F*ck Expelled. I’m done with it.

Okay, here’s my ‘tude at the moment. I figure I’ve done my bit, said all I had to say, voiced my opinion in several forums: here, in the comments of other blogs, even at the movie’s IMDb page. As far as I can tell there’s nothing more needs be said. Those of us on the pro-science side know full well by now that the movie is a pack of disgraceful, meretricious lies. And any criticism of it whatsoever simply gives the producers another opportunity go into Monty Python mode all over again and wail, “Help, help, we’re being repressed!” (Another irony-meter breaker, since one of the movie’s major false claims is that science will tolerate no criticisms of its theories.) The movie is selling a persecution fantasy and a conspiracy theory, nothing more. It whines about scientific “thought police” while never once bothering to argue a scientific case for ID. Thus its dishonesty ought to be laid bare for anyone who isn’t already an ignorant, uneducated ideologue or deluded fundamentalist tool.

So I’m done talking about it. I will, of course, leave the link to Expelled Exposed up in the sidebar, pretty much in perpetuity. The NCSE’s fact-checking site has, thanks to the efforts the pro-science blogosphere, finally bounced onto the first page of Google search results for “expelled.” The site’s a first rate takedown of all the movie’s lies, and right now it’s gotten so much traffic its server has been overwhelmed, a problem I’m sure they’ll remedy ASAP. If you encounter any creationist nitwits who seem to think the movie is something to gloat over, forward them on to Expelled Exposed. And if they refuse to read it, just taunt them with, “Now who’s scared to have their beliefs challenged?”

I suspect that, Monday night, I’ll go have a look at the weekend actuals over at Box Office Mojo to see how the thing did, and write one more post as a result at that time. The producers are still claiming they’re rolling out on over 1000 screens, which I still doubt.*

But whatever their release pattern, I predict that Friday/Saturday could be pretty decent for them (as The Choir will all go see it then), after which point it will peter out. Amusingly, Mark Mathis has been quoted as saying he anticipates an opening in the $12-15 million range, a laughably unrealistic boast, as such A-list superstars as George Clooney and Keanu Reeves have recently struggled to squeak out $12 million opening weekends for their recent releases. And Expelled is only one of many releases this Friday, all of which are going up against the new Judd Apatow comedy. That’s going to annihilate everything else at the box office in its path.

But then, when has Expelled ever been anything other than laughably unrealistic? Okay, so the movie will resonate with a built-in core audience of scientifically illiterate fundies who respond easily when their emotional hot buttons are pushed. It may even spark some testy debate for a while. But whether it succeeds or fails, remember, Expelled will not change two things. 1) Intelligent design is still not science, and 2) all life evolved and continues to evolve, and will go on evolving long after Christianity, and even homo sapiens ourselves, have gone extinct.

As far as my own posting about Expelled on this blog is concerned, well, that’s a wrap.


*Box Office Mojo in fact reports 1052 screens, which is insanely ambitious for any independent film. They could very well take a huge bath on this, but at this point I suspect they don’t care, as they’ve already stirred up enough hostile and mocking reaction to crank their persecution complexes into overdrive.

Another chance to push back against the New Dark Age in Austin

Remember how the nutbags at the Institute for Creation Research (second cousins to the Institute for Hobgoblinology, one presumes) have been trying to gain legitimacy in Texas by being allowed to offer degrees in science education? Well, the meeting is coming up, and I hope a zillion people from the pro-science side turn up and tell the board just what a ridiculous proposal this is. Or, at the very least, ask that the creos show their peer reviewed research proving that the Earth was created after the domestication of the dog.

Heads up to George Innis, who posted the following to the CFI-Austin Yahoogroup mailing list:

It appears that The Coordinating Board, TheCB, will take up the Institute for Creation Research, ICR, request for a Certificate of Authority at their meeting on 25 April. This Certificate is the next step in ICR’s effort to offer a fundamentalist oriented advanced degree in science education. TheCB was scheduled to consider this matter earlier this year but ICR requested a delay when TheCB indicated that additional documentation would be required. TheCB’s Committee on Academic Excellence and Research will consider the proposal from 10AM until noon on the 24th in the Board Room. At this meeting the public may make statements of up to 3 minutes each. I am told that following this meeting the commissioner will finalize his recommendation. A decision is expected at the Board meeting the next day where discussion will probably be brief.

TheCB’s offices are at 1200 East Anderson Lane and the Board Room is Room 2.140.

Got that? April 25. If you want Texas to have 21st century — as opposed to 14th century — educational standards, take off work and be there.

