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In a Comment in the journal Genome Biology Gregory Petsko, Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry Protein Crystallography at Brandeis University discusses the latest shenanigans of the Intelligent Design movement. ( Gregory A Petsko It is alive Genome Biology 2008, 99::106)

They’re at it again. Armed with another new idea from the Discovery Institute, that bastion of ignorance, right-wing political ideology, and pseudo-scientific claptrap, the creationist movement has mounted yet another assault on science. This time it comes in two flavors: propaganda and legislative.

What is Petsko talking about?

NCSE: Proving ID = Creationism


expelled movie exposedNCSE’s staff worked behind the scenes in the archives to find the missing links tying “intelligent design” to its creationist ancestry.

An outstanding video explaining how through hard work, the NCSE staff uncovered the missing link “cdesign proponentist” (oops they already mutated from their native form “cdesign proponentsists”).

More “Expelled” News


expelled movie exposedIt’s been a good week for science, and evolutionary science in particular so let me mention a few newsworthy events.

And in late breaking news:

Turkish Islamic author Oktar aka Harun Yahya given 3-year jail sentence

Oktar’s teachings echo those of Christian fundamentalists in the United States. He has publicly denounced Darwinism and Freemasonry in high-profile attacks.

Expelled Theatre count

Week Theatres Change
May 09 402 -254
May 02 656 -385
April 25 1041 -11
Launch 1052 0

NCSE: Eyeing ID

| 668 Comments | 2 TrackBacks

While legislatures focus on antievolution bills, a new video at Expelled Exposed helps students see how evolution works.

Oakland, California, May 6, 2008 As attacks on evolution education remain in the news, with proposed antievolution legislation in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri in the headlines, a new video rebutting the basic premise of intelligent design creationism is now available on

Ben Stein lies about Sternberg and Kitzmiller Lauri Lebo reviews Expelled

PvM: My apologies to Lauri Lebo for misspelling her name as Laurie

Unevolved “Mark Mathis”


expelled movie exposedThis interview is just too good to ignore. The Real Detroit Weekly reports on the movie “Expelled”. The interview shows what had already become painfully clear to me having listened the SciAm interview: namely that Mathis is poorly informed on the issues of evolutionary theory. Whenever challenged by the SciAm editors, Mathis would first try to respond only to find himself overwhelmed by the facts and respond with “I am just an associate editor” and claim unfamiliarity with the facts. Why is it that ID works best in the shadows of ignorance?

Point in case

I confront Mathis with this point, and he counters that evolutionary theory is also untestable. This is patently untrue—to give just one example, scientists have witnessed speciation, the arisal of a new species from an old one.

When I point this out, he interrupts me immediately: “Whoa! Wait a minute! Please send me whatever material you have that demonstrates that we can observe speciation because I have not seen anything. I’ve never heard anyone even claim that!”

Is he serious? He’s just produced a film about evolution, and he’s never heard of the fact that speciation has been observed and thoroughly documented in the scientific literature? I’m stunned. I send him peer-reviewed research confirming this fact via e-mail, and he later responds, “This isn’t an important argument for me.”

expelled movie exposedThe God Connection

Baylor University’s newspaper the “Lariat” reports on “Expelled”, exposing once again that Intelligent Design is a theological concept.

Robert Marks, a professor at Baylor and Intelligent Design proponent, commented

“I thought it portrayed things pretty well as they are �– that science by decree of entrenched Darwinism has no room for a God hypothesis,” Marks said. “I on the other hand think that one cannot pursue truth without consideration of a creator.”

Marks said if science defines science as void of a creator, then it’s not a pursuit of truth.

Same with associate producer Mathis

“You have a science department that’s denying a god,” Mathis said

expelled movie exposedThe first Box Office numbers are in. Expelled opened in 8th place with $1.2M in revenues in 1,052 theatres resulting in a $1,141 per theatre revenue. You do the math. At an average of 5 showings this makes $220 per showing or 30-40 people. Expelled ranks 4th in the list of “new releases”

While the weekend has just started the movie will have to do some hard work to match the expectations of the PR people:

“He said they would consider the opening weekend successful if the movie sold 2 million tickets (earning $12-15 million).”

[Update: Source: Brad in Stranger Fruit Comment section]

In context, Fahrenheit 9/11’s opening weekend grossed $23.9 million in 868 theatres grossing $27,558 per theatre and $8,565,000 on it’s first day

Remember that the movie is also heavily subsidized and Churches etc will receive large discounts.

expelled movie exposedFrom Dembski’s ‘backyard’ comes a review by the Waco Tribune of “Expelled”

Carl Hoover Wrote:

Though Stein presents himself as a man of rational logic, his film’s arguments are a rhetorical mishmash of straw men, red herrings, guilt by association, quote harvesting, gotcha interviews and post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) associations that may cause your head to pop. It’s a propaganda form highly polished by director/activist Michael Moore on the other end of the political spectrum.

Not bad for starters.

expelled movie exposedThe NY Times has a hard hitting review titled “Resentment Over Darwin Evolves Into a Documentary”


One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.



