No intelligence allowed! Seriously!

This is almost too funny to be true. Dr. PZ Myers, famous blogger, biologist and unbeliever, showed up at a screening of Ben Stein’s propaganda piece, Expelled: No Intelligence allowed. Apparently that bit about “no intelligence allowed” isn’t just their motto, it’s their screening policy:

I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried … but I was Expelled!

Seriously. They had a uniformed guard pull him out of line and tell him he could not watch the movie that Ben Stein had made about him. But that wasn’t enough. Not only was he not allowed to see the movie, they evicted him from the theater completely, apparently just for being PZ Myers!

But wait, there’s more. Apparently the Ben Stein people are equal opportunity ignoramuses who apply their “No Intelligence” policy to themselves as well as imposing it on others. While they kicked out PZ, they failed to bar his guest: Richard Dawkins. So here they are, making a movie that accuses others of oppression and censorship, which they won’t let the “wrong” people see, a movie accusing scientists of unfairly excluding intelligent design, which they unfairly exclude scientists from seeing—and they can’t even get that right!

They need to put up a big sign out front, with a picture of some drooling moron (played by Ben Stein), that says “Attention patrons: Your IQ must be at least this low in order to watch this movie.” That way it will be clear just who is and is not allowed to be there.

 
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They DO know…

Pretty sad, in a way. Todd, at Rapture Ready, is using the recent death of his own mother to try and make some kind of personal contact with God.

A few months ago, I was talking with Mom about her eventual departure. Because we both knew she was soon going to meet the Creator of the universe, we concluded there was a special opportunity for her to convey a special message. We agreed that when she met the Lord, she would ask Him to bless Rapture Ready.

It’s not that God would say, “Bless Rapture Ready? What’s that?” There is nothing that He is not aware of. However, I believe it expresses a special level of determination to have God’s divine guidance that we would send someone in “person” to appeal for the continued blessing on this site.

Christians know. They know that their relationship with God somehow falls short of what it should be. If God actually showed up in real life, there would be no need to make a special effort to contact Him via real death. The reason the dead are thought to be closer to God is because He is clearly nowhere near the living—not even for sincere, fervent believers like Todd. And it’s not a failure on their part. God is not here for anyone to get close to. Only the dead are (supposedly) close enough to convey an in-person request to Him. Because God is somewhere over there, out of reach, beyond the Veil. In the next world, not this one.

No matter how much you claim God loves you, no matter how much you claim God has done to eliminate the barriers to fellowship, you just can’t get past the fact that He is manifestly and universally not here spending time with us, the way a genuinely loving God would do once He had solved that old sin problem. In a thousand and one ways, Christians bear witness to God’s absence, not the least being their frustration-driven zeal to try and argue otherwise, and to set up a government-subsidized program for lending an appearance of reality to God.

A real God would not need that. My real God does not need that. But man-made gods, the stuff of myths and superstitions, can’t avoid it.

 
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Tony Snow on the New Atheists

Ex-White House Press Secretary Tony Snow finds time in his busy schedule to explain to Christianity Today why he thinks the New Atheists Are Not Great.

While the chief atheists write beautifully, their works share a telling defect. They seethe with disapproval of God. Dawkins captures this trend in describing the YHWH of the Old Testament as “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Such invective clings like chewing gum to atheist polemics and raises the question of why these people are so worked up about a creator they don’t believe exists. [Links added.]

Ironically, he does not try and claim that such accusations are wrong, exactly. He just thinks its somehow wrong of the New Atheists to mention it.

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Sri Lanka: “anti-Christian violence suddenly escalates”

Via assistnews.net, an apparently Christian news service, comes word of increasing religious violence in Sri Lanka:

Religiously motivated violence, including arson, threats and intimidation, has been escalating unchecked in the volatile eastern district of Ampara for some time. On 17 February 2008 Pastor Neil Edirisinghe (37), who was leader of The House of the Lord fellowship in Ampara, was fatally shot in the chest while his wife Shiromi (31) was shot in the stomach and critically wounded. Their young son received minor injuries and shock. Investigations exposed this as a contract killing organised by a local Buddhist nationalist angered by Pastor Edirisinghe’s ministry.Also on 17 February, a mob of some 50 angry locals attacked believers attending Sunday worship at King’s Revival Church, Mathugama (in the south-west), with Tamil Christians singled out for more severe treatment. The following Sunday the attackers returned and stopped the believers meeting. On the evening of 2 March, ten students of the Believers Church Bible College, Lunuwila (north-west), were walking from the railway station when they were ambushed by a group of about 10 masked men who kicked and bashed them mercilessly. On 3 March, Zion Mount Prayer House in Mulaitivu District (south-west) was set on fire while the pastor, his family and guests were inside — fortunately they all escaped.

This of course has to be wrong, after all, Vox Day has already proved that the violence in Sri Lanka is purely secular. Or at least, that’s what he says in The Irrational Atheist, in the course of trying to make Harris and Dawkins look ignorant for suggesting that religion has a role in violence and war. Perhaps TIA isn’t yet a real big seller down in Sri Lanka?

 
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Vox Day defends “Expelled: No Intelligents Allowed”

The inimitable Vox Day indulges in a bit of gloating over this complaint by PZ Myers:

If the producers of Expelled are so confident that they can make a strong case of conspiracy against scientists, then before they start showing this to uninformed politicians, they ought to screen it before scientists and historians and philosophers of science, who will be able to judge it on its merits.

Vox’s answer?

