Pharyngula

Expelled gets more bad press

The New York Times has taken notice of the promotional tactics being used for the creationist propaganda flick, Expelled. As you all know, they are trying to filter screenings, allowing only ideologically friendly people to see it, and keeping out the serious critics who might actually evaluate it on its merits, rather than as a media echo of what the viewers want to hear.

There were nondisclosure agreements to sign that day, but Mr. Moore did not, and proceeded to write perhaps the harshest review “Expelled” has received thus far. The film will open April 18, but has been screened several times privately for religious audiences. Mr. Moore deplored what he perceived as “loaded images, loaded rhetoric, few if any facts” and accused Mr. Stein of using a “Holocaust denier’s” tactics.

Which, of course, was exactly the reaction the moviemakers were hoping to avoid by keeping mainstream critics out.

Mr. Stein said in a telephone interview that he had not read Mr. Moore’s review, but that “being compared with a Holocaust denier is nonsense,” adding, “This guy is extremely confused.” He said he decided to participate in the project because “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that big science and Darwinism should have a stranglehold on academic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

Every time Stein opens his mouth, he’s helping us. This is a movie that uses Nazi imagery to accuse science since 1859 of being the primary cause of anti-semitism — it’s not denying the Holocaust, but instead is trivializing it by using it as a tool to dishonestly browbeat a group that was not responsible. In the 1930s, a political group in Germany used centuries of deeply rooted anti-Semitism to create a popular movement that culminated in the murder of six million people for their ethnicity and a war that consumed practically the entire planet; it wasn’t caused by academics arguing over a theory.

And he projects his bizarre misinterpretations again. “Darwinism” doesn’t have a stranglehold on academics; we’ve moved well beyond Darwin to new ideas, and are constantly wrestling with novel suggestions to expand on the old Darwinian core. To name one example, proponents of evo-devo think they’ve got a set of theories that should change the way we think about evolution. There are smart people loudly arguing on both sides, with the pro side bringing up observations and evidence that emphasize the importance of the discipline, and cons poking holes and pointing out major failings, and pushing for more and better evidence. There is no stranglehold, there are only high standards of evidence that are not met by making propaganda films and getting church leaders with no knowledge of biology to denounce one side or the other. There is hard work required to break through into academic credibility, work which is not being done by the IDists.

We also have expectations of honesty that are not being met. The makers of this film had to hide their motivations every step of the way, because they know that they can’t stand the harsh light of criticism. And they just can’t stop lying.

Logan Craft, executive producer of “Expelled” and chief of Premise Media, said he thought Mr. Moore had been wrong to attend the screening after being disinvited, but both he and Mr. Lauer denied any involvement in an online “media alert” that purported to be from a backer of the film. The alert accused Mr. Moore of posing as a minister to gain admission, calling his actions a “security breach.” Mr. Moore said he never represented himself as other than a reporter.

Oh, come on. I’ve got a copy of the “media alert,” and it’s from promotional material put out by Motive Marketing. Look at the official movie site, and right there on the bottom right is the logo for Motive Marketing. They’ve been bragging about using Motive for marketing, since this is also the firm that promoted Gibson’s snuff movie, The Passion of the Christ. This Lauer fellow is the founder of Motive. A reader has sent me more promotional mail from these guys, and they are peddling the movie hard. And now they’re lying to the New York Times and claiming they’ve got nothing to do with it? It seems to be a kind of pathological reflex to deny, deny, deny even when they’re caught red-handed in something relatively inocuous.

Oh, well. It’s a sign of desperation that they are straining so hard to find a narrow audience that will appreciate their movie; they know that they’ve got a klunker that will rely on appeal to a narrow bias to succeed. Randy Olson has ‘em pegged: they want to use humor to broaden the appeal to more than just the theocratic sheep, but their movie isn’t funny. A movie that tries to build on clips of goose-stepping Nazis and Hitler salutes is pretty much destined to be depressing, unless you’re Mel Brooks. And Ben Stein is no Mel Brooks.

Comments

  1. #1 Ray C.
    March 11, 2008

    Sorry, but I click on that NYT link and I get a login screen instead of an article. Nope. FAIL. The web is meant to be read. If I have to jump through hoops to read your web site, I’m not going to read your web site.

  2. #2 LisaJ
    March 11, 2008

    Well ‘Ray C’, it seems that you don’t know how to click, because it sure worked for me. Why don’t you try commenting on the topic at hand. Or maybe you don’t have anything intelligent to say.

    Anyways, I am glad the NYT has commented on this ridiculous movie. Hopefully this will help convince some of those sheep type that they shouldn’t just immediately buy into this movie.

    Lastly, what the hell is with this ‘big science’ thing. I throw up a little in my mouth every time I see or hear it. Do we have a definition of what this actually means?

  3. #3 weing
    March 11, 2008

    “Big Science” you know, that cabal responsible for the atom bomb, electricity, vaccines, drugs, airplanes, TVs, computers, and all the other tools of the devil.

  4. #4 RayCeeYa
    March 11, 2008

    Lastly, what the hell is with this ‘big science’ thing. I throw up a little in my mouth every time I see or hear it. Do we have a definition of what this actually means?

    Big Science typically refers to large expensive world-changing scientific projects. Like CERN, the LHC, Hubble , or the current research into synthetic life.

    Stein however is using the phrase Big Science in the way people might use the phrase Big Oil, or Big Energy. He’s trying to create a connection between academia and big faceless evil corporations.

