Here is the trailer for the new Intelligent Design (ID) movie with Ben Stein. It looks like it is well done with a bit of humor that is going to drive many people mad. Get ready . . .

Now, I want everyone to notice who is a rebel along with me and Ben. Yes, you can check right here. Those of you who know me will know exactly who I am talking about! Oh yeah!

My initial thoughts about this project are positive. In a blog about scientific naturalism (atheism) I said this to a representative atheist:

My proposal for your consideration is this: To make a rational argument that people should not believe in a creator is self-defeating for two reasons: 1) There is no such thing as “rational argument” in your worldview and 2) There is no place for moral statements such as “should” or “ought” in your worldview. Please understand that this is primarily a philosophical argument against naturalism, but not all philosophy is bad! 

Read the rest here.

This movie may very well evidence the next step being taken to debunking one of the most naive and ill-supported theories that has passed through the doors of academia. Maybe J.P. Moreland was right when he said that scientific naturalism has only about 10 years left with regards to its stronghold it has on the scientific community. Kudos to Ben Stein and his gang. Reclaim the mind Ben!


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    16 replies to "New Intelligent Design Movie"

    • Vance

      Michael, thanks for this link, I think the movie will be great! However, I do have some misgivings over the ID movement. I detail in my first post over at Euangelion:

    • JoanieD

      I think you make a lot of good points on your post at the Evangelion, Vance, which is probably not a surprise that I am saying so. It seems that of the “regular” bloggers here, my religious beliefs or “philosophy” probably most closely align with yours. I can’t post over at the Evangelion though, because I am not a student or past student of the Reclaiming the Mind Theology program. That’s OK though; I am happy reading and writing here on this open site. (At least “open” in the sense that I can respond. I just can’t START a blog. I do have my own blog but I don’t do anything with it.)

      Oh, I have to go back and watch the trailer for this movie now. I DO get a kick out of Ben Stein!

      Joanie D.

    • lippard

      Why did the producers of this film feel that they needed to lie to the people they interviewed, claiming that they were making a documentary called “Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion”? They basically used the same tactics as the producers of the “Borat” film.

    • Vance

      Thanks, Joanie, we do seem to be agreeing a lot, don’t we!

      I love Ben Stein as well, and it sounds like he is taking an approach I would agree with: that we should allow God into discussions regarding how the natural world works. While I think science itself, by definition, is the study of how the natural world works “naturally” and thus excludes supernatural issues, the problem does not lie there. The problem lies in thinking that these natural explanations that science IS limited to can provide ALL the answers to such questions.

      I think in such discussions there should be two interworking layers of discussion and investigation: what the natural world can tell us, through science, and what we can know from other revelations of God. While we would have to avoid a “God of the gaps”, where what we can’t explain we plug in with “Goddidit”, it is important that we don’t draw final conclusions on how things happened and how things work based solely on the natural evidence and scientific conclusions.

      This is where I think ID is heading off in the wrong direction, they buy into the “let’s just look at the natural evidence to draw our conclusions” approach, thinking they can win on those terms. Let’s bring God in through the front door, not the back door! 🙂

    • Kristian

      “While I think science itself, by definition, is the study of how the natural world works “naturally” and thus excludes supernatural issues”

      In other words you accept that “science” should adopt the view of so called ? Methodological Naturalism ?

      May I suggest reading this excellent article:

    • Kristian

      “While I think science itself, by definition, is the study of how the natural world works “naturally” and thus excludes supernatural issues,”
      So would it be fair to say that you hold to the widely view that “science” should proceed my the method called “Methodological Naturalism” ? If that is the case my I recommend this article:

      As well as point 14 in this article:

    • Vance


      The answer is yes, absolutely, science should continue with methodological naturalism, while avoiding philosophical naturalism. This is what works, and it works fine. methodological naturalism is not anti-religious, anti-supernatural, etc. It is simply the study of the natural world working naturally. I have no problem with that. In essence I agree with that Beretta article in that we need to bring God into the discussion, but I think Christians go about it the wrong way.

