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Expelled: An Additional Perspective

I did indeed have the opportunity to talk to my Sunday school teacher (Dr. Walter Bradley, who had a brief appearance in an interview segment in Expelled) today, both just before class and at lunch. He liked the movie, and appreciated the core message, although he did say he wished it had made some things more clear, such as defining terms and so forth. He believes that the question of intentionality in theories about the origins of life, the universe and everything are central for a Christian. Although he agreed with my criticisms of the segment featuring the Darwin-Hitler connection, I don’t think he would agree with me when I say that the presence of this argument is a guarantee that the film will not be taken seriously in any significant way outside of the Christian community.

I should note here that my view of the film was bleak, perhaps even too bleak. It is not as though Expelled is devoid of truth, or anything like that. However, I believe that, with respect to issues like this, we must be our own harshest critics: First, because the highest standard is the only acceptable standard for a Christian. Second, because if we are not, then a very transparent double-standard will exist, and everyone will see it. Third, because if we do not examine everything we say and believe with the most intense level of scrutiny possible, eventually someone who does will come along and destroy it.

That said, Dr. Bradley is far more knowledgeable in this subject than I am, having operated in the midst of it for quite some time at various universities. In his opinion, the problem described in Expelled exists and is serious. He says that he has not personally experienced any such prejudice for two reasons: 1) He is tenured, and therefore untouchable to some degree. 2) He is an engineering professor, and questions of design are considered more germane to his research than they might be for, say, a biologist.

Dr. Bradley said that he was thinking of writing a letter to the Waco Tribune, in answer to the complaint in their review that many important topics were not even touched upon by Expelled. He felt that, short of making a 10-hour movie, they did an excellent job in staying focused on the single most important issue of the documentary: academic censorship. This, of course, led me back to the holocaust segment, which aside from being a waste of the movie’s precious time in which to make a point, cripples any argument justifying the exclusion of important topics that it failed to mention.

In any case, I was much interested to learn that Dr. Bradley had invited Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project, and a Christian) to speak at Baylor this last week. Unfortunately, the talk had to be cancelled because bad weather delayed Dr. Collins’ arrival in Dallas, but he promised to return another time, perhaps in the fall. Maybe I can hear him speak then. When I asked Dr. Bradley how the Baylor administration felt about having a Christian scientist come and speak, he said that, as Collins believes in evolution, they were quite open to the idea.

In the meantime, Dr. Bradley had about 40 copies of Collins’ book (The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief) in his trunk, and he loaned me one. I am currently reading through it with great interest, and I might just buy it. So far, I heartily recommend it.

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~ by Jared on April 20, 2008.

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