More empty posturing from Ruloff and Mathis

The producers of Expelled aren’t exactly the brightest bunch. Their latest blog entry is a silly whine about me.

Paul is one of the stars in the film EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. He’s probably remembering all of the things that he said on camera, when we interviewed him and faithfully recorded it all. That couldn’t be making him feel very good.

Their movie is doomed if they’re relying on my star power to draw in the audiences … and I’ve noticed that all the early reviews found my performance so unmemorable that they failed to remember what I said. (Trust me, it’s the only thing I’m looking for in the reviews, and I even wrote to ask one reviewer if he’d noticed me — he hadn’t.) And actually, I don’t remember precisely what I said in the interview, nor am I concerned about it. I get interviewed on this stuff all the time, and I say what I think without concern. If they’d like to release the complete recording of my interview, I’d be happy to host it unedited; if it’s so damning, they should be thrilled to do so.

But mainly, I’m baffled. They’ve got Eugenie Scott and Richard Dawkins in the movie — and they’re playing up the role of some obscure guy with a blog? And it’s a “modest science-blog” at that!

Now it appears that the associate professor Myers is regretful, and lashing out against the film again in his modest science-blog, “Pharyngula,” attempting to mitigate the inevitable criticism of his performance, in advance. His latest is a vein-popping, eyes – bulging, 3,000 word, eleven-screen diatribe posted on his website, a “critique” of a simple eight-hundred word editorial that the producers of EXPELLED wrote on Darwin Day.

From his lengthy, over-the-top screed, we can’t really sort out what it is that upset him so, but one thing is painfully obvious: he is literally sweating over the upcoming release of our film.

Hmmm. That “vein-popping, eyes – bulging, 3,000 word, eleven-screen diatribe” actually went through the false claims in their mere editorial fairly thoroughly, pointing out the errors. If they want to complain that they made so many egregious mistakes that it took 3,000 words to document most of them, that’s fine by me.

They don’t seem very perceptive, though. I am not at all “upset” or “sweating” over their movie, or my interview. There was a lot of similar babbling after the movie was announced that I was going to sue them, which was similarly incomprehensible and completely divorced from what I was actually thinking; they seem to believe that I’m sitting here raging over having my words reported in a movie, when every day I’m openly and immoderately arguing against religion right here on the web, without a pseudonym and without reservation. Their movie can only fall far short of portraying the depth of my contempt for the charlatans of creationism. I know full well what criticisms I’m going to get about my performance in this movie: I will be told that I don’t come across as sufficiently fire-breathing in person.

The reason I wrote that criticism of their editorial was simple. They’re liars. They lied. They’re ignorant. They made up crap.

It’s actually rather funny how often the purveyors of nonsense make complaints that someone has made a lengthy criticism of their distortions, in which the whole issue is not the substance of the criticism, but the mere fact that a criticism has been made. Go ahead, search in vain throughout their blog entry, and you’ll discover that they completely ignored every point I made, and their entire argument is reduced to the fact that there were 3000 words in my article.


  1. says

    These guys have enough time to count the words in your commentary and pay attention to how many screen pages were required to view it on their monitors. (They’re watching you! Feel intimidated yet, PZ?) Hmm. Perhaps they have time to spare because they’re grounded (licenses suspended for speeding), living alone (bad in bed), untutored by spiritual counsel (excommunicated for their sins), and out of school (dismissed without degrees for lousy research).

    This is just a theory, of course.

  2. says

    404 again. Freedom of speech? Hah! Freedom of information? Haha!

    Is Christopher Guest behind this so he can have one on over all of us? His other mockumentaries were too obviously comedies. This one is more subtle.

  3. Lilly de Lure says

    We’re dealing with a movie that is so bad that they actually have to bribe people to go see it. They’re desperate people pathetically glad that someone actually noticed them at all.

    Admittedly it was to blow them out of the water, but at least PZ noticed them.

  4. szqc says

    Mike H: Good concept but Christopher Guest would use a better actor than Ben…

    For PZ’s use is the future, in the best spirit of quote mining used by some on those poor perseucted cdesignpropentioists:

    “When the film comes out in April – we … have some explaining to do – … The truth sometimes hurts … can’t control the message: it’s why we made EXPELLED.

    the film again … is a vein-popping, eyes – bulging … diatribe … over-the-top screed … painfully obvious …”

  5. Alan B. says

    “…their entire argument is reduced to the fact that there were 3000 words in my article.”

    Actually, only a little over half of those words were yours. The rest were quotes that you included so as to give your readers a context for your words – a concept that seems to escape Ruloff and Mathis.

  6. Theodore says

    Funny. IDers love to claim that large numbers prove intelligent design (the odds prove it!) but then whine that a large 3,000 word blog proves unintelligence. I wish they’d make up their minds.

  7. says

    To be fair to them, a blog post must seem like an awful lot to read if you have to drag your index finger down the screen, silently mouthing the letters as you go and stopping for a well-earned rest after difficult words like “ahistorical”.

  8. tyaddow says

    This might be the evolution of a new creationist argument: “You’re very angry at me, therefore I’m right.”

    We could call it “The Argument From Outside Criticism”. It pulls about as much weight as any other creationist argument if you ask me.

  9. king j says

    Here is a little post from my oldest daughter from her own blog, I love this kid!!!

    Stein’s involved in a project entitled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. No, I’m not linking to their site, as it would be tantamount to me putting up a bunch of kiddy porn on here and saying “AIN’T THIS TEH SEXAY!?!?”. In short, Stein and some other half-human fuckwits have made a farce of a documentary about how the proponents of one of the greatest pseudoscientific movements of our time, Intelligent Design, are being picked on by, you know, actual scientists who have real facts and stuff. Let’s hope no one goes to see it and they have something real to cry about.

    My father has been hanging out on the “Expelled” blog quite a bit, trying to argue with the pimple-popping twits that post there. My opinion? Arguing with people who probably need tin foil hats to leave the house and tend to worship a badly edited book (ie. The Bible) is like trying to teach Emperor Penguins to yodel. You’re not going to accomplish much, you’ll get frustrated and pissed off in the process, plus, you must be a masochist to even attempt such a feat in the first place. If someone’s wedded to how they FEEL, especially in the face of tons and tons of evidence to the contrary, I might as well masturbate with some sandpaper for all the good it will do me to try and change their pea-sized minds. Dad keeps persisting, though, as does one of my favorite science blogs, Pharyngula. PZ dressed down one of the most recent Expelled blog entries in his usual fashion. Thank you, PZ!

    What gets me most about ID people is they constantly try and paint themselves as “persecuted skeptics”. Why on Earth would you expect the people who have buried every argument you’ve ever made (scientists) to respect your continued, purposeful ignorance? That’s the definition of crazy, there, folks.

    If you want to insist your world is flat and rather burrito-shaped, you have fun with that, but STFU in public, already. The States look stupid enough to the rest of the world as it is.

    I will have to work with this child so that she can learn to express herself more clearly though.

    Thanks PZ and all the others I have seen trying to put a little sanity in the expelled blog. I just wish I could do more and better myself.

  10. CForrester says

    I love this phrase they’ve coined: Big Science. Oooo, scary. When Big Science gets a hold of PZ, watch out. Big Science is gonna get you. WTF? The masters of spin and hype have coined a phrase. Yea for them. (Yawns and moves on)

  11. rjb says

    I love it… at their blog, under “intelligent quote of the day” is the following:

    “Stein, you should be ashamed of yourself for not having actually LOOKED at the facts and instead plunging into selling snakeoil and conning the marks for profit.”

