated against Mr. Mims. The magazine’s rationale was “distressing,” he said. “A company could say we don’t want to be seen identifying with a point of view, so we don’t want to hire Jews.”

    Bob Davis, “Scientific American Drops Plans to Hire Columnist Who Believes in Creationism,”
    The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 1990. (The recording was made in accordance with Texas law and the advice of an attorney who was aware of the magazine’s discrimination.)

    OK, starting tomorrow I will be responding to all the replies so far, time permitting. My schedule has been very hectic lately.

    One final note, it says “Dietrich Kessler is a pen name the author feels inclined to use due to his family’s and church’s hostility toward an evolutionary view of creation.” How about finding another church? What are you, ten years old? Erasmus Darwin famously described Unitarianism as a featherbed to catch a falling Christian before they become agnostic. I would recommend the Unitarian church to you. I think you will fit in nicely “Dietrich”.

    • Dietrich Kessler

      “He was not described as ‘a former employee of the Smithsonian Institution’. Did you even watch the movie? No, he is described this way ‘His life was nearly ruined when he strayed from the party line while serving as editor of a scientific journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.’ Richard Sternberg was the managing editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington which is affiliated with the Smithsonian.”

      I mean…. I’m astounded. If GoE says to me, “Dietrich we want to start an offshoot blog (or a publication whichever you prefer), and we want you to be the editor.” I want you to really pay attention to this part Julian– if I become the editor of that blog or journal, I still work for GoE. The claim of Sternberg and Stein in Expelled is still a claim of employment by the Smithsonian. Let’s not play dumb.

      “Do you understand the words slander and libel? The paper was peer reviewed. From Sternberg’s website: ‘I sent the paper out for review to four experts. Three reviewers responded and were willing to review the paper; all are experts in relevant aspects of evolutionary and molecular biology and hold full-time faculty positions in major research institutions, one at an Ivy League university, another at a major North American public university, a third on a well-known overseas research faculty. There was substantial feedback from reviewers to the author, resulting in significant changes to the paper. The reviewers did not necessarily agree with Dr. Meyer’s arguments or his conclusion but all found the paper meritorious and concluded that it warranted publication.'”

      Um… yeah… Sternberg’s website would say that.

      “‘But it’s difficult to be fired from a place, when as it turns out, you never worked there at all.’ That would be difficult, but he didn’t claim that. You made that up. He was an employee of the National Institutes of Health and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.”

      Did I make it up? “His life was nearly RUINED” Stein says, (emph. mine) “when he strayed from the party line while serving as editor of a scientific journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.” Julian, I don’t know what kind of world you’re living in, but that is a claim of employment. Again, if I tell you I’m editor of a paper affiliated with GoE, I work for GoE. Even if I’m also employed elsewhere, I still would be considered as working for GoE. So no, Julian, I didn’t make that up… the film “made that up”.

      “‘The crowd of admiring college students who cheered for Stein during his appearance at the beginning and conclusion of the film? They weren’t students at all. They were extras. While the scene was filmed in an auditorium at Pepperdine University, only a handful were actual students.’ Where in the movie do they say the audience is students?”

      This is probably one of the main reasons I don’t trust Intelligent Design advocates: deceit, and the justification of deceit. The film opens up with a young man giving an introduction to an audience in a dark auditorium, which is standard college/student group lecture format. Even if the film never claimed it was an audience of college students, you still assume that the audience was full of genuine participants actually interested in the topic being presented. Come on Julian get real. If I gave a speech to a large group of people, and you were watching my speech on film, you would think less of me if you found out the clapping and the standing ovations were staged. It’s a reflection of honesty (or rather the lack of it)

      “The auditorium was rented from Pepperdine University for filming, but they don’t even mention that in the film. Look at the audience members. They are all age groups. ‘They were extras.’ You mean they have SAG cards? You just made that up. They are an audience. ‘The rest were stand-ins, whose job it was to clap at the right times and give Stein a standing ovation at the end.’ Prove it!”

      So let’s break what you said down: “The auditorium was rented from Pepperdine University for filming, but they don’t even mention that in the film.”, So while the film gives one the impression that Stein is giving a lecture at a college, thereby causing the people who watch the film to assume he was an invited speaker, what really occurred was that the Expelled crew rented the facility “for filming”. Got it.
      “Look at the audience members. They are all age groups. ‘They were extras.’ You mean they have SAG cards? You just made that up. They are an audience. ‘The rest were stand-ins, whose job it was to clap at the right times and give Stein a standing ovation at the end.’ Prove it!” Gladly. According to Lee Kats, Associate Provost for Research and Chair of Natural Science at Pepperdine, “The production company paid for the use of the facility just as all other companies do that film on our campus”, but that “the company paid for the use of the facility just as all other companies do that film on our campus” but that “the company was nervous that they would not have enough people in the audience so they brought in extras.” Made that up huh? I guess the staff at Pepperdine are out to smear ID advocates too! But the goodness goes on, “Members of the audience had to sign in and a staff member reports that no more than two or three Pepperdine students were in attendance. Mr. Stein’s lecture on that topic was not an event sponsored by the university.”

