Home » Darwinism, Intelligent Design » EXPELLED makes front page of NYTimes

EXPELLED makes front page of NYTimes

I can’t say I feel sorry for these atheistic scientists in agreeing to interview for EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED. When the BBC interviewed me for their Horizon documentary on ID (Horizon = the UK version of PBS Nova), they gave the ID side no warning that the program would be titled A WAR ON SCIENCE (I wouldn’t have agreed to be interviewed had I known that was going to be its title). What goes around comes around.

September 27, 2007
Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life’s Origin
By CORNELIA DEAN
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.”

The film, with Ben Stein, the actor, economist and freelance columnist, as its host, is described on Rampant’s Web site as an examination of the intersection of science and religion. Dr. Dawkins was an obvious choice. An eminent scientist who teaches at Oxford University in England, he is also an outspoken atheist who has repeatedly likened religious faith to a mental defect.

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.

The film is described in its online trailer as “a startling revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly-funded high schools, universities and research institutions.” According to its Web site, the film asserts that people in academia who see evidence of a supernatural intelligence in biological processes have unfairly lost their jobs, been denied tenure or suffered other penalties as part of a scientific conspiracy to keep God out of the nation’s laboratories and classrooms.

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43 Responses to EXPELLED makes front page of NYTimes

  1. Perhaps both you and those atheistic scientists were naive to assume the best intentions of popular media makers. I can understand why you may resent the BBC misrepresenting their project to you. But I can’t say I agree with your implication that the mistreatment you received is somehow balanced by another instance of mistreatment, regardless of who is on the receiving end. Schadenfreude is not a pretty thing to behold.

    [MacT: Stop your moralizing. I was happy to do the BBC interview at the time. I was not happy with what they did with it. At the same time, I did not complain about it or issue a press release. Now the other side is complaining because they got the same treatment that we get all the time. --WmAD]

  2. If you look up the author, you will notice she wrote an article in June about science of the soul being dead (i.e. I wonder what she would think of O’Leary’s book?).

    On the topic at hand, let’s grant their acusations. So what? Based on your belief system that we are all just a bunch of atoms bouncing around, why should I care that they deceived you? And, based on their belief system, why do they care?

  3. What Mr Dawkins, you didn’t know what was going on? Well that’ll teach you not critise my black burka!

  4. “the scientific community as intolerant, as close-minded, and as persecuting those who disagree with them. And this is simply wrong.”

    Perhaps not the scientific community (what is that anyway?), but definitely many scientists, university presidents and other alleged academics are very intolerant to those who disagree with them.

    PZ Meyers, Dawkins and E. Scott are perfect examples.

    Also I would say the producers of “Expelled” need a lesson on ID.

    ID does not say anything about the supernatural nor is it an inference for “God”.

  5. “(I wouldn’t have agreed to be interviewed had I known that was going to be its title). What goes around comes around.”

    Ah … so two wrongs do make a right after all. Thanks for clearing that up.

    [Scott: That's not what I said. See my remark in comment #1. --WmAD]

  6. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of sympathy with Dawkins’ claim that he was somehow misled or misrepresented, as he is more than capable of censoring and vilifying others. Way back c.1990-1993 a British author, Richard Milton, wrote a book The Facts of Life criticising Darwin. This was picked up by the editor of one of the British broadsheets, either the Times or the Telegraph , which approached him to rewrite a piece for the paper on the subject of Darwinism being dead.
    Richard Dawkins, however, apparently phoned the editor up to protest about it, and the article was duly spiked. Dawkins did, apparently, write his own review, published in New Scientist which attacked the book in a torrent of invective.

    The above claims about the film by Dawkins seem to me to smack of a similar attempt at censorship, though one of closing the stable door just after the horse has bolted.

  7. I would just love to have these moviemakers and authors mislead me while giving me an opportunity to widely publicize myself and my views. May they make a complete sucker out of me. May I be completely bamboozled.

    These Darwinists should be grateful for these opportunities to get publicity for themselves and their views. They take these opportunities for granted. And they should not look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Here is a related article on my blog.

  8. I have watched “the war on science” a number of times. It is not crafted to put the ID side adequately.

    Dawkins and others gave an interview for “Crossroads”. The film is now titled “Expelled”.

    For the film makers, after talking with the people involved, the real story came out. The story is not about crossroads but cross people who want to silence those who find ID a rational inference from data.

    Let the mainstreamers complain all they like but we will keep telling the truth as we see it. Silence us with convincing evolutionary pathways, not censorship.