    Hee hee.

  12. QrazyQat says

    Here’s what I posted as a comment on their blog (I see my comment is awaiting moderation at February 18th, 2008 at 10:51 am — I’m sure they’ll have it posted very soon… aren’t you?):
    I see PZ Myers has offered to host the entire unedited video of his interview on his site, or it could be put on YouTube or Google Video. That would show him, wouldn’t it, if it’s as damning as you say. So why don’t you take him up on it. I’ll be looking forward to see you put up or shut up, with the entire unedited interview available online. So when will that be ready? It should only take a couple hours, tops.
    BTW, here’s a screengrab of the comment. Not that I think they won’t post it.

  13. Eric says

    This might be the evolution of a new creationist argument: “You’re very angry at me, therefore I’m right.”

    We could call it “The Argument From Outside Criticism”. It pulls about as much weight as any other creationist argument if you ask me.

    Sounds like a variation on the Galileo Fallacy.

  14. Sigmund says

    I don’t know, maybe there is some real entertainment to be had from this movie!
    How about a Rocky Horror style reception from us fellow devotees of academic freedom – Flying Spaghetti Monster style!
    Every part of the movie that doesn’t rely on bold-faced lies, distortions or misrepresentation we promise not to fling spaghetti about. And we promise never to honk horns (Harpo-style) when DI ‘experts’ tell the truth on camera. That’s fair, isn’t it?

  15. says

    When it comes to criticism, it seems like Ruloff and Mathis are more concerned with attacking the messenger than what people are actually saying. Indeed, they’ve clearly wandered off into the crowded land of ad hominem prattle instead of taking a moment to address the lies and deceptions you’ve pointed out to them, PZ.

    I almost feel sorry for anyone involved in this film if their PR campaign involves such embarrassing and childish tactics.

  16. Louis says

    I think that everybody is born with certain mental ages stamped onto them. Bear with me here, it gets relevant! I think genus “creationistus” (order kookusmaximus) and its various species and subspecies is comprised of individuals who have a sexual mental age of “sniffy maiden aunt”, an intellectual mental age of “extremely senile” and a conversational mental age of “kindergarden playground”.

    If scientists engage them and try to explain that creationist drivel has holes a mile wide involved or is a mindless load of pant-soiling crapola the creationist retort is: Ha you talked to me I must be important.

    If scientists ignore creationists and try to get on with the day to day work of real science whilst letting these tinfoil hat wearing mental masturbators carry on their whining the creationist response is: Waaaaaah you are so arrogant and elistist in your ivory towers and/or hahahaha you is ofraid of my ighty warriorness, look how scared the scientist is of my creationist masterliness and/or a combination of sitting in basements plotting “Teh Overfwow of Teh Matewialithm” (WATERLOO!!! WATERLOO!!!! VICE PICCIES AND FART NOISES ON STANDBY!)

    If scientists (or anyone) tell creationists that they are the aforementioned crapola spewing, tin foil chapeau sporting, forthing fuck knuckles they undoubtedly are and that this “ID is science really not religion” vomit that they eject on a regular basis is just so much breathtaking inanity then the cry is: PERSECUTION!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAH!!!!! protect me from the mean scientist who called me a muppet.

    It’s the behaviour of the child in the playground who thinks he/she can beat up the other kids but gets one hell of a shock when the other kids stand up to him/her and give him/her what they deserve, i.e a damn good kick right in the carrot and onions (or associated ladyparts).

    In all this wankery surrounding “Expelled” (real title “Flunked: How IDcreationism failed its exams and got laughed at”) the BEST rebuttal to PZ’s comments is: WAAAAAH LONG!!! My tiny brain cannot understand long, so PZ must be angwy, WAAAAAAH!. I have two words for the “Expelled” boys, the second one of those words is “off”.


  17. says

    I only count 8 screens. But I’ve got a bigger monitor (hur-hur) and I know how to use it…

    Also, I can’t possibly give you full marks for the 8 pages of “polemics” you produced. Possibly half of what was in the post were quotes. And while I feel they were necessary, to avoid the appearance of quote mining, as an essay, it was quite padded as rants go.

  18. says

    Over at the Expelled site: “Can anyone even imagine a tenured professor at a reputable university spending so much time obsessing over a film that he hasn’t even seen?”

    Ha! I get it! They’re concerned that PZ was drawn away from his professorial responsibilities because he’s obsessed about Expelled. How kind of them to be concerned. They probably saw his post, counted the words, and said to themselves, “Oh, dear, 3000 words (even if half of them are quotes)! Dr. Myers must have spent several days working on it, because no mere human could write so much in less than a week or so. We know, because that’s how long it would take us! We must admonish him!”

  19. says

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

    Yeah, Big Science makes members of the media sign non-disclosures before they can review a pre-pub version of a paper. Oh, wait. No. That’s hack movie-makers that do that! My bad.

  20. says

    I notice that (amazingly!) there are NO responses to that blog entry on the Expelled site. My guess is that they are all “waiting moderation” like mine.

    Have I been expelled from the Expelled site! Such a bastion of support for intellectual freedom surely wouldn’t do a nasty thing like filter its blog to only contain favorable entries. Say it ain’t SO, Ben!

  21. says


    I’ve got a comment in limbo over there as well. It seems they have moderation on for all posts and just do mass clearances from time to time.. Last time I had a two comments in mod for several hours but they both showed up.

  22. Geral says

    I’m sorry but every time I visit their site I can’t get passed the “No Intelligence Allowed” banner. It’s too bad they took it before I did, because it would make a great parody saying.

  23. DZHO says

    I love that after reading a point-by point description of how they are lying, ignoring context, etc, etc. they “can’t really sort out what it is that upset him”. Aren’t they admitting that they are either (a)too dumb to understand or (b)unethical?

  24. Bernard Bumner says

    …From his lengthy, over-the-top screed, we can’t really sort out what it is that upset him so…

    Which part of “…they wrote a blog post that was a solid wall of lies and nonsense…”, did they not understand?

  25. Jit says

    Almost all the commenters on their blog are panning them. It’s interesting that they DON’T simply delete them. Maybe they prefer to appear to be ‘happening’ rather than ‘unchallenged’?

  26. KatReagan says

    I did not even need to read your two posts to realize the posts distort facts, reasons, dripping with creationist propaganda (what I now call “Big Ben Steinism”) and sometimes outright lies. Ben Stein proved this within his first paragraph. Thanks for hitting him on the ass for throwing the first temper tantrum. Too bad he didn’t learn his lesson the first time.

    PS. My creationist friend also thinks “Big Ben Steinism” is obnoxious too.

    PSS. You have to thank Ben for pointing out your blog. After reading his blogs and then reading yours – I must say yours is more concise, clear and acute. Cheers!!

  27. Rheinhard says

    Yay! I got in Comment#7

    Actually I think this rather shows the fear and desperation of the IDiots behind EXPELLED. That they are casting about for any desperate example of so-called “intolerance” that they are forced to hold up an example of a blog post (a BLOG POST) as the “Big Science Office of Inquisition”. Hahahahaha! If a scathing blog post is the worst criticism you morons have to endure I don’t think your whining about oppression holds much water.

