Pharyngula

Still straining to find an excuse

The New York Times has weighed in, and they contacted the producers of Expelled…and what do you know, they’re still scrambling to find a credible story. They haven’t succeeded yet.

Mark Mathis, a producer of the film who attended the screening, said that “of course” he had recognized Dr. Dawkins, but allowed him to attend because “he has handled himself fairly honorably, he is a guest in our country and I had to presume he had flown a long way to see the film.”

Unbelievable. So basically it’s a baseless implication that I would be a troublemaker, and the arrogant and absurd assumption that Dawkins flew to Minneapolis from Oxford to see their preview of the movie.

Lying is just a reflex for them at this point. He also claims that he made Dawkins “shrink” in the Q&A, which is total nonsense. Mathis is a shrill and frightened man when he’s confronted; back in November, I called in to a radio interview he was doing, and he practically broke down in hysterics. He ended the “debate” by yelling into the phone, “Go to his website! Myers is an atheist! He’s an atheist!”, classic ad hominem.

I wouldn’t go so far as to claim Mathis was afraid of me — he was on home ground yesterday with a friendly audience — but it’s clear that he really, really dislikes me. The simple explanation for what happened at the screening is that he spotted me in the line, let his irrational venom get the better of him, and he had me evicted while he retreated back into the theater, and therefore missed spotting Dawkins. Everything else now is transparent spin to hide the fact that they were hypocritical about expelling me, and screwed up big time in allowing a more prominent critic slip by.

As for the implication that I’d be a horrible, disruptive presence, here’s one excerpt from the movie; it’s also on a DVD that they were giving away at a table at the screening*. Look what a horrible, malign ogre I am.

I heard that people in the audience gasped in distress at my comment that I want to see religion reduced to a “side dish” instead of the “main dish”, but seriously — I saw that and thought that gee, I’m awfully conciliatory on screen.

Socratic Gadfly takes on the NY Times article in more detail; I’m getting a little tired of the story myself, after spending much of the afternoon with reporters. I think I’ll spend more time at the American Atheists meeting tomorrow, and look forward to our gathering of pharynguloids tomorrow night.


The story is now also on Salon.


By the way, one of the other things I’m doing here is taping some conversations with Richard Dawkins. Our discussion of our experiences at that movie are now on the web.


*By the way, another interesting thing is on the DVD. They’ve got excerpts from the Inner Life video. Creationists are certainly drawn to stealing that work, aren’t they?

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Fox
    March 21, 2008

    That was very elegant and gracious on your part. Kudos!

  2. #2 The Kenosha Kid
    March 22, 2008

    A side dish? Did DOCTOR Myers just compare religion to BOILED CAULIFLOWER??!!?

    /ben stein voice

  3. #3 afterthought
    March 22, 2008

    I thought your comments were very tame all things considered. Is this just a money making thing for the expelled team? Otherwise they seem to violate everything they pretend to believe in, but then I guess that is the thing isn’t it? Pretend is the basis of their whole being.

  4. #4 Bart Mitchell
    March 22, 2008

    PZ, this ‘event’ could give you the opportunity to raise a huge stink. You could stand on a soap box and decry how foul these people are. You could fill your blog with a huge rant on how despicable they are.

    You could use this high traffic day to attack them.

    Instead, you have two small posts, and didn’t forget our Friday Cephalopod.

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for you taking the moral high ground.

  5. #5 H. Humbert
    March 22, 2008

    I watched that video and kept nodding throughout. “Religion is just fantasy, basically. It’s particularly empty of any explanatory content. And it’s evil.”

    So obviously true all I kept wondering was why the “scary music” had to play underneath such uplifting and freeing words. That should be set to “Ode to Joy.”

  6. #6 MAJeff, OM
    March 22, 2008

    A side dish? Did DOCTOR Myers just compare religion to BOILED CAULIFLOWER??!!?

    Both remain unpalatable. The asparagus in cardamom butter from Legal Seafoods or the pumpkin at Helmand? Then I might go to services. But boiled cauliflower? *shudder*

  7. #7 jeh
    March 22, 2008

    I hadn’t heard they interviewed chemist Peter Atkins too. To what degree do they go after chemists and astronomers in the movie? Does Stephen Hawking have a cameo?

    What else do they link to the rise of Hitler? The “theory” of Brownian motion? The “myth” of stellar evolution?

    In the end, creo-IDists really hate mechanistic explanations of the universe. These are people who don’t want to understand how the universe works–I think Dembski has said as much about mechanism. They want to see pretty, shiny things and say “Oh, wow, goddidit.”

  8. #8 MAJeff, OM
    March 22, 2008

    In the end, creo-IDists really hate mechanistic explanations of the universe. These are people who don’t want to understand how the universe works–I think Dembski has said as much about mechanism. They want to see pretty, shiny things and say “Oh, wow, goddidit.”

    “There are some things we don’t want to know, important things!”
    –Ned Flanders

  9. #9 Tea
    March 22, 2008

    Accusing someone of being an atheist is not an ad hominem :)

  10. #10 Eric
    March 22, 2008

    I’m just kind of sour that I missed the free showing of “Expelled: No Intelligence Required” at the MOA on Thursday.

    It sounded like classic mirth making!

  11. #11 genesgalore
    March 22, 2008

    the human species is so queer. reality stares itself in the face and it opts for something out of thin air.

  12. #12 Ames
    March 22, 2008

    By the way, I hate to do a shameless plug, but here it is:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=11938451981

    A facebook group to protest Expelled. Please join. They have a 600+ strong group to lionize Stein’s idiocy, and no (well, one, now) counterbalance.

  13. #13 j
    March 22, 2008

    Why does the narrator speak in a monotonous drone?

    Why is the cameraman obsessed with Richard Dawkins’ nose?

  14. #14 matthew
    March 22, 2008

    Hey PZ, your new video is up at richarddawkins.net!

    “Discussion on PZ Myers being expelled from Expelled”
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,2389,Discussion-on-PZ-Myers-being-expelled-from-Expelled,Richard-Dawkins-PZ-Myers

  15. #15 philos
    March 22, 2008

    I agree with you guys but come on.

    The people behind the Expelled film booted PZ on purpose for the publicity, NY Times/Salon publicity no less – as they knew PZ would raise a stink.

    Now who was had?

    Dawkins and PZ may be Professors but have absolutely no street smarts and just slipped on ‘their’ intellectual banana peel.

    Duh.

    LOL.

  16. #16 Damian
    March 22, 2008

    Who was it that was meant to be playing Joseph Stalin, again?

    No wonder they had to intersperse the interviews with disgraceful and manipulatory imagery, PZ.

    You could have at least flashed your jaws teeth a few times!

  17. #17 jeh
    March 22, 2008

    Accusing someone of being an atheist is not an ad hominem :)

    Unfortunately it is in our society. We now effectively have a religious test for higher office. It will be a very long time before an admitted agnostic or atheist will be elected president.

  18. #18 Mus
    March 22, 2008

    >>>“I watched a man who has been a large figure, an imposing figure, I watched this man shrink in front of my eyes.”

    Oh. My. Gosh. That just literally made my jaw drop. I think pigs will grow wings and halos before Mathis is anywhere near doing that.

  19. #19 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    The people behind the Expelled film booted PZ on purpose for the publicity, NY Times/Salon publicity no less – as they knew PZ would raise a stink.

    funny, but if the producers really had planned it that way, and you thought it so clever, don’t you think they would have spun it that way themselves?

    I don’t exactly see Mathis making your case for you.

    which leaves only three possibilities:

    you’re wrong.

    you’re an idiot.

    both.

  20. #20 Andrew C
    March 22, 2008

    I for one was chilled by Dr Myers’s low-key unemotional statement of his position. Is there really much of a step from sitting in a lab to lrching around shopping malls crying out ‘Brainnssss…’.

    In fact, science cannot definitively prove that PZ is not a zombie. Therefore is simply a matter of faith that he is a ‘Professor’ of evolutionary biology in ‘Missouri’.

    Schools MUST teach the controversy.

    O and also that proves God’s real too. Didn’t want to forget that.

  21. #21 Monsignor Henry Clay
    March 22, 2008

    PZ:

    1. You rock. I always like it when a person more intelligent than myself shares a philosophy or hobby of mine. It’s nice to hear a better man state my arguments in a clarity which I cannot equal.

    2. Did you ever think, growing up, “I’m going to put my ideas in a place where anybody can read them, and the NYT will talk about it.” I don’t see how anyone could see that coming. I bet it puts a great big grin on your face when you really think about it. It does mine.

    Keep it up buddy.

  22. #22 Andrew Cooper
    March 22, 2008

    Interesting, the NYT article had a link to Pharyngula, but none to the Expelled folks. Anyone looking to explore the issue is going to get the correct version of the story first!

  23. #23 genesgalore
    March 22, 2008

    lol, hehehehe. Jesus, would you kindly send me a text message to settle this brouhaha.

  24. #24 H. Humbert
    March 22, 2008

    Tea wrote:

    Accusing someone of being an atheist is not an ad hominem :)

    In this instance, yes, it was. An ad hominem is a logical fallacy where an argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the person making the argument–literally arguing against the man–instead of making a cogent rebuttal to the argument itself. So pointing out the fact that PZ is an atheist as a ruse to distract from PZ’s points was classic ad hominem fallacy.

    Accusing someone of being an atheist is not an insult, however. That I’ll grant you. Just be aware that they aren’t the same thing.

    See here for further clarification:
    http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

  25. #25 Eric
    March 22, 2008

    While you guys might already be tired of the story, there are plenty more people who’d love to revel in the irony. Go over to Slashdot.com and vote for any of these submissions so that the tale can be featured on the main page.

    http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=585414
    http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=585514
    http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=585524

  26. #26 dave
    March 22, 2008

    Is there any part of the film where Dembski does his trademark anti-evolution farting noises? If not, then I’m just not interested.

  27. #27 JScarry
    March 22, 2008

    This clip actually looks like something that you’d see on one of Dawkins’ TV shows. IF the rest of the movie wasn’t there I’d be congratulating the producers for doing such a good job of explaining why reasonable people find religion to be silly.

  28. #28 John Pieret
    March 22, 2008

    Damn! Not one lightning bolt out your eyes! Not even a tentacle wriggling out from under your coat! You’re going to ruin your reputation.

  29. #29 Rey Fox
    March 22, 2008

    Wait, wait, whoa whoa HOLD ON a minute here.

    Isn’t ID supposed to be science?

  30. #30 Matt
    March 22, 2008

    Y’know, it seemed like everything Dawkins, Atkins, and you, Dr. Myers, had to say was incredibly eloquent, well-reasoned, and hopeful. Ben Stein sounded like a snide bastard.

  31. #31 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    Is there any part of the film where Dembski does his trademark anti-evolution farting noises? If not, then I’m just not interested.

    no, but evidently they use the clip from Harvard that Dembski stole to use on his own speaking tour, and was later forced to apologize to Harvard for plagiarizing.

    What’s more, evidently not only does Expelled plagiarize the Harvard film, but they re-dub the explanations and replace them with cretinist drivel.

    I wonder how they are going to avoid a lawsuit on that?

    I think I can reasonably assume that Harvard wouldn’t have given them permission to use the video in such a fashion.

    BTW, the original Harvard vids are located here:

    http://multimedia.mcb.harvard.edu/

    fantastic vid.

  32. #32 King of Ferrets
    March 22, 2008

    Could have used more vehemence, fire breathing, and squid. Especially the squid.

  33. #33 philos
    March 22, 2008

    Ichthyic: Your self-esteem must be low if you have to respond with insults.

    The producers had to spin it like this, it’s obvious and if you don’t see it – then think some more – no other way.

    Go back to playing with your fish and quit annoying people.

  34. #34 SocraticGadfly
    March 22, 2008

    The atheist accusation is meant as an insult, by people who don’t see it as a compliment.

    Oh, PZ, thanks for the link!

  35. #35 ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    Ichthyic: Your self-esteem must be low if you have to respond with insults.

    I didn’t have to.

    In fact, it was my pleasure to burst your very tiny balloon.

  36. #36 Rey Fox
    March 22, 2008

    “Why does the narrator speak in a monotonous drone?”

    Ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? It’s Stein’s whole shtick.
    “This clip actually looks like something that you’d see on one of Dawkins’ TV shows.”

    Gotta love how their cheerleaders keep crowing about how “embarrassed” PZ and Dawkins et. al are going to be with what the movie is going to show of them. Why the heck would PZ or Dawkins come off any different on a program where they were calling the shots? More of that cdesignproponentsist projection, they just can’t imagine anyone acting honestly.

    “Religion is just fantasy, basically. It’s particularly empty of any explanatory content. And it’s evil.”

    And then the guy started giggling. I think he was toying with ‘em. :)

  37. #37 Michael
    March 22, 2008

    If you look at the Harvard video it starts with a warning that it is totally prohibited to use it for commercial purposes. I assume at some point they are going to charge entry to Expelled ? That should be fun.

    Michael

  38. #38 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    If you look at the Harvard video it starts with a warning that it is totally prohibited to use it for commercial purposes

    *smiles*

    glad you noticed.

    funny that Mathis didn’t… unless Dembski was where he got his copy from, and ‘ol Bill neglected to tell him about the whole “I stole this from Harvard” thing.

  39. #39 Mark B
    March 22, 2008

    I read somewhere else that they are cancelling the prescreenings. Perhaps the studio is getting nervous about the theft of the Harvard animations and is demanding that the producers cut that out. It’d be interesting if they lost their distrubution deal out of this. From what I’ve heard it sounds more like a straight to video cheapie than a real movie anyway.

    The only thing holding it up is the ready made audience of easily gulled fundamentalists who are willing to fork over $10 to watch some badly made propaganda that purportedly supports their prejudices.

  40. #40 Andrés
    March 22, 2008

    If you look at the Harvard video it starts with a warning that it is totally prohibited to use it for commercial purposes. I assume at some point they are going to charge entry to Expelled ? That should be fun.

    Personally, I wouldn’t put past them to be actually counting on that. “Look! They’re oppresing us!”

  41. #41 Andrés
    March 22, 2008

    If you look at the Harvard video it starts with a warning that it is totally prohibited to use it for commercial purposes. I assume at some point they are going to charge entry to Expelled ? That should be fun.

    Personally, I wouldn’t put past them to be actually counting on that. “Look! They’re oppresing us!”

  42. #42 Joshua Arnold
    March 22, 2008

    I’m just waiting for this Mathis to be involved in a scandal of some kind. Seems to be a trend for these crazies. I’m still not sure if it’ll be paying for homosexual sex in a bathroom or tax evasion. Maybe he’ll get sued for stealing a video from Harvard, as discussed on Dawkins site: http://richarddawkins.net/article,2389,Discussion-on-PZ-Myers-being-expelled-from-Expelled,Richard-Dawkins-PZ-Myers

  43. #43 Crudely Wrott
    March 22, 2008

    You sir, PZ, are way ahead of the curve, which is the primary reason why your blog is so popular. You have given a voice the the speechless and have provided legs to the halt. For that you are beloved and honored by some and reviled and rejected by many.

    The events of the last thirty odd hours shed a particularly revealing light. That is, defense of knowledge enjoys its own rewards while defense of belief is constantly beleaguered. The choice between the two would appear to be academic but is not. Some GodBotheredBusyBody must, I say Must! call you the bad man, the fool, a tool.

    Not only is this defense predictable, it is also easily deflected. For instance:

    P1You don’t like what I say.
    P2 I don’t like what you say.
    C1 I am correct and you are wrong.

    Unspoken Corollary: To the Death, Myers! Or until you yield because I cannot die. Dog sezzo.

    I’ve got to tip my hat to you,sir. You have not only carved out a niche and defined its limits; you have also fully occupied that niche. At a stretch it could be said that your own life is by itself a glowing testament to the usefulness of Darwin’s first insight into the question that reads like this:

    How the hell did we come from there to here?

    The answers supplied by the IDiots tell only old stories. Even a brief look at the state of bio-chemistry, recent advances in all life sciences, the recent saga of vaccines, and such silly shit as how you can dilute a medicine to undetectable amounts tell an old and too familiar story. So many place so much confidence in so little promises offered by those with so little knowledge.

    If you will, compare my last paragraph with the accolades given to the Royal Air Force’s victory over the Luftwaffe’s in the Battle of Britain. In that event the assumed weakness (erroneously reported by a crippled and undermined counter-intelligence) of the RAF was misinterpreted by a German air force that took it upon themselves to assume that Britain’s defense was easily penetrable.

    I say nothing of Hitler while referring to the Luftwaffe. Hitler was, in terms of the tactics of WWII, ineffective. Compared to those who resisted. Those who resisted won. In my own personal estimation or the current state of things, Hitler is a non-participant. Things would have turned out much the same had he never been born. It did not take him to make people hate and fear one another; that was already the background of life for anyone who left their home tribe.The fact that some of us make war against some others of us is old news and arouses no reaction in me. The fact that some of us make up new reasons to make war against the rest of us causes me to stop and reflect deeply. Both cannot be right.

    Thank you for your honesty and your adamancy. Hope I get to shake your hand someday.

    I think that there might be a lesson here that might be instructive.

  44. #44 Zeno
    March 22, 2008

    Philos speculates that PZ was “had” by the clever people responsible for Expelled, who were willing to look like idiots who didn’t recognize Dawkins because all publicity must be good publicity. Right.

    For some reason this reminds me of former state Senator John Briggs of California. Never heard of him? He was going to be governor of California and had worked out a perfect way to get the attention of the state media: Briggs crafted a initiative campaign that, if approved by the voters, would empower school boards to fire gay teachers and any straight colleagues who defended them. A real statesman, that Briggs! He decided to maximize his publicity by introducing his anti-gay initiative campaign from the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall. As he expected, a hostile crowd turned out to heckle him. What he hadn’t expected, apparently, was that he would be frightened by all the protesters (weren’t they supposed to be limp-wristed sissies?!), his voice would quaver, and he would stumble on the steps while hustling his ass out of there. He looked a fool.

    And his initiative failed at the polls at he failed to be competitive in the GOP primary for governor. Gone and forgotten, poor John.

  45. #45 Steven Alleyn
    March 22, 2008

    I thought the trailer was supposed to portray something objectionable on the science side of the debate… That all seemed very positive and reasonable.

  46. #46 Rey Fox
    March 22, 2008

    “That all seemed very positive and reasonable.”

    Didn’t you hear the MUSIC? DUNNNNNNNNNNWWWWWWWWWRRRRRNNNNN…

  47. #47 SocraticGadfly
    March 22, 2008

    Joshua Arnold, why not have the Daily Double of venal criminality? Paying for gay sex from a high-dollar gay prostitution ring, then getting busted for money laundering?

  48. #48 Reed
    March 22, 2008

    Lets not assume they stole that video just yet. It’s certainly possible, but Harvard might well have sold them the rights… to use it in a film called “Crossroads” about the intersection of science and religion.

    Seriously though, hold the accusations until the Harvard folks have clarified. If it is proven to be stolen, we can have a whole ‘nother round of delicious entertainment.

    The “OMG Expelled is getting free publicity” thing doesn’t do much for me. Yes, they are getting some free publicity, but to anyone who isn’t already committed to the creationist/ID camp, it’s obvious what they did here was petty and rude. It also gives a great opportunity to point out their earlier dishonesty.

    The IDists dishonesty is one of our best weapon against them. It’s easy to make a “sciency” argument that sounds plausible in soundbite, and the general public often has a hard time telling that from real science. Blatant dishonesty OTOH, is easy to see, and doesn’t require one to evaluate obscure scientific arguments. It’s also an affront to what are commonly referred to as Christian values.

    The fact that some more hardcore creationists will hear about the film at same time is a minor issue… the movie wasn’t going to change their view anyway.

  49. #49 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    I thought the trailer was supposed to portray something objectionable on the science side of the debate… That all seemed very positive and reasonable.

    goood, goood, the subliminal messages are working…

    er, I mean, yes, quite. reasonable. yup.

  50. #50 Caveat
    March 22, 2008

    “I had to presume he had flown a long way to see the film”

    LOLOL

    Like having to presume that the earth is only a few thousand years old?

    Gotta love presumption.

    Hilarious that this hit the NYT.

    Off to watch the clip…

  51. #51 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    It’s certainly possible, but Harvard might well have sold them the rights

    possible, but given the fact that individuals with tangential relations to the film have abused the right before (*cough*Dembski*cough*) there is precedent for them being stupid enough to try it anyway.

    Moreover, there is a very clear warning on the front of all the vids:

    For Educational Use Only.

    The use, duplication, or distribution of this material for any commercial purpose is strictly prohibited.

    I suppose Mathis might have lied to them and told them the documentary was an “educational nonprofit” endeavor, but that would still bring up a whole nest of issues that dwarf PZ and Dawkins being lied to about what the movie was going to be about.

    seems odd they would grant rights that are exactly opposite what they actually state at the beginning of their films.

  52. #52 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    btw, part of the Harvard project is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which has some very nice vids and animations that Pim over on the ‘thumb linked to a short time back:

    http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/

    also well worth checking out.