    Of course the reality is there’s no way you could ever get scientists organized enough to create the sort of all encompassing conspiracy that IDers are trying to portray in the media these days.

  5. #5 Ah Clem
    March 11, 2008

    “Big Science” a really great song by Laurie Anderson. Thanks for the tip. I had to dig through my CD collection to find it. I’ll be enjoying this one today.

  6. #6 LisaJ
    March 11, 2008

    Hey RayCeeYa, you are so right there. As a scientist (a ‘big’ scientist? I guess I can dream) myself, I can guarantee that we are all too busy/ pre-occupied with our own research niche/ not interested to communicate with every other scientist to lay down the details of numerous conspiracy theories.

    Some people are just idiots – to believe such a thing is possible. Not to mention completely unappreciative for the immense benefits science has had on their lives.

  7. #7 MartinM
    March 11, 2008

    Mr. Stein said in a telephone interview that he had not read Mr. Moore’s review, but that “being compared with a Holocaust denier is nonsense,” adding, “This guy is extremely confused.” He said he decided to participate in the project because “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that big science and Darwinism should have a stranglehold on academic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

    In other news, leading holocaust deniers vehemently objected to being compared to creationists, adding “there’s just a lot of people who don’t beleive that big history and Holocaustism should have a stranglehold on academic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

  8. #8 Cappy
    March 11, 2008

    Next will be the movie about how Big Science and the “Copernicans” are stifling debate about the sun revolving around the earth.

  9. #9 MissPrism
    March 11, 2008

    A huge proportion of Europe’s Jewish population were massacred in the fourteenth century because they were blamed for the Black Death. I bet time-travelling Darwinians were at the bottom of it, and it’s all been hushed up by BIG HISTORY.

  10. #10 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 11, 2008

    So, the idea is to ensure favourable publicity by pissing off the critics they depend on for publicity.
    To use an internet cliche: Somehow, you haven’t thought your cunning plan all the way through.

  11. #11 Masks of Eris
    March 11, 2008

    “Big science”?

    Are they even cleverer than we think, or is it just a coincidence that that abbreviates as “B.S.”?

    I’d go with the latter or “as lucky as fevered baboons playing Scrabble” alternative.

    Then again, I do not wish to insult any baboon; even a baboon in disguise such as I feels some need to be polite to one’s relatives.

    Apologies for the attempt at levity.

  12. #12 DrFrank
    March 11, 2008

    I think what annoys me is the constant (and, I have no doubt, intentional) conflation between academic freedom and what’s taught in school classrooms.

    Yes, academic freedom means that tenured academics should be allowed to research intelligent design (if there were anything to research, of course). However, the right to research crazy things is not a right to immediately have those things taught in the classroom as somehow equivalent to the scientific consensus. You have to earn that right with evidence.

    I mean, I don’t remember the original proponents of Big Bang Theory campaigning to have it taught in schools prior to gaining scientific acceptance.

  13. #13 Tulse
    March 11, 2008

    “Big Science” a really great song by Laurie Anderson.

    And the lyrics are strangely appropriate:

    Big Science.
    Hallelujah.
    Big Science.
    Yodellayheehoo.
    Hey Professor!
    Could you turn out the lights?
    Let’s roll the film.

  14. #14 Marcus Ranum
    March 11, 2008

    Lastly, what the hell is with this ‘big science’ thing. I throw up a little in my mouth every time I see or hear it. Do we have a definition of what this actually means?

    Big Science is the stuff that’s done in accordance with all those silly scientific rules about evidence, experimental controls, publication and peer reviews. You know – the kind that is big and inefficient because it rejects the simple short-cuts like proof by vigorous assertion and faith-based evidence?

    Small Science is the inexpensive and efficient kind. By saving on experiments (by not performing any) the small science practitioner – also known as the crackpot – can get a tremendous amount of theoretical work done in a very short time. Small Scientists are often frustrated when they encounter Big Scientists because the Big Scientists look down at them and tell them they can’t sit at the grown-up table until they come up with evidence or a theory with predictive power.

    Big Scientists are mean and sometimes kick sand all over the lab-coats of Little Scientists. Big Scientists hide behind expensive colliders and DNA sequencers, instead of The Bible.

    Big Scientists Suck.

  15. #15 Fastlane
    March 11, 2008

    When I see things like this, it makes me wonder if they really think they are fooling anyone?

    Even their ‘faithful flock’, while they will repeat the talking points, how many of them with more than half a functioning brain cell will erally manage to convince themselves that this is a serious documentary?

    Frightening what denial can do for one’s perception (or lack thereof) of reality.

    Cheers.

  16. #16 Reginald Selkirk
    March 11, 2008

    After Mr. Moore’s review, Mr. Stein commented, “Oh well. This will probably happen a lot more times.”

    It must be disconcerting knowing what a phony schlock-promoting propagandeer you are.

  17. #17 raven
    March 11, 2008

    Lastly, what the hell is with this ‘big science’ thing.

    If you have to ask, you are out of the loop. And I would tell you but then we would have to send you to our secret prison compound in an unnamed remote tropical country.

    Suffice to say, when you see a lot of expensive sports cars outside an academic department and the profs and techs all live in gated mansions with security squads, this is part of Big Science.

    Then there are the meetings on hard to get to tropical islands and fleets of black helicopters. Not even going to comment on the accusations that Big Science is tied in with funny looking reptiloid dwarves with odd looking spacecraft.

