Thursday, April 30, 2009

Expelled Rant

It feels a little self indulgent to whine and complain in public, but I don't think I'm the first person with a blog to vent. So here I am crying, "OMG someone wasn't nice to me on the internet."

I'm facebook friends with some people I went to school with, but who I don't know that well. For some reason this last week I got several status updates and associated comments appreciating the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The timing is kind of strange since the theatrical release was over a year ago and the DVD was released last October. In the interest of full disclosure I admit I haven't seen the movie and I'm not sure I will. I do feel like I have a pretty good idea of the content from reading many blogs and reviews, including opinions from several of the people interviewed for the movie and from reputable mainstream sources like Scientific American, Roger Ebert and the New York Times. I'm also aware of some of the entertaining events that occurred at a screening. Anyway, back to the story . . . As I normally do when encounter some Expelled love, I posted a link to Expelled Exposed. Nothing more. A person that I don't know but somehow connected in the facebook universe replies with:
Seriously. Every thinking person should watch this film. Here is a pretty good collection of rebuttals to Expelled Exposed:

While it really wasn't anything to get excited about, I resent the baseless assertion that I am not a thinking person. I may not be a thinking person, but that is not evidence by the fact that I don't agree with this stranger's appreciation for dishonest and inflammatory film making. I did not reply, but I did go to the link provided to see the 'refutation' of Expelled Exposed. What do I find? Casey Luskin. Oh well, at least now I know which of the two of us debaters has bothered
to learn a little something about science.

End of rant. Hopefully both my readers will help my fragile ego and tell me I'm really not an unthinking Darwin worshiping Nazi so I can regain my confidence and carry on the good fight for good science.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

TAM 7: Getting Closer

I'm getting really excited for TAM 7. The JREF has advertisements on several podcasts I listen too, Penn did a Penn Says about it and I just got a flier in the mail. I've got my registration completed and my airline tickets booked. I just need to order a few books to get signed and I'll be all set.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what I enjoy the most about TAM. It is really fun to be around so many people who are rational thinking and pro-science. It is such a positive atmosphere. I know a lot of people who aren't aware of the skeptical movement view skepticism as a negative world view. They think all it is, is people sitting around saying 'moon landing hoaxers are morons, 9/11 truthers are idiots, etc.' Skeptics to generally hold those positions, but it is a secondary result of a skeptical outlook. In general skepticism is focused on understanding how the world works based on evidence and the scientific method. This is a positive stance that encourages learning all sorts of exciting things and is free from superstition and irrational guilt and fear.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Some SDA Anti-Science

2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of "On the Origin of Species". The occasion is being marked by a year long celebration of science and reason around the world. It is also being used as an opportunity for promoting creationism.

Apparently the SDA church is planning a Sabbath for special emphasis on creation in October. Not much detail at this point, but it looks like they will be consciously avoiding uncomfortable details like facts and evidence.
"This isn't to enter into a debate on evolution versus creation, but to emphasize God as our creator"
I'll have to see if the local church gets involved with this. It might be worth checking out. I'm probably to timid to actually say anything though, but somebody should. In promoting their anti-scientific agenda they distort reality to an astonishing degree. "
The major influence of Darwin's work was to separate God from the world"
Spoken like someone who has little concept of evolution. I think that Darwin's work has had a major influence on modern medicine and agriculture, but it seems that those things are not significant.

In another example (scroll down) we see Adventist again misunderstanding or misrepresenting evolution.
"Evolutionism is not a physical science where you ... observe data and you come up with a hypothesis to explain what you have observed."
There is an extensive list of examples to
contradict this statement. Tiktaalik is just one. There are probably better ones I'm not aware of as a non-biologist. Just another instance of people changing definitions around fit their beliefs.