The Intersection

Read it for yourself. People actually involved in the promotion of films, like Randy Olson or this screenwriter, Kevin Miller, understand perfectly well how such a controversy helps Ben Stein. And Miller in particular ought to know: He’ll surely get residuals if this film does well.

Why is our side so clueless? I have no idea, but it is eternally frustrating.

Comments

  1. #1 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    March 23, 2008

    So your argument relies on taking Kevin Miller at his word? Kevin Miller, the writer behind the upcoming movie comparing scientists to Nazis? A reliable source? You be funny.

  2. #2 Joe Shelby
    March 23, 2008

    Ipso Facto – there’s no way one can confirm that he “planned” it that way. First the PZ firestorm, then your rant about the firestorm (‘causing a second one, though smaller), and NOW Miller says effectively “I meant that all along”.

    Being a professed liar already.

    Needlesstosay, this one tiny blog entry doesn’t really seem that large a vote of confidence that you’re right.

  3. #3 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    Why is our side so clueless? I have no idea, but it is eternally frustrating.

    Chris, what makes you consider PZ and Dawkins to be “your side”. Is it because all three of you are atheists who fight for proper science education? I’d say that there is a very significant difference:

    Unlike you, me, and many others, PZ and Dawkins promote atheism first and foremost. In as much as proper high school science education helps their agenda, they’ll promote that too… but don’t think for a second that they share the same primary goal of having proper science education that you do.

    To them, teaching evolution is just merely one of many steps towards atheism. We know that their primary goal isn’t promotion of science education by how they continually treat scientists who are also religious with varying amounts of disrespect… even though these religious scientists are in the best position to convince other religious people of the importance of a proper science education.

    In short… while you might feel frustrated, you certainly shouldn’t feel surprised by it at all.

  4. #4 travc
    March 23, 2008

    Gotta disagree with you on this one. The standard notion that any publicity is good publicity does not hold for ridicule and derision.

    The meme as it now stands in most places (including the NYT), isn’t that there was a grand conflict between PZ and the Expelled folks… it is that the Expelled folks acted like the laughable idiots they are. That is pretty much ‘all good’ IMO.

  5. #5 SLC
    March 23, 2008

    Where is Chris Mooney, Matt Nisbets’ Chris Mooney, his echo, his shadow, his suit of clothes.

  6. #6 PalMD
    March 23, 2008

    It’s the same problem that has always existed with deciding whether or not to protest something. Show up to protest a Nazi rally and risk bringing them more “fame” than they deserve. Fail to protest, and risk the appearance of a tacit endorsement.

    There is no right answer.

  7. #7 Zarquon
    March 23, 2008

    PZ already has the perfect framing question “Why was I expelled from Expelled!, even though I’m in it?” That you guys don’t recognise this simply means you’re dislike for him has overwhelmed your common sense.

  8. #8 mlf
    March 23, 2008

    re: “Group Hug”

    And you believe Miller because…

    Do you really expect anyone connected to that movie to say anything different? Of course the hell not. It may as well be politics.

  9. #9 Chris Ho-Stuart
    March 23, 2008

    Chris: on this you are being an idiot. Kevin is in spin control mode, and losing.

    There’s one issue where Kevin is going to score points, and that was over the rash speculations by Myers and Dawkins about the animations in Expelled being taken from the XVIVO material. Kevin denies this, and I believe him.

    But when Kevin claims he wants to give Myers a hug, he’s bluffing. And when you swallow that line, you’re being an idiot.

    Cheers — Chris Ho-Stuart

  10. #10 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    As it seems now to be more topical on this post, I’ll repost from the last one.

    Chris,
    Do you really expect a writer of the movie to spin this any other way? “All publicity is good publicity” is a tv cliche, and the entertainment industry does not follow it blindly. Stein would benefit if the film itself were causing waves, not the hypocritical actions of its production team.
    Being all over the press isn’t good when all that’s being reported is that Expelled is expelling people, thus looking like hypocrites. It’s too easy to frame in a negative way against Stein and Co, and it’s perfectly bite size enough for the papers to print. Just as the Dover Trial put ID in the headlines only knock it down, so too does this incident.

