I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ben Stein interview in Toronto Star


An interview of Ben Stein -- star of the movie "Expelled" -- in the Toronto Star said,

"I had no feelings whatsoever about Intelligent Design before starting this film," admits Stein. He pauses and corrects himself: "Well, I had read a long article in The New Yorker about the Dover, Pa., court decision" – where a judge forbid the teaching of Intelligent Design in local schools – "and I thought to myself that this is a bunch of bulls---.

"You cannot tell me for one minute that a court is competent to tell me what is science and what is not. A court is not divinely inspired. It's just some guy in a black robe."

Ben Stein is right -- it was very arrogant and presumptuous of Judge Jones to dogmatically pontificate answers to unanswerable questions. It is like a judicial ruling on the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The courts should declare the evolution controversy to be non-justiciable.

The Kitzmiller v. Dover case was a watershed event for me, too. Before that case, I had almost no interest in the evolution controversy -- after that case, bashing Judge Jones became sort of a hobby with me. My hatred of Judge Jones is partly a result of my own bad experiences with judges in my lawsuits against California's infamous vehicle smog impact fee and in another lawsuit. I didn't become terribly interested in intelligent design but started concentrating on non-ID criticisms of evolution, particularly criticisms concerning co-evolution. I have several articles about co-evolution under the post-label group Non-ID criticisms of evolution listed in the sidebar.
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"I had long thought," he begins, "that Darwinism had a huge role to play in the mindset of the leaders of the Nazi party, and consequently a huge role to play in the Holocaust."

But although he felt strongly anti-Darwin, he hadn't really given the opposing view much thought until he was approached about narrating the movie . . . .

So he didn't need a lot of convincing when Vancouver producer Walt Ruloff – a software millionaire who also happens to be an evangelical Christian – asked him to serve as front man for the film.

"I told Walt that I was intrigued by the idea of making a movie that would implicitly connect Darwinism with the Holocaust," says Stein, "but in the course of making the picture, I was astonished to learn about the extent of academic suppression in the U.S. and so we started to make that the focus."

Prior to "Expelled," there was already at least one Darwin-to-Hitler production: "Darwin's Deadly Legacy," a TV documentary by Coral Ridge Ministries. "Expelled" also has a Darwin-to-Hitler theme.

There is no question that Darwinism influenced the Nazis, indirectly if not directly. However, discussions of Darwinism's connection to the holocaust need to recognize the following facts: (1) a "systematic" holocaust of Jews was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews, and (2) Nazi anti-semitism targeted fit as well as unfit Jews and so was not a true eugenics program.

The Darwin-Hitler connection of course has nothing to do with the scientific merits of Darwinism. My emphasis on that connection is mainly intended to be a mockery of the shameless adulation of Darwin: Darwin Day celebrations, "I love Darwin" items, "Friend of Darwin" certificates, the Lincoln-Darwin cult, etc..

"The media have pretty much loved me from the start," says Stein, a bit sadly. "That is, until now."

The abuse has ranged from strident columnists calling him "a Holocaust denier" to critics who have denigrated Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed as "one of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time."

And that's from his employer, The New York Times. It isn't a minority view, either. As of press time, the film rated 9 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie critics' database.

That "Expelled" has done as well as it has despite being so widely panned is remarkable. IMO a lot of people decided to see the movie just to see what all the fuss was about.

Hat tip to Jim Sherwood for telling me about the Toronto Star article.

I need to waste less time feeding the trolls and more time on writing new articles. One of the problems of having a one-man blog with light traffic is that I often have to answer the trolls myself. The trolls don't give me any Brownie points for my responses to them -- they falsely accuse me of ignoring them and they invariably mock my responses. I need to emphasize the following policy stated above in the introduction to this blog: "My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer."
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27 Comments:

Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

After seeing you carry on about people supposedly "lying", it is a bit of a shock to watch you immediately lead off with this blatant lie:

"I had no feelings whatsoever about Intelligent Design before starting this film," admits Stein.

"Admits"? Hahahaha. Admit != Dissemble. Redefining words again, are we?

Monday, July 07, 2008 8:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Shemp said...

I think that the recent obvious mental deterioration that Larry is exhibiting may be due to a change in diet or medication. Have they changed anything at the farm recently, Larry?

Monday, July 07, 2008 8:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Q.E.D. said...

At last! A solution to the problem of how to "prove" ideas, no matter how nonsensical:

"My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer."

Corollary: If you do not respond, then you don't agree, you don't approve, you are not "unable to respond", and, especially, you are right goddammit!

