Legislator’s movie date getting noticed

Word about Rep. Hays’ movie invite to his fellow Florida legislators is filtering out to the media. Newspaper blogs are talking up a storm on the event.

The Orlando Sentinel has no less than three separate blogs on the subject: education, politics and entertainment. From the politics blog:

The House General Counsel’s office cleared the showing Wednesday night at the Tallahassee IMAX because it’s being paid for by Motive Entertainment, a company that doesn’t employ a Capitol lobbyist, and it’s “a film presenting information about an issue affecting the legislature.”

The Miami Herald posts on this at their Naked Politics blog:

Stein, a comedian and former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Tallahassee to make an “important announcement,” which probably means he will talk about his film, which has its public debut in April.

And the Miami Herald already has a full story up on their website. It follows the dirt trail behind the creationism bills and Ben Stein’s movie. The story mentions the Dover, Pa. intelligent design trial, and continues with:

The ACLU and the judge noted that the Intelligent Design backers, the Discovery Institute, had written something called the ”Wedge Strategy” document, which laid out a multiyear plan to introduce “theistic and Christian science.”

In that light, the documentary and legislation appear to go hand in hand with phases II and III of the wedge document, which seek to build up popular support and then provide legal assistance to help “the integration of design theory into public schools.”

Trailers show images of Hitler when Stein talks about evolution supporters, and the documentary clearly presents Stein’s argument in religious terms.

The press and public are banned from Wednesday’s prescreening at the Challenger Learning Center.

”It’s kind of an irony: The public is expelled from a movie called Expelled,” said House Democratic leader Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, who summed up the legislation as “problematic.”

And the St. Petersburg Times education blog digs into the issue, too:

Challenger Center Director Norman Thagard (left) told The Gradebook this afternoon that the center was not in any way endorsing the movie, and that not allowing its IMAX movie center to be rented for the showing of “Expelled” could open the door to a discrimination lawsuit. “I just don’t want the center to be portrayed as sponsoring this,” Thagard said. “We’re just allowing our facilities to be used per our policies.”

ABC Action News has a short story posted:

Actor, writer, and comedian Ben Stein will be in Tallahassee this week for what’s believed will be an endorsement of a proposal sponsored by Senator Ronda Storms and Representative Allen Hays.

Many feel the bill has little chance of making it through the full legislature as most lawmakers are highly reluctant to tinker with the teaching standards approved by the Board of Education. As a compromise, the Board last month approved compromise language calls for teaching the “scientific theory of evolution.”

A news releases says Stein will appear “along with Florida Legislators, public school science teachers, and concerned parents for an important announcement.”

The Sun-Sentinel has a blog post, as does the Tampa Tribune.

And an interesting tidbit here: a site called Offensive Christians is rallying its troops in defense of the creationism bills. They accuse Florida Citizens for Science of mobilizing the humanists. Funny. Many of our members are Christians. For example, our president is a deacon in his church and in the church choir. One of our board members is president of Pacesetters Bible School, Inc. Groups like Offensive Christians really need to get the message that our side of the fight is focused on science education. That’s our motive. It’s not about fighting for or against any religion. Unfortunately, many of those on the other side of the fight are focused on religion to a fault. Science education is just a cover story for them.

11 Responses to “Legislator’s movie date getting noticed”

  1. Offensive Christian Says:

    Hi,

    I’m the Offensive Christian mentioned above. Thanks for noticing the link:) I apologize to the Christians you have on your board. I will, however note that when Christians are redefining their bible based on science which changes as new discoveries are made, they are on shaky ground.

    I too champion the scientific method but I do not presuppose that supernatural events can not modify our reality. I believe Richard Lewontin when he wrote in January 1997:

    “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    This constitutes a prejudice against possible data. I don’t believe in the flying spaghetti monster either; but a supernatural being that set all the rules down so I can use logic and the scientific method (and trust that my observations aren’t gibberish based on time and change bringing the illusion of self awareness to my being) – that I can believe.

    OC

    http://www.offensivechristians.com

  2. gabriel Says:

    A couple of comments here:

    First off, Lewontin is certainly no spokesman for science as a whole. He is welcome to his views, but they are not scientific. You’re setting him up as a scientific strawman – easy to knock down.

    Secondly, I’m curious what you think a true “Christian” approach to this issue would be. You claim to accept the scientific method – you you accept the evidence for an old earth? For universal common descent? et cetera.

    If not, why?

  3. Mike O'Risal Says:

    Norman Thagard is a coward who is willing to sacrifice the charter of CLS on the fear of a lawsuit by a radical group. He’s just opened the Center up to use by every stripe of scum that wants to use a university-sponsored facility. Will he be afraid to face a discrimination suit from the Klan, too? Aryan Nation? He’s setting a fine example, not to mention a hell of a precedent.

