Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola
Location
Mishawaka, Indiana, USA
Birthday
March 10
Bio
Kevin Gosztola is a multimedia editor for OpEdNews.com. He will be serving as an intern for The Nation Magazine during the spring in 2011. His work can be found on OpEdNews, The Seminal, Media-ocracy.com, and a blog on Alternet called "Moving Train Media." He is part of CMN News, which produces a weekly podcast or radio show on Talk Shoe. He is a 2009 Young People For Fellow and a documentary filmmaker who graduated with a Film/Video B.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring 2010. In April 2010, he co-organized a major arts & media summit called "Art, Access & Action," which explored the intersection of politics, art and media and was supported by Free Press.

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Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 14, 2009 11:26AM

“Creation” Producer: Evolution Too Provocative for America?

Rate: 34 Flag

 

Who knows what Jeremy Thomas, the producer of Creation a film on Charles Darwin’s life, has and has not done to find a distributor in the U.S. He may have not shopped around enough, but recent polls indicate that it certainly is possible that U.S. distributors are telling him Creation starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly is “too controversial for religious America.”

 

Showbusiness editor for Telegraph in the UK reports that this film which details “Darwin’s ‘struggle between faith and reason’ as he wrote On the Origin of Species” was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival, had a British premiere less than a week ago,  and has been “sold in almost every territory around the world” but cannot find distribution in the U.S. :

“Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.

 

"That's what we're up against. In 2009. It's amazing," he said.

 

"The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it's because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

 

"It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that He made the world in six days. It's quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.”

 

Jeremy Thomas’ filmography certainly makes it hard to believe the film isn’t being released because of him. He won a Best Picture Academy Award for The Last Emperor.

 

It’s much more likely that distributors are noting recent polls such as the Gallup poll released in February of this year that showed “only 39% accept the theory of evolution.” 

 

What’s possible and not suggested by any of the British newspapers giving voice to the filmmakers struggling to gain U.S. distribution is that the recession in America is leading distributors to be ultraconservative in the projects they take chances on.

 

Despite reviews that have shown this film is very good, distributors may not want to risk losing money on something that doesn’t come with a guaranteed audience like a sequel, remake, or a film based on a book would.

 

Still, it’s largely unsettling that two hundred years after the birth of Charles Darwin and one hundred and fifty years after the publication of On the Origin of Species no distributor (not even the Weinsteins) are stepping forward to grab this up.

 

Gallup has been asking some form of this question for years now.

 

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings -- [ROTATE 1-3/3-1: 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process, 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so]?

 

Consistently, Americans over 30% are saying “Man developed, with God guiding.” Over 40% are saying “God created man in present form.” And only 10-15% of Americans are saying “Man developed, but God had no part in the process.” [Link]

 

This stark reality has everything to do with education. Those who progress through high school to postgraduate education become increasingly skeptical of creationist ideals.

 

Also, it has much to do with how regularly one attends church. The more frequently one goes to church, the more one is likely to totally reject the theory of evolution as put forth by Charles Darwin.

 

Darwin’s theory now has mountains and mountains of evidence. It has scientific support that creationism will never match. But, the problem isn’t whether it’s provable or not. The problem is whether it is believable or not.

 

Science is battling religion in the realm of fantasy, mythology, or unreality.

 

Scientists all too often seek to coexist with Biblical stories, stories believed by people who will never accept certain provable theories of science as truth.

 

If Creation does actually fail to gain wide distribution, it will not be because people in America do not believe evolution but because scientists have not yet figured out how to stand up to religious leaders and organizations that oppose reason.

 

Sadly, one hundred and fifty years after Darwin’s Origins and over eighty years after the Scopes trial, American scientists still do not know how to drown out the noise machine of religious America. And, that’s what distributors appropriately or inappropriately fear.

 

 

 

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Rated.

I sometimes think that we are headed back toward another Dark Ages, where superstition rules, rather than reason. That this film can't get distribution is just ridiculous.

Bush et al did more than just damage our political standing abroad. They also, by negating the importance of science, set us back 50 years. That may prove to be the worst crime of all.
Good grief, the movie isn't necessarily about evolution. It's about Darwin! Are we supposed to pretend that one of the most influential scientists in history didn't exist?

