Dawkins and PZ Myers on ‘Expelled’

| 38 Comments

Dawkins and PZ discuss the aftermath of the Expelled experience.

A better version can be downloaded here

38 Comments

I think it has now been established that the “ interior of a cell” clip that was shown in the film was not a dubbed version from Harvard, but (tellingly) from an ID source.

I look forward to viewing all of the discussion.

I can see why PZ was denied entrance. He’s so obviously a obscene, arrogant loudmouthed humorless foul-smelling NAZI .… ATHIEST! No doubt he was carrying a molotov cocktail under his shirt…

(for the humor impaired, this is sarcasm…)

Oh dear. I like the end. Dawkins asks the producer point blank why he expelled PZ. The producer lies to his audience.

Yes, lets not only lie but lets expel people to silence them lest they ruin a carefully orchestrated ID agenda ie a movie about people expelled to silence them lest they ruin an ostensibly carefully orchestrated Evolutionary agenda. Makes perfect sense?

Yes; the speculations about the animations were the most jarring thing for me. Although clearly speculations, they have been picked up and repeated widely as fact. But the basis was weak… PZ did not see the animations used, and Dawkins was evidently not familiar with them.

The screenwriter for Expelled, Kevin Miller, has point blank declared that the animations used were prepared for the movie, in his blog (here). Another viewer (who saw both Expelled and “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” (a pro-ID DVD) believes that this is the source. He reports this on comments at Richard Dawkins’ website (here).

At least they can laugh at the shameful behavior of those who denied them entry. I would have been furious, but perhaps laughter is the best way of dealing with jokers.

Jacob seems to think that laughing at people who have been misled is a Christian fun past-time.

*shrug*

I fully encourage Mathis to leave the animation in place.

But the fact of the matter is, Dawkins and Myers speculation is not at all unwarranted considering the ‘companion book’ to EXPELLED is ‘Design of Life’, written by William Dembski.

Once you have firmly established you are a liar and a fraud, its rather coy to act indignant when people treat you like a liar and a fraud.

Further followup on the animations. I asked Kevin Miller (the Expelled screen writer) at his blog about the source of the animations. He gave a very clear and unambiguous answer (in this comment), which I take the liberty of copying here.

Duae: We created the animation in conjunction with an animation studio and several cell biologists. It is a completely original work. The only similarity I can see between it and the Harvard animation is that it may portray one or more of the same cellular processes. But as far as I’m concerned, no one has copyrighted any cellular processes–at least not yet. I’m sure Craig Venter would like to. :) If Dawkins had stuck around to read the full credits for the film, he would have known this. It has nothing to do with the Illustra animation.

(Hoping this copyright violation is okay… :-)

the censorship has already begun. any criticism of dawkins etc will be deleted.

how nazi of you!

Yet another thread at risk from pointless comments from jacob. Move the troll to the bathroom wall, please. If he had a point to make, he could do so in 1/100 of the space he takes up. However, he doesn’t ever make a point. If others really like to read his nonsense, they can go there.

Actually Jacob, all your recent contributions were moved to the bathroom wall. Enough trolling without any content…

Nice reference to Nazis though, showing your ignorance of history.

You can always count on those holding opposing viewpoints in this discussion to react badly. As Dawkins pointed out, a golden PR opportunity was wasted by Mark Mathis. Expelled could have garnered some much needed positive PR if Mathis had not reacted in a knee jerk fashion. He acted foolishly in having the security escort Meyers out of the theater while missing Dawkins. The photo opportunity alone would have been worth bundles. People did not do their prep. work, were unable to react to a changing situation, and were not able to adequately answer questions. Poor spin, their overall approach and management is uncoordinated and as Dawkins put it “second rate”.

Online registration has now been removed. Again a bad move, the goal is filling seats with the converted and how is this now to be accomplished? The bad reviews by the online Bloggers will be missed by many of the faithful or just ignored.

This whole episode would make a fine study for an introductory course in public relations or mass marketing class at some University “Selling an inferior product and how not to handle your detractors”.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Bruce Thompson GQ Wrote:

As Dawkins pointed out, a golden PR opportunity was wasted by Mark Mathis.

PR opportunity for whom?

Let’s say ~25% of the population has commented negatively all along, and ~25% are so hopelessly compartmentalized that they’ll make excuses for any behaviour by anti-science activists. That leaves roughly half who can conceivably be affected by bad PR. Has anyone found an example of anyone admitting that this incident has turned them off to the anti-evolution movement?

Speaking of videos and PR… the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been Expelled as well.

