On March 28, I saw a VIP screening of Expelled at the Director’s Guild in Hollywood. This documentary hosted by Ben Stein explores the way in which the modern scientific intelligentsia has it out for those who are open to the possibility of intelligent design in the universe. I highly recommend that you plan on going to this movie when it opens this weekend in theaters nationwide.
This documentary is very well done, very thought-provoking, very funny. It includes one especially funny exchange between Ben Stein and Richard Dawkins. The words exchanged are only part of the fun; the body language and facial expressions are even better. (But who am I to assign or discover meaning in anything such as “body language”? The whole idea of intelligence in the universe is being questioned, so I shouldn’t be so bold as to attempt to interpret body language. Ahem.) The scene really deserves to be watched a second time, with the volume turned all the way down.
Although the movie has lots of humor, it is also sobering, as a result of its bold and troubling expose of the connections between Darwinism, eugenics, the Holocaust… and even Margaret Sanger/Planned Parenthood.
Please go and see this film, then return to the comments box, and let’s use our intelligence to argue whether or not intelligence exists. I guarantee this will be fun. In the meantime, enjoy all the ink being spilled over at Wikipedia re: this movie and its ideas.
Here’s a variation on a comment I left over on the official Expelled blog this morning:
Many of the comments in your average blog combox can sorely test one’s sense that intelligence has ever made an appearance in the world. This, it seems to me, is the only tempting argument against intelligent design: observing the stupidity demonstrated by those who argue against it.
I mean, what is the point of making an argument to anyone about anything if a source of intelligence does not exist in the universe? Debate of any kind is simply verbal ping-pong if there is no ultimate intelligence in the universe, if no universal truth or order or meaning exists. Then debate merely becomes nihlistic self-expression, such as…
Did you see the sunset last night?
No. However, I am 27 years old.
Oh, I hadn’t considered that.
Right. But I am fond of magenta.
Very good. So you agree that pancakes are round?
I am always surprised at the number of people who have an uneducated opinion, but not an intelligent thought, to express in a blog comments box.
This does tend to tax my belief in intelligent design. When creatures do not appear to be intelligent, it doesn’t lend much credence to an intelligent origin.
Still, I think the very existence in the universe of creative thought, of meaningful exchange of symbolic language, of freedom and of personal sacrifice for sake of another are all very significant stumbling blocks in the path of a creed that would insist there is no intelligent design in the universe.
Beauty presupposes an orderly arrangement of parts; see Aristotle’s Poetics, section 5.2:
a beautiful object, whether it be a living organism or any whole composed of parts, must not only have an orderly arrangement of parts, but must also be of a certain magnitude; for beauty depends on magnitude and order.
Science presupposes intelligent design, otherwise any attempt at the study of patterns would be unintelligible… or simply plain stupid… I mean, either there are patterns in the universe, or there are not. Either there is something intelligible there, or there isn’t.
And if patterns exist, will you really be so foolish as to attempt to prove that they were fashioned by the purposeless collision of stuff? What could possibly motivate such an attempt? Certainly not science. Only the blind faith of scientism could be interested in such a claim. And you would sabotage your own efforts by having to appeal to intelligence and patterns along the way.
Existence and the life of the mind are real inconveniences for the nihlist, the atheist, and the present-day so-called scientist.
On a related note, I think this book will be the next one to migrate from my bookshelf to my nightstand: Science and Theology Meet: The Evidential Power of Beauty by Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M.