America is just getting way too stupid (and proud of it).
If I hadn't double checked this, I wouldn't have believed it. When did we decide that 'stupidity' and 'ignorance' was acceptable and to be indulged? Why are we allowing these vociferous ignorami to be a factor at all in the distribution of ideas?
Besides, everyone knows that apes are devolved humans; probably the product of creationist home schooling.
Do you say this because you are white and are one of the races Darwin determined to be superior? "The white man is improving off the face off the earth even races nearly his equals." Are you looking forward to the "not very distant date" when the "lower races" are eliminated? Apparently so, since you claim to be so well educated on this subject.

Feel free to walk through the poor, black section of town and point to the ghetto children and say, "Evolution in action! Your death is "unavoidable"! I am enlightened by science!"

Only a serious asshole thinks one human soul is to be valued above another, that souls are of different "races" and ranks people like cattle to be slaughtered. God, I hate you ego-tripping bastards. I really do. The truth comes from within - if you had any belief in yourself you would know that and cultivate that instead of being a portal for trash.
Rated.

I, too, was appalled when I read about this yesterday, and I really want to see this film -- not just because of the content, but because I think Paul Bettany is a fine actor who doesn't get enough work.

I suspect, before too many days have passed, there will be an announcement that a U.S. distributor has decided to pick up the film. Tell those of us who believe that the "theory" of evolution is like the "theory" of gravity (ie, an immutable, proven truth) that we can't see this movie because the regressive masses are putting up a stink, and we'll be much more likely to go. Not to say that it is a total publicity stunt, but it's kind of PR 101 to turn a biopic that would normally get a very small audience into cause celebre.
I think I may need someone to translate Harry Homeless' comment.
I am a Christian and although I'm not a creationist, I also know as a former science major that the greatest scientist in history was also a Christian. He discovered gravity, btw, and quite a few other scientific truths. Yet, Sir Isaac Newton was devout in his faith.

Science is ever-evolving while religion is static but still evolves through interpretation of scripture. For example, even the most conservative Christians now believe that the seven days in the Bible where actually thousands of years. However, they limit each day to only one thousand years and I say if a day is a thousand years in God's time, why not a billion?

I believe that the creation story is a religious re-telling of evolution. For example, in the Bible it says God created the universe by saying "Let there be light!" Sounds like the Big Bang to me, especially considering that the universe was created from an incredibly dense microscopic mass and it took an incredible amount of energy to make it expand.

The Bible also states that God created man from the earth and now scientists believe that mankind started out as microscopic creatures in the mud. Sounds like everything was microscopic in the beginning which brings up another scientific theory: string theory that hypothesizes that there are tiny strings in every bit of matter in the universe, which to me explains how God can be everywhere at once.

I think if Christians were a little more flexibel and scientists would stop and think that not long ago they didn't know how to divide an atom and are constantly learning more and more about the universe, there would be greater understanding between the two.

Meanwhile, those who oppose science and refuse to allow their children to study theories like evolution are the reason we rank so low in scientific achievement in the world. Personally, I want to see the movie despite Darwin's apparent racism - he was a product of his time and I won't shoot down his theory because he was imperfect.

I do understand Harry's frustration, however, since both science and religion have been used as tools to justify racist beliefs and perpetuate slavery, segregation, and even genocide. Science is a discipline, but like religion, sometimes it is skewed to advance prevailing attitudes. However, neither should be discarded just because people misuse them.
Kevin, you write, “Science is battling religion in the realm of fantasy, mythology, or unreality.”

Actually, I think a more accurate statement would be: Religion is battling science in the realm of reality.

Religion is one of greatest hurdles facing humanity’s progress towards a better world.

Consider this from my blog titled:
Evolution Is Not Religion

For those who are unaware of it, here are a couple of excerpts from my article which dovetails perfectly with this one:


“In Missouri, a few parents were offended, on religious grounds, by a non-religious t-shirt design worn by Smith-Cotton High School band students. […] The t-shirts represented this year’s theme; Brass Evolutions, showing the evolution of brass musical instruments. The t-shirt design (shown above) incorporated the famous graphic of the evolution of man with representatives of each evolutionary step holding a brass instrument.