  18. #18 DrFrank
    March 11, 2008

    Not even going to comment on the accusations that Big Science is tied in with funny looking reptiloid dwarves with odd looking spacecraft.
    Hey, I thought you usually had to have 20 peer-reviewed publications before they anyone told you that much?

  19. #19 Ray S.
    March 11, 2008

    Reginald Selkirk regarding Ben Stein:

    It must be disconcerting knowing what a phony schlock-promoting propagandeer you are.

    Since Stein was a speechwriter for Nixon, I would suppose he’s way past that stage by now.

  20. #20 Glen Davidson
    March 11, 2008

    Randy’s changed his tune since the news of Expelled first came out. Many of us thought it looked like an overreaching propagandistic piece of junk, but he was saying on Pharyngula:

    Are you folks really this clueless? You make me think of a baseball team that finishes the season in last place, then spends the off season criticizing all the other teams, as if that will address the problem.

    I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is an excellent trailer they have produced. Not some amateurish clunky mess that you would expect from a science organization. The music cue, “Bad to the Bone,” would have cost them $25,000 at least (assuming they have paid the rights — someone might want to look into that, but I’m guessing they have). Rights for music in a trailer is more than for using it in the movie.

    Take the pain. Accept it. It already appears to be a much more powerful piece of mass communication than anything from the world of evolution for a long time (much slicker than my humble little movie, light years better than anything from PBS or AIBS). The science world is being out-gunned, both financially and in terms of cleverness.

    What are you gonna do about it? Complain it’s not fair?

    I think he’s sounding much more sensible now. Which is good, because he’s pretty much a decent guy who did as well as might be expected with Dodos. I’m especially glad to hear him changing his tune because I got the above from Uncommon Descent (it was the easiest source for me to Google), which was crowing about what Randy had written on Pharyngula about what an impressive movie Expelled.

    The effects of Expelled whipping up mob mentality still ought not to be discounted, however. It isn’t that likely to help the IDiots much over the long term, however, because it’s (reportedly) not funny and is far too bombastic and exploitative of Nazi and communist victims.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  21. #21 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 11, 2008

    Stein however is using the phrase Big Science in the way people might use the phrase Big Oil, or Big Energy.

    Though he is doing it so ineptly that it provokes all sorts of comical images as seen on this thread.

    The image that pops up in my head is Big Theories and small theories. Big Bang Cosmology as opposed to spacetime expansionCommon Descent as opposed to evolution. And Stein trying to part the sea between and declaring that small theories is the domain of science and IDon’tunderstandthesciencesogodsdidit is the domain of ID.

    Pity he is getting all wet.

  22. #22 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 11, 2008

    Stein however is using the phrase Big Science in the way people might use the phrase Big Oil, or Big Energy.

    Though he is doing it so ineptly that it provokes all sorts of comical images as seen on this thread.

    The image that pops up in my head is Big Theories and small theories. Big Bang Cosmology as opposed to spacetime expansionCommon Descent as opposed to evolution. And Stein trying to part the sea between and declaring that small theories is the domain of science and IDon’tunderstandthesciencesogodsdidit is the domain of ID.

    Pity he is getting all wet.

  23. #23 Pierce R. Butler
    March 11, 2008

    C’mon, modern American political usage of Nazi imagery to agitate the credulous is already a trademark of anti-abortion crusaders.

    Ben Stein will be crushed like a grape in the path of the steamroller of Big Fetus.

  24. #24 charley
    March 11, 2008

    Expelled’s intended audience is believers, not thinkers. It can succeed without being rational or fair or convincing to outsiders. It only has to satisfy the sheep, who require no more than a comforting message and good production values. This movie, like other Christian media, is just another building block for their alternative reality world. As such, I think it will be quite successful.

  25. #25 Aaron Kinney
    March 11, 2008

    PZ Myers needs to DEBATE BEN STEIN!

    Slay ‘em!

  26. #26 Ric
    March 11, 2008

    IMO, the New York Times piece was not harsh enough on Expelled.

  27. #27 Steve
    March 11, 2008

    Speaking of Big Science, I heard a new one along those lines when I was recently accused of being a Neo-Darwinian Factory Worker obediently and unquestioningly serving the Foreman who kept all of the Factory Workers in the dark about the Truth.

  28. #28 Quintana
    March 11, 2008

    Motive Marketing: This name is so appropriate. The evolution of the televangelist.

  29. #29 Steve Rowe
    March 11, 2008

    Every time Stein opens his mouth, he’s helping us. – PZ Myers

    Here is a quote from another great man that I think we should take heed of and let Stein open his mouth as much as possible!

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
    Napoleon, 08/15/1769 – 05/05/1821, French monarch

  30. #30 Sastra
    March 11, 2008

    The faceless, heartless corporation image behind the phrase “Big Science” is just the right thing to set people thinking along the lines of “small science” — which is what they are familiar with. Intimate. Personal. Try it for yourself. Do your own test. Think of an experiment. Make up your own mind. Your answer is right for you. It’s good enough to live by.

    People don’t really understand the need for consensus in the scientific community, and how central contention and argument and skepticism is to it. They think it’s a political thing, like when people get together and decide whether to build a new school. You kick out the nay-sayers if you want to get something done.

    They think scientists “kicked out” Intelligent Design because of political reasons. They can’t seem to wrap their mind around the fact that facts are not democratic, and ID must play by the rules to gain consensus. Science thrives on controversy and competition. But you have to compete. Not whine about how many people like you.

