Expelled, coming up fast

The new preview for the movie Expelled looks very slick and professional — there are some deep pockets behind this effort.

You’ll catch on to the major themes of the movie right away: God and paranoia. It begins with Stein setting the stage for a conflict between two worldviews: it’s “Everything on earth was created by a loving god” vs. “Some think we’re nothing but mud animated by lightning”. It’s interesting that Stein is very open about the religious underpinnings of Intelligent Design creationism, something the Discovery Institute would rather hide, while so grossly misrepresenting evolutionary theory…but then, that’s what it is all about, making an emotional appeal to the religious while burying the intellectual power of evolution beneath a caricature. So right from the beginning we’re given the message that supporting ID is about supporting god-belief.

The paranoia is grandiose. The clip Godwins us at about 2:10, with shots of Hitler; later, after showing us the “persecuted” “scientists”, we get a few shots of Nazi concentration camps. Subtlety is not going to be this movie’s forte. Oh, and poor Sternberg and Meyer — they lost their jobs and livelihood (uh, not really, but the narration talks about generic people losing jobs while showing those two … but I don’t think either has felt even the slightest economic twinge from their foolishness), all because of they dared to publish that maybe human beings weren’t lightning-animated mud.

This is a conspiracy not just by scientists, but by the media, courts and educational system. It ends with a warning that just seeing this movie might cost viewers their friends, their jobs, their life (OK, not the last bit, but it was getting pretty melodramatic). The closing scene is just weird: a custodian walks into the room Stein has just left and inspects what has been left with a scowl. Ze Darvinist schpies, zey are EVERYVHERE! The ushers at the theater will have secret radios to report your presence at the movie! Be afraid!

It’s going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant — which means they’re going to draw in about 90% of the American market. I see two potential weaknesses: 1) they lie everytime they mention evolution, which we already know is tough to counter, and 2) it really is unbelievably way over the top. Unfortunately, in this age of Fox News, it may not be possible to go enough over the top to trigger anyone’s suspicions anymore.

We also get a preview of the many quote minings to come. They’ve got Dawkins saying, “As a scientist, I’m pretty hostile to a rival doctrine…” — I’m willing to bet that he went on to explain exactly what it was in that doctrine that makes him hostile to it, but of course we aren’t going to hear that part.

Anyway, we’re going to have an interesting time in February when this piece of propaganda is released. I suspect its half-truths and claims of persecution and martyrdom will suck in a lot of people — they aren’t going to bother explaining the bogosities behind their ideology, and it’s going to be up to us to rip into it and expose the falsehoods. It would be better, though, if we had some millions of dollars and a professional production crew to counter their glib lies with some well-presented truths.

(via The Bad Idea Blog)


  1. says

    It would be better, though, if we had some millions of dollars and a professional production crew to counter their glib lies with some well-presented truths.

    Oh, I’m sure we’ll do just fine, as long as we refine our message and make sure we don’t needlessly offend people. I mean, good framing is even better than personnel and monetary resources, isn’t it?

  2. Brian English says

    Lying for Jebus is big business. The truth doesn’t have as deep pockets. Still, we have PZ et al. :P

  3. Christianjb says

    You have to admit- it’s a pretty good tactic. Make it look like your ideas are too radical and dangerous for boring old stuffy universities. It plays into the romantic notion of the rebellious outsider who shows up the staid professors.

  4. John C. Randolph says


    This isn’t all that slick. The costs of video production are plummeting, and everything I saw in that clip could be done with a $1K camera and a $5K Macintosh with Final Cut Pro.


  5. says

    Don’t miss the other fun bits: the cheetah taking down and tearing apart its prey right when Stein is talking about Darwinists “punishing” dissenters.

    The way the music ever so slightly gets sinister when Stein is talking about what “other people” think.

    Especially notice the guy who is hidden from view, supposedly because we’d all murder him in his sleep if we knew his identity. I think it would be just about the funniest thing ever if this person turns out to be Sam Chen, head of IDURC. Why so funny? Because not only is Chen already an open ID proponent, but last year he handed out a “Phillip Johnson award for bravery” to an anonymous recipient, supposedly because revealing her identity would ruin her career. The punchline, however, was the winner was actually another very public ID supporter (she was president of an IDEA Chapter, worked with Chen and others, wrote pro-ID editorials, etc.), making the whole “anonymous” mystique a ridiculous farce.

  6. says

    Are they actually going to try to go theatrical with this, or will it be direct-to-DVD with promotional bombardment aimed at churches? Seems like that would be the most effective way for them to go. Keeping the film within the flock, so to speak, will avoid the likelihood that anyone in the evil lib’rul mainstream media will have cause to upset the applecart by publishing refutations of its bullshit claims.

  7. Zee says

    Well, that’s 8 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. He forgot to add “total wanker” to the list of list of professional activities at the beginning of the segment. Boy, the bias in the thing is soooooo subtle, right?! Mud and Lighting! Mud and Lightning! Let’s just leave aside the complete inaccuracy here and compare that to…Dust and Man’s Rib! Dust and Man’s Rib!

    What a load of shit!

  8. says

    I think you should be almost hurt, PZ that you weren’t featured in the intro. I mean, Dawkins got in there TWICE, and no offense to Kathleen Townsend, but even if she was a Lt. Governor, she’s not exactly a big name in science debates.