  53. #53 Mark B
    March 22, 2008

    seems odd they would grant rights that are exactly opposite what they actually state at the beginning of their films.

    Yeah, it seems to me, if they used the Harvard clips, they had to be stolen, or procured under false pretenses. In either case, it would be theft of intellectual property, and you can bet that Harvard would not take it lying down.

    One possibility that was mentioned above is that they could have hired another company to do a look alike work and not used the Harvard animations. That doesn’t seem likely to me, given what I’ve heard about the cheapness in ineptness of the film, but it’s still possible. I’m guessing that the Harvard legal team will be on the case Monday morning.

  54. #54 Caveat
    March 22, 2008

    Wow, you evil people should learn to tone it down a bit when you’re being interviewed for video. You came across as a bunch of pitchfork-wielding fanatics planning a necktie party for all who reject your creed.

    Especially that last guy…what a bully!

    Sheesh.

  55. #55 Reed
    March 22, 2008

    The fact the video is for “educational use only” doesn’t imply that you couldn’t buy rights for other uses. It just means that if you download it from the web you can only use it for educational purposes.

    I’m not saying they didn’t steal it. Given the Dembski affair, there’s a pretty good chance. However, we will know for sure soon enough, so there’s no need to risk embarrassment by accusing them without solid proof. It will be far more fun to say LOLCREATIONISTS with a statement from the Harvard group in hand :)

  56. #56 Caveat
    March 22, 2008

    Sorry, that should read “pitchfork-wielding haberdashers planning a necktie party…”

  57. #57 RamblinDude
    March 22, 2008

    I thought the trailer was supposed to portray something objectionable on the science side of the debate… That all seemed very positive and reasonable.

    LOL! That’s what I thought. Then I remembered that I had to think like a Christian and OMG! The appropriate place for religion is a side dish!?! These scientists are possessed by Satan!

    *sigh* Mathis may be a lying coward but he knows his audience.

  58. #58 idlemind
    March 22, 2008

    If philos were right, they would have kicked out Dawkins for the publicity.

  59. #59 UmmoSirius
    March 22, 2008

    Is it just me or does the background music in this clip sound remarkably like “The End” by The Doors?

  60. #60 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    doesn’t imply that you couldn’t buy rights for other uses.

    you can’t download the originals from the web (they are flash vids, like youtube). you have to have permission to even get copies of the originals, which is why Dembski got popped. You can’t link to the originals from a film, or from an unconnected laptop, which means someone had to get original copies for use.

    and the message appears quite clear, and I repeat:

    The use, duplication, or distribution of this material for any commercial purpose is strictly prohibited.

    If it is being used in a commerical film (uh, mathis didn’t intend this to be a free documentary, right?) then that would clearly violate the terms of usage clearly stated on the films themselves.

    It’s not uncommon that academic produced materials have exactly this kind of rights limitation attached.

    I’m merely going by what the probabilities are, given the actions shown by the people associated with things like Expelled, and what Harvard actually gives as their terms of usage for the vids themselves.

    now, it IS possible that Harvard changed their TOU after they sold the rights to Mathis…

    do you REALLY think that’s likely?

  61. #61 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    The appropriate place for religion is a side dish!

    To Serve Man…

    “It’s a cookbook!”

    We always knew that PZ was a front man for Cthulhu, he is just making it clear.

  62. #62 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 22, 2008

    Well, PZ, as the ‘side dish’ of Good Friday runs its course, I wish you a very happy weekend. This Easter, at least, you’ve outdone yourself. I’m still tickled over how this went down.

  63. #63 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    If philos were right, they would have kicked out Dawkins for the publicity.

    that too.

  64. #64 SocraticGadfly
    March 22, 2008

    Reed, now that we’ve seen what Leni Riefenstahl Mark Mathis has produced, we know it ain’t for educational purposes.

  65. #65 Sam
    March 22, 2008

    “Still straining to find an excuse”. Yes, indeed. I think any muscle they might have must surely be torn and sore from all that overstretching.

  66. #66 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    hey scott-

    are you still following Vox blowhard?

    if so..

    any updates on whether your communications with him have affected his “contributions” on his site yet?

    and-

    has he jumped in with his own “unique” insights on the expelled issue yet?

    I could use another irony fix.

  67. #67 bama_girl
    March 22, 2008

    I agree 100% that religion should be a “side dish” as it was put. Right now people (and by people I mean hard-core fundies) are raising science illiterate children. I watched and read a story about these two men that do creationists science tours in a normal museum (here is the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/FaithMatters/story?id=4467337&page=1). It makes me sick that Christian parents are brainwashing their kids. Anyway, back to the topic of the movie, I think that you are absolutely right PZ.

  68. #68 William Wallace
    March 22, 2008

    PZ Myers:

    Did you receive an invitation that requested that you RSVP?

    If not, why did you RSVP?

  69. #69 Janine, ID
    March 22, 2008

    We always knew that PZ was a front man for Cthulhu, he is just making it clear.

    Posted by: Ichthyic

    That is why we are all followers of PZ, so that we may be among the first eaten. Less time spent in horror.

  70. #70 Brian W.
    March 22, 2008

    Expelled getting more publicity? GOOD! People need to see the idiocy of these people. And I’m really disappointed that there are people protesting the film.

  71. #71 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    That is why we are all followers of PZ, so that we may be among the first eaten. Less time spent in horror.

    I think we need a formal blessing; something like:

    “May you and yours be eaten first.”

    so…

    May you and yours be eaten first.

    cheers!

  72. #72 Janine, ID
    March 22, 2008

    Little Willie is just a little bit stupid. He cannot seem to understand that PZ registered through the Expelled site.

    These are among the many reasons Cthultu will have Little Willie sitting at his tentacles while Cthultu devours his faithful.

  73. #73 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    Little Willie is just a little bit stupid

    …and a whole lot nuts.

  74. #74 MAJeff, OM
    March 22, 2008

    Reed, now that we’ve seen what Leni Riefenstahl Mark Mathis has produced, we know it ain’t for educational purposes

    From what Dawkins has said, there’s a big difference in that Riefenstahl actually had skills as a filmmaker.

  75. #75 Stefan
    March 22, 2008

    That excerpt was beautiful.

    They can’t make the science side look evil with its own words so they have to resort to using the unrelated, connotative imagery.

  76. #76 zer0
    March 22, 2008

    MOAR VIDZ KTHX

  77. #77 raven
    March 22, 2008

    I suppose atheist can be an insult or compliment depending on who used the word for what purpose. So what.

    Fundie Xian is getting to be an insult. This is because it has become synonymous with “ignorant”, “moron”, “hater”, “liar”, and “killer” all rolled into one.

    They are even starting to deny it when you call them that.

    BTW, Mathis is a fundie Xian. The continual lying, low IQ, and nearly homicidal hatred gives him away.

  78. #78 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    They are even starting to deny it when you call them that.

    LOL

  79. #79 Rey Fox
    March 22, 2008

    Sheesh, Wallace, you’re desperate.

  80. #80 Michael X
    March 22, 2008

    William, please do us all the great favor of not asking questions that have been answered about 15 times or more. It will irritate us less, and you will get insulted less for trolling.

    We all benefit.

  81. #81 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 22, 2008

    Speaking of excuses, PZ, someone affiliated with the Crimson needs to figure out how that Xvivo product pilfered by Bill Dembski ends up in this dreck, as well.

    Hopefully, you or ERV or someone will get to the bottom of this. Velly intellesting, as Arte Johnson used to say.

  82. #82 Kseniya
    March 22, 2008

    Idlemind, I do believe you are correct.

    Aside/Prediction: One day, Daniel Radcliffe will portray Richard Dawkins on screen.

  83. #83 Kseniya
    March 22, 2008

    “I smell something fishy,” said William Walleye.

  84. #84 Michael X
    March 22, 2008

    For those who repeat the tired mantra of “No such thing as bad publicity”, take it from someone who is actually in the entertainment industry: you are the products of t.v. cliche.

    Anyone in the entertainment industry (much less industries like drug companies or oil companies) knows that PR people are paid for a reason. PZ has stated himself that there is knowledge to be known in this arena and I appreciate his saying so.

    But to put it in a more logical way that all my lovely reasony types will relate to, if any publicity was good publicity, then if follows that Ben Stein could go on a shooting spree at the mall of america to promote the movie instead of screening it there. It would make bigger news, and more references to the movie would be made. Despite the vile act itself, it would be publicity yes? And no publicity is bad.

    In the end, PR and publicity consultants are professionals in a difficult craft of their own. THIS is not something any PR consultant worth their salt would endorse. To then imply that this was their intention, is to not only assume that these producers are even dumber than suspected, but also to imply that you have no idea about the industry and professions therein of which you speak.

    Moral of the story? Stop watching TV. Go read a book.

  85. #85 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 22, 2008

    Ichthyic prods:

    hey scott-

    are you still following Vox blowhard?

    (sigh)…..Yes….

    if so..any updates on whether your communications with him have affected his “contributions” on his site yet?

    (sighhhh) …..No….

    and-has he jumped in with his own “unique” insights on the expelled issue yet?

    Not yet, but….(sighhhhhhhhh)….I’m sure, any day now, he’ll pop off with something tangential that will seem wise to him.

    I could use another irony fix.

    This is what I get for messing with a smart fish.

  86. #86 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    “I smell something fishy,” said William Walleye.

    *hatip*

    May you and yours be eaten first, Kseniya

    cheers!

  87. #87 Crudely Wrott
    March 22, 2008

    You sir, PZ, are way ahead of the curve, which is the primary reason why your blog is so popular. You have given a voice the the speechless and have provided
    Nonetheless, I have high expectations for my (our) survivors. That is, I assume that they will learn from my (our) misapprehensions of what it means to live as we see fit.
    In a way, I am tired of talking about this. It has all gone down so many times before. You’d think I’d learned. You’d expect that many more of us would have learned.

    Thank you PZ, not for your posts that call to task many foolish worldviews. Thank you more for your own world view, which leads and challenges anyone with a brain.

    Interesting aside: isn’t it amazing that there are so many who’s world views are predicated on myth rather than science? Yet they, the believers, will pick up a ball point pen without a second thought. Ball point pens are the last thing that true xtians want to admit. Why? Because it puts power into other hands. Got any idea how much human brain power is invested in your Bic Clic? More than most sustpect.

    And that is what stands as the testiment to human accomplishment. It does not come from a “still voice” in the night. It comes from real people putting forth real effort to solve real problems in the real world. What is so hard to understand about that. I do it every day and get paid for it.

    My only complaint is that I am paid less to fix a leak under someone’s sink than I would be if I told them that prayer would stop it. Some people will actually pay more to someone to talk to them about a problem than they would pay me to fix it. Shit. I must be Dog.

    No matter. If you need it fixed, Don’t Pray, Call Me Today!! Results guaranteed before the End O Time! Or until I die.

    A bit disjointed. Distractions, doncha’ know.

  88. #88 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    This is what I get for messing with a smart fish.

    well, I know I prod, but seriously, I was curious. Just to be clear, I’m not expecting the irony fix to come from you.

    May you and yours be eaten first, Scott.

    cheers!

  89. #89 Kseniya
    March 22, 2008

    Thank you!

    *beams*

  90. #90 SocraticGadfly
    March 22, 2008

    Religion as a side dish and the Sacrament of the Pharyngula as the main course? PZ turns his body into a cephalopod?

  91. #91 Kseniya
    March 22, 2008

    Gadfly, you will be forgiven for that, but you must say fifteen Hail Calamaris. Go now in peace, my child.

  92. #92 Michael X
    March 22, 2008

    Actually Socrat,

    It isn’t really PZ’s body. It’s just a picture that we swallow. But it becomes a cephalopod at… um, … some point. You just need to believe.

    And now I’d like to pass the offering bucket around one more time…

  93. #93 386sx
    March 22, 2008

    If you need it fixed, Don’t Pray, Call Me Today!!

    I like that, but it will have to wait until Monday, because tomorrow is when we celebrate how Jesus jumped out of the grave and flew up into the sky like a big happy birdie on a cloud!!

  94. #94 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    tomorrow is when we celebrate how Jesus jumped out of the grave

    mmmm. longpig ham.

  95. #95 paul
    March 22, 2008

    Of course they gasped, the majority of the audience was designed for that sort of thing but everything in that interview was wonderful, I wouldn’t wish a word of it changed. It’s amazing to people were scared of any of those words, they make so much sense. Even going so far as to say that religion does have a place and we don’t want to destroy it completely, just make sure it doesn’t interfere with living in a sane world. I thought this was a smear campaign they were running??

  96. #96 386sx
    March 22, 2008

    Happy birdie cloudy day everybody!!

    Fly,
    fly up high,
    into the sky,
    birdie Jesus fly.

  97. #97 Michael X
    March 22, 2008

    Remember kids (and souls currently burning for eternity in hell):

    Jesus died for three days before he took it back. That counts for something, yeah?

  98. #98 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 22, 2008

    You would think that a guy in Fresno wouldn’t have anything to add to this, but, as Bill Nye liked to say, “please consider the following.”

  99. #99 craig
    March 22, 2008

    some side dish. mercury would be less damaging to the brain, and probably would taste better too.

  100. #100 bama_girl
    March 22, 2008

    I have been reading through the replies and I would like to add that you guys are hilarious… And hey count me in as one of the faithful followers…

  101. #101 Reed
    March 22, 2008

    Ichthyic

    The notice you keep mentioning doesn’t matter if Expelled negotiated a different agreement with the copyright owners. If you contact the owners of something, and wave enough money at them, they’ll often let you use it for whatever you want. Universities are no exception, many have people dedicated to monetizing various output, or arrangements that allow the original creators to do so. Did that happen in this case ? We don’t know yet.

    I’m not defending the Expelled people… their dishonesty is beyond doubt, and stealing would be completely in form. All I’m saying is that we do not have proof yet.

    Since PZ mentioned contacting the Harvard folks, we should know pretty soon.

  102. #102 Heather Kuhn
    March 22, 2008

    According to Nomad who made the supreme sacrifice of brain cells a few days before PZ’s attempt, the computer animation segment was similar but not identical to the XVIVO animation.

  103. #103 Leigh
    March 22, 2008

    Heather, I don’t believe it has to be identical to be a copyright infringment.

    Substantial similarity implying derivation is enough.

  104. #104 MikeM
    March 22, 2008

    Philos,

    Let me just say I disagree with you. I just don’t think they knew what they were doing when the let in Dawkins, and it has had comic results, in addition to giving the appearance of having shot themselves in their own foot.

    I call that a win-win. And it’s appalling that, first, they invite PZ for an interview, and then don’t allow him into the film in which he’s featured. That’s sickening.

    I don’t think all publicity is good. Can’t wait to see more reactions in the news.

    This cannot possibly be what BS and company wanted.

    As Ed said to H.I., “Good!”.

    I like that BS has a new meaning… Blue Sky, Bullshit, Ben Stein. Still all equivalent. Perfect.

  105. #105 Dave Thomas
    March 22, 2008

    I saw the film when it was shown in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago, and got a copy of the “Leader’s DVD.” After carefully comparing the “Inner Life of a Cell” clip from the DVD (and from Expelled the Movie) to the Harvard/XVIVO footage, I also came to the conclusion that it is NOT the actual Harvard Video, but rather a COPY/ re-rendering of the video – a re-animated “Frankenstein” as it were.

    Mathis introduced the film in ‘Burque also, along with the local Calvary Chapel preacher. They made it quite clear that their goal was to get the ‘leaders’ to exhort the troops in their home pews to fill Expelled seats during opening weekend – one church per showing.

    The “Leader’s DVD” has three “Outreach Ideas” pages. #1 says to use the DVD at a church event or youth group. #2 says “For a small group – host a ‘Dinner with Darwin’ for your small group, using the Discussion Guide, DVD and the film as an opportunity to educate yourselves about the ‘good science’ in support of our faith. …”

    This gives away the whole farm, right there. I didn’t add the quote marks around “good science,” they (Expelled producers) did. But, most importantly, this isn’t about “faith,” it is about “OUR FAITH“. They can whine all they want to that ID is “science,” but they let us see their real cards here.

    Dave

    P.S. BTW, I signed up thru the web site, and received my e-mail confirmation. My name was on the sign-up sheet, and I was allowed to enter. I signed up under my real name, and as a member of the “DST” – that’s “Darwinist Swat Team,” a name the ID guys started using on us when we whupped ‘em in Rio Rancho, NM.

  106. #106 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 22, 2008

    I have been lurking through this event, hugely enjoying the brouhaha and have little to add.

    The one thing that does concern me is that the fundies are already framing this incident, in that dishonest way that they do. Certainly the frothing god-botherers appear to be eating up the assertion that PZ had to be kicked out for behaving like an oik.

    It seems to me that we need to get as many eye-witness statements together as possible to counter any accusation that PZ deserved the high hat. Similarly, this jaw-dropping puffery from Mathis about how he faced down the mighty atheist Dawkins and made him blanch, needs to pricked and deflated.

    I understand Greg Laden has links, Kristine has piped up, and I’ve seen the comments by Skatje and her beau. But can anyone else present at the incident come forward?

  107. #107 Logicel
    March 22, 2008

    Michael X, RAmen for your comment #80.

    I got an cunning plan (per Baldrick). Like papparazzi rummaging in celebrity garbage, let’s get someone to snoop around the exterior paths of Stein’s Malibu house for evidence of large swaths of slimy slug trail.

    Come on, with such physical mannerisms and phlegmatic voice, the guy is a giant slug (wearing clever makeup). Then, coarse salt could be placed on said pathways, causing Stein to rupture, with an explosion of slime on the level with Mr. Creosote exploding in the Monty Python film, The Meaning of Life. Then, a nice hefty splash of disinfectant around the Malibu pad and the world will be a fresher place.

  108. #108 Elise
    March 22, 2008

    everything you said was completely awesome and I absolutely agree. A “side dish” is a perfect way to describe how religion should be. Some people like to sleep in on Sunday mornings, I like to go to church.

    I’m extremely amused that they are using your and dawkins’ completely reasonable and sensible words as advertising for their idiotic film. The stupidity of these people is a powerful argument for the non-existence of God! :D

  109. #109 FW
    March 22, 2008

    When is Crossroads to be released?

  110. #110 blf
    March 22, 2008

    Just who else is planning(? had planned to?) jump into the Expelled cesspit?

    http://www.stopbenstein.com/

    From whois:

    Domain Name: STOPBENSTEIN.COM

    Creation Date: 02-sep-2007

    Registrant:
    Stuart Pivar
    15 West 67th Street
    New York, New York 10023
    United States

    Yep, he’s baaccckkkkk, Stuart Pivar, the balloon animals man (Lifecode), the classic crackpot who tried to sue PZ.

    It seems Mr Pivar has(? had?) a plan to use the outrage at Expelled to either promote his own absurd ideas, or just to make some money by “squatting” a domain-name someone might want.

    (Apologies if this is already know, but I just discovered it and found it rather funny.)

  111. #111 Phill
    March 22, 2008

    Got any idea how much human brain power is invested in your Bic Clic? More than most suspect.

    -Crudely Wrott

    So, is that the reverse of Ray Comfort’s banana argument? :)

  112. #112 Norman Doering
    March 22, 2008

    philos wrote:

    The people behind the Expelled film booted PZ on purpose for the publicity, NY Times/Salon publicity no less – as they knew PZ would raise a stink.
    Now who was had?
    Dawkins and PZ may be Professors but have absolutely no street smarts and just slipped on ‘their’ intellectual banana peel.

    I don’t think they booted PZ just to get publicity. It will not serve their interests well.

    However, based on the reviews of the movie, it sounds very Rovian. It may work to the advantage of the Republican think tanks that want to prevent the political compromises some evangelicals might want to make with the Democratic side.

    It wasn’t too long ago that this debate seemed to take place at a higher level. But after the Dover trial things started to get nasty.

    I just posted this on my blog:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/03/and-never-ending-freak-show-just-goes.html

    Here’s a taste:

    Knowing now that they can’t win either a legal or scientific battle the proponents of ID and creationism have shifted into a new strategy. I’m not exactly sure what they are trying to do with this Expelled movie (I haven’t even seen it) but it wouldn’t surprise me if increasing divisiveness and pushing the argument down to lower levels is exactly what they want. Their reasons are probably political and have little to do with either science or academic freedom. This is, rather, a Swift-boating of science and academy.

  113. #113 Russell Blackford
    March 22, 2008

    Damn, I’ve been snowed under with work for the past 24 hours but finally caught up with this. My comments over here, belatedly:

    http://metamagician3000.blogspot.com/2008/03/myers-expelled-from-expelled.html

  114. #114 iRobot
    March 22, 2008

    Who edited that film and what were they on? In the short piece they kept jumping back and forth from side and front view. I was starting to get dizzy. Very poor quality. Not that it is surprising.

  115. #115 extatyzoma
    March 22, 2008

    so according to mathis the reason PZ didnt get in is because unlike RD he didnt:

    conduct himself honourably.
    he isnt a guest in the USA.
    he didnt fly as far as dawkins.