    Not to mention, it may not have been to smart of you to hightlight PZ’s post, since it demolishes so magnificently so many of the blatant errors and outright lies contained in your “Darwin Day” post. But hey, if you want to help people more easily find out where Ben Stein and pals are lying, more power to you!

  28. says

    The Expelled producers are looking for “intolerant” quotes for their publicity, so they can show how persecuted they are.

  29. Eric Paulsen says

    Are we sure there even IS a movie? Maybe this manufactured controversy is all they were going for.

  30. Ryan F Stello says

    when we interviewed him and faithfully recorded it all.

    Something tells me that they don’t get that’s the problem.

  31. says

    I suspect that the criticism I’m seeing here is all misdirected.

    Michael Moore has demonstrated that so-called documentaries can earn one a very nice living if they play into the preconceived notions of a significant demographic. Accuracy isn’t really important. It seems to me that Ben Stein is making the same play but for a different crowd. They love all this attention (accuracy isn’t a goal after all) because they see it as simply greasing the skids towards what they truly worship — money.

  32. Mr Christopher says

    I thought some of you who want to see this movie but don’t want to put any money in Ben’s pocket might be interested in how I plan to view it.

    Assuming this pig plays in my city, I’m going to buy a ticket for a really dumb movie that’s playing at the same cinema. Hopefully one the fundies find offensive.

    I’ll buy THAT ticket to get me in the cimema and then walk in the theater that’s showing Ben’s pig.

    I get to watch the movie and Ben does NOT win my money! What’s cooler than that?

    Maybe others will like this strategy.


  33. Sastra says

    Now it appears that the associate professor Myers is regretful, and lashing out against the film again in his modest science-blog, “Pharyngula” …

    “Modest” science-blog? Oh my, yes, you should feel offended.

    Pharyngula is an ARROGANT science-blog. What’s with these people?

  34. raven says

    They’re operating from the usual “All publicity is good publicity” principle. The prepanning isn’t a problem for them.

    This is a Stalin/Coral Ridge style propaganda film. If it makes money fine, it not, that wasn’t the main purpose anyway.

    Don’t pay to see this film
    See it for free. It will soon be coming to a church, church school, or Xian TV station near you. It is an updated version of From Darwin to Hitler and will suffer the same fate of being rerun for decades. I wouldn’t want to support these guys with a few bucks even if it was amusing in a horror film sort of way.

  35. says

    I’m worried that you’re getting top billing PZ, because they have edited your part to a pulp and turned you into something you most certainly are not. Has anyone suggested bringing your own camera (or concealed audio recorder) to these types of interviews so you can post the full unedited version here as a contrast to the hack job they will inevitably try to pull off as genuine? You’d have a bit of an insurance policy and yet more proof that not only are they wrong, they’re outright liars.

  36. Rheinhard says

    You know, given the intense focus the Expelled blog whores lavish on PZ, coupled with his arrogant evilutionist stridency, it seems very likely that when this movie comes out, PZ will be getting a lot of requests for appearances and interviews from small newspapers to the biggest talking head shows (I for one am certain O’Reilly will be doing a big push for this film since he has already had Stein on once or twice about the subject already).

    Are you prepared for this PZ? Have you given this much thought? If the gasbag O’Reilly were to issue a summons to appear on “The Factor” (no one blocks his shot!), would you go?

    Hopefully since it’s not coming out till April (which is usually toward the end of the term) having your 15 minutes of fame won’t interfere too much with the professoring.

  37. rpenner says

    They are showing the “unfinished version” to small groups of churchy press whom they try to make sign non-disclosure agreements. Someone has made the hypothesis that this is because they haven’t arranged for rights clearance for all of the animation, stock footage and/or music.

    Someone commented on the inappropriateness of Ben Stein dressing up like Angus Young of AC/DC and not getting an AC/DC song. But perhaps AC/DC doesn’t want to associate with this movie or wants more money or the producers were too lame to make the connection.

  38. says

    Louis noted that:

    ‘… this “ID is science really not religion” vomit that they eject on a regular basis is just so much breathtaking inanity…’

    Which I completely agree with. With Louis, anyhow, not with the IDers. But have you noticed that while they are running around screaming about ID being science and not religion, they are at the exact same time spouting off silly comments about science being a religion? How stupid do they really think we are, to try a bait-and-switch tactic like this?

    Is it that hard for them to come to terms with the idea that science has its level of prestige because unlike religion (which has been around much longer), science can actually make accurate predictions?
    I mean geez–religion has already had its day. For the record, it has had a few millennia to make a concise case. Science, in the past thousand years has made advances that far surpass those created by religion time and time again. But since religion clearly can’t compete, they’re trying to hijack the reputation of science–real science–for their own cause, simultaneously equating real science with their own antiquated worldviews.

    If the filmmakers for EXPELLED! are combing through here, looking for quotes to mine (likely, since it’s apparent that this “modest” blog has their attention), then here is my own contribution: “The ID group consists of con men who use underhanded tactics–tactics that con men have used for ages. If I had one wish, it would be to see the day when they are marched before the masses and publicly ridiculed for teaching fantastic lies in the place of truth, and are held accountable for every bit of suffering in the world that their twisted views have promoted and justified.”

  39. LisaJ says

    #38: Great idea! This is exactly what I was planning on doing. I’ve gotta see this thing to believe it, but I’m definitely not paying for it.

  40. Kcanadensis says

    I’m amused that they seem to know what your face looked like as you typed the blog up. Eye-bulging? Wow.
    These types always seem to chalk atheist writers up as screaming, tormented maniacs, when really what writers like yourself and Dawkins are doing is being calm and rational and pointing out their stupid mistakes. They are probably the ones with the popping veins when they sputter at their computer screen, trying to wrap their brains around the points you’ve made and unable to understand why everyone can see through their bullshit.

  41. Tom L says

    My post on their website, currently awaiting moderation:

    “Why not count words? Counting words is quite illuminating in this case. By all means, let’s count some words.

    MS Word reports a word count of 3056 for the entire post. Of that total, 977 appear to be direct quotes from your post, as revealed by deletion of PZ Myers’ paragraphs and running word count again on what remains. That means that PZ Myers wrote 2079 words, not the “three thousand” that you claim. So, according to you, 977 == “eight hundred” while 2079 == “three thousand.” Do you play as fast and loose with all your statistics?

    Three thousand versus eight hundred sounds like (very roughly) a four-to-one response to your post, which makes it sound much more like the foaming-at-the-mouth that you are trying to depict. In reality, the ratio is much closer to half that: two thousand words of rebuttal to one thousand words of original. Why would you distort this ratio so grossly?

    Clearly you are trying to leave a particular impression in the minds of your readers. The impression that I am left with is: a) you are as dishonest this time as you were in the original which PZ rebuts; and b) for a bunch of “scientists” you can’t even count. Is this an example of the care that you take with your data?

    Congratulations on embarrassing yourselves yet again.”

  42. says

    I’m sorry but every time I visit their site I can’t get passed the “No Intelligence Allowed” banner.

    Neither did intelligence, which goes a long way toward explaining the site.

  43. says

    Ever wonder if PZ’s alleged eye-bulging and vein popping were due to his heroic efforts to keep his head from imploding after reading all of that crap from their site?

  44. negentropyeater says

    “A Modest Science Blog”

    Gee, I had always been under the impression it was the Best Science Blog. At least that’s what I got when I googled these words about a year ago.

    So, if Ruloff and Mathis are right, I demand reimbursement for the Pharyngula ticket (it’s ok it cost me nothing) and I’ll buy an EXPELLED ticket.

