The Instigator
XimenBao
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
medic0506
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

The film "Expelled" makes significant errors and misrepresenations.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
XimenBao
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,672 times Debate No: 16649
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (5)

 

XimenBao

Pro

Inspired by a discussion in a comments thread where a member cited the film to positively highlight the voices speaking out for intelligent design. He's declined the challenge. Anyone else want to take a swing at it?

First round for definitions and acceptace.

Resolved: The film "Expelled" makes significant errors and misrepresenations.

Defintions

Expelled: the 2008 film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (1)

make: to deliver, utter, or put forth (2)

significant: Important, of consequence (3). The details of what is considered important and of consquence will obviously form a part of the debate. I consider important errors and misrepresentation those that cast doubt on and/or undermine the message of the film.

errors: deviations from accuracy or correctness (4)

misrepresentation: the noun form of misrepresent - to represent incorrectly, improperly, or falsely.(5)

(1)http://www.imdb.com...
(2)http://dictionary.reference.com...
(3)http://dictionary.reference.com...
(4)http://dictionary.reference.com...
(5)http://dictionary.reference.com...
medic0506

Con

I thank pro for starting a discussion on this topic. I hope we'll have an interesting and educational debate. As the burden of proof falls mainly on pro, I'll begin my defense in the next round. Best of luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
XimenBao

Pro

I thank Con for accepting the challenge and look forward to a substantive debate.

As no new definitions were offered in Con's R1, I proceed forward with the definitions already provided.

Burden of Proof:

As defined in R1, I must show at least two instances of inaccuracies, incorrectness, or false representations that cast doubt on and/or undermine the message of the film.

The premise of the film is first that, as the official synopsis says, there is no academic freedom when it comes to intelligent design (1). Beyond that, the film's obvious agenda is the promotion of ID, or intelligent design, and opposition to evolutionary theory. This interpretation is shared by respected film critics such as Roger Ebert (2), Claudia Puig (3), and Reece Pendleton (4). The last of whom sums up the message of the movie as, "Embracing evolutionary theory will turn you into a close-minded, God-denying Nazi."

I will obviously not be able to cover all claims in 8000 characters so I will choose a couple from each category.

Academic Freedom:

The cornerstone of the film's arguments on academic freedom was that a half-dozen or so intelligent design proponents were "expelled" from their institutions for intelligent design advocacy. Showing that in one or more cases these people did not suffer the consequences claimed in the film for such advocacy significantly undermines the film's argument regarding the lack of academic freedom.

Egnor

Michael Engor wrote an article saying that the study of evolution was unnecessary to practice medicine and was criticized for it on websites and by letters. The film calls this criticism Darwinists trying to exterminate a threat and stamps his photo with “expelled”(5). The film doesn’t even claim any negative consequences happened to him beyond criticism, but still tries to represent his as expelled.

Sternberg

The film claims that Richard Sternberg’s was “exiled” from the Smithsonian Institute and that his “life was nearly ruined when he strayed from the party line while serving as editor of a scientific journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of Natural History” (6).

Sternberg was not exiled from the Smithsonian Institute. Before he approved the pro-ID article, he had already arranged his resignation from editorial duties and the article was intended to be his last. When the time period for his unpaid research associate position ended, the Smithson Institute offered him a position as a research collaborator (7). Correspondence among museum officials shows that they were not holding his ID beliefs against him (8). This account was full of errors.

In both the cases of Egnor and Sternberg, ID-supporters were not silenced and expelled despite the film’s representation.

Gonzales:

The film claims that Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure at Iowa State University “despite a stellar research record” because he recently published a pro-ID book (9). The university explains that tenure is granted based heavily on “what the candidate has accomplished during his/her appointment as an independent faculty member at Iowa State” and a full third of candidates over the 10 year period ending with Gonzalez’s denial had been denied tenure (10).

While the university doesn’t disclose details of tenure decisions, an examination of his publication output, the prime measure of ‘accomplishment’, shows that Gonzales, “publishes hardly any papers as primary author, whose publication list contracts once he strikes out on his own, and, perhaps most importantly, who doesn't publish with new colleagues” (11).

This is not a stellar research record as the film claims, an error, and it suggests that the examples the film has chosen as its martyrs for ID had other reasons for the institutional problems beyond their ID beliefs.

Anti-evolution:

Darwin

The film quotes Charles Darwin as saying:

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick, thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

But omits the next paragraph:

“The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.”

This misrepresents Darwin’s opinion as part of an attempt to cast his theories as support for Nazi eugenics, when in fact he expressed the opposite (12). This is completely and blatantly dishonest, and quote mining to smear your opponent as a Nazi supporter destroys the films credibility entirely.

