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Roger Ebert Weighs In On Expelled PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Bruce Meinsen writes:

Dear Randi:

As a big fan of you and the JREF, it was with some interest that I looked for Ebert's review of Ben Stein's "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", but the movie was released (April 18, 2008) without a peep from Ebert - which I thought quite strange for a movie that had such inflammatory material. It turns out that he waited until almost 8 months later to write/publish his review - and you can certainly see why if you read it. I didn't see any mention of it on your website and though it's somewhat belated, I thought it's important enough to point out to your readers. Here's the link if you're interested.

And I do recommend you read it. It's a very long and indepth review, and though it perpetuates the myth that Darwin discovered evolution (evolution as a concept had been around for a very long time... Darwin's contribution was a thorough explanation of natural selection), it's a thorough analysis of a film made to be propaganda. Consider this one paragraph:

This film is cheerfully ignorant, manipulative, slanted, cherry-picks quotations, draws unwarranted conclusions, makes outrageous juxtapositions (Soviet marching troops representing opponents of ID), pussy-foots around religion (not a single identified believer among the ID people), segues between quotes that are not about the same thing, tells bald-faced lies, and makes a completely baseless association between freedom of speech and freedom to teach religion in a university class that is not about religion.

I think that about sums it up. Ebert is clearly on "our side" in this issue, and it's refreshing to see someone in the popular media tell it like it is. If only Ben Stein would.

 

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written by Thanny, January 11, 2009
Darwin's contribution to the very fuzzy existing notions of evolution should not be underestimated.

Furthermore, he manifestly did not get the idea of natural selection from Wallace. Two two formulated the idea quite independently of one another. Darwin did so much earlier, but was reluctant to publish. It wasn't until Wallace was about to publish a paper on the very topic that Darwin finally convinced himself it was time. He gave full credit to Wallace as co-discoverer in the introduction to Origins, even though Wallace's treatment was like armchair philosophy compared to the mountain of research that Darwin did.
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evolution of language
written by MadScientist, January 11, 2009
When did people start using the phrase 'bald-faced lie'? When I was growing up it was 'bold-faced lie' (an obvious lie told with a straight face, presumably with the assumption that everyone around is so stupid they'd buy your bull).
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written by JeffWagg, January 11, 2009
@Mad Scientist: Turns out the original is "bare faced lie," as in not hiding behind a mask or whiskers. http://bruteforcex.blogspot.co...ology.html
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written by JeffWagg, January 11, 2009
@Thanny: I'm not trying to take anything away from Darwin - he was clearly "the man." But evolution as a concept had been around nearly 2000 years. As for his relationship with Wallace, Darwin did the research, but what I've read says that he got the idea from Wallace. Apparently there's some controversy over that.
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written by Human Person Jr, January 11, 2009
Good write-up all around. I encourage everyone to read Mr. Ebert's piece. I had no idea the guy was so brilliant. What a pleasant surprise!
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written by LovleAnjel, January 12, 2009
Everything I've read about Darwin & Wallace points to Darwin coming up with this first, spending decades conceptualizing, then getting a letter from Wallace with a copy of his draft, essentially saying "Isn't this cool?!" and quickly writing and publishing so he and Wallace could co-present. Darwin didn't necessarily write everything out before Wallace submitted the paper draft, but it was all in his head years before then.
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written by JeffWagg, January 12, 2009
@Thanny and LovleAnjel: I've done some more research, and it looks like you are correct! I've edited the piece and offer you my apologies. Thanks for the information.
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written by yarro, January 12, 2009
@Thanny and LovleAnjel: I've done some more research, and it looks like you are correct! I've edited the piece and offer you my apologies. Thanks for the information.


Round of applause for mr Wagg.
If only mr Stein could do the same.
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written by beerme, January 12, 2009
it still amazes me that someone like Stein , who is supposed to have a gianormous I.Q. can reject an idea that has been proven beyond doubt be every scientist, where the results are smacking him in the face, but still can't see past his own blind faith. incredible. Awesome review by Ebert, excellently explained but to bad creationist wouldn't/can't/don't want to understand it.
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written by Diverted Chrome, January 12, 2009
As regards Darwin v Wallace, a good highly recommended read is Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything".
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written by Willy K, January 12, 2009
written by beerme, January 12, 2009
it still amazes me that someone like Stein , who is supposed to have a gianormous I.Q. can reject an idea that has been proven beyond doubt...

Beerme, all the intelligence in the world doesn't stand a chance when confronted by the arrogance of the human ego. People like Stein are incapable of believing that they are not the most, special favorite child of Santa Claus... errr... God.... errr.... their Daddy. That's it! They are just more important to Daddy than you and I are. smilies/wink.gif

Dear Me, Me needs a beer. smilies/grin.gif
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written by Rogue Medic, January 13, 2009
What I have read about Wallace/Darwin suggests that it is similar to Leibniz/Newton. They worked independently, but coincidentally came up with very similar ideas (calculus). Scientific ideas are sometimes a case of one person publishing before another has completed their work on the same concept. As science progresses, those working in a field will see more evidence supporting a different interpretation from the conventional. Ray Kurzweil describes the progress of technology as a continuation of evolution. Progress in one area leads to progress in others. Kurzweil shows development from single celled organisms through man, to modern science, all on a logarithmic chart to show that evolution/technological evolution is predictable, even inevitable. The specifics of it are less predictable. I think he makes a very persuasive case.

Darwin was the right person, in the right place. The Galapagos Islands appear to be part of an Intelligent Design to explain evolution to people. smilies/shocked.gif Darwin documented things so clearly, that he was able to convince people of the truth of evolution. Ben Stein is famous for presenting a boring high school lecture and repeatedly droning Bueller. Clearly, BS has a scientific mind that dwarfs Darwin and Wallace and well, pretty much all of the reputable biologists since then. smilies/cry.gif

The cartoon, by Tony Auth, at the end of Roger Ebert's review, puts the education debate in the proper perspective:

http://blogs.suntimes.com/eber..._mind.html

An article by Ray Kurzweil on the evolution of technology is here:

http://www.kurzweilai.net/arti...rintable=1
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written by cwniles, January 13, 2009
Wow, Ben Stein is entitled to his beliefs no matter how far fetched but as Ebert points out in his review, Pulling that "As a jew I had to see it" crap and in the process exploiting thousands of murdered people in some sort of pathetic attempt to promote his weak premise is nothing short of disgusting.





Steins shameless exploitation of the countless Jewish people murdered by Hitler to support his pathetic premise is indefensible and generates from me nothing short of contempt for this man.

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written by BillyJoe, January 14, 2009
Wallace was not just an arm chair philosopher. He once returned empty handed from a sea voyage of many years duration. The ship sank and all his specimens were lost.

However, Darwin had the much more complete evidence to back up the theory they both arrived at independently. Wallace acknowledged this and rightfully gave the spotlight to Darwin who, in turn, credited Wallace with independent discovery of the theory. There never seemed to be any enmity between them on this point.

smilies/smiley.gif
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written by Rogue Medic, January 14, 2009
BillyJoe,

You are correct. I should have been more specific about the similarities to Leibniz/Newton only being scientific similarities. The dispute between Leibniz and Newton was not present with Wallace and Darwin.
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written by BillyJoe, January 15, 2009
That's okay, and regarding "Bueller", I used to watch that movie at least once a year, but now I don't seem to have quiet the enthusiasm... smilies/sad.gif
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