    They could have at least left out the last 2 reasons when they said thats why they let RD in.

    the creationist logic and reason working against them, again.

  116. #116 Sue Laris
    March 22, 2008

    I notice replies to that Willy Wallace shit, so he must’ve posted more drooling lies of some sort. Do me a favor, if he’s on fire, someone else spit on him.

  117. #117 BadMA
    March 22, 2008

    All those interviewed sound completely rational and reasonable. I’m almost surprised they chose those particular clips, because to me they show the genuine enthusiasm scientists show for their work. It would have been better for them to show a ranting, raving set of madmen. And yes, they do say evolution leads to atheism, but there are probably some intelligent (no pun intended) people out there who just might say, “Hey, maybe there is something to this…?”

    Perhaps any attack on religion is seen as a horrible, ghastly thing to them. It’s amazing how little debate their fantasy can take.

  118. #118 Greg Laden
    March 22, 2008

    I’ve been up all night collecting links, the internet is under a great strain!!!

    There is now an effort to get a description of this event entered into the Wikipedia entry on Irony as a prime example. Any wikipedia-symps out there, go to it!!!!

  119. #119 Brendan S
    March 22, 2008

    I don’t honestly care what they say or the ID or the Appologists. This is the best thing that can happen to ‘our’ cause of showing these people to be the sort of people we believe them to be.

    The first real nationwide coverage of their film, and it’s about the irony of kicking the intelectual elite out of their film. Best Outcome Ever.

  120. #120 thadd
    March 22, 2008

    Does anyone know how to get to one of the future showings?

  121. #121 caerbannog
    March 22, 2008

    thadd,

    You can give this link a try: http://rsvp.getexpelled.com/

    There don’t appear to be any screenings in the more civilized areas of the USA, though…

  122. #122 Citizen Z
    March 22, 2008

    You know, in that clip PZ Myers seems extremely mild-mannered. Maybe if the producer had watched his own film, he would’ve realized PZ could handle himself fairly honorably. And he could’ve recognized Richard Dawkins.

  123. #123 inkadu
    March 22, 2008

    Isn’t anyone going to mention how much we offend the mainstream religious majority of this country by being kicked out of Expelled? If you look at the frames, isn’t this a crushing blow to the pro-evolution camp?

    I mean if you look really, really, really carefully.

    Heh.

    You rock, PZ.

  124. #124 Simon Owens
    March 22, 2008

    I think they make you look pretty good and rational. I’m surprised they didn’t edit it in such a way that you look like a crazed scientist just itching to run through the streets burning bibles.

  125. #125 Citizen Z
    March 22, 2008

    No wonder Mathis thought Dawkins could handle himself honorably and PZ couldn’t. Look at them in the clip, the difference in decorum is as plain as night an evening!

  126. #126 Eric
    March 22, 2008

    There are still some events upcoming:
    http://rsvp.getexpelled.com/events/events/list

  127. #127 trrll
    March 22, 2008

    Given what they did to PZ and Dawkins, there is a good chance that they approached Harvard under false pretenses. However, in this case that may not work. If Expelled differs materially from the film that was described in the permission request, a lawyer could argue that the permission given does not apply.

    Even if they re-rendered the video (which frankly, sounds unlikely; it would have been fairly expensive), they could end up in legal hot water if they recreated the sequences shown in the film. Harvard used a certain amount of artistic license in deciding what to show and what to omit, and in the order of events shown. Copying those could still be a violation of Harvard’s copyright.

  128. #128 Dale Austin
    March 22, 2008

    I have watched this wonderful fracas with ever increasing glee. Thank you PZ!

    The lies, distortions, shifting goalposts and general cluelessness of the Expelled crowd have been well documented, and need no further comment from the likes of me.

    What I’d like to point out is the incompetence of the marketing folks involved in this. Let us say that you wanted to have a private event-a movie screening perhaps. Here is the breakdown of the task:

    Send invitations to your carefully selected audience.
    Request they rsvp-provide a website to do so, as well as allowing written/phone rsvp.
    Compare the rsvps with the invited, and only confirm those appearing on both lists.
    If, as these folks seemed to think, there would be evildoers among those showing up, simply print out the confirmed list, and have security check IDs at the door.

    The task is simple. For a single-theater sized audience the confirmation process could be done by hand. Automating it, including creating all the back-end and front-end web stuff would be a third-term community college programming class assignment, at best. The guy in the office next to me could whip out a fully professional version of this thing in a long weekend. With the documentation, I could do it in a week-and it’s been years since I’ve had to deal with anything more complex than html.

    So, what happened? I’d guess that everyone who rsvp’d was going to start getting the creationist version of viagra spam. In the marketing world, you want that list collecting process to be a wide net. Clearly the Expelled producers had another idea-control. Were the marketing folks and the distribution folks working to cross-purposes? It is clear to me at least that somebody wanted control without the will or skill necessary to achieve it. I have to wonder if they hired incompetents, or were too cheap to pay for their best efforts.

  129. #129 Meg
    March 22, 2008

    Phew! PZ, I’m so relieved that you aren’t going to try to take away my knitting! :)

    But seriously, you both were so low-key in those clips. Now if you had suggested that we EAT the sidedish, then maybe I could see the reason for the gasping.

  130. #130 Jason
    March 22, 2008

    I just tried to post a comment at Youtube on the video above, and guess what? The comments are moderated and mine was blocked.

    If one side of a argument is afraid to participate in any form of honest debate doesn’t that mean they automatically lose?

    Just for the record I know that commenting on Youtube videos makes me a sad git but sometimes it’s hard to resist. My comment is below –

    “It’s interesting how reasonable and honest the scientists in this clip are.It stands in stark contrast to the dishonest, hyperbolic Stein and his ilk.

    Religion *is* empty of any power to explain the world and saying so shouldn’t be seen as shocking.

    If people can only defend their religion with lies then they need to take a long hard look at themselves”

  131. #131 raven
    March 22, 2008

    Normandoering:

    Knowing now that they can’t win either a legal or scientific battle the proponents of ID and creationism have shifted into a new strategy.

    The new strategy is the old one. Take over the government, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the Dark Ages.

    They can just slaughter the scientists and science supporters and that would be the end of the problem. Who needs to win legal and intellectual battles when you have a bible, a M16, and a few clips of ammo? Those people are evil.

  132. #132 Crudely Wrott
    March 22, 2008

    I watched the above clip and the first thought that occurred to me was surprise at the non threatening quality of your voice, PZ. (First time I have heard you speak.) I had expected a booming baritone laced with phase-shifted harmonics and illuminated by sparks and shooting bolts of flame. Not to mention the ominous waving of suckered tentacles close to my face. Heh.

    Now I know that you have a kind voice, modulated by a respect for the sensibilities of the average listener. Of course there are still those tentacles! You need to work on that.

    In all, it appears that you are like the example given by Timothy in the bible. He exhorted the true believer to be “as cunning as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.”

    What a thing! To find an example of biblical instruction so well demonstrated by a fellow heathen. That is, of course, dependent on how one defines harm. ;^)

    I imagine that the ID movement is in deep reflection damage control mode right now. And they brought it upon themselves. This is all so Deuteronimously Leviticus! And all you did was show up, announced! Delicious.

    One of the best ways to counter the claims of religious people is to mirror the qualities that they insist upon better than they can do. You know, honesty, forthrightness, respect, kindness, honesty, inclusiveness, good humor, honesty, and of course, honesty. I just have a warm feeling today that many true followers are experiencing a curiously cold wind blowing about. They may be, though I have not directly observed it yet, avoiding mirrors just about now.

  133. #133 Bunk
    March 22, 2008

    tomorrow is when we celebrate how Jesus jumped out of the grave

    mmmm. longpig ham.

    Thank you, baby Jesus, for freeing the pork.

  134. #134 Cyde Weys
    March 22, 2008

    Wow, after seeing that video clip I’m struck by the following thoughts:

    Nothing any of the atheists in the video said was at all disagreeable to me. This is the best they have?!

    The camera man was trying to do something far out of his depth. He should have stuck with a tripod. Watching his “handiwork” would make me nauseous after two hours. It’s as if not only are they rebelling against the scientific establishment, but the film establishment as well.

    Ben Stein is possibly one of the worst possible choices for narrators. His monotonous drone was putting me to sleep within seconds. It’s frightening to think that the character he played in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off actually was not an act.

  135. #135 Avekid
    March 22, 2008

    Aside from all the other reasons why this may be an awful film, I don’t think I could spend an hour / hour and a half listening to Ben Stein drone on like that! They really made a bad choice for the narrator. If the movie’s as poorly cobbled together and boring as Skatje suggests — and I’ll take her word for it — I can’t exactly see it becoming a rip-roaring success.

    Ichthyic:

    I tend to agree with what you have to say so this time it’s no surprise. It is extremely unlikely that PZ was expelled, while Dawkins was allowed to remain, on purpose. They haven’t tried to spin it that way and, honestly, their PR team hasn’t demonstrated the requisite intelligence for a coup like that. *If* they did (again, I doubt it), they have been clumsy enough with their PR re: the incident that their original intentions / plans just don’t matter — it ended up working for us, not them.

  136. #136 inkadu
    March 22, 2008

    I had expected a booming baritone laced with phase-shifted harmonics and illuminated by sparks and shooting bolts of flame. Not to mention the ominous waving of suckered tentacles close to my face.

    All hail the mighty hypno squid!

  137. #137 Caveat
    March 22, 2008

    How can anyone not recognize Richard Dawkins? Talk about star quality (no slur on PZ there, he’s pretty good in front of the camera too and seems like a gun guy to have a beer with at the local pub).

    I’m surprised women weren’t swooning when that handsome, swashbuckler showed up at the screening. He certainly makes my heart go pitty-pat.

  138. #138 Caveat
    March 22, 2008

    sorry – ‘fun guy’ it’s early and I was up until early. Ignore the comma before swashbuckler, too…

  139. #139 SocraticGadfly
    March 22, 2008

    Kseniya: I’ll gladly do the Hail Calimaris!

    Dave Thomas: Copyright would still extend to the animation takeoff, as theft of intellectual property. The only excuse would be if it were done as a parody, and the context clearly indicated that. Of course, given “Expelled,” maybe it DOES qualify!

  140. #140 Donnie B.
    March 22, 2008

    In the clip from “Expelled”, Richard Dawkins suggested “knitting” as an example of the role religion should play in a future, better society. I think I have a better metaphor: square dancing.

    If your culture doesn’t include square dancing, you may substitute your own folk dance tradition. Kindly follow along, and mentally substitute “religion” and its rituals as appropriate:

    Square dancing is a social activity, a relic of a now-antiquated cultural tradition that many still enjoy. Its practitioners meet regularly to share their common passion.

    As with many such activities, practitioners vary in their dedication. Some build their entire lives and worldview around it, while others only go along because their spouse enjoys it, or because they like the music.

    Even the most passionate devotees of square dancing, however, would never dream of going to war over it, or even of picking fights with the jazz dance crowd.

    Square dancing always employs a “caller”, someone who has spent many years studying for the role. The dancers all follow the dictates of the caller. Those who step out of line or occasionally disobey are likely to be the targets of some teasing and joking — but if they continue to do so, they’ll probably be less and less welcome at future events. Nobody would ever hold these transgressions against them in the larger world beyond the dance barn, of course.

    The aficionados of square dancing take seriously their commitment to their traditions. They freely give of their own money and time to support their hobby — paying the caller and musicians, volunteering to help with the upkeep of their dance barn, creating elaborate period costumes, and so on. They wouldn’t dream of asking anyone outside the troupe to contribute if they didn’t wish to.

    Finally, no square dancer would expect to have “do-si-do” taught in public schools, except as part of a comparative dance class.

    I fully support the square dance paradigm for religion. Do you think there’s any chance it will ever come to pass?

  141. #141 MAJeff, OM
    March 22, 2008

    Posted by: Sun Green | March 22, 2008 11:03 AM

    Charlie, shut the fuck up and go away already. How many times to you have to be told?!

    You aren’t that special. You aren’t that smart. You are that annoying.

  142. #142 Mark Witt
    March 22, 2008

    Once again, the unholy assault of PZ Myers (et al) has been repelled! Yes, Myers hoist by his own petard! No more plundering and pillaging of the innocent and gullible for you! No more casting of doubts and funneling the Unbeliever’s evolutionary lies. No more spinning untruths and half-facts into mere theories! After all, the only facts are the facts!!

    You have been relegated to an AUDIENCE of NONE at the margins of the Mall! You have been Expelled! You must now cease and desist from your arrogant SUPPRESSION of the debate! Do you not see the delicious irony of your situation?!

    Poor dull Darwinist! Poor man, you can lead an Intelligent Design to the knowledge, but you cannot make it think!

    Mark Witt

    Intelligent Design,
    Institute of Theory
    New Haven, CT

  143. #143 Crudely Wrott
    March 22, 2008

    So, Mark From The Institute Of Theory, you appear to have a lock on the Theory of Irony. Kudos.

    I breathlessly await the latest spin from the most famous spinners of all time; those who say that their dreams trump reality. I tried it once. Didn’t work. So I stopped.

  144. #144 spurge
    March 22, 2008

    Here we have Mark exhibiting classic denial and projection.

  145. #145 Sastra
    March 22, 2008

    My feelings watching the video were mixed.

    The first feeling was relief. Both you and Richard Dawkins came off as calm, reasonable, and fair. You emphasized that nobody was going to try to “take away” anyone’s religion, but that yes, a scientific approach to understanding reality does not lead to belief in God. Respect for the feelings of the religious was coupled with a deeper enthusiasm for truth, and for the beauty and wonder of nature itself. I was relieved, pleased, and proud to see my own views put forth so clearly and gently.

    My second emotion was the dawning horror of realizing that a “religious” audience is clearly supposed to look and listen to the same ideas and gasp in shock, disgust, and indignation. They are being “attacked.” Religion is being “insulted.” PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, and Peter Atkins are crazed, God-hating lunatics who are revealing the sick, twisted underbelly of belief in the findings of modern science. These people should not get away with this. They are being EXPOSED!!!

    If this is supposed to be the “shocking” revelation and this clip successfully demonstrates how rude, troublemaking, disruptive, and untrustworthy atheists are to the average moviegoer — then there is a very, very great divide between me and the American public, which is even worse than I thought.

  146. #146 dryope
    March 22, 2008

    Wait, wait, whoa whoa HOLD ON a minute here.

    Isn’t ID supposed to be science?

    Yeah. What’s going on with that? They seem to have stepped out of character. Have they forgotten their own BS?

    In any case, people who put so much stock in their faith have every reason to see the comments in this film as insulting and possibly threatening.

    1) Because it’s Christians making this thing and Christians hold dear their founding myth of persecution. It feeds right into the idea that they are constantly surrounded by forces trying to destroy them, so they need to huddle together and protect themselves.

    2) Because if you told a little girl that her parents were lying to her and Santa didn’t exist, she not only might not believe you, she might get angry at you. How much more so an adult who has held onto beliefs long into the age of reason.

    3) Because the audience is by definition people who enjoy being conformists and being told the right answer in advance, so they can feel good about being on the right side. They don’t need to be smart, they just need to stand behind on the good side.

    As the Oingo Boingo song goes: “We’ve got all the right answers on the winning side”

    What PZ and Dawkins have said here in this clip is scary to the Christians–the music and the nose pans help, but isn’t the main thing. And no one likes their god compared to knitting. I’m a knitter, and I would be furious if a Christian said my making sweaters was a form of prayer.

  147. #147 Zara
    March 22, 2008

    I like the part of the clip, PZ, in which you cackle, “I’ll get you my pretty!” and throw fireballs at strawmen.

  148. #148 Avekid
    March 22, 2008

    Had I not just seen Mark Witt’s comments in a few other places, I would have assumed that this one was satirical, poking fun at crazy fundies. Oh, wow, that’s too bad.

  149. #149 Observer
    March 22, 2008

    Avekid, take a closer look at the initials describing Mark Witt’s Institute. I think your first instinct was right.

  150. #150 Nemo
    March 22, 2008

    Dave Thomas:

    I didn’t add the quote marks around “good science,” they (Expelled producers) did.

    Many semi-literate people misuse quote marks when they intend only to indicate emphasis. That was probably the case here.

  151. #151 October Mermaid
    March 22, 2008

    #150 That’s because they’re “semi-retarded.”

  152. #152 inkadu
    March 22, 2008

    What PZ and Dawkins have said here in this clip is scary to the Christians–the music and the nose pans help, but isn’t the main thing.

    Ah yes, the nose pans.

    Whatever Expelled! fails to contribute to biology, it more than makes up for in pioneering cinematography.

  153. #153 MartinM
    March 22, 2008

    Yes, from previous experience, Witt’s posts are almost certainly parody. He’s been pulling something of a Sokal at the Expelled website, IIRC.

  154. #154 inkadu
    March 22, 2008

    What PZ and Dawkins have said here in this clip is scary to the Christians–the music and the nose pans help, but isn’t the main thing.

    Ah yes, the nose pans.

    Whatever Expelled! fails to contribute to biology, it more than makes up for in pioneering cinematography.

  155. #155 Janine, ID
    March 22, 2008
    What PZ and Dawkins have said here in this clip is scary to the Christians–the music and the nose pans help, but isn’t the main thing.

    Ah yes, the nose pans.

    Whatever Expelled! fails to contribute to biology, it more than makes up for in pioneering cinematography.

    Posted by: inkadu

    Not really. In Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, there is a nose pan of Neil Young. There is a chunk of coke up there. That was more than thirty years ago.

  156. #156 Avekid
    March 22, 2008

    Observer and Martin:

    Phew! Thanks. I feel much better about the world now.

    Mark the Parodist:

    Now that I know it’s a parody? You, sir, are wonderful. Sokal away.

  157. #157 Kseniya
    March 22, 2008

    A “nose pan” sounds like something used and maintained by patients and orderlies at an EENT clinic.

    Also: Well played, Mr. “Witt”. ;-)

  158. #158 JGabriel
    March 22, 2008

    Icthyic: “… you have to have permission to even get copies of the originals, which is why Dembski got popped.”

    Sorry, but – pet peeve here – it is NOT a violation of copyright law to possess copyrighted material without permission, but to *distribute* copyrighted material without permission.

    Dembski got popped for using the material in a commercial lecture, i.e., distributing it to the audience and charging them fees to receive it.

    It might seem like a nitpicky distinction, but it’s important for people to understand it, given all the problems with, and media disinformation regarding, copyright law these days.

    .

  159. #159 Norman Doering
    March 22, 2008

    raven wrote:

    The new strategy is the old one. Take over the government, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the Dark Ages.
    They can just slaughter the scientists and science supporters and that would be the end of the problem. Who needs to win legal and intellectual battles when you have a bible, a M16, and a few clips of ammo? Those people are evil.

    I don’t think you quite grasp what the word “Rovian” means.

    I’m talking Karl Rove, it’s not about thinking all that long term or about making a theocracy. It’s about exploiting fear and ignorance and identity politics one election at a time.

  160. #160 jimmiraybob
    March 22, 2008

    If the Expelled producers did this as a set up to get publicity and were so confident in their position they most certainly would have had cameras rolling to document their brilliance.

  161. #161 Caveat
    March 22, 2008

    You have probably all seen this, but Greg Laden’s been doing yeoman’s work collecting links. There’s even a comic strip:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/03/pz_myers_expelled_gains_sainth.php#c797746

  162. #162 Ferrous Patella
    March 22, 2008

    Donnie B.,

    Contra dancing is way better than square “dancing”, you America-hating sleeze-bag!

  163. #163 Nate
    March 22, 2008

    Hello fellow Pharangula-philes!

    My name is Nathan Johnson, I’m a student at Michigan State University, and I just reserved a seat for a showing in Livonia, MI on March 26 for Expelled (pending that it doesn’t get removed from the list like it has for other cities).

    I’m hoping that there are some other people from around the area that are planning on attending. If you are, please email me at john1989@msu.edu

    I already have a few friends that are willing to experience 2 hours of torture with me, but it would be even better if we could get a decent size anti-stupidity crowd to attend.

  164. #164 ice9
    March 22, 2008

    NYT and Salon got the story up, though both passed on a chance to ascertain and report the truth; they just gave state-of-the-journalistic-art “balanced” accounts. But the hometown paper, the Star Tribune, seems to have passed on the story despite numerous tips. I didn’t pore over the paper edition but the website gave no hits. This despite the fact that the events transpired in their wheelhouse. Pretty weak work if it’s true. Did any of you Twin Cities folks catch any coverage?

    ice

  165. #165 zoltan
    March 22, 2008

    As with (about two) other comments, I’m pretty offended my favorite hobby was compared to religion. At least it could have been something lowly, like scrapbooking, but knitting? Come on.

  166. #166 markg
    March 22, 2008

    I posted this on RD.net:

    Here are some suggestions for titles for a Dawkins/Myers rebuttal film:

    Disspelled: The Evolution of Creationism to Intelligent Design Contriversy

    or

    On the Origin Of Specious Ideas by Means of Unnaturally Selective Thinking: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong

    I hearby relinquish all claims of ownership to those titles.

