Friday, April 18, 2008

EXPELLED



One wonders what current scientific orthodoxy would do with Albert Einstein who was a theist and let his theism have an important part in his scientific thinking. ("God does not play dice with the universe.")

One gets a hint in this documentary framed by Ben Stein's humor.

Stein presents the appalling scenario of the scientific establishment saying that some issues have been "decided" and are not open to scientific research or critical thinking. Those who do not follow the scientific orthodoxy are fired, let go or blocked in their research.

Stein also presents the the dark side of Darwinism that resulted in the attempt to upgrade the human race through negative eugenics of killing or blocking the reproduction of "unfit" people and races. Those attempts ranged from the horrors of Hitler's holocaust to the milder insidiousness of Margaret Sanger's reasons for founding the organization which later became Planned Parenthood. Sanger sought to keep "unfit" people from propagating by sterilizing them and "unfit" groups from propagating through birth control.

It seems that scientific orthodoxy is not a thing of the past. It just keeps changing its taskmasters.

8 comments:

David J. Grossman said...

Einstein was not a theist!!! When are you people going to figure that out!

His use of the word "God" was a metaphor (think back to freshman year English class).

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly." - Einstein

Give us a break and stop including Einstein in your theist cabal.

Expelled is a fraud of the movie and is being exposed ( http://www.expelledexposed.com/ ) as such. By supporting Stein's nonsense, you are building your own wall in between yourselves and reality.

terrance said...

David,

Ever heard of pantheism? Perhaps you don't know that theism doesn't have to mean belief in a "personal" God that interferes in human affairs. Along with your quote, here's another from Einstein about his beliefs:

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."
-- Albert Einstein, following his wife's advice in responding to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the International Synagogue in New York, who had sent Einstein a cablegram bluntly demanding "Do you believe in God?"

My point is that Einstein believed in a God or force that is overarching and not just one of the natural processes themselves. His research and thinking was based on the unproven belief that there is a rationality, orderliness and harmony in the universe that must be assumed to understand it.

Jim Lippard said...

Einstein did apparently believe in Spinoza's god (i.e., pantheism), though he also noted that to most theists, he would be considered an atheist.

To the extent that his religious views played a role in his science, they caused him to get things wrong--his quotation about playing dice was his expression of disagreement with quantum mechanics, and his thought that there must be underlying order--he advocated "hidden variable theory." If you read about the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) Paradox, Bell's Inequalities, hidden variable theories, and the Aspect experiments, however, you will see that Einstein was proven wrong. You cannot preserve both locality and realism.

David J. Grossman said...

Spinoza's god is so different from the Christian God that the equivocation you use is at best, dishonest.

Considering that your blog is "COMMENTS FROM A CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE", it is obvious that you are a Christian and that you are trying to portray Einstein as a believer in your God.

Even if he did believe in God, bringing him into your post in order to provide Ben Stein (who is "no Einstein" to put it lightly) with some measure of credibility is also, at best, dishonest.

I'm generally a very nice person. I rarely try to offend anyone and respect people's beliefs, to a point. However, I am fed up with this Creationist/ID/Expelled nonsense. This is not science by any stretch and does not belong in our public schools or scientific institutions. Isn't it enough that you people can teach your children religion at home? You can teach anything you want in a private Christian school.

Please, keep your religion out of our science and we'll keep our science out of your religion. Not that I would say that they don't overlap. Where they do overlap, science wins every time.

terrance said...

Jim,

Thanks for your comment.

One of the main points in this debate is that people who hold “non-scientific” philosophic or religious views cannot do good science. Einstein did good science. He was right and he was wrong--as are all scientists.

The interesting thing about science is that no one has ever got it so right, even on lesser issues, that a new way of looking at things doesn’t have a chance. In fact a new way of looking at things is at the center of genius such as Einstein’s. The study of the history of science seems to indicate that surprise is at the heart of scientific progress. Progress doesn’t seem to grow in a stream of logically building on previous concepts.