    This is simply called “bad press” and I suspect that the production team realizes this by the fact that they’ve canceled further screenings.

  11. #11 borehole
    March 23, 2008

    Sorry, but you can’t model your approach on that of the Democratic Congressional leadership and then call other people clueless. You gotta pick one or the other.

  12. #12 MarkH
    March 23, 2008

    For fuck’s sake Chris you’re off your rocker all of a sudden. I’m going to have to spend the next week describing why this new strategy of “ignore everything” is an error.

  13. #13 Robert Parson
    March 23, 2008

    Chris, as a long time admirer of yours (I bought both of your books in hardcover), and as someone who in general leans towards your side in the “framing wars”, I’ve got to say that you are the clueless one this time around.

  14. #14 Tupelo
    March 23, 2008

    My opinion of your opinion on this (and, frankly, most issues you write about, Chris, can be perfectly represented by the sign-language interpreter in the classic movie “Airplane”.

    Enjoy Candyland! I hear chocolate is only half price today!

  15. #15 Inoculated Mind
    March 23, 2008

    So you’re saying that Randy Olson’s Flock of Dodos was a bad idea now? It gives them press, albeit bad press. It opens them up to ridicule, too. What Myers and Dawkins need to do is explain how they are being misrepresented, and how dishonest the film’s producers have been. But the idea that they should lay low, put forward by Nisbet, when they’re being portrayed in a film that’s out – I think that would backfire and feed into it. If that happens, I can hear Kevin Miller crooning about how Myers and Dawkins are afraid to rebut their film, are avoiding it, etc.

  16. #16 Chris C. Mooney
    March 23, 2008

    Wow, Mark, now both you and PZ are swearing.

    The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself.

    I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.

  17. #17 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.

    Damn Chris… surely you realize that when you try to play the part of the broker who brings opposing sides together, that it isn’t a good idea to be making such a provocative statement like this.

    It’s true that Mark and PZ are swearing because they strongly disagree with you. But calling it a dogma, comparable to religious dogma, is nothing more than poking an angry bear with a short stick.

    In other words, expect them to swipe back even harder now… lol

  18. #18 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Chris, you do yourself great disservice in ignoring posts that challenge your assertions, only to respond to issues you are attempting to create. Wouldn’t you do better to follow your own track and simply ignore all those who cuss and stick to working with those who are attempting to initiate a dialogue with you on the original point you raised?

  19. #19 HP
    March 23, 2008

    I wouldn’t have thought it possible to heap another layer of irony on the Expelled affair, but now a professional writer, who has built his entire career on not alienating the public, has managed, through his writing alone, to alienate the very audience he’s trying to reach.

    As a professional writer myself, I cannot express how outraged I am by your complete failure to communicate effectively with your target audience, the science community.

    I am a writer. I know my material, and I know my audience. This is what writers do. It’s a real skill, a real craft, and for those of us who practice it, it’s actually fun. You’re not a freshman comp student anymore. Do you really want me to lecture you on audience? Hell’s bells, the science community is easy to write for. How could you screw this up so completely?

    The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself.

    Indeed it does. It says you don’t know how to communicate.

  20. #20 AK47
    March 23, 2008

    The “we meant to do that” response is so completely predictable from these guys that I don’t see how one can conclude that it conveys any information.

  21. #21 Eric the Leaf
    March 23, 2008

    It is always the best policy to acknowledge the views of others, demonstrating that you understand their position and pointing out where you believe they might have merit, even if you believe that they do not. Most people just want to be heard and to know that others are listening–to them, or to their arguments. That is the only way to have a dialogue. It’s kind of like marriage. Otherwise, it’s just howling at the moon, or blogging.

    I would apply the same argument to the entire ID/evolution debate. People are not necessarily persuaded by reason, even those that consider themselves to be rational (who doesn’t?). Ask oneself, is your goal to persuade, or is it to demagogue? Both are fine, but have potentially different outcomes.