    They must be saving the really good firebreathing clips for the climax of the film. :)

  9. JA Ludtke says

    I’m confused by this preview’s insistence that somehow we don’t live in the “age of Einstein” but instead in the “age of Darwin”. I thought that Einstein, being, ya know, alive after the Origin of Species was published, would qualify as living in the “age of Darwin”.

    Also, I’m confused by Stein’s want for a “loving God” and how this seems to contradict his willingness to spring for the ID movement. ID (when pretending to be scientific) doesn’t promote a loving God, it promotes a god who basically needs to duct tape together its creation.

    All in all, I do expect to see this movie because I am very interested in seeing what sorts of dishonesty the ID side has to use to present itself.

  10. says

    “This is a conspiracy not just by scientists, but by the media, courts and educational system.”
    Another case of the truth being too liberal. Who else is in on the conspiracy? Satan of course, for hiding all those pesky fossils.

  11. Moopheus says

    Of course, any negative reactions to the movie will just be taken as evidence that scientists are afraid of the “controversy”, in classic paranoid-delusional style. Actually, under no circumstances should you advise anyone not to see this movie. Remember the Last Temptation of Christ? All the protest did was to drive up box office numbers for what was otherwise actually a pretty dull movie. Refutations of the film should be made available, of course, but actions should be avoided that might make the film seem more important than it really is.

  12. says

    The age of Einstein thing is a damn good point, JA. Did they even think the nonsense they are spouting through first to see if it even made sense on their own terms?

  13. says

    Wes Elsberry and a blog called Lotso’Thoughts have some funny dirt on the project, which I have blogged. And here’s a bizarre profile of Ben Stein. Apparently he was so obsessed about losing any money on “Win Ben Stein’s Money” show that he wept regularly, including to his $250 an-hour-analyst. That’s too bad, because Stein advocated buying financial stocks on Fox News last August, right before they tanked. The man is nuts.

  14. says

    UD calls it a “preview.” Often films will release like the first couple of minutes, or the intro, as promotional materials, even though they aren’t outright trailers.

    Note that the marketing campaign behind this film is almost more important and more dangerous than the film itself. They hired the Passion of the Christ folks who were so successful at marketing that movie through social networks and viral campaigns. This film also has all sorts of activism resources associated with it that they are slowly rolling out, all targeting the idea that kids and parents need to start pushing harder on schools, asking questions, challenging biology teachers, and so on. These campaigns will be pushed out through materials and action pamphlets in churches, as well as materials supposedly to “help” schools.

    They’re basically looking for that lame Jack Chick tract to play out in schools across America (the one where the bright young Aryan evangelical confronts the dark sweaty Darwinist teacher in class and shows him up… in Chick’s fevered dreams).

  15. rc says

    This movie will play very well in places like the Panhandle of Texas. I can already see the yellow buses lined up outside the movie theaters (private schools and churches, and maybe even public school buses!).

    Of course, they can’t practice what they preach. Try admitting that you’re an atheist in one of these locales and see how much acceptance you get.

  16. Kevin Murphy says

    We should lobby Bill Maher to release Religulous the same weekend, watch em go head-to-head at the box office.

  17. marty says

    A movie where they’ll PAY the piratez to turn up and record it…

    Actually, with half a brain cell they’ll leak it on the p2p networks with every name under the sun. You could be downloading “Squids on Parade, Volume 6”, and BAM! you got Expelled instead.

  18. Lucas says

    The whole “created by God” vs evolution debate ended more than 100 years ago in the scientific sphere. Can you imagine how well a physicist would do nowadays by arguing for the aether theory of light propagation?

    I also find the idea that an idea that Galileo’s time was one of immense intellectual freedom highly amusing. Hey, wasn’t he put under house arrest for *not* espousing the religious view. I wonder what treatment Darwin would have gotten in the same climate?

  19. DLC says

    And the cdesign proponentsists will continue to lie, move the goalposts and otherwise indulge in nefarious unethical, unscientific behavior.

  20. says

    I’m not in the intro, and I don’t expect to be a big part of the movie. As everyone says, I’m way too mellow in person, and the film crew was probably as disappointed as my fans are that I didn’t breathe fire for them. There will probably be some brief partial clip somewhere in there, but I don’t anticipate much more.

    And I’m not going to hide the fact that there is some skill required in putting a movie like this together, even if technology makes it cheaper and more feasible than it would have been ten years ago. This is clearly not an amateur production; it’s also not the work of some dedicated lone auteur who sunk his whole income into getting it made. There is some real financial backing behind this thing, and there may be a major investment in promoting it. The message is crap, the paranoid atmosphere is absurd, but if they toss major money into getting it distributed and promoted, it could get a significant audience. I doubt that they can make a profit on it, but that isn’t what the mysterious investors are going to care about. This is a propaganda film for someone.

  21. cleveDan says

    In honor of the release of the movie you should post a list of papers supporting evolution that have been published in between ……say, the day you were interviewed for this crap and the day it was released.
    I can’t wait for all the factual take-downs of Expelled. I vote for ERV to handle the HIV part:)
    The discovery Institute must be trying to get them to leave some of this “god stuff” on the cutting room floor

  22. Barry says

    When watching the first minute or two of the trailer, I couldn’t help but asking myself… Why would Ben Stein’s loving god create HIV (correction: for purposes other than clearing the homosexuals off the earth). Why would a loving god create Hitler? Darwin? Mean liberals like PZ? Isn’t it plainly obvious that there is no loving god!? I mean seriously… if God intentionally designed the anthrax bacterium, then he’s an asshole. Answers anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

    I can’t wait until this movie is available via a bittorrent so I can enjoy it tax-free.

