Some of you know that the producers of Expelled had a conference call this afternoon…a carefully controlled, closed environment in which they would spout their nonsense and only take questions by email. I listened to it for a while, and yeah, it was the usual run-around. However, I dialed in a few minutes early, and got to listen to a tiresome five minutes of Leslie and Paul chatting away, during which time they mentioned the secret code (DUNH DUNH DUNNNNH!) for the two way calls. I know. Sloppy, unprofessional, and stupid, but that’s the way they work.
So … I redialed. (DUNH DUNH DUNNNNH!)
Then I listened along quietly until I could take no more.
They repeated the usual lies (the Minneapolis event was a private screening [which was publicly linked on the web, where any idiot could get to it]; their blog was #1 on blogpulse [near as I can tell, it wasn't—it was my exposure of their hypocrisy that was #1]; they didn’t lie to get interviews [totally bogus], etc.). They made amusing contradictions. Walt Ruloff first claims that the genesis of the movie was in 2006, when he claims to have started investigating biotechnology and discovered that there are “questions that can’t be asked” and that people were suppressing information that called Darwinism into doubt — note, though, that he never stated what those unnameable questions are. A moment later Mark Mathis comes on to say that the subject of the film was a work in progress, that they hadn’t settled anything, and that the name wasn’t even decided upon. Come on, they registered expelledthemovie.com in early 2007, well before they asked us to be interviewed.
They threw out a bunch of softball questions to Ben Stein: “How can you be so intelligent and question Darwinism?”, I kid you not.
One good question got through on email: KMOX radio contested the claim that there was no distortion of the interviews of Dawkins and Myers because they surrounded the interviews with film clips of Nazis — I think it’s obvious how they were trying to bias the discussion, and I was floored by Stein’s reply. He wanted more goose-stepping Nazis all over the place.
This was all a great deal to stomach, but I restrained myself. Then Mathis really started to lie: he said that all anybody ever blogged about was distractions, and several times he claimed that we never addressed the content of the movie. Let’s set aside the rank hypocrisy of expelling the people interviewed in the movie from screenings so we couldn’t see it; it’s simply not true. We have blogged extensively on the ridiculous premise at the heart of the movie, that the Holocaust was a consequence of evolutionary theory.
So I interrupted. I said, in essence, hang on — you guys are spinning out a lot of lies here, you should be called on it. I gave a quick gloss on it, and said that, for instance, anti-semitism has a long history in Germany that preceded Darwin, and that they ought to look up the word “pogrom”. There was some mad rustling and flustering about on the other side of the phone some complaints, etc., and then one of them asked me to do the honorable thing and hang up…so I said yes, I would do the honorable thing and hang up while they continued the dishonorable thing and continued to lie.
Then I announced that if any reporters were listening in, they could contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to talk to them.
So excuse me, I’ve got a few dozen emails in my inbox right now.
More accounts of the press conference: