3.23.2008

pharyngula is expelled from expelled

This is hilarious! A must-read for a good laugh.

Many thanks to Zoe at A Complicated Salvation.

16 comments:

James said...

Here is a video of Myers and Dawkins discussing the incident. Dawkins has his review of Expelled! up, though the site's a little swamped.

For those who don't know the backstory -- the producer of this film approached several prominent biologists, including Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott, and many others, saying he was making a film called Crossroads, about the evolution/creationism debate. It was only after the interviews that it came out that the film was actually going to be an anti-evolution screed that blames Darwin for the Holocaust.

Various bloggers have determined that the producers secured the domain names for "Expelled" before the interviews, so it seems likely that the film makers got all those interviews fraudulently.

At least two of the interviewees, whose names I can't remember, ended up not being used in the film because they regularly have creationists or ID proponents give talks in their courses, which contradicted the premise of the film (that mean nasty scientists "expel" creationists from academia). Christian evolutionary biologists like Ken Miller are not mentioned in the film either.

The film is hosted by Ben "Beuller?" Stein. I came across a nice comment on Stein at Julia Sweeney's blog (if anyone doesn't know, Sweeney was "Pat" on SNL, and her one-woman show Letting Go of God is brilliant):

Ben Stein once did a Groundling show, an improv show, that I was a part of. I found him to be spectacularly ill-informed and narcissistic and weirdly devoted to his schtick and worst of all, hacky. He didn’t listen to his fellow performers and played everything outward to his friends in the audience who laughed (fake, forced) at every single thing he did. When he became known as a “thinker” – when his public persona became the “smart guy” I was astounded. So this type of film does not come as any surprise.
[...]
But to a lot of people he will appear to make sense. His style will have the stamp of truthfulness to it (because his voice sounds so… um… smart!)


That last sentence kinda summarizes the whole trouble with the current state of media information, from Fox News on down...

L-girl said...

Thanks, James!

The film is hosted by Ben "Beuller?" Stein.

I stopped having anything to do with anything Ben Stein-related after I happened to catch him on a "celebrity" edition of Jeopardy. Contestants were naming where their winnings would be donated to, and his were going to National Right to Life.

I don't know if Canadians ever saw "Win Ben Stein's Money" but it was a comedy game show, supposedly a kind of anti-Jeopardy. It was not very funny. Jimmy Kimmel was the sidekick - Kimmel's first TV gig.

Anyway, that's why Stein was on Jeopardy, and that's how I learned he was an idiot.

James said...

I don't know if Canadians ever saw "Win Ben Stein's Money" but it was a comedy game show, supposedly a kind of anti-Jeopardy. It was not very funny. Jimmy Kimmel was the sidekick - Kimmel's first TV gig.

It was up here, though I didn't watch it.

My first exposure to Stein was as the character "Francis 'Pip' Pumphandle" in an Animaniacs short called Chairman of the Bored (slightly truncated on YouTube), in which he played a person so boring that the Warner Bros (and their sister Dot) would do anything to get away from him, up to and including trying to gnaw their own limbs off. It's quite a good short, one of the more popular in the series.

redsock said...

Ben "Beuller?" Stein

Stein was also a speechwriter and lawyer for Nixon.

Wiki:
Some have called Stein a "Nixon apologist" due to his fervent defense of Nixon's legacy. As recently as 2005, in the American Spectator, Stein said "Nixon was a peacemaker. He was a lying, conniving, covering-up peacemaker. He was not a lying, conniving drug addict like JFK, a lying, conniving war-starter like LBJ, a lying, conniving seducer like Clinton — a lying, conniving peacemaker."

Check out the Wiki. He's one fucked-up dude.

James said...

Check out this great evolution-themed t-shirt.

James said...

Mathis, the film's producer, has said this about the incident:

You should know that I invited Michael Shermer to a screening at NRB in Nashville. He came and is writing a review for scientific American. I banned PZ because I want him to pay to see it. Nothing more.

L-girl said...

Nixon was a peacemaker. Must be that Bizarro World I've heard so much about. The world in which Bill Gates is homeless and the US spreads democracy.

Check out this great evolution-themed t-shirt.

Uh... that is evolution-themed? Are you sure it's not KKK themed?

I banned PZ because I want him to pay to see it. Nothing more.

LOL. Yeah, right.

James said...

Uh... that is evolution-themed? Are you sure it's not KKK themed?

I didn't actually see it that way until you mentioned it... The intent was "We're all descended from Homo Erectus, so we're all African in the end" -- but I see your point.

I do know that it's evolution themed because it belongs to Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, and he's not one for KKKisms (especially given his south Asian ancestry!).

Another shirt seen at the same gathering: "WWJD For A Klondike Bar?"

L-girl said...

The intent was "We're all descended from Homo Erectus, so we're all African in the end" -- but I see your point.

I knew what you meant, but for many Americans, that shirt wouldn't translate so well.

I'm glad to hear it has a good provenance.

James said...

My initial thought on seeing the pictures of the shirt was, "Well, except for those of us who aren't Americans."

Perhaps a map of the Out-of-Africa migrations, like the one here, would have worked better.

L-girl said...

My initial thought on seeing the pictures of the shirt was, "Well, except for those of us who aren't Americans."

Yes, I thought that, too. It has limited use. I'd say, nice try, but not quite there.

impudent strumpet said...

The irony is I've always found Jeopardy way more entertaining than Win Ben Stein's Money. And that was true before we made Jeopardy into a drinking game too.

L-girl said...

Jeopardy *is* way more entertaining than Win Ben Stein's Money ever was. WBSM couldn't hold a candle to Jeopardy. And that was before I knew that Ben Stein is an asshole.

M@ said...

I was always a little impressed by WBSM because there were some pretty tough questions and his record was pretty good. It was a stupid show, in the end, though, and once I found out what an idiot BS is I've never watched it at all.

The spin from the Expelled expulsion has been marvellous to behold, though. I've heard speculation (possibly unfounded) that the movie might not open because backers are considering pulling out after all the bad publicity. Fingers crossed.

Note that it's opening April 18, the anniversary of Darwin's death. As if we needed more evidence of small thinking and pettiness from the ID types.

L-girl said...

The whole evolution denial industry is a marvel to behold. We've all gotten used to it, but if you step back for a moment, your head hurts from shaking so much.

James said...

"Industry" is the right word. It involves coordinated efforts to get sympathetic people onto school boards and textbook company boards, publications and films, etc. Just about everything except actually doing scientific research.