Intellectual vandalism….

by Jim Caryl

There is a new fictional film, masquerading as a documentary, currently being aired in the US.  Several of my US friends went to see it (admittedly mourning their monetary contribution to the creationist cause) and have let me know not to waste my life, or money, going to see it. In turn, I encourage similar of anyone reading this. The fiction-doc is called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” and it is yet more anti-science propaganda in favour of Intelligent Design, spewing outlandish, intellectually dishonest rhetoric. In their polemic pursuit of self-righteousness they also managed to demean a host very respected scientists, including Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers.

I’m not fond of commenting on things I haven’t actually seen, but I am of like-mind with my friends, and to be honest, I’m painfully well aware of the nature of such attacks on science; the very discipline that has permitted them the technology of producing a film in the first place. The National Centre for Science Education has produced a website to address the intellectual vandalism the film may do to those lay audience members who may inadvertently take the producer at his word.

The producer, amongst other things, contends that the theory of evolution contributed to the holocaust committed by the Nazis, communism and the rise of atheism. This is of course nothing new, creationists have been peddling this tripe for a long time; it is all part of their belief that atheists are inherently immoral, as if atheism is itself a religion that preaches immorality. Alas, like little children, they cannot believe that anyone can know something that they don’t.

To address one point however, one might suspect that such an arrogant and self-righteous man as Hitler would happily go into depth about how he employed evolutionary theory in his final solution, yet never once does mention evolutionary theory in the whole sorry tirade of Mein Kampf, I know, I’ve read it. Furthermore, he was on a crusade to create an Aryan race, whom he believed to be the created in the highest image of the lord; hardly the comment of a proud atheist or evolutionist.

Religions deal in the manner in which they believe people should live their lives, unfortunately, to those arguing from a platform of ignorance about science, there is a general misunderstanding that science similarly prescribes a way of living. This is not correct. Even if Hitler had been employing the theory of evolution in his reasoning, this does not mean that the theory is any way morally awry. Evolution is a scientific theory, it is neither good, nor evil; science makes no prescriptions on how to live your life. It is not to be confused with Social Darwinism, which is a philosophical construct based upon “survival of the fittest”.

Richard Dawkin’s premise is that by understanding natural selection we can selectively abrogate the rather emotionless and indifferent edge of this process, not become slaves to it.

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