Dawkins:

In an interview with Richard Dawkins, Ben Stein asked him how a possibility for intelligent design explaining the origin of life would work. Dawkins replied with a hypothetical situation about an intelligent designer as a higher intelligence. Stein then interpreted this in a voiceover, saying that “Richard Dawkins is not against intelligent design.” (13) This, even though throughout the film Dawkins was shown giving anti-ID quotes and the most basic familiarity with his beliefs would acknowledge his anti-ID stance.

This misrepresentation shows that even when the film presents the evidence fully, it misrepresents it in interpretation, casting doubt on the trustworthiness of all it’s interpretations.

Pro-Id:

Creationism

The film attempts to categorize ID as a scientific exploration into evolution with the possibility of discovering god (14). But the term itself is a misrepresentation, a unconvincing mask for creationism, as ID proponents found when they tried to teach it as science and had a judge rule against them in Harrisburg, Pa (15) after they simply replaced “creationism” with “intelligent design” in the textbooks (16).

Research

The film bolsters ID claims by claiming that Jonathan Wells is discovering cancer treatments based on intelligent design (17), which is not true. His views go against the bulk of accepted science and play a role in HIV-denial (18). This is not just an error but a dangerous misrepresentation.

I now pass the debate to Con and look forward to his R2.


(1) http://www.imdb.com...
(2) http://blogs.suntimes.com...
(3) http://www.usatoday.com...
(4) http://www.chicagoreader.com...
(5) http://tinyurl.com... ~1:30
(6) http://tinyurl.com... ~5:53
(7) http://www.scientificamerican.com...
(8) http://scienceblogs.com...
(9) http://tinyurl.com... ~3:56
(10) http://www.public.iastate.edu...
(11) http://scienceblogs.com...
(12) http://www.scientificamerican.com...
(13) http://tinyurl.com... ~2:05
(14) http://tinyurl.com... ~4:44
(15) http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
(16) http://www.wgal.com...
(17) http://tinyurl.com... ~7:47
(18) http://pandasthumb.org...
medic0506

Con

I thank pro for his opening, and I agree to the definitions he provided.

"As defined in R1, I must show at least two instances of inaccuracies, incorrectness, or false representations that cast doubt on and/or undermine the message of the film.

Just one quick point. I don't believe we had a preset number that needed to be shown. It may take several smaller errors to discredit the film, on the other hand, it may only take one major error.

To begin, I'd like to say that I admit that this film IS biased. It was made to reflect Stein's belief in intelligent design, rather than evolution, and his belief that academic freedom, in this issue, is non-existent. However, it is no different than other films, or documentaries, as even shows on the history channel, or discovery channel, are biased. All filmmakers take some license in making their point. With that said, I'm probably not going to be able to clear up everything, and make this a 100% factual film, I doubt that such a creature exists.

I think this is a good film, but that it barely scratches the surface of the problem. While it is pro intelligent design, I think the film's goal was to highlight the cult-like following of evolutionary theory, and the religious adherence to it, in the scientific and academic fields, in spite of so many unanswered questions. It logically follows that such rigid adherence restricts those who question, or deny evolution.
I'm not sure why my opponent cited the film critic reviews. Are these people that one would normally consult, regarding the evolution/ID debate?? I highly doubt it. After reading the reviews, I can't help but think that they were brought into this debate just to ridicule, as they add absolutely nothing credible to the discussion. If the case against the film is so strong, and airtight, why is Roger Ebert's opinion on ID needed? This is a perfect example of the kind of attitude, against anything that threatens evolution, that the film is calling attention to. I would hope that the voters don't reward this particular tactic.

Egnor:
The film does mark him as expelled, as that's the signature of the film, it‘s for dramatic effect only. It doesn't make any claims about his being fired, or that he lost anything, aside from respect of his peers that support evolution. Egnor claims that he was harassed, and that evolutionists were encouraging people to call the university, no other allegations were made about damage. The whole point was to show that anyone who threatens the indoctrination of future generations, will be ostracized.

Sternberg:
At about 5:57 in the video, Sternberg himself, not Stein, claims that he was exiled. What is offered as refutation to this, is articles that are basically commentaries and opinions, by supporters of evolution, that may, or may not be factual. The intelligent design proponent, Meyer, raised some interesting questions about evolution, in his article, that Sternberg thought should be brought to the table. For that, this firestorm of controversy broke out, when there was apparently no problems before the article was published. If these problems existed before the publishing, why weren't they dealt with, at that time?

Gonzalez:
Here's a comment from someone who voted on Gonzalez' tenure:

"John Hauptman, Professor of Physics at ISU, explained his "no" vote: Gonzalez is an outstanding scientist and instructor, and ID is off-limits, period."

