Home » Intelligent Design » But – why does PZ Myers NEED to see the Expelled film?

But – why does PZ Myers NEED to see the Expelled film?

A friend tells me there is quite the kadiddle going on over at Darwinist Web sites on account of PZ Myers getting the bum’s rush out of the recent Expelled screening.

And he wasn”t let in  even though Richard Dawkins, also sneaking around, was let in and introduced.

What, I wonder, did Dawkins say?

Hi, I’m Richard Dawkins and, even though I live in Oxford, England, I just happened to be skulking around here this evening, so I …. (?)

Gotta admire his initiative though. Rats, I can’t get a DVD out of the Expelled myself, and their show won’t open in Canada till way later than the States’ kickoff.

I didn’t think of trying to sneak into a US showing because I am currently dealing with a relevant but not directly related problem.

From what Bruce Chapman says, it’s no wonder, Dawkins snuck in. I suppose he couldn’t resist finding out which profiles of himself had been used.

But now, about PZ: Isn’t he the guy who said:

The only appropriate response should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing of some teachers, many school board members, and vast numbers of sleazy, far-right politicians … I say, screw the polite words and careful rhetoric. It’s time for scientists to break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles, and get out there and hammer on the lunatics and idiots.

In my view, the Expelled guys should have let PZ in as Exhibit A of the problem that Expelled was meant to address.

I say this as the journalist who filed the story from a hotel room in Seattle last August.

That said, PZ doesn’t really have a problem just because he wasn’t let into the film. You see, it doesn’t MATTER whether he sees the film or not.

He trashed Mario Beauregard’s and my book, The Spiritual Brain WITHOUT reading it. He wrote,

I tried. I really, honestly, sincerely tried. I’ve been struggling with this book, The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist’s case for the existence of the soul, by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary, for the past week and a half, and I’ve finally decided it’s not worth the effort. It’s just about completely unreadable.

He trashed our book without reading it. So presumably he can trash a film without seeing it, can’t he?

How much more difficult is that?

Also, since I am here anyway, at the Mindful Hack (the blog that supports The Spiritual Brain) :

Religion in the United States: Cool new mythbuster tool

Forensic audit clears prayer palace

Neuroscience: ID-friendly neurosurgeon uses design inference

Neuroscience: Beware the evil moron neuron defense!

Amateur atheism? Religion prof says it is best left to the pros (and he DOESN’T mean Richard Dawkins)

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23 Responses to But – why does PZ Myers NEED to see the Expelled film?

  1. PZ:
    “… and hammer on the lunatics and idiots.”

    With such menacing labels and threats, no wonder the guy was shown the door. Better safe than sorry.

  2. Not finishing a book is not the same as not reading a book. In fact, PZ clearly stated that he stopped after reading half of it:

    I’ve read half his [Beauregard] book, a sufficiently painful experience.

    And he indeed explained in detail why this was painful for him.

  3. 3

    To be fair, our side doesn’t always use the kindest language when refering to the opposition.

    I mean come on.

  4. 4

    *Not defending Darwinism here. Just trying to be fair.

    Obviously Darwinian theory is pretty ridiculous, why else would Darwinists be acting like this?

    Can’t deny the social effects the theory has too. Nihilism, the Nazis..

  5. sparc, a person who doesn’t finish a book should not review it.

    I suppose PZ might have been permitted to see HALF the film?

    Which half?

  6. He trashed Mario Beauregard’s and my book, The Spiritual Brain WITHOUT reading it.

    That’s not without precedent for him and the general Herd that comments on his blog. They thanked me for citing passages from the Privileged Planet when it was first published because it allowed them to read some of it, yet they had already written various rants about it based on their usual talking points and patterns. I think that’s why he and his Herd tend to be so repetitive, they’re not actually reading and thinking. (So I stopped reading his blog.)

  7. I dread the Commission’s toils. Like Mark Steyn and Macleans Magazine, I am Canadian, and so potentially under threat.

    They have already been charged.

    Maybe if intelligent design is regarded as a human rights danger, as the Council of Europe thinks it is, I will be caught, simply for reporting the news.

    Denyse,

    If this happens perhaps you could ask for asylum in the U.S. to escape political persecution in Canada. Wouldn’t that make a nice headline?

  8. To be fair, our side doesn’t always use the kindest language when refering to the opposition.

    Perhaps there is something about the notion of a union of transcendence and immanence in the ID position that is inherently civilizing because I don’t recall ever reading any proto-Nazi sentiments stated by ID proponents.