    The same folks who would scorn the “every boy gets a trophy” political correctness mentality in sports are turning around and endorsing it in science.

  31. #31 Brownian, OM
    March 11, 2008

    “This guy is extremely confused.”

    What’s Stein referring to? That Moore didn’t get the take home message of the film? Apparently, now these fuckers want us to watch movies like they understand science: forget everything you’ve just seen and believe what we tell you to.

    BTW, thanks for the definitions of ‘Big Science’ and ‘Little Science’, Marcus! LOL!

  32. #32 Ranson
    March 11, 2008

    It only has to satisfy the sheep, who require no more than a comforting message and good production values.

    I think you overestimate their needs. Have you seen the production values on the Left Behind movies?

  33. #33 Lilly de Lure
    March 11, 2008

    A movie that tries to build on clips of goose-stepping Nazis and Hitler salutes is pretty much destined to be depressing, unless you’re Mel Brooks. And Ben Stein is no Mel Brooks.

    Not to mention destined to be a monumentally tasteless movie under these circumstances. The spectacle of people trivialising the Holocaust by using it to score cheap political and religious points is not an edifying one and it generally says all kinds of unpleasant things about the people responsible for said spectacle.

  34. #34 Sean Walker
    March 11, 2008

    The next movie, called Big Science, will star Val Kilmer and be all about how a student at Cal Tech is trying to overthrow darwinism and the professor’s evil plot to make an evo-weapon which in the end will do nothing but make popcorn.

  35. #35 BlueIndependent
    March 11, 2008

    @ #20:

    I don’t think anyone is necessarily knocking Expelled’s production value, per se. At least, I don’t get that in large measure. Of course movies that espouse garbage can have big production values. That anti-GW screed The Great Global Warming Swindle was as produced as any science show I’ve seen, short of Disco Channel’s CGI specials on evolution. Mel Gibson can make what looks like a truly well-shot, well-fianced professional movie about a human messiah figure getting tortured, nailed to a cross, and gored with a sword. I honestly do not think anyone is seriously challenging the budgets behind tripe like Expelled.

    It comes down to the message. The message sucks, it’s wrong, it misleads, misinforms, and generally stupefies human beings. Valid criticism of that trait of the film in question may spill over into other areas of criticism, but the reality is, to my reading of comments, the core problem is with the message, not how flashy it is.

    BTW, Bad To The Bone is so played out. And have you seen PBS documentaries lately? They’re no slouch.

  36. #36 Stanton
    March 11, 2008

    Aaron in #24 said

    PZ Myers needs to DEBATE BEN STEIN!

    Slay ‘em!

    It would be a far, far, far more intellectually stimulating situation if Professor Myers were to debate someone with a command of Biology superior to that of Ben Stein (i.e., a banana slug).

    In other words, the spectacle of Professor Myers debating Ben Stein on Biology or Scientific history would be as exciting as watching someone hunt a dead cow with a Howitzer.

  37. #37 Jaycubed
    March 11, 2008

    When your entire world view is based on a Big Lie, such as The Great Fairy, then lying about anything is easy.

    It is easy to lie to everyone else when you’re lying to yourself.

    Using the Nazi political tactic of the Big Lie to accuse ones opponents of promoting Nazism is an obvious/trivial technique.

    The important question is, “How do you deal with the lies?”

    There are two possibilities:

    1. You can yell at the liar to “Shut Up!”

    This is the technique that is, sadly, used by many countries in Europe against “holocaust deniers”. It is also the technique used against people who are truthful by liars, as evidenced by the reactions of Stein, Craft & Moore above. It is an easy technique, hence its popularity among the non-thinking of all stripes.

    2. You can rebut the lies with facts.

    This is the technique of science and the “reality based” community.
    .

  38. #38 raven
    March 11, 2008

    This is a movie that uses Nazi imagery to accuse science since 1859 of being the primary cause of anti-semitism — it’s not denying the Holocaust, but instead is trivializing it by using it as a tool to dishonestly browbeat a group that was not responsible.

    The Darwindidit explanation of the Holocaust is so bogus. They Godwinned themselves in the beginning.

    It was rooted in German Xianity as most mainstream historians, Jewish, Xian, or Other point out.

    For info, I thought to find out what the Jews themselves say. They must have some interest seeing as how these mass murders have been reoccurring over and over since the Jews and Xians split apart. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has a department of Evolution, Systematics, and Ecology with around 11 evolutionary biologists.

    This isn’t a department of secret Darwinists plotting the next pogrom. Not in Jerusalem. They are just evolutionary biologists doing normal science. Shows what the Jews think of Darwindidit.

  39. #39 Pat
    March 11, 2008

    I think of Little Science as the mom-and-pop style science made with old-fashioned ingredients and love. So where’s the love, “Big Science?!?” In your test tubes and fancy whatchamajigs and unpronouncable foreign names for things? No, the love is in crafting a theory carefully by hand with all-natural ingredients and handing down a tradition so that all the neighborhood kids can enjoy.

    Scene shifts to an outdoor dusty summer dirt road, with a “Small Science” vendor handing out acupuncture charts and horoscopes. Crane shot lowers to perspective behind little tow-headed youth and midwestern mom.

    “Mom?”
    “Yes, Billy?”
    “Why does the Big City Science taste so darn awful?”
    “Because Billy – they make it with artificial ingredients like evidence and peer-review – awful tasting stuff designed to kill beautiful conjectures.”
    “Sounds terrible, mom!”
    Billy starts to cry.
    Pan to Ben Stein
    “Don’t let this happen to you. Insist on locally grown, pure, natural Science. Grab a shovel; there’s a lot more out there.”