  167. #167 Michael Bains
    March 22, 2008

    How DARE you be tolerant and charming and and and … and nice?! How DARE you!?

    Congrats!

  168. #168 Keanus
    March 22, 2008

    A rebuttal film would be an exercise of vanity. No one other than the amen chorus of fundamentalists will see “Expelled.” I doubt it will make it into more than a handful of commercial theaters in the entire US. Why would any theatre operator even considering giving it a few nights on the silver screen? The operator is bound to lose money on it, which explains why the producers are providing these “private” no-charge screenings around the country. It’s the only screen time it will get, other than free screening in fundamentalists churches around the country, once it’s on DVD. The only viewers of this flick will be unwashed but already converted. No others need apply.

  169. #169 Blake Stacey
    March 22, 2008

    A rebuttal film might be a pointless exercise, but I think there could be a place for a quick YouTube video: “Expelled in 3 Minutes!”

    “For dry, itchy souls, Jesus is awesome. What you don’t want is Charles Darwin. . . .”

  170. #170 Stuart Ritchie
    March 22, 2008

    Three of my heroes in one clip! And, as luck would have it, I’ll be seeing two of them in the flesh in the next couple of weeks at the Edinburgh Science Festival!

    This clip proves that ‘EXPELLED’ is exactly as I’d predicted. It’s not a serious documentary trying to prove anything. We’re just shown a series of clips of people the filmmakers know that their target audience already disagrees with, and we’re implicitly urged to be affronted by their, er… arrogance? Wrong-ness? I don’t know. The point is that the filmmakers don’t even bother to explain why these people are ‘wrong’. You can just imagine them staring at you, wide-eyed, saying ‘LOOK! LOOOOOOOK!’…

  171. #171 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    Sorry, but – pet peeve here – it is NOT a violation of copyright law to possess copyrighted material without permission, but to *distribute* copyrighted material without permission.

    no…

    you missed what I meant.

    you simply can’t even get TO the originals without getting permission from Harvard.

    the best one can do is try to rip the flash movies (which aren’t the originals), which doesn’t work too well if you’re ever tried it.

  172. #172 Ichthyic
    March 22, 2008

    Did that happen in this case ? We don’t know yet.

    I never said we did, oh completely dense one.

    look again at what I actually wrote.

    I even asked you straight up if you thought it LIKELY that Harvard would have sold the rights to commercially distribute it to Harris & co.

    clearer?

  173. #173 Cuttlefish, OM
    March 22, 2008

    In the intervening hours
    Since the movie, all the powers
    Of the two opposing sides have set their weaponry on “spin”;
    In a textbook case of framing,
    The producers now are claiming
    That of course they noticed Dawkins, and they gladly let him in!
    They’d have done the same for PZ,
    But he did not make it easy–
    As the testimony given by one local witness claims;
    As he tells it, Dr. Myers,
    Drinking blood and breathing fires,
    Was disruptive and obnoxious, playing atheistic games!
    Now more stories are diverging
    And it’s clear they need no urging
    To elaborate on fictions in the service of their lies;
    We may yet see more mutation
    As the story sweeps the nation;
    That a fable keeps evolving, well, it’s really no surprise.

  174. #174 Kelly
    March 22, 2008

    Before today I’d never heard of “Expelled” or you, Mr. Myers, though I’ll be a regular reader of your blog from now on. (And boy, am I disappointed in Ben Stein!) I have to differ with you on one point you made in the video clip: Religion, by its very nature, can never be sidelined into something people do on weekends. While it already is that for a lot of people (who, of course, would never admit it), the truly devout are driven by their convictions to proselytize and to impose their belief systems on the rest of us. It’s as much a part of faith as prayer or feeling guilty about sex.

  175. #175 Norman Doering
    March 22, 2008

    Kelly wrote:

    the truly devout are driven by their convictions to proselytize and to impose their belief systems on the rest of us. It’s as much a part of faith as prayer or feeling guilty about sex.

    One of us, one of us, one of us…

  176. #176 Ice9
    March 22, 2008

    Warning: this post became a bummer somehow.

    I agree w/ “exercise in vanity” 168 and will go you one better.

    Financial considerations aside, a rebuttal film would put an intolerable burden on the American filmgoer: knowledge of the backstory, recall of the details of the bad film, grasp of the pithy scientific distinctions, tolerance for the nuances of academic freedom, and a willing, even enthusiastic taste for rhetoric. Those virtues are unusual at the Multiplex (and, I think we’ll find, more common at the Bibleplex than we expect.)
    They’re preaching to their choir; we’d be doing the same, though I’d guess Our People will be more willing to listen to their sermon than theirs to ours.
    And Science is at a sharp disadvantage. The church people have evolved a Hypocrisy Zone, a special region in which the application of the commandments is optional subject to arcane ends-means calculations, and the usual moral absolutes don’t apply. The Ted Haggard principle–rankness of hypocrisy is proportional to theological vicsiousness–is no longer troubling, or even embarassing, in those places. The internet is one; another is Hollywood.
    That’s why it’s Hollywood, I think, and not “film”–Hollywood’s a place that stands for film. They call it “Hollywood” so the place stands for the medium (loconym?) because in their universe Hollywood is already corrupt so they can be corrupt on film. The science side would never compromise their principles on tape.
    We’d shoot ourselves in the psuedopod by zealously extending the principles to film. To the average Joe I think it would be frightfully dull. It would out-documentary documentary, even as “Expelled” goes the other way.

    That could change, though. Take a vast pool of righteous certainty. Marinate in the pool a hundred million Americans for a lifetime. Leave only the usual range of human mental illness; discared the rest. Simmer in poor healthcare with a dash of snake-handling, faith-healing, and counseling by Professionals highly Trained in advanced Deaconics and Homosexual Curatives. Stir in the juice of one Apocrypha and a handful of minced Eschatology via Rapture. Add a dash of Second Amendment zealotry, and you have a high likelihood of stalking and harming for Jesus. If one of our heroes gets Harvey Milked, then we’d get our movie.

    Keep an eye out.

    Ice

  177. #177 RamblinDude
    March 22, 2008

    Sastra, (back a ways),

    If this is supposed to be the “shocking” revelation and this clip successfully demonstrates how rude, troublemaking, disruptive, and untrustworthy atheists are to the average moviegoer — then there is a very, very great divide between me and the American public, which is even worse than I thought.

    Ya, that little revelation is always a shock to the system, isn’t it? It’s like waking up in an insane asylum.

    “Go to his website! Myers is an atheist! He’s an atheist!” LOL!!

  178. #178 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 22, 2008

    Considering Dr. Myers is known for quotes such as: “Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough.The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers..,” Perhaps it appropriate that he was ‘expelled’,so he knows how it feels. I guess he wants to attempt witch hunts and book burning in the public schools, but cries foul when the shoe is on the other foot.I think he is phony and not a hero. Sorry!

  179. #179 Tyler DiPietro
    March 22, 2008

    “Perhaps it appropriate that he was ‘expelled’,so he knows how it feels. I guess he wants to attempt witch hunts and book burning in the public schools, but cries foul when the shoe is on the other foot.I think he is phony and not a hero. Sorry!”

    You people are so predictable. ;)

  180. #180 Nullifidian
    March 22, 2008

    As with (about two) other comments, I’m pretty offended my favorite hobby was compared to religion. At least it could have been something lowly, like scrapbooking, but knitting? Come on.

    zoltan, there’s no need to get offended. PZ has great respect for knitting.

    As long as it’s intestines or zombies.

    You were knitting intestines and zombies, weren’t you? Anything else is just plain weird.

  181. #181 Lago
    March 22, 2008

    I just posted this over at Dawkins site. It is about time people grasp that they were played, and they knew Dawkins was getting in…

    All people had to show ID at the door, and PZ was standing beside what we have all agreed to is one of the most recognizable figures in the debates.

    They also did not yell out, “Is a PZ Myers here?” the guards went directly to him. This is because he was recognized by site, not computer, and again, Dawkins was standing right next to him.

    Mathis has also used this issue to explain how Dawkins “melted” right in front of him. He used this to promote the idea that when confronted, these people just “melt” away. THIS WAS THE SPIN HE WAS ATTEMPTING TO GO FOR.

    He simply knew that PZ would not use the Queensbury Rules and that Dawkins would. He knew it would be easy to take someone down that tried to follow polite rules. He knew he could predict Dawkins comments based on this and have a series of set responses. This would not work for PZ as he thinks too damn fast on his feet and is willing to kick one in the groin as well as the head if he sees fit to do so.

    Please people, learn who you are dealing with. If you keep thinking they are not using these tactics, you are going to be tricked over, and over again.

  182. #182 RamblinDude
    March 22, 2008

    Olson : Public school science teacher, (?)

    Provided you actually are a science teacher, you want to teach Creationism in schools, don’t you?

    This is the full text:

    Posted on Panda’s Thumb:

    Comment #35130 Posted by PZ Myers on June 14, 2005 07:50 AM (e) (s)

    Yeah, I’m afraid the “civilized academic debate” was settled about a century ago. Scientists have been engaging in that ideal, non-militaristic fashion for quite some time, and still are — those discussions go on in the pages of the journals. Unfortunately, while we have been doing everything in the proper civilized way, the forces of ignorance have not; they have lied their way into considerable power.

    Here I am, a biologist living in the 21st century in one of the richest countries in the world, and one of the two biology teachers in my kids’ high school is a creationist. Last year, the education commissioner in my state tried to subvert the recommendations for the state science standards by packing a hand-picked ‘minority report’ committee to push for required instruction in intelligent design creationism in our schools. All across the country, we have these lunatics trying to stuff pseudoscientific religious garbage into our schools and museums and zoos.

    This is insane.

    Please don’t try to tell me that you object to the tone of our complaints. Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many schoolboard members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians.

  183. #183 Tyler DiPietro
    March 22, 2008

    Lago, you need to put away the tin-foil hat dude. You don’t need to assume conspiracy when simple incompetence will suffice. They fucked up, don’t let paranoia ruin a good victory.

  184. #184 raven
    March 22, 2008

    Posted by: Olson : Public school science teacher

    I don’t believe this clown for a minute.

    He should call himself Olson: Fake Public school pseudoscience teacher wannabe:

    You do know that teaching religious mythology in public schools as science to our kids is blatantly illegal, don’t you?

    Try it in a public school on the west coast and you will be fired and sooner rather than later.

  185. #185 craig
    March 22, 2008

    personally I thought “nose pan” sounded like a small obscure musical instrument.

  186. #186 Reginald Selkirk
    March 22, 2008

    58. Comment #148193 by RC Metcalf on March 22, 2008 at 10:00 am
    FYI – I saw the Expelled! film and I just viewed the Harvard computer simulations of the cell (thanks to the link provided by sent2null). They are not the same. The cell simulation footage used in Expelled! came from Illustra Media’s “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.”

    All the best, RC

    I haven’t seen the footage, and I cannot vouch for RC. Just mentioning the possibility.

  187. #187 Olson:Public School science teacher
    March 22, 2008

    Oh my goodness we don’t want kids to think and decide for themselves do we. Yes! I really have taught for 35 years and never have had a problem telling kids they don’t have to believe evolution ( why would I lie??). Yes, I invited Myers to come to a school board meeting in my district and demand my removal if he was really serious about his big talk– He is a chicken. It would be pretty hard since I have been successful and popular for 35 years. What you guys want is to be book burners and censors and be intolerant of differences of opinion. Should quotes from famous scientists that were “Intelligent Design” proponents such as Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur and G.W. Carver (to name a few) be banned because it may give students a “wrong” idea. Should Newton and Pasteur be held up to public humiliation? Newton said “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” Pasteur said “The more I study nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator.”

    It is clear Myers is a phony who would think it is terrible to discriminate against anyone except those that believe in Intelligent Design, I would like a debate between Dawkins and Newton.

  188. #188 Tyler DiPietro
    March 22, 2008

    “Oh my goodness we don’t want kids to think and decide for themselves do we.”

    Dear Olson,

    I think you have a great idea. In fact, in history class, we should be able to teach alternatives to the mainstream narrative of the Holocaust, such as the idea that it didn’t happen. Let the kids decide for themselves!

    Best,

    – Tyler DiPietro

  189. #189 CalGeorge
    March 22, 2008

    “Oh my goodness we don’t want kids to think and decide for themselves do we.”

    Are you arguing for the right to shove shit down their throats and have them decide for themselves whether it tastes like shit or not?

    That’s what it sounds like to me.

  190. #190 Sastra
    March 22, 2008

    There is no serious scientific debate on evolution, any more than on whether the earth is flat. Telling children they can “make up their own minds” on what to believe about either one is simply pandering to the “Self-esteem Movement.”

    “Teacher, teacher, my self-esteem is hurt by finding out scientists say I am wrong.”

    “Well then, my dear, you can make up your own mind on what your own ‘truth’ is. We all have our own truths. The earth is whatever shape you need it to be. Can’t have you feeling bad about yourself. Your opinion is just as good as the opinion of experts — because you’re you, and that’s so special.”

    That is not only sloppy teaching method, it’s an insult to the concept of education. Science has moved on since the days of Newton — and Darwin — as you should know. So all you’re doing is feeding into the namby-pamby, feel-good lack of discipline that’s rampant in our culture. It’s all me, me, me and “dumb it down so I feel self-affirmed without doing any actual work.” Shame on you.

  191. #191 raven
    March 22, 2008

    Oh my goodness we don’t want kids to think and decide for themselves do we. Yes! I really have taught for 35 years and never have had a problem telling kids they don’t have to believe evolution ( why would I lie?

    Just stay away from our kids. We don’t need some religious fanatic indoctrinating them in mythology as science.

    In point of fact, schools or universities for that matter cannot make people believe anything. Free country, people can and will believe whatever they want.

    When most teachers get the “Do I have to believe in X or Y or Z”, the usual and correct answer is No, of course not. What you have to do is know the material, what scientists say about their subject matter.

    What you guys want is to be book burners and censors and be intolerant of differences of opinion.

    There is a serious reign of terror by Xian fundie terrorists directed against the reality based academic community, specifically acceptors of evolution. I’m keeping a running informal tally, listed below. They include death threats, firings, attempted firings, assaults, and general persecution directed against at least 8 people.

    The Expelled Liars have totally ignored the ugly truth of just who is persecuting who.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    I assault, fired from dept. chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Up to 9 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    Got that so wrong. There are at leat 9 professors and state officials who have been beat up, fired, attempted to be fired, or threatened with death by fundie religious bigots. In two cases, the perpetrators were officials at the DI, Dembski and Johnson.

    It is a fundie thing, lie, hate, assault, kill.

    On this thread, PZ Myers gets death threats occasionally as do other scientists. Routine, most don’t even mention it.

    What state are you in? Bet it is in the DFN.

  192. #192 CalGeorge
    March 22, 2008

    Newton said “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

    Newton was wrong. Get over it.

    It’s called progress.

  193. #193 raven
    March 22, 2008

    Olson the troll:

    Yes, I invited Myers to come to a school board meeting in my district and demand my removal if he was really serious about his big talk– He is a chicken. It would be pretty hard since I have been successful and popular for 35 years.

    Myers is pretty busy. Maybe I’ll do it. I’ve been a teacher myself occasionally, university and med. school.

    Need your name, address of your school district, what classes you teach, and your lesson plans, powerpoint slides etc..

    You aren’t going to chicken out here now, are you?

    BTW, I still don’t believe you. You sound more like a troll of questionable sanity and low IQ than a mature, rational, functional adult.

  194. #194 ennui
    March 22, 2008

    I have absolutely no problem with the teaching of ID or any other theistic nonsense, in a class called ‘Comparative Religion.’ There, it can compete with the over 10,000 other religions to see which one has the most powerful magicks.

    But in science classrooms, where naturalistic explanations are studied, it has absolutely no standing unless and until it produces some naturalistic evidence, falsifiable predictions, or experiments.

  195. #195 Sili
    March 22, 2008

    You look younger than I expected somehow. And you sound terribly nice (yes, I haven’t heard any of the other talks/interviews/debates).

    Was that the Peter Atkins at the end?! I thought he spent all his time driving around Oxford in his pink cadillac/loafing in a hammock on his own private tropical island.

  196. #196 RamblinDude
    March 22, 2008

    Newton was wrong. Get over it.

    It’s called progress.

    Okay, so we have alternative explanations for the workings of the solar system, but he was right about alchemy! And the salnitrum! And comets being God’s instruments of the apocalypse!!

    Uh…guys?

    Guys?

  197. #197 Glen Davidson
    March 22, 2008

    I wonder how they like that the early media publicity for Expelled being how they expel critics.

    I know their sheep will lap it up, but are they really too dense to realize that they’ve been undercutting their “message” from the beginning of this shambles of a propaganda campaign?

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

  198. #198 Glen Davidosn
    March 22, 2008

    Even the DI seems to realize their expulsions are making them look as pathetic as they in fact are:

    Frankly, I wish the producers would have a special pre-release screening for the Darwinists who are interviewed in the film — and invite some of the rest of us who have seen their depredations up close. We’d be glad to debate right there

    Of course they’re still trying to keep the showing “contained” and packed with practiced liars, but at least they’re tacitly admitting that this is costing them.

    There is, certainly, a great incongruity between the complaint of the DI and many of the other IDiots complaining about Dawkins “crashing” the showing, and Mathis’s unlikely explanation. If Mathis did recognize but ignore Dawkins (as I said, unlikely–why would he let in the man who could best publicize PZ’s expulsion?), he sure didn’t bother to tell his fellow liars. Or, they’re so used to IDiot lies that they didn’t believe him.

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

  199. #199 Stuart Weinstein
    March 22, 2008

    “Look what a horrible, malign ogre I am.”

    Well I don’t know about horrible and malign.

  200. #200 Olorin
    March 22, 2008

    Dave Thomas (#104) notes that the video on the DVD “is NOT the actual Harvard Video, but rather a COPY/ re-rendering of the video.”

    Copyright prohibits not only the copying of a copyrighted work, but also makintg “derivative works” from it. If the “rerendering” is close enough, the DVD still infringes the Harvard copyright. Dave or PZ, it might be worthwhile to send a copy of the DVD to Harvard, and to let people know that you did. Whether or not Harvard takes any action, it would be a major egg on the face for Expelled, and might force them to remake the DVD at some expense.

  201. #201 Janine, ID
    March 22, 2008

    Oh my goodness, it seems we have a science teacher who does not understand science. This teacher calls upon the authority of great names in science in order to under cut how science works. The greatest respect that can be shown these scientists is to take the knowledge that they gained and passed on and to build on them. And that is what happened over the centuries.

    No one is calling for these scientists to be shunned or ignored, their works are rightly honored. But Olson dishonors them by placing a label on them retroactively, trying to make them puppets in Olson’s religious beliefs. That is disgraceful.

    As for Olson’s claims of Myers being cowardly, please go back to RamblinDude’s post at #182. Myers said it is up to all of us to make sure that our schools are teaching science. It is not Myers’ job to come to Olson’s place of employment to raise a stink and try to get Olson fired. It is up to the people in Olson’s home state to make sure there is a science program. It is up to the people in Olson’s community board to make sure that Olson teaches science. And it is up to the science teachers to make sure they understand how it works and pass it on to their students. Myers is doing his part and so much more. Olson is a millstone.

    As for Olson’s desire for a debate between Newton and Dawkins, once more Olson shows a lack of understanding. There is little doubt that Newton is one of the most brilliant humans known to history. And it would not be an insult to Dawkins to suggest that Newton is a greater intellect then Dawkins. The man invented calculus in order to explain the math behind gravity. But he also wrote many volumes of alchemy. He also had a view of the bible that many people, then and now, would call heresy. Dawkins has the advantage of a couple of centuries worth of discoveries. Dawkins has more facts and knowledge to draw from. Advantage, Dawkins.

    This view of Newton that Olson shows sells Newton short. Who knows what a man of such enormous intellect would believe if he has the same resources to use as Dawkins did.

    Olson, there is no desire on our side to hold book burnings or witch hunts. Laying out the facts and being honest about the results are enough. You are showing that you are frightened by this.

  202. #202 ennui
    March 22, 2008

    Olson, if you’re still out there, watch this.

  203. #203 dsmvwld
    March 22, 2008

    I saw that and thought that gee, I’m awfully conciliatory on screen.

    N.S.S.

  204. #204 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 22, 2008

    Sure Raven (are you really a Raven?)– come to Osseo School District in MN. Make a fool of yourself and waste your money on a plane fare. I am sure they will put you right on the board agenda for an inquisition and removal on the evil Mr. Olson. Oh Please! And what did I do? I told kids they don’t have to believe in evolution, but they should know what it is.

    Just so you know people, scientific consensus does change and Joseph Lister was considered a fool for wanting to wash hands.

    I guess no one wants to tackle the thorny question of removing and burning books by Wells, Behe etc. from school libraries.

    For those of you that haven’t checked their history of science 1001, Pasteur, Lister and G.W. Carver(and many more) lived after Darwin. And everyone is so sure Newton would have changed his mind–= based on what facts?