He is an outstanding scientist, well liked by his students, and has discovered two planets, yet the guy voted against him because "ID is off limits".
Do we have any established criteria, such as a minimum amount of publications needed to gain tenure at ISU?? If not, I don't see how this can be claimed as reason for denial. Pro states that quantity of output is a prime criteria, but I would suspect that universities value quality over quantity, in these publications, and we have no indication as to the quality of his work, except his peers saying that he is outstanding. To claim that he has a less than stellar record, would require more than just an assertion by my opponent. It's obvious that the direction of his work played into this decision.

http://www.thinkingchristian.net...
http://www.evolutionnews.org...

Anti-evolution/ Pro-ID/ Research

I am not conceding these points to my opponent, but I'm also not going to spend much time trying to justify them. At the beginning of the debate, my opponent set the definitions, and showed a synopsis of the film, that I agreed to. The synopsis is as follows:

"Ben Stein examines the issue of academic freedom and decides that there is none when it comes to the debate over intelligent design."

With all due respect, we're not debating the validity of ID, or evolution. The debate is about academic freedom, and it's restriction, as represented in the film. Even if Stein just blatantly lies about these latter points, it speaks to his character. Pro may be able to find some inconsistencies, in certain areas, but those pointed to in this section are insignificant to the main point. They don't change the facts established earlier, about the restriction of academic freedom, which is the subject of this debate.

I look forward to pro's response.
Debate Round No. 2
XimenBao

Pro

I thank Con for a spirited defense.

Burden of Proof


Con agrees with the definitions not excluding my definition of significant errors and misrepresentations as, “those that cast doubt on and/or undermine the message of the film,” but suggests that the metric used to determine whether I have met my burden of proof is that I have discredited the entire film.

The goal set for my burden of proof is finding one or more errors or misrepresentations that cast doubt on or undermine the message. Given that I used the plural form in my topic title and R1, I reaffirm the standard that I must show at least two significant errors.

Nothing in the resolution suggests that the film must be discredited in its entirety; merely that the problems I cite are significant enough to give pause in accepting the film’s theses.

Anti-Evolution/Pro Id

To that end, I consulted the reviews of film critics to support my analysis of what those theses are. The critics share my view that the message of the film is not limited to academic freedom. Beyond the first 30 minutes of the film, the topic is sidelined.

While still complaining about the treatment of ID proponents, the latter 2/3 of the film focuses on tearing down evolution and promoting ID, quite apart from questions of academic freedom or institutional bias. For example, the film spends 10 minutes around the one hour mark trying to connect evolution with Hitler, eugenics, abortion, euthanasia, etc. It spends about 10 minutes around the half hour mark giving evidence for ID and claiming weaknesses in evolutionary theory. At around the 50 minute mark, the film spends about 10 minutes discussing the superiority of ID/religion based philosophy over the evolutionary/scientific/atheist philosophy. (1) That’s a third of the film talking about ID vs evolution, apart from issues of academic freedom, and there are shorter clips outside those blocks making similar arguments.

I spend so much space on this issue because out of the 7 errors/misrepresentations I identified, Con chose not to raise any direct attempts at refutation against 4 of them. For more than half the instances I pointed out, Con did not argue against my facts or reasoning in those cases, arguing instead that they were outside the scope of the debate as the synopsis of the film only mentions academic freedom. However, I have demonstrated that the message of the film goes beyond the synopsis; that the film does more than promote academic freedom, and as Con said in his R2, “It was made to reflect Stein's belief in intelligent design, rather than evolution...”

The film’s intent was to promote ID and evolution in general, beyond asking for academic freedom. Thus, the 4 instances of error and misrepresentation I submitted regarding those aims are legitimate topics for debate, and the failure on Con’s part to attempt to refute them is effectively a concession. Please extend my arguments on those topics.

That’s 4 instances of significant error and misrepresentation, which more than meets my burden of proof, and the resolution is affirmed at this point.

Academic Freedom

Egnor

As Con says, “The whole point was to show that anyone who threatens the indoctrination of future generations, will be ostracized.” However, that was not shown. All that was shown was that Egnor was criticized, not ostracized, and Con introduces no additional evidence to support the claim. The point of the movie was to represent this ostracizing, but the actual facts don’t bear it out.

This is a misrepresentation, and it’s significant because the film had the entirety of academia to choose from in building its case that ID proponents are persecuted, and the best they could come up with is a case were a professor promoted ID and people said nasty things about him on the internet.

Sternberg

Con makes 3 arguments in defense of the treatment of Sternberg.

1. Sternberg claims to have been exiled, Stein doesn’t say it.

Irrelevant. The resolution that the film makes errors, not that Ben Stein made errors. Sternberg’s claim is presented in the film as factual, and forms an important part of the narrative that ID-proponents are silenced and expelled. This objection is irrelevant and should be rejected.

2. My sources may or may not be factual and are tainted by being written by people who believe in evolution.

My source for the claim that Sternberg was not exiled or expelled, but had arranged to resign his editorship before approving the article, and continued working with the Smithsonian institute after publishing the article, was Scientific American (2). Scientific American is a reputable magazine that won the 2011 National Magazine Award for General Excellence (3).

If Con believes that their bias has led them to state incorrect facts, he must demonstrate this with evidence, not merely insinuate it. I also find his source bias complaints disingenuous, given that his only two sources in R2 were a news site run by the Pro-ID Discovery Institute (4) famous for the 1998 Wedge Document outlining its campaign to use ID as a weapon in the culture wars (5) and the blog of a Christian evangelist (6).

3. There were no problems before Sternberg approved the publication of the article which suggests the “firestorm of controversy” was related to his ID beliefs.

There was no firestorm. Sternberg was not fired, disciplined, ostracized, exiled, or expelled. He continued working at the Smithsonian Institute through the end of the position’s term, and then was offered an additional position. The film again makes an error and misrepresentation. It again claims that an ID proponent was persecuted, but Con does not show that Sternberg suffered any negative impacts at all. Again, if the film’s choice of persecuted ID’ers aren’t really persecuted, this undercuts the message.

Gonzales

Con has found a quote from one of the members of the ISU faculty that they voted based on his ID beliefs. It is insufficient. The faculty member quoted by Con is only one vote, and not necessarily representative.

I have already given evidence that Gonzales’ publication history had declined since he joined Iowa State. It is also the case that his publications since joining had minimal scientific impact and were rarely cited, and his productivity was outclassed by his peers like Dr. Eric Agol and Dr. Zelijko Ivezik (7). Together, this constitutes a solid case that there was legitimate reason to reject the film’s claim of a “stellar research record” and there was a legitimate case to deny him tenure apart from his ID beliefs.

Gonzales has a copy of the reasons that tenure was denied him (8), but has chosen not to reveal the contents of it. There would be no need for our current speculation if he would simply make public the official reasons for his denial and let us evaluate the truth value of them. If Gonzales was fired for ID, then it would seem that he would be eager to show the false reasons given by the university, but he has not done so. This behavior supports the idea that there were non-ID reasons for the denial.

Conclusion

Before reaching the academic freedom arguments, Con failed to defend 4 of the significant problems with the film, and the resolution is affirmed at that point. When addressing the issues with the ID advocates, two of them have not been expelled or suffered any impacts at all, and the third’s denial of tenure has not been connected to his ID beliefs. All were chosen as examples of persecuted ID’ers, and it was not the case for any.

(1) http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info...

(2) http://www.scientificamerican.com...

(3) http://www.scientificamerican.com...

(4) http://www.evolutionnews.org...

(5) http://www.antievolution.org...

(6) http://www.thinkingchristian.net...

(7) http://www.mnsci.org...

(8) http://www.public.iastate.edu...
medic0506

Con

I thank pro for his comments.

Egnor:
--"This is a misrepresentation, and it's significant because the film had the entirety of academia to choose from in building its case that ID proponents are persecuted, and the best they could come up with is a case were a professor promoted ID and people said nasty things about him on the internet."--
Actually, the film shows two instances, Egnor and Caroline Crocker, who was basically blackballed. Stein says at the beginning of the segment on Egnor, "It's not just biologists that are feeling the wrath…". His goal was to show that even those outside the field of biology, who challenge evolutionary theory, are ridiculed and criticized. Stein only needed to show one instance, outside of biology, to satisfy the claim made in the film, and he did. My opponent is attempting to make this into a huge misrepresentation, when it isn't. No claims are made, by the film, except that he was criticized and ridiculed, by Darwinists, that's it. A simple google search for "criticism of Michael Egnor", reveals 22,300 results. He was criticized, and that's all the movie claims.
http://www.google.com...