    So, let me think, who should I trust ?
    1. Google and all the science professionals recommending Pharyngula, or
    2. this (know-nothing-about-Science-lying-)bunch ?

    One PHARYNGULA ticket is worth more to me than a google EXPELLED tickets !

  45. negentropyeater says

    Sorry, typo,

    ” One PHARYNGULA ticket is worth more to me than a googol EXPELLED tickets !”

  46. Jason I. says


    The prepanning isn’t a problem for them.

    I read this as “The trepanning isn’t a problem for them” and it made perfect sense.

  47. says

    That’s what they do when you fisk them, they whine about how much time you spend on their BS (not that it really takes very long to puncture their lies), like there’s something wrong with actually supplying evidence and sense to counter a long list of lies. That is, one demonstrates intelligence and learning, and they merely attack that in as many sleazy forms as they can think up.

    I do kind of agree with king j. I don’t (hardly) post there any more because they censored me, but I’ve tended primarily to respond to the blog nonsense, not the pathetic commenters who couldn’t think their way out of a train tunnel. True, Stein, Mathis, and Ruloff are even more stupid about science than are many of the commenters, yet they have a podium from which to speak lies, hence they should be countered.

    Of course PZ writes thousands of words about any number of subjests, including science. Try that for once, dimwitted dissembling curs, and then you might be able to actually write something that can’t be fisked in a few minutes, or anyway, no more than a couple hours if one is being really thorough.

    Glen D

  48. mojoandy says

    Let me get this straight:

    First they say they didn’t misrepresent themselves when they interviewed PZ.

    And NOW they’re saying he must SUDDENLY be regretting what he said in the interview given the movie is about to come out.

    What am I missing? Oh, that’s right: they’re filthy liars!

  49. says

    Anyhow, it’s actually quite encouraging to watch them flailing about. They’ve been answered again and again, never mind that they won’t acknowledge it, so that now they’re attacking the PZ that few know outside of the rather small scientific and pro-atheist worlds.

    Meanwhile, Stein is blithering about how no one can ask about how the laws of physics arose, all due to “Darwinism,” showing that he’s becoming even less knowledgeable about science than he once was (ID is kind of a black hole of knowledge, destroying information).

    The fact is that they’re so pathetic and flustered that they have no clue about what’s going on. They blindly hit back at those who have shown up their various sleazy tricks, so that they’re increasingly incoherent. Any “message” they thought they had is disappearing under the weight of their many lies and lacunae in knowledge. Screaming “censorship” and “persecution,” their blogs are becoming exceedingly trivial, as their personal hatred of PZ and Dawkins becomes the only issue that drives them.

    We’ve, and especially PZ along with some other bloggers, have done a great job in fisking, rattling, and trivializing these bloated sacks of pus and drivel. They began as shrill shriekers against the “Nazis” who dare to keep science focused on the evidence, and they’re losing even that “message” by becoming angry at being exposed for the dishonest and ignorant wretches that they really are.

    Keep it up PZ, you’re undermining their attempts to sound reasonable, even to naive and silly poseurs who actually are disposed to believing them. Their odious thought processes and sheer hatred of their intellectual betters are shining through the thin and increasingly tattered smokescreen of concern about “academic freedom” and all of the rest of intellectual matters, none of which do any of them understand.

    Just think, they could be supporting their movie with their latest blog, and instead they’re merely attacking and advertising PZ’s fisking of the tendentious crap that they wrote previously. It is probably as good an outcome as we could aim for.

    Glen D

  50. Jit says

    Jason B #45ish:

    “If I had one wish,
    it would be to see the day when they are marched before the masses and publicly ridiculed for teaching fantastic lies in the place of truth, and are held accountable for every bit of suffering in the world that their twisted views have promoted and justified.”

    “publicly” was the last word on the second line, and my mind automatically filled in the next word. It wasn’t ridiculed.

  51. JimC says

    These people are slime. I was informed today of a local church teaching the children to challenge biology teachers in a non-argumentative way with such questions as:

    Did we come out of the sea or the trees?

    No transistions etc. It wouldn’t be so bad if the people teaching the kids had an even 5th grade understanding of science but the use of children to further a cause is beneath contempt.

  52. Wrought says

    On the bright side… at least they link to your blog.

    Surely the law of averages (or some-such) dictates that at least one Expelled supporter will link through, read some actual science, and go “Oh yeah, I remember this evolution stuff… it does have more to it than the creationist tripe I’ve being trying to convince myself makes sense… I see the light! The scales have fallen from my eyes! Come back Darwin… all is forgiven!”


  53. mothra says

    I think we have a great opportunity to coin a new word: Edesignbensteininsist- referring to or having the properties of being 1) fractally wrong and 2) dishonest to the level of blathering incomprehensibility. c.f- cdesignproponentsist- one who blathers incoherent statements to advocate an unsupportable proposition.

    [This wikipedia entry may need further editing]

  54. Forrest Prince says

    Not only would I never pay money to see this film, I simply would never subject myself to having to sit through this much baloney sauce. I just can’t handle more than a few seconds of faith-based froth, let alone a full-length movie. But I applaud people like PZ who are not afraid to endure the rants and ravings of IDiots like Ben Stein. My deepest thanks to those who are able to listen to, and then expose, the lunatics.

    ID has been thoroughly debunked and exposed as Creationism in disguise. Clear-thinking people recognize that ID has no scientific truth within it. It is neither bias nor prejudice to reject out-of-hand any further attempts by the ID crowd to keep their dead idea bandied about. Once a claim is validly disproven it makes little sense to revisit it.

  55. rpenner says

    Glenn D, do you use “fisk” as a verb as a corruption of longtime UNIX disk-integrity-checking utility “fsck” (which is short for file-system-check back from the days when a 300 baud modem was a luxury and men had no keyboard skills).

    Also, perhaps people would like to comment on my attempt to make fundies think about what fundies do.

  56. windy says

    We’re dealing with a movie that is so bad that they actually have to bribe people to go see it.

    A pair of shifty producers and a project that seems designed to fail… now why does that sound familiar?

  57. Carlie says

    From his lengthy, over-the-top screed, we can’t really sort out what it is that upset him so,

    Why not? Were there too many big words for them? I thought it was quite clear from your “screed” what the problems were.

  58. mwb says

    They are just trolling you and your readers for page hits and ticket sales. Think of it as being similar to the scheme outspoken television pundits use to sell books and to obtain lucrative speaking engagements.

    The bias of their core audience presents no incentive to investigate the veracity of the claims made, although the fervent responses of those pointing out the failings of their arguments does present to their audience a zeal that may radicalize creationist sympathizers into signing on board and handing over some money. It also serves to goad your readers into paying to see how they use your footage.

  59. CalGeorge says

    This whole thing is getting sillier by the day.

    Has anyone been “fired, harassed, intimidated, or discriminated against for objectively presenting the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory”?

    No, I didn’t think so.

    “Students should be protected from being harassed, intimidated, or discriminated against for expressing their views about the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory in an appropriate manner.”

    Have any professor or teacher been charged with harrassment, intimidation, or discrimination because a student stupidly decides that Darwinian theory is unacceptable?

    I doubt it very much.

    These folks are making up fictitious grievances that have no merit because they bear absolutely no relation to reality.

    But I guess that’s normal operating procedure for folks who side with those who embrace all that creationist clap-trap.