  40. #40 Glen Davidson
    March 11, 2008

    I don’t think anyone is necessarily knocking Expelled’s production value, per se.

    I don’t either, but that wasn’t all that Randy was discussing:

    The science world is being out-gunned, both financially and in terms of cleverness.

    Financially, perhaps. In terms of cleverness? The reports certainly don’t bear that out. A bunch of right-wing soundbites, mining Nazi films to make up for the fact that they have no case to present, and the kind of “humor” that is provoked only by goring the other guy’s ox, just doesn’t sound very clever. That is what Olson is saying now, but wasn’t in the past.

    And sure, Bad to the Bone sounds like the type of music Xian geeks would turn to to try to “sound cool.”

    The Dover documentary was great, even if the production values weren’t high. The value of the material was.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  41. #41 AJS
    March 11, 2008

    I really don’t get it!

    There is no controversy to teach.

    There is no “theory of Intelligent Design”, just an Argument from Limited Imagination — which happens to contradict itself on closer examination. If it were true, it would simultaneously be false; therefore, it must be false. {cf. the proof that sqrt(2) is irrational.}

  42. #42 raven
    March 11, 2008

    Argument from Limited Imagination –

    Is that similar to the fallacy, Argument from Religious Fanaticism? Or the Argument from Negligible Biological Knowledge? BTW, I’m stealing that one.

    Who says creos just lie. They also discover new intellectual fallacies. Lets just hope they don’t discover the Argument from an Automatic Rifle.

  43. #43 bybelknap, FCD
    March 11, 2008

    And I would tell you but then we would have to send you to our secret prison compound in an unnamed remote tropical country.

    Tropical? TROPICAL?!! Crap, I got sent to the Northernmost reaches of Lapland for my Big Atheist Indoctrination Re-Education Science punishment. That is so totally unfair.

  44. #44 bybelknap, FCD
    March 11, 2008

    … would be as exciting as watching someone hunt a dead cow with a Howitzer.

    I think I saw a YouTube clip of that once. The hunting part was dull as hell, but the end? A magnificent shower of partially decayed bovine flesh spread over an acre of freshly mown grass. Stunning Cinematography and visual appeal. A metaphor for the dwindling economic opportunities in the rural Midwest, I think.

  45. #45 dogmeatib
    March 11, 2008

    BIG HISTORY.

    Shhhhh, ixnay on the ig history bay.

  46. #46 Ktesibios
    March 11, 2008

    I’d like to introduce a diagnostic test I use to detect Nazi-like hatefreakery in written communication. The test is simple: you use a word processor to replace all references to the targeted group with references to Jews (after a little practice, one can simply do this mentally).

    If the result smells like it was scraped off the composing room floor at Der Stuermer, the test is positive.

    Now let’s try that with one of Stein’s quotes:

    “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that big science and Darwinism should have a stranglehold on academic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

    becomes

    “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that Jews and Zionism should have a stranglehold on academic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

    or, with a wee tad of creativity,

    “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that Jews and international bankers should have a stranglehold on economic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

    Hmmm. Who’s borrowing from the Goebbels playbook?

    Project much, Mr. Stein?

  47. #47 Dan
    March 11, 2008

    BIG HISTORY.

    Shhhhh, ixnay on the ig history bay.

    Posted by: dogmeatib

    Can we have Big Philosophy? That would be fun. And, Big Math sounds kind of intimidating.

  48. #48 bright
    March 11, 2008

    I saw the trailer to this movie a few months ago and I was blown away. I could not believe…ok I could, that this show was a reality. I’m pretty much tired of hearing, teach the controversy. It is not about teaching the controversy…we do not teach the controversy of why women should have the right to vote, we do not teach the controversy about why children should not work in sweatshops, we do not teach the controversy on tarot card reading, copper bracelets, astrology, alchemy or any other load of crap. So why should the crap about creationism be taught. It is not science.

  49. #49 bright
    March 11, 2008

    I saw the trailer to this movie a few months ago and I was blown away. I could not believe…ok I could, that this show was a reality. I’m pretty much tired of hearing, teach the controversy. It is not about teaching the controversy…we do not teach the controversy of why women should have the right to vote, we do not teach the controversy about why children should not work in sweatshops, we do not teach the controversy on tarot card reading, copper bracelets, astrology, alchemy or any other load of crap. So why should the crap about creationism be taught. It is not science.

  50. #50 bright
    March 11, 2008

    I saw the trailer to this movie a few months ago and I was blown away. I could not believe…ok I could, that this show was a reality. I’m pretty much tired of hearing, teach the controversy. It is not about teaching the controversy…we do not teach the controversy of why women should have the right to vote, we do not teach the controversy about why children should not work in sweatshops, we do not teach the controversy on tarot card reading, copper bracelets, astrology, alchemy or any other load of crap. So why should the crap about creationism be taught. It is not science.

  51. #51 Kagehi
    March 11, 2008

    They can’t seem to wrap their mind around the fact that facts are not democratic

    Actually, it is. Just not the way they think. If your the one sailor on a ship that constantly gets drunk and falls asleep on watch, the rest of the pirates (among the first true post-Greek democracies) would throw you overboard. If you spend 100% of your time laying around, instead of working, and you never rise to any challenge, eventually your uselessness, no matter how good you think you are at manipulating people, will get you voted off the island. And, in science, if all you can manage to do is get all your facts wrong, and sit around complaining about how no one takes you seriously, you will get voted out of the lab.

