Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Sicko" and "Expelled"

Saturday afternoon. Cold and windy outside. Sounded like a good afternoon for some hot tea and a good movie. In the end Tammy and I watched two documentaries we had been wanting to see back to back. The first was Ben Stein' Expelled. Ben Stein, the famous monotone teacher from Ferris Bueller "Bueller...Bueller.." takes a look at the repercussions felt by scientists who suggest that there are serious holes with Darwinian evolutionary theory and that the causation needed for life could be intelligent rather than random.

Sounds fair enough you think? Think again! Scientists have been dismissed from universities, denied tenure, and faced academic discipline for mearly suggesting that the development of organic life may have an outside source. I find it curious how those who argue against Intelligent Design talk about God more than those who argue for it. You quickly see that if they can make the argument a religious argument rather than a scientific one, it can then be dismissed. The dilemma for them is that these are not Christian fundamentalists by and large, but respected scientists.

Ben first chronicles the horror stories of scientists who dared ask the wrong kind of questions. He then interviews supporters of Darwinian theory like famed scientist and author Richard Dawkins. You quickly realize these arguments are worldview in nature masking themselves as scientific...and each side is defensive of their worldview at the expense of scientific enquiry.

The second documentary was Michael Moore's Sicko which details the sad state of the American health care system. My own views on this subject have changed over the years mostly having spent 10 years in Hong Kong where, as a British colony, had universal health care which I took advantage of a number of times. I break with many of my Republican peers and support seeking a plan in the United States that will provide universal health care. When I developed tongue cancer two years ago the bills for tests, doctors visits, surgery, and hospital stays amounted to $100,000I was fortunate to have healthcare provided through my employer but when the only thing that kept me from paying that bill vs. crippling bankruptcy is a job at Barnes & Noble then something is seriously wrong with the system.

Michael, like Ben Stein, spends the first parts of the film chronicling the horror stories associated with our horrible health care system. He then goes to Canada, Great Britain, and Cuba to dispel the notion that "socialized" medicine is somehow sub par.

I find it curious then that Sicko received a 93% rating at (a collection of film reviews) and Expelled received a 10%. Both documentaries were entertaining as well as en lightning. Both were biased and gave little time for the otherside to express their views. As a film buff I also understand how editing can be used to re-enforce one idea and ridicule the other. Both Ben Stein and Michael Moore use these film techniques in abundance.

(Ross and Phoebe argue evolution)

However, Michael Moore received praise and Ben Stein received censure in the reviews. Many of the reviews for Expelled noted the "junk" science involved. And yet both films simply ask "Why?" questions.

Sicko asks why the the most wealthy nation on the planet cannot provide the basics of health care for its citizens?

Expelled asks why respected scientists are ostracized when they ask questions concerning holes in Darwinian evolutionary theory?

Its sad that in America some questions are not even allowed to be asked.


Andrew said...

Expelled (which I haven't yet seen) sounds like a perfect example which refutes the notion that Fundamentalism is a product of extreme conservatism. I know plenty of people on the Left who are completely intolerant of any opposing view.

I see this even in teaching. There are teachers who are so bonded to a certain method, that it drives them to anger to see anyone teaching any other way.

Our tendency to view difference as opposition is an indicator, I believe, of our inherent brokenness.

I haven't seen sicko yet, but I mean to. Everytime I meet someone who has had actual contact with European socialized medicine, I hear a different story than the one Rush tells.

Bob said...

"...when the only thing that kept me from paying that bill vs. crippling bankruptcy is a job at Barnes & Noble then something is seriously wrong with the system."

Ain't it the truth. Healthcare in the U.S. is broken, broken, broken. Unfortunately, with the current economic state we're in, it might not receive the attention the president-elect led us to believe that it would when he was campaigning. Hope I'm wrong.

angelphish in co said...

I have always loved that scene from Friends.

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