  23. bacopa says

    I usd to think that every time Ben Stein lost on “Win Ben Stein’s Money” he had thrown the game. Now I’m not so sure.

  24. Bjorn, James Bjorn says

    To me it more looks like the janitor in the end of the preview is just annoyed that some old bozo sneaked in after hours and wrote on the blackboard, and that he now has to clean that shit up too.

  25. Geral says

    I like the bits of Nazi Germany and the concentration camps. His warnings about losing everything by watching this film were pretty dramatic, now I MUST see this film to see the TRUTH! I must risk everything!

    Oh boy.

    I can’t wait for this to hit theaters.

  26. says

    That was the longest, boringest piece of yawn I ever watched.

    Welcome to intelligent design. The general public will find it far less exciting.

  27. says

    What amazes me in this introduction is that all of the claims that Stein narrates have been rebutted and clarified so many times that they have special entries in the talk.origins archives. And then I realized that not everybody has been following this all that closely.

    What I mean by that, is that unless a layperson has been reading and boning up and taking the time to get the answers to what is happening in the creationist wars, it will make perfect sense to him or her that the doors of academia are closed to dissenting views. Oy, what a time we will have after this is released

  28. says

    The bulk of the initial financial backing may mostly all be from Ruloff himself, one of the two producers. He’s a dot.com millionaire who basically has been bumming around trying to find ways to evangelize. Someone had mentioned that he had spent some time up in Canada trying to pilot a marketing program to preach Christ to folks in business offices. But I guess with this project and Premise Media, he decided he could reach more people.

  29. says

    Someone needs to prequel this with:
    Expelled I: Betrand Russell in New York

    See, Bertrand Russell was offered a position in the philosophy department at Columbia in (I think it was…) the 1930s. When some of the locals discovered that Russell was OMG! an atheist they complained to the board and tried to get his appointment rescinded. The Mayor of New York (LaGuardia) got involved on the theist side, and, basically, Russell was drummed out of town in a series of abuses of the justice system. The judge in the case (I forget his name) evidenced amazing bias and the case was deliberately engineered to prevent Russell from appealing. Central to the case was – not that Russell was an atheist but rather that he might be committing a crime by encouraging homosexuality, promiscuity, and nudity – specifically the nudity of minors. I can’t recall all the details of the complaint against him but they were largely made up by quote-mining some of Russell’s writings regarding the natural state of things, etc.

    There is a fascinating (and infuriating) description of the case in:
    which I read a few years ago. It will make your blood boil.

    Considering the way in which a Nobel Prize-winning scholar (he hadn’t won, yet) was calumnied and pilloried, and Mayor of New York City and the judicial system were corrupted – to keep an atheist from teaching philosophy, I think it’d make a great prequel to “expelled.” Although I doubt that Dembski is in line for a Nobel.

    I am not saying “turn about is fair play” regarding this issue of academics being punished for their beliefs (or, in Russell’s case non-beliefs) — but it’s kind of silly that the bible-whackers are whining “they are being mean to us” when, if you read about the Russell case, it’s pretty clear that they don’t know what “mean” is in comparison.

  30. says


    The new preview for the movie Expelled looks very slick and professional — there are some deep pockets behind this effort.

    You know, maybe I’m just going off the deep end, but all of this stuff just makes me suspicious. I watched the whole clip. It was all DI boilerplate. Hmmmm….

    In the past, the DI used a front company, Illustra Media, to make their ID-friendly science ‘documentary’ Unlocking the Mystery of Life. Now along comes this film Expelled, whose producers used a front to obtain their interviews with you PZ etc. with a phony project description. Sans disclaimers about exclusive use in the release waivers you signed, PZ, these clowns can now edit said interviews to make their desired points.

    (Example: notice the clip where Dawkins is cut off right where he uses the word ‘doctrine’: that will no doubt be used to make the fallacious argument that evolutionary biology, or ‘Darwinism’, is a doctrine/dogma/belief system.)

    Finally, I point out that there are several thousand words over on the DI web sites justifying their non-participation in the recent NOVA documentary because of their concern that the exact same stunt would be done to them. Sounds like they’re reading from their own script to me!

    Under the circumstances, I feel justified in predicting that financial links between DI participants and the production company will eventually emerge. The sooner the better!

  31. says

    See, one of the coolest predictions in evolution is the American cheetah. American antelope can sprint at about 70 mph for a bit. Such speed is only known in African ungulates that avoid cheetahs. Only there is no predator in America that can run that fast.

    So, how did the American antelope develop such speed? Zoologists said there had to be a predator, now extinct, that DID run that fast. They predicted fossils would be found of an American cheetah.

    Sure enough, a couple of seasons later paleontologists found a cat predator, an extinct one. It had the flexible spine of the African cheetah, and in other ways had a skeleton devised for chasing down fleeing antelope at about 70 mph.

    But now:

    Here’s what I’ve learned from this video:
    before the era of Darwin, cheetahs were vegetarians.

    So, how does intelligent design explain the speed of the antelope, and the lack of speed in vegetables?

  32. says

    Ed Darrell writes:
    So, how does intelligent design explain the speed of the antelope, and the lack of speed in vegetables?