“…the school district’s Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt: Pollitt said the district was required by law to remain neutral on religion.

“Evolution is not religion. The banning of the shirts is clearly not a neutral stance regarding religion if religious beliefs are allowed to ban a non-religious design. Favoring a religious objection to the non-religious graphic on the band’s t-shirts is a violation of the district’s legal mandate to remain neutral on religion. Favoring is not neutral.”




We have entered an era of UNREASON. Religion is a huge part of that problem.

As for Harry, he may be off his meds again ...

RATED for reason
I'm still in shock - had no idea our country was so backwards. The most despicable thing was a quote from an article in Telegraph.co.uk - by anita singh - she says according to movieguide.org :

"... from a Christian perspective: Described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering" (Telegraph.co.uk)
can't get that vitriolic crap out of my mind.....hmmm nope

Still in shock ... and now in Texas they've made it a requirement to "Teach the Bible as Literature." They also changed Science requirements. The standards are now "a road map that creationists will use to pressure publishers into putting phony arguments attacking established science into textbooks."

Many don't think these things are a big deal. Considering the majority of Americans have removed themselves from Scientific study, it's not surprising. For me, it's staggering.
"only 39% accept theory of evoloution ! " - Cant help but wonder how that has come to be. I guess that was a accident - akin to drug war - just happened to be poor no white urban folk being stripped of voting rights - if we make our country folk any dumber they will stop waiting for rapture and start straping c4 to themselves.
We as a nation are stark. raving. mad.
Such is the legacy of the Harlot- and her continued efforts to attempt a pedestrian status quo ... with most current success in 3rd world backwaters, and, of course, the US.

But, there will be no repeat of Christiandom's destruction of knowledge in Alexandria, the Net sets all who care to think for themselves free- and exposes a 4th Century construct for what it is.

Evolution continues. In space as aminos fly at ever expanding rates; in the Southern Sea of Earth, where they swirl- and, EVOLVE.

All the technology and medicine the credulous religious fools of the South and Midwest rely on for their well-being- ALL based on biology- evolution. A valley in New Guinea, filled with evolved creatures- well, you get the picture.

God: DEAD
Metaphysics: ON THE WAY OUT, THANK GOD
Now I totally want to see this movie.

One minor beef, though: isn't it up to *all of us in the "reality based" community to defeat the "noise machine" of the religious obscurantists? If it's only up to the actual scientists, they'll never have any time to do science (not to mention they're significantly outnumbered, outfunded, as well as battling uphill against tradition and common sense stupidity).
newton didn't discover gravity, i did. i was about a year old at the time, and remarked on how convenient gravity was when i learned to talk.

heather, it may not be immutable after all.

the history of elementary education in america is one of rural bumpkins hiring itinerant drunks to teach their children to read, enough for the bible lessons at church, and count, enough to figure if a second mule was a good investment. nobody wanted to waste money teaching the kids enough to laugh at their parents.

napoleon was your garden variety military dictator, except he created a body of law, a basis of science, a national bureaucracy, which lifted france out of the dark ages. i am hopeful that america will join them in civilization sometime soon. another generation or two should do it. maybe three...
Given the choices in the Gallup question, I can't honestly pick any of the three. I would agree most with the second except for its usage of the word "advanced" which seems oddly out of place for true objectivity. My hope is that one day we will drop the common anthropocentric image of natural selection as a tree and more correctly see it as an expanding disc.
It's downright discouraging to think that critical thinking skills seem to be at such a premium in our culture. Even in churches who offically accept evolution, you still run into people who totally discount it. At my daughter's confirmation, one of the idiot adult leaders in the discussion group said with scorn, with regard to evolution, "Now none of you believe in THAT nonsense, do you?" My 14 year old evolution and God believing daughter was really ticked about that.
Okay, let me play the devil's advocate for God (not my usual function, believe me!).

The idea of the Creation story is essentially that God created the heaven and the earth, and that this creation is essentially a good thing with a plan and a purpose and a guiding force behind it. Exactly HOW this all came about is irrelevant, since however it happened, God is IN the creation and he knows what he is doing, so it makes no difference whether it happened in six days or over six billion or more years, via decree or evolution.

