No one group has a monopoly on truth, and that includes mainstream science, or as Ben Stein calls it: “Big Science.” In fact, after watching these three videos you may come to conclude that our scientific institutions have demonstrated not a little disregard for what the truth may actually be. You knew that though.
On this DVD, Stein—economist, lawyer, actor, social commentator, and former White House presidential speechwriter—sets out to tackle one of the biggest questions ever asked: Was life created or was it the result of a random and purposeless event, perhaps a mud puddle struck by lightning?
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection has been taught in classrooms for generations, but now there’s a competing theory called Intelligent Design (ID), which dares to hypothesize that life, or the universe, could not have arisen by chance, that it was designed and created by some intelligent entity, though not necessarily the much dreaded Judeo-Christian God.
There are those who believe ID should be taught alongside evolution, and this has caused quite an uproar in the mainstream scientific community. Consequently, some ID adherents claim to have been defamed, blackballed, fired, and denied tenure just because they wanted an open inquiry. Opponents of ID theory assert that it is nothing more than Creationism under a different name and label it pseudoscience. ID was developed at Seattle’s Discovery Institute (self-described as a think tank specializing in national and international affairs), which now has been maligned and accused of wanting to turn public schools into religious indoctrination centers. It can be argued—and is by many proponents of ID—that this is, in fact, the very thing that has been done by supporters of the entrenched Darwinist perspective.
So, is ID the same as Creationism? No, say its defenders. The theory of Intelligent Design is, they say, simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism, on the other hand, typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. ID starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike Creationism, ID does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural. Honest critics of ID acknowledge the difference between ID and Creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of ID, yet according to the Associated Press, he “agrees the Creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID movement.” Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate ID with Creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are “the easiest way to discredit ID.” In other words, the charge that ID is Creationism is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize ID theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.
In his witty and irreverent style, deadpan narrator Ben Stein proceeds throughout his documentary to enlighten the viewer over the threat of censorship to academic freedom, free speech, and the press represented by “big science” and its attempt to suppress ID. Here are some of the “scientific” (well, from scientists, anyway) responses to Stein’s question: “Just what is so bad about ID?”:
Dr. P. Z. Myers (Professor of Biology, University of Minnesota)—“Intelligent Design is a racket. The Discovery Institute is a propaganda mill; it’s an institution designed to suck in money from religious investors and turn it into a sanitized, somewhat secular, version of the Creation story to get it into the schools.” (Stein interviews the president of Discovery Institute, Bruce Chapman, who clarifies that this is not a religious argument, that they have people of varied backgrounds who simply believe that Darwin’s theory has failed. He says that the religion argument is a red herring because critics don’t have a valid argument against ID, so they are “throwing sand in our faces.” What Discovery Institute wants is for the best scientific evidence to be made available.)
Daniel Dennett (Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University)—“It’s just propaganda. The people from the Discovery Institute, who are doing the ID, they’re all varnish and no product.” (Stein’s interview with David Berlinski knocks a hole in this one. Berlinski received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He has also taught philosophy, mathematics, and English at such universities as Stanford and Rutgers, and the list goes on. He’s also the author of a book of the same title as this DVD Expelled.)
Michael Ruse, (Philosopher of Science and prominent Darwinist) “It’s really very stupid, as well. Everybody knows science education in America is appalling. What we don’t need at this time is ID in the classrooms.” In response to Stein’s question—How did we get from the inorganic world to the world of the cell?—he offered the following: “One popular theory is that it might have started on the backs of crystals. Molecules piggybacked on the backs of crystals forming and this led to more and more complex…but, of course, the nice thing about crystals is that every now and then you get mistakes, mutations, and that this opens the way for natural selection.” Stein: “So you think that’s more likely and less far-fetched than Intelligent Design?” Ruse: “I think it is.”
It’s interesting to observe that several, now devout, Darwinists were once Christians themselves. They questioned their religion only to end up as a Darwinist, whose theory they now treat as a religion, which, apparently, they don’t want questioned!
The premise of this movie is not that ID should supplant the pervasive teaching of Darwinism in our schools, but that there be room for the arguments of both sides about something which, considering the advancements made since Darwin’s day, has much to offer. Darwin had no idea of the magnificent workings inside the cell, the intricacies of DNA and more. This movie is an intelligent critique of the evolution establishment itself, which seems to have its collective mind made up and has pretty much stopped questioning.
If you’re open to the truth, wherever you may find it, you’ll probably not feel threatened by this movie and will therefore enjoy it, as it is well produced and entertaining. As you will see, when it comes to ID, many Darwinists don’t seek to learn, but to discredit.
Enclosed with the DVD is a bonus booklet, entitled, The Wonder of the Universe.
DVD – 97 min.
David Hatcher Childress & Stephen S. Mehler
This DVD is based on the 2008 book by these same authors.
Crystal skulls are one of the most intriguing enigmas in history, archaeology, and metaphysical science. Does the fact that they are carved from crystal enable them to store information and interact with human thought waves? Some think so. Rogue archaeologist and explorer David Hatcher Childress introduces the technology and lore of crystals. There are many widely varying claims about crystal skulls; some seem outlandish, while others seem to make sense, but as is shown, may not be necessarily so either! Studies of crystal skulls run from exacting scientific testing and examinations to bizarre psychic readings that could never possibly be proven. Much of the material on crystal skulls may be fabricated or deceptive, and the age and origins of the objects obscured, as is covered in this documentary.