  22. #22 Norman Doering
    March 23, 2008

    Chris, your view might have had merit if Expelled were a moderately well crafted movie and/or argument, but if Dawkins’ review is accurate then getting viewers to this movie will only help our cause.

    Here’s the review:
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,2394,Lying-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins

    It sounds like creationists will be embarrassed to be associated with it… If they can be embarrassed.

  23. #23 MarkH
    March 23, 2008

    Now really Chris, you can do better than accuse me of being dogmatic. In fact in your previous post I wrote a discussion of why you were wrong from a historical perspective based on the efficacy of tobacco/cancer denialism. Despite the general contempt for denial of the link between tobacco and cancer, the well-funded denialist campaign was still highly effective in delaying regulation, labeling and ETS control in the US and around the world. They’d still be doing it if they weren’t attacked constantly by scientists, if their methods weren’t exposed by whistleblowers, and their apparatus disassembled and destroyed by litigation and legislation.

    I get no response to this, instead just an accusation of dogmatism because I used a dirty word.

    I’m amazed how the framers, the supposed experts on communication, are so completely ineffective in communicating whatever the hell their point is. I gave you the benefit of the doubt on the last post, and tried to pull something positive from an absurd argument. Now we have Nisbet telling two of the most effective communicators in the world to just shut up (based on no data I might add), and engendering an almost universally negative response.

    Who needs to learn how to communicate here? You guys claim that PR needs to be used in science, but you’re not actually collecting data to show PZ and Dawkin’s are ineffective. If anything, empirically, they’re highly effective communicators, and I think in large part due to their actions the DI and ID have been largely declawed. It certainly wasn’t through some imaginary movement you and Nisbet created joining scientists and pastors in perfect harmony. Put up or shut up. Give us some data.

  24. #24 Chris C. Mooney
    March 23, 2008

    Mark,
    Come to the Framing Science talk, or watch it on one of the many available places on the web. We have presented data of various types–polling data, data on media coverage trends, etc–ad nauseum.

    But of course we can’t yet present data on Expelled and its influence as it hasn’t yet run its course.

  25. #25 Chris C. Mooney
    March 23, 2008

    To add, the tobacco example, with which I’m highly familiar, just isn’t parallel to Expelled, for any number of reasons.

    I suppose Nisbet and I could spell out every last one of our premises every time we write something. But we feel like we’ve said it all and written it all already–indeed, repeatedly. Nevertheless, at least on the part of most people who comment on scienceblogs, we run up against the same unwillingness to seriously consider what we know about media, audiences, and how people make up their minds.

    These reactions–often nasty, rarely intellectually serious–really don’t make me want to explain myself further. Nisbet and I would much rather make the case before thoughtful public audiences that are engaged and ask questions–and especially before young scientists who actually want to learn something about communication.

  26. #26 ab
    March 23, 2008

    The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself.

    Sometimes overwhelming negative response to an idea simply means that you are wrong. Seems bizarre that this needs stating in a clear, plain fashion, but apparently it does. Chris, I have yet to see any hint of an acknowledgment that you have even considered the possibility that you may have misread this situation.

  27. #27 Jim Lippard
    March 23, 2008

    The comments on Kevin Miller’s blog seem to indicate the level of support for his view of things.

  28. #28 Jim Lippard
    March 23, 2008

    Chris wrote: “Wow, Mark, now both you and PZ are swearing.

    The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself.

    I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.”

    Chris, this is the “they laughed at Galileo” argument. You seem to have forgotten about Bozo the Clown.

  29. #29 Scote
    March 24, 2008

    I gotta agree with the crowd here. I don’t believe the “any publicity is good publicity” mantra will play here. This event shows them for the hypocritical liars that they are, and, their movie to be a boring, un-relenting example of Goodwin’s law that it is.

    You are over simplifying the issue by oversimplifying the PR principles involved.

