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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Another movie reviewer opines on intelligent design theory

You can sure tell that an idea is taking hold: All kinds of people offer an opinion who are not embarrassed by knowing nothing about it. Roger Ebert who, like A. O Scott , is reviewing the recently released pitchfork opera, The Exorcism of Emily Rose - which has nothing to do with intelligent design - opines:

The church is curiously ambivalent about exorcism. It believes that the devil and his agents can be active in the world, it has a rite of exorcism, and it has exorcists. On the other hand, it is reluctant to certify possessions and authorize exorcisms, and it avoids publicity on the issue. It's like those supporters of Intelligent Design who privately believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis, but publicly distance themselves from it because that would undermine their plausibility in the wider world.

Now first, just for the record, the Catholic church is not ambivalent about exorcism; it is discreet about exorcism, and with good reason. Some people out there are obsessed by demons (not possessed, just obsessed). Avoiding publicity over the rare cases where exorcisms are done is prudent.

But on the main point, would Ebert like to say which supporters of intelligent design he is talking about? The major "literal interpretation of Genesis" group is Answers in Genesis. AiG has, famously, slammed the ID folks, for not relying on the Bible. I have interviewed and listened to many supporters of intelligent design, and those who are young earth creationists admit it.

It’s no secret, I suppose, that a major source of controversy among actual ID scientists has been the demand by some that the few literalists in their midst (usually called "young earth creationists") be expelled, a demand that has so far been resisted. But those YEC scientists also admit that they are YECs. So I have a professional interest in knowing who Ebert is talking about - if indeed, he does himself.

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