Friday, April 25, 2008


The combox for this post has gotten seriously derailed, and that's OK. It's still quite fun actually, but the original point was yet another angle on how atheists act inconsistently with the implications of their stated positions. The combox is now centered around the cosmological argument for God's existence, so this post's combox is for continuing that on.

The comments dealing with the cosmological argument started approximately here.
Let the games continue.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Point/Counterpoint on "Expelled"

A friend sent me a Facebook post from an acquaintance of his, on the movie Expelled, which I saw Sunday night. I thought it was pretty good, not great, a good starting point, by no means a coup de grâce (pronounce the "s" sound at the end of grâce, please, and the "p" of "coup" is silent).

Here's his point:

The new rage in movies currently is Expelled, or so I am told. I've had many folks asking about this movie over the past few weeks and thought I'd put my thoughts down for all to see (since so many of you keep prodding). In short, I have no real interest in seeing it and won't.

Now, to back up a bit, Expelled is an ID (intelligent design) documentary that looked to have promise when I first heard about it. Ben Stein and company were going to take a serious look at the plight of ID scientists in the field, or so I thought. In the end it seems to be nothing more than more propaganda, no different than one would expect out of a Michael Moore documentary (which I'm somewhat proud to say I've never seen).

The first hint that I was going to be more disgusted than excited at this film came from reading the tale of PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins in getting into the opening screening. To make a long story short, Myers — one of the evolutionary scientists interviewed for the film was kicked out (they let Dawkins in though — he was also interviewed but wasn't recognized).

That got me reading further into things. It turns out that the producers outright lied to the scientists in order to get them to talk on camera. They claimed the interviews were for a movie entitled Crossroads that explored honestly the intersection of faith and science. Funny thing is though that the domain name for Expelled was reserved and set up months before the interviews occurred and the domain for Crossroads was never reserved, making intentions pretty obvious.

So we've moved from expelling some of the participants from the screening (something I'd look down on but could forgive) to outright dishonesty. There is a lot more "dishonesty" involved in this flick though so don't be easily fooled if you do go and see it. Scientific American lists 6 things in particular that immediately jump out as dishonest:

  1. Misquoting sources (particularly the quotes linking Charles Darwin to the holocaust).
  2. Ben Stein's speech was a setup, staged at Pepperdine and filled with extras paid off by the production company.
  3. I've already discussed their third item: the dishonest interviews.
  4. The ID researcher who "lost his job" was never actually an employee of the Smithsonian Institute. This is a big one because one of the primary premises of the movie is that scientists are losing jobs left and right because of this issue which isn't really true. If you want to look at (the university where I go), we have many ID sympathetic professors, but that's another story.
  5. A weaker weakness. Could take this one either way. Basically the approach of science towards evolution and ID isn't accurately portrayed.
  6. Specifically chose to interview only atheistic scientists and not any of the Christian scientists that might be sympathetic to evolutionary views. ("Mathis explained that his presence would have "confused" viewers. But the reality is that showing Miller would have invalidated the film's major premise that evolutionary biologists all reject God.")

And thus we are left with a documentary that pulls out all of the tricks to sucker people into believing everything they say. Again, there really aren't any difference in the above tactics and the charges commonly leveled against folks like Michael Moore. And it's a shame that this is all done under the guise of Christianity and a "Christian" film. Those that are going to be seeing it already have their minds made up about the ID issue and those that should be exposed to some ID thought aren't going to want anything to do with it. In their words,

"Christians have a growing reputation for their appreciation of dishonesty." (from PZ Myer's post above)


"Lying for Jesus" (from

So hopefully this all explains why I don't have much interest in seeing Expelled. I'd love it though if someone actually did what the producers told Myers, Dawkins and others they were going to do (namely create a serious exploration of the intersection of faith and science). Here's to hoping they do, and here's to hoping for integrity in any film-making that's going to be in some way associated with Christ.

My counterpoint:

I feel what this person is saying, yes.
At the same time, it's not a *Christian* film. Stein's no Christian. Jonathan Wells is a frickin Moonie. Berlinski is an agnostic (and a brilliant one at that!). It's mkted to churches, yeah, but so what? That's just good PR. Remember, it's the naturalists, starting with John Dewey, who want to keep church out of the affairs of state, gov't, and education. Not the other way 'round.
Expelling PZ Myers from the screening is NOT good PR. It was really stupid and makes Expelled look terrible, though Myers richly deserves that his face be ground in the dirt every time he shows his face in public. He is a very very bad dude and I don't care what happens to him.

Mentioning Christians and their growing love for dishonesty gives me a few thoughts:
-The naturalists started it. This is like Muslims complaining about the Crusades or Charlemagne's and Ferdinand's reconquista of Spain.
-The naturalists are finishing it as well. They leverage their power to silence the alternative voices. If a movie fails to focus well on that, it doesn't change the fact that it IS HAPPENING. It's a MOVIE. Like Forbidden Kingdom is a MOVIE. You believe most of what you see on the silver screen? You're a fool if you do!
-These guys would NEVER say the on-the-honest-side things they said in those interviews if the Expelled crew had identified themselves as pro-ID. They wouldn't've said anythg at all. Why not just say what you have to say if you're a big shot evolutionary biologist and claim in other situations that you have all the evidence on your side? This exposes their hypocrisy (much like Yasser Arafat saying "Peace, peace" in EN and FR and then "Push the Jew pigs into the sea" in Arabic a little later), and if that takes lying to evangelists of atheism (ie, false teachers), boo hoo. They are not my neighbors.

