So I made it through Campus Adventist’s screening of Expelled and the ensuing discussion (moderated by their non-student adviser, more on her later). First my thoughts: Most of what’s already been said about the movie by the reviewers is true. However, I will say that I didn’t find it boring, yet it wasn’t more than I expected. The only surprise I got was that they tied Planned Parenthood (and therefore abortion and contraceptives) to the eugenics movement, because giving condoms to poor people is clearly not an effort to help, but an effort to prevent them from having any children ever. They also added euthanasia to the evils of Darwinism-inspired eugenics arguments. I will say this: It is a dangerous movie. Not dangerous like it exposes some secret conspiracy, but dangerous like loose change or Zeitgeist is. It’s dangerous in that it gives a little information (i.e. not the whole story) and a lot of gusto. Remember the saying: “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing?” While to the uninformed who may watch this movie, it is horribly deceptive, dishonest, and worst of all, likely effective. But let’s get back to the hosts of this event. Campus Advent. While their group seems fairly fresh to campus, they seem to have big plans for next year, including many speakers (some creationists?) and perhaps a screening of Jesus Camp (which I like). What always worries me with groups like these is the external influence. Campus for Christ has a paid staff member (non-student) in most cities overseeing their local campus group(s), and now so does Campus Advent (there may be others I’m unaware of like Campus Pro-Life and Campus Alpha that are similar). While I can understand and appreciate the difficulties of keeping a student group going, it doesn’t seem quite right to me that a group like this should be started from the outside and pushed into campus. Nevertheless, there was definitely an interesting discussion that occurred after the screening. There were about 30 people total in the audience (maybe a few more by the end) with around 1/3 being atheists I knew (and Dr. Lamoureux the “evolutionary creationist”), and when it came to moderated question-period, we ended up getting most of the points in. I realized quite quickly though that everything we said went right past the moderator, and everyone ended up speaking past each other. My favourite quotes from her include:
- Trying to call science a religion (setting up an equal time argument almost)
- Mentioning she doesn’t fully support evolution because of the bacterial flagellum
- How, when I asked what questions the ID proponents in Expelled weren’t allowed to ask, the only response I got was either abiogenesis (which is being studied, but apparently not fast enough) or the fact that high school teachers in the USA are being fired for discussing alternate definitions of a scientific theory, since apparently that is up for debate. While I did actually ask she was implying that in high schools science students didn’t learn about the word theory, she more meant that teachers couldn’t get wishy-washy about theories.
- When Dr. Lamoureux was preaching the good word of evolution, she cut in and said “what about the Cambrian Explosion?” And Denis just shot back “What about it!?” and then explained how the “explosion” was 10 million years long and is not that unusual. She sort of backtracked part way through once she realised what she’d unleashed.
- Finally, how she continually dodged the fact ID people have no evidence in favour of pushing forward the argument of Expelled that there is a “wall” preventing exploration of ID ideas (which again, no one presented anything about).
My only response after this engagement was merely “so many creationists…so many creationists…” It looks like Alberta and its University have a few more challenges ahead of it.