Looks like we're taking America back from you science gurus…
From worldnetdaily.com: Some IMAX theaters are refusing to carry movies that promote evolution, citing concerns that doing so offends their audience and creates controversy – a move that has some proponents of Darwinism alarmed over the influence of "fundamentalists."
= = = = = = = = =
New York Times:
A New Screen Test for Imax: It's the Bible vs. the Volcano
By CORNELIA DEAN
Published: March 19, 2005
The fight over evolution has reached the big, big screen.
Several Imax theaters, including some in science museums, are refusing to show movies that mention the subject - or the Big Bang or the geology of the earth - fearing protests from people who object to films that contradict biblical descriptions of the origin of Earth and its creatures….
Yep, if we just sit and do nothing, you ignorant morons WILL take us back to the dark ages.
T.C., have you read Kenneth Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God? In addition to being a prolific textbook author as well as a biology professor at Brown University, Miller is a devout Christian. Throughout Finding Dawin’s God, Dr. Miller repeatedly describes how evolution works. He has seen it firsthand, many times, and has no need to lie about it.
How is it possible that an ancient religion can be seen as being in harmony with modern scientific theory? Some religious practitioners (more than you may realize) consider the Bible to be what it is. They understand its place in history—that journalism is a recent phenomenon. Ancient writers were not reporters, but more like poets.
Is it really asking too much of you to consider the Bible to be a great work of literature? So many of your problems would instantly vanish. For instance, you’d no longer need to concoct elaborate explanations about why it is that so many Bible verses are in conflict with each other.
tyhts, thanks for the reference about Kenneth Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God. You got my interest perked. I will check it out and see whats up, keeping an open mind. I do so with some trepidation. A devout Christian reconciling science with the bible? SAY IT AIN’T SO!!! But I will check it out.
Hey, you said that by not believing that a lot of my problems would vanish. I completely disagree with you on this issue. People “run” to God when they have problems, then after the problems are solved, there usually is a cooling off period-until the next major hurdle occurs. I’m guilty as any on this. So people go to God with their problems, to get them solved. Leaving God out of the equation would lead to chaos, depression, murder and mayhem in the streets. Case in point, Larry Nichols spared the life of his hostage after she began reading The Purpose Driven Life to him. Only one paragraph and something changed in him. He was convicted of sin and yet, he was liberated from his violent rage. Enough so that he allowed his hostage to leave the premises and then he turned himself in without a fight to the arriving policemen.
Why the change? God’s spirit spoke to him. And when God’s spirit speaks to you, its never harsh or condemning. Its always a gentle, peaceful, conviction of sin and you get filled with courage to do the right thing.
Just rambling, but whoa, what would the world do without God….there’d be serious problems, my friend.
Champ, when I saw the Nichols story, I cringed just a bit because your side certainly won that battle. Of course many other battles throughout history have been much nastier.
You’re also exactly correct about some people ignoring God when they’re flush with cash and in good health. Then the wife leaves, or a loved one dies, or a job is lost and the prayerful attitude is resumed once again.
So I probably should have used a little more detail describing what I meant about making life easier. It all comes down to the various levels of literality one adheres to. Allow me now to ask a few questions, along with my answers in the following excerpt from some fiction I’m working on. I’ll welcome your comments. I realize my scribblings will not change your central point of view, but the subject of literality, I feel, needs to be discussed seriously.
Do you take everything in life as literally as you take the Bible?
What kind of question is that? Our world is a literal place, so of course I “take” it literally.
Do you think that young children—say, toddler age—see the world with more or less literality than adults?
I’ll leave it to you to answer such a whacked-out question.
Young children, since they only have limited experience interacting with people, things and concepts, understand words much more abstractly than do adults. When a parent talks to her infant, what meaning is conveyed? What chance does a very young baby have of taking anything literally? Meaning that is conveyed often emphasizes motherly affection or very general instruction. Of course the baby has no chance of taking anything in the world of spoken language literally, until he begins to learn word meanings aside from their use as an accompaniment to mother’s affection.
Babies are able to understand many things in a concrete way.
But not words, until a certain amount of development has had time to take place. At such a point, words gradually take on literality.
Are you going to tell me that nothing in the world can be taken literally?
Actually, I’m attempting to explicate some of the many levels of literality that different people have. It’s a continuum of understanding that ranges from almost total abstraction, as with perceptions of a newborn infant, to the level of an adult. The continuum changes gradually through childhood, each step accompanied by utter confidence of literality. As new facts arrive about what words mean, confidence in the meaning rises. Having experienced this ever-so-gradual childhood development, adults understand subtle shades of meaning behind words and their accompanying facial and body gestures.
What’s your point?
We’re getting there. Adults know better than to take most words too literally. But it’s our nature to pretend that all—or at least most—of our words have highly literal meaning. It is a given that every creature that exists must see the world as a highly literal place. But adults also realize that words are not to be taken too literally. Many of us don’t really know why.
And you do know why?
I can only offer you my views. The world is a chaotic place. Things we say can never be taken too literally, because our world is unpredictable. Have you ever taken a sales pitch to be literally true in every way?
