Expelled = epic fail!

An invitation-only (of course) private screening for Expelled in Florida, held expressly to influence state legislators to support a bogus “academic freedom” bill that’s been introduced to counter the recent ruling that schools must teach evolution, tanked miserably, drawing only about 100 viewers. There’s a report here. It seems no one (least of all lawmakers, thank goodness) is fooled by the movie’s disingenuous message, or its amateurish attempts at stealth marketing.

More embarrassing press for Expelled

The more these clowns responsible for Expelled get any press outside the protected confines of the fundamentalist anti-science subculture, the more desperate and dishonest they look. Now the New York Times has published an article about the whole fracas involving Orlando Sentinel reviewer Roger Moore, the absurd press conference and screening he attended where people were required to sign nondisclosure agreements, and the total harshing of the movie he eventually wrote for the paper.

Hilariously enough, the Times doesn’t have to do anything other than let Ben Stein and publicist Paul Lauer speak for themselves to make them look foolish. For instance, the hilarious excuse Lauer gives for disinviting Moore to the screening is that “the film was not polished enough for professional scrutiny,” ironically implying that to pass muster amongst the fundamentalist Christian audience they’d hand-picked for their screening, professional polish wasn’t necessary. Hey guys, never let it be said you don’t respect your audience!

The article makes it abundantly clear just what a hypocritical exercise Expelled is. While on the one hand it assaults its imaginary villain, “Big Science” (led, no doubt, by Michael Myers in full Dr. Evil getup), for disallowing “academic freedom” in “suppressing” ID, on the other hand it clearly only intends to preach to the converted, gearing its marketing solely towards a fundamentalist audience already sufficiently scientifically illiterate to lack the knowledge to know how badly they’re being lied to. Keeping out critics from the mainstream media, or anyone who isn’t already part of the fundamentalist camp, is something they’re dead set on.

As has been remarked upon, if Stein and Lauer and the liars-for-God behind this movie really wanted a free and open exchange of conflicting ideas, they’d host numerous press screenings, not require nondisclosure agreements to be signed (talk about wanting to “control the message”!), and in fact enthusiastically encourage scientists and academics to come to those screenings and debate the film’s claims. That they don’t is clear indication they don’t want knowledgeable people exposing Expelled‘s campaign of deceit, at least not before that campaign has gained a foothold and spread even more anti-science poison among a populace who’s already been crippled by too much of it already.

Another day, another load of creationist lies and hypocrisy

These people just can’t not lie.

From the Expelled blog:

Big Science doesn’t like it when they can’t control the message: it’s why we made EXPELLED.

From a report on an Expelled press conference [emphasis added]:

Now if Expelled can be said to have a theme, it is that all sorts of ideas should be batted around the ballfield of science and theology, that there should be freedom of expression… This makes it ironic, at least, that they expected the Orlando Sentinel to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Freedom of expression is unseemly at an Expelled press conference. There was no give-and-take, no open marketplace of ideas, in fact, scarcely any questions at all. Ruloff and Stein batted one softball after another out of the park from those posed by Paul Lauer, a representative of the film’s public relations firm. Questions from non-employees had to be submitted by email. Lauer (or somebody at his firm) screened them.

I’ve participated in a lot of press conferences in my thirty years as a journalist. I once bumped into President Gerald Ford on the front lawn of the White House. I had a question for him, which he politely answered. I went to a press conference by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who took all of our questions and hung around afterward to talk with me. I’ve had press conference questions answered by physicists Hans Bethe and Edward Teller, “father of the hydrogen bomb”; by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson; by John Wayne; by U.S, Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney; by U.S. Sens. Alan Simpson, Craig Thomas, John Kerry, Malcolm Wallop and Gary Hart, and by lots and lots of other public figures whose time I’ve wasted. Some of my questions were argumentative, but all were thoroughly — if sometimes equally argumentatively — answered.

Until I got to Ben Stein. Though calling for the rough-and-tumble of openness and debate, Stein didn’t have time for questions.

Hmmm. Who’s “controlling the message” here again? “Big Science,” or Big Fat Fscking Lying Asshats for The Magic Sky Fairy?

