Evolving Thoughts

Well, he admits that it was a theist diatribe from the beginning, and not the even handed interaction between science and faith doco he told Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers among others. Always nice to find out that those who assert that only with faith in God can we have morals behave as if morals were an optional extra. Not surprising, but there it is. You can lie for your religion, to nonbelievers who do happen to behave morally and ethically.


  1. #1 DrGonzo
    January 4, 2009

    Hypocrites all…

  2. #2 Raymond Minton
    January 4, 2009

    Amateurish and heavy-handed, “Expelled” wasn’t even effective as propaganda. And when you have to lie to make an argument, you never really had one in the first place. I think about the only people who saw this movie were the fundies, and that represents, if you’ll pardon the expression, “preaching to the choir”.

  3. #3 freelunch
    January 4, 2009

    It’s nice to see another so-called Christian outing himself as a liar who shouldn’t be trusted for any reason at all. What a morally defective individual. Maybe people will eventually revolt against such behavior and get rid of such “Christianity”.

  4. #4 Ian H Spedding FCD
    January 4, 2009

    I’m shocked, shocked to find there was lying going on there!

  5. #5 Aaron Clausen
    January 4, 2009

    You know, I’m not even sure what Expelled was supposed to accomplish. Did they actually think that it was going to be some sort of Michael Moore-esque extravaganza, that hundreds of thousands of people would flood theaters to watch Ben Stein, whose major claim to fame was a bit part in a movie released over 20 years ago, rail against Darwin and the scientific establishment?

    What’s happened, of course, is that it has become little more than church basement fodder, a bit of preaching to the converted. I doubt even a small fraction of those who reject evolution were interested in seeing it.

    In a way, I’m glad the anti-science kooks are wasting their money, but at the end of the day I just can’t quite figure out what they realistically think they’re going to ultimately accomplish. In the US, at least, the First Amendment has shown itself to be proof against all the sneaky attempts to get Creationism into the public school classroom, even in jurisdictions where True Believers outnumber other folks by a considerable margin.

    I honestly don’t see the difference between Ben Stein and Erich Von Daniken, except of course that Von Daniken probably made a lot more money. The whole anti-academic slant is the same, the whole “the Establishment fears the truth” crapola. It just seems so futile and pointless, and, at the end of the day, I still am not convinced that Stein himself actually bought any of it. He’s a minor celebrity who long ago entered the same forgotten dustbin with the stars of The Love Boat and Alf.

  6. #6 Scott Hatfield, OM
    January 4, 2009

    John, I’m sorry to correct you, since you are a far more accomplished scholar than I will ever be where evolution is concerned. I have, however, kept close tabs on this Ruloff character. In fact, back in March I was one of the first to ‘connect-the-dots’ where Ruloff and Premiere Media were concerned, in this post.

    However, on this topic, both you and PZ are overstating the degree to which this interview is an ‘admission’ of anything. If you read it, Ruloff is extraordinarily coy about his private life, including his private views on religion. The interviewer did not confront Ruloff about how a film ostensibly called ‘Crossroads’ was pitched to Dawkins, etc., so there is in fact no direct admission that they ‘lied’ to those interviewed. The fact that they were intending to make an anti-evolution screed from the word ‘go’ doesn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the original ‘Crossroads’ wasn’t as advertised.

    Now, do I believe the above? Hell, no! It’s obvious to those of us on the inside that this amounts to an off-hand admission of their true intent, and thus by extension, an admission that they acted deceptively. The intended audience of this film is not, however, likely to ‘connect-the-dots’. They are not going to see any admission of deception. Sadly, even if we spelled it out for them, many of them would not be impressed. They would just assume that using deception is part of the standard journalist bag of tricks, and ‘all’s fair in love and war’, etc.

  7. #7 Susannah
    January 4, 2009

    Raymond, #2: “And when you have to lie to make an argument, you never really had one in the first place.”

    That’s quotable.

    Should be on billboards.

  8. #8 Scott
    January 4, 2009

    I read the original post cited, and I don’t see where Ruloff “admits” to lying about anything. He says where they added the Nazi film clips in order to get an emotional impact, because a more cerebral movie is kind of boring. But is that an admission of “lying”? Certainly the whole enterprise is dishonest, but I don’t see that this interview as reported supports the claim. Can someone point to what they think was such an “admission”? (Cross posted on Pharyngula.)

  9. #9 John S. Wilkins
    January 4, 2009

    While irony is a subtle and slight trope that does not survive well on the interwubs, I would have thought heavy handed sarcasm worked just fine. Colour me surprised.

  10. #10 Scott Hatfield, OM
    January 5, 2009

    Colour me surprised.

    I plead guilty to often being tone-deaf in this department, not only online but in person. BTW, post #8 from Scott is not from yours truly. As an anthropically-minded ID type might remark, ‘What are the odds?’ that two guys with the same first name would have the same quibble? The mind boggles.

  11. #11 Matthew C. Nisbet
    January 22, 2009

    Apparently Bill Maher and his producers did the same thing to get interviews for Religulous.


  12. #12 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 22, 2009

    Matt, and your point is? Many people criticized Maher for that. The relevance is at best minimal.

  13. #13 Cannonball Jones
    January 22, 2009

    They’d have us believe that it’s impossible to have morals without religion. Well if being moral means being a pathological liar you can stuff your morals where the sun don’t shine.

    And to Nisbet, Maher has been slammed on these blogs left, right and centre. No-one is paying attention to his film because it’s essentially a comedy, hitting an easy target for a few laughs, and it’s up-front about that fact. The reason we are angry at the makers of Expelled is that it was billed as a serious documentary looking at both sides of the argument. They lied in that fundamental respect which is an immoral thing to do. The whole “B-b-but Bill did it too!” argument is a bit childish don’t you think?

  14. #14 Carlie
    January 22, 2009

    Matt, nobody was talking about Maher. The topic is the rank hypocrisy and lying nature of the Expelled team, who think that being religious makes one more moral and good than the awful atheists.

  15. #15 Science Avenger
    January 23, 2009

    Never mind Nisbet, he thought Expelled was a commercial success, and that the PZ incident helped the film. He’s an anti-atheist zealot, unencumbered by evidence or sound reasoning.

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