Expelled Exaggerated?

The creationist movie that everyone* is talking about came out was released this weekend. Early reports have Expelled coming in 9th nationally in weekend gross, with about $3 million. That's a lot of money, and you can color Randy Olson freakin' impressed. However, put in the context of what the producers were expecting, it's not so good.

That doesn't stop Randy from pulling at Matt Nisbet and touting how awesome the creationists are and how shitty the "evolutionists" are. Fucking "evolutionists"! I'm gonna go off on a rant here, but, before I do, allow me to point out the beautiful irony that is Randy Olson. The guy comes out and criticizes "evolutionists" for being really bad at getting their message out to the general public. He even goes so far as making a movie about how shitty the "evolutionists" are at getting their message out to the general public. The entire point of the movie is about how "evolutionists" can't communicate with the general public. Randy Olson is trained to communicate with the general public, and loves telling you about how good the creationists are at communicating with the general public. You'd think that would make Randy Olson the perfect person to communicate with the general public about evolution. Only he doesn't; instead, he bitches about how bad the "evolutionists" are at communicating with the general public. Randy Olson can join Matt Nisbet as the official backseat drivers of science communication.

And that brings me to my rant. For a guy who's an advocate of science, as well as a trained biologist, Randy Olson sure likes to use the creationist frames. Like "evolutionist". Fuck it, Randy, why not just call ourselves baby eating satanists. When you use the label "evolutionist", you're playing right into the creationists' game. You've fallen for their frame. This isn't an issue between creationists and evolutionists -- it's between anti-science and science. That's our frame, and that's the truth. The wedge and all that shit are an attack on not only evolution, but all of science. If you don't get that, you don't understand any of this shit.

*Everyone = hard-core creationists, people who read science blogs, and 38 year olds who live in their mom's basement.

Your prize for clicking through below the fold is the preview for Ben Stein's next film, Sexposed:

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If a god did it...


Chris M. has been using "evolutionists" lately as well. What's wrong with calling them scientists? That's what they are, if they do not already understand that evolution is fact, then they are not doing science and should be not be called scientists. I really do not understand why he does this...

I prefer to call him Ben Neinstein*... and he will be always welcome in church basements everywhere - and he's welcome to it. If I were going to sell my soul, I would certainly do it for more than punch and cookies.

* from a poster at ATBC

Fuck it, Randy, why not just call ourselves baby eating satanists.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

By Tegumai Bopsul… (not verified) on 21 Apr 2008 #permalink

Haven't seen that clip before, gave me a few chuckles :-)

'Evolutionists' pisses me off to, why don't they use heliocentrists or ancient-universists as well? Makes just as much sense...

Randy Olson is Randy Olson's biggest fan, and his allegiance is to Randy Olson. The sooner everyone on the right side of the evolution fence realizes this, the sooner we can cast him aside like the distraction he is.

Randy Olson is Randy Olson's biggest fan, and his allegiance is to Randy Olson.

...and by substituting 'Matt Nisbet' for 'Randy Olson' we get the root of the framing wars...

First, I will not buy into the "fact" that scientists have a communications problem. As Brian Switek has noted, the problem is with the creationists who like to stay in their comfort zone no matter what tools scientists use to communicate. Creationism has a "built-in" audience, according to Brian, and creationists aren't any better at communicating the issue than scientists.

Before Olson crows too much about the audience's size, he needs to look at the audience's makeup. Who is seeing the movie? People that already agree with its message, such as Alden Swan (who happens to be a friend of mine.)

What I found as I watched Expelled was that the film fairly represented the positions of those interviewed; in fact, most information came from the individuals themselves rather than from Ben Stein, who served to put the information into context. I also thought that the overall point of the film, that there is a Darwinist establishment who is more concerned with self-protection than allowing any real questioning of the issues, reflected what I have seen in my own reading.

The film won't change the minds of any who are already entrenched in their positions. It doesn't give any pat answers. What it does is expose issues that deserve to be brought to light. For those who are not already entrenched in their positions, it may prompt them to do further study, and will of course let them make up their own mind.

This is the audience that Brian is referring to.