Gee, that was easy.

Monday, July 07, 2008 9:04:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

'Nonymous said...

>>>>>After seeing you carry on about people supposedly "lying", it is a bit of a shock to watch you immediately lead off with this blatant lie:

"I had no feelings whatsoever about Intelligent Design before starting this film," admits Stein. <<<<<<

What? I didn't say that, Ben Stein did, idiot.

Monday, July 07, 2008 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Zmidponk said...

Larry stutters...

>>>>>>What? I didn't say that, Ben Stein did, idiot.<<<<<<

And, of course, Ben Stein is incapable of lying(!)

Monday, July 07, 2008 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Ben Stein didn't say that he "admits" anything. That is the reporter's rather odd expression. How anyone can call anything Ben said in this very frank interview a "lie," is hard to imagine. But evidently fanaticism drives the Darwin-addicted mind into a confused state: that's my proposed explanation.

The reporter is so dumb that he can't tell the difference, which is a vast difference, between ID and creationism: and thus he seriously misinforms the public. But we are used to that sort of incompetence in the media.

And when the reporter says that Ben "felt strongly anti-Darwinist,"
he fails to mention that Stein often praises Darwin (I think very excessively,) and accepts common descent, including ape-to-human descent. His bad feelings only concerned the well-established Darwin-to-Nazis influence.

Monday, July 07, 2008 1:15:00 PM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

"I didn't say that, Ben Stein did"

You quoted it approvingly. Then when your opportunity to comment came up, the first thing you said was:

"Ben Stein is right -- it was very arrogant and presumptuous of Judge Jones ..."

How very perceptive of you.

JS: "Ben Stein didn't say that he "admits" anything. That is the reporter's rather odd expression."

There were actually two lies. The first was Stein's "had no feelings" -- obvious BS. The second was, yes, the reporter's, misusing the verb "admit".

I "admit" that you are both twits.

Monday, July 07, 2008 1:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Stein first recalled that he "had no feelings:" then, considering further, recalled his bad feelings about the actions of Judge Jones, after reading the New Yorker article; and had the honesty to admit his mistake and to correct himself to the reporter. That's called "telling the truth." And yet the Darwin-addicts think that telling the truth is lying!

The claim by the Darwinebriated that Ben Stein is a "creationist," on the other hand, is a "lie."

Monday, July 07, 2008 1:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Zmidponk said...

Well, perhaps it was a little unkind to call it 'lying'. Let's call it 'inadvertantly saying something that was not true'. Of course, if you bend over backwards to be kind to Stein, and the makers of the 'Expelled' film, most of the content of that film falls under that category too.

Monday, July 07, 2008 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Imagine the scene in the editor's office:

Editor: O.K., go out and trap that lousy creationist, Ben Stein. We can't have any Christian fundamentalists spreading their damn doctrines, because I'm not a Christian fundamentalist.

Reporter: But he's not a Christian, he's a religious Jew. And how can he be a creationist, when he thinks that humans descended from ancient ape-like critters?

Editor: A Jew? Well, then he's a religious Christian Jew, probably. Anyway, he's an IDist, who's into intelligent design, and he even believes in God, and some IDists are creationists. So it's logical that all of them are creationists. Just as, some mammals are bats, so all mammals are bats...er...well, maybe not, but Eugenie Snot (I think that's her name) lays down the rules for journalists, even in Canada, because I know that she's with some outfit with "science education" in its name, so that's official. And that proves that Eugenie Snot is right, and can't be bats: and she seems to say that intelligent design guys are creationists, so we go with what she says. Got it?

Reporter: Yes, boss! I'll go out and do my best hatchet-job on that creationist Ben Stein, who must clearly be against science education!

Monday, July 07, 2008 4:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry wrote, "That "Expelled" has done as well as it has despite being so widely panned is remarkable"

Except it did rather poorly. Very bad. Really, really bad. Just because it climbed up the ranks of all-time box office documentaries means nothing -- especially when considering the propaganda machine that powered it to... well, a wide opening (one that never expanded). Surprisingly, the movie did really poorly considering the number of people against scientific theories of evolution in the country (the vast majority). Maybe it wasn't that smart having a Jewish actor play the lead role in a movie whose main audience were Christians and other fools who think ID is science (like Jim). Just because someone like Jim who isn't a Christian fundamentalist (this would include agnostics and even Jews like Ben Stein) can support ID doesn't mean it isn't creationism.