Go viral on this stuff, people, and let’s expose to all the world just what two-faced dishonest scumbags are marketing this deceitful propaganda masquerading as a brave blow for freedom of inquiry. Sure, it’d be one thing if ID were all about an honest scientific pursuit into facts about biodiversity, and had actual research to show for it and an actual theory out there making predictions in the real world. But they have none of those things, and must resort to despicable conspiracy theories about the evil ninja Big Science baddies suppressing their brilliant work at every turn. Evidence? Pshaw.

This quote from the Colorado Confidential article sums things up with admirable bluntness.

…not only is Expelled and the intellectual movement behind it hypocritical in its supposed defense of “freedom of expression,” it’s an attack on the entire superstructure of science and technology that has created the modern world. Expelled is anti-rational.

And disgraceful.

Typical, typical, typical

The dishonest morons who produced Ben Stein’s comedy masterpiece Expelled posted a ridiculously deluded rant against Darwin Day to their blog, in which they lie so copiously and egregiously about the positions of Darwin and Dawkins that PZ Myers couldn’t resist laying down the pwnage, which he did with his usual masterful command of all those doggone facts IDiots find so inconvenient.

In response, it now appears that anyone clicking over to the Expelled blog from the link provided in PZ’s rebuttal gets a 404 error. The stupid Expelled post is still up, you just can’t get to it from Pharyngula. Presumably the link provided here will be good for a little while, anyway.

So let’s see what we have here. A movie that claims ID has been “expelled” from academia due to some sort of hostility towards free speech and academic freedom on the part of “Big Science”* has expelled criticism by a legitimate scientist who happens to be one of the scientists they got to agree to an interview in their movie through false pretenses. Hmm. Sounds about typical, all right.

Welcome to the world of ID creationism. Where we tell more lies before breakfast than most people do all day year.

* I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and submit that “Big Religion” is far bigger than “Big Science” ever dreamed of being.

Expelled: even lamer than we all thought

The Orlando Sentinel has the first mainstream media review I’ve seen of Ben Stein’s ID propaganda film Expelled, and it ain’t pretty. The film’s egregious dishonesty is evident from the outset, as it attempts to confuse the issue in the minds of an uninformed public and present the ID-vs.-evolution argument as an academic freedom issue, rather than a simple matter of which of those two things is science and which one isn’t.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed [is] a rabble-rouser of a doc that uses all manner of loaded images, loaded rhetoric, few if any facts and mockery of hand-picked “weirdo” scientists to attack the those who, Stein claims, are stifling the Religious Right’s efforts to inject intelligent design into science courses, science curricula and the national debate….

[Stein] uses anecdotes from a few Fox-over-publicized cases of people who claim to have lost tenure/their jobs/their position in the scientific world for daring to suggest the hand of a supernatural being in the creation of life. He hasn’t a scintilla of proof of, well, anything. Then he has the audacity to whine, “Where’s the data” when questioning cellular biologists and other real scientists who build their lives around doubt, and finding testable, legitimate answers to those doubts. Where’s YOUR data, Ben?

I imagine this writer’s experience with the levels of irony, meretriciousness and hypocrisy one confronts routinely when one deals with creationists is fairly limited. Otherwise it wouldn’t surprise him at all that the movie demands all kinds of data from scientists (which actually exists in heaps, but which the IDiots ignore), while not feeling any great urgency to back up its own claims.

One of the movie’s most repugnant lies is its repetition of the “Darwin = Hitler + Stalin” mantra. As anyone with three brain cells to rub together (which would be four more than Stein has) and has actually studied the history knows, both the Third Reich and Stalin were deeply opposed to Darwin, with Stalin supporting Lysenkoism.

But this is all par for the course for the intellectual wasteland that is creationism. They’re scared of evolution because they believe that if it’s true, then God can’t be true, and thus their lives are meaningless because they have no shot at the promised afterlife. But scientifically, creationism cannot be supported by any facts. So all that can be done is to discredit it by associating it with all that is evil and bad. For all the movie’s whining about “academic freedom,” the truth is that supporters of ID have never been about achieving a stronger scientific understanding of our world and have always been about protecting their religion, their “scientific” posturing towards that end merely the cheapest of dog-and-pony shows. And isn’t it funny how, for all their claims that they are the ones whose ideas are being “censored,” every prominent creationist blog on the web (like Uncommon Descent) actively censors pro-evolution arguments out of their comments or deletes entire posts if creationism cannot be made to look superior even through the most extreme rhetorical sleight of hand.