    God likes fast food!!!

    There used to be flying tofu-birdies in the garden of eden. They pooped popcorn and laid jelly-eggs. It’s all in the bible someplace, in the book of Numnutz.

  33. Chris R. says

    Wow, it took them about 3/4 of the preview to get to a Dawkins quote mine (in video, no less, though that has been done before with the question about mutations in that other documentary).

    There’s no way in hell he’d say “As a scientist, I am pretty hostile to a rival doctrine” and just leave it at that. The blatant dishonesty these people parade around shouldn’t surprise me, but it continues to reach new levels.

  34. says

    So, how does intelligent design explain the speed of the antelope, and the lack of speed in vegetables?

    Stupid! Stupid! Obviously the fruit were able to run around too. I think this means that the apple fell further than we did.


  35. Janine says

    Marcus, you can find an account of that episode in Russell’s “Why I Am Not A Christine”. It was named for the essay of the same name.

    Was I the only one who thought that the opening was much like a slasher film. Dark hallway and then move in on a lone figure acting in isolation.

    Wow, imagine if Galileo and Einstein were in the twenty first century US. Galileo would have had worse then living in house arrest for the last years of his life. And Einstein would have got off easy just being a refuge with a few paranoid police organizations tagging him.

    Also, Ben Stein already lost Godwin’s Law.

  36. says

    Okay, check this out…

    I work in film and media, specifically doing a lot of editing of documentary material. I’ve been keeping tabs on this film because the producers’ tactics, while not exactly contrary to documentary standards, appear so far to be grossly unethical, and I’ve been curious to see how things turn out.

    That particularly egregious Dawkins quote, (“As a scientist, I’m pretty hostile to a rival doctrine…” ) is not, in fact, an example of quote mining. Rather, I’d wager, it’s an example of outright quote fabrication.

    Take another look at it: there’s a big, fat, obvious edit right between the phrases “As a scientist” and “I’m pretty hostile” — it’s not even a good edit, it’s ugly and clunky, which suggests that those two shots were never originally intended to go together. If we saw the original footage, I’d bet every penny I’ve got (not many, admittedly) that we’d hear Dawkins say, “As a scientist, blah blah something completely unrelated…” and at an entirely different point in the footage something like, “…blah blah something else is pretty hostile to a rival doctrine.” Obviously I can’t make a more concrete case without seeing the original footage… but I’m telling you, Dawkins absolutely did NOT say that as a single phrase. If he had, there would be no point in making an edit at that painfully awkward spot. The cut itself is evidence of blatant dishonesty.

    It’s glaring, could not possibly be more obvious. They’re lying their asses off.

  37. jeh says

    Stein is just playing the same game he has always played–pure politics. Most scientists have experience with politics on the small scale, but politicos like Stein have played in the big leagues for a long time and they know how to win at any cost (the end always justifies the means).

    I expect that they will make some gains from this propaganda, but the religious right seems to be in the process of imploding, so the long term impact of these “slick” efforts may be relatively limited.

    What amuses me most about the intelligent design proponents is that they remain the minority view–among religious conservatives! The Young Earth Creationists have all of the money and the power, and you can’t help but think that they consider people like Behe to be heretics (useful heretics, but heretics none the less). If ID ever succeeds (through legislative or judicial fiat), they would soon find themselves just as marginalized as they are now–as ID is used as a stepping stone to a literal biblical view of creation.

    I guess we have to take the long view and like Yogi Berra, remember that “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

  38. Steven Carr says

    ‘ “As a scientist, I am pretty hostile to a rival doctrine”

    As a scientist, Dawkins is pretty hostile to his own doctrines.

    That is why they go to peer-review, and are then published, for everybody in the world to take post-shots at them, if they can.

  39. says

    Thankfully one just needs to point them to the recent PBS Nova ‘Intelligent Design on Trial’ episode. It’s a great counter to this work of fiction/film!!!

    And some of our US tax dollars at work to boot. LOVE IT! :)

  40. McLir says

    I respect Ben Stein’s intelligence, knowledge and sense of humor. His politics are screwy but I try to let that go.

    I’m sorry to see he is investing so many chips into this project because his argument appears to be very poor.

    The idea that we are just “mud animated by lightning” completely ignores (as does the rest of the audio track) natural selection. His comparing scientific discourse with civic discourse is very misleading. (Flat-Earthers don’t get equal time for a reason.)

    There was a time when I’d have agreed with what Ben Stein is now arguing. I hope he is prepared for a schooling.

  41. Rick Schauer says

    Stein wants to trade this education:

    …for an education of rocking back-and-forth in a manner consistant with OCD while reading 2000 year old passages at a “wailing wall” of his loving god?

    Stein’s wants faith to stand as an education…this makes sense only when viewed as a way to maximize enlistment of christian cannon fodder to fight a genocidal holy war against any “infidels” for the State of Israel.

  42. MartinC says

    Its nice to see that the discovery institute have been spending their research money well. The Wedge Document predicted they would be up to 100 peer reviewed ID papers by now (they have reached zero) but it looks like they’ve blown all the cash on a slick PR piece. I guess this is all there is. By the way, am I the only one that thought the piece showed an inherently racist tone by using a non-white individual in only one role, that of a janitor? And even HE was in on the conspiracy, wiping off Steins chalk scrawlings on the blackboard. By the way, on what basis of authority is Ben Stein writing on a blackboard in a biology department?