  60. says

    Jit said (in response to my post at about #45)

    ‘”publicly” was the last word on the second line, and my mind automatically filled in the next word. It wasn’t ridiculed.’

    I can imagine. But I’m not of the mind for public execution. Too quick, relatively painless, tends to make them into martyrs (which is the goal of far too many of them–another chance to shriek “we’re victims!!!!” and play the pity card (nevermind that they’re not known for actually having it)), and it gives them yet another easy out from the burden of thinking responsibly. I’m just not that nice anymore.

    I say to hell with them. Let them be the ones to explain to a little girl that her blindness could have been prevented with cheap vitamin A supplements,but this kind of thinking is interfering with the plans of the “grand master and architect” that evidently knows what he is doing. Just like I think the Vatican needs to relocate to one of those disease-infested, drought-stricken, overpopulated nations where the clergy fights birth control claw, tooth, and nail.

    Much as I hate to say this, the only way that we are going to really fight this touchy-feely, pseudo-scientific, whiney-assed way of thinking is to rub their collective, self-righteous noses in the results of their findings and whack them good and hard with a rolled-up scientific journal.

    Good example would be to dress up the Archbishop of Canterbury in a burka, drop him off in the middle of Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, and let him find out firsthand why sharia isn’t a viable option. Ben Stein should have all of his medical care taken over by a rabbi, since medicine is not science, but religion is.

  61. Bubba says


    Are you prepared for this PZ? Have you given this much thought? If the gasbag O’Reilly were to issue a summons to appear on “The Factor” (no one blocks his shot!), would you go?

    Why would any progressive appear on O’Reilly? Didn’t you get the memo? Fox is not a legitimate news organization. Kudos to the Democrats for canceling their debate on Fox, denying them legitimacy.

    The message from all progressives should be that Fox is simply the propaganda organization of the Republican party. That should be repeated on blogs and on other corporate media outlets over and over. The term “Fox News Democrat” should be a badge of shame.

  62. June says

    Yes, of course the Expelled site does all it can to stir up controversy, otherwise there would be no “controversial documentary”. The ‘Intelligent Quote of The Day’ is usually a negative comment on the film, and very negative comments are listed.

    It just sounds too Boratish. Perhaps a good time to totally ignore what they are expelling?

  63. raven says

    Has anyone been “fired, harassed, intimidated, or discriminated against for objectively presenting the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory”?

    YES!!! Happens a lot. In fundie controlled areas, teaching evolution can be hazardous to your job.

    One professor was run out of U Texas Permian after being beaten up.

    Chris Comer was fired as head of the science division in Texas.

    One professor was fired at a CC in Illinois.

    A professor at Olivet was harrassed unmercifully by bigots to the point where the admin was auditing his classes.

    Phillip Johnson tried to get a teacher fired at a seminary for not being fundie enough.

    This doesn’t include the number of secondary school science teachers who were either fired, not rehired, or just gave up in fundie controlled areas. I know there are a few, it is hard to say how many.

  64. raven says

    I was informed today of a local church teaching the children to challenge biology teachers in a non-argumentative way with such questions as:

    Did we come out of the sea or the trees?

    If that is the best they have, no big deal.

    The answer of course is both. Vertebrates conquered the land during the Devonian and we came out of the trees tens of millions of years ago and started living on the ground long before we looked like we do now.

    Just look at it as a didactic moment.

  65. says

    You would think that a supporter of academic freedom would welcome a well publicized point-of-view that challenged the reigning orthodoxy in his area of supposed expertise.

    Not if it consists nearly entirely of lies, jackasses. Are you so far gone that you can’t comprehend anyone’s commitment to truth?

    And one would hope that a fair-minded associate professor would at least pay his readers and students the intellectual courtesy of seeing the film, before coming unglued over it in public.

    I would think that any fair-minded producer criticizing PZ for not seeing Expelled would, like, actually invite him to see it, instead of always inviting slack-jawed cretins and the ignorant to see it and to revel in its dishonesty and stupidity. But then, there is no fair-minded producer behind Expelled, only vile conniving a-holes.

    We’d all like to see it, so that we can point out its many faults and problems. But at least we’ve seen enough in the trailers and in the other promotional materials to judge them to be almost totally dishonest. Perhaps you’re intimating that the movie is unlike the promotional materials, thereby compounding your dishonesty.

    Of course what these liars are really saying is that they ought to be free to lie about PZ, Dawkins, and every other honest scientist out there, and no one who has been prevented from seeing should respond until the movie comes out. Real “freedom” there, huh, theo-fascist corrupters of discourse.

    That comports with their other complaint, which is that someone would actually use the freedoms we have to point out the dishonesty and ignorance of Stein and company. Everything always comes down to their endless opposition to de facto freedoms in our society, their desire to dictate via the government just what can be called “science”, and what can be criticized on the blogs.

    I’d guess that they hate the world wide web, since it provides far too much freedom for timely critiques of their most current lies (that said, PZ’s criticisms came a fair while after the blog post appeared).

    Glen D

  66. Ernst Hot says

    I think perhaps Ben Stein and his crew need to be more worried about Big Ignorance.

    Except of course, that’s too late. So much in fact, that Intelligent Design and all other forms of creationism are utterly dependent on it.

  67. Doc Bill says

    Wow! Biology is now “Big” science?

    What did you do, PZ, merge with the Physics Department?


  68. Physicalist says

    I liked this comment by Kat Reagan on the Expelled thread

    I’m boycotting this movie because it is nothing but you blogs indicate nothing but filth, the critics have indicated the movie is nothing but filth, and ID may not be filth but it surly isn’t science.

    Filth I say, Filth.

    I like it for two reasons:

    a) it’s true: Stein is clearly offering pure, untreated, intellectual sewage.

    b) it reminds me of The Princess Bride

  69. says

    #80 – No, I’m the obscure blogger…. LOL

    I wish I could laugh at the folks from Expelled – but frankly they scare me because people will believe them just because they claim to be on the side of God.

    Even though we can show how they are lying, they get a pass because they “Believe” and we don’t.


  70. jimmiraybob says

    I have successfully completed my insurgent minion mission over at Expelled – I assume the usual check will be in the mail.

    PS – Tell Soros we’re going to have to boost the budget for April.

  71. jeh says

    Believe me, you could interview these guys under false pretenses and get them to say all kinds of ridiculous & utterly offensive things that they would later regret saying. All you would have to do is get them to think they are talking to a “Christian” audience. Add in footage of crazy statements made by the likes of Pat Robertson or D. James Kennedy–or even Fred Phelps & Co. Interleave their words with video of goose-stepping Nazis and cross-burning KKK, and there you have it–a nice piece of propaganda like Expelled!

  72. raven says

    Pierce Butler:

    Raven @ 64: Got any cites or links on those firings & harassments?

    Yes, sure.

    The Olivet/Nazarene church guy is Dr. Richard Collings. He posted his story on the net on a thread on PT among other places.

    The Chris Comer purge firing in Texas was all over the media and Pandas Thumb had several threads on it.

    The Permian basin UTech harrassment case was discussed on a blog by a female scientist. IIRC, it was mentioned on buggirl or some such.

    The CC firing in Illinois was just a few months ago, discussed on Tara’s aetiology blog (IIRC maybe and PT).

    Phillip Johnson, the father of ID, lawyer at Bolt Hall, case is well known. I just read it a day or two again for the nth time. The seminary professor was a female and quite bitter about it.

