Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Plague of Creationism

A SPECTER IS HAUNTING AMERICA. It’s the specter of creationism, based on the malicious lie that science is an evil and godless enterprise that will somehow destroy all that is good and holy. The purveyors of this madness have chosen to begin what is literally a war on reason by attacking the science of biology.

Why biology? Why not chemistry, or maybe physics? Because biology — and specifically the theory of evolution — appears to contradict the literal way that some denominations read scripture, so the science-haters can present themselves as upholders of the faith against the purveyors of evil.

If they can discredit and outlaw one branch of science, it will be only the first step in getting rid of the rest. Geology teaches that the earth is older than a literal reading of Genesis suggests. Astronomy not only confirms this, it contradicts the scriptural view that the sun orbits the immovable earth. Other sciences are consistent with these, and they cross-confirm each other in numerous ways. They’ve all got to go. And finally, when men can no longer think for themselves, they’ll be ready for the hell of theocracy.

The Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (the “Discoveroids”) are currently in the vanguard of the war against reason. If you doubt this, then read their Wedge Strategy. It is nothing less than their blueprint for the end of Western Civilization.

In this recent Discoveroid blog article, Evolution Academic Freedom Bills Spread to More States: National Movement Grows, you can see them gloating over the spread of legislation that they have drafted and which they actively promote to destroy the teaching of science in America. You can see their model bill here — the misleadingly named Academic Freedom Act.

These people are serious, and they’re achieving some success. Excerpt from their blog article:

Five states are currently considering adoption of academic freedom legislation designed to protect teachers who teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory. Introduction of similar legislation is being considered by legislators in several other states, indicating the national scope of this movement.

[…]

Many of the bills have been adapted from sample legislation developed by Discovery Institute, including a model statute posted online at AcademicFreedomPetition.com.

But that’s only part of the problem. The American Geological Institute, which represents more than 100,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists, maintains an online interactive map of the US with information about anti-science legislation activity in each state. You can find it here: Political Challenges to the Teaching of Evolution .

The map isn’t updated as frequently as we’d like, but Florida (the only state we checked) seems to be current through the middle of April [this was written on 30 April]. Take a look and click on your state. This is a valuable source of information.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Expelled — Box Office Update for 28 April

WE BRING YOU yet another box-office update Expelled, Ben Stein’s anti-evolution “documentary.” Receipts for Monday (April 28th) are now out. The information comes from Daily Box Office . The film grossed a total of $157,191 from 1,041 theaters, which is only $151 for each. We can’t imagine that a theater owner would continue to exhibit such a poorly-grossing film for much longer.

That day’s gross is 62% lower than the immediately-preceding Sunday’s gross, which makes sense. Movie attendance is always higher on weekends. For comparison we can look to the earlier week when the film had its grand opening. The film’s first Monday was 68.8% lower than the Sunday before it.

So how is the film doing, really? This website compares the gross receipts of documentaries, including such gems as Sicko, An Inconvenient Truth, and Bowling for Columbine (ranked #3, 4, and 5). Expelled now ranks number 15. As we’ve mentioned before, most documentaries play at only a handful of theaters — as do several ranked above Expelled — while only Expelled is showing at over 1,000.

Will the film make any money for its producers? That’s difficult to judge from the information currently available. There is some data in The Australian , in which this article appears: Ferris Bueller’s way off as creationist damns Dawkins. Excerpt:

A few years ago, Stein came to the conclusion that the greatest threat to the US were the Darwinists, whom he credited with the same world-shaping omnipresence that previous generations awarded to Jesuits, Jews and Freemasons. The next step was to turn his noisy thesis into a film: he found it relatively easy to raise the $US3.5 million ($3.7 million) budget with the help of think tanks such as the Discovery Institute, which is known for its advocacy of intelligent design.

That’s the first time we’ve seen any cost figures. But we don’t know if that also includes the advertising budget. It probably does, because the film itself seems to be strictly low-end in terms of production costs. If so, and if the theaters keep half the gross (as we understand is common with documentaries) then the film needs to take in $7 million just to break even. So far the film has grossed only $5,455,051.

But things may be worse than that. In a week-old article from Church Central we read “Expelled” deserves grassroots support from the Church. Excerpt:

Considering its production costs were only $3.5 million, it got off to a pretty good start.