      “‘Why in the world did Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Eugenie Scott agree to be featured in a pro-ID film? Probably because they thought they were being interviewed for a different movie entirely. Producers informed Dawkins, Shermer and Scott that they were being approached for a project called ‘Crossroads’ on ‘the intersection of science and religion’ All three, no doubt, received a nasty shock when they discovered they had instead been featured in a film titled ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.’ There are reasons why some movies continue going by the working title all the way until editing is done. It’s called contracts. Many large movies will even print swag with the working title on it for the cast and crew, knowing that the name of the movie has officially been changed already.” Oh no, no, no Julian, it was not JUST the title of the film. Interviewees were contacted to discuss “The intersection of science and religion”, which is quite different from advocating ID. If me and the founder of GoE Tyler, were to be contacted by a film crew and invited to talk about “The intersection of science and religion”, and then found out by later watching the movie that our quotes had been “selected” to cast doubt on our own opinions or exploited in any other way, it would be recognized as dishonesty. The level of deceit that it seems you, and the rest of the ID movement is capable of, is appalling.

      As far as that Scientific American “scandal” that you awkwardly posted at the end of your rebuttal, and I might add, has nothing to do with my article, well… it’s not really a scandal is it? “There’s no question that on their own merits the columns are fabulous! If you don’t do them for us you ought to do them for somebody because they’re great…Give me three of them and I’ll run them…I’ll buy them from you… Forrest, I trust you implicitly. You’re a man of honor and integrity…In its own right what you’ve written is first rate. That’s just not an issue. It’s the public relations nightmare that’s keeping me awake.”

      This is a valid consideration. If I write an excellent post for GoE, and Tyler says “Dietrich this is wonderful, but in the past you’ve voiced skepticism of the moon landing. Now this piece is really good. It is. But given the baggage of your past, your identity might actually have a negative impact on the website and draw attention away from your article.” Would he be within his rights to do this? Of course. Would it be a smart move for him to make as an editor? A resounding yes. If Howard Stern wrote a truly moving story about Baby Jesus and approached Zondervan with it…. what do you think the response would be?

      “Laurence Tribe, a Harvard University law professor, agreed that the magazine appeared to have discriminated against Mr. Mims.”

      What have you proved? You’ve proved that a Harvard professor thinks what happened was discrimination. Congratulations. I guess if I give you that single victory, you’re day can be made whole again. And when you’re smiling Julian, Lord knows I’m smiling.

      “One final note, it says ‘Dietrich Kessler is a pen name the author feels inclined to use due to his family’s and church’s hostility toward an evolutionary view of creation.’ How about finding another church? What are you, ten years old? Erasmus Darwin famously described Unitarianism as a featherbed to catch a falling Christian before they become agnostic. I would recommend the Unitarian church to you. I think you will fit in nicely ‘Dietrich’.”

      Let’s not get melodramatic with the pen-name. I’m not Batman or 007. The pen-name is necessary not just to give myself peaceful anonymity (until I feel the time is right to openly come out as an evolutionist), but is also necessary for my family. Within my church my family is well known, and are missionaries in need of funding. They are creationists. If I come out as an evolutionist, it could affect their funding and their livelihoods. I could never forgive myself for that. Secondly, really, you attack my faith and my reasoning for still attending my church? This to me, is an indicator, that you are in your “death-throes”, desperate to come out on top but– in the words of one of my favorite movies: A Knights Tale– you have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.

      I’m not sure if I will bother to respond to your rebuttals of my rebuttals. Just writing “rebuttals to my rebuttals” gave me a headache. I probably won’t respond. You may as well not bother.

      I would also encourage you to think about what all else you could have been doing with the time it took you write everything you have. Yes, it reflects how much you care about the origins debate. We here at God Of Evolution like that about you Julian. God knows me and Tyler are both science geeks. But consider this, with all of the time you spent on this comment section, this article will eventually get buried under a mound of upcoming ones. Will you really troll all of them? Perhaps consider an alternative: if you really are intent upon debunking Theistic Evolutionists, focus that passion and writing, on composing a book and having it published. This will do you more good in the end than what you (and I) are currently doing right now, which let’s face it, is just exhausting.