    Why they think they can get accepted as having a valid view, when their actions and effort seems to primarily be to sit on their butts, occasionally bleat about something they where never really paying attention to in the first place, and sleep through the rest of the meetings.. Oh, wait, I forgot, that actually describes some of the older members of congress, which these idiots elected to represent them… Guess I can see why they *think* this qualifies as science, since it apparently qualifies as politics to them too. lol

  52. #52 Owlmirror
    March 11, 2008

    Sorry, but I click on that NYT link and I get a login screen instead of an article.

    Just to address this: This is because you must have visited the NYT at some point in the past, and gotten a cookie that is still in your browser cache. The NYTimes website will read the cookie, and allow you to hit a limited number of pages (10? 20? I’m not entirely sure) before demanding that you log in.

    You can either delete all cookies, or with a little effort, delete all cookies from NYTimes. Or get an anonymous login from bugmenot.com.

  53. #53 Jason
    March 11, 2008

    I just hope that Big Phys Ed never gets organized. Bombardment Dodge Ball for all. Band-aids and ice packs for none.

  54. #54 Sastra
    March 11, 2008

    Pat #38 wrote:

    “Don’t let this happen to you. Insist on locally grown, pure, natural Science. Grab a shovel; there’s a lot more out there.”

    Now that was truly beautiful (sniff)…

  55. #55 Pyre
    March 11, 2008

    The reviewer, Roger Moore, should have known he wasn’t welcome there.

    The movie’s subtitle said so: “No Intelligence Allowed”.

    [Link to Moore’s review]

  56. #56 LisaJ
    March 11, 2008

    Thanks for the definitions of ‘Big Science’ everyone! LOL. I totally get what it means, in terms of why the ID camp uses it so much and what the message is that they are trying to instill in using it. It just drives me crazy, because their ‘Big science’ perceptions are just ridiculous. I guessmy real question is: did we, the rational community, come up with this term originally and it is therefore a verifiable english word, or is the phrase an ID invention?

  57. #57 LisaJ
    March 11, 2008

    P.S. I loved ‘Big History’ – hilarious.

  58. #58 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 11, 2008

    What would Big Microbiology involve? An E. coli bacillus the size of a blue whale?

  59. #59 Stark
    March 11, 2008

    Is anyone actually going to pay to see this bullshit?

  60. #60 sdej
    March 11, 2008

    raven #41 wrote:
    “Lets just hope they don’t discover the Argument from an Automatic Rifle.”

    That just sounds like a variant of the Argument from Might Making Right. They figured that one out centuries ago.

  61. #61 Bobby
    March 11, 2008

    Stein however is using the phrase Big Science in the way people might use the phrase Big Oil, or Big Energy. He’s trying to create a connection between academia and big faceless evil corporations.

    I doubt that his target audience thinks of big corporations as faceless and evil (unless of course they provide health benefits to the partners of gay employees). More likely he is trying to jerk the “big government” meme.

  62. #62 defectiverobot
    March 11, 2008

    Randy Olson is absolutely correct: this is all much ado about nothing. Nobody is going to see this movie.

  63. #63 wrpd
    March 11, 2008

    We at Big Sodomy have not seen the movie yet, but we generally work against Big Stupidity.

  64. #64 Bobby
    March 11, 2008

    Randy Olson is absolutely correct: this is all much ado about nothing. Nobody is going to see this movie.

    I (and others) am banking on them “deciding” to release it direct-to-video (aka “direct to religious bookstores”), and claiming that all the persecution kept them from releasing it to the regular cinema circuit.

    After all, it’s whole purpose is to reinforce the True Believers’ persecution complex. It’s worth more as a martyred effort than as an actual release.

    Also, a big screen release will make it hard to keep its misrepresentations under the radar. You can hardly have an invitation-only film at a commercial theater and ask the customers to sign non-disclosure agreements.

  65. #65 Ichthyic
    March 11, 2008

    I (and others) am banking on them

    gambling is immoral…

    :p

    (psst: what are the current odds?)

  66. #66 mothra
    March 11, 2008

    Big Science (with apologies to Peter Gabriel)

    I’m on my way, I’m faking it.
    I’ve got to make a show, hey!
    No connection with life
    and so I’ll start crowing
    Hey hey hey heyyyyyy

    My movie production- no information,
    My world is small, I hold small views.
    Critics, they’re smarter than me.
    They’ll see clean through.
    I’d be laughed off the street, I must hide from peer review.
    I filmed EXPELLED, I’ve marketing clout
    I’ll smear Big Science with a Godwin shout.
    I’ll make so much noise, I’ll bluff the real boys, mostest fluff ever blown.
    I’ll get pay from the god crowd, matinee in a mega-church.

    Big Science, I’m on my way, I’m faking it, Big Science oh yee.
    Big Science, I’ve made a show, yeah, Big Science
    Big Science, no connection with life.
    Big Science, market tactics showing, Big Science.
    Ho oh oh, oh oh, ho ohh ohh, oh ohh.

    Syncophant big names, shared greetings with our widest smiles.
    Don’t tell them Big Science is one Big invention.
    and always they’re unphased, when I expel my world views on my head.
    I had to conceal every stage, every interviewee was mislead.
    And my paradise a soft room, and I will dead bolt the front door.