The creation story recorded in Genesis was written by priests (who may or may not have been divinely inspired) for ancient Hebrews who lived (and died) thousands of years ago, who were utterly ignorant of everything we know today, and who would have been completely overwhelmed by the notions of billions of years, the Big Bang, cell division, DNA, natural selection etc. The story as recorded is a parable that can be backed by new science as it develops. Thus the current practice of SECOND-GUESSING THE CREATOR about something we can never entirely understand anyway, e.g. by developing heretical notions like "intelligent design," is a sign of pride and disobedience at least equal to that of eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge and only a sinner and a fool would engage in it. Science, by contrast, represents the exercise of our God-given reason and intellect. He gave it to us so that we could use it and achieve the potential within us. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

End of sermon. There will be a collection on the way out. Please give generously.
Sad. Thats all. Just sad.
America has rarely (especially in the South) put an emphasis on education. That so many people still deny the validity of evolutionary theory is willful ignorance. I agree that a movie about a person who actually lived and who influenced the world so greatly should not be stifled because a bunch of Biblical literalists can't get over themselves.

I have to wonder though--Bill Maher found a distributor for his film "Religulous." Sacha Baron Cohen found a distributor for his films "Borat," and more recently "Bruno" (which, if you haven't seen, features a giant talking phallus). How then has a Darwin biopic found absolutely NO distributor in the US? Is this a marketing ploy to offend the secular sensibilities of the Left to generate hype for the movie? Seems kind of odd to me...
Utterly absurd. Not only have our manners fallen appallingly below what they were 150 years ago. Serena, Kanye, Joe "You Lie!" Williams but apparently we are prepared to fall into the abyss. How can a film about Charles Darwin by such talented people not be able to find a distributor? I am astounded. The latest round of horror thrillers will unleash more fascination with violence than science. Where is your backbone Hollywood? I will go see it and I bet a lot more people will as well. Also no one in Hollywood gives anyone in middle America any credit for having a brain. Perhaps they'll find a distributor after it wins an academy award. Mean while get set for "Jeepers Creepers 3".
I'd want to see this just to watch Jennifer Connelly frolic on the beach.

Seriously though, please tell me we aren't this backwards thinking as a country? I'm not sure I could take that.
Of course those that attend church are more likely to believe God created man... it's a form of programming, chanting, reinforcing beliefs. Fellowship no more or less harmful than other group-speak such as "comrade" or "brother" or cults we all laugh at and scorn.

Religion has done many harmful things, one of which is stunting human emotional development. Evolution is like trying to get a child to eat spinach... there's no rational reason not to try spinach, the child was told it doesn't taste good...WAH!
Eh ... I see more of a marketing plan, based on ginning up some outrage over those "dumb-a** American hicks being too stupid to appreciate quality cine-mah!" Controversy, baby! Attracts the eyeballs, and the meeee-jah coverage! Bet you he'll have a an American distributor signed by next weekend. Thanks for playing your part!
a. I want to see this movie.
b. If all the religious movies got distributed, why not this? The distributors are just plain chicken.
c. In a society that thinks, it shouldn't be either/or, we should be able to have all of it.
d. I hate that loud religious right types are preventing me from seeing this. Not fair (stamps foot).
e. Guess I have to wait for the DVD.
Sad. I left the USA in 1991, partly to get away from the religious stupidity that runs riot there, and when I found myself in Asia, where there are no traces of Christianity or Judaism or Islam, I said to myself, wow, America REALLY is a sick country in terms of how they said God. The Middle East sadly hatched 3 ugly religions that have spawned much trouble in the past 2000 years. Now that I have been in Asia for almost 20 years, I look back at America from here and feel so sad for what the USA has become. The twisted minority have taken over. I will never step foot in that country again, even though my very real intellectual roots are there, and I have fond memories of my earlier life there. But ouch, the religions of the USA are sick sick sick. Europe is not so bad. What happened?
Jay:
The thing is, people who don't like spinach can live just fine without ever eating it. Ignoring evolution means not understanding how drug-resistance diseases are created, how new and deadly strains of flu develop. Evolution is not a nice theory for how the world began, it also is important to understanding how the world works.
Harry:
I think expecting 18th and 19th century thinkers to have held 20th century values is a waste of time. Darwinism also led people of that time to be confirmed in their objectionable opinions about women.