  43. J Myers says

    … or are we, the universe, and everything in it merely the result of pure, dumb fate and chance

    “Dumb” fate and chance? As opposed to “smart” fate and chance? Or is it only fate that is dumb, while chance is something else (sparkly?). And if fate (dumb or otherwise), how could chance come into play? And if chance, how could fate be said to have any role? Doesn’t each preclude the other? So many questions; I’d better get one of their primers for this thing…..

    … humankind carrying the spark of the devine….

    Could anyone possibly be any more arrogant than this? Sickening.

    … digital code in our DNA….

    Oh, “the code” is there! “The code”! So it’s just like the ‘bible code’ and ‘mathematical miracle of the koran’ people have been telling us. “The code” proves it!

    Yes, total slasher film intro. Anyone catch the Jesus fish on the back of one of the chairs? Nice touch, I thought.

  44. Ross Nixon says

    PZ’s 2nd point was that this documentary is “is unbelievably way over the top”. I hope not. That wouldn’t be a “Christian thing” to do.

    Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” propaganda was “way over the top”. I believe Gore agreed, but said that this was justified.
    Is it acceptable for social-activists to lie for an alleged “greater good”?

  45. tacitus says

    Okay, was there anything in that clip that could not have been done by a creationist organization like Answers in Genesis or ICR? It had all the elements of a creationist propaganda piece, complete with God, Darwin, and a special guest appearance from Adolf Hitler.

    There is obviously nothing to distinguish Expelled from any number of creationist efforts over the past few years, so why is the DI so high on this piece? Have they finally abandoned all pretense that ID is nothing to do with creationism? I must have missed that memo.

    It’s somewhat surprising really. I suspect that in their effort to appeal to the unwashed fundamentalist masses, the producers have gone overboard with the hype and hysteria over those materialist devils. As a result, the movie will be all but useless to the DI in any remaining dwindling efforts to separate ID from its overtly religious and creationist roots.

    I suspect the DI will be sorely disappointed by the outcome.

  46. Sam Meyerson says

    One could rewrite the very same introduction, mutatis mutandis, with applications toward any crazy theory. Indeed, Stein’s trope is quite familiar from holocaust deniers, from 9/11 conspiracy kooks, etc. It’s always the same story: our ideas make people uncomfortable, so we and those who think like us are oppressed by the existing power structure, which wants everyone to think in a certain way and cannot tolerate honest dissent. Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’e entrate — only those with extraordinary courage and character should proceed!

    It may be slickly produced, but intellectually it looks transparently tendentious and clumsy right out of the gate.

  47. mayhempix says

    This isn’t all that slick. The costs of video production are plummeting, and everything I saw in that clip could be done with a $1K camera and a $5K Macintosh with Final Cut Pro.
    Posted by: John C. Randolph

    Hi-definition, dollies and lighting don’t cost a grand… you are looking at much higher production costs. There is also some stock footage which is not cheap when bought for theater, cable and TV distribution which I would assume is their goal.

    Plus I doubt Ben Stein is just working for the love of his creator. Although it is interesting to note he is a member of the WGA and supports the strike… closet socialist perhaps? ;^ )

    This has some serious bankroll behind it in terms of high end industrial production, which is exactly who these cranks are… industrial video producers with illusions of a god filled Hollywood dancing in their heads and god-bucks to feed that fantasy.

    My guess is they are shooting with $4,000 to 10,000 Sony and Panasonic Hi-Def cams and, yes, probably cutting on Final Cut, but in Hi-Def and using some 3-D software as well… maybe a budget between half a million to a million by the time it’s distributed.

    This “docu-godporn” is a pernicious piece of propaganda meant to confuse the already confused into believing that “Darwinism” is another ideological evil along with “communism”, “socialism” and other “non-christian” religions (although the Jews get a pass until Rapture time.) The idea that christians are persecuted in the US is just another Orwellian tale being sold to the gullible.

  48. Spooky says

    It looks like another “What the BEEP do we know?” bunch of twaddle that will appease the credulous.

  49. says

    The “pretty hostile” edit:

    We see him speaking during both sides of the cut. So it can’t possibly be continuous speech unless they trained two cameras on him during the interview, which pretty much never happens AIUI.

  50. SEF says

    “Some think we’re nothing but mud animated by lightning”

    That would be the religious bunch again though – with their shaped clay figure being animated by the lightning god (who has variously created all light at the start, made big flashy storms and allegedly brings enlightenment). Not that their god(s) is/are real of course.

    Once again they are (falsely) accusing others of the things they themselves believe and do.

  51. Alun says

    …but who is this mysterious ‘intelligent agent’ given this isn’t about sneaking a very specific form of Christianity into schools? Does the person pictured at 4m08s (or -3m.33s) know?

  52. MartinM says

    As everyone says, I’m way too mellow in person, and the film crew was probably as disappointed as my fans are that I didn’t breathe fire for them. There will probably be some brief partial clip somewhere in there, but I don’t anticipate much more.

    Ah, but remember the audience has no idea that you were misled as to the nature of the movie. As far as they’re concerned, you agreed to be interviewed for Expelled. So Stein can claim that you were playing nice for the camera, then pull out some fire-breathing quotes to ‘expose’ you.