Propaganda - yes, that's precisely what I expected it to be.
-Maybe your standards were a little lofty.
-I don't begrudge Michael Moore his methods so much, but rather the wrongheaded conclusions he reaches.

Misquoting sources - well, they shouldn't do that, 'tis true. IF they did it, and I don't know how much I believe an obviously biased source like SciAm.
The reason one shouldn't do that is b/c there is plenty of ACTUAL evidence out there making those links - just do a little more research so you don't get exposed.

"at the university where I go, we have many ID sympathetic professors..."
-In the science department?
-One of the elders at my church is a prof of Stat and wanted to teach a class that was loosely related to ID and Information theory, which is close to his field. The univ said screw off. Fortunately this prof is tenured and not in the science dept, or maybe he'd be in the film as well!

"in some way associated with Christ."
-Again, it wasn't.

Those are my thoughts.
It was a good movie and I'd recommend it. It was almost exactly what I expected it to be, in fact. It's a STARTING POINT for these discussions.

To the reader - keep an eye on the combox. I've found that this movie engenders approximately the same level of emotional frothing at the mouth that discussions of the Iraq conflict do. Which is why I'm loathe to discuss either. Look for a probable lack of... well, me, in the combox on this one.

Friday, April 18, 2008


A Japanese temple has just joined Japan to the growing number of countries to see protests and conflict over the passing of the Olympic Torch relay.
I love this. I am very glad to see large number of people refuse to rubberstamp the Olympic Games when the Games' leadership is guilty of blindness, inconsistency, and stupidity by holding their games in China.
A few things about these protests are interesting.

-The biggest protests I've seen were in the UK and France, where secularism is looming large. Probably these protesters were largely left-leaning human-rights advocate types whose value structure is based on secular humanism.
As we've seen over and over and over again around here, an atheistic philosophy like sec humanism can't ground ANY moral judgment. These guys are just a group of like-minded people getting together to beg the question, and they can't tell you WHY oppressing the Dalai Lama and his compadres is bad. It just is, dang it. They have empathy for him, and OF COURSE that means that we all must believe that oppression is bad.

-Which leads them to protest b/c of the actions of an atheistic regime. Infighting in the opposition's camp is almost always fulfilling and fun to watch.

-Which of course leads one to the question - which atheist is right?
(Man, I'd love to see a debate between some leftist Western secular humanist [Peter Singer comes to mind] and a knowledgeable apparatchik from China. Won't happen - China wouldn't allow such exposure, but a guy can dream.)

-And how would we know?

-All I see from the media, US gov't people like Ted Kennedy, and protesters are cries for a cessation of the oppression of Tibet, the exiled Dalai Lama, and Falun Gong.
Are these people simply ignorant of the plight of Chinese Christians (of whom there are at least as many in China as Falun Gong practitioners)? Do they just not care?

-I hope the Christian churches will also join in these protests, and in a boycott of these Games, for precisely that reason. I have no idea if churches have been involved and even less confidence that the MSMedia would cover them if they were.

-Dear God, let China lose lots and lots of rubles on this 'investment'. Amen.

-Finally, I will allow my mind to speculate idly on what's next for China. By firsthand and other accts, I know that the ChiCom gov't has been reducing its oppressive activities toward Christians on the east coast of China, in the big cities, so that about 3 yrs ago one of my church elders was able to rent out a hotel conference auditorium in Beijing for a Christian marriage conference. Just right out in the open.
But one couldn't do that in central China - they would bust it up and send the Westerners home and then make life very difficult for any Chinese that dared try to attend.
Are the ChiComs just playing nice for the cameras? What will they do after the Olympics have moved on? Some Chinese I know say they'll get a lot worse, some are hopeful. Time will tell.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wrapup with the Jolly Nihilist

Thus ends our most recent blogalogue. I have little doubt we will exchange blog pleasantries over virtual tea, crumpets, and steel-toed boots sometime in the future.

Hi JN,

Your response is mostly just repetitions of, on the one hand, your vehement claims to holding to moral relativism/skepticism, and OTOH moral statements that transparently are meant to be applicable to others. It's the cookie jar. Again.
Look, man, I feel you - cookies are tasty, particularly hypocricookies.

Just a few things...

-You fail to interact with my longstanding point regarding the comparative violence committed by "Christofascists" and Islamofascists. I'm disappointed, honestly. You are politically foolish.

-You repeat yourself on what seems to be your desire utilitarian outlook on morality, w/o taking the necessary step of explaining how we know whether the things we desire are good. And that's kind of the key question.

-You infuse the atheistic dogma of USSR Marxism/Leninism with a critique of "religious fanaticism", w/o even attempting to deal with the obvious fact that this either renders atheism a religious system by your own standards or reduces fanaticism to a system of behavior that has no necessary connection to religion at all.