Thomas Jefferson, who wrote "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, LIBERTY . . ."

Those words helped American abolitionists win the fight against slavery a lot more than any verbiage from the bible.

Those words are part of the founding ideology of the US and are now taken at their meaning All men, meaning all men and women, not all white men.

Yet, Jefferson was a slave owner. Worse yet, when he was in his late 40s, he had an affair with a slave who may or may not have reached the current age of consent (and of course, history is ignorant as to whether she consented willingly.)

The truth is, even giants of philosophy and science are victims of their world and set of social beliefs. To reject them all is to reject the history of Western thought which led us to where we are today.
I'm sorry to say that this doesn't surprise me at all. I just heard a 7th grade boy in the back of my classroom ask another, "Do you believe in evolution?" Belief has nothing to do with it.

You're right that this has everything to do with education. And, unfortunately, I've heard (via a Science Friday show on NPR) that science teachers are being intimidated left and right and watering down the issue, trying to avoid "inflammatory" (read: evolutionary) language, etc., because they feel such pressure from the parents. I honestly don't know how they can teach biology without it, but I know what it feels like to have parents breathing down your neck, disapproving of your "agenda." I feel sorry for them and wish the school boards and superintendents would send clear edicts that evolution is a clear and important part of the curriculum and that the teachers will be supported 100% by the administration if parents have any complaints. Instead, I imagine that either it's not talked about or it's encouraged that teachers do whatever it takes to keep the peace with parents. Look at how insipid the administrators around the country acted about the Obama speech. They are cowards who hide behind the legalistic bureaucracy of their offices.
america has been kidnapped by christo-terrorists. and that's the sad truth. get out while you can!
It defies belief. Large parts of the US population seems to be inoculated against science. Those who worry about Iranian nukes should ask themselves whether it is any safer to put Christians with an aversion to reality in charge of your arsenal.
You said," drown out the noise machine of religious America"How flipantly you discredit people of faith. I am not a man of faith. But I do not marginalize those who are. Religious freedom--a right in this country--- can be equally squelched by the pious as well as the non-believers. It seems that you want opinions and sacred ones at that muffled. How can you on the one hand pretend to be a liberal and on the otherhand want to silence a great proportion of hard working Americans who want nothing more than freedom of expression. So called progressives it would seem want to devolve back to a time when religious noise was stifled out. And lets be frank--your sights are aimed at Christianity. And as I read more and more of the comments on this site I see that it is open season for christians on OS. At the same time that the left demands the right for homosexuals to express themselves you will place a muzzle on a man meerly because he is a christian. Do you not see the hypocracy.
Then you go on to slight the uneducated as if education and religion are mutually exclusive. You make the statement that it has entirely to do with education. Where exactly do you get your data. There was no mention of any poll or science associated with this comment which relegates it to the status of fantasy.
Evolution by the way is a theory. Which I happen to believe in. But to represent it as fact misrepresents science itself. I am aware of the genetic studies with foxes and bacteria but they do nothing to prove that man evolved from apes. Those studies prove the existance of mutations but to further claim that they prove evolution is an extrapolation to say the least.
Perhaps you come by your arrogance honestly. But I doubt whether you have the education to see the valuable role religion plays in many peoples lives. I aggree that the movie should be distributed in the US and see it as a travesty if it is not. However the conclusions you draw are based on little if no data. What if I were to blame the Jews or the blacks for putting the kabosh on a foreign film project. You would call me a racist and rightfully so. To that end I can come to only one conclusion. Progressives are not progressive at all. After every speach President Obama declares God Bless The United States of America. If his words offend the "progressives" then Kudos to the President.
It's called the "Theory of Evolution" for a reason. Because it's a "theory", not a fact. I doubt we will ever have acceptable, observable evidence as to man's origin, but that does not make a theory more valid than it would be, otherwise.

As for the movie, I can only imagine it isn't being released because of estimates it would not be profitable. Considering the absolute trash to come out of Hollywood in the past, believing it has suddenly gone out of it's way to placate theists is unlikely.

