Wednesday, April 23, 2008

An Intelligent Design documentary offers rebates on movie tickets

Transcript of today's show:

Producers of a pro-Intelligent Design movie starring Ben Stein are raising money for schools by making donations in exchange for ticket stubs. Christian schools, in particular, are urged to book theaters during the opening weekend and receive up to $5 for each ticket stub returned. The film is called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and opens in theatres April 2008.

[source: The Expelled Challenge]

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from the Expelled Challenge web site:
Welcome to the Expelled Challenge web site where we can help Christian schools raise up to $10,000 while educating their students, parents, and staff of the controversy that is surrounding the Intelligent Design and evolution debate. This is an extremely important project for those of us who believe our world was designed by a creator and not an act of random chance. What is the Expelled Challenge? To engage Christian schools to get as many students, parents, and faculty from your school out to see Ben Stein’s new movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. [visit the site]

from the blog The Frame Problem:
It is curious that on the one hand, leaders of the ID movement claim that ID is not about religion but about science, while on the other hand, the promoters of this movie are campaigning specifically to Christian schools. If it’s all about science, why not campaign to schools of all faiths and, dare I say it, public schools.

If ID is a secular scientific program, why direct act as if the only people who the film is aimed at is Christians—and not just Christians, but the kind of Christians that would attend or put their child in a Christian private school? Why describe your movie as being “an extremely important project for those of us who believe our world was designed by a creator and not an act of random chance”?

If it’s about science, then shouldn’t the movie be important to all of us? When early quantum physicists were promoting their colloquia and conferences, I’d be willing to bet that they didn’t run promotions exclaiming that the upcoming event was extremely important for those of us who believe in a non-deterministic probabilitistic universe. It was important to anyone interested in honest inquiry. [read full blog post]

from a comment posted on the Pharyngula blog:

These schools are disposed to favor ID already for the most part, but many of them would not ordinarily participate simply because schools (yes, even Christian schools) are hotbeds of competing activity. Without an incentive or strong leadership, even hardcore funded schools are not that likely to participate simply because teachers and staff have so many demands on their time.

But offer the school site a significant prize, and lo and behold, the full apparatus of administrative support is likely to manifest itself. Virtually all schools are chronically underfunded and looking for new, even one-shot revenue streams. The financial inducement is a clever strategy, because it will tip the scales in an area that is already conducive to being tipped---for both ideological and financial reasons.

Further, they are, according to the link, offering how much cash per school? 300 ticket stubs gets you a $2,500!! My friends, it might take as few as two teachers at a given school making viewing the film a required assignment to reach that goal. $2,500 is more than three times my annual classroom budget for supplies, so the incentive is definitely there…..

Add it all up, and we've got something that's going to have a considerable impact rebuilding the cottage industry of creationism within the churches. And make no mistake, that's the real motive, pumping up the market for creationism within Christianity. We can mock it from the outside for their marketing tactics, but the Christians who buy into this will see the financial incentives as a 'love offering' to Christian education, and they will be well-disposed to show it. I further predict that 6-12 months after it leaves the theatres many copies of this film will be purchased/donated by Christian high schools….

This film is going to make a big splash with the audience they are targeting, and it's going to cause problems for real science education, and it needs to be challenged. In particular, the slimy, under-handed way it was produced should be put out there, and those associated with the film's production should be challenged to justify it. [read full commentary]