I’m actually looking forward to this movie’s release now, limited as it will be, because I think it will be the greatest gift to real scientists the IDiot crowd has ever offered. The tidal wave of articles, editorials, interviews and discussions that will follow in its wake, correcting and attacking all of its easily refuted falsehoods with just-as-easily verified facts will lay bare just what shoddy scholarship and sleazy emotional button mashing the IDiots have to resort to instead of, you know, actual scientific research to develop a workable theory of intelligent design. ID was essentially killed in Dover, but this “documentary” is like the movement’s lurching zombie corpse, shuffling along unaware that it’s dead. It’s a last-ditch act of desperation, and we can only hope that the reaction it’s sure to receive will prove the final bullet to the head needed to put ID down for good.

Why hasn’t Uwe Boll thought of this?

Worried that your movie is going to tank in the wake of unavoidable, relentless mockery and abuse? Just pay people to see it anyway!

The latest news making the rounds of science blogs is the remarkable revelation that the producers of Expelled, the farcical ID faux-documentary soon to be released and hosted by the foolish Ben Stein, have come up with a campaign essentially to bribe Christian schools to take entire classes on “mandatory field trips” to see this hokum. Let us marvel at religion’s great contribution to science education in America: pulling a bunch of kids out of classes, filling their little heads with disinformation, and raking in the bucks.

You really have to read all about this stunning campaign here. It means this movie is less likely to be profitable than it already was — the idea is these Christian schools send in the ticket stubs, paid for by the students, and the more stubs they send in the more money gets donated to the school, up to $5000 for 500 stubs. That’s $10 per ticket stub, which is right around the full ticket price for a movie in a lot of big cities, and far more for the average ticket in the kinds of Bible Belt small towns where this movie is likely to be well received. (My parents go to the movies in Marshall, TX, population about 25,000; they pay $3 to see movies at the one theater there.)

What’s also hilarious is the way this movie is openly defying the Discovery Institute mantra that ID is not religious, no ma’am! Seems to me the next Dover trial ought to be even easier, since the record of this online campaign will be right out there in the open, calling attention to itself like a streaker at a football game, for the pro-science side to destroy them with. It’s even better than Barbara Forrest’s brilliant tracking down of the absurdist publishing history of Of Pandas and People, which gave us all that masterpiece of Christian copy editing, “cdesign proponentsists.”

Frankly, the more bullshit like this the anti-evolutionists pull, the better things are in terms of exposing their mendacity and dishonesty. Come on, these people really think they’re morally superior? The lack of moral integrity in their every action is repugnant and depressing. When it isn’t merely hilarious.

Expelled trailer

Here we go, it’s the first full length trailer for Expelled and now it appears to be an even bigger mountain of crap than it looked like before.

I am so looking forward to seeing this movie with fellow ACA members. I’m not kidding. I hope you folks will join me.

In just the first three minutes, Ben Stein once again reinforces the fact that ID is religion (what? what? I thought this was a scientific theory about an unnamed designer) and then implies that his opponents are Nazis.

I was also impressed with the total brazenness of the Richard Dawkins quote mine occurring at 5:45. Just watch. They clumsily splice between two different shots of him, making it appear as if two remarks are part of one thought, and then they cut off what he was saying in mid-sentence at the end. They seriously have no shame at all.

I think this is going to be the creation science museum all over again: half the money they make is going to come from atheists flocking to see it in groups. I have no qualms about giving Ben Stein my $8; you can’t buy a better advertisement for how inane ID is.

The trailer implies that you’ll get in trouble with the vast atheistic conspiracy if you watch this movie. As a member of said conspiracy, I’m encouraging people to see it. This may be as good as Jesus Camp.

If you need a refresher, I first talked about Expelled in episode 522 of the AE TV show. That discussion starts at about 5:45.