    The secondary science teachers who quit under pressure are people who posted on the internet on various threads. I don’t have names or locations but they claimed there were probably a lot of them.

    From the info I gave you, a net search should pick these cases up easily enough. I got them all off the net in the first case, mostly PT, Aetiology blog, PZ blog, and a few other blogs. The Chris Comer case is notorious and I believe it was even a long article in the New York times.

    With time I could recover the original sources. This info is not that obscure and most is recent. Tell me who you are, why you care, and why should I spend my time on it.

    If you are creo, don’t bother. Just lie some more, we are used to it and that is all you can do anyway. Maybe you can find an evolutionary biology department to threaten to wipe out or a doc somewhere to kill.

    Original message below:

    YES!!! Happens a lot. In fundie controlled areas, teaching evolution can be hazardous to your job.

    One professor was run out of U Texas Permian after being beaten up.

    Chris Comer was fired as head of the science division in Texas.

    One professor was fired at a CC in Illinois.

    A professor at Olivet was harrassed unmercifully by bigots to the point where the admin was auditing his classes.

    Phillip Johnson tried to get a teacher fired at a seminary for not being fundie enough.

    This doesn’t include the number of secondary school science teachers who were either fired, not rehired, or just gave up in fundie controlled areas. I know there are a few, it is hard to say how many.

  73. raven says

    Pierce, here is one citation. Wikipedia. Read it. Phillip E. Johnson, the father of ID is apparently a total kook and a total jerk. Among other things, he is a HIV denier. Best I can say, rumor has it he is old and sick.

    wikipedia Fuller Theological seminary:

    In 2006 the seminary received attention regarding Nancey Murphy, a religious scholar at Fuller. Murphy claimed she faced a campaign to get her fired after she expressed her view that intelligent design was not only poor theology, but “so stupid, I don’t want to give them my time.”[2] Murphy, who believes in evolution, said that one of the founding members of the intelligent design movement, Phillip E. Johnson, called a trustee in an attempt to get her fired.[3] Johnson admits calling the trustee, but denies being for any action taken against her.[4]

  74. raven says

    Chris Comer has her own wikipedia bio. Quoted below. Hmmm, Texas science teachers are being forced to teach creationism. Blatantly, totally illegal. What happens when a theocracy is established. Purges, widespread violations of the law. What’s next, public burnings at the stake?

    Newpaper editorials have been critical of the actions of TEA officials,[13] including the New York Times,[14] Houston Chronicle,[15] Austin American-Statesman,[16] Corpus Christi Caller-Times,[17] Waco Tribune-Herald,[18] and Philadelphia Daily News.[19] and this event has garnered a fair amount of negative press coverage.[20]

    Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education stated that this event “underscores the politicization of science education in Texas”.[4] University of Minnesota professor PZ Meyers wrote that it was surprising that Barbara Forrest’s lecture should be viewed as improper for those interested in educating children appropriately.[21] Steven Schafersman of the Texas Citizens for Science suggests that there was a change in policy at the TEA after the appointments of Don McLeroy as Chairman of the State Board of Education and Robert Scott as Commissioner of Education.[5]

    Comer described the situation in a December 7, 2007, broadcast of Science Friday on National Public Radio.[22] Comer stated that she has received support emails from teachers across Texas expressing that they have been pressured not to teach evolution.[23]

    Over 100 Texas biology professors signed a letter on December 10, 2007 to Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott stating that TEA employees should not have to remain neutral on evolution.[24]

    Scott hinted that there was more to the story, but he did not dare speak about it for fear of being sued. “I am really frustrated with the issue, knowing the truth and not being able to talk about it,” Scott is reported as saying by the Waco Tribune-Herald.[25] Scott told The Dallas Morning News that, “You can be in favor of science without bashing people’s faith.” The New York Times reports that Comer said in response that she wanted the commissioner to indicate where Comer was “bashing anyone’s faith”. “He just doesn’t get it,” Comer opined.[10]

    The Dallas Morning News drew attention to the possible role in the Comer case played by disappointment of conservative elements of the Texas community at the decision on textbook purchases in 2003. Dentist Don McLeroy, a conservative member of the State Board of Education, was unhappy with the 2003 11-4 vote to purchase biology textbooks that did not champion intelligent design. Afterwards, he is reported to have said to a church group,

    “How can the materialistic philosophic naturalistic base dependency of Darwinism be brought into the discussion and used for our benefit? We didn’t use it. All we did was stay with evidence, and we got run over.”

    In July of 2007, McLeroy was made chairman of the State Board of Education by Texas Governor Rick Perry.[26]

    The Washington Spectator suggests that the goal was to remove Comer prior to the meetings to revise the science standards component of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills document, which will influence the design of science textbooks nationwide. The Spectator conjectures that this opportunity will be used by intelligent design supporters to more aggressively press efforts to “teach the controversy”, a Discovery Institute program to introduce creationism into the classroom and avoid legal jeopardy. Comer told the Spectator that since she was forced to resign, many teachers in rural Texas have contacted her to tell her that they are already being forced to teach creationism in Texas public school science classes.[27]

  75. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raven –

    Thanks and thanks again for the supporting detail.

    I care because I’m worried about the christocrat cultural and political power grab in general; I have no direct personal stake in any of this (in the sense of being a teacher or scientist, that is). I was not trying to bait you or commit any trolleries.

    The Chris Comer case got a lot of attention, & I’d read about the Collings case on Panda’s Thumb, but your report was the first I’d heard of the “beating up” and (ahem) expelling of the Texas/Permian professor. Physical violence is an alarming threshold to cross, and I’d hoped the Mirecki assault in Kansas was the exception, and not the beginning of a trend.

    It would seem incumbent upon NCSE, PT, et al, to maintain a database of all such episodes. Let’s hope there are never enough of these stories to justify a documentary film.

  76. raven says

    Pierce, OK. Most creos ask for facts only when they think you don’t have them. When you provide them they move the goalposts or change the subject.

    Here is the article on the death threats and assault on the UTexas professor. This incident isn’t very well known. She, BTW, no longer teaches in Texas, in fact is a long way away.

    Read the whole article at the URL. It would be funny if it wasn’t so disturbing.

    The amount of pressure on secondary school science teachers appears to be high and increasing. They don’t speak out much, probably because they have families, careers, and need the job. Odds and ends leak out anonymously on a regular basis though.

    Smiting science

    By Gwen Pearson
    On my first day of work as a new assistant professor at the Permian Basin branch of the University of Texas,…

    About a month into my first semester, I got my first hint that all was not well. I found a photograph of me from the student newspaper taped to my door with horns, blacked out teeth, and a “666” on my forehead. I took it down; another one was put up the next day. This seemed annoying but harmless.

    Shortly after, the first assignment in my evolution class was due: a written review of a Stephen J. Gould paper. Here I discovered the anger of my students at being “forced” to take a course in what they perceived was blasphemy. Although I never stated my religious beliefs, by being the teacher of this subject, I was assumed to be an atheist, a communist, and a source of evil. Here is a sample of comments garnered from those student papers:

    “The Word tells us there will be many false teachers in the end times, and I firmly believe that anyone who detracts, further interprets or lessens the context of the Word by applying worldly standards and principles is falling into Satan’s deception and rapidly becoming one of those false teachers.”

    The persuasiveness of Gould’s argument annoyed one student: “Just as some religion has attempted to manipulate with emotion, Gould has tried to coerce with intelligence.”