You pointed out statistics that if accepted (though, frankly I find them dubious), demonstrate the majority of Americans might not be interested in seeing the movie. That this might factor into whether or not to release it, would seem reasonable.

I think it has more to do with money than ideology, and frankly, I doubt this movie has been released everywhere else in the world and is the best thing since The Godfather, like that quote by the guy trying to get someone to sell it is saying.
mmmm...Jennifer Connolly

good thing i'm canadian!
Stephen,

To further support your idea that Bush set America back 50 years by negating the importance of science, I recommend Chris Mooney’s book “The Republican War on Science.”

sjflynn,

This story is almost unbelievable. Not many elements would have to be changed if The Onion wanted to publish a fake news story on this.

Absurdity is eclipsing reason and becoming less and less absurd each day. How do you satire satire?

Harry Homeless,

You are ascribing views to me that aren’t even discussed or mentioned in this article.

If Darwin was promoting racist ideas along with his theory of evolution, they are largely irrelevant today as more and more people reject the ignorance and bigotry of the past 20th and 19th centuries.

Heather Michon,

I understand this “controversy” could be part of good P.R. But, if you look at the filmography of the producer, it’s tough to believe that he would stoop to this level to find a distributor.

He has produced many “art films” in the past and they have earned limited release in the U.S. before.

I think he is just reasonably frustrated with how tough it is to get a good distribution deal even when this film is clearly marking an anniversary. (150 years since Origins, 200 years since Darwin’s birth).
FrogTownDiva,

Thank you for your lengthy comment.

I understand why you would want Christians to be more flexible toward science and I know you want them to acknowledge how far society has come thanks to science.

I am glad you would suggest to creationists that the reason we rank so low in scientific achievement in the world is because they refuse to allow their children to study certain theories.

Christians, particularly Evangelicals, are hardening their beliefs more and more and I think doubt is becoming this thing religious people are more and more afraid of because religion is something more and more Americans are using to sustain their life, to get out of situations and remain above situations they don’t think they could survive without religion.

Flexibility would lead one to doubt the awesome power of God. Those using religion as a crutch or a tool to gain power would never dare doubt God especially if somebody claimed reason proved them to be off in their views.

Rick Lucke,

I wrote, “Science is battling religion in the realm of fantasy, mythology, or unreality,” because I think scientists to often try to handle how religious Americans impose their anti-science views on society by battling religion in its world, by going on the defensive instead of the offensive.

Scientists need to make it more obvious that “religion is battling science in the realm of reality”---yes, definitely. But, such a campaign would lead Americans to cry that scientists were “persecuting” religious people.

When we consider what it really means to defend reason, a lot of people would have their views challenged. Many would wonder if they are being told they cannot have certain beliefs. And, the honest answer would be, “No, you can’t have these beliefs if you are going to act upon them and commit the actions that you so often do.”
Cindy Lugo,

Thanks for bringing up the Movieguide quote. I left that out of my post and probably should have included it.

I think I left this out because this is not a fringe thing to me. So many Americans, moderates, are content to contend that the theory of evolution can be on the same level as creationism. They can look you in the face and say teach both and let students decide which one to “believe.”

What they are really saying is let students accept something that is based in truth or something that is based in superstition.

The developments in Texas involving the Bible are terrible. Our society should not be one mandating the teaching of any religion.

Snowden,

Some of our country folk already commit violent acts like “strapping on C4.” They prepare for sacrifice. In war, they prepare to die in the fight against Islam. And, let’s not ignore the people who do not have a problem with people who blow up and vandalize abortion clinics or kill abortion providers.

Lina Thorne,

I just think that there have been instances in the past where scientists have caved to religion. And, that I think has to do with the state of consciousness in America which the people must battle. We must shift so that the climate can better support the work of scientists.

reinvented,

Good for your 14 year old daughter.

Alan Nothnagle,

What a great sermon. Will you give one on climate change tomorrow?
Will Dees,

As I mentioned, I understand how one could consider this a marketing ploy. If it gets distribution, the producer & director will have to answer questions about whether they exploited opposition to evolution to gain a distributor for the film. But, look at current conventional wisdom in the U.S.

Americans are very reluctant to outright say they believe the theory of evolution. Less than half would say that without thinking God somehow played a role.