This refers specifically to “production costs” so maybe the promotional expenses need to be added to that, which might bring the total costs to something like $5 million (obviously, we’re guessing here). If so, the film would need to gross $10 million to break even. We shall see.

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Florida Creationism News Roundup: 30 April

THE MADNESS CONTINUES. Yes, Curmudgeon fans, the final week of Florida’s legislative session is at the mid-point, and the different creationism bills (one passed by the Senate, another by the House) haven’t yet been reconciled, nor has lightning struck the state’s capitol building for their failure to embrace the “science” of Noah’s Ark. Here are some of the morning’s news stories, beginning with one from a great and authoritative source:

Eugenie Scott’s National Center for Science Education has a long, detailed summary of the history of these bills and the folly of both houses of the Florida legislature. We’ve reported on the day-by-day details before, but it’s essentially all here in one fine article:

Antievolution bills continue to advance through Florida legislature. Excerpt:

With drastically different House and Senate versions of what was once the same antievolution bill in the Florida state legislature, it remains uncertain whether antievolution forces will be able to devise a compromise bill to be sent to the governor before the legislature adjourns on May 2, 2008 — especially with a host of other issues crowding the legislative calendar.

From the Tallahassee Democrat we have Seeking ignorance in the name of God. Excerpt:

The problem with the Florida Senate’s so-called Evolution Academic Freedom Act, and a similar bill passed by the House, is that the logic supporting the effort fails to rise to the standards of its own lofty title. In other words, this bill is not truly concerned with responsible academic freedom. When debating the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Dan Webster encouraged his colleagues to vote yes to one simple question: “Could it be?”

“Can’t we ask that question?” Webster enthused. And the answer, of course, is yes, it could be; and not only can we ask the question, we should. Yet, not in our public schools, if for no other reason than the simple fact that there just isn’t the time.

If, in the name of academic freedom, we are going to ask whether creationism or intelligent design could be, then are we also going to ask whether unidentified flying objects or intelligent life on other planets could be? Similar to creationism and intelligent design, those interested in UFOs and extraterrestrial life could also boast of a few prominent scientists to support their cause.

From the Daytona Beach News-Journal we have Anti-evolution bills defy science. Excerpt:

So why should the state’s public-school teachers pretend there’s credible scientific debate about the origins of species on this planet? It makes no sense — unless you’re a member of the Florida Legislature or the religious fundamentalists pushing lawmakers on the issue.

[…]

Ironically, the squabble over the differences in the House and Senate versions might well kill any chance of passing anti-evolution legislation this session. If neither Sen. Storms nor Rep. Hayes backs down, Florida schools win.

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Expelled — Links to Solid Information

THE PRODUCERS of Expelled, Ben Stein’s anti-evolution “documentary,” together with their friends in the creationist community, have been putting out a great number of gushing reviews about this film. For those who would like some solid, reliable scientific and rational discussion of the film, we offer you the following:

Expelled Exposed, a superb source of information maintained by National Center for Science Education. Here you will learn more about this film than you can from any other source. Excerpt:

Expelled makes some outrageous claims. But what really happened to the people they claim were persecuted for their views? And what is the real story about evolution and Intelligent Design?

Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Integrity Displayed, from Scientific American. An excellent review. Excerpt:

Unfortunately, Expelled is a movie not quite harmless enough to be ignored. Shrugging off most of the film’s attacks—all recycled from previous pro-ID works — would be easy, but its heavy-handed linkage of modern biology to the Holocaust demands a response for the sake of simple human decency.

A Blood Libel on Our Civilization, By John Derbyshire from National Review. We’ve reported on this before, but it’s certainly worth a second mention. Excerpt:

And now here is Ben Stein, sneering and scoffing at Darwin, a man who spent decades observing and pondering the natural world — that world Stein glimpses through the window of his automobile now and then, when he’s not chattering into his cell phone. Stein claims to be doing it in the name of an alternative theory of the origin of species: Yet no such alternative theory has ever been presented, nor is one presented in the movie, nor even hinted at. There is only a gaggle of fools and fraudsters, gaping and pointing like Apaches on seeing their first locomotive: “Look! It moves! There must be a ghost inside making it move!”

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