Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Worldnuttery on Film once again.

After having read WorldNet Daily's reviews of Kung Fu Panda 2 and X-Men:First Class, I was interested in seeing how they would handle a film like Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Considering that the problem they had with KFP2 was that it was basically too "Chinese", what with it being set in China, and all...  X-Men, of course, has, at its core, the very idea of genetic mutation leading to beneficial results, and that rings too deeply of "evolution", which flies in the face of all creationists.  So here comes a film which is a sort of prequel to original Planet of the Apes series titled 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes.'

The WorldNut reviewer, Drew Zahn, had surprisingly few complaints, but it came down to one core Biblical failing.  There's no tree from which chimpanzee Adam and Eve can eat nor were they ever really tempted by Satan.  Therefore, the movie is entirely wrong because the apes grow violent without the need for a fall from grace.

Yep.  That's it.

Well, I suppose if it was someone like the so-called Discovery Institute, which tries to put up a facade of having a semblance of scientific knowledge, I would have figured they might have had issue with the nature of the drug research, which happened to involve insertion by way of retroviral delivery.  The problem retroviruses present for creationists in general is that it's one of the well-known and empirically demonstrated ways in which "new information" can be added to the genepool of an extant species.  In fact, retroviruses allow insertion of new genes into living creatures after they've already been born, which makes it one of more promising tools for use in treating genetic conditions and gene-based therapy.

I suppose I can't expect a WorldNut to even express that degree of even fake intellect.  Instead, they have to act with an idiocy and blind adherence to Biblical literalism that cannot possibly fool someone into thinking that these people might even have a functioning left brain cell or two.  Well, he does mention that evolution and natural selection and common ancestry and so on are not explicitly mentioned at any point in the film.  So I guess he's not able to make the connection between modified genes by retroviral insertions and evolution.  Oh well.  That would require knowledge of science, after all, and creationism is diametrically opposed to that.

Instead, the review goes down the following path.
In this piece of art, for example, the first chimp given the gene therapy turns suddenly, radically violent. When the movie is about apes taking over the planet and supplanting humans – essentially a genocide of so many billion souls – violent apes are clearly evil apes, right?

Βut what drove this ape to wanton destruction? Where does this evil come from?
Yes, that is an excellent question! Where does it come from?  Well, he follows up with the Truetm answer first.
Now, the Bible makes it very clear that evil is a result of the fall, that all people (or apes, if you will allow the movie's premise that the chimps become the dominant species) are fallen and that evil is a part of our nature: "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me," (Psalm 51:5), "Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one," (Psalm 53:3), and, "The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time" (Genesis 6:5).
Ummm...  right.
So according to the Bible, it isn't possible for someone to be good intrinsically.  Even a newborn baby is the living embodiment of concentrated evil.  In their hearts is a tremendous wrath unto the world with a burning desire for lascivious gay sex and wanton hedonism.  Babies...  they're out to get you!

But those bleeding-heart liberals who made this movie don't appear to agree.  They don't think that a chimp eating from the tree causes chimps to become evil.  Nor do they think gorilla Jesus came down and died for the sins of great apes everywhere.
[The chimps in the movie] don't manifest evil simply because they were given the power of intelligence, thus exposing their fallen nature (which is the reason we have the phrase, "Power corrupts; abosolute power corrupts absolutely"). They don't even manifest evil because of their new genes.

No, the first chimp turns violent because she's protecting her baby. Later apes go bad because their handlers were cruel and abusive. In fact, the evil that takes over the whole world doesn't rise from within, but was pressed upon the ascendant primates from without.
Ummm...   okay...  is that so bad?  I mean...  wouldn't you expect a mammalian mother to be protective of their offspring, often to the extent of fighting back violently?  Wouldn't you expect an animal that is capable of complex emotions (as many mammals are) who was mistreated to retaliate when capable?

It's that very last bit in italics (emphasis is mine) that he seems to have a problem with.  It's very much in line with Nietzsche's model of morality and his use of the term "ressentiment" as a generative force in the formation of a moral value system.  Well, that's just not Biblically correct.  The Bible clearly says that moral values must be proscriptive, and this is provable because some kid in the desert supposedly claimed that his mom never slept with anybody.
This concept of the noble savage, this idea that humans are essentially good and only corrupted by the institutions around them, is a form of psychology [snip] inherent to a secular, humanistic worldview. This worldview argues that people are increasingly "good" and making progress (from whence we get the political term "progressive") as they shuffle off the "evil" institutions around them, like wealth disparity, lack of education and religion.
Hm.  So clearly, we can't have worldviews that put a positive spin on human nature.  We need to teach people that all people are evil and they need to be gullible enough to believe that ancient tales of magical beings are factually true in order to be morally redeemed.  That's what the almighty deity in the sky who apparently loves us all is believed to have said of us, so it must be true and not open to debate or question!

That aside, I also want to get on the part that I bolded.  Clearly, a lot of secularists like myself would view religion as an evil institution that must be eradicated from this Earth.  And wealth disparity and lack of education are both serious problems which need to be addressed.  While it's not at all surprising that a religious person would have issue with the notion that religion is evil, it's a bit unusual that he would explicitly include wealth disparity and lack of education in the same group.  I, and many other liberals often point out that the religious right is extremely content to bring this world back to the dark ages and have us turned into huddled, unwashed masses, who would all be too stupid to count to 10...  but even that accusation is one that is made with the preface that said goal is implicit in the things they value, and not so much an explicit target.  To a large extent, I don't think most conservative right-wingers are actually aware of the immense stupidity that is latent in every pile of fetid diarrhea they spew from their mouths.  In this case, it makes it appear as if Drew Zahn is saying that wealth inequality and lack of education are not bad things...

Well, we can see that lack of education has worked wonders for WorldNet Daily, so I guess there's a point there.