    Big Science, with EXPELLED I’m faking it, Big Science, Huh!
    Big Science, I went and made a show yeah, Big Science.
    Big Science, no connection with life.
    Big Science, and so I’ll start crowing.
    Big Science, DNA’s a trigger, Big Science, quarks alone don’t linger, Big Science, the cosmos getting bigger,
    OWWW OWWW my brain:
    Big Science, maths cause me to falter,
    Big Science, rests on data I can’t alter,
    Big Science, I take no account.
    Big Science, just ev-ry sin-gle i-de-a I find goes past me and so all of science seems BIG. (Howdy y’awll)

  67. #67 Shigella
    March 11, 2008

    @ #57:
    “Big Microbiology?” Giant Microbes!

    http://www.giantmicrobes.com

    They’re so cute and plushy. I have Staphylococcus and Rhinovirus. …And I just revealed an inordinate amount of nerdiness right there.

  68. #68 sdej
    March 11, 2008

    Re #66:

    What’s so nerdy about that? I’ve got Yersinea pestis and Ebola.

  69. #69 Marc Buhler, PhD
    March 11, 2008

    Congratz, PZ – I want to cite this statement back to every evolution-denialist who uses those arguments.

    “… but instead is trivializing it by using it as a tool to dishonestly browbeat a group that was not responsible. In the 1930s, a political group in Germany used centuries of deeply rooted anti-Semitism to create a popular movement that culminated in the murder of six million people for their ethnicity and a war that consumed practically the entire planet; it wasn’t caused by academics arguing over a theory.”

    Please let *all* of them be told this enough times that they actually take a minute one day to think about it.

    (signed) marc

  70. #70 sdej
    March 11, 2008

    Doh!
    Make that Yersinia.

  71. #71 Ichthyic
    March 11, 2008

    Big Science, no connection with life.

    not bad, Mothra, not bad at all.

    that un’s a keeper.

  72. #72 George E. Martin
    March 11, 2008

    Masks of Eris at #11 says:

    “Big science”?

    Are they even cleverer than we think, or is it just a coincidence that that abbreviates as “B.S.”?

    Hmmm, Ben Stein also abbreviates to “B.S”.

    George

  73. #73 Freddy the Pig
    March 12, 2008

    PZ – as I read the review you are a “wierdo scientist”.

    I loved the generally trend of the comments on Roger Moore’s review – at least 90% pro evolution. There may be hope for Florida yet.

  74. #74 KenG
    March 12, 2008

    Big Science?
    Isn’t the saying “Getting scientists to cooperate is like herding cats……….unless funding is involved”

  75. #75 Kseniya
    March 12, 2008

    I can’t wait until Mark Mathis, Ben Stein and the rest of the folks who Expelled! us are shut down by Big Phonics. All they’ll be left with is this:

    “!”

  76. #76 The Atheist Jew
    March 12, 2008

    I always thought Ben Stein was a very intelligent man. I’m wondering if he ever actually saw Ken Miller explain why ID is bull. I wonder what his reaction would be to that 2 hour video with Miller that is available on Youtube.
    Either he did this for the money or he never saw the video.

  77. #77 Rolf
    March 12, 2008

    Come on, guys – not only have they had their attempt at preemptive damage control blown, their thunder stolen and a not-too-intelligently conceived deception denuded and exposed for the BS that it (presumably) is – but you are rubbing their nose in it too.

  78. #78 Pattanowski
    March 12, 2008

    Just a reminder to any persons of sense and integrity who “need” to see this film; make sure to go to a theater where you can pay for one movie and actually view another. This is usually easy to do at large multiplexes.

  79. #79 Bobby
    March 12, 2008

    I always thought Ben Stein was a very intelligent man. I’m wondering if he ever actually saw Ken Miller explain why ID is bull. I wonder what his reaction would be to that 2 hour video with Miller that is available on Youtube.
    Either he did this for the money or he never saw the video.

    Or he’s pursuing a dishonest political agenda. He would be neither the first nor the foremost smart and well informed person to peddle lies.

  80. #80 Glen Davidson
    March 12, 2008

    Cross-post from the blog Randy Olson was on:

    It looks like Josh McDowell largely agrees with Randy Olson’s assessment of Expelled:

    ? Expelled is a documentary. It is not for entertainment. It will require the audience to think about what they are watching. Although it includes some humor (how could Ben Stein keep from adding humor?), it is a very serious documentary. Be sure people understand that they are attending for the purpose of learning not for a night out at the movies.

    http://www.probe.org/hot-topics/josh-mcdowell-on-using-redeeming-darwin-with-expelled-no-intelligence-allowed.html

    I suspect that Olson is also right that to be successful it would need to be entertaining. Not that they’re not going to prod a number of true believers to go, especially at first, but the lack of entertainment value is likely going to make it tank relatively fast, even if Stein is a little bit funny (not much in the promotional material, is for sure).

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  81. #81 Glen Davidson
    March 12, 2008

    Olson on marketing this crap:

    From Randy Olson: The Skillful Publicizing of “Expelled”
    Category: Communicating
    Posted on: March 12, 2008 7:55 AM, by Jennifer L. Jacquet

    Q1: How do you skillfully publicize a mediocre movie?

    Create a good story around it.

    Q2: What lies at the heart of a good story?

    A good source of tension or conflict.

    Q3: Are preview screenings of a mediocre movie a good source of tension or conflict?

    No.