Of course not.
Such interpretation sensibly applies to just about everything we say. We almost never tell others whether we really feel well or ill, even though we are asked about our health dozens of times each day. When we describe a past event, it is understood that guesswork, estimation, and often exaggeration takes place.
Are you saying that all adults understand words with the same degree of literality?
No I’m not. Inquisitive adults understand language subtlety better than those of us who don’t bother to wonder much about the world. Those who strive to understand why things work the way they do have, in general, a less literal understanding of language, though of course not to the extent of an infant. But, yes, all adult people more or less understand the world through similar levels of literality.
I suspect that, once again, you are prepared to generalize your arguments into areas that don’t apply.
What areas are you referring to?
Morality, for one.
Was I leading up to morality again?
You always seem to. Jason, the language of morality is so tightly woven into society’s fabric that no one in their right mind will allow it to be overthrown. The result would obviously be disastrous.
No disaster will result from my analysis of literality.
That’s because nobody in their right mind will hear you out, and actually read what you have to say. And if a naive few do happen to look over your nonsense, they will do whatever they need to in order to put it out of their minds.
Maybe they’ll come after me. Do you think I should use a pseudonym?
I think you should be institutionalized.
People do not forsake proper and ethical behavior by forsaking moralistic words. Parents can continue to teach crucial “right-wrong” lessons—just not literally. Empathy therapy, which has been shown to be a much more effective tool to teach ethics than religion is, could be employed in prisons and reform schools. On the other hand attempts to teach a literal right and a literal wrong are doomed to failure because some children eventually see through non-Deistic morality, to a level of literality that exposes the concepts to be lies. The result can backfire as loudly as your ancient Chevy.
When my car backfires, the world seems like a very literal place.
Literally, the world is not what it would seem to be. Every speck of matter is made from atoms, right?
I suppose atoms could be construed to be the basis for the literality of the world.
So the world exists, in a literal sense, based on atomic structures.
Where is this going, in your prematurely-softened head?
My initial question was, Do you take life as literally as you take the Bible?
I still do. How could I possibly do otherwise?
Did you know that “atoms” are now known to be made up of nothing that is—literally speaking—physical?
Science has a hundred theories for every flake on the planet.
Let me assure you that the theory I’m referring to is strongly supported by data. Mountains of data having been collected by the least flaky people on the planet.
Then why would my hand not slip through your nose as though it were air, if I were to punch it?
Forces such as gravity and magnetism containing no matter act together on a sub-microscopic scale. The result is what appears to be matter. When a scientist “views” an atom, what he actually sees is, in effect, an illusion. And what you see sticking bulbously off my face is just as much of an illusion, since my nose is made up of atoms.
A person still needs literality in the way he sees the world, just to survive.
Just to exist, actually. We do need to see things in various degrees of literality—nature demands it.
A kind of functional literality?
Yes. Knowledge about atomic structure is obscure and useless to the vast majority of people.
I don’t suppose all of this leads to any informative point?
I’ll leave that up to you. What seems obvious to me is that, once our understanding of the world we inhabit starts to be unraveled, it is anything but what it appears to be.
So we’re back to Popper-style tentativism vs. spiritual confidence as exhibited by Jerry Falwell.
That is where we are. You obviously choose the latter and I align myself with the former. Most people take positions that fall somewhere between these two poles. Christianity is indeed a diverse collection of clubs, with some members viewing the Bible as a literal recounting of history and the fount of all human lessons worth learning. Others hold the Bible to be a collection of writings from ancient times, outdated in a sense, but still valid as a basis for a lifelong guide to sensible living when read selectively.
And literality amounts to illusion?
It amounts to unthinking judgment, as per ancient tribe members blindly obeying their leaders and customs. Desperate conditions called for desperate actions.
Conditions remain fairly desperate, according to many religious leaders.
But the rise of reliable governments . . .
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Okay—slightly corrupt governments provide us with laws, and follow up those laws with punishment and reward—“reward” amounting to personal freedoms. Governments now do a major part of the job that certain gods were originally invented to perform. Modern secular governments abide by ethical guidelines, engaging humanity’s most fully conscious thought processes. Moral systems are guided by our instincts. They are emotion-based, and every one of us inherits their underpinnings. Sometimes our internal moralities harm us and sometimes they help us, but they are always unthinking. Ethical exploration, on the other hand, invites intellectual analysis. Take your pick—either follow Jerry Falwell and travel back 3,000 years, or live a life fit for a creature supposedly created in the image of God.
A Godly life is a life of discernment, not unthinking judgment.
Discernment may be a step forward, but Biblical adherence still reflects unthinking commands and rituals.
Do I detect a note of anti-Semitism?
If you do, you are mistaken. Modern Jews understand the hazards
and dangers of unnecessary literality.
Champion, as though I haven’t already given you enough to chew on, here’s just a little more:
No one would deny that the Bible is a collection of ancient letters, stories, poems, etc. This collection of writings is properly read with the authors’ original intentions in mind, as much as that’s possible after so much time has passed since its composition.
