...against book reviews where the reviewer doesn't include a single quote from the book, and against movie reviews where the reviewer admits he hasn't even seen the film.
Like John Derbyshire, I too haven't seen Ben Stein's Expelled--and that's why I'm not going to tell you whether it's good or bad. (Sounds reasonable, eh?) Just take a look at this thing. Now pretend for the moment that life on Earth really didn't originate out of "blind" forces. Yes, that could mean God did it from scratch, or it could mean that the Dawkins account happened on some other world, and then those beings seeded Earth with a cell they designed.
OK but the point is, just imagine for a moment that the people--the ones with the PhDs in biology and chemistry, yes they exist--who are questioning the orthodox views are right. In that mindset, Derbyshire's article is simply breathtaking. He repeatedly voices his outrage over the "sneering, slanderous" attacks of the Discovery Institute, in the same article where he himself openly calls them liars and fools. (You can say, "But they are!" and that's fine, but then the Discovery Institute people would say the same thing about their observations. An attack is an attack, whether or not it is correct.)
Anyway lest I be accused of the same sin of omission, here's a juicy excerpt from the defender of reasoned inquiry:
So what’s going on here with this stupid Expelled movie? No, I haven’t seen the dang thing. I’ve been reading about it steadily for weeks now though, both pro (including the pieces by David Klinghoffer and Dave Berg on National Review Online) and con, and I can’t believe it would yield up many surprises on an actual viewing. It’s pretty plain that the thing is creationist porn, propaganda for ignorance and obscurantism. How could a guy like this [Ben Stein] do a thing like that?
And now here is Ben Stein, sneering and scoffing at Darwin, a man who spent decades observing and pondering the natural world — that world Stein glimpses through the window of his automobile now and then, when he’s not chattering into his cell phone. Stein claims to be doing it in the name of an alternative theory of the origin of species: Yet no such alternative theory has ever been presented, nor is one presented in the movie, nor even hinted at. There is only a gaggle of fools and fraudsters, gaping and pointing like Apaches on seeing their first locomotive: “Look! It moves! There must be a ghost inside making it move!”
The "alternative theory" is that these items were designed; hence the name, "Intelligent Design." Of course that doesn't count for Derbyshire; that's not a "scientific" explanation. OK but what if it's true? (Again, don't forget the possibility of aliens. This isn't merely Bible thumping.) And I'm going to go out on a limb--again, I haven't seen the movie either--and guess that Ben Stein and some of the people he interviews in the movie actually look at the natural world, just like Darwin.
Oh, one other thing: Derbyshire literally says that science itself was invented in northwest Europe in the late 17th century. (I went back and re-read it, since I didn't believe it myself when I just typed that.) How do you feel about that statement, Gene?