Who made the “Beware the Believers” video?

| 36 Comments

We have a confession! It was made by Michael Edmondson, and it was produced by the people behind Expelled. He wrote to me, and says, "The intent of the video has been questioned a lot…I suppose the answer is that I tried to make something that was funny to me and It's not really meant to convince anyone of anything." That's how I felt about it: it's amusing, and that's all that matters — it's vague enough that it can be read any way you want.

Edmondson has also made a brief sequel.

Note that Stein is wearing a t-shirt that says "Poe's Law".

36 Comments

Thanks for coming out, Mike. And great job on the video; it was hilarious, and had some very clever references and allusions. I have used a brief extract with Darwin “raising the roof” in a recent blog post, and I got that from someone who was using it as an avatar in online discussions.

This is really going to confuse the IDists. They were clueless as to why science bloggers were posting this video, saying ‘wait, isn’t this on our side?’ - and the answer we all gave was that it was FUNNY! Now, Mike, you’re going to probably notice that although you were hired by Expelled to make a viral marketing video, we science bloggers will still be complimenting you on what was a great video, and a hilarious song. I like your little additions to this ‘coming out’ video, too.

I knew from the beginning that it had to have been made by Expelled, but some of the references were WAY too good for it to have been produced solely by them. Soap, Slippery slope? A few clues showing a depth of knowledge and a more complex intent than a mere advert.

My compliments to you, Mike Edmondson. If I ever need a HQ flash animation…

It’s amazing that people who can make such an amusing short produced the mediocre Expelled movie, which is pretty lame even considered as propaganda.

What’s amazing is that the video the Expelled people paid someone else to produce was more entertaining, aware, and insightful, and memorable than the movie they were trying to promote!

Congratulations, Mike – *We* sure got *their* money’s worth out of it!

Exactly, if the point of this was to make scientists look awful and mean, it failed. What it succeeded at was being a very well-done animation and a fairly good song. It may have been pro-ID, but since nobody could quite tell, it doesn’t really do a whole lot in that realm - it’s like J.D. Salinger with Catcher in the Rye. It’s always nice to know scientists are more than willing to poke fun at themselves.

Countdown to trolls…

Michael, I liked the nod to 2001 but I think you mis-identified Plato from the Raphael painting. The music was hip . … I think.

Y’know, if they’d made the actual movie with that sort of wit, attention to detail and general sense of fun instead of being witless, wrong and preachy…

Reginald:

Countdown to trolls…

Fortunately, all the trolls are busy over on the “first numbers” thread. Enjoy it while it lasts.

It’s amazing that people who can make such an amusing short produced the mediocre Expelled movie, which is pretty lame even considered as propaganda.

what’s amazing is that some are still not recognizing that these are two entirely different production companies.

Premise hired Edmonson (Float On Films) to do the vid.

that’s as far as it goes.

It’s like saying if McCain hired a professional ad firm to do some spots for him, that means that ad firm supports McCain for president.

I was confused who coul have wanted to make this video, but was sure it could NOT have been done by anyone “inside” the ID outpatient clinic: the details were too sharp and a sense of humor and fun existed.

So I was wrong. It WAS linked to the “Expelled” production team, but done by hired and neutral (at least) guns.

Fine by me.

So I was wrong

*sigh*

no, you were right.

why do you think Premise Media contracted out to another company to do the vid?

sweet jebus, it’s like nobody bothers to see the difference between contractor and contractee.

I haven’t seen anyone comment on the clock worn by Dawkins,

http://www.thebulletin.org/content/[…]ock/overview

The “clock” was probably a watch, as in Paley and the “blind watchmaker”…and yes, it was set at the same time as the “doomsday clock” of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (which, BTW. seems to be growing some “boy who cried wolf” whiskers three decades on).

If you look at the end of the end of the “sequel” above, the hands of the clock have been moved to 12:00.

This is starting to remind me of the “analysis” of “American Pie” that flew around the internet a couple of decades ago.

I dunno Ichthyic, remember the lesson from Clerks? *ducks*

Dante: All right, so even if independent contractors are working on the Death Star, why are you uneasy with its destruction?

Randal: All those innocent contractors hired to do a job were killed- casualties of a war they had nothing to do with. (notices Dante’s confusion) All right, look-you’re a roofer, and some juicy government contract comes your way; you got the wife and kids and the two-story in suburbia-this is a government contract, which means all sorts of benefits. All of a sudden these left-wing militants blast you with lasers and wipe out everyone within a three-mile radius. You didn’t ask for that. You have no personal politics. You’re just trying to scrape out a living.

(The Blue-Collar Man joins them)

Blue-Collar Man: Excuse me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but what were you talking about?

Randal: The ending of Return of the Jedi.

Dante: My friend is trying to convince me that any contractors working on the uncompleted Death Star were innocent victims when the space station was destroyed by the rebels.

Blue-Collar Man: Well, I’m a contractor myself. I’m a roofer… (digs into pocket and produces business card) Dunn and Reddy Home Improvements. And speaking as a roofer, I can say that a roofer’s personal politics come heavily into play when choosing jobs.

