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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Listen Up!: Expelled movie, not yet shown, starting to impact Canada

While offering his comments on the theme of Ben Stein’s Expelled film about the ID guys (#5 in political documentaries as I write), Canadian chemist and sci-fi novelist Peter Kazmaier links to Lorna Dueck’s Listen Up episode, "Seeking Truth," which includes an interview with Stein that you can view online. Here’s part of the intro:

Perhaps the Pope illustrates it best. At 81 years of age, most of his career was spent in the university. He was a specialist in exploring faith and reason, a fabulous teacher and author. He is welcome almost everywhere - but was recently rebuffed by academics and students. Rome's prestigious La Sapienza University protested the Pope's planned visit because they felt he had scientific views that were offensive.

His visit there was cancelled in the name of the "secular nature of science.” It’s the kind of interference that's launched a high-budget, satirical documentary that says it is just that "secular nature" that is hampering the scientific quest.

There’s been a lot of that recently. In 2005, a number of neuroscientists tried, in the name of materialism, to prevent the Dalai Lama from speaking at the neuroscience conference.

Host Dueck reflects,
Today’s program reminds me that all of us have a way of seeing the world. We each have a worldview – it’s a framework of thought and ideas that helps to arrange a person’s beliefs about how life and the world work. Today we featured a conflict between the naturalist worldview and the Christian worldview. The Christian worldview includes God - a supernatural creative force in the world. The naturalist worldview says that the Universe is the sum total of all that is – a self-contained and self-explanatory system. I’m not anti-science but there is something naturalism can’t explain – why there is something rather than nothing. And what do I do with the mystery that there are some things in my life science can’t explain. I believe we were built to respond to God, and debate over Intelligent Design is just one more tool God uses to get our attention. That’s why a Christian worldview makes sense to me.

Kazmaier concludes his thoughtful piece with,
I have listed the way in which 2008 science is even more susceptible to suppression than science in Galileo’s time. Are there any advantages on the side of those who believe they are being blocked? Yes there are. Through the democratization of knowledge, it is much easier to disseminate ideas today than in Galileo’s time. One can circumvent the journal refereeing process and publish the information directly through books, movies, or the internet.

So what are the personal messages for me to take away from this? First of all I need to understand and follow up the claims made by Expelled. Secondly, as I referee articles, I need to be aware of my own prejudices and biases and not allow them to influence my comments. Finally, at every turn I need to oppose suppression of free discussion of scientific ideas, whatever their source.
Expelled, a target of controversy from the moment it surfaced in Seattle, hasn’t even been shown yet in theatres in Canada, in part due to an injunction brought by Yoko Ono. Materialism is indeed, as Pamela Winnick has said, a “jealous god.”

Whether it is ever permitted to be shown in Canada or not, Expelled is making clear that not all Canadians worship the jealous god (the Mud that failed).

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