NCSE’s “Expelled Exposed” site now live

Up to now, Expelled Exposed has just been a collection of links to some pre-release reviews and blog posts about the upcoming Ben Stein festival of propaganda and lies. Now the work on the full site is done, and it contains a complete fisking of the film, all the way from its outrageous claims of a link between Darwin and Nazi eugenics, to revealing the real circumstances behind what happened to all the ID “martyrs” the movie wants you to believe were “expelled” by the Evil Darwinist Conspiracy (presumably on orders from Obergrüppenfuhrer “Blofeld” Dawkins hisownself) for daring to promote the “taboo” idea of intelligent design. And as a nice little poke in the eye, the site also features the story of someone who really was expelled: Chris Comer, who, as you will recall, was forced out of her job at the Texas Education Association for simply sending out an FYI email about the talk given here in Austin last November by Barbara Forrest.

In all, this is a vital resource to counter the despicable lies this movie is spreading.

Some people might remark that those of us in the atheist/pro-science blogosphere are making too much hay about this movie, that we are simply giving them the promotion and attention they want.

It would be nice if we lived in a utopian world where all we had to do to make the bad people go away was not think about them. But we don’t live in that world, and you know the old line about evil triumphing because good men do nothing. Well, that applies here. As Scientific American and PZ have all pointed out, this is not merely a shitty movie, but a moral outrage, made in a spirit not simply of old fashioned creationist stupidity but outright malice. If it were just a case of some idiot making a creationist film full of silly bullshit that we could laugh at, then we’d just laugh at it and have done with the whole thing. But this movie slanders science itself, and tries to paint the purveyors of scientifically empty nonsense as unappreciated geniuses and oppressed martyrs at the mercy of an imaginary supervillain. The Moron Brigade may eat this up, but in order to reach the intelligent folks who are simply sitting on the fence, the film’s evil — hell, I’ll say it, why not, that’s what it is — must be confronted straight up.

So far, all the publicity that matters (that is, what’s appeared in the mainstream media, rather than fundie websites) about this farce has been uniformly negative, which is a good sign. It hasn’t gotten — and will not get — a single favorable review from anyone who is not already a committed right-wing, fundamentalist, creationist ideologue. Now it’s up to the folks who truly love and support science, knowledge, honesty, truth, and morality to keep up the heat on this disgrace, and send it down in flames where it belongs once and for all.

(And don’t forget to link to Expelled Exposed in your own blogs, every time you discuss Expelled in any capacity, in order to drive the site’s Google ranking higher.)

Word of the Year: “Manufactroversy”

Valerie Tarico modestly admits to not having invented it, but it’s a brilliant neologism that I’m sure will gain new cachet within the reality based community, now that it’s been used to mock the intelligent design crowd in general and the claims of Expelled in particular. Tarico writes the latest derisive smackdown review of Ben Stein’s folly over at HuffPo, and she takes the gloves off right away.

Now the creationists have taken a new approach that they hope will help them achieve their goal of teaching religious beliefs in our schools as science. That approach can be summed up in one simple word: whining.

One week from today, the new movie, Expelled, attempts to turn creationist complaints into mainstream media. Featuring Ben Stein, one of the conservative right’s biggest whiners, the film makes several plaintive appeals: There’s a conspiracy among big government and big science, and it’s not fair! All we ask is for our perspective to get equal time! (Read: we lost, so let’s split the prize.) All we want is for teachers to “teach the controversy”! This is all about academic freedom. Americans like freedom, right?….

The proponents of intelligent design can’t gain credibility among hard scientists because their evidence is pathetic. So what do they do? Follow in the footsteps of the tobacco and oil companies and spend millions in an effort to create public doubt. They plea for their side to be told, they imagine vast conspiracies and they cry out for fair play, but the reality is much simpler.

The hits just keep coming.

Expelled: agitprop not even Fox News can love

You’d think if Expelled could find a receptive outlet in the mass media to promote its lies, it would be the fine folks at the Bush Administration Ministry of Propaganda. But even Roger Ailes’ network, that brought us Sean Hannity and John Gibson, let alone Bill Orally, isn’t benighted enough to swallow Ben Stein’s anti-science spooge.

What the producers of this film would love, love, love is a controversy. That’s because it’s being marketed by the same people who brought us “The Passion of the Christ.” They’re hoping someone will latch onto an anti-Semitism theme here since there’s a visit to a concentration camp and the raised idea — apparently typical of the intelligent design community — that somehow the theory of evolution is so evil that it caused the Holocaust. Alas, this is such a warped premise that no one’s biting.

It’s looking more and more like Expelled will be to documentaries what Howard the Duck was to Hollywood special effects blockbusters.

CFI Textbook Accuracy Report

I received a link to this file from CFI (Center For Inquiry).

Click…Read…Act.

Their assessment of the problems with this particular text book is “spot on” and the errors are, in many ways, the same sort of problems that have continually promoted gross conceptual errors regarding these subjects.

I have no idea if the authors of this particular text book were trying to promote an agenda or if they’d simply fallen prey to the glut of misinformation surrounding these issues, but this sort of misinformation must be corrected.

As “Academic Freedom” bills, “Teach The Controversy” rhetoric and “Science leads to Nazism” nonsense begin to pollute our education system, it should be clear to any reasonable person that the time to sit quietly in a corner has long passed.