Monday, July 07, 2008 6:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Sherwood's logic: I'm not a fundamentalist and I support ID, therefore ID is not creationism.

Monday, July 07, 2008 7:58:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said...

>>>>>> Jim Sherwood's logic: I'm not a fundamentalist and I support ID, therefore ID is not creationism. <<<<<<<

Anonymous's logic: Many fundies support ID, therefore ID is creationism. Jim Sherwood is not a fundy but supports ID, therefore he is guilty by association.

Monday, July 07, 2008 8:12:00 PM  
Blogger Phae said...

Jim, is there any evidence for Intelligent Design? If so, would you mind sharing it?

Monday, July 07, 2008 11:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You cannot tell me for one minute that a court is competent to tell me what is science and what is not. A court is not divinely inspired."

On the other hand, if it were divinely inspired, then it would be able to, right?

And how you know if it is divinely inspired? Well, if you have to ask, you at least are not.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 1:48:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>And how you know if it is divinely inspired? Well, if you have to ask, you at least are not. <<<<<<<

He is not asking if it is divinely inspired, doofus, he is saying it is not divinely inspired. And since he knows that it is not divinely inspired, then accordingly to you he is divinely inspired.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 3:55:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Phae said...

>>>>>Jim, is there any evidence for Intelligent Design? If so, would you mind sharing it? <<<<<<<

Phae, is there any evidence of macroevolution by means of random mutation and natural selection? If so, would you mind sharing it?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 4:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Phae, is there any evidence of macroevolution by means of random mutation and natural selection? If so, would you mind sharing it? <

We have. You have not.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 7:11:00 AM  
Blogger Phae said...

The Lenski experiment, transitional fossils such as Archaeopteryx, genetic similarities following the theorized evolutionary tree, stratified fossils preserved in a chronological order that implies the same tree... I guess that's all the evidence for "macroevolution" I can name off the top of my head.

Now, can you name any evidence for Intelligent Design? You decided to answer a question I was asking Jim, yet you still managed to duck it. That's a first: you fled a question I hadn't even ASKED you, coward ;) So go ahead and name a piece of evidence that supports ID

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>>Anonymous's logic: Many fundies support ID, therefore ID is creationism. Jim Sherwood is not a fundy but supports ID, therefore he is guilty by association.<<<<<<

No, if his logic is anything like mine, it's something like this:

If you take creationism, and replace the word 'God' with 'an unknown designer', and be a bit vague on a few details, you get ID. So ID is creationism.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

These trolls have no notion at all of what ID actually is, and make a display of their astonishing ignorance on all occasions. It's clear that they have no interest in understanding what the controversy is about. And who really cares whether they learn anything, or not?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 7:01:00 PM  
Blogger Phae said...

Not a single piece of evidence from you, then, Jim? Not surprising.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 7:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Helpful One said...

Whale pelvises?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 9:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>These trolls have no notion at all of what ID actually is, and make a display of their astonishing ignorance on all occasions.<<<

You know, I've seen similar things posted again, and again, and again. What I have not seen, though, is anyone who says this actually explaining in what way they are 'ignorant', or in what way they are wrong. The nearest seems to be that, on occasion, someone will post a link to, for example, the Discovery Institute, that defines ID in such a way that, basically, confirms they're right.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 4:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phae wrote, "Not a single piece of evidence from you, then, Jim? Not surprising."

Phae, Jim frequently divides his points between two or three (or more!) different posts, sometimes in different threads, and expects readers to reply in one thread to comments made in another. For example, he's probably referring to the book review he posted in another thread of a non-biologist who seems to respond positively to ID (through another reader has questioned Jim's assessment of that review). That, or he thinks some bad poem he wrote some time ago constitutes evidence. Hard to tell with Jim sometimes though.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 9:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Helpful One said...

I.e., I submit "whale pelvises" as evidence of Intelligent Design ;-). JS should comment if he can.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Zmidponk said...

Helpful One said...

>>>>>>I submit "whale pelvises" as evidence of Intelligent Design ;-). JS should comment if he can.<<<<<<

Ah, yes, that shining example of function and form that is definite evidence of design. It is blindingly obvious that this God/Unknown Designer specifically designed a whale to have a functionless lump of bone in it's body, not connected to any other part of the skeletal structure that appears to be a vesigial pelvis left over from when evolution says whale ancestors walked on land.

Well, I'm convinced, I guess I better start getting out my Bible...oops, sorry, meant my 'Intelligent Design science book'. Thanks for making me see the light, Helpful One.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:08:00 PM  

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