    Wait until we hear Dawkins in his own words. If he really said them, how can he complain?

    He thinks it is a war on science, we think it is a war on the one sided interpretation of evidence. We just want a fair hearing.

    Expelled may help restore some ballance.

  9. I am so pleased with Dawkins et el griping about their interviews. I understand that its called gorilla advertizing. Let “Expelled” be as well advertized as possible, and if Dawkins is going to do the advertizing, great!

  10. Also I would say the producers of “Expelled” need a lesson on ID.

    ID does not say anything about the supernatural nor is it an inference for “God”.

    My impression is that the film is not so much about specifying or promoting ID as it is about freedom of expression. If there is a group of people who are so paranoid about theism that they become irrational bigots on that basis then the film has to show that to undermine the foundation of their bigotry given that its purpose is freedom of theological expression.

    Given the irrationality of bigots they apparently believe that the rules of “science” include “Panda’s Thumb” type arguments which conclude in negative theology. E.g. “I know that God wouldn’t do this…” or “What type of God would do this, therefore there is no God.” But if their negative theology is answered with positive theology (e.g. “I think God would make something beautiful like this.” etc.) then the same people say that theology can have nothing to do with science or else civilization and progress will come to an end and so on. Given the ignorance typical to bigots Panda’s Thumb types probably don’t even realize they are making theological claims when they argue about what God would or wouldn’t do or how a God that is separate from is pure while a gardening God would be dirty, etc.

  11. Mynym “My impression is that the film is not so much about specifying or promoting ID as it is about freedom of expression.”
    Bingo. IMO this will draw more people attention than ID (science) will.

  12. I have certainly been taped by people and appeared in productions where people’s views are different than mine, and that’s fine,” Dr. Scott said, adding that she would have appeared in the film anyway. “I just expect people to be honest with me, and they weren’t.”

    And here’s Scott commenting on Richard Sternberg’s treatment by the NSCE (which she heads) and the Smithsonian:

    “He didn’t lose his job, he didn’t get his pay cut, he still has his research privileges, he still has his office,” Scott says. “You know, what’s his complaint? People weren’t nice to him. Well, life is not fair.”

  13. Also I would say the producers of “Expelled” need a lesson on ID.

    ID does not say anything about the supernatural nor is it an inference for “God”.

    Right…but when the critics encounter “ID” they hear “God.” So the producers are correct about a “conspiracy to keep God out of the nation’s laboratories and classrooms,” even though ID is silent about “God.” It’s not the film’s producers who need the lesson, but the critics.

  14. If ID is a religionless science, then wouldn’t it be proper for the leaders of the movement to distance themselves from the movie?

    The title of the movie is:
    “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

    From the flash intro on the web site:
    “If people think God is interesting, the onus is on them to show that there is anything interesting there to talk about. Otherwise they should just shut up about it” –Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist, Oxford University

    From the movie trailer:
    - “There are people out there who want to keep Science in a little box where it can’t possibly touch God”
    - “Scientists are not allowed to even think thoughts of an intelligent Creator”.

    If ID doesn’t publically indorse GOD as the designer, then the Expelled marketing target team thought it was necessary to do so.

  15. I can’t say I feel sorry for these atheistic scientists in agreeing to interview for EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED.

    Mr. Dempski,

    Why say “these atheistic scientists” if the general consensus of the Intelligent Design movement seems to be to avoid publicly claiming GOD as the designer? Why not just say “these scientists”? This sounds as if their religious position is a detriment to their science, which in turn makes it sound as if ID has an opposing religious position which is a benefit to its science.

  16. I’d like to make 2 comments.

    1) The behavior of the filmmakers (both those making Expelled and those that interviewed Dr. Dembski) basically lied to gain access. Premise Media clearly positions itself as a defender of Christian values. Plain and simple, lying is NOT a Christian value. I am saddened that others on this site have not mentioned this sooner.

    2) I am afraid that continually referring to opponents of Intelligent Design as atheist undermines our position. It simply gives the Darwinists more ammunition to bolster their ID=creationism argument.

  17. The behavior of the filmmakers (both those making Expelled and those that interviewed Dr. Dembski) basically lied to gain access.

    Not according to the people who made the film.
    And not according to the smoking gun PZ Meyers offered – the letter he received from those producers …

    “We are in production of the documentary film Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion … we are interested in asking you questions about the disconnect/controversy that exists in America between evolution, creationism and the intelligent design movement.”

