Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Scientists hoodwinked by documentary filmmakers

Transcript of today's show:

Controversy surrounds a new documentary film hosted by Ben Stein and titled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The film criticizes scientists and educators for suppressing intelligent design theory. Several pro-evolution scientists appear in the production, including Dr. Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, Eugenie Scott of NCSE, and PZ Meyers. All claim they were mislead into thinking the film was a neutral investigation of science and religion. Dawkins said that had he known, he would have declined the invitation to appear in the film. [source: New York Times]

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from Ben Stein's Blog:
EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed is a controversial, soon-to-be-released documentary that chronicles my confrontation with the widespread suppression and entrenched discrimination that is spreading in our institutions, laboratories and most importantly, in our classrooms, and that is doing irreparable harm to some of the world’s top scientists, educators, and thinkers.

America is not America without freedom. In every turning point in our history, freedom has been the key goal we are seeking: the Mayflower coming here, the Revolution, the Civil War, World War II, the Cold War. Tens of millions came here from foreign oppression and made a life here. Why? For freedom. Human beings are supposed to live in a state of freedom.

Freedom is not conferred by the state: as our founders said, and as Martin Luther King repeated, freedom is God-given. A huge part of this freedom is freedom of inquiry. .... [more]

from PZ Myer's blog Pharyngula:
Well, actually, there was considerable deception.... Look at the copy they put online to mislead the people they planned to interview:
Crossroads—The Intersection of Science and Religion:
It's been the central question of humanity throughout the ages: how in the world did we get here? In 1859 Charles Darwin provided the answer in his landmark book, "The Origin of Species." In the century and a half since, biologists, geologists, physicists, astronomers and philosophers have contributed a vase amount of research and data in support of Darwin's idea. And yet, millions of Christians, Muslims, Jews and other people of faith believe in a literal interpretation that humans were crafted by the hand of God. This conflict between science and religion has unleashed passions in school board meetings, courtrooms and town halls across America and beyond.
That would actually be an interesting serious movie, and that's the one I agreed to contribute to. It is correct that science has provided the answer, and it is also correct that millions of religious people reject and resist that answer. Of course, the movie Ruloff planned to make and did make says that science has got it wrong and that the answer scientists are rejecting is the nonsense of Intelligent Design. We were lied to, and they tricked us. It's that simple. They ought to simply 'fess up to it — it's not as if we can take legal action against them or do anything to suppress their movie, since we all signed quite legal releases. They ought to take a little pride in the fact that, in their dedication to Jesus, they successfully deceived Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, myself, and who knows how many others..... [more]

from a comment posted at the News Blog of The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Why is it surprising that media distort and misrepresent to entice prominent scientists to participate? The NYTimes, Nature, BBC’s Horizon show, and the like have set the standard for others in the field. See the New Energy Times Special Report of 2007 on Bubble Nuclear Fusion. What is needed is strong and effective retribution for such actions, which, unfortunately is often impossible for individuals when facing the legal might of the offendors.... [more]

from Dispatches from the Culture Wars:
The NY Times has an article about the forthcoming documentary Expelled, which purports to show how the jackbooted thugs of the Darwinian Priesthood horribly mistreat those brave truthtellers of the ID movement. This is a prominent facet of the anti-evolution PR campaign being run from Seattle, positioning themselves as victims to gain public sympathy no matter how much they have to distort reality to paint that picture.

The Times points out the clear deceit with which the producers of the film went about securing interviews with prominent scientists, including our own PZ Myers:

  • The Times points out the clear deceit with which the producers of the film went about securing interviews with prominent scientists, including our own PZ Myers:A few months ago, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins received an e-mail message from a producer at Rampant Films inviting him to be interviewed for a documentary called "Crossroads."...
  • But now, Dr. Dawkins and other scientists who agreed to be interviewed say they are surprised -- and in some cases, angered -- to find themselves not in "Crossroads" but in a film with a new name and one that makes the case for intelligent design, an ideological cousin of creationism. The film, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," also has a different producer, Premise Media...
.... [more]