    I learned that one of my students was required to “confess” to the sin of attending my class before her whole church congregation. She eventually dropped out of class.

    I also ran into conflicts when I taught my environmental ethics course. At least half the class maintained there was no need to be concerned about environmental deterioration, because the Apocalypse was coming. One student wrote: “I believe the Lord instituted marriage for the purpose of procreation and He did not set limits on family size….I believe the Lord is coming back to the earth to take the Christians to Heaven before overpopulation will have a chance to destroy the earth!”

    This all became a great deal more serious when I began to get messages on my home answering machine threatening to assist me in reaching hell, where I would surely end up. I also received threatening mail messages: “The Bible tells us how to deal with nonbelievers: ‘Bring those who would not have me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ May Christians have the strength to slaughter you and end your pitiful, blasphemous life!”

    An envelope containing student evaluations from my evolution class was tampered with. A student wrote a letter to the president of the university claiming that I said in class that “anyone who believes in God gets an F.” Despite the fact that she had never been in my class, and it was clearly untrue, a full investigation of the charge ensued.

    There were other problems. Often I arrived in class to find “Dr. Feminazi” scrawled on the blackboard. An emotionally disturbed student assaulted me on campus. In town, Maurice Sendak’s award-winning book Where the Wild Things Are was removed from school libraries, as it might “confuse children as to the true nature of Beelzebub.” The California-based Institute for Creation Research (ICR) preached in the county stadium to 10,000 local people.

    I finally resigned when I received an admonition from the dean in my yearly reappointment letter to “accommodate the more intellectually conservative students with a low threshold of offensibility” in my evolution course. Rather than compromise my academic freedom, I chose to leave what seemed to be a dangerous place.

  77. Pierce R. Butler says

    Searching for “Collings” got me nowhere, but Richard Colling (still of Olivet Nazarene’s faculty, but barred from teaching biology) was written up in Newsweek, and ten times by “PvM” on Panda’s Thumb. He was covered twice by NCSE, and by five friendly neighborhood ScienceBloggers.

    If I had more time, I’d hunt for the Permian story, but without more clues, that might take a while, and my schedule is squeezed. Any more hints?

    Btw: the top “sponsored link” in Yahoo’s response to “National Center for Science Education” was :-P

  78. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oops again – I posted the above before refreshing the page: apologies for having missed your update.

    You’re right: this is appalling, both for the nastiness of the creo crusade, and for its success in driving the teacher away.

  79. raven says

    Another professor fired for teaching evolution:


    The spring of 2000 was a happy time in the professional life of Alex Bolyanatz,

    Colloquy Live: Read the transcript of a live, online discussion with Anthony J. Diekema, a former president of Calvin College and the author of Academic Freedom and Christian Scholarship.


    an assistant professor of anthropology at Wheaton College, in Illinois.

    He received a glowing review from the chairman of his department. The Faculty Personnel Committee unanimously recommended that his contract be renewed, and he was popular with students and well liked by colleagues.

    So he was stunned when a letter that December from the provost, Stanton L. Jones, said that he was recommending against the professor’s reappointment.

    “During your term at Wheaton College,” Mr. Jones wrote, “you have failed to develop the necessary basic competence in the integration of Faith and Learning, particularly in the classroom setting.”

    Wheaton is an evangelical Christian liberal-arts institution where all employees, from janitors to professors, are required to sign a statement of faith. Mr. Bolyanatz believes his career derailed over a fundamental difference of opinion about how he should introduce religion into his teaching of anthropology. Despite objections from colleagues and protests from students, the president and Board of Trustees voted against his reappointment, and he left Wheaton the following year.

    The ordeals of Mr. Bolyanatz and many other professors at the more than 100 evangelical Protestant institutions in the United States that require such faith statements — orally or in writing — have spurred charges that they violate academic freedom. Do they, in fact, defy the academic ideal of open intellectual inquiry? Are the statements — some of them generic — subject to such broad interpretation that they can be used to punish whatever teaching or lifestyle choices administrators may dislike?

    This month, Patrick Henry College, in Virginia, and the American Academy for Liberal Education brought the issue to the forefront when the national accreditor denied the college’s bid for accreditation. The academy says Patrick Henry’s faith statement unduly restricts “liberty of thought and freedom of speech,” while the college claims it is being discriminated against because it teaches creationism.

    Religious colleges that require faith statements of faculty members have plenty of critics.

    “It’s a very closed intellectual and social environment where there’s not much room for variety of experience or expression or gentle exploration around the edges,” says Paul R. Spickard, a professor of history and Asian-American studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Mr. Spickard taught for several years at Bethel College, a Baptist institution in Minnesota, and Brigham Young University’s Hawaii campus, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Anyone who didn’t fit the mold ended up leaving sooner or later,” he says.

    The American Association of University Professors is ambivalent. It upholds the right of religious colleges to place restrictions on academic freedom in keeping with their theological views. But, says Jordan E. Kurland, the AAUP’s associate general secretary, the organization would prefer if such limitations didn’t exist.

    The group has censured a number of Christian colleges and seminaries, particularly when they have fired professors for religious reasons not clearly spelled out in contracts, faculty handbooks, or other official documents. “We said early on that if an institution is going to place limits on academic freedom, they should state what those limits are,” Mr. Kurland says. “That’s been the AAUP’s main scrape with these institutions over the past few decades. [These professors] didn’t know what they were not supposed to say until they said it.”

    To defenders of Christian colleges, such criticism smacks of prejudice. They argue that all colleges, even secular ones, impose some limits on academic freedom. “We have a lot of students who are interested in how [academic subjects] relate to their personal faith, and I ask my colleagues at state universities, ‘Can you talk about that?’ And they say, ‘Oh, no, we can’t,'” notes J. Paul Sorrels, vice president for academic affairs at East Texas Baptist University. “So my question is, who has the real academic freedom?”

    They also object to the idea that their faculty members are somehow oppressed. “One of the great myths and fallacies in the academy today, particularly among critics of a faith-related institution, is that somehow these people are being coerced into a certain perspective,” says Anthony J. Diekema, a former president of Calvin College, in Michigan, and the author of Academic Freedom and Christian Scholarship (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000). “Most professors seek out a faith-based institution because it is in line with their worldview.”

    One reason faith statements inspire such strong feelings on both sides is that there’s little recourse for faculty members who run afoul of them. Courts hesitate to intervene in matters of religious doctrine. If a college claims that a professor fails to meet its religious standards, and the professor disagrees, a court typically defers to the college.

    Clinging to Religious Identity

    Mr. Bolyanatz and his supporters think he was tripped up by unwritten rules. A firm believer in evolution, he gave little credence to creationism during his lectures on human origins. But, he says, he never felt that he was violating Wheaton’s religious ethos. “I would say, ‘Faith does not discount the evolutionary model. The evolutionary model does not discount faith.'”

    At Wheaton, however, the faith statement holds that “God directly created Adam and Eve.” After sitting in on several of the professor’s lectures, Mr. Jones, the provost, wrote him a scathing memorandum stating that while he was not required to advocate creationism, Mr. Bolyanatz was expected to treat it with respect. Continues:

  80. raven says

    Yet another professor fired for evolution:

    September 22, 2007
    Community-College Instructor Says He Was Fired for Disrespecting Adam and Eve
    An instructor who taught Western civilization at Southwestern Community College, in Iowa, says he was fired for teaching the biblical story of Adam and Eve as a myth, rather than as a story that should be taken literally. The instructor, Steve Bitterman, says the college took the side of students who threatened to sue the institution over his teaching. The college would not reveal the instructor’s employment status to The Des Moines Register, which reported the instructor’s comments.