Sternberg:
1. Sternberg claims to have been exiled, Stein doesn't say it.
My meaning here was that Sternberg was making the claim himself, Stein wasn't simply picking a case that he thought might make his point. This point isn't really worth arguing.
2. "My sources may or may not be factual and are tainted by being written by people who believe in evolution."
I would ask my opponent to show where I said they, "are tainted by being written by people who believe in evolution." I made no such claim. I simply said that they are
"articles that are basically commentaries and opinions, by supporters of evolution, that may, or may not be factual." I left open the possibility, that they might be factual. The point is that just because an uninvolved party writes an article, doesn't automatically mean that it is factually accurate, nor does it mean that we are obligated to accept the writer's opinion as credible evidence. Simply listing an article, that echoes your opinion, does not suffice as "proof" of anything.
--"….but had arranged to resign his editorship before approving the article, and continued working with the Smithsonian institute after publishing the article."--
These facts are not in dispute. In fact, on his website, Sternberg says this, "So as planned for some time, in September 2004 Dr. Banks took over as managing editor of the Proceedings. This transition had nothing to do with the publication of the Meyer paper."
The claim made by Sternberg, and the film, is that he lost his office, as in his physical office, not his title or position. This makes perfect sense, as in the film Sternberg points to the west wing, to show where his office use to be. That office apparently had nothing to do with his position as editor.
http://www.richardsternberg.org...
--"If Con believes that their bias has led them to state incorrect facts, he must demonstrate this with evidence, not merely insinuate it."--
Again, that's not what I said. Pro is alleging the misrepresentation, and this is his source. It is his responsibility to validate it as a "proof". We can't just find an article where the author mirrors our opinion, and claim that, unless my opponent can disprove it, it's fact.
--"I also find his source bias complaints disingenuous….."--
Fair enough, but at least it added something new to the discussion, it didn't just echo my opinion. I posted the second one as verification, to show that the quote I took from the first article wasn't just the author's opinion. One other point, as Haupman's quote favors Gonzalez, and Gonzalez has an unpopular opinion, I'm really limited in options, when looking for sources. Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything about that quote in the award winning Scientific American.
3. "There was no firestorm. Sternberg was not fired, disciplined, ostracized, exiled, or expelled."
He lost his office, was investigated, pressured to resign, and his department chair told him that he was viewed as an "intellectual terrorist for giving ID a modicum of credibility". Seems to me that that creates a pretty hostile work environment, and losing one's office certainly qualifies as discipline.

Gonzalez:
--"I have already given evidence that Gonzales' publication history had declined since he joined Iowa State."--
Even if true, publication is not the only way to meet the criteria for tenure.
http://www.provost.iastate.edu...
--"It is also the case that his publications since joining had minimal scientific impact and were rarely cited…"--
One of his works is an astronomy textbook that was used by ISU.
ISU has released a statement about the issue, and is probably very consistent with what Gonzalez has. The release of that document has no bearing on the truth of the case, as we already know the university's position.

Darwin
"This misrepresents Darwin's opinion as part of an attempt to cast his theories as support for Nazi eugenics, when in fact he expressed the opposite (12). This is completely and blatantly dishonest, and quote mining to smear your opponent as a Nazi supporter destroys the films credibility entirely."
How could Stein attempt to smear Darwin as a Nazi supporter, when Darwin died in 1882?? I agree that Stein read from that passage, and that it was incomplete, however I don't think he was attempting to say that Darwin is directly responsible. I think his point in reading just those parts was to show how someone, like Hitler, could misconstrue Darwin's works, and use them for evil purposes. If you watch that entire section, that makes perfect sense. They had just finished talking about Hitler, and how he thought he was helping "evolution". Stein even says, "I know that Darwinism does not automatically equate to Nazism", then asks if a similar event could happen again. Then they show a couple people talking about how Darwinism essentially devalues human life, and reduces it to just natural processes. Those are perfectly valid points for discussion, and does not mean that he's trying to link the two, but even if he did, so what. If he can give a reason to support his opinion, then he has every right to make the claim. Ultimately, I agree that he didn‘t read the entire passage on film, but I don't think it's for the dastardly purpose that pro represents, it's to show how an evil mind might translate it.
Dawkins
Regarding the Richard Dawkins interview, pro states that Stein says, "Richard Dawkins is not against intelligent design". Here pro is guilty of the same kind of quote-mining, that he accuses Stein of. Stein's actual words were, "So Professor Dawkins is not against intelligent design, just certain types of designers, such as God." The truth of this statement, and the justification for it, is on record, if one watches the interview. Dawkins described the possibility that some, intelligent life form evolved and designed a form of life that they seeded onto earth, he calls this an "intriguing possibility". This is not just a hypothetical statement by Dawkins, it's an actual theory, called directed panspermia, advanced by Frances Crick. He then goes so far as to say that we might find evidence for that if we look at the molecular biology, we might find a signature of some sort of designer. Stein then says, "Wait a second, Richard Dawkins thought that intelligent design might be a legitimate pursuit?" Given all that Dawkins had just said, I don't see a misrepresentation there, at all.
Sorry for the mess but I'm out of space. My response to the other two allegations are in the comments section.
Debate Round No. 3
XimenBao

Pro

I thank con for the timely posting of his R3.

Burden/Drops

Con raised no objections to my BoP in R3. My burden is finding two or more errors or misrepresentations that cast doubt on or undermine the message of the film. Con dropped his arguments regarding what the message of the film is and that any of my arguments were off-topic, so please consider all my arguments.