      The problem arises from both the religious and atheistic sides:

      1. Atheists overlay their scientific conclusions reached by methodological naturalism with their philosophical naturalism, and this has two negative results. First, they allow their philosophical naturalism to influence how the view the data to begin with (thus corrupting their methodological naturalism), and second, they overstate the value of their scientific conclusions because they don’t see that science is merely one source of evidence, not the source of all answers.

      2. Religious folks compound the problem because they have bought into the Modernistic idea that science provides ANSWERS rather than just EVIDENCE. This also leads to two negative results. Firs, rather than just seeing science for what it is, limited and specific, they wants to broaden out the definition of science to include things beyond the study of how nature works naturally, to bring in other areas of inquiry and evidence, so that science can, indeed, provide ANSWERS. Second, since they have bought into this idea that science can provide answers, not just evidence, they insist that the answers must be able to be established by science!

      We should not change the definition of science to be something it is not. Science is, and should remain, simply the study of the natural. Instead, what we should do is encourage the use of ALL the evidence, both the evidence of the natural world, as discovered by science, and the evidence of theological truths, which can NOT be found only (or even primarily) in a study of nature.

    • tobias

      As far as I know, there aren’t any other serious critics of the blind watchmaker theory except Creationists, or ID folks.

      It seems to me that your worldview drives your scientific view. So, if your worldview is that God isn’t, then won’t that affect how you approach and reconstruct the scientific evidence? If so, if worldview drives science, then doesn’t it make sense that Christians would approach the scientific questions of origins from the perspective that God is, not isn’t? Besides, much of the evidence claimed by evolutionists is called into question by ID scientists. And much of the philosophy behind that science is called into question by Christian philosophers. See J.P. Moreland’s article series here: (this is the second of four articles…there are previous/next links).
      Take note that Moreland is not a “strict creationist” (

      I don’t think we should try to “prove” God with a test tube either–that’s a failure from the starting line–but I also think the question of origins is important, and science is a modern battlefield for the minds of people.

      I don’t think we should just surrender the classrooms, which our children are forced to sit in during the most formative years in their lives. They sit in the “science” classroom, but they learn philosophical worldview when they’re taught about evolution. How could they not? If there’s no purpose, design, Maker, absolutes, how could that not affect your worldview?


    • tobias

      Vance, read your post at Euangelion. I think I jumped the gun a bit on my comment. I like your thinking, and, in turn, it also makes me think more.

      You said:
      I think the enemy truly is naturalism, but we must specify that it is naturalistic philosophy: the idea that only the natural exists.


      But in this age of scientism, we’ve made scientists our philosophers, priests, and prophets. Ugh. What a rip-off.


    • Vance

      Tobias, I couldn’t agree with you more when you say that we have made our scientists our philosophers, priests and prophets. Part of it is the result of the Enlightenment and Modernism, of course. But Christians have allowed it and bought into it. And I think ID is part of that.

      I agree that our children need to be given a broader view, but I think this should happen NOT by bringing religion into the science classroom, but by getting naturalistic philosophy and presumptions OUT of the classroom, and reduce science down to what it should be: simply the study of the natural world in natural terms to provide ONE source of information and evidence. Then make sure the kids know that this may not be the whole story, since not everything may be explained by natural phenomenon.

      At the same time, I think it is clear that God DID create a world which IS natural and, absent some direct Divine intervention, it RUNS naturally and scientific inquiry can work to discover the details (and has done so to a great extent so far). I think that science should be left to do this correctly, without either naturalistic philosophy OR religious faith presumptions influencing the conclusions.

      Then, of course, the naturalistic explanations that will result will need to be presented with only that degree of force that the evidence supports, and no more. Science can only present the “best explanation” for events, which in some cases can rise to the level of near certainty (Germ Theory?), and in other cases (say, String Theory), it is still mere speculation. Present it honestly, and then let those who have religious beliefs take it for what it is and add it into their mix. If the naturalistic evidence is strong enough to make us reconsider traditionally held beliefs (ie, geocentrism as being taught in Scripture), then we should look at that seriously.