  30. #30 Timcol
    March 24, 2008

    I too think it’s important for PZ and Dawkins to speak up on this matter. Not only did the producers make an egregious error in ‘expelling’ PZ but have been completely mendacious in their spinning of the event (e.g., by claiming PZ ‘gatecrashed’ the movie, and that Dawkins was in fact ‘allowed in’).

    From Dawkins account on his own Web site, by all accounts the movie is a clunker. Perhaps then it should get more publicity; sure the faithful will continue to believe, but perhaps the more thoughtful people out there might just see the movie for what it really is.

  31. #31 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 24, 2008

    Chris, you wrote:

    The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself. I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.

    I’ve already posted at Dr. Nisbet’s site, but for the record I’m a theist. If this were actually about a direct attempt to spin ‘evolution-as-the-catspaw-for-atheism’ I might share your concern.

    But the PZ Expulsion Affair is not about evolution, or even about science. It’s about speaking the truth to power. The filmmakers are liars, Chris, and you and Matt’s high-minded appeal to PZ and Dr. D amounts to giving them a free pass. The idea that atheists who have been lied to shouldn’t make a big stink about it, just because they are atheists, how does that work? Well, it won’t work even if you get a theist like me in there to carry the message, Chris, because anyone who holds these guy’s feet to the fire is going to be called an atheist whether they are, or not. The same card will be played, the same script will be recited.

    Instead of blaming PZ and Dr. D for pointing out the dishonesty and the hypocrisy, let’s put the fault for this affair where it lies. If Mr. Mathis had simply ignored PZ, this wouldn’t be splashed all over the media right now. But he just couldn’t stand the idea of an outspoken atheist in attendance. He acted unwisely. If he hoped to provoke a controversy, it has clearly backfired. Why? Because the issue is no longer whether or not ID is getting a fair case in the court of scientific opinion. The issue is why these guys are such obvious, clueless, liars.

    In my most assertive voice: FRAME THAT!

  32. #32 RBH
    March 24, 2008

    Chris Mooney wrote

    I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.

    If that’s the only alternative that you can think of it ain’t Myers and Dawkins who have a dogma problem.

  33. #33 Anton Mates
    March 24, 2008

    The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself.

    I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.

    You opened this thread by suggesting that we look to the screenwriter of a new creationist film for good advice–on anti-creationist PR techniques.

    Now you’re demonstrating one of the favorite rhetorical tactics of creationist trolls: “I don’t have to answer any questions or justify any of my assertions, because you were mean to me and that proves your theory is just a religion itself.”

    Thanks for demonstrating the Goofus approach to science communication, but can you switch back into Gallant mode now?

    These reactions–often nasty, rarely intellectually serious–really don’t make me want to explain myself further.

    I think a fair number of cogent questions have been posed to you and left unanswered, but forget about that for a moment: If you can’t deal with nasty and superficial reactions to your claims, how can you possibly expect to communicate science to the American public? Do you expect the opposition to respond with sober, polite, detailed counterarguments?

    This is your chance to model effective communication, to an audience which may view you with initial suspicion and may not pay close attention to the details of your message. Please, show us how it’s done.

  34. #34 annalemma
    March 24, 2008

    All of this latest publicity for the Expelled “documentary” is actually a good thing. The only way to bring down lying, hypocritical creationists is by exposing them for their hypocrisy, and finishing them off with ruthless ridicule. The more people who see the hypocrisy, the better.

  35. #35 MH
    March 24, 2008

    Chris wrote: “Wow, Mark, now both you and PZ are swearing. The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself. I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.”

    I’ve seen many creationists use this line too. They repeatably spout nonsense, to the extent that the people trying to set them straight get frustrated and — shock horror — use a ‘swear word’. Then the creationist claims victory.

    Ignoring considered remarks and pouncing on expletives is also a common tactic of the creos.

    After-the-Bar-Closes trolls FtK and AFDave were classic examples.

  36. #36 Dan
    March 24, 2008

    Chris,
    Come to the Framing Science talk, or watch it on one of the many available places on the web. We have presented data of various types–polling data, data on media coverage trends, etc–ad nauseum.

