Hey, guess what?  Why, Ben Stein's motion picture Expelled (coming to a theatre near you in April!) has made it official:  they are 'joining forces' with the Discovery Institute!  And they've got endorsements by that noted scientist, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, outstanding legal mind Charles Colson, Pulitzer Prize-winning tale-teller Lee Strobel, and feel-good Hollywood darling Michael Medved!

Wow.  With a name like Smuckers, it's got to be good.


Anonymous said...

I guess I didn't get the Smuckers reference, unless it was a play on the word "schmucks", or "suckers". But the ridicule, I did get that. As PZ says, "ridicule works!".

When it comes to the material world, I am a believer in evidence: material evidence for the material world. So maybe you or someone who visits here could direct me to the material evidence that proves evolution to be truth. I think that would require some sort of known valid paternity test for paleo-creatures, a test that can be validated, and results that can be repeated.

Without such a test to verify the descendency claims, all such claims of descendency are just stories, extrapolations. So if anyone can direct me to the test, with details of the testing done that proves paternity, please do so.

After all, evolution is declared to be so valid that it cannot be questioned without receiving ridicule in return. So if that is the correct response, shouldn't we be teaching the proper method of maximizing ridicule output? In fact science majors should be required to have a minor in Ridicule. Again, as PZ says, it works.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Actually, no play on words was intended. There was a popular advertising campaign many years ago that used that exact phrase to push 'Smuckers' jams and jellies. It sounded funny and was quickly parodied, because of course the name doesn't guarantee a product's quality in and of itself. And that's the point with the breathless publicity I linked to, that despite the celebrity endorsements, there's no real guarantee that Expelled is any damn good.

I am ridiculing that notion, but not because the celebrity endorsers have the temerity to challenge evolution. It's because they are manifestly out of their depth: a 'psychologist'-turned-multimillionaire minister, a character actor, a movie critic, a convicted felon and former Nixon 'hatchet man'? These are the experts who endorse this project?

Some might defend these endorsements by saying, 'Well, this upcoming movie is not about the science, it's about how some viewpoints are being excluded from consideration.' But that's a cop-out, because the credibility of the case of whether or not ID advocates get a fair shake in academia hangs on the credibility of ID as a scientific theory, and that's sadly lacking, by their own admission. Philip Johnson admits it. Paul Nelson admits it. So, I wonder, what is it that Dobson, Medved, Colson and Stein know that these founders of ID don't?

On another note: Stan, paleontologists do not make paternity claims. That's a misreading of evolutionary theory that's in the popular culture, and you often hear some scientist who knows better talk fast and loose about ancestors, but no one in the literature actually claims, for example, that the creature that fossilized as Tiktaalik is actually ancestral to all tetrapods.

Rather, what is claimed is that specimens show transitional features. And that is true: Tiktaalik really does show features that are transitional from certain fish to tetrapods.

Anyway, evolution is easy to demonstrate between populations today. I'm assuming that you wouldn't argue about what the creationists like to call 'change within a kind' or microevolution, since it's so trivial to demonstrate. Perhaps you're skeptical of 'macroevolution', a term that creationists typically misuse to refer to speciation?