  4. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams Says:

    I apologize to the Christians you have on your board. I will, however note that when Christians are redefining their bible based on science which changes as new discoveries are made, they are on shaky ground.

    This reads as “hey, you might claim to have Christians on your board, but they’re not Real Christians(TM) unless they interpret Scripture in the same way I do.”

    The sun doesn’t orbit the earth. (Josh 10:13)
    Insects don’t have 4 legs. (Lev. 11:20)
    Hares don’t chew their cud. (Lev. 11:6)
    Fowl don’t have 4 legs. (Lev. 11:20)
    Eagles don’t carry their young on their wings. (Deut. 3:11)
    The earth does indeed move. (1 Sam 2:8, 1 Chron 16:30, Psalm 93:1)
    Pi does not equal 3. (1 Kings 7:23, 2 Chron 4:2)
    The world is not flat. (Matthew 4:8)

    What offends this Christian is that a few loud sects believe that, because of their insistence on using Scripture as a science text, they have the right to subject everybody else’s kids to bogus science.

  5. Grafixer Says:

    The words written by the webmaster of FCS at the top of this page state, “Christians really need to get the message that our side of the fight is focused on science education. That’s our motive. It’s not about fighting for or against any religion. Unfortunately, many of those on the other side of the fight are focused on religion to a fault.”
    Yet, the comments here are still all about religion.
    It is obvious that those backing the Academic FreeDUMB bill are speaking with forked tongues. When speaking with the Legislature, they state this is not about getting creationism into public schools. But, with every other opportunity, they quote scripture and try to make a case for teaching creationism.
    I have spoken with many of the writers of the science standards. These people’s words and actions are honest and respectful – even in response to unfounded accusations from their opposition. They simply want students in Florida to learn about evolution in the public schools, and have them learn about faith in their homes and churches.
    After all, scientists are the experts in science. Church leaders are the experts in their faith. We have respective places to teach both with integrity.

  6. Kathy S Says:

    Oh my word…I am speechless!

    “I want a balanced policy. I want students taught how to think, not what to think,” Hays says. “There are problems with evolution. Have you ever seen a half-monkey, half human?”

    http://media.www.ecollegetimes.com/media/storage/paper991/news/2008/03/06/MctNews/Documentary.May.Sway.Fla.Lawmakers.Weighing.Bill.Aimed.At.Questioning.Theory.Of-3263160.shtml

  7. Kathy S Says:

    And from the same article as I posted above…this final statement: “The press and public are banned from Wednesday’s pre-screening at the Challenger Learning Center.” which, to me, undermines the entire credibility of the movie!!!!

  8. Kathy S Says:

    And I’d like to edit my first statement by saying that Hays is the perfect example of that which he speaks!

  9. grafixer Says:

    Let’s hope that the Challenger Learning Center will stand for what they are – a science learning center – and show a balanced film about this situation. A good choice would be PBS’s (NOVA) broadcast, “Intelligent Design on Trial.” Not only does this film cover a bit of evolution fact, but it will give our legislators an idea of the types of embarrassing lawsuits this legislation will bring to Florida.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/defense-ev.html

  10. MelM Says:

    From the invitation posted March 7:

    As a member of the Legislature, you are invited to attend this screening with 1 guest.

    Couldn’t a standards writer get in as the guest of a friendly legislator?

  11. James F Says:

    Offensive Christian,

    I must say that you’re on the wrong side of this issue. You are conflating methodological naturalism, which is inherent to the scientific method you say that you champion, with philosophical naturalism. Methodological naturalism deals only with what can be observed and analyzed in the natural world; beyond the natural world is the realm of religion and philosophy. It is not theology and has nothing to do with “redefining” the Bible. Philosophical naturalism argues that science shows there is no God, no higher power, and that’s what you’re disputing – this is really a philosophical view, not a scientific one, since it makes a statement about something outside of the natural world. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, is not only non-science (I would prefer “nonsense”), it is terrible theology, setting up a world where most of what we see and test can be explained by natural laws, but every now and then a supernatural event must be introduced by an intelligent agent (let’s not kid ourselves, this means God). This sets up the “God of the Gaps” scenario: science slowly pushes God into smaller and smaller gaps in our knowledge the more that we learn, as if science controlled one reality and God another.

    The conclusion drawn from such a view is obvious: scientists and Christians who support science are acting against God. In truth, science only deals with the natural world: there is no Christian science, Jewish science, Muslim science, or atheist science, it’s a common language of humanity. Some scientists believe that outside our natural world, there is God, or a similar higher power; some do not. If you truly champion the scientific method your fight is not with science: you are just arguing against philosophical naturalism. I hope you consider what I’ve said and realize that intelligent design doesn’t deserve an ounce of your support.