As I will not be able to rebut any new arguments Con chooses to raise on these issues, please consider them fixed and ignore new arguments from Con regarding them.

Academic Freedom

Egnor

Con makes most of my arguments for me regarding Egnor. As Con said in R2 regarding the Egnor segment, “The whole point was to show that anyone who threatens the indoctrination of future generations, will be ostracized.” Con emphasized this again in R3, saying “Actually, the film shows two instances, Egnor and Caroline Crocker, who was basically blackballed.” Con also agrees that the film marked Egnor as expelled, saying it’s only for dramatic purposes.

It’s a dramatic misrepresentation and error. Egnor was not expelled, ostracized or blackballed and the film is in error when it says he was. Con recognizes that this what the film is trying to show, but agrees, “No claims are made, by the film, except that he was criticized and ridiculed, by Darwinists, that's it.”

Con did not address my impact analysis showing that it was significant in undercutting the ‘persecuted ID’er” narrative, so please extend that. This is error and misrepresentation.

Sternberg

To restate: the film claims that Richard Sternberg’s was “exiled” from the Smithsonian Institute and that his “life was nearly ruined when he strayed from the party line while serving as editor of a scientific journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of Natural History” (1).

However, Con acknowledges that his resignation as editor had nothing to do this paper and does not dispute that he was offered an additional position at the institute after his current one expired. Con’s only attempt to show that Sternberg was actually exiled and his life was actually almost ruined is that Sternberg claims he was moved to a different office for his ID beliefs and that his supervisor said mean things about him.

However, like his resignation from the editorship, the move was planned well before the publication of the article. As part of a general reorganization of 17 employees and 20 offices, Sternberg asked for the office in a different part of the museum (2). As far as his boss badmouthing him, we have only his word for that, and it strains credibility that the department chair would actually offer someone they viewed as an ‘intellectual terrorist’ an additional position, but even if both these claims were true, it’s a long way from “I have an office I don’t like” and “my boss doesn’t like me” to “exile” and “life was almost ruined.”

The exile and ruined life claims are in error and misrepresent the situation.

Gonzalez

The film claims that Gonzalez was a “stellar researcher” and as such his denial of tenure must have been due to his ID beliefs.

This was in error as Gonzalez was not a stellar researcher, and in previous rounds I have given evidence that his output had severely declined while at ISU, that his articles were rarely cited, and that he was outclassed by his peers.

Con responds that tenure could possibly be earned in other ways and an unsourced and therefore unconsiderable claim that ISU uses a textbook he wrote. Neither of these claims is relevant to the issue, as other methods regarding tenure and textbook writing skills are not in question.

The film claimed that he was a stellar researcher. He was not. This was an error. Therefore, the further claim that his denial of tenure must be linked to ID is a misrepresentation.

Evolution

Darwin

Con tries to argue that the film isn’t really trying to link Darwin and the theory of evolution to Nazi eugenics by quoting the part of his speech that sounds like he supports it and omitting the part that condemns it, but merely warning of the dangers of misinterpretation.

This is transparently self-serving and obviously false. The film quotes Berlinski, “the correspondence between Darwinian ideas and Nazi ideas just leaps from the page” (3). They’re drawing a link.

Quoting Darwin’s actual position at the end of that passage would not tie in to the films message of evolution as an evil-Nazi-eugenicist movement, and thus was omitted.

Darwin’s views were presented erroneously and he was misrepresented. Dishonestly smearing your opponents by linking them to Nazis destroys credibility and is significant.

Dawkins

Dawkins was quoted giving anti-ID quotes throughout the film. At the end, Stein asked him what the possibility was that intelligent design could explain the origin of life. Dawkins gave a description of a panspermia-esque theory of how it could work, never expressed any belief in it himself, merely described the theory.

The film then used voiceover narration to state that Dawkins had no objection to intelligent design itself, thought that it might be a legitimate pursuit but merely was anti-god. Not only is this contradictory to almost every other quote given by Dawkins in the film, but obviously false to anyone who’s ever googled “Dawkins on ID” and found that he believes it to be creationism, unscientific, unevidenced, and not a legitimate scientific pursuit (4).

The film is in error regarding Dawkins’s beliefs and it misrepresents them in such a blatant and heavy-handed manner as to cast aside all doubt that it’s dishonest propaganda.

Pro-Id

This debate had an 8000 character limit. Debaters are constrained to using that many characters to make their arguments. Con used an additional 1600+ characters in the comments section to make his argument. This is a violation of the standards of the debate and an abuse of the rules to gain advantage. Please consider these points conceded by Con and do not allow further argumentation on them in the last round.