  53. kcanadensis says

    I just love how they always mention the “status quo” when really, it’s atheists who are persecuted if we reveal ourselves. The religious are the ones who can throw their weight around and not worry about anyone shunning them. With the exception of science class because religion is not science!

    This movie has really irked me. I hope someone releases a counter movie, honestly. I know we have the poke-fun-at-religion movie coming out in the spring, but that is not a proper response to this bullshit.

  54. katie says

    At least he makes the god thing pretty apparent…

    I always wonder why they go after Dawkins. He’s not the president of a university, a journal editor, really anybody that could affect your career (as far as I know). He’s just a writer. And him being hostile towards creationists doesn’t really prove anything about a conspiracy.

  55. Bee says

    I predict this film will bomb in Canada. I can’t think of a single person I know, religious or not, who’d bother to go see it, as it sounds irretrievably boring. (Sorry, PZed, not even your likely brief, if illustrious, appearance would compell me to pay money to see it.)

  56. James Bishop says

    Yar, we need be piratin’ this movie before it comes out, to hack into their coffers, and provide us a merry laugh without payin’ the bastards. Yar!

  57. says

    The clip Godwins us at about 2:10, with shots of Hitler; later, after showing us the “persecuted” “scientists”, we get a few shots of Nazi concentration camps.

    Oh, we get more than that. there’s a shot of the ovens around 5:10. It looks to me as though Stein visited at least Dachau (the 1933-1945 plaque looks like the one at Dachau) and Auschwitz (I think those ovens are the recreation of the Krema–which were destroyed when the Nazis abandoned the ahead of the advancing Red Army–at Auschwitz).

  58. Louis says

    Oh my dear fucking FSM!

    I have never seen such dishonest propaganda!

    This is going to be hilarious, that piece of shit is going to get so thoroughly torn to shreds it’s going to be ugly.

    This is a violent death throw of ID.


  59. Steve P. says


    You’re right, and that’s an incredibly important point.

    Dawkins’ quote isn’t a mine, it’s an edit mid-sentence.

    This really points out the incredible hypocrisy of Stein’s quote that strong theories should be confident in the face of disagreement.

  60. zer0 says

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the whole Mud and Lightning bit Abiogenesis anyways. I know they have a very poor grasp on what Evolution actually is/states, but that’s pretty amazing they confuse it with a completely different theory. Will the IDists be claiming that evil darwin keeps us all tethered to the ground, and if it weren’t for darwinists we could all ascend to the heavens at our whim?

  61. Cold One says

    “It would be better, though, if we had some millions of dollars and a professional production crew to counter their glib lies with some well-presented truths.”

    Uh yeah, because it’s not like anybody’s ever heard of Darwin or evolution or anything…

  62. Chris says

    I got it! We can make a drinking game out of the movie. Quote-mining = 1 drink. Straw-men= 2 drinks etc. Or a Bingo Game. I think PZ posted a Bingo game on here before. Perhaps we could make a better one. When you’re watching the movie in the theaters. You Yell bingo along with the winning argument that was presented! ex. Bingo for the Straw-man. When your close to bingo you can start repeating over and over what you need to get bingo. ex.. Come on all I need is a quote mine and I got bingo…Come on.

  63. MartinM says

    We can make a drinking game out of the movie. Quote-mining = 1 drink. Straw-men= 2 drinks etc.

    Obviously a stealth creationist trying to kill us all through alcohol poisoning.

  64. says

    Well done cinematically it may be, but no one should suppose that it’s going to convince anybody other than the already paranoid (no matter how large that contingent is, it’s never been part of civilization). They’re too paranoid, too stupid, and the timing is bad.

    If they’d wanted to score points, they really should have made the film pre-Dover, since Kitzmiller was where Behe jumped the shark (he was given grudging respect prior to that, while he’s seen about the equal of Dembski now) and the appalling dishonesty of Thomas Moore Center, the DI, and local creos were exposed. At least the morons should have come out with it prior to PBS’s show, in order to try to poison that well. The truth is that ID has poisoned its own well, and no matter how much they flail about “suppression” and the big bad evilutionists, their only real audience is a bunch of idiots.

    No film critic will call it anything but a bunch of drivel, except possibly the egregious Medved. Whether it’s Godwin’s law coming down on them, or the general lack of evidence and honesty, nearly all fair-minded folk will see it for the smear campaign that it is.

    Or at least they will so long as the blogs, some of the media, and PBS, continue to expose such calumny. The truth is that it’s not easy to win with anything that over-the-top, even though I expect that it will provide the mutton that such wolves desire, in the form of revenue and tiresome repetitions of long-exploded nonsense.

    Too bad for the sheep, but no one can keep them from proffering their throats to the wolves in transparent sheepskins such as Ruloff, Miller, and Stein are. Let’s continue to expose them to those who still have eyes, and we might as well have some fun doing it.

    Glen D

  65. says

    They’re basically looking for that lame Jack Chick tract to play out in schools across America (the one where the bright young Aryan evangelical confronts the dark sweaty Darwinist teacher in class and shows him up… in Chick’s fevered dreams).

    We need a counter-film: Projection, in which kids turn their cells phones on in class and record all of this “oppression.” Stein’s film looks like a bunch of talking heads blatting hearsay. Actual images (evidence) of christian preaching in the classroom and evolution being squashed would make an impact.