Teresa Penner,

Well, I agree that Hollywood does not enjoy marketing films that are artistic and promote reason. It would rather hype schlock entertainment to audiences and why not?

Audiences gladly go and watch bad movies on the first weekend. Hype works. And maybe by the second weekend Jeepers Creepers 3 is on its way out of the theatre because audiences have figured out its bad but it has made 20 to 30 million dollars by then.

So, that’s a success for Hollywood.

Michael Rodgers,

America has some pretty backwards people. I think I will just cite Bill Maher’s remark on whether Americans would elect Sarah Palin or not. I agree with Maher. We as a nation could elect Palin. I can imagine this happening.

Jay busse,

Good point. Religion definitely programs people.
Sgt. Mom,

Actually, I’m a film distributor myself. I am cleverly promoting the movie right now so I can decide whether I want to purchase the film for distribution or not.

Danbloom,

Power in America ---the politicians and corporate and special interests---do not challenge or oppose vile practices and acts that result because of religion. That’s why the USA is infected with “sickness.”

The people need to be led (unfortunately) and few of its leaders will boldly oppose the damage religion does to reason and the future of society.

Malusinka,

Good comments. Thank you.

Lainey,

The intimidation of science teachers is downright disgusting. I read about a conference that teachers attend where they discuss how to stand up to parents. It seems like we as a society should be standing up for people in this profession. They shouldn’t have to worry about how they will handle angry parents who fear public schools will un-indoctrinate their children.

Eviltwit,

Right. And right. Next…
So you've given me reason No. 436 to plan my retirement in Canada (I'm assuming there's a distribution deal there for this film, right?).
John Moore,

I am not outright condemning all people of faith. I am outright condemning all people of faith who would allow people of faith to assail science and reason.

I want opinions and so-called sacred beliefs muffled if these beliefs are producing actions and consequences that are detrimental to the wellness of society.

When in the history of any country has religious noise been silenced? Usually, the people can whine and cry about their religion as much as they damn well please.

I get my data from a Gallup poll that I link to in my post. (Did you miss it?)

Education and religion are linked. The more educated one is, the less superstitious and religious a person is.

I’ll submit they may not be “mutually exclusive” but they are linked. There is a correlation.

Yes, yes, I’ve heard this before. Leave religion alone. It plays an important role in people’s lives.

Religion has in history supported the divine right of kings, feudalism, the caste system, slavery, political executions, forced castration, vivisection, bearbaiting, honorable duels, chastity belts, trial by ordeal, child labor, human and animal sacrifice, the stoning of heretics, cannibalism, sodomy laws, taboos against contraception, human radiation experiments, etc.

Our U.S. military is becoming more and more controlled by Christian Evangelical forces which aim to indoctrinate U.S. soldiers into the idea that they should go to war on Islam for Jesus.

Religion plays an important role in people’s lives. It creates false hope and lets politicians off the hook for letting corporations and other interests suck the life out of people and communities.
I agree with your last paragraph. But I have heard all the arguments against religion before. I think man's belicose instincts are a result of man. Religion was more or less an excuse rather than a cause of violence. I might suggest also that if you are to condemn religion globally you may either learn more about it or not mention it all. As far as education and religion your remark that they are linked is outright bigotry. How many religious scholars do you think view their education as scientific herisy or an outright waste of time. I have many religious friends who are very intelligent--some probably more than you or I.
Religion remember is based on faith and so ironically is evolution.
Your intolerance to religion is reflected in much of the leftist dogma I see on this site. The cornerstone of progressivism is tolerance. And that quality particularly among the left wing elite is conspicuously absent. How liberal is that. What emerges from the left is nothing more than pure hypocracy. How many Irish catholics are democrats. Many I surmise. Even John F Kennedy was a devout catholic and he was certainly well educated. Your assertion that religion equals ignorance is pure prejudice and invalidates many of your cogent arguments. Nonetheless your post is excellent and very thought provoking. I would just shy away from the condescending attitude as well as your utter faith in what you deem as science. Science more than religion has been the harbinger of human suffering eg. the manhatten project, alfred Nobel and Gattling. Let us just say we both abhore violence regardless of the cause. or the justification. It is man not religion that needs to be addressed. Again excellent post. rated
Incidentally I view religious prejudice the same as racial prejudice. Your condemnation of christianity would be the equivalent of me using the N word. You asked when religion has been stifled. Have you never heard of the inquisition nazi Germany or ancient Rome.
As far as religion being thought of as detrimental to society I would point to Ben Franklins opinions on religion. Recall of course that our founding fathers were deists and our salient documents are replete with the mention of God. Anyway I am a secular man and only defend religion as an expression of my own albeit right wing tolerance.
"Actually, I’m a film distributor myself. I am cleverly promoting the movie right now so I can decide whether I want to purchase the film for distribution or not."

