Posts Tagged “ben stein”

Creationism - You can get away with believing anything as long as you say God wants you to.The basic premise of Ben Stein’s movie Expelled, released a couple of years ago, is that mainstream scientific institutions have conspired wickedly against a minority of scientists and others, whose conscience tells them that the science behind evolution (which is both a theory and a fact) must be ignored in favor of “intelligent design” (aka creationism). The movie claims these vile institutions have mercilessly and relentlessly oppressed sincere but innocent people whose only crime is that they fervently believe that the theory of evolution led to fascism, Nazism, communism, Satanism, pedophilia, necrophilia, split ends, and pretty much everything they see as “bad.”

All of this, of course, is 100% pure, grade-A, unfiltered bullshit. However, that hasn’t prevented proponents of creationism from cloaking their desire to proselytize public school children behind the supposed veil of “academic freedom.” (That cloak is necessary, now, because their previous facade, “intelligent design,” was ruled by federal courts as a fraudulent cover for their religion, in 2005 in the Kitzmiller decision. So these people have had to jump from one fraud to another. Nice.)

At any rate, their weeping and wailing about “academic freedom” — and “freedom of conscience” and any number of other similar euphemisms — has not, apparently, been something they’ve been willing to extend, themselves. An example of this very phenomenon was reported recently by USA Today (WebCite cached article):

When it comes to incriminating videos these days, the one of Bruce K. Waltke might seem pretty tame. It shows the noted evangelical scholar of the Old Testament talking about scholarship, faith and evolution. What was incriminating? He not only endorsed evolution, but said that evangelical Christianity could face a crisis for not coming to accept science.

“If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult … some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness,” he says, according to several accounts by those who have seen the video. Those words set off a furor at the Reformed Theological Seminary, where Waltke was — until this week — a professor. (The seminary is evangelical, with ties to several denominations.)

The statements so upset officials of the seminary that Waltke had to ask the BioLogos Foundation, a group that promotes the idea that science and faith need not be incompatible, to remove it from its website (which the foundation did) and to post a clarification. The video was shot during a BioLogos workshop. But even those steps weren’t enough for the seminary, which announced that it had accepted his resignation.

The Reformed Theological Seminary is not making any excuses and is not conceding any wrongdoing:

Michael Milton, president of the seminary’s Charlotte campus and interim president of its Orlando campus, where Waltke taught, confirmed that the scholar had lost his job over the video. Milton said that Waltke would “undoubtedly” be considered one of the world’s great Christian scholars of the Old Testament and that he was “much beloved here,” with his departure causing “heartache.” But he said that there was no choice. …

Asked if this limits academic freedom, Milton said: “We are a confessional seminary. I’m a professor myself, but I do not have a freedom that would go past the boundaries of the confession. Nor do I have a freedom that would allow me to express my views in such a way to hurt or impugn someone who holds another view.”

In other words, Milton is asserting that it is fine for a religious educational institution to restrict academic freedom among its faculty. This stands in opposition to the Religious Right’s claim that “academic freedom” must be rigidly enforced in secular institutions.

Folks, if this isn’t hypocrisy … which was unambiguously and explicitly forbidden to all Christians by Jesus himself … I don’t know what is.

Hat tip: Skeptics & Heretics Forum.

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It’s tragic to have to say it, but the famous polymath Ben Stein (of whom I have been a fan for many years) has come down on the side of the religonist “intelligent designers” and their effort to proselytize to public-school kids. He’s now meddling in the revamping of curricula in Florida schools:

Actor Stein Plays Role In Debate On Evolution

Actor and writer Ben Stein joined conservative activists at the state Capitol for a news conference that dually promoted a controversial bill about teaching evolution and Stein’s controversial documentary about educators who dare to dissent from Darwin- ism.The “Academic Freedom Act” from Sen. Ronda Storms and Rep. Alan Hays would allow teachers to “objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding chemical and biological evolution.”

Note the effort to marginalize the evolution model by calling it “Darwin-ism” (sic). Evolution is no more “Darwinism” than relativity is “Einsteinism” or the atomic theory is “Bohrism.” Moreover, it suggests the evolution model hasn’t changed since Darwin’s time — but in fact, it has. So let’s once and for all grow the hell up and stop calling it that. OK?

The Academic Freedom Act responds to the state’s new science standards for public schools, which explicitly require the teaching of the theory of evolution.Stein, who supports the bill, said it is not about teaching any particular viewpoint. “It’s about freedom of speech,” he said. “Freedom of inquiry, it’s nothing more complicated than that.,”

Sorry folks, but that’s not it, at all. The goal of the “intelligent designers’ has always been to slap a thin veneer of “science” on the religion of creationism and shove it into public schools via the science classroom. (Am I being paranoid or leaping to conclusions? No way. This is known as the “wedge strategy,” is outlined in document form, and the intelligent designers who cooked it up, admit to it!)

“Freedom of inquiry,” Ben? No, that isn’t at all what you or your intelligent-design allies want. You actually want the opposite … to have public-school children ensnared in your dogma, unable thereafter to “inquire” their way out of it.

I’m heartbroken to see that one of the most brilliant men alive, has actually become a shill for the anti-scientific and anti-intellectual intelligent design movement.

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