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=vaULFAZMK1o

Hi all,

I wrote this e-mail earlier today to Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer, who has published a rather abysmal personal essay tracing his odyssey from a moderate, not religious, Jew to the Orthodox Jewish conservative that he is today in the current issue of the Brown Alumni Magazine (BAM).

I am reposting it here for your benefit.

Best regards,

John

Dear David,

Your Discovery Institute colleague Chapman really has a lot of chutzpah to issue this inane press release criticizing Richard Dawkins’ “crashing” of an “exclusive” “EXPELLED” screening Thursday night:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/0[…]fa.html#more

It’s sanctimonious garbage like this which truly puts into context your observation in your BAM essay that the Discovery Institute is the “most hated” in the United States (No, I’ll go further. Chapman’s insipid commentary reads more like the inane agitprop Soviet propaganda which Stuyvesant HS dropout Vladimir Pozner use to say on behalf of Radio Moscow when he was interviewed on “Nightline” by Ted Koppel back in the 1980s. Speaking of Stuyvesant HS, you should heed its current principal’s advice and recognize that ID must be banned as a subject worthy of study at a prestigious high school like Stuyvesant.).

Here’s a simple note for Mr. Chapman: the term “Darwinist” is rather outmoded and doesn’t correctly describe the state of affairs in contemporary evolutionary theory (You should read the July, 2007 special The New York Times Science section which included an interesting article on Darwinism and faith from fellow Brunonian - and New York Times science editor - Cornelia Dean, who wrote the definitive story on PZ Myers’ being “expelled” from that “EXPELLED” screening.). However, on the other hand, describing an Intelligent Design advocate as an IDiot is a rather apt description I think, one which has been stated repeated at Panda’s Thumb and by yours truly at Amazon.com (Indeed I often refer to such an individual there as a loyal member of the Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective, since they’ve demonstrated their superb ability for intellectual impairment by embracing the mendacious intellectual pornography known as Intelligent Design.).

Respectfully yours,

John

Online registration has now been removed. Again a bad move, the goal is filling seats with the converted and how is this now to be accomplished?

You are assuming the “converted” have internet access and any interest in reading. The way to get the converted in is not the intertubes. They just need to hit the local fundie churches and hand out tickets or get the preachers to give them away.

Still a waste of time. IMO, this clunker will hit the church basement circuit, DVD bargain bins, and TV’s Trinity Broadcast Network right after Benny Hinn in very short order.

Looking for a triple feature. The Rocky Horror Picture show, From Darwin to Hitler, and Expelled. Mental cotton candy.

Stacy,

IIRC, trolling under multiple usernames can get someone banned.

Focus please. Focus

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I am not a lawyer, but regardless of what Miller says, I think that if their animation closely resembles the XVIVO one, and it can be shown to be simply a re-drawn, slightly modified copy of it instead of original work (i.e. genuine modeling of molecular processes starting from the primary literature), they are far from out of the woods as far as intellectual property goes. But I am sure the Harvard scientists (and their lawyers) will take a good look at it. (And to further complicate matters, here is also the issue of recidivism, with respect to Dembski’s misuse of the same footage.)

Frank J said: PR opportunity for whom?

Why the producers of Expelled of course.

If I had the misfortune of having PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins appear in line, I would not throw either one out. On the contrary, they would be treated like guests, go for the group photograph then comp. all their food at the snack counter, and seat them personally. There’s no conversion here only managing the immediate situation and grabbing all the possible publicity at having 2 well known individuals attending a prescreening of the movie. The mistake Mathis made was not turning it to his advantage.

Has Professor Steve Steve seen the movie yet? I would like an authoritative opinion on the content.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Bruce Thompson GQ Wrote:

Why the producers of Expelled of course.

There goes my grammar again. I know that it would have been an opportunity “for” them, but I mean how much of one, and which segment of the audience would have reacted differently?

So far, I have yet to see one example of someone who liked the movie (or expected to if they hadn’t seen it yet) come out and say that it was a stupid move, and that that would make them look at anti-evolution activists more critically from now on. The cheerleaders are all making excuses for them, and we critics would not think any differently of their propaganda regardless of how they treated Myers. The “silent majority” (or near majority) that doesn’t really fall in either camp has been, well, silent. So far, to my knowledge. That could change, but I don’t expect much.

Raven said: Looking for a triple feature. The Rocky Horror Picture show, From Darwin to Hitler, and Expelled. Mental cotton candy.

OK - Now I’m offended. Rocky Horror on the same level as From Darwin to Hitler and Expelled.

I’ll have you know that the RHPS is a multi-generational cult classic. I attended many of the audience participation shows back in my college days. Just this last October, my son, now in college, attended his first show.

What’s next comparing Unlocking the Mysteries of Life with… The Blob. Really - Steve McQueen would roll over in his grave.