    Raven! while you are at it why don’t you go to Johns Hopkins Medical center and complain about Dr.Ben Carson the man who pioneered separating Siamese twins joined at the head and removal of a hemisphere of those children suffering from uncontrolled seizures. Since you taught in medical school I am sure they will remove him at your whim since Carson is a creationist therefore he must be incompetent.

    If this weren’t so sad that people are swearing and having fits it would be funny.

    My 7th graders are more mature than some of you. I guess this is it — I won’t waste my time anymore.

    The accused Pseudo science teacher: Mr O.

  205. #205 Michael
    March 22, 2008

    Have we settled the question of whether they used the Harvard video ? I have seen the suggestion that it is actually another video called

    Unlocking the Mystery of Life
    Illustra Media, 2002

    Michael

  206. #206 Tyler DiPietro
    March 22, 2008

    “Since you taught in medical school I am sure they will remove him at your whim since Carson is a creationist therefore he must be incompetent.”

    Do you have an references for this claim. I’m not able to find any direct claim on the part of Carson that he is a creationist, only that he’s a Christian. If you are not aware that there are Christians that accept evolution, you are indeed not very familiar with the subject of this thread.

  207. #207 Gary Bohn
    March 22, 2008

    I just listened to the interview with Mathis on KKMS and did not hear PZ at all. PZ, if you called in to talk to Mathis, they scrubbed the tape to get rid of you.

    If that is the case, may I suggest you blog the incident? Someone else may want to listen to the tape, just in case I missed it.

    http ://www.kkms.com/blogs/JeffandLee/11560535/

    Note the space after ‘http’. I didn’t want to directly link it.

  208. #208 Lago
    March 22, 2008

    “Lago, you need to put away the tin-foil hat dude. You don’t need to assume conspiracy when simple incompetence will suffice. They fucked up, don’t let paranoia ruin a good victory.”

    Was it incompetence when they told Dawkins and PZ that the film was named crossroads and that it was an unbiased documentary on the conflicts between science and ID? Of course it wasn’t. It was a planned conspiracy.

    I have been debating creationist on and off for over 20 years, and rule number one for them is to skew the odds in their favor. They do not want a level playing field, ever. Of course they recognized Dawkins, as he is probably the most recognizable person in the world when it comes to this debate. He is far more recognizable than PZ. Yet he got in and PZ didn’t? Are you really that naive?

    Until you learn what you are dealing with, you are going to get tricked over, and over again. Stop being stupid.

  209. #209 Tyler DiPietro
    March 22, 2008

    And btw Olson,

    “I told kids they don’t have to believe in evolution, but they should know what it is.”

    Then you didn’t do anything wrong. The kids can believe whatever the flaming hell they want, so what you said was pretty much redundant anyway. If you were actually teaching creationism or similar nonsense, you should be fired immediately, because you are breaking the law.

  210. #210 Tyler DiPietro
    March 22, 2008

    Lago,

    “They do not want a level playing field, ever. Of course they recognized Dawkins, as he is probably the most recognizable person in the world when it comes to this debate. He is far more recognizable than PZ. Yet he got in and PZ didn’t? Are you really that naive?”

    Spoken like a true 9/11 Troofer. You are basing your conclusion on little more than your own gut paranoia regarding creationists. There is no reason to invoke a conspiracy here, they just fucked up. Just because they pulled off one (particularly easy) deception doesn’t mean that they are a hyper-competent cabal able to foresee the result of every move. To employ your phrasing, “stop being stupid.”

  211. #211 Kseniya
    March 23, 2008

    Olsen’s a fraud, literally or figuratively; take your pick. Who else but a fraud would haul out Isaac Newton as an example of an ID proponent?! If he really is a high school science teacher, that explains a lot about the sorry state of science education in the USA.

    The “book burning” remarks are disgraceful.

    Kelly (#174) – I visited your blog. Interesting stuff. :-)

  212. #212 Kseniya
    March 23, 2008

    OT, but worth sharing: http://carmina.ytmnd.com/

  213. #213 Rey Fox
    March 23, 2008

    “Oh my goodness we don’t want kids to think and decide for themselves do we.”

    Your revolutionary talk rings utterly hollow to me. First, because you’re supposedly a junior high teacher (with a rather poor command of grammar and a playground mentality), and anarchy in the classroom is the last thing you want. And second, because your “think for yourself” really means “submit your will to this God character”.

    “Just so you know people, scientific consensus does change and Joseph Lister was considered a fool for wanting to wash hands.”

    Ah, the old Galileo Gambit. The thing is, to be like Galileo and Lister and change scientific consensus, you have to actually be RIGHT.

    “I guess no one wants to tackle the thorny question of removing and burning books by Wells, Behe etc. from school libraries. ”

    That’s because you just made it up. Out of whole cloth. Why do you supposedly godly people have to lie so much?

    “My 7th graders are more mature than some of you.”

    I suppose it would mature them quickly to have to deal with a snide, dishonest teacher with a persecution complex. I don’t envy them one bit.

  214. #214 Robster, FCD
    March 23, 2008

    Olson, Atheists don’t burn books. Religionists do.

    But I encourage you to try my style for teaching evolution vs ID creationism. Equal time for equal evidence.

    Since there is no evidence for ID or any other type of creationism, it certainly makes my lesson plan an easy one.

  215. #215 Lagomortis@comcast.net
    March 23, 2008

    “Spoken like a true 9/11 Troofer.”

    Hm, an ad hominem, and a strawman in one. Amazing.

    “There is no reason to invoke a conspiracy here, they just fucked up. Just because they pulled off one (particularly easy) deception doesn’t mean that they are a hyper-competent cabal able to foresee the result of every move. ”

    This would be your version of “hyper-competent?” Really? Saying, get rid of that guy, and not that one, as I know how to deal with one and not the other? That is your version of Hyper-competent?

    An 8-year-old can cat-paw a situation better than that, and we know these people are trying to be deceptive.

  216. #216 Robster, FCD
    March 23, 2008

    Damn, He ran off. Why are creos such cowards?

    I wanted to know exactly what he told his students evolution was. Just a theory? Did he propose ID as an alternative? Creationism?

    I don’t care how popular you are, if you push any religious view in the classroom, the best you can hope for is early retirement, the worst, bankrupting your local school system, losing your job, and becoming a laughing stock.

    Is that a witch hunt? No.

    Its protecting the minds of children from the demon haunted night of superstition.

  217. #217 Damian
    March 23, 2008

    I guess no one wants to tackle the thorny question of removing and burning books by Wells, Behe etc. from school libraries.

    Who on earth has been removing and burning books? I’m not really sure whether it is a good idea to have books in a school library by people who have been shown to make terrible and false arguments (as well as being utterly dishonest). I suppose that is up to the individual schools. As ID creationism has been shown to be religiously motivated, I don’t even know whether it is legal, or not. As long as their garbage isn’t taught as science, I guess that I wouldn’t care.

    For those of you that haven’t checked their history of science 1001, Pasteur, Lister and G.W. Carver(and many more) lived after Darwin. And everyone is so sure Newton would have changed his mind–= based on what facts?

    Argument from authority doesn’t go down too well, here. Why does it matter that they were religious? Most of the world was and still is, but it says very little about an individuals ability to do science, which presupposes that insofar as there is scientific explanation, it is entirely natural.

    Nobody knows what scientists of the past would have thought today. You are engaging in what is known as useless exercise, and if you are an ID supporter, you are probably too familiar with the (lack of) activity, for your own good.

    I suppose that you would be happy if Louis Pasteur had spent his time concluding that germs and rabies were designed, rather than actually working on the germ theory of disease and the first ever vaccine for rabies? No? Shocker!

    If this weren’t so sad that people are swearing and having fits it would be funny.

    My 7th graders are more mature than some of you. I guess this is it — I won’t waste my time anymore.

    Hilarious!

  218. #218 H. Humbert
    March 23, 2008

    Lago wrote:

    Of course they recognized Dawkins, as he is probably the most recognizable person in the world when it comes to this debate. He is far more recognizable than PZ. Yet he got in and PZ didn’t? Are you really that naive?

    Who do you think should have recognized him? It wasn’t like Mathis himself was outside personally checking everyone’s ID. It was an off duty cop moonlighting as a security guard who pulled PZ out of the line. The only reason the cop knew what PZ looked like is because he was probably given a photo to look at and told “If you see this guy, don’t let him in.” It was PZ’s hometown, after all. It makes sense they might guess he would attend. But since the makers had no reason to believe Dawkins was in town, they never passed around his photo or told anyone to be on the lookout. Dawkins might be easily recognizable to us, and I’m sure Mathis would have recognized him, but if you think some cop knows who Dawkins is you’re kidding yourself. He’s just not that famous. Even some fundies who know Dawkins by name probably couldn’t tell you what he looks like.

    So while we can all agree that creationists are dishonest scum, nothing about Dawkins getting in but not PZ seemed “planned.” Of course, liars that they are, they are trying now to play it off like they knew all along Dawkins was in the audience. Don’t be fooled. The first time Mathis laid eyes on Dawkins was when Dawkins stoop up at the question and answer session. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. Your theory just doesn’t add up.

  219. #219 Ferrous Patella
    March 23, 2008

    Cuttlefish,

    These two lines don’t rhyme:

    They’d have done the same for PZ,
    But he did not make it easy–

  220. #220 Tyler DiPietro
    March 23, 2008

    “This would be your version of “hyper-competent?” Really? Saying, get rid of that guy, and not that one, as I know how to deal with one and not the other? That is your version of Hyper-competent?”

    Well, yes. In fact, being able to predict exactly how Dawkins would behave, being able to “handle” him, and know if and how the press would recieve the situation afterwards, etc., would indicate a high level of competence. Add this to the fact that your interpretation of the events is based on little more than your own gut feelings, and you have a big pile of unparsimonious nonsense.

  221. #221 ericd
    March 23, 2008

    What lemmings we are. Just because a bunch of lunatics with money and hollywood connections put together a piece of shit film, everyone feels obligated to become involved with it. Not much different that Brittany Spears, who’s pathetic life should be of utter insignificance – but we’re to stupid to ignore it. People make money and build entire careers around our stupidity. And I hate to say it, but that includes PZ, who, without the whole religion vs science debate, would be an unremarkable professor at a MN university. He’s milking it for all it’s worth to advance his career, as are the scumbags on the other side.

  222. #222 Robster, FCD
    March 23, 2008

    Lagomortis (can I call you Dead Bunny?), the simple fact is the saw PZ’s name on the will call sheet, and told him to go away.

    They expected him, as he said that he would be there.

    They didn’t expect Dawkins, as they likely didn’t even know he was in the US, and his passport lists him as Clinton Richard Dawkins. Whoever checked IDs was probably just dim.

    With their history of incompetence, clever plotting is very unlikely.

  223. #223 raven
    March 23, 2008

    raven:

    In point of fact, schools or universities for that matter cannot make people believe anything. Free country, people can and will believe whatever they want.

    When most teachers get the “Do I have to believe in X or Y or Z”, the usual and correct answer is No, of course not. What you have to do is know the material, what scientists say about their subject matter.

    Olson:

    Oh Please! And what did I do? I told kids they don’t have to believe in evolution, but they should know what it is.

    Not much different from what I would say. I’ve never once had a student bring up creationism in a class so never had to tell them to believe whatever they want but learn what they pay us to teach them. OTOH, universities are expensive and most of the students are well motivated to spend their money and time wisely.

    You do know that

    1. 99% of all relevant scientists accept evolution fact and theory.

    2. And 40% of those including many evolutionary biologists describe themselves as religious, mostly Xian.

    3. Most Xians worldwide including Catholics, mainstream protestants, Mormons, some Evangelicals don’t have a problem with evolution.

    Not seeing what your problem is. If you think all scientists are atheists and evolutionary biology is incompatible with Xianity, you need to hit the web for some reading and tell the Pope he is wrong.

    Might want to read the US constitution also. Separation of church and state has been the law for 200 years and this has been tested in court over and over.

  224. #224 Damian
    March 23, 2008

    Shorter ericd: I don’t give a shit if everyone else’s kids are taught things that are utterly false.

    Nice.

  225. #225 Kseniya
    March 23, 2008

    Good point, and I’ll take it one step further: I hate to say it, but that includes [insert name of notable person here], who, without [insert events and/or circumstances that made them notable], would be an unremarkable [whatever it was they were before they became known].

  226. #226 Ichthyic
    March 23, 2008

    1. 99% of all relevant scientists accept evolution fact and theory.

    consider this a rant for the lurkers, using your text just to make a point.

    99.99% of all scientists, period. 99.99999% of all scientists in biology.

    just think about it for a second.

    It really is, and has been for the last 50 years at least, a very tiny, but very loud, minority that speaks of anything other than the ToE as being the only theory there is.

    1% would actually represent thousands of scientists. It ain’t that large.

    I know you know this, it’s just worth stressing just how small this number really is.

    think about it:

    even at the Disinformation Institute, less than 20% of the people employed in promoting ID would even remotely qualify as “scientists”, even in the loosest sense of the word (meaning they have some kind of degree in science).

    as for actual practicing scientists (meaning they actually publish in scientific journals), there is only 1 IIRC.

    for example…

    Dembski?

    nope. he has never published anything in science, and even his thesis wasn’t really related to anything scientific.

    Johnson?

    lawyer

    Luskin?

    lawyer

    Egnor?

    neurosurgery (which is NOT science in and of itself)

    Wells?

    never published a single paper.

    that tentatively leaves Behe, who at least HAS published something in the field of science, but hasn’t done much since he started publishing books.

    that’s at the DI itself!

    I think even we tend to overblow the numbers of creationists in science, simply because we spend time on blogs like this one, where their voices, few as they are, are dissected on a regular basis.

    In all my time as an undergrad and grad student, I only ran into ONE real creationist, and that was Wells himself. I never ran into any professors, or even other students, who claimed they were creationists.

    It’s way less than 1%

    I’d bet I could pick almost any other major theory in any field of science and find a larger number of detractors that actually publish in the relevant field.

    Frankly, if evolution WERE a religion, instead of a scientific theory, there would be at least an order of magnitude more detractors, and of course multiple sects, wars about it, etc…

  227. #227 CalGeorge
    March 23, 2008

    He’s teaching kids that they don’t have to believe in evolution, that Newton believed in God and that a famous doctor is a creationist.

    And cloaking his argument in a persecution complex.

    And calling atheists book burners.

    One word. Fucktard.

    Thirty-five years of that. No wonder our education system is failing. Olson’s on the job.

  228. #228 Ichthyic
    March 23, 2008

    I am sure they will put you right on the board agenda for an inquisition and removal on the evil Mr. Olson. Oh Please!

    one word for Mr. O to consider:

    Dover.

  229. #229 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Ferrous,
    Are by chance british? The Z being pronounced “Zed” by the brits, and “Zee” by americans. Therefore for americans it should rhyme with easy.

    My explanation of such things is of course not driven by any knowledge of course, but only by the fact that I am a lemming of a religious cult and cannot allow my fishy overlords to be found wrong or criticized… naturally.

  230. #230 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Yikes… It’s a good thing I get paid $20 for every time I use “of course” in a sentence.

  231. #231 Ferrous Patella
    March 23, 2008

    Michael X,

    Context is everything. Even in USAian, it is *always* “Pee Zed”. (Although, I could be convinced to use “Ped Zed”)

  232. #232 raven
    March 23, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    In all my time as an undergrad and grad student, I only ran into ONE real creationist, and that was Wells himself. I never ran into any professors, or even other students, who claimed they were creationists.

    That is ONE more than me. Three of my professors had major nervous breakdowns that they never recovered from. One because he fatally shot himself. When I say more scientists are in mental hospitals than believe in creationism, that isn’t hyperbole, it is statistics albeit on a small sample size.

    What makes the creos noticeable, they have a large segment of the population accepting their mythology. The hard core run around 40-45% of the population. We all know the creationists lost in the arenas of science and educated people 50 years ago. Or more. But a few thousands to hundreds of thousands of scientists are outnumbered by tens of millions of religious bigots.

    The reality based community is also quite large of course, but if the fundies win and they are certainly close, being a scientist or an American citizen will immediately become a whole lot harder.

  233. #233 Leigh
    March 23, 2008

    Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon, is a Seventh-Day Adventist and is, judging by what he says in the books he’s written, indeed a creationist.

    A-okay with me. He’s a NEUROSURGEON, not a biologist. Not a scientist. An extremely talented, even brilliant, cranium mechanic.

    Medical doctors, unless they are epidemiologists, researching new drugs, or perhaps researchers of some other kind, are not generally qualified to speak to issues in evolutionary biology.

    So, the dude’s a creationist. So what . . . so are a bunch of mechanical engineers and computer scientists. Makes me no nevermind if they’ve contracted this particular form of crazy — though I do wish they’d shut the hell up about things they know next to nothing about.

  234. #234 ericd
    March 23, 2008

    Shorter ericd: I don’t give a shit if everyone else’s kids are taught things that are utterly false.
    Nice.

    No, I’d just like to see a little more evolution and little less PZ – such as the “practice makes perfect” post he just put up. PZ sure does seem more fond of himself and his friends than he does of the science he promotes. That doesn’t seem true of Dawkins or Attenborough, but maybe they’re just more skilled. I guess the self is always more important than the cause. Survival and all that. Forget truth. Greed, ambition, selfishness, survival – it wins in the end.

  235. #235 AK47
    March 23, 2008

    Have they decided to terminate all of the pre-screenings of the movie? All future screenings have been removed from http://rsvp.getexpelled.com/events/movies/expelled (as of the afternoon of 3/22).

    Why do you suppose they would change their plans and abandon the screenings? Maybe they’re all going so incredibly well and generating such great press that they’re no longer necessary. It’s going so much better than they could have hoped. I smell a blockbuster!

  236. #236 Tyler DiPietro
    March 23, 2008

    “Greed, ambition, selfishness, survival – it wins in the end.”

    What’s not to love?

  237. #237 Sue Laris
    March 23, 2008

    Dear ericd,

    1. WTF does your post have to do with the thread?

    2. Are you new around here?
    — If not, where does this horseshit dwarvian beard-puling come from? You are coming across like one low concer troll, and nothing more.
    — If you ARE new, you deserve a simple “piss off!” since your posting here is exactly what you are bemoaning.

    Beat your brow bloody where someone gives a creationist’s turd about it.

    Sincerely,

    — Someone who has no respect for you

  238. #238 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    AK, your point is too true.
    What they’ve figured out is that they should have played it the Mel Gibson way and kept the screenings closed to no one but the pre-chosen faithful. Instead they tried open screenings and got exactly the bad response they were trying to avoid. If all this “free press” was their intention, don’t you think they’d try to create a stir at every screening? It would make better sense to add screenings, with the good fortune they’ve stumbled upon, not take them all away.

    No, you only do something like this when something has gone wrong.

  239. #239 Ichthyic
    March 23, 2008

    PZ sure does seem more fond of himself and his friends than he does of the science he promote

    funny, I didn’t see you commenting on the thread discussing the evolution of viviparity in mammals.

    fucking concern troll.

  240. #240 Ichthyic
    March 23, 2008

    But a few thousands to hundreds of thousands of scientists are outnumbered by tens of millions of religious bigots.

    aye, there lies the rub.

    which of course makes it all the more remarkable there actually aren’t MORE creobots in the ranks of science.

    but then, I’m sure that’s one of the “evidences” they use to falsely conclude that means science->atheism.

    oh hell, I feel a catch 22 coming on.

  241. #241 Kseniya
    March 23, 2008

    Ericd wrote:

    No, I’d just like to see a little more evolution and little less PZ

    Eric’s comments are rather judgemental about PZ’s motives, but if we focus on the above statement, it’s a fair point to make on its own – and Eric’s pretty clear that it’s a statement of personal preference as opposed to an indictment of Pharyngula to meet some objective standard of scienceblogginess.

    Anyway, it made me curious. Let’s look at the 25 most recent entries. However, I think we ought to expel throw out the recent flurry of six “Expelled!” posts, which are the result of Friday evening’s event at the theatre and not representive of what a typical week at Pharyngula is all about:

  242. Expelled! – Practice makes perfect
  243. Expelled! – Oh, no! My most subtle asset, exposed!
  244. Expelled! – Still straining to find an excuse
  245. Expelled! – Busy, busy, busy
  246. Expelled! – A late night quick one
  247. Expelled! – EXPELLED!

    If we skip those six (and the two on the passing of Arthur C. Clarke) the next 25 break down roughly as follows. I’d like to include only what I think of as “substantive posts” and a couple of these don’t qualify, but it’s late and I’m tired so this will have to do – and if I have done a lousy job with the categories, so be it.

    5 on framing, creationism, the culture war:

  248. You can’t wish the conflict away
  249. Paging Randy Olson
  250. Egnor gives away the store
  251. I think I’ll skip it
  252. The odious Sally Kern

    4 on peer-reviewed science research:

  253. Reproductive history writ in the genome
  254. Dicyemid mesozoa
  255. Eppur si muove!
  256. Did you forget that other scandal?

