The new preview for the movie Expelled looks very slick and professional — there are some deep pockets behind this effort.
You’ll catch on to the major themes of the movie right away: God and paranoia. It begins with Stein setting the stage for a conflict between two worldviews: it’s “Everything on earth was created by a loving god” vs. “Some think we’re nothing but mud animated by lightning”. It’s interesting that Stein is very open about the religious underpinnings of Intelligent Design creationism, something the Discovery Institute would rather hide, while so grossly misrepresenting evolutionary theory…but then, that’s what it is all about, making an emotional appeal to the religious while burying the intellectual power of evolution beneath a caricature. So right from the beginning we’re given the message that supporting ID is about supporting god-belief.
The paranoia is grandiose. The clip Godwins us at about 2:10, with shots of Hitler; later, after showing us the “persecuted” “scientists”, we get a few shots of Nazi concentration camps. Subtlety is not going to be this movie’s forte. Oh, and poor Sternberg and Meyer — they lost their jobs and livelihood (uh, not really, but the narration talks about generic people losing jobs while showing those two … but I don’t think either has felt even the slightest economic twinge from their foolishness), all because of they dared to publish that maybe human beings weren’t lightning-animated mud.
This is a conspiracy not just by scientists, but by the media, courts and educational system. It ends with a warning that just seeing this movie might cost viewers their friends, their jobs, their life (OK, not the last bit, but it was getting pretty melodramatic). The closing scene is just weird: a custodian walks into the room Stein has just left and inspects what has been left with a scowl. Ze Darvinist schpies, zey are EVERYVHERE! The ushers at the theater will have secret radios to report your presence at the movie! Be afraid!
It’s going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant — which means they’re going to draw in about 90% of the American market. I see two potential weaknesses: 1) they lie everytime they mention evolution, which we already know is tough to counter, and 2) it really is unbelievably way over the top. Unfortunately, in this age of Fox News, it may not be possible to go enough over the top to trigger anyone’s suspicions anymore.
We also get a preview of the many quote minings to come. They’ve got Dawkins saying, “As a scientist, I’m pretty hostile to a rival doctrine…” — I’m willing to bet that he went on to explain exactly what it was in that doctrine that makes him hostile to it, but of course we aren’t going to hear that part.
Anyway, we’re going to have an interesting time in February when this piece of propaganda is released. I suspect its half-truths and claims of persecution and martyrdom will suck in a lot of people — they aren’t going to bother explaining the bogosities behind their ideology, and it’s going to be up to us to rip into it and expose the falsehoods. It would be better, though, if we had some millions of dollars and a professional production crew to counter their glib lies with some well-presented truths.
(via The Bad Idea Blog)