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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The impending stupidity.

Some of you who follow the creationism vs. science street fight may be aware of a new movie coming out. This movie, titled "Expelled," purports to cast a harsh documentary light on the imperialistic academy. Besides its rather outrageous misrepresentations assertions, its main claim to fame is that it features Ben Stein. If you haven't seen it already, there's even a trailer:

The movie isn't out yet, despite its original planned February release date, but some movie reviewers have started to get at it. The results have been... interesting. And recently Roger Moore, film critic for the Orlando Sentinel, offered up his views. They are, in a word, scathing:

How do you re-package that tried, untested and untestable faith-without-facts warhorse, "Creationism" after its nearly-annual beat-down by an increasingly exasperated scientific community?

After you've tried renaming it "Intelligent Design," I mean.

With comedy. Mock your "Darwinist" foes the way comics, thinkers, scientists and educated people everywhere have been mocking creationism since Scopes took that monkey off our back.

Tuck into them the way Michael Moore would, with a documentary hosted by a funny Don Quixote willing to tilt at science the way MM has gone after the gun culture, corporate cold-heartedness, George W. Bush and Big Health Care.

Get droll funnyman and ex-Nixon speech writer Ben Stein to host it, to be the on-camera jester-interviewer.

And re-cast this argument about what people chose to believe vs. what others can prove as fact as a fight for "Freedom."

That's the mnemonic device Stein came back to, time and again, last night in an Orlando screening of his new documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It's a rabble-rouser of a doc that uses all manner of loaded images, loaded rhetoric, few if any facts and mockery of hand-picked "weirdo" scientists to attack those who, Stein claims, are stifling the Religious Right's efforts to inject intelligent design into science courses, science curricula and the national debate.

I suggest you read the whole thing, particularly so you can hear about how the producers of this film are working very, very hard to shield it from criticism. There's not a lot I can say about this movie that Moore hasn't already said so, instead, allow me to share with you another trailer. If it seems eerily familiar... well... there's a reason for that:

Amazing! Less than half the budget and just as plausible!

Hat tip to Pharyngula.

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Blogger Marf said...

Indeed... FSM is just as plausible. Intelligent design is about like the flat Earth arguments. If some scientist starts to try to assert that the Earth is flat, he's going to be "expelled".

And there's just as much strong evidence that the Earth is flat as there is for intelligent design.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 4:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you reading this blog who think that Ben Stein was in any way the motivating force behind this movie, please reconsider.

From the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Texan interview with Logan Craft (executive producer of Expelled):

TEXAN: How did Ben Stein come to be involved in the film?

CRAFT: Well, John (Sullivan, producer of Expelled) had a real insight, we believe, into the necessity to have a person, first of all, who wasn’t overtly Christian or overtly religious…

Ben Stein is a hack!

This film is a manufactured argument, cleverly crafted to advance a conservative christian agenda. ID at this point, after almost 20 years and millions of dollars tossed at it by the Discovery Institute, is still merely a vague idea. It has not yet even been fleshed out into a valid scientific hypothesis, and certainly hasn’t developed into a viable or testable theory.

So at this point, the ID/creationist movement is merely a well-funded public relations effort trying to rally public support by falsely decrying "There is no Freedom of Speech!", and promoting “science/evolution = atheists = Naziism”, rather than offering any positive evidence for why ID should even be considered as science.

To see what people who have seen the movie are saying, go to

“Tens of millions of Americans, who neither know nor understand the actual arguments for or even against evolution, march in the army of the night with their Bibles held high. And they are a strong and frightening force, impervious to, and immunized against, the feeble lance of mere reason.”
—Isaac Asimov

Friday, March 14, 2008 7:03:00 AM  

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