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Chris Mooney – Shaken (Not Stirred) by Expelled

Chris Mooney writes: I am Labeled a “Creationist Apologist”

…by Greg Laden. Or as one of my own commenters put it, “Either you really are just [bleep]ing stupid, or you’re a closet creationist in this blog group. Pick one.” I won’t be deleting that comment despite the profanity, because I want to have it all on the record–the record of what now happens at ScienceBlogs if you say certain thing that people don’t want to hear.

All this happened, I suppose, because I dared to point out the obvious: Expelled is a success. I mean, it’s the eighth highest grossing political documentary of all time…after its first week. Randy Olson of course knows this, because he’s, like, a filmmaker.

But go ahead, ignore Olson. Keep on firing inward. Beat up on me. Call me (the author of The Republican War on Science) a creationist.

This abuse will not stop me from continuing to call for serious introspection about the massive communication crisis we’re facing in the science world.

Randy Olson writes: Meet Ben Stein, the New Spokesman for the Field of Evolution

It’s a dark day for the subject of evolution in the U.S. Two years ago I made a pro-evolution movie, “Flock of Dodos,” trying to warn the evolution community they are not good with mass communication, and that the people behind the attacks on evolution are VERY, VERY good. This weekend Ben Stein’s anti-evolution movie, “Expelled,” had a HUGE opening, estimated to rake in over $3 million dollars. One of the top five openings EVER for any documentary.

At the end of Dodos my old buddy Eddie, the sound guy, looks down on the table of evolutionist poker players and says, “I’m just curious whether you’re going to do anything about these attacks on your profession.”

To counter the blockbuster power of “Expelled,” the National Science Foundation, NAS and AAAS are organizing a panel discussion about putting together a committee to look into the possibility of creating a brochure that tells the public how to make a website for a petition that says evolution is fun.

That should probably take care of the problem.

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7 Responses to Chris Mooney – Shaken (Not Stirred) by Expelled

  1. Olson highlights the inability of his side to deal objectively with the truth. This inability is good news for the ID side and the proponents of academic freedom.

    His side self-deludes themselves to think Expelled is a flop because of all the negative reviews generated by their own writers (akin thinking how bad Behe’s books are because of all the negative reviews by John Kwok). How funny….

    Olson is right to be worried because Stein’s involvement signals the mainstream voices joining the fray against the PZ-mobsters and company. The way the PZ-mob does business is bad for progress and the economy and society. Whether ID is true is a secondary issue to the stiffling of due process and free thinking.

    An nation that allows the PZ-myers and Larry Moran’s of society intimidate prospective science students out of universities can’t be good for society. Ben Stein is helping make the case that the stiffling of free thought and inquiry is bad for society.

    Stein uses a differnt angle for attacking the PZ-mob, rather than trying to promote ID, promote academic freedom. I believe it will be highly effective….

    the people behind the attacks on evolution are VERY, VERY good.

    Glad someone on their side sees the truth especially given how their side swallowed “Beware of The Believer” hook, line and sinker.

    By the way, Mooney is telling it like it is as well. Charming to see that those bold enough to tell the truth are being labeled “creationists.”

  2. I went to the top of Mooney’s post (http://scienceblogs.com/inters.....uccess.php)and read the comments. The comments seemed to suggest that the reason Expelled did well in the box office is that it opened in more theaters than any previous documentary. It also appears that a significant reason for doing so was a block of over 500 theaters whose ownership is pro-Christian.

    When you read the perspective of the other side, it doesn’t sound like EXpelled did all that well in the box office.

  3. The “communication problem” faced by the pro-evolution community is a very difficult one because ordinary people typically make judgments based on samples, not theories. Obvious examples of design are everywhere, while examples of spontaneous generation are conspicuously absent.

  4. Something I was thinking about last night: How many folks in the entire country before the release of Expelled honestly gave the slightest rip about the ID/Darwinism debate? 50,000, tops? In its first weekend (assuming an average ticket price of $8), it was seen by about 400,000 people. Even if after its entire theater run and release on DVD, it only reaches 1 million people, we’re talking about a factor of 20 increase in those who have some inkling about the battle in progress. Is there anything, anything at all, that the Darwinists could possibly do to up their profile by more than an order of magnitude? They’ve already saturated their market.

    Furthermore: I assume there will be a tendency for your average Darwinist ideologue to avoid seeing this movie, so the new attention will be coming more from those who accept its message than from those who don’t. I base this assumption on behavior I’ve already seen in spades in this debate. The Darwinist ideologues seem by and large to content themselves with dealing with pro-ID material from at least one level of remove, generally putting their faith in second hand critiques rather than polluting their minds with direct contact with the material. Rarely do I ever find an argument that deals directly with actual ID arguments as actually made in books or papers by Behe, Johnson, Dembski, Meyer, et al. Meyer is a direct case in point. In all the brouhaha over the Sternberg affair, how often have you come across a Darwinist addressing the paper’s contents let alone showing the barest familiarity with what might be in there? Instead the Darwinists are content to throw around the “creationist” word in the same way that some Alabama cracker from 50 years ago might throw around the “N” word. Such use of the “creationist” word is nothing but cheap bigotry to prevent one side from being heard and to announce to everyone involved just what their proper place is. This includes those who are neutral, or, as it seems, even partisans of your own side who commit the grave sin of crediting the ID side with anything whatsoever in any way, shape, or form whatsoever.

    So, Expelled is a big win for the “allow consideration of ID side”, and at least Olson and Mooney have figured this out. From the perspective of brave “freethinkers” everywhere, I guess that does make them “creationists” now.

  5. bFast said:

    The comments seemed to suggest that the reason Expelled did well in the box office is that it opened in more theaters than any previous documentary. It also appears that a significant reason for doing so was a block of over 500 theaters whose ownership is pro-Christian.

    When you read the perspective of the other side, it doesn’t sound like EXpelled did all that well in the box office.

    This displays total lack of understanding of the market system :-( After all, there is a reason that a movie can open in more theaters than other movies. It’s called: “Because people want to see it.”

    Besides, the naivety of the atheistic front here is quite revealing. Do they really think that the vast majority of people just wander around downtown and go, “I wasn’t going to watch this movie, but since it’s in this theater I’ll pay money and watch it for no reason!”

    Just because a movie is in more theaters doesn’t make people pay money to watch it. It gives them the opportunity to do so, if they wish to. And if they do so, it’s an indication that they wished to do so. Pretty simple economics here, IMNSHO.

  6. scordova (1): Charming to see that those bold enough to tell the truth are being labeled “creationists.”

    Well said and keenly observed. Matteo’s (4) observations are also on target. It has become a kind of club to indiscriminately bludgeon any and all offenders — regardless of whether its application is semantically meaningful.

    Those who have labored to try to educate about what ID is and isn’t have long realized that words are misapplied. Now, as the opposition becomes unglued with emotional outbursts, it becomes apparent for all to see just how little content and reasoned discourse matters to some.

    It is interesting when the opposition does the heavy work for you.* How does one deny there is suppression of these ideas when Mooney cannot even state facts without such unthinking attacks?

    *That reminds me to thank Dawkins for his revealing honesty in Expelled.

  7. It appears Expelled made more money than the concerted effort to fund the Darwin Exhibit. :-)

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