Randal: Like when?

Blue-Collar Man: Three months ago I was offered a job up in the hills. A beautiful house with tons of property. It was a simple reshingling job, but I was told that if it was finished within a day, my price would be doubled. Then I realized whose house it was.

Dante: Whose house was it?

Blue-Collar Man: Dominick Bambino’s.

Randal: “Babyface” Bambino? The gangster?

Blue-Collar Man: The same. The money was right, but the risk was too big. I knew who he was, and based on that, I passed the job on to a friend of mine.

Dante: Based on personal politics.

Blue-Collar Man: Right. And that week, the Foresci family put a hit on Babyface’s house. My friend was shot and killed. He wasn’t even finished shingling.

Randal: No way!

Blue-Collar Man: (paying for coffee) I’m alive because I knew there were risks involved taking on that particular client. My friend wasn’t so lucky. (pauses to reflect) You know, any contractor willing to work on that Death Star knew the risks. If they were killed, it was their own fault. A roofer listens to this… (taps his heart) not his wallet.

I still can’t help but think the ID people have scored on their own goal again, a la Behe. Who can not think of Daniel Dennett as the ultimate pimp daddy? If I went to one of his lectures and he didn’t show up wearing a fur coat and carrying a cane, I’d be let down.

Edmondson gave these guys street cred. Thanks.

ah, but the problem with that little diddy, James, is here:

Babyface” Bambino? The gangster?

Blue-Collar Man: The same. The money was right, but the risk was too big. I knew who he was, and based on that, I passed the job on to a friend of mine.

Dante: Based on personal politics.

Blue-Collar Man: Right.

right???

personal politics nothing. note the key word there: RISK.

so the Blue-Collar man agreed with something that had nothing to do with what the reasons were he said he turned down the job.

even as example from drama, this fails to support the point.

What I’m saying is, I understand the idea of maintaining a political ideology within a business, but if you look at Edmonson’s level of production (he’s just now getting round to advertising his business on a website), don’t you think he would be foolish to turn down money thrown in his face for something with so very little personal risk to him? Not everyone thinks there is risk involved in producing things for creationists for money.

Moreover, some might have noted that he actually spent a lot of effort removing his name from the credits on the expelled website and other places soon after the issue of the Premise media/XVIVO Harvard vid came up.

Of course, my ONLY point is that one cannot automagically form a causal relationship between the ideology of contractor and contractee. It simply would be silly to do so.

those of us who HAVE seen the vids produced by creationists themselves recognize Edmonson’s vid as being as much parody of how the creationists view science as anything else.

Regardless of whatever bent Edmonson might have, the video was most assuredly a Premise media “own goal”, yet again.

Ichthyic,

You got me, I just really wanted to quote Clerks and be a smart aleck. :-)

I agree that Edmondson’s satire flew right over the heads of his employers - I guess he’s in no position to formally admit he was mocking them, although he certainly dropped even more hints in his reply video.

You got me, I just really wanted to quote Clerks and be a smart aleck. :-)

and i was just being anal-retentive and over-analyzing an obvious point.

sorry.

:p

I guess he’s in no position to formally admit he was mocking them, although he certainly dropped even more hints in his reply video.

oh, he’s been paid, I expect he will free free to make the issue clearer.

the relevant thread on Pharyngula has both he and the guy who wrote the lyrics posting directly.

So why doesn’t Stein’s shirt say “Godwin’s Law”?

not enough room.

I wonder if this has been discussed before :- A while ago on YouTube I found a video called “Richard Dawkins Rap” - it seemed to be something to do with “Expelled”. It occurred to me, that the animation style of this is very similar to the style of flash animation that was once on the home-page of Dembski’s silly “Overwhelming Evidence” blog. It featured a flash animation of “Judge Jones” in an almost identical gilliahmesque style.

Actually here it is: http://www.overwhelmingevidence.com[…]hool_of_law/

And search for “Richard Dawkins Rap” on YouTube (sorry cannot link - I’m at work).

You tell me if it’s the same guy?

:-)

I find it bizarre that Dembski is still resorting to silly ad-hominems against Judge Jones almost 2 years after his no-show in the trial. As a point of trivia, Dembski provided all the voices for that animation.

Sal

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 7, column 149, byte 657 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Paley’s watch, doomsday clock, and this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavor_Flav

This video will be studied in Lit classes. Mark my word.

When PZ first posted about that video, everybody in the comments was claiming that it was “too clever” to have been made by creationists. I was one of the few people who disagreed. I’d just like to say…

Nailed it!

(fudge - bad tags… let’s try again without links…)

Reginald said:

Exactly, if the point of this was to make scientists look awful and mean, it failed. What it succeeded at was being a very well-done animation and a fairly good song. It may have been pro-ID, but since nobody could quite tell, it doesn’t really do a whole lot in that realm - it’s like J.D. Salinger with Catcher in the Rye. It’s always nice to know scientists are more than willing to poke fun at themselves.

