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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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Oops, here’s another new ID cartoon!

It’s like picking up mercury beads. Just when you think you’ve got them all …
Here’s the New Yorker on the Kansas Board of Education. They are apparently selling it as a print. I wonder, will the Board get the proceeds? If not, perhaps the Board should raise money by auctioning off some. As a journalist who monitors culture, I am impressed with the extent to which the Kansans who doubt Darwinism have succeeded in making their issue so well known that the single phrase “Kansas Board of Education” needs no qualifier.

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Another ID cartoon: This one’s from Chuck Asay

This one’s from editorian cartoonist Chuck Asay, from whose critical eye, apparently, no one is
I find Bush’s intervention (“teach the controversy”) interesting because I have talked to many ID scientists, who actually don’t want that. What they mostly want is to be left alone to research and publish (that means no more Sternberg cases or Caldwell cases). My own theory is that Bush figured the best way to make that happen is to teach both sides, and he went ahead and said so without asking them You have to admit, it fits the personality.

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Service restored now

I didn’t blog yesterday because I spent the amount of time I can allow figuring out why the By Design or by Chance? site had been yanked, just when I made my big announcement about being named Recommended Canadian author of the year. It was an administrative glitch, apparently. It’s resolved now.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.
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