Good on ya - the grownups in this country who eschew Michael Bay and all his works and his ways will eat up this high-toned, historical costume-drama Merchant Ivory stuff as if it were a quart of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. You'll make a mint!
I agree with everything that frogtowndiva said. And Alan Nothnagle. The trouble is that all the media shows is ignorant religious people that have forgotten or never knew the principles of Christ. Those types of people form their God around what they want instead of letting God form them. Evolution doesn't stop once the Word was made flesh. Or the Big Bang began it. Evolution must continue in the living to really call it life. To me this is a dead subject because we're evolving and growing all the time. Our theories will always change about what happened long ago, as science evolves. Some of the greatest scientists acknowledged that there was a higher wisdom that was beyond them. What happened before the Big Bang? And Before That? And before That? And I also particularly agree with John Moore.
i like the way you emphasize that this choice is made by distributors rather than citizens.

i publish everything with a creative commons license because i believe our content distribution system has crippled our national conversation. if you watch tv, you will see the craziest people getting airtime, simply because they're crazy. important movies aren't getting seen because it would cut into the number of screens offering whatever tyler perry pooped out. commodifying speech was about the worst idea we ever had.

and for john moore, you said, "Then you go on to slight the uneducated as if education and religion are mutually exclusive."

and gosztola said nothing like that. what he did say is this:
"Those who progress through high school to postgraduate education become increasingly skeptical of creationist ideals."

and that is true. please see the chart here if you'd like to argue further, but there is evidence that educated people are less religious, regardless of political affiliations. you might want to look into that before you decide to be insulted by what is true.

http://sciencereligionnews.blogspot.com/2007/01/belief-in-evolution-and-political-views.html
Kevin,

I understood why you made your statement, and essentially, I was merely pointing out that it is not science that attacks religion, but that religion attacks science, simply because religion is threatened by science. I’m not sure that science is “battling religion in its world, by going on the defensive instead of the offensive.” For the most part, science simply does what it does, and is then attacked by religious zealots when they feel their “beliefs” are threatened in some way by science. Science cannot really go on “the offensive” against a fantasy, which some adults believe is reality.

Your response to me leaves me a little confused. You first seem to suggest that science should go on the offensive, and then you say,

As for the charge that “scientists were ‘persecuting’ religious people”, we already have that circumstance.

Therefore, I think the real responsibility in this matter lies not so much on the shoulders of science, or scientists, but rather more on the shoulders of society at large. Currently, it seems that society is not dealing with religion adequately in terms of making sure that religion does not impede or corrupt progress of our species.

In the end, as you point out, it doesn’t matter if people hold beliefs that fantasy is reality, as long as they don’t impose those beliefs on society by enacting them as social norms or, perhaps more importantly, as policy. It is equally important that those who do not delude themselves with such fantasies also do not allow those who do to take control. Unfortunately, that is not the current state of affairs where religion is concerned. Instead, we find ourselves facing societal devolution via denial of scientific facts that threaten the fantasies of religious dogma.

As for John Moore’s claims that evolution is just a theory, and that believing evolution is a matter of faith, his ignorance of science and evolution is evidence enough of the problem we face as a species when religious dogma is granted equal footing with science and real-world events.
oops, I missed closing one of my tags.
Kevin
First, what bstrangely said.
I really admire how you keep your cool...wow.

Rated for rational.
Bud Gallant (& others),

Here is what U.S. National Academy of Sciences has to say about the use of the word theory in science:

Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.

A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory." It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.
Rated with a due sense of exhaustion and dread. This is one of the reasons why my Oregon-born wife has no desire at all to go home.