      If there are no theories that really explain something very well, then science should still present the best naturalistic theory, but honestly, and with a percentage of certainty attached. And without the naturalistic philosophy gloss that this is the best natural explanation (which may be true) and that there MUST be a natural explanation (which is NOT true) and so this is most likely the answer.

      Hey, it could happen! 🙂

    • Vance

      Oh, and as for the “watchmaker” I was referring to the original watchmaker argument to which the “blind watchmaker” was a rebuttal. The original idea was that if a person found a watch buried in the ground, he could never think that it could have just all come together randomly by chance, but that something so complex and interdependent must have a designer and builder. Basically the concept of irreducible complexity. The Blind Watchmaker you mention was a rebuttal to this.

    • tobias

      Vance, that all seems to make pretty good sense to me (your post #10).

      I definitely think, too, that the naturalism in the classroom is the big problem, not the science (or even lack of religion) in the classroom. But how we do as you suggest, which I agree is the thing to do, and extract naturalism from the classroom?

      Again, it still seems to me that the worldview is driving the science, not the other way round. The philosophy is driving the science. If this is so, extracting naturalism from the science classroom isn’t so simple, since the naturalism is in the driver’s seat, not just along for the ride. I think it’s ultimately a battle of worldviews, and the science is brought along for supporting evidence.

      Oh, I’m familiar with the watchmaker analogy (there’s actually at least one other, though) and the blind watchmaker rebuttal. I should’ve been clearer, sorry! But I referred to the blind watchmaker specifically, instead of just the theory of evolution, because it excludes a creator, save possibly the “God tipped the first domino to the random process, then went on vacation” theory, which I think presents plenty of other problems.

      A few questions for pondering:

      – How do we extract the scientific naturalism from the science classrooms? We can’t simply state what a science classroom might ideally look like–we’ve got to deal with the reality of the situation, with the reality (if I’m right) that scientific naturalism is the driver and science is the passenger. Right now science classrooms are also worldview classrooms.

      – In the ideal world, would we remove God from the science classroom? In other words, even in a non-naturalistic environment, do we leave the Big Guy out?

      – Should we so readily just accept that the “scientific community” (insert my sarcasm) says evolution is rock-solid? I’m not talking about ID here. I’m saying are the evolutionist’s scientific claims unchallengeable? The most common argument seems not to be, “Your rebuttal of my scientific claim is wrong because of x, y, z”, but instead, “That’s religion, go take a hike.”

      – Is motive a factor? Assuming the worldview of scientific naturalism is driving the science, and not the other way round, wouldn’t that suggest the possibility that we shouldn’t completely trust the scientific conclusions of atheistic, naturalistic, scientists?

      Science, of course, is very cool and I don’t mean to bash it (that would be pretty dumb!). I just mean to suggest that it’s necessary to consider that naturalistic philosophy and its worldview use science for proof, much in the same way as you criticize ID for doing (good criticism, though). And also that it is reasonable to doubt the naturalistic scientists’ claims on philosophical grounds (because science isn’t the only knowledge) as well as scientific grounds (let’s not just hand them the science trophy, now).

      Thanks, Vance, very interested to hear your thoughts! 🙂


    • lippard

      Using methodological naturalism in science doesn’t mean you will necessarily never reach a conclusion that supernatural causes exist (or have such a belief in the first place), it means that you investigate looking for natural causes, just as an auto mechanic would do when trying to fix a car or a doctor would when trying to find the cause of an illness.

      Vance wrote: “Should we so readily just accept that the “scientific community” (insert my sarcasm) says evolution is rock-solid? I’m not talking about ID here. I’m saying are the evolutionist’s scientific claims unchallengeable? The most common argument seems not to be, “Your rebuttal of my scientific claim is wrong because of x, y, z”, but instead, “That’s religion, go take a hike.””