Extend my arguments on those points, significant errors and misrepresentations, giving Pro the two issues needed to earn your vote.

I will still make arguments here, if only to show it could be done in the space allotted.

Creationism

ID is simply mislabeled creationism and the film is in error when it uses that label. Con misses the point and argues that many people in the sciences think ID is possible, that I’m trying to stifle science, and that judges can’t decide what’s worth researching.

None of these arguments has clash. Creationism=ID. It’s barely hidden in the film. To Stein, stopping research into ID is putting a barrier up to touching God (5). You can take the same textbook, switch the names, and the meaning’s the same. It’s been done.

Research

Con’s only defense against my claims of misrepresentation/error in cancer research is that the film doesn’t make those claims. I apologize, as I did give an incorrect reference to the film for the quote, and I further apologize that I don’t have time to rewatch the film to find the correct reference before I move and lose internet access for the near future. However the quote is “Jonathan Wells is also making progress using intelligent design theory in his research on cancer” as cited in various sources easily found through google (6). The claim was made and it was made in error, misrepresenting the status of cancer research.

Conclusion

Pro needs two winning arguments to earn your vote. The easiest vote is for the argumemts illegitimatly opposed in comments. Otherwise please evaluate the other 5 arguments. Thank you to my opponent and to the readers.

(1) http://tinyurl.com... ~5:53
(2) http://pandasthumb.org...
(3) http://tinyurl.com... ~7:24
(4) http://www.guardian.co.uk...
(5) http://tinyurl.com... ~5:32
(6) http://www.google.com...

medic0506

Con

I thank pro for his comments.

Bop

Although I misunderstood pro's intent, I did concede and for sake of argument, on this point, agree to pro's conditions.

Egnor

As I stated earlier, the "Expelled" stamp is simply for dramatic effect, and if we don't allow for some dramatic effect, all films especially documentaries, would be extremely dull. In a sense he was "expelled" from the community of "respected" scientists, who conform to the Darwinist theory. The important thing to look at is the claims made about Egnor, by the film, and whether they are true. It's clear, from a google search that he was ridiculed and criticized, and that is all that the film claims. Therefore, there is no misrepresentation.

Sternberg

Sternberg wasn't offered another position. He held the positions of editor and researcher simultaneously. When he resigned from the editorial position, he still held his position as researcher, and should have been allowed to stay in his office, as it was not related to his position as editor. Pro's only proof is again, just an article written by a third party. This article would never suffice as proof of anything, if I were to use it, that's why I haven't posted any, other than the one's showing the quote from Dr. Haupman. Pro offers no acceptable proof that this move was planned in advance. Stating that he agreed to take a certain office, also doesn't prove that he didn't lose his original office because of his beliefs. Obviously, he had to move so he had no choice but to agree.
Pro's attempts to downplay the significance, of this incident, and the lasting effects, in Sternberg's life and professional career, completely ignore the hostile work environment that must have existed, and the limitations he now has for future employment.
The burden of proof is on pro, to disprove the claims made in the film. He has not met that burden, therefore this can not be assumed to be a misrepresentation.

Gonzalez

Pro continues his assertion that Gonzalez is not a "stellar" researcher. His only point of reference, thus his only argument, is the number of articles written. The handbook that I posted a link to, shows that other qualifications can be used to gain tenure, besides written articles. Pro wants the voters to focus on the number of articles written, because that is his only argument against Gonzalez. However, if there are other ways of gaining tenure, besides writing articles, that must be considered in any fair assessment, of this situation. Pro also asserts that Gonzalez was rarely cited, but offers no proof, therefore this should be ignored as just an assertion. I didn't even look for a link to show the book Gonzalez help write was used at ISU because, odds are it is no longer used there. In the quote I showed, John Haupman, a professor at ISU verifies that Gonzalez is an excellent teacher and scientist, and also claims that he voted no on Gonzalez' tenure, simply because of his beliefs on ID. It is not on me to prove Gonzalez' credentials, the BoP is on my opponent to disprove the claims made in the film. He has not done that, so once again, I say that there is no proven misrepresentation here.

As to significance, none of these cases even if proven, would undermine the message of restricted academic freedom, as there are other instances given in the film, that weren't even contested, by my opponent. Therefore, the films' claim of restricted freedom, is verified.

Darwin

As I said in rd 3, even if he is trying to link darwinism to eugenics and the actions of the nazis, so what. It's an opinion, and he gave good reason for that opinion, and it is shared by many others. Darwinism deprivileges human life, and makes us nothing more than natural processes. In a psycho's mind, that takes away any sense of objective morality, and rationalizes inserting his own. Pro has not proven an intentional significant misrepresentation here.