    4 assorted religion topics:

  257. Department of “Duh!”
  258. Archbishop flames on
  259. Expelled will have some competition
  260. Christian mental health care: positively medieval

    4 on atheism:

  261. The godless are gathering
  262. But…there will be no atheist apocalypse!
  263. God: the last refuge of the man with no answers
  264. Radio reminder

    3 on conflicts in academia and/or sexism in science:

  265. Two wrongs don’t make a right
  266. Subtle sexism in science?
  267. That is an amazing coincidence

    2 on politics:

  268. In which I concede that some scientists are evil and stupid
  269. An end to war?

    1 Friday Cephalopod

    1 Tangled Bank #101

  • #242 Chris
    March 23, 2008

    I think you ended all hope for Christians curious about science. “Learning more about science and more about the natural world, and seeing these horrible conflicts with religion.”

    “What? Science conflicts with my religion? And causes me to give it up? Run away!”

    “…and really doesn’t affect their life as much as it has been so far.”
    I’m not sure that can happen. Religion demands an all-or-nothing attitude.

    I loved your comparison of religion to knitting. You were very eloquent.

  • #243 AlanWCan
    March 23, 2008

    They’re not really going to release this movie are they? I’m sure that’s not the point, it’s just PR talking points and a way to drum up controversy and more bullshit. They can’t seriously be going to use the uncredited/altered Harvard cell footage in a properly released film? Surely they are overrun with lawyers that would notice this kind of thing? It’s surely all PR directed at the toothless hordes, then they’ll claim they’ve been forced to not show it or some crap by the Darwinist conspiracy just in time for the November elections.

  • #244 blf
    March 23, 2008

    Have they decided to terminate all of the pre-screenings of the movie? All future screenings have been removed from http://rsvp.getexpelled.com/events/movies/expelled (as of the afternoon of 3/22).

    It would seem so. There certainly were several screenings, extending into April (IIRC), on that page 24 hours ago; now there are none. (Unfortunately, I did not take a screen shot; it might still be in Google’s cache or similar?)

    I believe some people reading this blog have registered for some of those possibly now cancelled future screenings. As such, I presume they’ll be getting some e-mail or something about it. It could be interesting to know what is said in said hypothecial e-mails.

    Another possibility is they simply aren’t accepting any more reservations; i.e., the screenings are still happening, but no more applications to attend are being accepted. (Or several variants on this theme, all(?) with the general thrust of preventing rational people from applying, like Pee Zed et al. did.)

  • #245 Carlie
    March 23, 2008

    which of course makes it all the more remarkable there actually aren’t MORE creobots in the ranks of science.but then, I’m sure that’s one of the “evidences” they use to falsely conclude that means science->atheism.

    From my own small personal experience, I think that’s right on the money. I’d posit that there aren’t more creobots in science precisely because science beats it out of them. It becomes more and more difficult to believe in Creationism the more you learn about how science operates and all of the mountains of evidence for it. Then it’s not too far from that to realizing that none of religion has any more basis to stand on than Creationism did. I don’t think “science->atheism” is false at all, which is why they’re so scared of it.

  • #246 ice9
    March 23, 2008

    Seems to be an Olson in the science department of Osseo Junior High, but there are a passel of Olsons up here. Poor SOB–we should leave him alone. They have enough problems since the good conservative souls of the district defeated a recent levy to fund the public schools. Despite massive growth in the area they have to cut $16 mil. What this press release doesn’t mention is that they will be burning books by Behe to heat the schools next winter. Doesn’t say if Mr. Olson will be among the 200 staff members in the wind, but if his claim of 35 years is true he’ll probably stay in the classroom while a couple of younger teachers with dangerous evolution leanings are cut loose.
    Note STEM courses–no mention of ID there. I guess their science, technology, engineering, and math programs were designed without Mr. Olson’s input. That is, intelligently.

    ice

    Schools to Close, New Pre K -3 rd and 4 th – 6 th Grade Programs to Begin

    March 12, 2008 (Maple Grove, MN)–At a special School Board meeting on Tuesday, March 11, the Osseo Area School Board voted 4 -2 to reduce $16 million from its Strategic Plan budget for next year. Board members Steve Antolak, Kim Greene, Lin Myszkowski and John Nelson voted in favor of the plan while Linda Etim and Dean Henke voted no.

    The plan approved by the school board calls for nearly 200 staff members to be cut, the elimination of many junior high sports programs and larger class sizes throughout the district. The board did make one change to the proposal – the members voted to continue providing bus service for 7 th through 12 th grade students living between one and two miles from school.

    Two schools, Osseo Elementary and Edgewood Elementary, will be closed at the end of this school year. The Science, Technology and Math (STEM) program that had been in place at Edgewood Elementary will move to Weaver Lake Elementary in the fall.

    Two Pre K-3 rd grade schools will open in the fall at Cedar Island and Fair Oaks. This same age group from Oak View will attend Cedar Island. Students in 4 th through 6 th grade from all three of these schools will attend classes at Oak View Elementary.

    Board member John Nelson stated, “This plan is not perfect, but there is no perfect plan.”

    “I’m in favor of Early Childhood Education and the Fair Oaks, Oak View and Cedar Island proposal but against closing schools,” said Linda Etim. “However, because I could not support school closings and that portion was not voted on separately, I felt compelled to vote no on the entire proposal.”

    “This has been a very difficult decision to make,” said Board Chair Kim Greene. “Each board member listened to the residents of the district and weighed their decision carefully. In the end, it really comes down to what is best for the students in our district as we look to the future.”

    Administrators at ISD 279-Osseo Area Schools will begin work immediately to ensure the changes in the district are in place by the beginning of the next school year.

  • #247 MartinM
    March 23, 2008

    Was that Stein speaking at the beginning of the clip? Whoever it was, they sounded kind of stoned.

  • #248 JJC
    March 23, 2008

    One of the most interesting aspects of this “Expelled” campaign, which I don’t believe has yet gotten much attention, is the curious manner in which they are marketing it; this film is being presented as the work of a few courageous individuals (Stein mostly) fighting against “Big Science;” they use this term specifically, as well as the slogan “a rebel in every generation,” which “Big Science” didn’t count on, as well as other cues such as the graffiti “X,” and pictures of Stein with bullhorn and upturned collar(!?).

    This seems not only to ignore the enormously greater sway religion has over American life than science, but also the simple fact that a greater number of Americans believe in the creationist tales they are spinning as opposed to the theory of evolution (a testament itself to the current prominence of religious fervor).

    It is humorous, but not surprising, as this group is quite skilled at the distortion of reality, as we’ve come to see; it’s become almost second nature for them apparently.

    It is quite a credit to the scientific community that even with all their provocations, tricks, editing, and malicious intentions, the above is their highlight example of how “bad” the producers were able to make science look.

    As a final note, I haven’t yet seen if it has been proven one way or the other as to whether PZ and Dawkins had indeed signed up for the film’s private showing or not (or were invited or permitted somehow); I believe originally PZ said he did and Richard was his allowed guest? Regardless, the producer of the film and others stated early on that he was expelled for not having been signed up or registered. It seems this would be rather easy to prove one way or the other, and if he was indeed registered, the producers of this film have been caught in yet another lie, one of particular significance to this “argument.” (Also, if PZ wasn’t registered, why was Dawkins permitted to enter, as he then presumably was unregistered as well?) They would really have to scramble if this came out.

  • #249 JJC
    March 23, 2008

    As an addendum to the above post, while I had seen the bullhorn and crossed arms Stein campaign look already, I hadn’t been fortunate enough to view the following image, which adds a bit more to the picture, and seems to be their centerpiece:

    http://getexpelled.com/_uploads/buyticketshead-6.png

  • #250 JJC
    March 23, 2008

    Just had to add this last image; I hope this bus really exists. And how about that, “No Intelligence Allowed,” slogan? Too easy, really.

    http://www.getexpelled.com/tourblog/wp-content/themes/expelledtour/images/head0.jpg

  • #251 trrll
    March 23, 2008

    In all my time as an undergrad and grad student, I only ran into ONE real creationist, and that was Wells himself. I never ran into any professors, or even other students, who claimed they were creationists

    That matches my experience. In over a quarter of a century doing biology, I’ve met ONE creationist. He wasn’t a student or faculty, but an electron microscopy technician (actually, a very good one). I remember being intrigued, because it was hard to imagine how anybody could have the intellect to do science, even in a technical capacity, and believe in creationism. I remember figuring that since he didn’t have to plan experiments, it probably wasn’t a great handicap to him.

  • #252 trrll
    March 23, 2008

    Oh my goodness, it seems we have a science teacher who does not understand science. This teacher calls upon the authority of great names in science in order to under cut how science works. The greatest respect that can be shown these scientists is to take the knowledge that they gained and passed on and to build on them. And that is what happened over the centuries.

    This seems to be a very common tendency among creationists, and one that tends to mystify real scientists. I think that it reflects a fundamental difference between religious and scientific thinking. Religion is based on the authority of the prophets. That’s why creationists continuously attack Darwin personally, and habitually refer to evolutionary theory as “Darwinism.” They are trying to portray Darwin as a false prophet. But scientists think in terms of evidence, not personalities. Darwin was a brilliant man, to come up with such an inspired hypothesis on the basis of so little evidence, but he was not divinely inspired. He could have been wrong. Indeed, he was wrong about a lot of things. But we now have an immense amount of evidence, and it takes no great intellect to see that he was right about the fundamental principles of evolution. What would Newton believe if he had access to modern evidence? Who knows? Who cares? I suppose that it must be meaningful to creationists, in the same way that arguing about whether Superman could beat the Hulk is meaningful to comic book fans.

  • #253 kikuchiyo
    March 23, 2008

    This is the first time that I post here, in fact, I wasn’t even reading this blog before the “Expelled from Expelled” post. I feel compelled to write here because there is an aspect of this whole Creationism business that I don’t understand.

    I am a Hungarian, and considering that the Christian Creationists have virtually no standing or influence in Hungary, I have always looked at the news of various Crationist advancements from America (like the case of the Kansas educational board) with a mixture of schadenfreude and incredulity. I simply couldn’t believe how a group of religious fanatics (because in essence, that’s what they are) could trash the educational system of an entire state, or how could a loosely bound pile of malignant nonsense be posed as a serious alternative to a well-established, simple and elegant scientific theory.

    Because, well, this whole Creationism thing is absurd, right?
    These people should be viewed as the lunatic fringe they are, right?

    Like most sane people, I laughed at the irony of PZ Myers being expelled from a film called Expelled. But as I read around the various reactions from the “other” side (especially the comments on the Uncommon Descent site and on the producers’ blogs), I realized something:

    These people are dangerous. Much more dangerous than I believed.

    They are organized, they have a strategy, they have financial backing, but they don’t have any scruples at all.
    They would stoop to lying, slandering, plagiarism, ad hominem attacks, anything to achieve their goals. They are skilled in dirty political warfare. They are dangerous indeed.

    There is only one thing I can’t comprehend. To paraphrase Winston Smith (or Warda M.): I know HOW they do it, I just don’t understand WHY.

    What is their motivation? Why do they want to destroy science so much? Is religious zeal (I can’t think of anything else) such a strong motivating force that it makes them abandon their remaining sanity and turn into dishonest scumbags? Is there a chance that once properly educated, these people will realize how wrong they are?
    Or is it just that on a subconscious level they themselves know that their views can’t stand up to scientific scrutiny, but they continue denying reality because they are too deep in it? Or are there other psychological factors, like inferiority complex, at play?

    I seriously don’t understand them.

    I’d be thankful if you shared your thoughts on these points.

  • #254 RamblinDude
    March 23, 2008

    kikuchiyo, welcome to America, where the flame of reason gets baptized.

  • #255 raven
    March 23, 2008

    These people should be viewed as the lunatic fringe they are, right?

    They are lunatics but not a fringe. With their numbers, they form the US lunatic block.

    Their goal is simple, overthrow the US government, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the Dark Ages. They aren’t hiding anything, they say exactly this often.

    As to why they want that, ask them, not us. All civilizations fall eventually. As a Hungarian, you just saw the Soviet empire disintegrate up close. They almost always commit suicide. It could just be the turn of the American civilization and the fundie Death Cults will wield the knife with smiles on their faces, secure in the belief that god is on their side.

  • #256 MAJeff, OM
    March 23, 2008

    He’s teaching kids that they don’t have to believe in evolution, that Newton believed in God and that a famous doctor is a creationist.
    And cloaking his argument in a persecution complex.
    And calling atheists book burners.
    One word. Fucktard.
    Thirty-five years of that. No wonder our education system is failing. Olson’s on the job.

    Welcome to the Exurbs. Triple-car garages required by zoning laws and huge chunks of agricultural land “developed” by megachurches.

  • #257 raven
    March 23, 2008

    I seriously don’t understand them [Death Cultists].

    We don’t either. Some of the hardcore, extremist cult posters are just mentally ill. Psychotics run around 1% of the population which gives 3 million and they quite often frame their delusions around religion. And they have lots of free time.

    But they aren’t all psychotics. One of them is currently the president of the USA.

    One study I read claimed that they are motivated by a formless, endogenous hatred to tear down everything around them. Possibly because they are often the people our society left behind on the march to the 21st century.

  • #258 PeteK
    March 23, 2008

    I think it’s muddling to have this idea that science and god(s) would be two separate things. Any supernatural agency would be by definition beyond science. Yet, as PZ has pointed out before, fundies have it both ways by claiming that God is knowable, and has physical human attributes/human emotions etc…

  • #259 Eric Thomson
    March 23, 2008

    The NYT coverage was not very good. They just reported people’s perspectives, rather than getting into the facts about how tickets were allocated, that kind of thing. Sort of a shotgun of he-said she-said rather than real reporting, synthesis, fact-checking, that sort of thing.

  • #260 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    kikuchiyo #252 wrote:

    What is their motivation? Why do they want to destroy science so much?

    With the exception of a few savvy and cynical politicians at the top, I think most creationists do not see themselves as destroying science, but saving it. It is the same attitude one sees coming from the spiritual mystics who promote Ken Wilber and Deepak Chopra as examples of “true” scientists who understand that science must take account of ALL of reality — including spiritual reality.

    God — or some variation of God such as vitalism or higher consciousness — is supposed to be a fact. It is real. It is a starting data. It is what you “know” in the same way you know that you exist, or that there is a world of objects. Although they often label this understanding as a matter of “faith,” I don’t think they really see it as tentative or uncertain. On the contrary, they equate knowledge through faith with knowledge through direct inner experience.

    So how could there be a “Great Divide?” Although there are religious scientists who seem to have made an art form out of being able to reconcile contradictions and wax lyrical on NOMA, most people aren’t buying it any more than we are. They find it very confusing that there are presumably two different ways of understanding the same reality — faith and reason — which are equally reliable — and yet these two different methods come to different conclusions. If God is real and magic has an effect on the way the world is, then how could any legitimate scientific theory NOT take this into account?

    We atheists have answered that question with “because the God hypothesis is probably wrong,” and dismiss faith as nothing more than a poor guess. But that’s because we see faith beliefs in terms of tentative assumptions and hopes — not as being like direct and certain internal experiences. And we see science as a rigorous process of demonstration and consensus. The average person equates science with “trying something for yourself” and verifying it so that you know. We don’t take our “spiritual aspect” into account in science because we have discovered the existence of no such thing. Dualism is a dead theory.

    The creationist/supernaturalist answer is that science obviously made a wrong turn back in the 17th and 18th centuries when it no longer took dualism seriously. Materialist dogma is ignoring important data — our knowledge that there is a spiritual aspect to existence. We don’t need to “discover” evidence for anything so clearly obvious. So if you are trying to incorporate known religious truths into science then you can’t possibly be said to be “undermining” science.

    You are rescuing it, completing it, and fixing a grevious error. The little “mistakes” in integrity you might make along the way are more than outweighed by the nobility of your pro-science cause.

  • #261 DanioPhD
    March 23, 2008

    Faugh. Nisbet and Mooney are concern trolling over this on their own blogs. What a couple of pompous, pandering, invertebrates (and not the cool cephalopod kind, either):

    http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/03/why_the_pz_myers_affair_is_rea.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=sublink

    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2008/03/this_controversy_helps_ben_ste.php

  • #262 Joolya
    March 23, 2008

    I love the “scary music” behind the interviews of PZ, Dawkins, and Atkins in this clip! Ooooh, how ominous! I wish I could carry around a speaker and play scary ominous music when I talked. Like, “Tomorrow is Friday [cue music] – that means we have to take the recycling down [bum-bumbuuuuuummmm] tonight!” “Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!”

    Very interesting, though, because I live in the echo chamber where what PZ and Dawins said makes perfect sense and sounds great so the music sounds silly to my ears. But I recognize that to many people, those exact same words are in harmony with the scary music.

    Shit.

  • #263 Norman Doering
    March 23, 2008

    Why not tell the screen writer for Expelled what you think?
    Here’s a link:
    http://kevinwrites.typepad.com/otherwise_known_as_kevin_/2008/03/chris-mooney-ge.html

    He says he wants to give PZ a hug for the publicity.

  • #264 RamblinDude
    March 23, 2008

    kikuchiyo: There is only one thing I can’t comprehend. To paraphrase Winston Smith (or Warda M.): I know HOW they do it, I just don’t understand WHY.

    What is their motivation? Why do they want to destroy science so much?

    As someone who lives here and has the same questions, this is my take (plus what Sastra said):

    Science education in America is appallingly inadequate. Many people are scientifically illiterate and don’t even know the earth orbits the sun. (Some don’t even know the earth is round!) They are very easy to deceive, and a groundswell of ignorant, deceived people is what we are seeing even in the 21st century.

    When it comes to science and evolution, the religious fundamentalists I know (includes most of my relatives) have been lied to so effectively by Creationists, they are genuinely outraged that “The TRUTH” is not being told by “big science.” Since one of their core mottos is “God is Truth”, emotions tend to run quite high, and they definitely feel that they are on the side of righteousness. But in a dazzling display of cult mentality, their impassioned dedication to “Truth” does not lead them to do any real investigation; it prompts them to pray to God for guidance. They aren’t really equipped for investigating; they don’t have the mindset for it. They have been trained all their lives that faith is the highest of virtues, and that people who don’t have that faith are lacking in a vital quality that makes people moral and good. They really do believe that faith in the bible is more “truthful” than the scientific method.

    You will see this mentality, this arrogance, quite often from Creationists who come to this blog. They think that being cloaked in the holy righteousness of God excuses them from doing any real work or research to back to back up their claims. Their final argument is a triumphant, “But I have the Bible and God on my side, so I’m obviously right!” Oh, and “You’re an atheist so OBVIOUSLY you’re wrong!”

    When you throw in all the other beliefs that are part of mainstream Christianity’s support system–the imminent rapture, the apocalypse, the final days, 666, the heathen religions taking over America, etc. etc., it becomes very difficult to get a rational word in edgewise.

  • #265 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 23, 2008

    Some of you are sure brilliant looking up the Osseo school board minutes and concluding that ID is at fault for the bond issue failing. Typing in the board minutes is really helpful in this “discussion” –Get a life!!And that I am at fault for poor science scores across the nation. You great scientific minds!! –I am sure have a controlled study to prove your hypothesis that ID is at fault. Oh PLEASE!!! Considering that most science teachers are evolutionists I think that would be hard to prove. What stupid arguments!

    It does matter that Pasteur and Carver were creationists because that was their motivation for doing what they did. Interesting if scientists are successful and famous their religion didn’t matter according to the posting. If arguing from authority doesn’t count don’t mention Darwin anymore!

    Raven– you are so articulate with your swearing. I am sure that will go over real well with the school board when you come to Osseo. What a joke.

    So Dr. Ben Carson going through years of medical school and practicing scientific method doesn’t make him a scientist? Unbelievable. Only PZ Myers and Dawkins are qualified to be a true scientists? I remember Dave Thomas(from NMSR) saying that he would not send his kids to Ben Carson if they had brain issues because he was a creationist and therefore not up on the scientific method. That makes a lot of sense not have your child treated by the best. For many of you logic takes a back seat to anger and emotion.

    BTW If Dawkins and Myers are so upset maybe they should give back the money they received for doing the film as a protest and not take tainted money– fat chance.

    I hope Raven comes to Osseo– get on the agenda soon.

    Olson-OJH Science Chair

  • #266 PZ Myers
    March 23, 2008

    Well, “Olson-OJH Science Chair”, I have never heard of you before, nor have I received any invitation from you. I’m always happy to speak to school groups, though, so if you’d like to tender an invitation to come speak to your students about evolution some time, I’d be happy to do so.

  • #267 Owlmirror
    March 23, 2008

    It does matter that Pasteur and Carver were creationists because that was their motivation for doing what they did.

    Oh, really? And you know this… how?

    They specifically said somewhere that the only reason they studied the world was because they believed that God had specially created it?

    If arguing from authority doesn’t count don’t mention Darwin anymore!

    You’re pretty dim. The fallacy of argument from authority doesn’t apply where the authority actually has knowledge and evidence. Pasteur is lauded because he demonstrated the evidence for germ theory. However, Pasteur had no evidence for God, and any beliefs he had for God were nothing more than everyone else’s beliefs — traditions and superstitions.