    A more interesting talk would offer open inquiry into why you and Nisbet are trying to politicize science, albeit with good intentions. You can’t politicize science without getting slimy, and linking to Kevin Miller is, well, slimy.

    How about you just get back to trying to report on the politicization of science instead of joining in on it?

  37. #37 Dan
    March 24, 2008

    Respect Astrology – Mike puts the framing issue into its proper context.

  38. #38 lylebot
    March 24, 2008

    Chris, instead of mining quotes that support your point and accusing people of acting in bad faith, why don’t you go out and get some data that may or may not falsify your hypothesis? Go find a sociologist or political scientist or something to help you collect and interpret it, and then come back and tell us what you’ve found.

    Even if the data doesn’t agree with what I think, I’d still find it much more interesting than this harping on PZ and Dawkins for things that you only think are bad.

  39. #39 J. J. Ramsey
    March 24, 2008

    Chris C. Mooney: “I suppose Nisbet and I could spell out every last one of our premises every time we write something. But we feel like we’ve said it all and written it all already–indeed, repeatedly.”

    Just because you feel like you’ve said it all doesn’t mean that you really have. Talking about “feelings” and “comfort” is a red flag to me, (which is why I put my foot in my mouth before Dr. Elsberry, which didn’t work out too well.). Now, Nisbet has been uncomfortably light on data. Show us the figures. Show us the studies. Cite the journal articles, especially for the sake of those of us at universities who can actually access them.

    Now I’ve give you a pretty big benefit of the doubt because I think I get the gist of what you are saying, namely that the general public sees things radically differently from the way we do because it gets what little information it has in bits and pieces from word of mouth, sound bites, entertainment shows, and maybe a little actual news, and we have to adjust for that. You haven’t communicated that gist very well, though. Your target audience is the same as Dawkins and PZ’s, but Dawkins and PZ have been better at framing for this audience than you have.

  40. #40 tceisele
    March 24, 2008

    Regarding the “All Publicity is Good Publicity” notion, I must have missed the bit where the extensive publicity about “Battlefield Earth” being possibly the worst movie ever made turned it into a smash hit at the box-office, and boosted John Travolta’s career. Oh, that didn’t happen? Well, never mind, then.

  41. #41 Jim Lippard
    March 24, 2008

    Anton Mates: “This is your chance to model effective communication, to an audience which may view you with initial suspicion and may not pay close attention to the details of your message. Please, show us how it’s done.”

    Maybe he is. Stay on message, keep making the same points, ignore the questions of your critics, complain about their tone. The fact that George W. Bush hasn’t been impeached is perhaps evidence of success for these tactics.

  42. #42 Jim Lippard
    March 24, 2008

    Scott Hatfield: “If Mr. Mathis had simply ignored PZ, this wouldn’t be splashed all over the media right now. But he just couldn’t stand the idea of an outspoken atheist in attendance. He acted unwisely.”

    We now know (see P.Z.’s blog post with the quotes from Mathis from Denyse O’Leary and Inside Higher Ed) that Mathis now says he specifically excluded Myers because he wants to make him pay to see the movie (something I doubt will happen), and because he is unhappy about Myers’ “untruthful blogging” (with no specifics).

  43. #43 Harry Abernathy
    March 24, 2008

    While I doubt the PR people in any way plotted to exclude PZ from the screening while letting Dawkins, of all people, get through, I do agree with Chris (and the filmmakers) that the publicity will help the film. Not in the sense that the movie will convert any more people, but that the publicity will help sell more tickets.

    The movie was made to preach to the choir. Nothing in it will change people’s minds, unless possibly making some fence-straddlers see how ridiculous some ID people look. The ID and creationists folks are going to see this movie anyway, assuming they can find a theater actually playing it. A few more will probably make the trip now to prove a point to those godless, pointy-headed scientists.

    On the other side of the aisle, all the internet buzz from the atheists’ side will probably make more scientists go see the film just to criticize it. Even if they’re criticizing it, they’re still ponying up the loot to see it. In a similar vein, I would bet that a small percentage of visits to the creationist museum are people visiting simply to laugh at it. And they probably heard about it through websites such as the Panda’s Thumb.

    If you need some to find some data on the effect of negative publicity, analyze the effect of the bad press for the movie “Funny Games” on its box office numbers. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait until next month when “Expelled” has its “nationwide” release.

  44. #44 Nick
    March 24, 2008

    Chris,

    If successfully employing your framing ideas means silencing outspoken atheists like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, then I think it’s high time you find another hobby. People like them are not going to stop being vocal just because you asked them to, and I, and a lot of other people don’t want them to stop.

    Maybe you should actually start communicating some science instead of cannibalizing our cause.

  45. #45 Eric
    March 24, 2008

    Chris, I’m curious what you think of the following review of the movie Expelled:
    http://www.newscientist.com/blog/shortsharpscience/

    Is this a better response? Should we just ignore the film completely and not form any sort of response? What is so wrong with PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins attending the film (using the same RSVP system that every other viewer used), and writing an honest, critical review?

    I really don’t understand the whole “In order to be accepted, Science must not offend anyone’s beliefs”. Science isn’t running for office. It’s not a popularity contest.

  46. #46 the real CosMo Framer
    March 24, 2008

    OH NO!! My ohhh my…you have incurred the wraith(s) of the sciborgs! Whatever will you do without their endorsement!!??

    Megalo-maniacal shameless self promotion is such a turn off, and I think you called this one correctly to a large degree, as Meyers fits that bill. Worse,these guys seem to feel that they know better than the PR guys–which is dangerous….

    re: “This is not about censoring your ideas and positions, but rather being smart…. and ultimately effective in promoting science rather than your own personal ideology, books, or blog.”

    Some of those ‘stuck in the eighties, dogmatic faux-progressive guys’ over there know all about censorship–funny how the vultures came home to roost on them this time–and they sure can’t seem to take good advice from the media professionals–I guess they fit the “know it all scientist” frame? Or with all that swearing, maybe they are “Mad Scientists”?

    And you guys are SO RIGHT about the ideological biases over there…biased lil’ f@ck3r5… ;-)

  47. #47 the real CosMo Framer
    March 24, 2008

    “This is not about censoring your ideas and positions, but rather being smart…. and ultimately effective in promoting science rather than your own personal ideology, books, or blog.” attr. from Nisbet’s post

  48. #48 aaron
    March 24, 2008

    Isn’t it frustrating- even by mentioning this stupid movie, you start a controversy on your blog, when this movie wouldn’t be so big if science-types would just ignore it.

    I found out about the movie because apparently they bought into some keywords to advertise in my gmail. funny, because I don’t think I ever mentioned anything in my e-mail other than science. they seem to have targeted the scientific minds to enrage us.

    and now the controversy-makes swamp all blogs that mention it. I am frustrated that the pro-science minds, and the athiests can’t seem to band together constructively to let this movie just float on by.

    How did those implicated by “sicko” address the movie? They ignored it and it just kind of floated away without any big controversy and big ticket sales.

  49. #49 A Lurker
    March 24, 2008

    How much money that Kevin Miller, Ben Stein, etc. make is not nearly as important as whether or not their movie is considered credible outside the circle of creationist true believers.

    If Miller cares only about money the movie might generate then indeed he does want to give a group hug. If he wants to win the controversy then he is doing nothing but transparent spinning.

    Chris, you and Matt are dead wrong on this particular issue. The creationists showed their true colors — that should be exploited.

    And while creationists do score points over Dawkins anti-religion rhetoric, trying to shut them up will do no good: 1) Dawkins is not very likely to shut up. 2) If you could get Dawkins to shut up, they would simply use his past statements. 3) Frankly, your statements are a gift to the quote miners who can use them as evidence that some “Darwinists” want to cover up on this issue. The only credible way to deal with the damage Dawkins etc. can do on this issue is not to try to cover it up or muzzle Dawkins but rather acknowledge that there are differences in opinion and that many believers see no problem evolution. One might also point out that if Dawkins, etc. really thought that leaning about science was enough, they would not feel the need to write “The God Delusion.”

    I will agree with you and Sheril that PZ’s profanity is not helping things.

  50. #50 Jim Lippard
    March 24, 2008

    Harry Abernathy: “The movie was made to preach to the choir.”

    I don’t think so.

    I think the movie was made:

    (1) To make money.
    (2) To promote the DI’s “academic freedom” campaign, which is attempting to get state legislatures to pass laws prohibiting discipline against K-12 teachers who teach creationism under the guise of “the full range of views on Darwinian evolution.”

  51. #51 Anon Prof
    March 25, 2008

    “Nisbet and I would much rather make the case before thoughtful public audiences that are engaged and ask questions–and especially before young scientists who actually want to learn something about communication.”

    As opposed to old scientists that actually KNOW something about SCIENCE?? This little excercise has completely validated my initial gut feelings about framing… Please. Go. Away.

  52. #52 Scote
    March 25, 2008

    “The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself.
    …Posted by: Chris C. Mooney | March 23, 2008 8:59 PM”

    What a load of balderdash. You are suggesting that a heap of criticism can only mean, er, that it is unjustified??? How c-o-n-v-i-e-n-i-e-n-t, and totally irrational. You presume somehow that there is no way you could just be wrong on this issue…you really should at least give that some rational thought and write up a **rational** response rather than an emotional one based on loyalty instead of sound, fact-based reasoning.

    What where did you put your brain? Did you park it some where and lose the keys? Because you sure aren’t using it in that post. Did you sleep next to a Pod?

  53. #53 NMcC
    March 25, 2008

    As a little aside to this whole question of good or bad publicity and its effects, I think it was Oscar Wilde who originated this idea when he said that:

    “The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about”.

    After this, his name was splattered all over the press when he was taken to court for being a practicing homosexual (illegal at the time, obviously) and, not only was he jailed for two years, but he became a laughing stock and a pariah; his career, reputation and livelihood imploded and he died alone and penniless as a virtual refugee in another country within a short period of time after his release.

    One last point, Chris, don’t forget who’s in the right on this issue. Myers and Dawkins went to see this ‘movie’ under perfectly legitimate circumstances and Myers was escorted out by a man in uniform uttering dire warnings if he refused to go quietly. The people behind the actions of the uniform (I’ll resist the urge to include jackboot) are the liars, charlatans and crooks in this matter and they alone should be target of your wrath and vitriol.

  54. #54 ponderingfool
    March 25, 2008

    Chris, why didn’t you and Nisbet go public with your disagreement about tactics used by Dawkins and Myers regarding Expelled? Why not simply e-mail them? Why didn’t you get ahead of Expelled and frame things accordingly. Many of those on ScienceBlogs are digging at you, Sheril and Matt because well you are coming across as annoying with nothing to add other than to whine. You are not communicating well. You are not leading.

    Look you can’t control everyone. People act. You would think the “great communicators of science” who know how to frame and want science promoted would have been putting their efforts into I don’t know making sure this incident was framed properly to get the truth out there. Instead what did you do? Framed it as look as those “angry atheists”. Isn’t that the frame the creationists/IDiots are using? Why are you flaming that frame of the events in question? Doesn’t that hurt science more than anything? You are reinforcing the very thing you are worried about, giving it credence.

  55. #55 Orac
    March 25, 2008

    I can only assume that we are challenging dogmas that are just as deeply held as any religious belief.

    Maybe so. I’ve said the same thing more or less before when I’ve expressed puzzlement at the vociferous reaction of people like PZ and Larry Moran against “framing.” That being said, however, I see dogma on your side as well. Honestly, I can’t think of any other reason why Matt and you hang on to such a misguided and wrong-headed interpretation of this particular incident other than that your entire “framing” thesis has become dogma. Really. You’ve got close to zero support. Matt’s idiotic–no, that’s not too strong a word–reaction to this incident and his arrogantly telling PZ to shut up and lay low alienated me, someone who’s been in general supportive of your ideas, to the point where I seriously wonder whether you two know what you’re talking about anymore. In fact, perhaps that’s why the whole “framing” debate has become so nasty: It’s a battle between two dogmas.