Some incredible research involving DNA and its crystal structure has been carried out in an attempt to solve the mysteries of the origin of life and the process of evolution. On the cutting edge of science, crystals of various types are being used to store and process information, and success is due to the very nature of crystals themselves. Information can be stored in an orderly fashion, replicated, and retrieved. As Childress asks, “Is it then so farfetched to think that a technologically advanced earlier civilization could have developed these capabilities, and perhaps used crystal skulls to record information?”
Eminent prehistorian and archaeologist Stephen Mehler shares his extensive knowledge of and experience with crystal skulls. Having been involved in the field since the 1980s, he has personally examined many of the most influential skulls, and has worked with the leaders in crystal skull research, including the inimitable Nick Nocerino, who developed a meticulous methodology of examining the skulls.
Viewing the skulls on DVD is much more exciting than just pictures in a book.
Included is a bonus section Trip on the Crystal Skulls which is a lengthy viewing of the Mitchell-Hedges skull with colored lights and “far-out” music.
DVD – 98 min.
Dr. John E. Mack in a Documentary by Laurel Chiten About People Who Think They’ve Encountered Aliens and the Harvard Psychiatrist Who Believed Them
When the late Dr. Mack approached filmmaker Chiten asking her to make a movie about encounters with aliens, she wasn’t quite sure that it was a good idea. However, after meeting these otherwise normal people and pursuing the idea further, she realized she had stumbled into a world of people who had been touched by something…and had their lives blown apart because of it. And Dr. Mack’s world was blown apart because of it, too! Unfortunately, the description “touched” was insinuated with a less-than-generous intent, implying that because he believed these “experiencers” (who were obviously “touched in the head” according to academia) maybe he, too, was a bit “touched.” Here are just a few of the headlines after the publication of his book Abduction in 1994: Harvard Heretic Gives Space Aliens Earth Cred; Harvard in Orbit Over Book—UFO Abductions Don’t Fit into its Ivory Tower Image; Aliens Land at Harvard; Harvard Prof. Believes in Aliens; Should Harvard Beam Him Up?, et al.
By the time he published Abduction, Mack had seen between 50-100 cases (which would later expand to over 200) and felt that he was on rather solid ground that the phenomenon was not going to give way to some sort of conventional explanation. He admitted that he was a bit surprised by the storm created by his book. He stated that, “I was just behaving like clinicians should behave, I think—here’s what I’m finding, recording the cases, writing them up, saying what they said, and if this is true, what it implied. They (Harvard) put together a three-person committee to look into the work and see if I had maintained the standards of Harvard Medical School, ‘because questions had been raised,’ was the way it was put. If I had just said that this was a new psychiatric syndrome and that we hadn’t found the cause of it, I’d have been OK.”
And he’s not an amateur at this, after all. He was at this time in his sixties with an impressive history. Born in New York City, he received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School (Cum Laude, 1955) after undergraduate study at Oberlin (Phi Beta Kappa, 1951). He was a graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and was certified in child and adult psychoanalysis. The dominant theme of his life’s work had been the exploration of how one’s perceptions of the world affect one’s relationships. He addressed this issue of “world view” on the individual level in his early clinical explorations of dreams, nightmares, and teen suicide, and in A Prince of Our Disorder, his biographical study of the life of British officer T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1977.
Mack advocated that Western culture required a shift away from a purely materialist worldview towards a trans-personal worldview which embraced certain elements of Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions. His interest in the spiritual aspect of human experience has been compared by the New York Times to that of a previous Harvard professor, William James. Like James, Mack became controversial for his efforts to bridge spirituality and psychiatry.
Mack noted that there was a worldwide history of visionary experiences—especially in pre-industrial societies. One example is the vision quest common to some Native American cultures. Only fairly recently in Western culture, notes Mack, have such visionary events been interpreted as aberrations or as mental illness. Mack suggested that abduction accounts might best be considered as part of this larger tradition of visionary encounters.
His interest in the spiritual or transformational aspects of people’s alien encounters, and his suggestion that the experience of alien contact itself may be more spiritual than physical in nature—yet nonetheless real—set him apart from many of his contemporaries such as Budd Hopkins, who advocated the physical reality of aliens.
In 1994 the Dean of Harvard Medical School appointed a committee of peers to review Mack’s clinical care and clinical investigation of the people who had shared their alien encounters with him. Mack described this investigation as “Kafka-esque”; he never quite knew the status of the ongoing investigation, and the nature of his critics’ complaints shifted frequently, as most of their accusations against him proved baseless when closely scrutinized.
After fourteen months of inquiry, there were growing questions from the academic community (including Harvard Professor of Law Alan Dershowitz, who is also featured on this DVD and in the bonus section) regarding the validity of Harvard’s investigation of a tenured professor who was not suspected of ethics violations or professional misconduct. Harvard then issued a statement stating that the Dean had “reaffirmed Dr. Mack’s academic freedom to study what he wishes and to state his opinions without impediment,” concluding, “Dr. Mack remains a member in good standing of the Harvard Faculty of Medicine.”
This DVD follows the case of two separate “experiencers,” and presents the challenges of Dr. Mack, who is now deceased. On September 27, 2004, while in London to lecture at a T. E. Lawrence Society sponsored conference, he was walking home alone from a dinner with friends at 11:25 p.m. when he was hit by a drunken driver. He lost consciousness at the scene of the accident and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. The driver was arrested at the scene and later entered a plea of guilty “by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.” Dr. Mack’s family has not endorsed conspiracy theories surrounding his death. The John E. Mack Institute has been established to explore the frontiers of human experience, to serve the transformation of individual consciousness, and to further the evolution of the paradigms by which we understand human identity.
This is a good, clean production with interesting bonus material.
DVD – 66 min.