    Q4: Are preview screenings where you have to sign non-disclosure agreements a good source of tension or conflict?

    Yes. Very good.

    Q5: Would The New York Times be likely to cover preview screenings of a mediocre movie?

    Only if the screenings had non-disclosure agreements required.

    Q6: Does the evolution community take the bait every time when it comes to
    intelligent design?

    The producers of this mediocre movie must be heartbroken by what The NY Times is saying.

    scienceblogs.com/shiftingbaselines/2008/03/from_randy_olson_the_skillful.php

    Yes, but then again, these liars can only win hearts and minds by being seen as credible and honest people. Controversy might sell tickets, but it’ll expose the dungheap that ID is.

    And, like they really have a choice whether or not to enforce non-disclosure. Expelled can’t withstand scrutiny.

    They do claim that in early April, before the movie is in the theaters, they’ll let the press see it–no doubt in order to increase the controversy and to sell tickets. Yet we can be quite sure that the reviews will be almost uniformly against it, which is good for us, because we get first crack at the undecideds. If the producers indeed do what they say, the fact that it’s a rant comparing scientists to Nazis, not entertaining, and with absolutely no evidence that ID is science, along with fisked “evidence” that IDists are “persecuted,” will already be known.

    Controversy might help shake shekels out of the pockets of the rubes, but advance publicity is going to keep hearts and minds from being positively influenced by their grotesque caricatures.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  82. #82 Glen Davidson
    March 12, 2008

    Here is the list of private screenings for Expelled. Maybe someone would like to go:

    AZ Tempe Harkins Arizona Mills April 3 7:00 PM RSVP

    CA Dublin Regal Hacienda Crossings 21 March 26 7:00 PM RSVP
    CA Santa Clara AMC Mercado 20 March 27 8:00 PM RSVP
    CO Broomfield (Denver) AMC Flatiron Crossing April 2 7:00 PM RSVP
    FL Lake Buena Vista (Orlando) AMC Pleasure Island 24 March 18 7:00 PM RSVP

    GA Decatur (Atlanta) AMC North Dekalb Mall 16 March 25 7:00 PM RSVP
    IL Deerfield Trinity International University March 18 1:00 PM RSVP
    IL Schaumburg (Chicago) AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield 20 March 18 7:00 PM RSVP
    KY Louisville National Amusements Showcase Cinemas Stoneybrook March 31 7:00 PM RSVP
    MA Cambridge AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 March 19 7:00 PM RSVP
    MD Owings Mills (Baltimore) AMC Owings Mills 17 April 1 7:00 PM RSVP

    MI Grand Rapids Grand Rapids First March 4 3:30 PM Done
    MI Livonia (Detroit) AMC Livonia 20 March 26 7:00 PM RSVP
    MN Bloomington AMC Mall of America 14 March 20 7:00 PM RSVP
    MO Creve Coeur (St. Louis) AMC Creve Coeur 12 March 12 7:00 PM Done
    MO Kansas City Ward Parkway Theater March 4 7:00 PM Done
    NC Charlotte AMC Carolina Pavilion 22 March 10 7:00 PM Done
    NM Albuquerque Century Rio 24 March 6 2:00 PM Done
    OH Brooklyn (Cleveland) AMC Ridge Park Square 8 March 19 7:00 PM RSVP
    OR Portland PENDING – CLICK BUTTON TO BE ADDED TO OUR WAITLIST March 25 TBD Waitlist
    PA Plymouth Meeting (Philly) AMC Plymouth Meeting March 27 7:00 PM RSVP
    TN Franklin Carmike Thoroughbred 20 March 10 7:00 PM Done
    TX Houston River Oaks Theatre March 13 7:00 PM RSVP
    TX San Antonio Santikos Palladium IMAX March 12 7:00 PM Done
    WA Seattle PENDING – CLICK BUTTON TO BE ADDED TO OUR WAITLIST March 24 TBD Waitlist
    WI Milwaukee AMC Mayfair Mall 18 April 8 7:00 PM RSVP

    rsvp.getexpelled.com/events/special/expelled

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  83. #83 Ichthyic
    March 12, 2008

    meh, I’ll wait for the torrent. That way, I can walk out on it over and over and over again, and not have to spend a single penny.

    :p

  84. #84 Glen Davidson
    March 12, 2008

    meh, I’ll wait for the torrent. That way, I can walk out on it over and over and over again, and not have to spend a single penny.

    :p

    Probably that or TBN for me.

    A blogger might like to go, or maybe better, to send someone else whose confidentiality agreement won’t exactly be enforceable.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  85. #85 Ichthyic
    March 12, 2008

    true.

    a blogger might almost feel a responsibility to go, in fact.

    kinda like visiting the creation museum.

    I doubt I actually will ever watch expelled for more than the first 10 minutes or so, or ever bother to visit a creation museum.

    The amount of incidental bullshit in my life (from students, from relatives, from idiots met at parties, etc.) is already sufficient; forcing more of it down might exceed my enzymatic capacity for dealing with it and put me in the hospital.

    :p

  86. #86 Pierce R. Butler
    March 12, 2008

    PZ Myers: … the murder of six million people for their ethnicity …

    The estimates I’ve read put the actual total at more than nine million, possibly as many as twelve million: Slavs were also targeted just for being Slavic. (Most of the variation in said estimates depends on how many Poles were killed (between 1.3M & 3M), and whether the 2-3M Soviet POWs deliberately starved after 1941 are considered military casualties or genocide victims.)

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