All posts for the month February, 2008

“Expelled” is a movie in the pipeline (due for release in April at the last count) that purports not so much to “debunk” evolution (or Darwinism as they refer to it, like any good Victorian might) in favour of ID / Creationism, but to claim a mass institutional conspiracy preventing debate on alternatives, not just to evolution, but to fundamentals of science generally. It’ll be lizards in the board-rooms next.

Thanks to P Z Myers at Pharyngula for the link to Roger Moore’s piece, on previewing the film, under conditions where the makers intended it to be seen only by supporters. (The review piece includes a YouTube link to the film’s trailer.)

[Post Note – I notice these guys are paying serious attention to publicity – they get top billing in the sponsored Google side-bar, when any evolution / origins keywords are on the page.]

The film is such an obvious piece of conspiracy theory propaganda, that it is very easy for the reviewer (and the commenters) to rubbish it, on so many levels beyond the content itself. It is a good review, and as an atheist I side with the scientific view, but as you know my agenda is to temper the “hyper-rationalism” of science as a “culture” to knee-jerk its response in dogmatic certainty in the name of science.

Intellectual honesty demands that science recognise the limits to what can be known scientifically, at its own boundaries and it’s own foundations in epistemology and the philosophy of science, however much it screams the empirical evidence mantra, back at faith-based believers. I made my comment on the original post.

You probably know my view on conspiracy theories generally – most are in the minds of the beholder – but you could be forgiven for seeing the scientific response as just the kind of conspiracy that Expelled claims to be exposing.

Reminds me of so many threads on Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” Blog, where the assembled masses end up baying for blood like any neurotic lynch mob. Again,  a good blog exposing good valid stories, but if science doesn’t wake up it will find it has shot itself in the foot whilst it nodded off.

It’s also exactly the kind of thing that happened within “Friends of Wisdom” – a forum of those in science and education looking to promote the philosophy of science ideas of Nick Maxwell – when any member openly suggested doubts or value-based philosophical extensions to the basic empiricism of science, the poor dears were run out of town (despite the fact those ideas are explicit in Nick’s work.)

Methinks science doth protest too much. Something I said about Dawkins, long before the recent upturn in science vs god debates.

[Post Note – I see in the very brief “Expelled” ads being broadcast on Fox TV (~12th April ?) – the language is “evolution” rather than the pretense at the “Darwinism” target, and apart from a worried looking shot of Dawkins, the memorable line, in response to a crusty, dusty old “evolution” lecturer the question asked is “Yes, but how did life originate.” – as if somehow that was some killer question. Doh ! The disgusting rhetoric continues. This one may run and run.]