    Darwin is lauded because he was the first to articulate the theory of evolution. Where the evidence does not support him, it’s acknowledged that he got those things wrong.

    Are you going to acknowledge that the bible has been proven to be wrong, based on the evidence?

    So Dr. Ben Carson going through years of medical school and practicing scientific method doesn’t make him a scientist?

    If he can’t come up with evidence for God, nothing else he has ever said or done about his religious beliefs matters.

    And if he doesn’t realize that evidence matters, then yes, he’s an inferior scientist.

    And if you don’t realize that evidence matters, then yes, you are an inferior teacher.

  • #268 raven
    March 23, 2008

    Olson:

    Raven– you are so articulate with your swearing. I am sure that will go over real well with the school board when you come to Osseo. What a joke.

    You didn’t bother to read the thread and have mistaken me for someone else. You are also a confused, muddled thinker, just what we don’t need to teach kids.

    To take just one example, your surgeon. He is a self described religious fanatic. OK, this is perfectly legal in the USA. He thinks the earth is 6,000 years old and so on. So this proves evolution is wrong?

    20% of the US population believes the sun orbits the earth, some for religious reasons, and presumably including a few MDs. So this proves, heliocentrism is wrong?

    Scientists in far more relevant fields than surgery accept the fact and theory of evolution at around 99%. The few who don’t freely admit they don’t for religious reasons.

    You do know that

    1. 99% of all relevant scientists accept evolution fact and theory.

    2. And 40% of those including many evolutionary biologists describe themselves as religious, mostly Xian.

    3. Most Xians worldwide including Catholics, mainstream protestants, Mormons, some Evangelicals don’t have a problem with evolution.

    Not seeing what your problem is. If you think all scientists are atheists and evolutionary biology is incompatible with Xianity, you need to hit the web for some reading and tell the Pope he is wrong.

    Might want to read the US constitution also. Separation of church and state has been the law for 200 years and this has been tested in court over and over.

  • #269 raven
    March 23, 2008

    Looks like Osseo is leading the charge back to the Dark Ages.

    1. They don’t seem to care enough to support their schools.

    2. Mr. Olson seems rather confused and muddled to be a science teacher.

    This is typical Vountary Ignorance. It is OK. The USA can always use more burger flippers, gardeners, street sweepers, and field hands.

    As a prof. put it once. Ruining minds and lives, a few children at a time.

    A recent poll showed that US kids scored in the middle of 17 developed nations in science and math. In 5 years, we will look back from the bottom of the pack and call that “The good old days.”

  • #270 RamblinDude
    March 23, 2008

    It does matter that Pasteur and Carver were creationists because that was their motivation for doing what they did. Interesting if scientists are successful and famous their religion didn’t matter according to the posting. If arguing from authority doesn’t count don’t mention Darwin anymore!

    this is a quote by Louis Pasteur: “Virulence appears in a new light which cannot but be alarming to humanity; unless nature, in her evolution down the ages (an evolution which, as we now know, has been going on for millions, nay, hundreds of millions of years), has finally exhausted all the possibilities of producing virulent or contagious diseases — which does not seem very likely.”

    He was a product of his times and was famous for rejecting natural selection, but he was hardly a bible literalist. He also got results because he kept the science pure. Are you sure you know what his motivations were?

    And by the way, the one’s who keep bringing up Darwin are usually creationists, hoping to discredit evolutionary biology by reducing it to a personality cult. From what I’ve seen by reading this blog, biologists today are far more interested in current research and discoveries. Science has marched on and current knowledge has not been expanded one iota by filling in gaps of knowledge with, “Goddidit”.

    It’s good that you are teaching your students to be skeptical. If they take it to heart, they will have learned a valuable lesson. But if you are teaching them ancient Hebrew mythology–or any other known superstition–as science then you are not advancing science education.

  • #271 RamblinDude
    March 23, 2008

    I meant to say: “It’s good that you are teaching your students to be skeptical as long as you’re also teaching them how to investigate.

  • #272 Robster, FCD
    March 23, 2008

    Olson, exactly what are you teaching children?

  • #273 phantomreader42
    March 24, 2008

    Lying is just a reflex for them at this point.

    Lying is more than a reflex for these people. It’s a way of life. It’s become a religion. They worship their own lies and delusions.

  • #274 Avekid
    March 24, 2008

    So Dr. Ben Carson going through years of medical school and practicing scientific method doesn’t make him a scientist? Unbelievable. Only PZ Myers and Dawkins are qualified to be a true scientists?

    Although I don’t think that religion and science are compatible — the former requires a kind of fundamental irrationality that can’t but affect the latter — I’ll grant for argument’s sake that the they are. Dr. Carson may be a scientist. But he is certainly not a scientist in the relevant field: he is not a biologist. You need a reputable and contemporary creationist biologist to cash out your argument. I dare say you won’t find one.

    In fact, I dare say it’s downright impossible to find one. Say what you will about other scientists, *good* biologists cannot be creationists (or ID theorists, for that matter, but they both boil down to the same thing, don’t they?). Why? Simple. Biologists are, every day, confronted with — and by that I mean beaten over the head with, metaphorically speaking — the evidence for evolution. It’s undeniable! A bad biologist will ignore that evidence because it doesn’t in with his religious commitments. This is not good science — or even, perhaps, science at all — but it is precisely what creationist “scientists” do. Such a “scientist” I call a fraud.

  • #275 Avekid
    March 24, 2008

    * fit in with his religious commitments.

    Apologies.

  • #276 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 24, 2008

    To: Dr. Myers Yes! I did email you–At least twice. I wish I had kept a copy to prove to you. How much money did you receive for the movie? You did not know or investigate who the film makers were? You knew that trying to sneak into the movie would cause an uproar? Instead you have created a lot of free publicity for them. So I am asking you again if you are really serious about your bigoted statements about butt kicking and getting those that don’t believe in evolution fired. I am self identifying myself as “One of those”. Come and get me publicly flogged at Osseo. I am asking for you to respond this time.

    To: Robster. I teach the curriculum. I tell kids they do not need to believe evolution. Even the evolutionist teachers in my school do the same. Should Raven go after them too?

    To: Raven (and others). Sorry I misread the line with the swearing and attributed it to you. Raven– You should read the constitution first! It never uses the phrase “Separation of Church and State” That was in a personal letter by Jefferson. Sorry to burst your bubble! Rethink the muddled thinking!

    I think it is amusing that you are so sure I am such a poor teacher. You have never observed my classroom, interviewed my co workers or students, read my cum file, read my observations by those that are qualified to make such a judgment, read my recommendations by the professor of science education at the U of Minnesota etc.. Just goes to show that while you want to be so scientific you are pretty sloppy with making up your own conclusions without any data. You want to come to my school board and bad mouth me as an outsider never having met me or seen my classroom? What makes you have the training to make any judgment on that matter? The school board (who some I have had their children in my classes)would laugh at you.

    To Owl Mirror: Should textbooks that use the Urey experiments, Peppered moths etc. to “prove” evolution continue to do so? Are these good proofs? Of course for many biologists since life is here and there must not be a god, life had to evolve and that is their evidence.

    To Avekid: Of course there are no good biologists that are creationists to you because of your definition of what makes a good biologist! I think that is circular reasoning. Of course you won’t recognize a Jonathan Wells or Michael Behe because they don’t fit your definition. There have been those who were considered “good” but then were trashed when they changed their mind. Francis Collins is now suspect because of his new book. Please tell me why Dawkins can go around spewing out his philosophical dogma of ‘No God’ and be considered a good scientist. How can he prove there is no God? To do so he would have to be omniscient himself and have explored all the universe. How has he ever bettered mankind? That goes for PZ as well.

    Bryan Olson

  • #277 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 24, 2008

    To Avekid: According to your definition then Pasteur must be a fraud if this is true. John Hudson Tiner said, “Pasteur rejected the theory of evolution for scientific reasons. He was the first European scientist to do so. He also rejected it on religious grounds” (History of Medicine, p. 81).

    To Ice: What does printing out Osseo’s board minutes have to do with anything. Explain yourself to me.

    To the person that objected to me using “guys”:
    Sorry for being so politically incorrect. How about “Human beings the product of impersonal chance”

    Robster: In case you are wondering, I spoke of “book burning” Figuratively!! My point is that if Behe’s, Phillip Johnson’s books and Wells’ books were in school libraries there would be people of your persuasion that would complain. Ask at a public library and they are hard to find in the system. Librarians have an agenda too. Ask Myers what he would do if his child’s librarian or parent group wanted to put Darwin’s Black Box in the library. He would throw a fit. Prove me wrong!

    For the one that complained of my grammar in a posting: Sorry I didn’t know this was graded like a formal paper. Do you do that all the time or just to me? You just blame my University of MN English profs

    One thing is for sure, my postings have proved the “Expelled” point. I identified myself as a teacher that believed in intelligent design in the beginning. Right away the rants started that I was a bad teacher. No one asked what I taught or how until well into the comments by one astute individual. No one had access to my reviews of 35 years, no one interviewed students or asked any students’ parents. No one wanted to come up with a way to compare my student’s test scores with teachers that believed in evolution. You are just people that jump to conclusions with out any facts and don’t want the facts. So I was branded for a single belief issue. You have proved the point of the movie. None of you ever question whether P.Z. Myers is a good teacher or not– you don’t care. Judged from my years at the University, most biology profs were not, and it had nothing to do with their belief system.

    How many of you would approve of Dawkins teaching in a Junior High School and spewing forth his hate of religion in science class. Is that science? Many of you would think that is just fine. My guess, however, he would never survive in a JHS because the students would eat him alive and he would go crazy.
    I always feel bad about these type of conversations online because if you were in my building or a neighbor and we disagreed we could meet over coffee and probably agree to disagree.

  • #278 ennui
    March 24, 2008

    Olson, I am curious if you read my post? Are you of the learned opinion that ID/Creationism has reached the status of scientific theory? Where would you place it in the curriculum if legality (Dover!) were no obstacle?

  • #279 RamblinDude
    March 24, 2008

    You jump to a lot of conclusions and make wrong assumptions yourself.

    How much money did you receive for the movie? You did not know or investigate who the film makers were? You knew that trying to sneak into the movie would cause an uproar?

    PZ has had several posts in the last few days explaining what happened. Read them if you actually want your questions answered. Or do you just want to complain without actually doing any investigation?

    You are just people that jump to conclusions with out any facts and don’t want the facts. So I was branded for a single belief issue. You have proved the point of the movie. None of you ever question whether P.Z. Myers is a good teacher or not– you don’t care.

    Do I really need to point out the irony?

    Please tell me why Dawkins can go around spewing out his philosophical dogma of ‘No God’ and be considered a good scientist. How can he prove there is no God? To do so he would have to be omniscient himself and have explored all the universe. How has he ever bettered mankind? That goes for PZ as well.

    Why are you insinuating that either of them has claimed to have proven the nonexistence of God? Just assuming? And how have they “bettered mankind?” They have been working tirelessly to educate people as the hold superstition has on people’s minds. What did you think the answer would be from us?

    How many of you would approve of Dawkins teaching in a Junior High School and spewing forth his hate of religion in science class. Is that science?

    No, it’s not science, and how do you know that that is what he would do in science class? How do you know how PZ teaches science? Just assuming?

    I’m curious, does this video PZ just posted, about a creationist group touring a museum, make you feel good about “teaching the controversy”? Because if it does then we really do know all we need to know about you.

  • #280 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 25, 2008

    ennui: According to your definition of theory no. “A hypothesis that is widely accepted by the scientific community”. Which theory of evolution? Micro evolution of Darwin? Gould’s punctuated Equilibrium? I don’t think that anyone was there to be an eyewitness. Was the creation of life an observable event? Are you making a distinction between origin of life and evolution of life? What is the most compelling evidence that leads you to believe in atheistic evolution?

    Ramblin dude: Why are they atheists then? By definition that says there is no God. Or are they agnostics? Dawkins has explained why he believes there is no God many times and he thinks that evolution is proof. Am I wrong?

    Thanks for the tip on his posts I will look at them the interview in the St. Paul paper had none of that info.

    I didn’t say how PZ teaches — I SAID that none of you CARE how he does because he is one of yours. I said that the track record of biology profs is not good from my experience. He may be very engaging? He may not? He may flunk anyone who disagrees with him too. Does he slam ID constantly in his classes? Do you think Dawkins could keep quiet and not put his two cents in constantly? Not the Dawkins I have seen. It is my opinion that he would not handle the discipline in a junior high. Lets do an experiment and have him substitute and place bets how long he lasts. I am glad you say that it is not science IF he did that. Why don’t you write and ask him if he would teach that way.

    OOOH! It is ALL you need to know about me– I am scared to look now. I will look later and let you know. Once again you don’t care how I deal with children, if I am caring and teach the curriculum, make the classes interesting, have a hands on curriculum — it all boils down to how I like a video of a tour. — amazingly sad! And if I like it will I be sent to the Borg at Morris biology department to be assimilated? Will Myers start to retract my degrees from the U of MN. Tell me what is my punishment? How about write 100 times on my smart board ‘I will not question PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins.” Sorry but it is too late and I am tired of these silly benchmarks.

  • #281 Steve_C
    March 25, 2008

    Do you teach the bible in your school? Spout religion constantly in class?

  • #282 RamblinDude
    March 25, 2008

    OOOH! It is ALL you need to know about me– I am scared to look now. I will look later and let you know. Once again you don’t care how I deal with children, if I am caring and teach the curriculum, make the classes interesting, have a hands on curriculum…

    Good point, I may have jumped the gun there. If you do teach the curriculum–in spite of what you believe?–then there is no problem. You do come across, though, like someone who couldn’t “keep quiet and not put his two cents in constantly.”

  • #283 Kseniya
    March 25, 2008

    I always feel bad about these type of conversations online because if you were in my building or a neighbor and we disagreed we could meet over coffee and probably agree to disagree.

    I agree to not disagree with that.

  • #284 Nullifidian
    March 25, 2008

    One thing is for sure, my postings have proved the “Expelled” point. I identified myself as a teacher that believed in intelligent design in the beginning. Right away the rants started that I was a bad teacher.

    You are a bad teacher. You don’t know enough in the field you are teaching to know shit from shinola. Even if you’re not a biology teacher, any science teacher should have a basic understanding of why ID is bad science, and the distinction between bad science and good science.

    Your whining is equivalent to a doctor coming in here and complaining that we call him a bad doctor because he denies the germ theory of disease and believes in treating all of his patients by cupping and bleeding. In this case, we don’t have to look into his patient records, and interview the patients’ parents, friends, pets, and personal trainers.

    Reviewing your record is superfluous, simply because you do not accept the most foundational concept in biology. Since you are in the role of a science teacher, not understanding this foundational concept disqualifies you from being considered a good teacher of science. Likewise, if you were an art teacher who didn’t accept colour theory and thought that brown and yellow mixes to make turquoise, you’d be a bad art teacher no matter how positively the kids regard you.

  • #285 Robster, FCD
    March 25, 2008

    Since you only make nebulous and vague statements regarding what you teach, Olson, and spew blatant falsehoods regarding evolution we assumed you were breaking the law. Please, before you start going on about peppered moths, micro vs macroevolution, etc, may I recommend you enlighten yourself here? Otherwise, you will continue to be laughed at.

    As a Kentuckian, I am all too familiar with “teaching the curriculum” but adding the lies of ID and creationism to ensure the scientific illiteracy of their students. Luckily, our school systems learned that unless they want to be used as Dover style test cases (at taxpayer cost and worldwide mockery), they had to reel in their faith over evidence teachers.

    Do you push the peppered moth falsehood in class and other creationist dreck? If so, are you only ignorant of the evidence, or are you intentionally lying for Jesus?

    Are you aware that the Theory of Evolution remains solid and strong, while only specifics of the mechanisms are being discussed? Science is progressive and relies on evidence, adapting, adopting and improving upon previous knowledge.

    Religion is regressive and punishes those who attempt to move towards anything that is not the faith of our fathers.

    And if I were to see Behe or Wells books in a public library, I would have no problem at all, but would suggest that they be located with the religion books, as they have no more place in a science section than astrology.

  • #286 Nullifidian
    March 25, 2008

    Of course you won’t recognize a Jonathan Wells or Michael Behe because they don’t fit your definition.

    Neither Jonathan Wells nor Michael Behe are biologists, so whether they are good biologists or not is beside the point. Jonathan Wells isn’t a biologist for the simple reason that he does no research, either theoretical or experimental, in biology. Just having the letters to write by his name doesn’t mean a thing.

    Michael Behe is not a biologist because he is a biochemist. And if you look at his c.v., you’ll see a man who got into biochemistry from the chemistry side, rather than the biology side. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad researcher (although his research has fallen off precipitately since he took up the cause of ID), but simply that he doesn’t know anything more about evolution than anyone with his background would be expected to have, which is not very much at all.

  • #287 Michael X
    March 25, 2008

    “How can he prove there is no God? To do so he would have to be omniscient himself and have explored all the universe”

    I see this come up a lot in one form or another Olson, and it’s a common misconception. The mistake is giving the claim to be disproven unlimited scope. Such claims will always be impossible to disprove. Nevertheless, it is stated that god can’t be disproven without first looking everywhere in the universe. But by this logic then the toothfairy is on the same footing as god. If we give the toothfairy unlimited scope, you can’t disprove the toothfairy unless you look everywhere in the universe. So the toothfairy is sitting pretty.

    But, none of us would take this as positive evidence of the toothfairy’s existence, nor do we need to remain agnostic to the toothfairy, leaving open the practical possibility that a toothfairy may exist.

    Indeed we can rule out the toothfairy the same way as we rule out god and the existence of other imaginary characters. Are the positive claims made by the toothfairy attested to by empirical evidence? No? Well then out with it. Many people who take the title “atheist” feel just this way about god. Though many don’t often delve into the minutia to come to such conclusions, as I’m sure you’ve done with ancient mystery religions. You don’t believe in Mithras I suspect (Or Thor, or Amon Ra), and are an atheist in regards to him just the same as we are. I’m sure you didn’t do intensive research into the religion, nor did you search the universe for him, but you’re atheistic to him all the same.

    As for the deistic idea of god, Aristotle’s Prime Mover, who begins everything and then retreats, we are, and must be, technically agnostic. But in everyday life there is no discernible difference between this “god” and no god at all. It is when a god makes positive claims (perfection, omnipotence, omni-benevolence, all-red and all-green all over, etc) and fails to hold up their end of the bargain, then we can rule out the possibility of the existence of a god with those traits, that makes those claims. It is important that we remember not to equivocate between the trait-less Prime Mover and the Active god of scripture, when talking about “god.”

    But remember, in the end Atheism is simply a lack of theistic belief, there are many ways in coming to it and none of them require searching out the entire universe. So there is no a priori intellectual folly in claiming to be one. Though some atheists are idiots, no doubt.

    You may all now return to whatever it was you were discussing before.

  • #288 ennui
    March 25, 2008

    Olson, before I answer your questions, I will point out that you did not answer one of mine: Where does ID fit into the curriculum? Surely not in science class?

    Also, your definition of a scientific theory, “a hypothesis that is widely accepted by the scientific community,” is somewhat lacking. From the National Academy of Sciences:

    In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.

    So I will ask again, is ID a scientific theory? Does it have testable mechanisms, falsifiable predictions, proposed experiments, or any evidence whatsoever? Or is it simply the intuition of theists, backed only by wishful thinking and arguing back from conclusions?

    Now on to your questions:
    Which theory of evolution? Loaded question, there’s only one overarching theory. It includes the concepts of common descent, genetic mutation, replication, and selection over staggeringly long time frames. Depending on how many weeks you have, you can plumb the depths of other ideas within the general framework: a gene’s-eye view of the process, punctuated equilibrium, evo-devo, kin and group selection, isolation effects, etc.

    Abiogenesis? Not strictly part of the ToE, but cannot be avoided in classroom discussion. Probably just a quick overview of the various hypotheses to date would be in order.

    Most compelling evidence for ‘atheistic evolution’? A puzzling turn of phrase. If anything is to be put in front of ‘evolution’, it would be ‘naturalistic’. But that would be redundant, as all scientific theories are both naturalistic and atheistic ala Occam’s Razor. If you wish to add another layer of complexity by saying goddidit, then you are the one who must provide the proof!

  • #289 RamblinDude
    March 25, 2008

    I don’t think that anyone was there to be an eyewitness. Was the creation of life an observable event?

    Do you understand how science works? When you say things like that, it makes one want to jump to conclusions about your qualifications as a science teacher–and what you are communicating to your students.

    I didn’t say how PZ teaches — I SAID that none of you CARE how he does because he is one of yours.

    Yes, I know. You’re assuming what we care about. PZ has stated repeatedly that he talks about science in his science classes–not religion. He has also posted many fine, well written science articles on his blog. He is a good communicator and educator, and it’s one of the reasons he has a wide following. It’s not just about atheism. It’s also about truthfulness and integrity, humanness and artistry. I repeat: it’s not just about atheism. You are insulting our intelligence.