    There’s something laughable about PZ’s notion that biologists need to march in the streets because everyone knows that science geeks are harmless, that’s my impression. Yet history shows that’s not necessarily the case:

    National Socialism as Applied Biology
    The nation would now be run according to what Johann S. and his cohorts considered biological truth, “the way human beings really are.” That is why he had a genuine “eureka” experience—a sense of “That’s exactly it!”—when he heard Rudolf Hess declare National Socialism to be “nothing but applied biology” (see page 31). Dr. S. felt himself merged…
    He pointed out proudly that these early SA doctors formed the nucleus of the National Socialist German Physicians’ League (Nationalsozialistischer DeutscherArztebund), the doctors who, as he put it, “were the first intellectuals to have complete confidence . . . in National Socialism to march in the streets”—in effect, to put their bodies on the line.
    (The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide
    By Robert Jay Lifton :129) (Emphasis added)

    Lifton notes that scientists may engage in “biological thinking” and run with the Herd “as an antidote to isolation and weakness…as a denial of effeteness…” and they may do evil things “…with the conviction that they are ‘in accord with the natural history and biology of man’…” (Ib. :491)

    In PZ’s mind he must save society from the lack of progress he imagines based on the Darwinian creation myth, yet ironically if it is true then the brain events which cause him to think so have more to do with natural selection operating on the excretory organs of ancient ape-like creatures than intelligence.

    There may be people in the ID community who believe in vaguely anti-Semitic conspiracy theories as Dawkins does or who use violent language like PZ but if so apparently they’re not in positions of leadership. Ironically, one of the reasons that Ben Stein gives for being involved in the film is that Nazism seems to emerge from Darwinism, naturally.

    For example:

    ..in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea Daniel Dennett views religious believers who dissuade their children from believing Darwinian evolution as such a threat to the social order that they need to be caged in zoos or quarantined (both metaphors are his).

    (Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing
    Edited by William Dembski, Introduction)

    A similar sentiment:

    “When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side…I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already…What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.’ And on May 1, 1937, he declared, “This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.” It was not an idle boast; that was precisely what was happening.

    (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
    By William L. Shirer (Simon and Schuster) 1990 :249)

    Examples could be multiplied because those who engage in and believe Darwinian patterns of reasoning have shifted away from pursuing true knowledge/scientia, sometimes not so subtly. They tend to argue that they must pursue “natural” explanations by rule and then begin to focus on supposedly saving civilization, science and knowledge from the “Jewish influence, ID types and people without a Nature based religion in general. Those who desire a Nature based religion which allows them to run with the Herd seem to find Darwinian reasoning about natural “selection” and so on overwhelming while those interested in the truth as such find it weak. For example:

    If the products of their research work, even apart from their rude tone, strike us as unconvincing and hollow, this weakness is due not to inferior training but to the mendacity inherent in any scholarship that overlooks or openly repudiates all moral and spiritual values and, by standing order, knows exactly its ultimate conclusions well in advance.
    (Hitler’s Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany’s Crimes Against the Jewish People
    By Max Weinreich
    (New York:The Yiddish Scientific Institute, 1946) :7) (Emphasis added)

    The truth is not the end for someone like PZ so his ends* may come to justify any means.

    *It’ll usually be some form of “progress” because that’s what biologists are generally taught to imagine things.

  9. mynym, good use of quotes.

    Though I differ with – “people in the ID community who believe in vaguely anti-Semitic conspiracy theories as Dawkins.”

    Darwinism is very much an integral part of the globalization movement, providing the corrosive agent it needs in helping to finish off established traditions and old-fashioned religions.

  10. I’m not comfortable with the business of linking Darwinism to either globalization (which I think an inevitable result of modern communication and transportation systems) or anti-Semitism, as currently practiced.

    I am not sure that Dawkins (who should retire really soon and apparently will) is in any *important* sense an anti-Semite.

    The problem is that, lacking any serious scientific ideas, the Darwinist is forced to just start making stuff up.

    Some of the made-up stuff may happen to be anti-Semitic. Angry people run out of new ideas, right?

    But in the absence of a consistent, multi-year pattern of anti-Semitism over recent decades, I would be inclined to say, “Welcome to that Darwinist’s current nightmare. It will offend you in various ways. Some of the ways that it offends you may include anti-Semitism. Some is anti-Christian. Some is anti-Muslim. Some is anti-oh, I don’t know. I can’t keep up with everything, can I?

    Apologies in advance.”

  11. 11

    When Pat Robertson interviewed Ben Stein on the 700 Club or whatever, Mr. Stein said that always doubted Darwinism because it leads to Social Darwinism.

    When I said that Darwinism led to the Nazis, I’m saying sort of the same thing.

    Happy Easter!

  12. [...] Denyse O’Leary over at Uncommon Descent is saying that Myers and Dawkins were “sneaking around” and then she mockingly asks: What, I wonder, did Dawkins say? Hi, I’m Richard Dawkins and, [...]

  13. 13

    As a general principle, a “documentary” filmmaker should always err on the side of helping, rather than hindering, the spread of his ideas.

    Breaking a common-sense and rule and then whining about it proves only that somebody was most definitely NOT intelligently designed…

  14. I am not sure that Dawkins (who should retire really soon and apparently will) is in any *important* sense an anti-Semite.

    Can we just clear this up, are you accusing Dawkins of being anti-Semitic? In an un-important way, perhaps, but still anti-Semitic?

  15. “Richard Dawkins was quoted by the British Guardian newspaper as saying: “When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told – religious Jews anyway – than atheists, and (yet they) more or less monopolize American foreign policy, as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place.”