    I bet they asked him about the controversy and I bet when the interview was over he felt just as though he’d been asked about the controversy.
    ===

    I am afraid that continually referring to opponents of Intelligent Design as atheist undermines our position.

    This is not a “continual” reference and it is not merely opponents of ID who are generally called “atheist scientists”.
    Check in with Ken Miller, Francis Collins or the ASA for opponents of ID who are not referred to as atheist scientists.
    The scientists referred to as atheist scientists identify themselves as atheists (or in Eugenie’s case, as a humanist), are famous as atheists, and are famous in part due to their atheism were referred to as atheist scientists.

    Here’s coverage from another source:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/inte.....%2C00.html

    Among the films being shown tonight at the Atheist Alliance convention taking place near Washington is, unsurprisingly, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. What will not be showing are trailers for a new movie, Expelled.

    Some of the world’s best-known atheists, including British scientist Richard Dawkins, appear in the documentary, but they are unhappy with it.

    Professor Dawkins, who is speaking at the Atheist Alliance convention in Crystal City, Virginia, said in an email that had he known the film’s premise he would not have agreed to take part.

    Other atheists said they were uneasy about the way they felt they had been duped.

  18. I have to admit as a non christian (though a believer in a higher power) but supporter of ID I am seeeing more and more references to christianity here and it’s beginning to put me off. I assumed my religion would not be an issue in the science of ID but I am worried it might be.

  19. loft:

    please, be sure that ID is pure science, and has nothing to do with religion. So, at least from my point of view, and I hope for the point of view of most people here, you are perfectly welcome, anything you may believe in.
    Sometimes I am a little bit worried too when discussions here become too specifically religious. But after all, this is a blog, not a scientific congress, and I think that everyone is free to express what one feels important, provided that the general subject remains the scientific approach of ID.

    So, I encourage you to be patient and to go on in sharing with us a scientific debate which is of the highest importance.

  20. These Darwinists don’t know that you are supposed to smile and say “I’ll be darned” when told that you are on Candid Camera.

  21. If ID doesn’t publically indorse GOD as the designer, then the Expelled marketing target team thought it was necessary to do so.

    ID theory does not posit God. But everyone knows it threatens the status quo theory—a theory which is hostile to God (“evolution is a purposeless, undirected process…”). If science is being used to undermine theism, then ID supporters are within their rights to say “scientists are prostituting science to advance their philosophy. They’re abusing science because it advances their atheism.”

  22. @gpuccio

    I do get what you mean this definitely isn’t a place for formal scientific debate so religion will come up, I guess my issue is that it’s always Christianity which makes me worry, or maybe I have missed the muslim or jewish references? I haven’t been reading here long.

  23. I have to admit as a non christian (though a believer in a higher power) but supporter of ID I am seeeing more and more references to christianity here and it’s beginning to put me off. I assumed my religion would not be an issue in the science of ID but I am worried it might be.

    I can only speak for myself, but your religion is absolutely not an issue here. Christian views expressed here are not an attack on your non-Christian views, or someone else’s atheist views, they’re just an expression of our Christian views. There is no catechism for this blog. And I’m pretty sure that every Christian here would welcome more agnostics and atheists.

  24. @russ – “And I’m pretty sure that every Christian here would welcome more agnostics and atheists.”

    I hope so, because I love learning more and more about ID and this is one site I visit everyday. However, of all the religions in the world I don’t understand why anyone would believe that any single religion is the correct one, or dare I say the one “God” wants you to believe in.

    IF, and its a BIG IF, there really is some kind of intelligent designer that has written the most complex language imaginable (DNA) then a simplistic religion certainly cannot come anywhere near explaining it. I strongly believe that someday science will unmask direct evidence in design, but religion will have nothing to do with it. (but what do I know?)

    With only 7 years of reading/learning about ID on a part time basis at that), and with no formal science education I am certainly not an expert, I’m not even a novice! But I am fascinated by intelligent people with years of formal education that DO see intelligent design even with a thousand times the knowledge base that I have. This is what I consider the biggest evidence for layman; real scientists seeing no natural way to get from point A to point B. After all, someone like myself can only intuit what is true. We lean on the arguments of scientists to show us where the intelligent designer fits in.

    But a Christian God? That, to me, is a vast jump in logic. DNA is a language, okay. A Christian God created it. Huh? Tell me how YOU got there.