    Dawkins has explained why he believes there is no God many times and he thinks that evolution is proof. Am I wrong?

    So what? Evolution theory wasn’t designed to prop up, or cause, a belief in no-god. That the theory is a “godless” description of life processes on this planet is inconsequential to process of discovery. Is it not best to keep the science pure no matter where it leads? It seems to be leading to a view of reality that doesn’t have magical deities running the show. Oh, well. C’est la vie. As long as you remain true to the methodology, (and teach the results accurately), you can still have personal beliefs and opinions. There are many religious people who accept evolution, and many people are atheists (or agnostics) independently of evolutionary theory. I am.

    If you listen carefully, you’ll see that both PZ and Dawkins are against all forms of superstition that interfere with a rational, truthful view of the world, not just (what seems to be) your particular pet superstition.

  • #290 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 25, 2008

    Nullifidian: You seem like a “nice” fellow. I don’t think you would even have coffee with me– I am one step below a Hansen’s disease patient in your book. You prove my point again about Expelled being on target. Your analogies seem lacking and silly, but I could agree to disagree.

    Ramblin dude: My point is IF Myers wasn’t a good teacher would not you care as long as he kept to his dogma. True?? Since I am not and don’t want to be a disciple of Myers I don’t read his web site from cover to cover. I know teachers that are terrible teachers, but you would be real proud of their philosophy. Glad to hear he is good according to you. I am wondering if his grading reflects his philosophy. Pity the poor slob that gets in his class and disagrees. According to his own words the kid would be toast.

    Please help me! If Dawkins is a zoologist, what does he research? I checked his site and searched for Dawkins- research and there were no matches. If he doesn’t, does he fall into the same category as Wells and is “only” an author.

    ID is not in the curriculum of course. I said I am a believer in ID. If the topic comes up the kids are told they don’t have to believe in evolution. If the topic comes up of ID they are told they don’t have to believe that either. My kids cover a lot of material and we cover it well despite what you or anyone thinks. Remember observation is key to being a good scientist and you have never observed me. I don’t read from the Bible, but an evolutionist does in his earth science classes before he covers the big bang. Maybe he should be on the hit list too by PZ. He could get rid of two us at one board meeting. Actually PZ and Raven– it is pretty hard to get rid of a tenured teacher and you have document things and violations.

    I really am wondering why I am bothering to be on this blog. You are not going to be persuaded and you are NOT my bosses. Most people on this blog can rant and rave although I liked the discussion with you more than with nullifidian and raven. I have really have been reminded that you can’t please everybody. I can’t get the video to work on this computer, I will watch it. It doesn’t really matter what I think or what you think about it.

    I think that one thing you should acknowledge is without deist scientists of the past science would never be as advanced today. Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, Pasteur, Carver, Lister the list goes on– you cannot deny they were deists and it didn’t hurt them and they helped the cause of science–at least grit your teeth and acknowledge that.

    Peppered moths? glued to the tree proves what? Darwin’s finch Micro evolution of variation within the species– proves what? If you haven’t read Wells’ book on Icons –read it, and it will make you mad of course and gnash your teeth.

    Sure I am aware there are many theory definitions. Origin of life abiogenesis theories are not theories they are just a hypothesis because they are not testable. How about Francis Cricks feelings about origin of life? How can you test Gould’s punctuated equilibrium?

    Please don’t interpret my not responding for awhile as a sign that you have shut me up and I am hanging my head in disgrace. Far from it you people have energized me. I am far too busy now this month I hope tons of people go see PZ and Dr. D on the big screen and decide for themselves (yes for themselves) if they want him teaching their children. PZ can do his PR campaign and argue — great let him do it. God doesn’t believe in Atheists. They let PZ play himself without makeup and didn’t have Robert Redford for him. I would really like to know how PZ thinks if he was misrepresented. I will look at his site.

    BTW Ramblin dude – I have told everyone and what I do except for my address so they won’t come and egg my house. What are you in the real world?

  • #291 RamblinDude
    March 25, 2008

    BTW Ramblin dude – … … What are you in the real world

    I am not a scientist, but I love science. I love accuracy and truth. And I don’t mean the artificial, abstract “TRUTH” that is enshrined and worshipped by the religious and the new agers. I mean “reality”, as it is–that which is there when you open your eyes and look with pure observation and no agenda other than accurate perception.

    The scientific method is one of the most important tools Homo sapiens have ever come up with. It is designed specifically to bypass personal desires and biases –and it works. (You do teach this in your classes, right?) The Theory of evolution is a product of that approach to learning. The theory has survived because it is accurate and biblical genesis is wrong. The evidence does not suggest “intelligent design”–deal with it.

    Professor Myers and Professor Dawkins obviously have strong opinions about religion/superstition, but neither of them is demanding that you be an atheist. If you find it difficult to live without submissiveness to a deity, or the comfort of religious ideology, then fine, believe whatever you want–but keep the science pure.

    It doesn’t really matter what I think or what you think about it.

    Yes, it does.

  • #292 Gerald Curl
    March 25, 2008

    Wow, that film looks even worse technically than I had imagined. I’m all for handheld camerawork but not when it looks like drunk Aunt Gladys is the one operating the camera. Stumble, stumble, zoom, zoom.

  • #293 Steve_C
    March 25, 2008

    Olson. Not only are you boring and tiresome… you never seem to get to the point.

    Plus you’re seemingly too out of touch with reality to notice we don’t care either. We don’t know why you bother either. Go back to your confused state of righteousness and paranoia. Keep us out of it.

    Hopefully you’ll retire from teaching soon.

  • #294 Janine, ID
    March 25, 2008

    I said this about Olson in my first comment about the teacher and I will repeat it. Olson desires to use the big names in Science to undercut what science is. Olson does not seem to understand that the scientific process has been developed over the centuries in order to try to sift through personal biases and get verifiable knowledge. The best that can be done and has been done for the people Olson keeps dragging about is to take the knowledge that they given us and add to it. How very sad, a science teacher who does not understand the subject.

    Also, despite claiming to have a feud with PZ Myers, Olson knows not whom he is arguing with. Here is a hint for you, Olson, look up zebra fish.

  • #295 ennui
    March 25, 2008

    Olson: I don’t want to egg you house, I want you to answer my question! Where does ID fit into the curriculum? If you could keep your job and face no legal action, would you really put it in a Science class? Or is it better suited for a Comparative Religion class? Maybe school boards everywhere should include Astrology and Palmistry and Alchemy and Homeopathy, and let the students decide the ‘controversy?’

    You play the victim well, as do all the cdesign proponentsists. You complain about a theory that is admittedly incomplete, yet has great predictive power. You support a faulty idea with zero predictive ability, yet teach science and support a film that smears scientists. Yours must be a very conflicted world, to follow a science curriculum without yourself being science all the way down.

    Good luck with that.

  • #296 Avekid
    March 25, 2008

    Olson @ 276:

    Read my comment again, champ. You need a reputable and *contemporary* biologist. RambinDude has given you plenty of good reasons why that is the case. I’d offer more but don’t have much time for those not open to learning something new and/or changing their minds given persuasive evidence and argumentation — both of which we’ve offered you in spades.

  • #297 Nullifidian
    March 25, 2008

    Nullifidian: You seem like a “nice” fellow. I don’t think you would even have coffee with me– I am one step below a Hansen’s disease patient in your book. You prove my point again about Expelled being on target. Your analogies seem lacking and silly, but I could agree to disagree.

    So any sort of dissent to you equals an “expulsion”? For all you know, I’m not even a scientist. In fact, I call myself an “apprentice scientist” because I’m still doing my graduate work. If your viewpoint is so weak that it cannot withstand the withering gaze of a single member of a group that cannot even get their own health insurance plan or parking space, then it doesn’t deserve consideration by anybody.

    And my analogies were deliberately outlandish, but outlandishness doesn’t mean inaccuracy. ID is an attempt to resurrect an argument which was dead and buried before the germ theory of disease was accepted and when cupping and bleeding of patients was still routine. I’d call my analogy on that score accurate. It makes as little sense to re-do 18th century biology as re-doing 18th century medicine.

  • #298 Nullifidian
    March 25, 2008

    Please help me! If Dawkins is a zoologist, what does he research? I checked his site and searched for Dawkins- research and there were no matches. If he doesn’t, does he fall into the same category as Wells and is “only” an author.

    Here’s a hint: in academia, the record of one’s past accomplishments is called a curriculum vitae. Searching for Richard Dawkins curriculum vitae turns up…[drumroll]…his CV!

    Wow, who would have guessed it?

    His CV is sixteen pages long, and includes a great deal of his published research. Most of it is in his field of ethology, which I will not define for you because that’s too much hand-holding in a day for someone who claims to be a science teacher.

  • #299 Robster, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    Olson,

    Peppered moths? glued to the tree proves what? Darwin’s finch Micro evolution of variation within the species– proves what? If you haven’t read Wells’ book on Icons –read it, and it will make you mad of course and gnash your teeth.

    Gnash your own teeth, liar (moths, finches. Wells (link 2) is blatantly and proudly dishonest and this has been repeatedly demonstrated. Even when corrected, he never fixes his mistakes, which is not the sign of a scientist, or even a moral individual. He is lying for Jesus, and if you can’t see this, then that is really sad. Honestly, I’m embarrassed for you, and I’m part of the internet hate machine (I know, rules 1 and 2), which isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.

    Point to your Galileos all you like. I can show you Nobel prize winners that deny that HIV causes AIDS, or claim that vitamin C cures cancer (oh, yeah, that one died of cancer, never mind). Even the smartest among us are vulnerable to the failures of being human (Francis Crick is a nutty racist), and are subject to poor reasoning and acceptance of superstition.

    Appeals to authority are useless in science. The evidence is what is important. Evidence doesn’t lie, but people do lie about the evidence.

    There is no evidence of design, and based on what we see in the world around us, if there is a designer, he/she/it is an incompetent and bumbling sadist. At least in Blade Runner people who made replicant animals put trademarks on them (snake scale). No evidence of design.

    You are unqualified to teach an evidence based discipline if you cannot understand the basic evidence.

    Now run away again, coward.

    Now let us all join in song.

  • #300 Robster, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    I’ve a comment to Olson waiting for approval, pointing out the lies of his icon, Wells, but in the mean time, talkorigins.org would do this idiot a vast amount of good.

  • #301 Nullifidian
    March 26, 2008

    Even the smartest among us are vulnerable to the failures of being human (Francis Crick is a nutty racist), and are subject to poor reasoning and acceptance of superstition.

    I think Francis Crick deserves better than to be tarred with his collaborator’s idiocy. The racist is James Watson.

  • #302 Robster, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    My bad, and apologies to Crick.

  • #303 Nullifidian
    March 26, 2008

    My bad, and apologies to Crick.

    Unfortunately, I think he’s past caring.

    I did get to meet him at a symposium organized by my university (UCSD) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA’s structure. A very fascinating man, and one who deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

  • #304 Robster, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    Yes, but if Olson can have his sky fairies, I can posthumously apologize for my posthumous but accidental slight to someone who actually lived.

  • #305 Avekid
    March 26, 2008

    “Appeals to authority are useless in science. The evidence is what is important.”

    Fantastic! You nailed it with that one, Robster.

  • #306 Olson : Public school science teacher
    March 31, 2008

    Since my visits to your blog have been therapeutic to many of you so you don’t have to preach to the “atheist choir”, I thought you could chew on this posting a a little bit too. I have been interested that you many of you talk about qualifications to be able to criticize evolution I was wondering how many of you have an administrative degree that makes you qualified to make a judgment on teaching techniques and lesson plans production?

    Dr. Ernest Chain (1906-1979): Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. 1945
    Antibiotics Pioneer- “One of the greatest discoveries in medical science”
    Ph.D in Biochemistry and Physiology

    He helped save more than lives with his work on antibiotic and penicillin than probably any other discovery.

    Despite his modern credentials he had a lifelong concern about the validity of Darwin’s theory. He said it was a “very feeble attempt” to explain the origin of the species based on assumptions so flimsy, “mainly of morphological and anatomical nature,” that it can hardly be called a theory. He thought that the postulate that biological development and survival of the fittest was “entirely a consequence of chance mutations” was a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts.” Chain said that he would” rather believe in fairies than in the wild speculations Darwinism.” (Did Dawkins copy his argument analogy?)

    Sir Derek Barton wrote that there are “few scientists have made a greater contribution to human welfare that Sir Ernst Chain.” His conclusion about evolution was that neo-Darwinism was scientifically bankrupt and harmful to society.

    I am sure glad Dr. Chain lived before PZ Myers began his campaign to eliminate men such as Dr. Chain from his position. I am glad that Myers never had the chance to apply the “brass knuckles “to Chain’s career. I am sure it is a real puzzle to Dawkins and Myers how such a man could accomplish so much with such a mixed up view of science and be an Intelligent Designer. Maybe what Myers and Dawkins have accomplished for the good of mankind will amount to more that Chain? I think not–dream on.

  • #307 Robster, FCD
    April 1, 2008

    Yawn. Appeal to authority, argument from consequences, etc. Brilliant people sometimes believe in silly things.

    As an example, Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry (1993) claims that HIV does not cause AIDS. He also denies the evidence of global warming and is a big fan of LSD.

    Pointing out luminaries in one area who are clueless in another only serves to demonstrate the fallibility of humans, and the necessity of the scientific method to prevent nonscientific biases from affecting research.

    Did Chain teach his bullshit in class, or did he focus on his strengths? If he kept it personal, no harm no foul.

  • #308 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    Oh, and don’t forget Newton…

    he spent most of his life practising alchemy and writing awfully unreadable (and heretical!) interpretations of the bible.

    His reputation as a scientist is based on his work as a young man, before his philosopause

  • #309 Owlmirror
    April 2, 2008

    I thought you could chew on this posting a a little bit too.

    Thanks for providing more evidence that you’re a terrible teacher.

    I mean, really, yet another argument from authority. And probably quote-mined, too…

    Like all anti-evolutionists, you demonstrate continual hypocrisy and double-standards. Yes, fine, Chain did some good science. Great. Assuming that you’re even representing him honestly, something I am deeply inclined to doubt without further evidence, you will note that no-where in your quoted material is there any evidence that Chain had evidence that evolution was in fact false, nor do you have any evidence that Chain had a better, evidence-based theory, nor do you have any evidence that Chain had evidence that “neo-Darwinism” was harmful.

    It’s a bit ironic that Chain’s work was with penicillin. I mean, no blame attaches directly to him, but the careless and over-enthusiastic deployment of penicillin is, after all, what led directly to the evolution of penicillin-resistant bacteria. And when better antibiotics were synthesized, wow, bacteria evolved resistance to those as well.

    But hey, keep on posting your all-too-typical examples of creationist propagandizing and fallacious reasoning.

  • #310 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    hey, Lynn Margulis is an HIV denier.

    funny, but she didn’t retract her work on the evolution of endosymbiosis after she became an HIV denier.

    there are well over 6 billion people on the earth.

    It will NEVER be hard to find an single example to represent almost any viewpoint imaginable.

    what Olson the moron who would be teacher forgets, is that his example is 1 of the .000001% of working scientists that don’t accept the value of evolutionary theory.

    a handful out of tens of thousands hardly constitutes an argument from authority, even.

    it’s just pathetic desperation!

  • #311 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    …btw, there are no scientists publishing in evolutionary biology that don’t accept the theory.

    not a one.

    which actually is quite remarkable given the number of people publishing in the field.

    you’d almost expect at least one or two, just as statistical anomalies.

    likewise, as mentioned here and elsewhere, there are no scientists who have ever published a paper testing an hypothesis generated from the concept of ID.

    but then, that’s very easy to explain, since one cannot generate a hypothesis to test based on the concept of ID to begin with.

  • #312 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    philosopause

    heh.

  • #313 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    It’s a well-known phenomenon. Good scientists, when they reach a certain age, sometimes give it up to become bad philosophers.

    I’m sure you can think of Behe-tter examples than Newton.

  • #314 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Good scientists, when they reach a certain age, sometimes give it up to become bad philosophers.

    probably driven by too much cognitive dissonance.

    I went the exact opposite direction – I got all that philosophy crap out of my system when I was an undergrad.

    science only becomes more and more of interest to me as I grow older (barring the lapses into actually making money).

  • #315 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    Hey! Philosophy isn’t crap! It’s a serious study option with many useful applications in our modern life…

    Ha, couldn’t say that with a straight face

    I’m studying it because it’s so easy. I can pretty much get a second major on my BA in my spare time

  • #316 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    yeah, yeah.

    I know it isn’t “crap” in the sense that one can have quite an interesting and productive career studying it, and it was of considerable interest to me once upon a time.

    I think you know what I meant, though.

  • #317 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    Oh, I was agreeing with you…

    I’m sitting in first year logic wondering what it can possibly have to do with the real world…

  • #318 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    As I understand it, the only purpose a logician has is to train other logicians

  • #319 Steven Sullivan
    April 29, 2008

    Mr. Olson, of all the scientifically-verified phenomena out there, from physics, chemistry, and biology, why is it that only *evolution* gets singled out by you, as something to remind your students that they don’t have to ‘believe in’?
    For that matter, do teachers of mathematics, literature, or ‘social studies’ at your high school routinely mention to their students that they need not ‘believe in’ what they’re being taught?

    I strongly think your writings here should be more widely publicized; I suspect there are many science teachers in your state who would be appalled by your rickety, ill-informed arguments about evolution, and your curious ‘reminder’ to your students. I suspect they would rise to the occasion. Your students could only benefit from hearing from people who, unlike you, actually understand evolution.

  • #320 Olson : Public school science teacher
    May 9, 2008

    As I have said and none of you ever answered how you were qualified (since all of you are really big on qualifications)to determine my qualifications to be a teacher. What degrees do you hold? None of you would know a lesson plan if you saw one. None of you would handle junior high students 35 in a class. You can all go back to your ivory towers I guess and contemplate Dawkins saying that maybe intelligent design is true if aliens planted life here on earth. By the way does being in the minority make something not true? Lister and Semmelweis certainly were underdogs. Thanks for answering the question about Dawkins and his work. I guess none of you are really serious enough to do what you promise as Myers disciples and “brass knuckle” me out of my career and come to my school board. When I was speaking of egging and burning books, I was speaking figuratively. I never heard any one you be appalled at Myers saying that butt kicking and brass knuckles were okay (I wonder if you know he is speaking figuratively too?). I really wonder about your hateful speech and I don’t get how you fellows can be so over the top. Well I guess I’ll get back to my knitting!

  • #321 Olson : Public school science teacher
    May 10, 2008

    One of you “threatened me” with publishing my comments to my fellow science teachers. I did notice that none of you identify yourselves. Well since you fellows are all scientists you believe in direct observation as being important. Here is something from my file from a coworker that happens to be a evolutionist and this is what she said of me. I guess cancel that idea on your list to trash me. Some people are pragmatic enough to know what is really important– some of you don’t.

    “Bryan has been my science department chairperson for more than 15 years. He is a leader in our school because he knows the curriculum, cares about his students and coworkers, and is professional.

    As a life science teacher, Bryan has an outstanding command of the subject area. He effectively communicates difficult topics to students on a level that they can understand using labs, field trips, animal demonstrations, and computer technology. Bryan has taught our gifted science students and our low ability students equally well. He is able to modify the curriculum and his teaching style so that he can ensure success for all ability students. In addition, he has mentored many new teachers, including myself, by sharing effective teaching strategies and lesson plans. Bryan has written life science curriculum that is used by the entire school district.

    Bryan creates a classroom environment that promotes student success. His room has aquariums filled with fish, turtles, salamanders and gerbils in cages. Every morning before school students can be found in Mr. Olson’s room taking care of their animals. Bryan’s sense of humor and caring demeanor foster a positive environment where students want to learn. Through his teaching and coaching, Bryan has created a wonderful rapport with students. Students want to do well for Mr. Olson.

    Bryan’s professionalism and dedication to teaching are exceptional. He has served in leadership roles such as: department chairperson, chemical hygiene officer, member of faculty council and member of the text book selection committee. He has coached track, volleyball and basketball for over 30 years. I have been fortunate to have Mr. Bryan Olson as a friend and colleague for all of these years.”

    Second, I knew that sooner or later one of you would trash Isaac Newton. I am waiting for the trashing of GW Carver. I was thinking that it is really great that Myers is an expert on zebra fish. I like danios. PZ and I would get along great on that. I am sure that he is good at what he does with government grants. I am not sure how that comes close to benefiting mankind like Carver and Dr. Ben Carson (the lunatic) did with their theistic view of the world.

    I was also thinking that if P.Z. Myer was in my school district and he emailed me the quote attributed to him on “butt kicking” and “brass knuckles” he would be soundly disciplined or fired. Threats of violence in schools even if figurative are taken seriously. Think if anyone had said that quote about atheists or gays of Hispanics? I guess because he is PZ Myers he is immune from criticism from his fan club.

    Last item– Please prove to me that I was quote mining.

  • #322 Steve_C
    May 10, 2008

    Give it a rest you old troll.

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