Again, thanks for your comment.

terrance said...

David,

Where to begin?

Because I’m a conservative Christian doesn’t mean I think Einstein was either conservative or a Christian. You are not thinking logically. Please read what I write rather than what you think I mean to write.

I’m sure you generally are a nice person and do respect other people up “to a point.” But to say that someone should not be doing science if they don’t agree with your religious or philosophical views is a bit self-righteous, don’t you think?

I don’t think science is anybody’s. It’s about a certain kind of truth. And historically polytheists, Jews, Muslims, Christians, pantheists, agnostics, atheists, etc., have all had a part in discovering scientific truth. If you had your way, how many of them would have been forbidden to do scientific research?

Something to think about.

Dave Grossman said...

(this hasn't shown up yet so I'm assuming it got hosed. It this is a dupe, please delete it for me)

Did I say you thought that Einstein was conservative or Christian? One doesn't need to be either to believe in the Christian God, which, unless I'm mistaken, is the same God in the Old Testament and the same as the Jewish God. (my theology is a little unclear in this regard, is Yahweh the same God as in the Trinity?)

You called Einstein a theist, then you included a quote where Einstein used the word "God". It is obvious the inference you were trying to make. Yes, you have plausible deniability in this regard so I will drop that argument.

I never said that someone shouldn't be doing science if they don't agree with me. You see, this is the problem I have with people like you (sorry to paint with such a broad brush and no offense is meant). You are so eager to make us out to be the bad guy that you make inferences such as this where none exist. I said, and I think it's clear in my post, that Intelligent Design (through the entire spectrum from Young Earth Creationism to non-denominational ID advocacy) is not science. Therefore, it doesn't belong in science classes or laboratories.

Science doesn't belong to anybody. However, one must follow the Scientific Method in order to do Science. That is by definition. If an area of study doesn't follow the Scientific Method, it simply isn't science. It is really that simple.

That being said, anybody is free to show me how Intelligent Design advocates follow the scientific method. I can't even find any "scientific" Intelligent Design research that is being done. As I've noted in other forums, studying the bacterial flagellum and then claiming that it was too complex to have evolved is not science.

To tell you the truth, I'm not even against the idea that some intelligence had a hand in abiogenesis or evolution. If some evidence to this effect was presented to me, I would evaluate it with an open mind. If I had to place my bets one way or the other, I'd probably bet that there was some intelligence of some sort behind the design of the universe. I'd also be the first one to say that there is no scientific reason to believe this. Though the Fine Tuned Universe argument is compelling, so are the arguments against it. I have other arguments for an intelligent designer of the universe but they aren't scientific so they're really not relevant to my scientific interests.

I had a religious education. I was Bar Mitzvah'd and I have spent many an hour in church with my relatives. I was brought up being exposed to Catholicism and Judaism but I never believed any of it. I have been an atheist since the day I was born. If some evidence shows up to change my mind, I would welcome it.

What really gets me is how weak the arguments are for any religion. Just the fact that there are hundreds of religions that exist or have existed and just as many or more gods says a lot. I find it really hard to believe that after 13 and a half billion years, in some uninteresting quadrent of an ordinary galaxy, after 3 and a half billion years of evolution that some God is concerned about the fate of us lowly humans. Even the fact that we are human is completely arbitrary. If I threw a pebble into the primordial soup, the entire future of evolution might go completely differently due to the Butterfly Effect. Our existence in this form is just one of infinite possibilities. Yet, God created us in His image. Even the most modest ideas of God are highly implausible.

To be frank, I have no idea how people believe in this stuff. It really boggles my mind.

terrance said...

David,

Thank you for dropping the first argument.

You don't need to worry about poor science. If it's not true, it will eventually fall away because it won't work.

The great thing about science, unlike, say politics, is that good science works and bad science, no matter who proffers it, eventually doesn't. Race, religion, philosophy, gender, culture. None of it matters. Only insight.

Thanks for taking the time to make your longer explanation.