-I love how you compare the questions "What is the funniest joke ever written?" and "Is rape wrong?" whether intentionally or unintentionally. That's simultaneously very funny, very sad, and very scary. One hopes you never achieve a position of influence...anywhere.

-You continue to retreat on the front of Christianity's doctrine of the treatment of women. Lack of interaction noted.

-You misapprehend more or less completely what I mean on your retreat to the OT, even though I have just 9 posts ago written on that very topic.

-You commit the Primitives Were Morons fallacy.

-You continue to commit the Perfect Computer Manual fallacy.

-You exercise an external (and therefore epistemologically pretty much invalid) critique on whether it's extraordinary that the Bible be God's Word.

And after all that:
-After all, you are to apologetics what the finest Oxford fairyologist is to the study of pixies, fairies and elven creatures.

I'll take that as a compliment. :-D

Nice talking to you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rape commanded?

JeffPerado has asserted that God commands rape.

On that note...

1) I was corrected by a friend - I should have said "God did not COMMAND rape..." as opposed to "ordain" in that last post. Sloppy terminology from me.
2) JeffP has over and over again shown his inability to even discuss WHY sthg is wrong or right, fundamentally.
3) To Phinehas' link (arigatou) I'd add the following:
Link 1
Link 2
4) A woman who is raped but her cries are not heard is to be stoned to death - Deut 22:23-24
Um, no. You've completely confused two different sets of verses. If this is the best you've got...

If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. But if in the open country a man meets a young woman who is betrothed, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no offense punishable by death. For this case is like that of a man attacking and murdering his neighbor, because he met her in the open country, and though the betrothed young woman cried for help there was no one to rescue her.

5) Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped. God forgives the rape if circumcision is performed

Show me in the passage where God says anything about it or recommends circumcision. No, He doesn't say anythg. This is history - the author is recording what happened and adds no commentary on its rightness or wrongness.
Did you even read the passage or just strip all this out of the Skeptic's Annotated Baybuhl or something?

Might I add that Levi and Simeon are God-chosen.

Ah, which means that they're sinless! In JeffPerado's world, that's apparently the deal.

6) Judges 21 tells of the sexual needs and advances of the Benjaminites. Killing the men and taking the women to be thier wives despite their resistence.

Where do the women resist? That's not in the text; JeffPerado just assumes it.
These women needed protection; were they to remain single their whole lives? Not at that time, in that place, in that culture.
These were for MARRIAGE, not rape. The Mosaic Law specifically explains how marriage and betrothal are to take place, to protect both the man and the woman.

God condones forced marriage

That's just anachronistic. Not only can JeffPerado not explain why any act is wrong or right, he is guilty of imposing his moral timeframe on other cultures. Everyone can play that game.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

If atheists get to repeat themselves...

...then so do I.
The difference is that I am forced into it. I ask a question, the atheist begs the question. I explain why it's begging the question and ask him to answer it again. He then repeats the same "answer". Et cetera.

Consider the latest offering from JeffPerado. His thinking is so muddled and shallow that I almost cringe to link to him, but what the heck. He is trying to respond to my cheery, cheeky Christmas scenario.

Well done, JeffPerado, you've successfully begged the question. Hard. Again and again. One wonders whether it could ever be begged again after such an enervation. Sadly, it's what I expected.
You simply refuse to engage (or are incapable of engaging) the question at hand.
This is what I mean when I say that atheism is the usurpation of God's rule. You've taken on the role of Arbiter of Morality.
-They would have a good reason, their girls were being raped.

Prove it's a good reason.

-Now is war moral? If your self-preservation is on the line then yes.

Prove it's moral if your self-preservation is on the line.

-Clearly we have a situation where war is moral.

Prove it.

-They were following a "moral" practice and now are fighting for their lives because of it. Is that moral? No. Because win or lose, they lose valuable resources:

Prove that losing valuable resources is immoral.
Prove that human resources are indeed valuable.

-Morality is sick when it comes from any supposed supernatural outside-of-human-experience source

Because you say so?
Prove it.

-I don't make these rules or decide morality.

Actually, it looks like you're doing precisely that.

-Society does, and it does so only after time and (human) experience determines it as moral.

Prove it.
Also, which society? At what time? How long does it take? What % of people?
Tkalim's society, I remind you, supports this practice 100%, unanimously. So it's right to do this. Right?

-In other words, would you Rhology, allow your daughters to be raped if God ordained it, but would call it immoral if some other god ordained it, both being via supernatural origins.

God has never ordained rape. You are very ignorant and it is showing, seriously.
Nor would God ever ordain rape. Your premises are bad, so the question is vapor.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A shout-out to the existence of Jesus

Just wanted to note that Dr. Bart Ehrman, apostate, skeptic, and NT scholar extraordinaire, has recently gone on record on the Infidel Guy show saying that he knows of not one historian who believes that Jesus Christ never existed.
The clip begins around minute 51:00 here (on the Narrow Mind web broadcast).
Source page.

It's actually a pretty entertaining exchange because it really does sound like Dr. Ehrman starts to get irritated with the IG's intentional ignorance. Worth a listen.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008