    Yeah, I think I might be on to something here. It’s very easy to dismiss the “other side” as “dogma” when your side is dogma as well.

  56. #56 David Wilford
    March 25, 2008

    I fail to see how the setting up of P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins in interviews conducted under murky pretenses perpetuates anything other than the usual lame creationist lies. That’s the sort of “framing” Nisbet should be most concerned about. Because if it wasn’t Myers and Dawkins, it would surely be someone else being similarly “framed”.

  57. #57 Dan
    March 25, 2008

    Orac,

    Yeah, I think I might be on to something here. It’s very easy to dismiss the “other side” as “dogma” when your side is dogma as well.

    I think it would be more correct to distinguish “premises” from “dogmas,” at least in the instances of PZ et al., and probably for Chris too (don’t know about Matt). That is, they are talking past each other more than they are promoting an ideology. Or would you disagree?

  58. #58 Muse142
    March 25, 2008

    I thought that ‘framing’ was a tactic used to win people over to your side. And that you are a supporter and practicer of this. And if not, at least that you are well-versed in communications.

    So where is the framing here?

    Or do you just *want* people to lash back at you? Do you *want* those who are supposedly on your side to have an immediately negative gut reaction to you?

    I just don’t get it. You know how to communicate well, I thought. Why the lack of effort?

  59. #59 MarkH
    March 26, 2008

    I’ve seen your polling data and it’s been thoroughly unconvincing.

    What I’m talking about is proof that denialist campaigns, even when largely disbelieved by the public at large, are still highly effective at meeting the goals of the denialists.

    It’s not about how your side is doing in the polls, it’s about how they are able to exert political power, even if only as a vocal minority. And how were the tobacco companies finally brought down? By ignoring their BS that most Americans didn’t believe anyway? No. They had to be attacked in the scientific literature. in the political sphere, and even in the courts.

    One does not ignore a well-funded denialist campaign, or before you know it you’ll be hearing there buzzworfd and memes in all quarters. Hell, I’ve already seen alties using expelled to show the intolerance of science.

    I need something better than polling before I believe that the demonstrably effective model against denialism is wrong. I need to see an intervention/RCT.

  60. #60 Matti K.
    March 28, 2008

    Mr Mooney said:

    “The abuse being heaped on Nisbet, and me, speaks for itself.”

    I think it is an indication that at the moment you are not very popular in the bioscience and atheist community. Like yourself, I feel sorry for you. But how is it possible that experts in “framing” have gotten themselves in such an awkward position?

  61. #61 kanser
    March 30, 2008

    but you can’t model your approach on that of the Democratic Congressional leadership and then call other people clueless. You gotta pick one or the other.

  62. #62 the real cmf
    March 31, 2008

    Mooney, stick it out–Don,t take it too seriously–all of this ‘atheist-bioscience’ criticism.

    Many of them are just half baked rhetoriticians who should stay in the lab, and out of the public dialogue, whereas others are quotable, and common sense framers who are to be sought out, not mimeographed like these blogrolls on this topic.

    Too many of the vocal ones are the residue of 90′s identity politics, rather than sound, accurate, forward-thinking or invigorating pundits.

    MatkH, re: “how were the tobacco companies finally brought down? By ignoring their BS that most Americans didn’t believe anyway? No. They had to be attacked in the scientific literature. in the political sphere, and even in the courts.”

    They were chiefly brought down by ignoring that ‘white males’ of yesteryear ( who had suffered the primary effects of cancer)were the primary targets of social engineering that demanded a limit to their lifespans–and that tobacco was a good vehicle to do just that.

    Then, with them out of the way, and in the disguise of the mantra of future safety for “women and children,” different states took away the right of individuals to sue big tobacco in their own interests, i.e. those who could most effectively show legal cause to sue were either dead, or not represented in the suits.