I think the general public has a somewhat comical view of animals and their mental abilities. From chickens playing tic-tac-toe at county fairs to “stupid pet tricks” on TV to humorous news clips of zoo animals entertaining the masses. It isn’t much of a résumé. Perhaps one of the mental barriers to seeing evolution in a clear light is regarding animals as buffoons; and being related to a buffoon is unacceptable to many people.
But if we actually give animal behavior more than a cursory glance, we find that many groups exhibit extraordinary abilities on par with humans, if not quanititatively then qualitatively. My favorite is the birds, specifically the corvid family. (Monkeys get all the attention, the diaper wearing media whores.) New Caledonian Crows have demonstrated their ability to use tools. Watch the video of a crow forming a wire tool, but look closely or you’ll miss the key moment.
“Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays” by Candace Savage
“Ravens In Winter” by Bernd Heinrich
I guess actually reading Darwin’s books was too difficult for Ben Stein, so instead he stood in front of a statue and contemplated what evolution might be like. This is, of course, Stein trying to mark evolution as a religion, and not a science, something the Intelligent Design crowd has been trying to do for years.
Arthur Caplan, a Bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, has written a stinging review of Expelled: The Movie titled Intelligent design film far worse than stupid: Ben Stein’s so-called documentary ‘Expelled’ isn’t just bad, it’s immoral. It really gets at the root of Intelligent Design propaganda. In the movie, Ben Stein links Darwinism with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Never mind that other creationists blame Darwin for communism as well as capitalism. Doesn’t Stein like capitalism?
The challenge for creationists is for them to make their point without mentioning evolution. I know scientists can speak of evolution without even broaching the subject of a creation or design. But propagandists like Ben Stein cannot further their cause without tearing down evolutionary biology. The reason is they have nothing to support their claims. Intelligent design isn’t a science and cannot stand alone.
And I want to know why Stein brings religion into the Intelligent Design argument, when for years other Intelligent Design proponents have tried to keep the two completely separate. Is ID science or religion? You creationists need to make up your minds.