  66. Doc Bill says

    I thought it interesting that as Stein droned on about scientists who have been persecuted, lost their jobs, had their reputations trashed that they showed pictures of Wells, Behe, Meyers, Sternberg – all of whom are gainfully employed, most of whom are publishing books and, in fact, are making a better living being anti-Darwinists than they would being Darwinists. I fail to see the down side Stein is trying to portray.

    (Sorry for saying “Darwinist,” PZ, I’ll go gargle some ouzo or something.)

  67. says

    Far too heavy-handed to appeal to anyone but the choir.

    The DI won’t like it either, because it further undermines their argument that ID isn’t necessarily about God (I lost count of the number of religiously-oriented clips – punctuated by the obligatory horror slides of “atheism in action” – that appeared in the trailer).

    No mention is made, of course, of a certain trial in the 1920’s. One that resulted in the subsequent sidelining of a particular scientific theory (that actually was a theory, rather than a piece of flawed abductive reasoning) for over 50 yrs, because it didn’t gel with the opinions of The Authority.

  68. says

    And there’s not even a hint of irony that Ben Stein is terribly concerned about what might happen to him as the result of narrating a well-funded propaganda film supported by several institutions and a large mass of dumb-fuck religionists (no, I didn’t say that includes all religious people).

    Hint to Ben the teacher: When no-talent writers and heavily-biased scientists pushing religion into a science that has no use for it can drone on without any fear of punishment (except in free associations expressly developed to deal with empirical knowledge rather than prejudice), the word for such a regime is not “persecution”.

    By the way, Sternberg claimed not to be pushing religion. Try to keep your lies consistent, Ben.

    Glen D

  69. says

    Would Meyer’s paper really be allowed in Einstein’s time? Of course not, and Einstein would be one of those opposed to such nonsense (implicitly or explicitly).

    Expelled does tell one rather interesting truth, by contrast to the lie about Einstein’s time, which is that Meyer’s paper would run into no problems in Galileo’s time. That’s right Ben, science was persecuted in Galileo’s time, while religious bilge such as Meyer wrote and Sternberg (almost certainly) shepherded through, was welcome.

    And there is absolutely nothing that prevents Meyer and Sternberg from telling their various lies in movies, in print, and across the internet today. Their complaint is that science is doing its job, by keeping religiously-inspired nonsense out of the journals.

    I’ve noted this before elsewhere, but there’s a very serious conflict between their demands that justice be done in the courts by using real evidence, while they try to use the courts to undermine the science that produces a significant amount of the evidence needed for these courts. There is no untangling the stupidity of Stein and company.

    Glen D

  70. says

    The media, the courts, the educational system, everyone is after the stupid theocrats who can’t abide by the rules of science (and yes, it’s pretty clear that collectively they do indeed wish to force their lies into the science curricula, whatever their stooge (Meyer?) said in this piece).

    Yet they move around the country giving speeches, making a considerable amount of money sans science, and vilifying their opponents.

    Gee, Ben, you mean to say that Sternberg and other manipulators of the system are ostracized? Say it isn’t so, surely science should have no standards, and the constant barrage of outright lies about “persecution” should never be stopped or countered.

    Glen D

  71. Rey Fox says

    “This is a conspiracy not just by scientists, but by the media, courts and educational system.”

    But TO WHAT END? It’s not like “Darwinists” are asking for money all the time or preaching authoritarianism! I’ve never been able to understand that.

  72. says

    For the sake of completeness, I should also note that Stein is egregiously dishonest when he conflates his own “concerns” about abiogenesis with the anti-science output of Meyer, Sternberg, Wells, and Behe. The fact is that he’s on record as supposing that Darwin may very well have been on to something, while his major “criticism” is that we claim that life came from lightning striking some mud (OK, he’s stupidly conflating abiogenesis with Frankenstein movies, but he does seem to be genuinely that ignorant).

    Of course there is no lightning strike in Darwin at all, only a warm little pool, or even a Creator of first life, and these are marked by Darwin as speculations. But he’s talking on that clip as if he were at least an IDist, or even as if he believed that rocks were specially created by Divine agency.

    Apparently there is no limit to Stein’s dishonesty, for not only is his spiel undigested nonsense taken straight from dissemblers like Sternberg and Wells, he quite obviously, and without any apparent qualms, misrepresents his own position.

    Perhaps they should come out with a film telling us why honesty is unimportant to science, let alone to ID. Surely we’re not opposed to the dishonesty of Wells and Meyer, not at all. Why should we care, when Stein and company do not, about integrity? No, indubitably it’s all about “Darwinism,” when truth doesn’t even register on their side.

    It’s really all they have now, their complaint that liars are treated poorly by those who have integrity.

    Glen D

  73. says

    Please oh please oh please let this movie find its way into the hands of the writers of Mystery Science Theatre 3000……

  74. says

    I think the thing with the janitor is that he used to be a scientist but now wipes floors because he’s a creationist. It’s very badly done but I guess that’s what they tried to do.

  75. Siamang says

    I think the funniest part is Ben in his afro during his “activist” days.

    Like “Cool, man, dig the hippy writing speeches for that cool cat Nixon!”

    Fantastic idea for the ID crowd: hire as your narrator a man famous for his boring monotone drone! Why how very very unsmart of you, brainiacs.

  76. Jeff says

    Ben has misunderstood his own fame. He is best known for saying “Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…”

  77. ouini says

    Stein makes this painfully incomplete and bass-ackwards syllogism:

    – In my experience, people who are confident in their ideas are not afraid of criticism.
    – So that tells me the Darwinists are afraid. They’re hiding something.