Dawkins

--"Dawkins gave a description of a panspermia-esque theory of how it could work, never expressed any belief in it himself, merely described the theory."--

He gave credibility to it by saying that it is an intriguing theory. Further, he even said that we might find evidence for the theory by looking in the molecular biology. His words, in no way, attempt to discredit the theory, and he did not deny it's legitimacy in any way, therefore, Stein's statements are an accurate assessment, of what Dawkins said.
Pro goes on to argue about what Dawkins has said outside the film, but that is totally irrelevant. His words on the film, are the only thing relevant to this debate, and simply watching the interview is all that's needed to verify Stein's statements.
Dawkins' beliefs are not in doubt, but what he said in the film is the only thing that need be considered, when assessing a misrepresentation. Again, this fails to show a misrepresentation, by the film.

Pro-ID

I have seen other debates where arguments were continued into the comments section, but if pro wants to claim victory on a technicality, rather than substance, I can't stop the voter from making that choice. Everyone who has tried knows that it takes more space to defend something, than it does to make a claim, especially when bombarded with multiple issues. I apologize but if pro wanted me to address those issues, I had no choice. There is no "rule" that says we can't extend our remarks into the comments section. If anyone is gaining unfair advantage here, it's pro, by arguing against giving me room to answer all his complaints. I would never make that argument, in order to try to win a debate, especially if I had raised numerous issues for my opponent to answer to. I will continue my arguments and let the voters decide.

Creationism

Pro is simply applying his understanding of the ID movement, to his definition. There are many creationists, the AIG Ministries and the ICR are two groups, that oppose the ID movement because it does not seek to link the designer with the Bible. Creationists are intent on fitting science to the Bible, ID'ers agree to follow the science where it is proven to go, though they usually do have a belief in God. This is just an argument over definitions, and does not create a misrepresentation.

Research

Pro's apology should be accepted, it's easy to make a mistake, but I do not see that particular quote, in the film. Even if it is in there, in order to claim a misrepresentation, pro must be able to disprove Wells' research, which he didn't even attempt to do. He simply asserted that it misrepresented "the status of cancer research". This assertion disproves nothing, and therefore there is no misrepresentation.

Closing

I believe that I've shown that pro has not met his burden of proof, to show that these are misrepresentations, and that he has not proven that his claims significantly undermine the message of the film. Even if my comments on the last two points in round 3 are ignored, on a technicality, pro has not proven them to be false claims, simply imposing his definition, or asserting something does not suffice as proof. On these grounds, I ask for a vote for con.

I thank my opponent for initiating this debate, and wish him the best of luck in future debates.








Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
Ahh, that durn liberal media conspiracy getting you down again.
Posted by medic0506 5 years ago
medic0506
It's pro-intelligent design, surely you didn't expect liberal critics to say, "Hey, great flick!!!"
Posted by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
Didn't it just?
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
http://www.rottentomatoes.com...

The movie got great reviews
Posted by medic0506 6 years ago
medic0506
@ mcc

The burden of proof wasn't on me to refute his arguments, it was on him to prove that they were actually misrepresentations, and significant enough to undermine the message of the film.
Posted by medic0506 6 years ago
medic0506
What is vote bombing, anyway??
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Why are you creating a tie... no one vote bombed the debate before you...
Posted by medic0506 6 years ago
medic0506
that was fair, kohai
Posted by KeytarHero 6 years ago
KeytarHero
"Two Hydrogen and One Oxygen equal a water molecule ... that is because God made it that way to test our faith."

Phoenix, you really have no idea what ID teaches, do you?
Posted by medic0506 6 years ago
medic0506
I could have saved a lot of space if I had worded the nazi issue the way reformed did. I'm learning more about technicalities with every debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by mcc1789 6 years ago
mcc1789
XimenBaomedic0506Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: I conclude that Pro more than met his burden of proof. That said, Con did mount a spirited defense, though in my view it could not negate the resolution.
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 6 years ago
quarterexchange
XimenBaomedic0506Tied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: The bomb was already countered and this debate should not have to be a tie
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
XimenBaomedic0506Tied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter-bombing to create a tie
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
XimenBaomedic0506Tied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: "XimenBoa, you did a great job in this debate but medic0506 cast sufficient doubt on it that you did not fulfill BoP. - My thoughts exactly 3:2 con
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
XimenBaomedic0506Tied
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Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: medic, you lose conduct points for continuing your discussion into the comments without clearing it with your opponent. However, you are correct that Pro has a burden to prove, beyond doubt, the resolution. He would have done that but you were relentless in pushing him for adequate proof and not allowing his assertions to stand without proof. Most of his arguments break down to authority fallacies. However, XimenBao is copious in his sources usage and it is well varied.