      Where are you seeing that as the most common argument? Look at the newsgroup and the website–challenges to evolution are responded to with evidence and arguments. Evolutionary biology is an enormous field, which is making regular advances in our understanding of a broad range of phenomena. There are now known genetic markers for things like *language ability*. Creationism and ID, by contrast, have not produced any new explanations or knowledge of biology. The only major positive theories to come out of creationism are arguments for a young earth (all refuted), flood geology (refuted), and some failed attempts at generating a global flood model (vapor canopy, hydroplate theory). The major practice of creationists is attempting to refute evolution, usually with very bad arguments, quote mining, and PR efforts directed at the general public–not by actually doing scientific research. The Discovery Institute has spent millions of dollars on PR, but virtually nothing on research, which gives the impression that it is a political/religious movement, not a scientific one.

    • Vance

      tobias, your questions are great ones and ones that we should all be thinking about since they are solution-oriented questions rather than dispute-oriented questions. Since we live in a world with different worldviews that we have to respect (like it or not), and we live in a society that values the separation of Church and state (like it or not), how can we make this work?

      How should our science classrooms look? Well, I think that we need to “put science back in its place” so to speak. Yes, this is a worldview issue, and one which is not secular v. religious because too many Christians (ie, the ID movement) have bought into this worldview of insisting that we can see all truth in the natural evidence. I think we push for a more holistic view, in which we limit TEACH that science is a limited area of study, and that it does not have all the answers, but is only the study of the natural world. We need to teach, right up front, in every aspect of our education, that there may be other sources of truth and evidence that might overlay, explain and even override scientific conclusions. This will be a slow process of changing the overall mindset, and for all its faults, the post-modern movement is helping with this.

      Actually, I would disagree with your assessment of the scientific community’s responses to challenges. I have been involved with this debate for many years, and almost every scientist I have seen deals with all the critiques head-on and with the evidence itself. Yes, very often the ultimate argument from the critics of evolution DOES come down to a religious argument (or at least a non-scientific argument) at which point the scientists will cry foul and say that the debate has gone “into religion”. The last study I read showed that 99.8% of working scientists in the relevant fields of science accept that biological evolution (meaning “macro-evolution”) is the correct explanation of the diversity of species. This would then include the large majority of scientists who are also Christian. No one claims that any theory is “proven” (since theories are not ever proven, just held with degrees of certainty), but that it is pretty solid and has not been falsified (which most theories are). And even the ID scientists the Christian community quotes so freely agree that an evolutionary process from common ancestors has occurred. They just deny that the mechanics could have occurred entirely naturally.

      Should we trust the motivations of the scientific community? The great thing about this community is that it is made up of a highly diverse group of people who are also highly competitive and critical. You have believers and non-believers, all nationalities and backgrounds (the head of the Genome Project, for example, is a devout Christian). And the peer review process is brutal. The one thing I can say for sure about the scientific community is that the desire to find errors and faults and weaknesses in each others’ arguments and theories is greater than ANY philosophical bent! For something to become accepted widely by the community as a whole requires strong evidence, few weaknesses, and a lack of falsifying evidence. If a scientist, even an atheistic scientist, could falsify evolution, or even a major component of it, they would become the most famous (and rich) scientist of all time. He would go down in the history books and be the most respected scientist of his day. This would mean more to them than their worldview.

      Right now, almost all of the (relative) handful of scientists who disagree with evolution also have religious reasons for doing so. I am not sure I have heard of a scientist who rejects evolution who does NOT have such a religious opposition. Even the primary ID scientists accept the process of evolutionary development over billions of years, but just oppose the idea that it could happen entirely naturally. They would say “yeah, it happened just as you say, but God had to be involved.” And, as I mentioned above, even the large majority of scientists who are Christian accept evolution.

      So, ultimately, the worldview issue is not a detraction of evolution itself, since folks of varying worldview all accept it. Where the worldview comes into play is in the PRESENTATION of evolution in such a way that argues AGAINST God rather than just argues FOR the biological process. As long as scientists present the HOW and WHEN, without discounting the WHO and WHY, I am fine with it. But folks like Dawkins cross the line and create the problems.

    • tobias

      Thanks for your thoughts, Vance!


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