Mixing physical apples and metaphysical oranges at every turn “Expelled” is an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike. In its fudging, eliding and refusal to define terms, the movie proves that the only expulsion here is of reason itself.

expelled movie exposedSteve Mirsky from Scientific America reports on Never You Mine: Ben Stein’s Selective Quoting of Darwin

Steve Mirsky Wrote:

One of the many egregious moments in the new Ben Stein anti-evolution film “Expelled” is the truncation of a quote from Charles Darwin so that it makes him appear to give philosophical ammunition to the Nazis. Steve Mirsky reports.

Ayn Rand Institute: Expelled Gets an F


expelled movie exposedThe Ayn Rand Institute has released a Press Release

“Intelligent design advocates will do anything to advance their views–except science.

“The reason for that is simple: doing science has never been their goal. Their goal is to make biblical creationism appear scientific in order to skirt the constitutional ban on religion in public schools. Contrary to the film’s claims, the real dogmatists are not the defenders of Darwin, but the religiously motivated advocates of intelligent design.”

Contest: Set Ben Straight


expelled movie has announced a contest to “Set Ben Straight

In promoting the creationist propaganda film Expelled, Ben Stein managed to stick his foot in his mouth over and over again, issuing what seemed to be a ceaseless stream of ignorant, offensive, and just plain daffy claims. Here’s your chance to set Ben straight. Send your favorite claim to [Enable javascript to see this email address.] along with a refutation. We’ll post the best for all the world to see. And five lucky entrants will receive a year’s subscription to Reports of the NCSE along with their choice of a book from NCSE’s shelf – including such useful books as Mark Isaak’s The Counter-Creationism Handbook, Eugenie C. Scott’s Evolution vs. Creationism, and the AAAS’s The Evolution Dialogues: Science, Christianity, and the Quest for Understanding. But you only have ten days, and a wealth of silliness to examine, so act now!

expelled movie exposed

A series of interviews with ID true believers has him playing Michael Moore–dumb—no hard questions for the folks at the Discovery Center, whose infamous leaked 1993 “wedge memo” stated as one of its primary goals the propagation of the idea “that nature and human beings are created by God.” ID’ers protest that they’re simply interested in secular alternatives to Darwinian evolution; their scientific opponents, meanwhile, are potential Communists and Nazis. Bizarre and hysterical.

BeliefNet: Expelled review (D)


expelled movie exposedBeliefNet reviews Expelled

There may be a good argument to make on behalf of teaching Intelligent Design in science class, but this documentary from Ben Stein does not make it. The movie itself is an example of design by faith and emotion rather than intelligence, defined as rationality grounded in proof. Instead of making a straightforward case for Intelligent Design as a scientific theory, Stein employs misdirection and guilt by very tangential association to try to make his case.

TV Guide: Expelled (1 1/2 star)


expelled movie exposedTV Guide reviews Expelled

It’s hard to pinpoint the most insulting aspects of this obvious propaganda piece from Ben Stein, the eye-drops spokesman, conservative writer and pundit whom most people remember from a bit part in FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF.

expelled movie exposedIn Paste Magazine we read:

The filmmakers confirmed that they did use the track without permission, but they insist that their legal counsel told them it was fair use protected under the First Amendment due to the fact that they only used 25 seconds of it.

expelled movie exposedIn the Salt Lake Tribune we read about the dishonesty

Alas, the movie’s makers (Stein and co-writers Kevin Miller and Walt Ruloff, and director Nathan Frankowski) don’t debate honestly. Stein mocks university officials for not “getting off [their] script,” but says nothing about the repetitive talking points from the ID crowd. The ID folks complain that the term “evolution” is too vaguely defined, and yet never adequately define what “intelligent design” is. They swear they aren’t espousing religion, then try to discredit the leading evolutionary biologists - such as Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers - because they are atheists. Oddly enough, the tactics employed in “Expelled” undercut the movie’s argument, most notably in the interviews with Dawkins and Myers and in Stein’s trip to Darwin’s British home (now a museum). Either the filmmakers suckered these participants under false pretenses, or the evolutionists are more open to debate than Stein suggests. Perhaps the intelligent-design proponents know that in a truly open debate, their argument isn’t fit enough to survive.

expelled movie exposedE! Reviews gives it an “F”

Review in a Hurry: A flunkout of a documentary, this features Ben Stein—still best known for his monotone “Anyone…anyone?”—advocating creationism, er, intelligent design, in science classrooms. Stein’s credibility is blown on this poorly constructed diatribe, and you’d be smart to save your bucks.

expelled movie exposedLies, damned lies and “intelligent design’

It’s nuttiness right from the opening moments of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Images of Nazi atrocities and the terrors of life behind the Berlin Wall are smugly deployed in an attempt to editorialize away basic scientific fact. In a saner universe, you could scoff at Stein and not give his nonsense another thought. But we don’t live in that universe. We live here, where the religious insecurity of a scientifically illiterate populace is being twisted by people who certainly know better.

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