Saturday, April 12, 2008

Getting "Expelled" and the Academic Bill of Rights

Variety Magazines Justin Chang reviewed "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” and highlighted a few issues you could almost predict with certainty. Besides the titles obvious double meaning, an easy shot at intelligent design proponents, Chang lists:

“The flimsy attempt to discredit Darwinist theory…film more interested in portraying its subjects as victims…defending what they have to say…sob stories and conspiracy theories…it's easier to critique evolution than to mount evidence for intelligent design…failure to offer even a working definition of the term leaves them open to the common charge that it's all unprovable, faith-based pseudo-science.”

And finally, “Even more offensive is the film's attempt to link Darwin's "survival of the fittest" ideas and Hitler's master-race ambitions.”

Yes, conservatives are outraged when liberals make such fact based comparisons to Nazi Germany, but doe eyed when someone questions their head scratching analogies.

Ben Stein, former White House speechwriter for Nixon deadpans, "Freedom is the essence of America,” expecting everyone to be shocked that science doesn’t somehow cover religion.

I watched the clips of Expelled, and if anyone had a concern about destroying the legitimacy of science, history and the difference between fact & fiction, you might want to distance yourself from this fool’s argument.

Along those same lines, we can’t forget the crazy proposal to protect only conservatives on college campuses. Have you ever listened to the long disconnected ravings of academic bill of rights crusader David Horowitz? To him our colleges are filled with liberal fascists unfairly treating conservatives like lepers. Those wacky progressives aren’t rejecting the “through the looking glass” mean spirited ideology so much as visualizing themselves as intellectually superior.

Especially in that hippie filled west coast college of Berkeley.

Not so fast.

The Associated Press turned out this little gem. “University of California-Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley Jr. took sharp exception to Professor John Yoo's legal analysis for the Bush administration's Justice Department. ‘Assuming one believes as I do that Professor Yoo offered bad ideas and even worse advice during his government service, that judgment alone would not warrant dismissal or even a potentially chilling inquiry. My sense is that the vast majority of legal academics with a view of the matter disagree with substantial portions of Professor Yoo's analyses, including a great many of his colleagues at Berkeley. If, however, this strong consensus were enough to fire or sanction someone, then academic freedom would be meaningless," he added.

“Edley said Yoo had allowed politics to triumph over law. ‘What troubles me substantively with the analyses in the memoranda is that they reduce the Rule of Law to the Reign of Politics.”

“In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Yoo declined to answer questions or comment specifically on Edley's memo. ‘I have always enjoyed the company of liberals, and while I cannot speak for them, I am sure they are not threatened by having a lonely conservative voice on the faculty."

Yoo is that one conservative victim on campus who can also make another notorious claim.

He used the U.S. Constitution for toilet paper.

UPDATE: April 28, 2008

I rarely take anything Ayn Rand fellows have to say seriously, but this time I'll make an exception.

Keith Lockitch, a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute claimed the film "Expelled" is replete with distortions and half-truths. "Proponents of intelligent design(are portrayed)as the victims of a totalitarian regime," by including black-and-white footage of Soviet Union soldiers beating dissenters."

“Nothing more than a religiously motivated attack on evolution. To the extent intelligent-design advocates are facing obstacles in academia, it is because they are not doing real science--they haven't been expelled, they have flunked out of the scientific community, just as a faith healer would flunk out of medical school."

"The latest chapter in the evolution-versus-intelligent design debate comes a year after U.S. students were outperformed by 16 other industrialized nations in an international science exam."

Nuff Said.

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