    “I’m just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a master’s degree — a couple, actually — have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job,” Mr. Bitterman told the Register. –David L. Wheeler

  81. raven says

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman and Bolyanatz

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling

    1 attempted firing Murphy

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson

    1 state official fired Chris Comer

    Up to 6 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

  82. TomL says

    I like how reporting a likely mechanism found in nature (natural selection) translates to support for a very approximate social equivalent (social Darwinism, i.e., Darwin == Hitler). If you believe that natural selection happens in nature, you must therefore believe that humans should prey upon each other to ensure that only the strongest survive.

    Under those rules, reporting the fact that adolescent rabbits routinely eat their first few litters makes one a supporter of infant cannibalism. Reporting that mass die-offs of species were likely caused by an asteroid strike translates to advocacy of mass extinction, preferably by space debris. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out those clipboards and petitions, and start agitating for Comet 2008!

  83. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raven –

    Nice work on finding & documenting those (deplorable) examples.

    Why not contact Ruloff & Mathis with these stories? They might hire you as a researcher for their next searing documentary! (/sarc)

    Tangentially: isn’t it discouraging how reporter Beth McMurtie describes the pro-science faculty as “believing in evolution” as if it were equivalent to, say, transubstantiation?

  84. raven says

    Pierce, looks like there is probably more than 6. Not counting the secondary school science teachers who far outnumber the professors and bureaucrats.

    The creos are undoubtedly far ahead on body counts.
    Gonzalez wasn’t fired, didn’t get tenure.
    Crocker wasn’t fired either, temp prof. and her contract wasn’t renewed. She is incompetent anyway, doesn’t know much organismal biology.

    Dembski was never a biologist and never in a biology department.

    Behe has tenure and is still taking up a space.

    The “believing in evolution” is a quirk in our language. I use accept evolution but that isn’t much better.

    There is an article or even a book on all the creos victim’s in academia and secondary science teachers. It would be hard to write though, most victims were blindsided and most don’t want to play martyr, just pick themselves up and move along.

  85. Joe Blow says

    The message from all progressives should be that Fox is simply the propaganda organization of the Republican party.

    And the Clintonian News Network is just a propaganda organization of the Democratic party, as are NBC, CBS and ABC.

  86. Pierce R. Butler says

    raven – martyr-mania depends only on having a good agent: the numbers, and how much each individuals has lost, matters much less than how much noise is made on their behalf.

    Possibly my call for a public database of who’s been fired/harassed/etc is misplaced: pro-science people don’t have the knack for waving bloody shirts that religious propagandists have cultivated for so many generations.

    Otoh, it would be nice to hear that, say, Texas academics and scientists were raising sustained hell on behalf of Chris Comer. (I was about to ask rhetorically why they seem incapable of realizing that they might be next on the hyperchristian chopping block – until I figured their silence might come from exactly that realization.)

    I prefer to stomp on the premises of the “believe in” phrase with lines like, “All the evidence supports the evolutionary model, so far. Got anything new?” Never reply to a biased question on its own terms.

  87. says

    And the Clintonian News Network is just a propaganda organization of the Democratic party, as are NBC, CBS and ABC.

    Someone’s too stupid to breathe.

  88. raven says

    Possibly my call for a public database of who’s been fired/harassed/etc is misplaced: pro-science people don’t have the knack for waving bloody shirts that religious propagandists have cultivated for so many generations.

    I think the public database is a great idea. That is why I rounded up all my info and posted it to this board. At least it is in one place and won’t get buried in the net. I’ll keep a running tally but don’t really have the time or resources to do much. Maybe NCSE would be interested. I may ask them.

    A lot of Texas academics screamed about Chris Comer as well as Texas newspapers. They did what they could. I wonder why she didn’t sue for religious discrimination. That was one of the most blatant cases I’ve seen. IMO, it would have been a hands down easy win in court. I could tell from the comments of the Texas theocrats that they were scared to death she would.

  89. Pierce R. Butler says

    raven: Maybe NCSE would be interested. I may ask them.

    NCSE would be the logical repository for such info, though possibly they wouldn’t want to be seen as pro-science Ben Steins…

    They did what they could.

    Operative word being “did” – past tense. That’s why I wished for a “sustained” campaign. Even if Texas scientists couldn’t keep up political efforts, why didn’t they arrange a prestigious job in the university system instead of leaving her to scrape by on a partial pension?

    IMO, it would have been a hands down easy win in court.

    In a court system with judges appointed by the likes of Bush & Perry, with an elected (and contribution-dependent) state Supreme Court?

  90. mark says

    you people are disgusting – so hateful. Everything you say is full of hate and rage. Are you all truly so terrified that the “IDiots” may be right? That’s what it seems like to me.

    The only point Ben is trying to make is that there is a lot more to this topic than the “open and shut” case your little hero who hosts this site (and his cronies) would have you believe. there are plenty of PhD scientists out there who write papers on the subject matter (using – gasp – SCIENCE to back their claims) that disagree with your little hero. Do some research and form your own opinions. That’s your freedom. But it should also be my freedom to hear ALL theories presented with all of their strengths and weaknesses instead of having one that is constantly found to be questionable crammed down my throat.

    THAT is the point of Expelled – but all you people can do is rage against it, call names, and assert your intellectual superiority over anyone who freaking disagrees with you. Guess what, I’m certified MENSA and I don’t agree with you…guess I’m mentally retarded, huh? lol
    And I thought Liberals were AGAINST hate speech.

  91. Kseniya says

    Liberals? Is this a political issue now? My my, I believe you may have tipped your hand, just as the DI tipped its hand in the Wedge Document.

    Mark, the point of Expelled is that an unsupported and perhaps unfalsifiable faith-based hypothesis should be granted a place at the science table. If and when it has something to actually bring to the table, it will find itself a seat. That’s how it works – no?

    ALL theories? ID isn’t even at the “theory” stage yet. The theory that is “constantly found to be questionable” is, like all theories, a work in progress. It’s “full of holes” only in the eyes of those who a) don’t understand it and/or have been told by their resident authoritarian ideologue that it’s “full of holes”, or b) are the resident ideologue whose objections to the ToE are primarily philosophical and theological, not scientific, but who feel compelled to dress up their objections in pseudo-scientific garp. (Yes I realize that’s an oversimplification, but it’s essentially true.)

    there are plenty of PhD scientists out there who write papers on the subject matter (using – gasp – SCIENCE to back their claims) that

    Plenty? Name ten. Name five whose papers haven’t been seriously questioned or refuted. Compare to the countless millions of person-hours spend investigating evolution which have failed to unearth any evidence to falisify the theory.

  92. truthseeker says

    Actually, it was ~3000 (3061, actually) words only if you INCLUDE the quotes from their blog posting. With those removed, it drops to a mere 2000 words (2084, to be exact).

  93. Ichthyic says

    perhaps unfalsifiable


    it doesn’t even reach the point of being formulable into a hypothesis, let alone whether it is falsifiable or not.

    Plenty? Name ten.

    name ten?

    name ONE.

  94. Ichthyic says

    Someone’s too stupid to breathe.

    indeed. Mark should take notice before he starts turning purple.

    stuff that in your little hate purse, marky.