Because, PZ, as we’ve already seen with TIA, whenever someone does make a strong case against secular scientists or atheists, these self-proclaimed champions of intellectual discourse suddenly go silent and try to pretend they’ve never heard of it.

Um, yeah. The reason Ben Stein refuses to let qualified scientists review his film is because doing so would silence his critics.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

 
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TIA: The Good Old Dark Ages

Still in Chapter 2 of Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist, we come now to his section on the history of religion and science, in which Vox tries to debunk the idea that reason and religion have ever experienced any significant conflict. He begins by setting up a straw man.

As Dawkins himself admits, the overwhelming majority of scientists throughout centuries in which the scientific process was developed were religious, or at least claimed to be:

Newton did indeed claim to be religious. So did almost everybody until—significantly I think—the nineteenth century, when there was less social and judicial pressure than in earlier centuries to profess religion, and more scientific support for abandoning it.

What’s significant about this statement is the way it contradicts the notion that the Catholic Church had been dogmatically opposing Science, as evidenced by its notorious trial of Galileo Galilee, all throughout the Dark Ages and the Renaissance and well into the eighteenth century.

Notice, the contrary position is set up as being the view that the Church was opposing science, and not just trying to assert ultimate authority over science (including veto power over any conclusions deemed heretical). The conflict between religion and reason has always been over the issue of authority, and has not been (until recently) an attempt by religion to openly oppose scientific facts. Even in the Dark Ages, they weren’t that dumb.

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Dinesh D’Souza on government accommodation of religion

Dinesh D’Souza has some interesting commentary on the notion that religion is an important factor in people’s lives, and that consequently the government should not merely permit freedom of religious belief, but actually make religious practices an official part of how the people are to be governed. Surprisingly, D’Souza is against it.

What we are getting… is not religious craziness but liberal craziness, not theological error but multicultural reductio ad absurdum. The multicultural premise is that classical liberal rules that apply equally to everyone nevertheless discriminate against racial and cultural minorities that don’t want to play by those rules. Consequently equality of rights for individuals must give way to equality of consideration for groups. Otherwise minorities will feel disenfranchised even in a society where there is equal treatment for individuals under the law.

Having written so much about how the secular government is “oppressing” the Christian minority by refusing to allow them to incorporate their religious views into our nation’s laws and policies, what has happened to convince D’Souza that government accommodation of religion is “liberal craziness”?

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Darwin Day the Colson Way

Chuck Colson, like many other people yesterday, decided to celebrate the 199th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday. Unlike most of the other celebrants, however, Colson observed Darwin Day not by praising him, but by lying about him.

To a Darwinist, you see, there is no distinction between human beings and animals. We all came about by chance; we are made of the same “stuff,” and we all end up as nothing more than dust. Instead of recognizing humans as bearers of God’s image, Darwinism sees us as nothing more than competitively successful bipeds with opposable thumbs. Forget any talk of human dignity.

Oops, little slip there: it wasn’t Darwin who said man was made of the dust of the earth. That was Genesis 1. But that’s not the Big Lie.

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Bush foreign policy “a bomb”: Chuck Colson

George W. Bush, America’s born-again Christian president, with God’s help and conservative Christian support, is pursuing a foreign policy that has even staunch conservatives like Chuck Colson dismayed and alarmed:

Last month, the president announced his intention to sell Saudi Arabia some of our most sophisticated weapons. This is a bad idea, and you should let your representative know it right away…

[T]he Saudis do not need this kind of “persuasion.” They already have a good reason: Their oil is controlled by a Shiite minority that Iran, also Shiite, could exploit.

Then there is the nature and actions of the Saudi regime. Defense expert Frank Gaffney, Jr. reminded Washington Times readers this week of what the deal’s proponents hope they will forget: The Saudis are not a “reliable ally” of the United States.

The Saudi government funds and operates “mosques, madrassas, and Islamic centers” in the United States and elsewhere. These institutions spread the Salafist, or Wahabi, version of Islam practiced in the kingdom—the same kind that prohibits the practice of Christianity, that lets girls burn to death rather than letting them exit a burning building in their pajamas.

What’s more, it is the version of Islam that inspires bin Laden and other extremists and seeks to dominate other, more moderate, versions of Islam and destroy non-Muslim nations like ours. Without Saudi petro-dollars, Salafism would be confined to the Arabian peninsula.

We ought to recall also that Saudi Arabia has never recognized Israel’s right to exist. While it is difficult to imagine what good JDAMs would do against al Qaeda or the kingdom’s restive Shiites, it is easy to imagine how they could be used against Israel.

Or us, for that matter. It is common knowledge that Saudi security and intelligence forces contain al Qaeda sympathizers. Saudi intelligence files were found on al Qaeda computers in Afghanistan. It is not a stretch to imagine some of these weapons finding their way into terrorists’ hands and not unreasonable to fear that these weapons might one day be used against us.

But what’s a little terrorism between oil buddies like Bush and the Saudis, eh?

 
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D’Souza on Bush’s “honesty”

Actually Bush Didn’t Lie, or so claims right-wing spinmeister Dinesh D’Souza.

Two leftist organizations have released a study that claims that the Bush administration lied about Iraq. Somehow I think we’ve heard that one before.

And of course, if people have known since 2002 that Bush was not telling the truth about Saddam’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction,” why, that must mean we’ve already debunked the people who were saying so. Yeah, that’s it, we’ve heard this one before, so it’s OK to ignore. We’ll just assume that it’s been dealt with.

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