Home > Anti-evolution, Intelligent Design > Framing in action in Expelled

Framing in action in Expelled

April 10, 2008

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Chris Heard on Mark Mathis’ admission that Christian scientists were excluded from Expelled because they “would have confused the film unnecessarily":

Mathis as much as says that because he personally cannot reconcile Christian belief with evolutionary biology, prominent Christian scientists … who do affirm both at once don’t deserve attention. Remember, please, that this comes from the associate producer of a film whose entire thesis is that well-meaning religious scientists are being persecuted or ostracized –“expelled”– for wanting to talk about God! Yet prominent Christian evolutionary biologists like [Francisco] Ayala, [Francis] Collins, and [Ken] Miller (never mind physicists like John Polkinghorne or Howard Van Till) get no attention in the film–because they “would have confused the film unnecessarily.” (source)

Mathis opines:

[T]he form of Catholicism that Ken Miller accepts and practices is, is nowhere near the form of Catholicism that is followed by Catholics who are members of the Catholic church, who believe in Catholic doctrine.

Miller, apparently, isn’t Catholic enough for Pope Mathis. The non-Catholic Mathis is apparently now a theologian who gets to decide what constitutes "Catholic doctrine". Wow.

Mathis continues:

But I think if you talk to the average Catholic person and, and you start talking about how life came to be, they are going to cite a biblical view. … Some Catholics are going to say, believe in a, uh, literal version of what is accounted for in the Bible

As someone who was raised Catholic in a country full of "average Catholic person[s]," I will just say that Mathis’ statement is categorically false and move on from there. The hubris of these chuckleheads knows no bounds.

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  1. HeyZeusCreaseToe
    April 11, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Sounds like you are going to need to create a brand new blog just for covering the Expelled controversy if more and more of Mathis and Co.’s shenanigans are brought to light each day. That Michael Shermer piece in SciAm was quite good as well. Keep on digging!

  2. Tyler DiPietro
    April 11, 2008 at 12:41 am

    “Some Catholics are going to say, believe in a, uh, literal version of what is accounted for in the Bible.”
    Then “some Catholics” would be egregiously in error. That is really all that needs to be said.
    The most disgusting thing about creationism is that it flagrantly legitimizes the deliberate failure to accept reality as it is.

  3. April 11, 2008 at 1:54 am

    As an ex-Roman Catholic, I can say that (from what I can remember) I don’t think, outside of Sunday School, that I was ever taught that Genesis was a real event. We did go into an old Earth, and I knew about evolution (I believe I was taught that in high school, if not before). Ah. There’s the problem. I guess “Roman Catholic” isn’t Catholic enough. Bad enough that my ex-beliefs been kicked from the “Christian Club” by the fundies, but now they’re not even in their own group? Poor Papa Ratzi. I wonder what he’s gonna do?

  4. GAC
    April 11, 2008 at 5:12 am

    That’s just ridiculous. Didn’t the last pope say some things in support of evolution (this one’s a little fudgy on it).

  5. Ashley Moore
    April 11, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Indeed. The previous Pope issued a statement (encyclical?) saying that there is no contradiction between the scientific theory of evolution and Christianity.
    So, if you asked Mark Mathis ‘Is the Pope a Catholic?’, he’d say ‘No’.

  6. Randy
    April 11, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Question: How do we get this information out of the blogosphere and to talk radio, talk TV and the press? Most Christians despise this sort of hypocrisy. Maybe Ken Miller should respond.

  7. Sam C
    April 11, 2008 at 8:19 am

    When No True Scotsman’s whisky has been run out, it’s time to start on No True Catholic’s communion wine!
    Roll out the oldies:
    Q: How can you tell when a creationist is lying?
    A: Simple, his lips are moving!

  8. Pineyman
    April 11, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Being married to a devout RC (I’m lapsed myself), we attend an in-home monthly Mass that rotates among the attendees. During one such Mass, the priest made specific mention that the Bible is a set of rules, anecdotes and stories to be used as guidance, not to be taken literally.
    Maybe he’s not a real priest?

  9. April 11, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Not Catholic myself, but I’m guessing that the Church is going to be very upset when they find out that they can’t count most Catholics as Catholic. Hard break.

  10. April 11, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Speaking as a former Catholic, the church Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic has enough sins on its hands that we don’t need to go inventing others. I was taught conventional biology and chemistry at a Catholic high school (in the late 80s), and while I can’t comment on current teachings, the church certainly has come some distance, at least in the areas of scientific theory (don’t get me started on the church’s stand on sexuality, gay rights, or feminism).
    On the other hand, it was only within my lifetime that the church officially apologized for how it persecuted Galileo, for crying out loud.

  11. MRW
    April 11, 2008 at 9:21 am

    I was taught evolution in a Catholic high school.
    Pope Pius XII said that there was no conflict between Catholic theology and evolution (although he clearly didn’t accept the truth of the theory).
    Pope John Paul II also saw no conflict, and even accepted evolution.
    Pope Benedict XVI also sees no conflict, going as far as to say that the idea of such a conflict is an absurdity.

  12. Dave Wisker
    April 12, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Certain evangelical sects have no trouble openly dismissing Roman Catholics as not being Christians at all. My wife and daughters attended a Baptist church that was planning a youth trip to Mexico. One of the church’s youth leaders told the kids that the people in Mexico were mostly Catholic, and, not only did they worship Mary, they also did not know about Jesus.
    Any Catholic knows this is just weird, ignorant nonsense.

  13. Theo
    April 12, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    ACK!!! The Catholic Church (for better or worse) is one of those institutions who has made a clear statement on the matter of faith and science – specifically evolution.
    So, “real” Catholics are those who espouse the dogma and teachings of the Catholic church.
    As MRW wrote above, there is NO conflict between faith and science. Catholics are taught that evolution is scientific fact. So, who is this person who thinks they know better than the Pope? (Obviously someone who doesn’t know anything about Catholicism.)
    I think it’s all terribly strange this evolution debate.
    Curiously, those who adhere to the teachings of only the Old Testament don’t have this debate — and it’s their holy book! (The comedian, Lewis Black, who is Jewish, has a routine that absolutely skewers Christians on this score.)
    But somehow, Christians — whose holy words are in the New Testament — seem to think they have some claim over the Old and its interpretation. And in making those claims, completely overlook a lot of what is taught in the New Testament about tolerance, knowledge, and enlightenment.
    There is a compelling argument to be made that the logical evolution of Christianity from its Gnostic beginnings would lead to a religion that prizes the discovery of knowledge and information through observation and experimentation (i.e., science). There is no conflict at all between faith and science. In a way, the modern Catholic church, then, is the Christian sect that comes the CLOSEST to the teachings of the early Christian church. (Except for the Modern Gnostics, who have faith in science.)
    It’s all very, very strange.

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