March 13, 2008

Good Movies About the War in Iraq

by PG

Judging by the Vietnam precedent, wherein the first significant movies like Deer Hunter (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979) were released after the last American had left (1975), I'm guessing we have a while to wait. In contrast to A Yank in Viet-Nam (1964), To the Shores of Hell (1965) and of course The Green Berets (1968), however, the mediocre films that have been made in the first five years of the current conflict are not pro-war.

UPDATE: At least there are brave filmmakers, including Ben "Bad to the Bone" Stein, to demand tenure and funding for professors who consider themselves competent to declare that evolution didn't occur. The movie's blog refers to PZ Myers as "atheist blogger and fabulist," neglecting to mention that he is an actual biologist. Pity that the filmmakers took a hostile attitude toward Christian intellectual Dr. Francis Collins.

Mr. Ruloff also cited Dr. Francis S. Collins, a geneticist who directs the National Human Genome Research Institute and whose book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Simon & Schuster, 2006), explains how he came to embrace his Christian faith. Dr. Collins separates his religious beliefs from his scientific work only because "he is toeing the party line," Mr. Ruloff said.

That�s "just ludicrous," Dr. Collins said in a telephone interview. While many of his scientific colleagues are not religious and some are "a bit puzzled" by his faith, he said, "they are generally very respectful." He said that if the problem Mr. Ruloff describes existed, he is certain he would know about it.
Dr. Collins was not asked to participate in the film.

Dr. Collins gave the commencement speech at UVa's 2001 graduation, and Mr. Ruloff probably would be confounded by how someone could gently exhort in favor of religion without getting run off a public university's campus.
Decision number two: Well, this is the one that makes people squirm. What are you going to do about faith? Uh oh, not that one. But can there be any more important questions than these: How did we all get here? What is the meaning of life? How is it that we know deep-down inside what is right and wrong and yet rarely succeed in doing what is right for more than about thirty minutes? What happens to us after we die?

Surely these are among the most critical questions in life. And ones which a university should carefully consider. But how much time have you spent on them? Perhaps you, like I, grew up in a home where faith played a significant role, but you never made it your own. Or you concluded it was a fuzzy area that made you uncomfortable. Or even concluded that it was all superstition, like Mark Twain's schoolboy, who when requested to define faith said, 'It is believing what you know ain't so.' Or perhaps you simply assumed that as you grew in knowledge of science that faith was incompatible with a rigorous intellect and that God was irrelevant and obsolete. Well, I am here to tell you that this is not so.

All of those half-truths against the possibility of God have holes in them big enough to drive a truck through, as I learned by reading C.S. Lewis. In my view, there is no conflict between being a 'rigorous, show me the data' physician-scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us and whose domain is in the spiritual world. A domain not possible to explore by the tools and language and science, but with the heart, the mind and the soul.

Yet, it is remarkable how many of us fail to consider those questions of eternal significance until some personal crisis or advancing age forces us to face our own spiritual impoverishment. Don't make that mistake.

Although I found his speech thoughtful, entertaining, and even musical, the Collinses of the world sadly are not the ones who end up making movies. Despite publicly debating Richard Dawkins and calling Dawkins on his "embittered manifesto of dogmatic atheist fundamentalism," Collins, by virtue of his high stature among biologists, is not an appropriate person to include in a documentary of how Big Science is keeping out smart new ideas.

March 13, 2008 12:12 AM | TrackBack

How did the Bar go?

Posted by: Tom T. at March 21, 2008 7:31 PM
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