I think I’ve said just about everything I can about that contemptible, dishonest propaganda movie starring Ben Stein, so I’ve been fairly quiet about it lately. It will run its short course in the theaters, and the main result will be that we’ll get a few more creationists who, in addition to being grossly ignorant, will be grossly disinformed about science. Thanks to the Expelled gang, creationist arguments will be a little bit stupider.
So here are what I think are the best of the responses I’ve seen so far.
Sahotra Sarkar succinctly guts the main points of the movie. (It’s also partly in response to the very worst defense of the movie, by David Klinghoffer, who somehow ties it to the glory of circumcision — cringe before the stupid.)
Richard Dawkins writes a letter to a disinformed viewer who suddenly thinks biologists and atheists are plotting another Holocaust. That’s another outcome of this movie: It’s going to inflame more than a few crazy people.
Arthur Caplan excoriates the movie: it isn’t just bad, it’s immoral. Stein is practicing a form of Holocaust denial.
Use them in future arguments with creationists; you’ll need to.
As for all those people who are arguing from box office grosses that the movie is a success or a failure, grow up. We have a large population of miseducated evangelical lackwits in this country who will fork over money for exactly this kind of crap, so we knew ahead of time that the producers were going to get some small pots of cash out of this; worrying over exactly how much they got or will get is a pointless exercise. All it tells us is roughly how many people were motivated enough to see a bad movie because it caters to their prejudices. The issue at hand is dealing with the substance of the movie’s claims and the reactions of the viewers. If you’re counting dollar signs and using that to opine over the worth of the movie (in either direction), you’re being part of the problem.
It’s the same problem that we see in press reports on politics right now. Everything is focused on the horse race — how many votes do they have so far, how much money have they raised? — and next to nothing on what the people actually say. Stop it!