Julia Sweeney’s one-woman show, Letting Go of God, is one of the most inspiring monologues I’ve ever heard. A brutally honest recollection of her path from superstition to reason.
From the poster of Virgo on her wall to the copy of ‘Origin of Species’ on the deck of a Galapagos cruise-boat to her pair of ‘No God’ glasses, Julia bears her heart, mind, body and yes (dare I say it) soul to tell us the story of how she slowly came to realize there was no God.
Considering this is the second time I’ve posted about this amazing performance, I honestly can’t recommend this show enough. Julia is funny and inspiring, all the while, presenting deep and thought-provoking content.
Denyse O’Leary, the creationist evangelist whose rhetoric has been best described by ERV as ‘word salad’ just can’t conceive of ideas moving forward or even beyond their originators. In a short post on the Post-Darwinist blog (no linkage for you) she shows every so clearly just why creationists can’t grasp modern scientific concepts.
Actually, never mind human life, I don’t think even animal life can be fully explained – or even reasonably explained – in Darwinian terms. And plant life – definitely not! Lamarck and Mendel could tell you far more about plants than Darwin ever did.
All stupidity aside, what O’Leary fails to note is that any modern geneticist would most likely have Mendel’s jaw on the floor and his head spinning simultaneously. Mendel did great work in the first days of genetics but his research was very incomplete. Mendel got lucky in that all the traits he was looking for in his plants were all on separate chromesomes. It took Thomas Hunt Morgan to discover that when two genes controlling two different characteristics were on the same chromesome, they were usually inherited together. Research that won him the 1933 Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology.
Science doesn’t stop with a theory’s discoverer. New scientists take over the reigns and carry the torch on through the next generation making new discoveries and adding to or editing the previous theories. Creationists problem is that they seem to want everything in life to work just like their precious little Bible. Once something is written down by the creator, never shall it be changed. A pretty absurd assumption on their part. Especially considering the scrapbook origins of said precious book.
In my debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens in New York last October he raised a point that I did not know how to answer. So I employed an old debating strategy: I ignored it and answered other issues.
Now, to be truthful, Dinesh D’Souza is a very intelligent individual. His rhetoric is fantastic and the intensity he applies to his arguments bring a breath of life into the Creationist fold. However, at the core, his actual arguments generally fall short.
As noted above from his own mouth, Dinesh likes to employ the “redefine the subject” tactic to debating. This tactic is to simply redefine and shift the point of the argument into something that he can argue against. Indeed, D’Souza does this on the larger scale as well, employing this method to generate new reincarnations of old arguments. Lately, D’Souza has taken a fancy to the classic “fine-tuned universe” argument which is nothing but the “Argument from Design” shifted from the biological to the cosmic scale. Basically, Since creationists can’t show that life forms on Earth are intelligently designed (indeed, they appear to be more un-intelligently than intelligently designed), they step back and say that it’s the universe itself that is intelligently designed. This makes one ask in exactly what other kind of universe would we be around to pose that question in the first place? We, as humans, apply numeric values to the ‘fine tuning’ variables of the universe. Who’s to say that these values aren’t the only way there is? Is it not possible that, like the speed of light, these values simply don’t have the luxury of fluctuating?
Back to the linked article above, D’Souza simply runs and hides behind the semantics of linguistics and redefinitions of the core argument yet again.
In Reasons To Believe’s interaction with professional scientists, scientific institutions, universities, and publishers of scientific journals we have encountered no significant evidence of censorship, blackballing, or disrespect. As we have persisted in publicly presenting our testable creation model in the context of the scientific method, we have witnessed an increasing openness on the part of unbelieving scientists to offer their honest and respectful critique.
Our main concern about EXPELLED is that it paints a distorted picture. It certainly doesn’t match our experience. Sadly, it may do more to alienate than to engage the scientific community, and that can only harm our mission.
– Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, Jeff Zweerink, David Rogstad, and Kenneth Samples
You know you’ve made a high quality, documentary when people on your own side say you’re full of it.
The coming aftermath of Ben Stein’s disgusting excuse for a documentary Expelled is shown crystal clear in the form of a letter received by Michael Shermer sent by an angry Jewish filmgoer.
Now I truly understand who you atheists and darwinists really are! You people believe that it was okay for my great-grandparents to die in the Holocaust! How disgusting. Your past article about the Holocaust was just window dressing. We Jews will fight to keep people like you out of the United States!
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins felt compelled to respond to the Jewish individual in an open letter in hopes of clearing up his misguided anger towards scientists and atheists. Anger created by the misinformation portrayed in Ben Stein’s Expelled film that incorrectly links Darwin to Hitler.
Things began to make sense once I saw the movie and I am just appalled. I have learned a lot from Ben Stein, a Jewish brother, who has opened my eyes up a bit.
I fear there are more ‘Jewish brothers’ out there who have been twisted by Stein’s film into thinking the same way. Make it a point to show these twisted minds the light.
After realizing they can’t take copyrighted material, strip it of its credits, and narration and stick in their own creationism-filled nonsense, I guess these morons decided the next best thing was to have some crap video team remake the Harvard video, scene-by-scene, and then put their creationism-filled narration on top of it. And that’s exactly what they did. Here’s an image of the offending scene side-by-side with the original Harvard scene.
The film Expelled contains this scene-by-scene duplication of the Biovisions masterpiece and as usual for the creadesign proponentists, they left a few transitional fossils in their wake. ERV points out in her recent presentation at the Oklahoma Americans United for the Separation of Church and State conference there are at least a dozen different ways a paramecium can move across a microtubule and how odd it is that the Expelled video uses the exact same visualization of motion as the Harvard video. It’s even been pointed out by some bloggers within the science community that the motion depicted in the original video isn’t even a good example of actual molecule movement and cellular activity. So, just like in High School, the proof that they copied is in the copying of errors as well as the facts.
It’s pretty clear to myself and many others that the filmmakers behind Expelled have not a shred of honesty running in their veins. I’m unsure as to how much legal action was pursued after the original copyright infringement, but ERV is moving against this blatant example of video plagiarism with a little letter. I’m sure they’ll backpedal and divert attention like always but it will still be fun to watch them scatter for answers. Probably more fun that watching Expelled itself.
Here’s an excellent presentation by ERV given at the Oklahoma Americans United for the Separation of Church and State conference on Intelligent Design in public school science classrooms.
Excellent work ERV! We need more cute biologists people doing small presentations like this. Especially during the promotional drive of the Expelled creationist propaganda film whose ignorance of real science and deceitful tactics she addresses.
The curator (I’m assuming he’s the curator) makes a very good point at the end. Intelligent Design will not stop with science. Let me just say that again because it bears repeating.