For me, the funniest part is that it’s a complete reductio ad absurdum to the entire idea behind that movie. The idea that there’s some kind of organized cabal throwing out anyone who mentions/thinks about ‘god’ is laughable, and this video shows exactly that, and makes it hilariously silly.

It also helps that the song, just as a song, works - good flow, neat oblique references, catchy beat and chorus hook.

And, yes, Dan Dennett pimpin’ it real…

I had nothing to do with the Judge Jones flash webpage. although fart jokes are pretty great…

Also,

The Aristotle thing… Yeah were using a painting of Plato instead of Democritus (we couldn’t find a high resolution image of him quickly enough)… and then switched Aristotle and Plato. In my defense I was told that was right. It hurts me every time I see it now…

So would it be impolitic to ask if you agree with the content of Expelled, Michael? Or are you sworn to professional secrecy? No wrong answer. Just wondering.

All this talk of independent contractors being killed on the Death Star reminded me of a real event of a similar nature. Civilian technicians were still working on HMS Prince Of Wales when it set out with HMS Hood to confront the Bismarck. The Prince Of Wales was damaged and retreated after the Hood went down. But, just imagine trying to finish your construction job on a ship that’s speeding toward the Bismarck. The Prince Of Wales did some minor damaged to the Bismarck that turned out to be critical.

Oops!! Change that ‘minor damaged’ to minor damage’

For me, the funniest part is that it’s a complete reductio ad absurdum to the entire idea behind that movie. The idea that there’s some kind of organized cabal throwing out anyone who mentions/thinks about ‘god’ is laughable, and this video shows exactly that, and makes it hilariously silly.

It also helps that the song, just as a song, works - good flow, neat oblique references, catchy beat and chorus hook.

And, yes, Dan Dennett pimpin’ it real…

Exactly. I “read” it as basically Archie Bunker. We were to laugh at Archie’s racist ideas, not consider the logic of them. When you laugh at ideas you rob them of authority. Big science with star trek communicators and a giant robot? That’s how they really think of us? Ha. Let’s imagine such a world.… Ha. Funny. Evolutionists go around claiming they’re smarter than you? Ha! The creationists lay that strawman down. We don’t laugh at Dawkins in this video, we laugh at the idea this is what Dawkins is doing. It’s a very very silly strawman by the creationists and the video seemed to hold that talking point up for ridicule.

And I’m sorry when you take a bunch of tweedy scientists and pimp them out big time and put a really funky hip hop tune in their collective mouths, you don’t mock them. You just give them incredible appeal. Anyone notice creationists using the dancing darwin clip in message board avatars? I’ve noticed evolutionists/skeptics grabbin’ that. I’d slap that one on the back of my car along with my darwin fish if the technology was available. Boyeee.

Perhaps this video is one of the best all time Freudian slips?

Tupelo:

I was confused who coul have wanted to make this video,…the details were too sharp

Except for a few tiny details, like the lyrics in the most frequent refrain being false. Dawkins does not have a Ph.D., he has a D.Phil. and a D.Sc.

This has been raised somewhere else… a D.Phil… is really the same thing as a PHD. Keep to the Aristotle/ Plato bit… we really messed up there.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said:

Tupelo:

I was confused who coul have wanted to make this video,…the details were too sharp

Except for a few tiny details, like the lyrics in the most frequent refrain being false. Dawkins does not have a Ph.D., he has a D.Phil. and a D.Sc.

This has been raised somewhere else… a D.Phil… is really the same thing as a PHD.

“Equivalent to” and “the same as” are not the same thing. It’s one more sign that Creationists do not do their homework. But since you seem to have trouble consistently spelling your own name, I won’t push it any further.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said:

This has been raised somewhere else… a D.Phil… is really the same thing as a PHD.

“Equivalent to” and “the same as” are not the same thing. It’s one more sign that Creationists do not do their homework. But since you seem to have trouble consistently spelling your own name, I won’t push it any further.

Bayesian, the venom here is bit rude and misplaced; it doesn’t become you. The subject here is the authorship of a rather humorous little video clip, maybe we should stick to that. IIRC there was a thread recently that discussed this; the gist of it being that the abbreviating ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ as ‘Ph. D.’ is a recent convention, distinguishable from abbreviating it as ‘D. Phil’ essentially only in order of letters. There is a Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctorate – check out the last sentence in the first section under ‘United Kingdom’. As to Mr. Edmondson’s beliefs, he hasn’t yet made these explicit here. He might be a creationist, but calling him that at this point is premature. I will agree that creationists are generally very sloppy with the facts (a sure sign that they don’t do their homework), but the video clip can probably be forgiven exercising some artistic license precisely because it did get many of the facts and details right. The squid hat? Awesome. The huge clock RD wears? Classic. The summary of the scopes trial? Succinct, and essentially right. Stein’s shirt in the sequel? Perfect.

Mr. Edmonson, even if your intent was to belittle modern science, I still found the video entertaining. In truth, little in it seems harmful; and if some find the humor in jabs too sharply for their tastes, then I think relearning a little humility is in order.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on April 21, 2008 11:22 AM.

Expelled: The first numbers are in was the previous entry in this blog.

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