    Five years ago, Dawkins reportedly added his name to letter calling for an academic boycott against Israelis, and was quoted by the Guardian then as saying that he “can no longer in good conscience continue to cooperate with official Israeli institutions, including universities.”"

    http://www.ynet.co.il/english/.....18,00.html

    This I think this quote is what the accusations are based on. These people feel it is anti Jewish.

  16. idnet.com.au, thanks much for your quotation from Dawkins. I was aware of it but couldn’t place it.

    I will let Jews decide whether it is anti-Semitic. But I will say this on my own account:

    Reference to some “successful” Jewish lobby that allegedly “monopolize[s]” policy should always raise a red flag.

    The idea that Jews have power but other people somehow don’t is a cradle for anti-Semitism.

    Look, nearly half of Americans don’t even VOTE, apparently.

    And if you live in a democracy and don’t vote, get OUT of my face, m’kay?

    I don’t want to hear your complaints about your government.

    How did you THINK you were supposed to change the government? Just by wittering that you don’t “like” it?

    The American founders would whack you with a broom!

    Of course, Dawkins may be making the usual Brit/French mistake of commenting on North America without understanding it.

    Here is an example: One thing that greatly strengthen’s Israel’s voice in America’s ear is the support of Christian evangelicals, who are presently much more numerous than Jews.

    But if one’s view of North America is formed from reading the “warp world” copy of legacy media – instead of by living the reality of life here – one might believe that Christian evangelicals are anti-Semites. So one would not even see their lobbying and voting efforts.

    And if a given individual pays for that mistake by making dumb and questionable remarks, so be it.

  17. Ms. O’Leary – I’m sorry if I irritated you!

    I was asking because racism is still, unfortunately, a problem in Britain, and hence the accusation of racism is one to be taken seriously.

    I don’t see Dawkins’ comments as anti-Semitic – they’re not about Jews as a group, but about particular political groups. i.e. the lobby in the US (the perception that this lobby exists and is successful is older than the rise of the Christian right, BTW), and the Israeli government.

    We can disagree on whether Dawkins is anti-Semitic, but it’s still not clear to me if you’re accusing him of it or not. I’d appreciate a clear yes/no answer on this, so that I don’t mis-interpret your position.

  18. You didn’t irritate me, Bob O’H.

    I can’t give you the clear yes/no answer you want because, as I said,
    “Reference to some “successful” Jewish lobby that allegedly “monopolize[s]” policy should always raise a red flag. ”

    It’s not decisive, but it attracts attention.

    Not all anti-Israelis are anti-Semites, of course. But almost all anti-Semites are anti-Israel. And thery tend to believe in an overwhelmingly powerful “Jewish lobby”. So it bears watching.

    Anti-Semitism, in my experience, never seems to be about “Jews as a group” these days – it’s about whatever Jews happen to be doing that attracts attention.

    So I just keep an eye on the situation for now.

    Hope this helps.

  19. It seems to me that we’re missing the point. Yes, Meyers is a bad man. Yes, Dawkins will likely burn in hell, barring a last minute conversion.

    But, the producers of Expelled made a movie about expelling people from a debate. By Expelling Meyers from the movie, they showed themselves to be hypocrites. That is a very, very bad move. Americans hate hypocrites (I don’t know about Canadians, I confess to never having met one).

    Don’t you think it would have been smarter to let Meyers in, and when he started getting violent, publicize it? Hell, press charges and send him to prison! If he’s a violent man, that would have worked out all the better.

    But hypocrisy is something that the public at large never tolerates. It’s easy to understand, and makes big news.

    And I think the longer that we, as the intelligent design community, defend these actions, the longer that we will *all* look bad.

  20. Nochange, I have sent a message to the Expelled line producer asking for his view, and will write further when I hear it.

    Never met a Canadian? Well, here’s one thing to know:

    As for pressing charges and sending someone to prison, I respectfully suggest that most of US would not want anything like that.

    We would rather just head an uproar off discreetly.

    Many of us believe there are too many people in prison already.

    Once the American dollar rises again, come to Toronto in the summer.

    Follow the Hollywood caravans. (They make films here in the summer and they call it Hollywood North.) You will have a great time for comparatively cheap.

  21. This has nothing to do with hypocricy, but more with keeping the peace and maintaining order. When a guy expresses the kinds of threats that PZ Myers has been known to issue out of his website, you cannot take it lightly, especially in an environment that is already emotionally charged as the one we are seeing develop in front of our eyes. If the filmmakers were really focused on suppressing the other side, then Dawkins would not have been allowed in as well. The facts speak loudly in favor of the producers in this instance.

  22. O’Leary @ #10:
    “I’m not comfortable with the business of linking Darwinism to either globalization (which I think an inevitable result of modern communication and transportation systems)”

    Oh, it’s more sinister than that, Denyse. For example, were you aware of a meeting of high-powered brokers that took place in Canada last year?

  23. 23

    Why does Sleazy PZ “need” a reason to see “Expelled”? As King Lear said, “Oh, reason not the need.”

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