    Huh. I never learned the “All M are ~P, therefore S are P.” syllogism. But hey, this is about rhetoric, not logic. And I get that he’s insinuating that Evolutionists are not confident in their ideas.

  78. Gib says

    OK, since Behe has shown that plagurism is OK, I propose that someone redub that “expelled” trailer, and even the movie when it comes out.

    Call it “Round earth – expelled”.

    Wherever Stein mentions “ID”, dub over the top “flat earth”. When he mentions “darwinism”, dub “spherical earth”.

    When he says “darwinists believe we came from mud”, dub “spherical-earthers believe that there are people on the bottom of the earth that don’t fall off”.

    Let’s have him crying about how the flat earth theory is being expelled from science.

    If I had the time, and talent, I’d do it myself. Any takers ? Anyone, anyone ?

  79. Lyle G says

    Starts off with ‘created by a loving God…’ Hummm even if there were evidence of creation, how do you deduce ‘loving’? Why not a sadistic Deity who rejoyces in human suffering, or a cold experimentalist who just wants to see how the culture turned out.

  80. arachnophilia says

    what was that bit about how intelligent design would have been acceptable “in the era of galileo or einstein, but this is the era of darwin”?

    i mean, that one statement reads wrong in three different ways. first of all, darwin lived before einstein. so if anything, this is the einstein’s era. second, and correct me if i’m wrong, but wasn’t galileo somewhat known for arguing against the commonly held religiosity of his day regarding the way the universe worked, using science? sure, intelligent design would have been totally acceptable then — but that’s a heck of a misuse of someone’s name. third, it just plain reads like modern science has bested theological mumbo-jumbo. it would have squeeked by back then, but NOW…

    i mean, two of those are basic history factoids. the other is basic english argument structuring. and no one has commented yet on how ridiculous and obvious this one sentance is? i was hoping such idiocy would be apparent to everyone.

    now, i guess, my only real hope for the movie is that ben stein will narrate. after all, i don’t believe in sleep-osmosis learning.

  81. R Slade says

    Give me proof – and I will accept God,
    simple as that.

    The last 2000 years generated none, but keep’em coming..

  82. Michael Ralston says

    Ouini: To be fair, they’re not saying All M are ~P, therefore all S are P.

    What they’re saying is “All M are ~P, and everyone knows that S are P, therefore S are ~M.”

    The fact that this is, of course, not true, is beside the point.

    It’s logically valid! …but “darwinists” aren’t afraid of criticism, they/we are annoyed at lies.

  83. madjon says

    I just watched the trailer…

    Ha Ha Ha!

    I didn’t realise it was a comedy show. Can’t wait for the full monty.

  84. says

    Thank you. This post is a silver lining. Thank you for all you’ve done on this subject.

    The similarities between the tactics used in the movie and the tactics used by W in the beginning of the war are striking. The word “freedom” is awefully abused these days.

  85. Jim says

    Can you prove or say with absolute certainty there is no God. (not unless you are eternal, everywhere present, and all knowing) No more then I can say there is. Sure we can all argue various points regarding our positions but that IS the bottom line. My point? You are presupposing things you can not prove when you rule out a Creator. The different between people of faith and atheists is at least they are honest and call it what is actually is, faith. You dare not admit you must have faith to hold your position. That would make you like “them.” God forbid! Opps sorry.

  86. Owlmirror says

    You are presupposing things you can not prove when you rule out a Creator.

    Actually, I haven’t ruled out a creator.

    However, I have ruled out an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator, and the creator of the Abrahamic religions. That doesn’t require “faith”; it simply requires clear reason. I’m as certain of it as I am sitting here and typing this.

    Meanwhile, science has come up with many theories based on lots of evidence for a universe in which, so far, no creator has been shown to be necessary. I’m not presupposing anything I cannot prove, there.

  87. Ichthyic says

    Sure we can all argue various points regarding our positions but that IS the bottom line.

    nice burden shifting, Jimmy.

    right back at ya:

    Can you PROVE or say with absolute certainty that there is a God?

    your argument consists of nothing more than projection and burden shifting.

    …and everybody has seen it a million times before.


    god forbid you should recognize an argument that has existed since the idea of deities was invented to begin with.

    oops, sorry.

  88. Jim says

    Read my comments again IchthyicY. Did I not say “…no more then I can say there is…” You obviously missed my point. My point is quit trying to hide behind your so called intellectualism as IF your position is soley based on “facts” and any different then that of a theist. You must have faith JUST LIKE we theists must. Pay attention before you open your mouth and insert foot next time.

    p.s. you also might want to take a nap before you comment next time so you aren’t yawning. Kinda rude, don’t you think.

  89. Jim says

    Hi Owlmirror. Thanks for the comments, though I am not sure how ruling out a creature of the Judaic variety only requires “clear reason” and not faith. Not disagreeing necessarily, just not clear on what you mean or why you have draw that conclusion.

  90. eric says

    I just read all the comments, this film seems to have caused some controversy even on this web page, People have gotten deffensive over just the preview of this film. I think its interesting. Why bash it. I think watching this film will be very inlighting to many people. After all no can say for sure that there is no God…

  91. Sven DiMilo says

    Some people would just rather be deffensive than inlighted, I guess.