But any written work—other than something as straightforward as the operating instructions for an appliance—is properly interpreted not only by striving for an understanding of the author’s original intent. The reader must also seek to discover any rhetorical devices that might act as key elements to a proper interpretation.
Let’s assume for a moment that God inspired the writings that make up the Bible. Who in their right mind would want to ignore the richness of metaphor that God may have inspired? Please cite the scriptural verses that specifically instruct believers to read in a one-dimensional way only when reading God-inspired tracts and appliance instructions. I’ll be satisfied with any words that even remotely communicate this concept, if you can cite them for me.
If you truly think that the Bible needs to be read as though it had been composed in the style of a toaster-oven instruction pamphlet, then I’m not sure what more I can say.
Champion—you’re getting drowsy. . . Your eyelids are getting heavy . . . Christianity is an outgrowth of ancient, mostly forgotten superstitions . . . for example Easter . . . .
I recommend that you do a bit of research on the origins of Christianity. It might not be easy, since few bookstores have a “the truth about religions” section.
Meanwhile, I promise to be so polite with you in a debate about the above post that you’ll probably present it to your pastor as a model of compassion that could inspire a Sunday sermon.
Evolution and IMAX
Writing in the March 19, 2005, issue of The New York Times, Cornelia Dean revealed that “the fight over evolution has reached the big, big screen.” According to Dean’s story (registration required), a handful of IMAX theaters have declined to screen several IMAX films—including “Cosmic Voyage,” “Galapagos,” and “Volcanoes of the Deep Sea”—due to their evolutionary content. Carol Murray, director of marketing for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, told the Times that a test audience viewing “Volcanoes” offered such hostile responses as “I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact” and “I don’t agree with their presentation of human existence.” In part because of such responses, the museum decided not to screen the film. A distributor for “Volcanoes” added that other theater officials turned the film down “‘for religious reasons,’ because it had ‘evolutionary overtones’ or ‘would not go well with the Christian community’ or because ‘the evolution stuff is a problem.’” The filmmakers expressed their firm intention not to compromise the scientific content of “Volcanoes,” but there was worry about the chilling effect on future films: “It’s going to be hard for our filmmakers to continue to make unfettered documentaries,” commented Joe DeAmicis of the California Science Center.
In Fort Worth, the reaction to Dean’s story was swift. The May 23 issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram contained no fewer than nineteen letters condemning the museum’s decision not to screen “Volcanoes,” ranging from the sarcastic (“What’s next? The Flat Earth Society gets to pick films?”) to the disappointed (“I was saddened to think that our community won’t have the opportunity to increase our scientific knowledge with this film.”) to the horrified (“As a practicing pastor at a local church ... I found the refusal of the museum to show the IMAX film appalling and dangerous.”). Those writers were doubtless pleased to read in the following day’s Star-Telegram (registration required) that the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History reversed its decision. Director Van Romans told the newspaper, “We’re going to show things that have scientific credibility, and people can make their own decisions ... That’s a very personal choice. But we are a science and history institution. We have a responsibility to the public to share with them.” It remains to be seen whether the other museums and science centers that declined to screen the film will reconsider.
March 25, 2005
Activism works! Even a small group of people intelligently responding to unacceptable circumstances can make a difference and produce change. Who among us has not shaken our head, griped, and done nothing constructive about a situation we found to be unacceptable?
Very often, the small impact of writing a letter, expressing a viewpoint, even influencing just one other person, can affect a change for the better. One voice of reason can trump many voices of screeching noise.
Champion, in case your “post” button is broken, I’ll finish up our little one-way conversation. Take a look at the first 5 verses of John’s Gospel. They end with, “. . . the darkness has not understood it.” I could find such poetic eloquence on every page of the entire Bible, and it relies on time-tested rhetorical devices. The Bible’s metaphors are rich with meaning that cannot be communicated in a straightforward voice. That is almost the definition of great literature. Let’s assume that God inspires writing that’s at least as good as Homer, Shakespeare, Yeats, etc. Subtle shades of important meaning cannot possibly be communicated by a technical writer who avoids metaphor at all cost.
Please inform your friends of this fact -Dave
My use of “technical writer” is a technique that compresses a mouthful of words into two. Technical writers (the best of them, at least) compose straightforward instructional kinds of writings. In the above posts, I was comparing an overly literalistic view of the Bible’s authors to a technical writer because technical writers rarely use rhetorical devices such as metaphor.
Thanks for asking -Dave
tyhts, oh there are other literary words, but the bible has got it all. It is always interesting. All of the characters, the flaws, the bad guys, the heros, and of course, woven into the mix from cover to cover is the story of Christ.
. . . there are other literary works, but the bible has got it all. It is always interesting.
I’ll concede that point. Should I assume you agree with my earlier postings (3-21-05, 3-25-05, 3-30-05) about the hazards of reading the Bible too literally?
Champion, it’s been utterly fascinating talking with you.
No, no . . . don’t get up.
Your silence on the issue of literal vs. figurative language in the Bible is disappointing, but I will hope that you now see things a little more in line with the way they are.
The truth will set you free -Dave
This looks like terrorism to me