I guess it’ll be another IMDB credit for me

I was informed yesterday that I am the ☆STAR☆ of yet another movie, a movie that I was not told about and just sort of stumbled into. I’m losing all respect for movie celebrities, though: apparently, the way a movie star works is to have some guy with a camera record you talking for a bit, and then they all go away, and you don’t even think about it for five years, and then suddenly this thing is available online and you see it and say “Oh crap, I was in that piece of shit?” and you never get paid. I’m beginning to wonder how those other movie stars can afford their beach houses in Malibu.

So here, you can watch my fabulous movie, Origins of the Universe: The Great Debate on Amazon Prime.

Oh, yeah, they also misspell my name, because of course they always do.

You don’t really want to watch it.

As I was watching it, I remembered the circumstances. I think it was a conference in Winnipeg; this guy asked me nicely if I’d answer some questions on camera, and I said sure, so I end up in this oddly lit hotel room with a stranger (I hate how that happens) and he starts firing questions at me, for about an hour. I had no idea it was a debate, but I guess that after the fact, it was. And then I literally went away and completely forgot about it.

The interviewer, Todd Cantelon, then spliced me in with other footage of such luminaries as Ken Ham and Terry Mortenson and David Menton and Jason Lisle and Georgia Purdom and PZ Meyers (oh, wait, that was me). It’s weird to be retroactively ganged up on, but I’m unconcerned, they were all idiots.

There’s also a woman named Mary P. Winsor who was interviewed, so I wasn’t alone on my side. She’s a historian of biology, and has written criticisms of Mayr’s claims about pre-Darwinian essentialism. I don’t know much about her work, but if she’s been opposing some of the ahistorical BS that Ernst Mayr spent a long lifetime injecting into the discourse, she and I are on the same side.

Anyway, it’s a long boring set of spliced-together clips of me saying a sentence or two, then Ken Ham babbling out his fallacious canned spiel about “observational science” and then more creationists talking, then another sentence or two by me or Mary Winsor followed by more nonsense from creationists.

Also, to spice it up, the creationists were recorded at the Creation “Museum” in some place where dinosaur roars and honks occasionally drown them out. Todd Cantelon pretends to be a moderator, but all of his segments were filmed in some spectacular red rock canyon somewhere. It’s kind of unfair that all I got was a grey Winnipeg hotel room.


  1. kestrel says

    I wonder what Ken Ham, or any of these other people, would say if they were treated like this? I also wonder if their target audience can figure out that if there is a “debate” you have all three parties in the same room…

  2. Bruce says

    The movie blurb shows the usual Creationist confusion. They can’t decide if their movie is about the origin of the universe (13.8 billion years ago), or about the origin of the earth (4.5 billion years ago), or about the _origin_ of life (about 4 billion years ago), so they interview an expert in evolutionary biology, which is NONE of these topics.

  3. says

    Next time, make sure they also sign something. It should be possible to draw up some general, reasonable contract that would make gross abuse of such interviews harder to pull off.

  4. microraptor says

    In this case, a lawsuit would probably just serve to garner publicity for this dumpster fire.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    I know of somebody who’ll follow you around and take lots of “candid” promo pics – but you gotta buy him a Leica range-finder first…

  6. says


    I think it was a conference in Winnipeg; this guy asked me nicely if I’d answer some questions on camera, and I said sure, so I end up in this oddly lit hotel room with a stranger (I hate how that happens)

    The way you tell it now you seem almost too naïve for your own good. I hope a bit more caution was used on that day. Scoring IMDB credits is one thing but I guess you don’t want to become famous as PZ Myers, the abduction victim who was ritually sacrificed.

  7. VolcanoMan says

    A Winnipegger exploited you in this way? As an apologetic Canadian and sort-of proud Winnipegger myself, I must express how sorry I am. In fact, even if such a shite thing happened to you in Winnipeg, perpetrated by a non-Winnipegger, I’m sorry. We don’t have much of a creationist crowd here, though…rural MB’s where all the religious nutters live. I’d guess there’s only about 30 churches that are officially creationist in their dogma in the city, including a couple US-style megachurches. Manitoba’s got a conservative reputation in Canada (we get lumped in with the other Prairie provinces) but only the rural areas and the really filthy rich area in Winnipeg deserve it. The rest of Winnipeg is quite liberal. Please don’t let that bad experience colour your opinion of us, or discourage you from returning.

  8. blf says

    Apropos of nothing much, @17 happened to remind me there is a creation “museum” in Winnipeg, the Christian Evidences Museum: My family and I have had a lot of fun sharing with folks what we believe to be absolutely astounding verification of the Bible’s historic claims, particularly its claims regarding special creation in the relatively recent past and a global deluge some 4,500 years ago. Over the years they have continued to acquire fascinating artifacts and fossils, and construct displays.

    The Winnipeg Skeptics organized a visit some years ago, and the “museum” is perhaps largely what one would expect. From The Creation Museum:

    For the most part, the museum boiled down to Christian Presuppositionalism, arguments from ignorance, irreducible complexity, and the idea that because some scientists had purportedly falsified data, the sciences of geology and archaeology could safely be dismissed. There was also, of course, a double-helping of anomaly hunting.

  9. VolcanoMan says


    Oh they’re here alright. I flirted with Christianity in my university years and learned that there were churches spreading creationism in Winnipeg. I even attended one for awhile (though even then I disagreed with them on dogma). But I bounced around a lot of churches in my religious experimentation and from what I saw, even some of the more fundamentalist sects were not officially creationist. For example, I attended a Pentacostal church (I was a member for about a year) whose pastor was both the chair of the Environmental Science Program at University of Manitoba and the former chair of the Chemistry department. He had no problems with evolution (I should think this would be obvious, but I guess it’s not – there are some scientists who are creationists). I doubt you’d find too many non-creationist Pentacostals in the US.

    I was vaguely aware that there was a creation “museum” here, but from what I’ve read, it’s much less of a museum than even Ken Ham’s travesty in the States (in other words, it’s what Ham would have been forced to settle for with a few grand in donations and no tax breaks). Whatever – a cheap imitation of an expensive imitation of a real museum is not going to be an effective propaganda/proselytizing tool. It’s also important to note that the US is the major exporter of Christian creationism these days – the churches incorporating it into their dogma here are often carbon copies of the kinds of non-denom megachurches blighting our American neighbours. But I don’t see it *growing* as a movement in Canada at least, so that’s a positive. Nutty religious people will always exist in some number – getting to the point where they lose their cultural and political influence is the goal for me. Let them be nutty on their own time and dime without harming the rest of the planet or its inhabitants (although I do despair for the people brought up in those traditions – they never asked to have fundies for parents).

  10. Raucous Indignation says

    If Bacon co-authors a paper with Erdős, will his Erdős–Bacon be 1? And what if Erdős co-stars in a film with Kevin Bacon??

  11. Raucous Indignation says

    Yes, I realize Paul Erdős is deceased. It just means he’d be a posthumous co-star.

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