Beside what church would watch a movie about a cross-dressing alien.

sirhcton:

Looking for a triple feature. The Rocky Horror Picture show, From Darwin to Hitler, and Expelled. Mental cotton candy.

How dare you malign “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and elevate “Expelled” to the level of mental cotton candy!

However, from anything approaching unbiased reports, it seems doomed to preaching to the choir at best.

Removed extraneous “<p>” after “candy!”

Bill Gascoyne:

sirhcton:

Looking for a triple feature. The Rocky Horror Picture show, From Darwin to Hitler, and Expelled. Mental cotton candy.

How dare you malign “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and elevate “Expelled” to the level of mental cotton candy!

However, from anything approaching unbiased reports, it seems doomed to preaching to the choir at best.

Removed extraneous “<p>” after “candy!”

Good call. One definitely does not want excess <P> in close proximity to one’s candy. :P

Frank said: I know that it would have been an opportunity “for” them, but I mean how much of one, and which segment of the audience would have reacted differently?

Look at it this way. That evening at the theater Mathis had at his disposal:

1. A pro ID movie.

2. A line of anti-evolution advocates.

3. Two people in that line who were interviewed in the movie both of whom accept evolutionary theory and both happen to be atheists.

With these tools Mathis could create something. He had the opportunity to create something useful (PR) for himself or squander the resources he was handed. He could not predict the degree of success of any outcome positive or negative, but working toward a positive outcome for ones self is always worthwhile in any situation. Clearly the negative outcome and Mathis’ admission that he banned Myers so PZ would have to pay to see the movie reflects poorly on Mathis’ character. The low probability of success in changing attitudes is not at issue, playing to his intended audience is. The simple measures required to utilize the tools at hand and create something positive for himself were overshadowed by shortsightedness. He has lost sight of the larger picture.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

ERV:

Once you have firmly established you are a liar and a fraud, its rather coy to act indignant when people treat you like a liar and a fraud.

Page 139 is in a chapter titled “The Two-Binding Sites rule”.

Bruce Thompson GQ Wrote:

With these tools Mathis could create something.

Actually on another thread I just wrote that if I wanted to produce a propaganda piece like “Expelled” I would not have “expelled” Myers. I’m still not sure that I would have lost much had I panicked and “expelled” him, but if anything, Ken Miller would have given me more reason to panic, if only because he would not have been as good a source for quotes to mine.

Harold:

If you’re reading, you made some good points on the now-closed thread. In part because of your comments I have been thinking more on the lines of their main goal being to feed the addiction of the already convinced, rather than to get more of a more general audience on an anti-science bandwagon (if that’s even possible these days). The word “authoritarian” rings with me, as I tend to think of myself more “anti-authoritarian” than stereotypical conservative (or libertarian). Anti-science people of all stripes strike me as desperately seeking “gurus” rather than thinking for themselves.

Your point being?

William Wallace:

ERV:

Once you have firmly established you are a liar and a fraud, its rather coy to act indignant when people treat you like a liar and a fraud.

Page 139 is in a chapter titled “The Two-Binding Sites rule”.

If Cowardheart has a point, this would be the first time.

PvM:

Your point being?

William Wallace:

ERV:

Once you have firmly established you are a liar and a fraud, its rather coy to act indignant when people treat you like a liar and a fraud.

Page 139 is in a chapter titled “The Two-Binding Sites rule”.

Wallace has retreated to his own blog to continue his confusion.

He has yet to acknowledge his editing of my posting to read like an admission that I was wrong.

My Christian friend is going through some troubling times.

PvM Wrote:

My Christian friend is going through some troubling times.

Maybe he can talk to Ben Stein about Jesus. :-)

I was a bit surprised that the coverage at Christianity Today was fairly generous to Myers and Dawkins.

wamba:

I was a bit surprised that the coverage at Christianity Today was fairly generous to Myers and Dawkins.

Back when I was a subscriber, I often found them a bit too lenient for my tastes.

its great this movie is getting this type of reaction from you atheist its going to be a great movie and i look forward to seeing it and telling everyone i know to go and see even letting people borrow my copy

Try trolling a more recent thread. This one is several weeks old already, and you comment will likely go unnoticed. kthxbai.

The direct response group is refreshing because it seems many people are open to sharing tips, tricks and inside secrets. Not so cut-throat as other industries. Thanks for sharing your keen insights. I look forward to learning more here.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on March 23, 2008 1:35 AM.

Luskin v Tree of Life: More Troubles in the Tree of Animal Life? was the previous entry in this blog.

CBS13: Man Interviewed In Movie Not Allowed To See It is the next entry in this blog.

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