Ben Stein to the Rescue

Categories: General
by on April 3rd, 2008

As many of our readers know, we have been mentioning the spring release of the Ben Stein film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The film will be opening nationally on Friday, April 18. You can find the closest showing to you at the Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed Theatre Locator.

Ben Stein is not a Christian and as far as I know is not opposed to the idea of Darwinian Evolution. By his own admission in the Expelled Super Trailer he grew up believing God created everything that exists. He also was aware that others believed in Darwinism. Living in a free nation with freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought there was a healthy challenging of ideas. Ben Stein came to realize that is no longer the case.

In Dr. Norman Geisler’s talk “How Secular Humanism Took Over America,” Dr. Geisler points out that in the Scope’s Monkey Trial the attorney for the ACLU, Clarence Darrow argued that it would be sheer bigotry to teach only one view of origins. There is currently only one view of origins allowed in the educational system and Dr. Geisler correctly pointed out that bigotry hasn’t changed only the bigots have. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is calling attention to the bigotry and bias being practiced by those who hold to Darwinian evolution. It is, in the final analysis a faith claim no different than belief in a creator.

Those who advocate for Darwinism being the only valid view and those who argue for a creator (whether it is Intelligent Design, Progressive Creation or Young Earth Creation) have the same sets of evidence from which to work. I am aware that some reading this will be unsatisfied that I am not taking a public position on the “when” of creation and depending upon which camp they find themselves in may assert a variety of reasons to expose me as a heretic on the level of someone denying the physical resurrection, deity of Christ and/or salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. As a bit of a side bar, although this impacts those who advocate for Darwinism as much as for those who advocate for creation, at this point in time none of us can get back on the other side of the event and give an authoritative informed response. The timing is more a matter of faith even than the mechanism for the timing is predicated on how the mechanism worked and how or if it continues to work in the same way. Such things as star light and time factor in to the question. Has starlight consistently traveled at the same speed since it came into existence? Do we assume it did and project backwards? For Christians this is an important question but I would suggest a secondary question. It is a matter of orthopraxy (how one practices or lives out the faith) and not orthodoxy (what the faith is). Like many areas of orthopraxy MCOI has no official position on the “when” question and focuses more on the “how” question. From nothing and by nothing for no apparent reason or by a Creator Who called all things forth?

Does the evidence point more clearly to an intelligence outside of the universe which brought the universe in to existence or does it point more clearly to the universe and all that is in it having come from nothing and by nothing? Did everything that came to be explode in to existence from nothing for no apparent reason? We can look back in time and see King David’s response to the evidence when he wrote in Psalm 19:1:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Later his son Solomon decided to see if there was any meaning or purpose to life using only his fives senses and concluded that if there is no God life is meaningless and purposeless. We came from no where, live a few short meaningless years, die and go in to nothingness and nothing we have done matters. It is a bleak and depressing view to be sure. The product of his search is the book of Ecclesiastes where he writes in 9:4:

For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.

This is only true if there is nothing beyond death.

Centuries later the Apostle Paul argued that the very existence of the universe is testimony to God’s existence in the first chapter of Romans but that humans distort or ignore the evidence in order to live contrary to God’s expressed limitations on behavior.

I am glad Ben Stein is publically exposing and calling for an end to the bigotry that is being practiced in the halls of academia. We are being afforded an opportunity to challenge culture in these days of growing paganism and atheism. Do we have enough believers who are trained by their churches and are willing to move out and further challenge culture to think through these issues? With the dearth of sound biblical teaching and intellectual training in much of the church today I am inclined to doubt it.

4 responses to “Ben Stein to the Rescue ”

  1. Darron S says:

    Your musings on the “purpose of life” remind me of my favorite short story by the late, great Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question”. You’ll love the ending!

    http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

    Cheers!

  2. I was at Biola University on April 27th and saw Ben Stein in person. It was an interesting discussion how very learned scientists such as Caroline Crocker, PhD (formerly of George Mason University) and Guillermo Gonzalez, PhD (formerly of Iowa State University) have literally lost their jobs in academia only because they have suggested in their published writings that Intelligent Design, not even mentioning “creation” might be a factor that should be studied.

    Ben Stein was presented with the Philip E Crocker Award that night.

  3. Denis Wilson says:

    There is actually nothing bigoted about questioning someone who believes the world is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth. We would say the evidence proves otherwise and would not allow them to teach. Thankfully, we have amazing advances in science that now hold up a candle in the dark and it has illuminated many areas we once left to superstition and faith.

    Once again, the creationists and ID side has yet to offer up any evidence as to why their side should be taught. Not to mention the same Christians are not open to EVERY version of creation being taught. Only their own and yet the world has several of those fireside stories. Judge Jones, a conservative judge himself appointed by Bush, even said in the Dover case:

    “Saying the school board made a decision of ‘breathtaking inanity,’ Jones found that intelligent design — the notion that life is too complex to have arisen through natural selection and must have been designed by an intelligent agent — was not science and ‘cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.’

    Jones’ 139-page ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover (online at http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf) was the first legal test of intelligent design as a scientific theory. Jones agreed with the plaintiffs’ experts that intelligent design was untestable and therefore not a scientific theory.

    Repeatedly in this trial, he wrote “plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.”

    After the trial, Jones and his family received death threats and were given around-the-clock protection. Of course they were. We have come to expect nothing less of “Christendom.”

    So, if they want to teach something, at least make sure it can actually hold up as true science with validation and testing behind it. Not just loose ideas that are based in some sort of God of the Gaps theory.

    The National Academy of Science shows that less than 1% of scientists believe anything other than evolution. Maybe they are just all clouded by the devil or something. An excuse that seems to never get old.

    Sorry but a lot of what you are saying are just empty words and whining. Again, if someone approached us and said the world was flat, agnostic/atheist and Christian alike would all have a good laugh. The difference is you stopped laughing at this nonsense and somehow try to defend it.

    thank you for your time
    Denis W

  4. Denis, an informed Christ-follower would focus on an attempted argument you just made up there. Yours is a strategy fairly common to the faith’s critics:

    After the trial, Jones and his family received death threats and were given around-the-clock protection. Of course they were. We have come to expect nothing less of “Christendom.”

    Ignoring for a moment the clear un-Christlike behavior of such threat-makers against the judge, and the fact that non-Christians also believe in and defend “intelligent design” and such …

    What do you mean by this statement? Are you saying these badly behaving evolution critics — or threat-makers — are false Christians? If so, according to whose definition? In your view, is it Christianity’s critics or its defenders who are “allowed” to define the faith’s ethical principles? Would you similarly “allow” Christians to direct what moral behavior is and is not “allowed” for a “real” Biblical creation critic?

    Most interesting of all, on what basis would you make these moral value judgments as to who is and isn’t being a hypocrite, as you’ve clearly implied?

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