  25. ID is pure science, which means that it is not religiously based. But because it is open to truth in whatever form it may take, it is religion friendly. If we discuss the science, religion will not come up; if we discuss the implications of the science, it may well come up.

    But ID is a kind of glue that can hold many world views together under the banner of reason. Because it is reasonable, it is inclusive. Catholic IDers present a unique texture, as do evangelicals, fundamentalists, agnostics etc. Thus ID provides the unity, and our varying religious perspectives provide the diversity.

  26. XtremeCameraI — IF, and its a BIG IF, there really is some kind of intelligent designer that has written the most complex language imaginable (DNA) then a simplistic religion certainly cannot come anywhere near explaining it.

    Religion isn’t meant to detail how things are made.

    Think of a person from the Amazon jungle seeing a car for the first time and asking what it does, and you respond by telling him how a production line works or describing the principles of internal combustion.

    You would not help that person one whit. In fact, that person would likely walk away with a rather low opinion of you

    OTOH, if you told him it was a means of transportation, and gave him a ride in it, and showed him how to use the air conditioner and radio, he would be most impressed.

    And if you taught him how to drive it, you would have a friend for life.

    Religion answers the big questions –why we are here and how we should live.

    The study of origins is just having fun.

    Note: bad religion can give bad answers.

  27. XtremeCamera:
    Though, on this site, I don’t necessarily like to veer off of hard scientific evidence to talk about my personal faith I have to respond to your comment:

    IF, and its a BIG IF, there really is some kind of intelligent designer that has written the most complex language imaginable (DNA) then a simplistic religion certainly cannot come anywhere near explaining it.

    Brother, I don’t see anything simplistic about God Almighty coming into this world, after creating it, to die on a cross so as to defeat the power of in our lives…NO SIR!!!! I do not see anything simplistic in that religion at all… If you can wrap your mind around it and understand it fully please do share your insights because I have tried, and frankly, I find relativity and quantum mechanics easier to understand!!!!

  28. The New York Times’ editorializing:

    …the long-running conflict between science and advocates of intelligent design…
    Of course, according to the NYT then, ID has nothing to do with science. I wonder how much of the ID literature the author has read.

    There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth.
    According to the NYT then, all the scientific problems with “evolution” (by which I assume they mean random variation, natural selection, and Darwinian gradualism) have been thoroughly and adequately addressed. There are no remaining problems with the origin of biological information, the challenges presented by Michael Behe and Scott Minnich, the Cambrian explosion, the ubiquitous sudden appearance of new living things and stasis in the fossil record, etc.

    Of course, the “religious” conflict is the result of the fact that Darwinism was the long-awaited creation story of atheism, which surged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This is also why serious problems with the theory — which existed from the very beginning and have only gotten worse with time and new scientific discoveries — have been ignored or explained away with storytelling. When ID started putting Darwinists’ feet to the fire with evidence and reason, they went apoplectic, because their creation story was being challenged on its own ground. It’s really just that simple.

  29. @russ
    So any religious views are equal in ID? That is hopefully the case I guess it’s just maybe we see more Christian posters here as this is a US based forum.

    This may be one of the few blogs a Luciferian like myself can converse with Christians without rancour.

  30. So any religious views are equal in ID? That is hopefully the case I guess it’s just maybe we see more Christian posters here as this is a US based forum.

    This may be one of the few blogs a Luciferian like myself can converse with Christians without rancour.

    No one said “any religious view is equal”. But religious views are irrelevant in ID. You can worship Lucifer if you want, and I assume you can post here, too. But you may not get much conversation centered around such an exotic worldview. If you did, no one would come here anymore.

  31. @lotf

    ID is about design and teleology. Most variants of theism I know have design concepts at their heart (God created the universe). ID is a broad-tent movement. A proponent of ID sees signs of intelligence in nature. That’s all.

    As a Christian, I would have to say we can disagreements over theology and non-theological issues without rancour. Disagreement is not the same as rancour.

  32. My heart bleeds for these poor, victimized Darwinists.

  33. Once they’re done with the “we were fooled!” rhetoric, the interviewed personalities in question will move on to “My statements were taken out of context!” once the movie comes out.

    Of course, they won’t bother providing the context to clarify the issue, mainly because they really will not have been taken out of context.

  34. If the evidence is so overwhelming for Darwinism why should they worry at all???? Why can’t they just naturally select and mutate a bacteria into another type of bacteria or even phylum, and get the whole debate over with….
    Oh yeah that right… No concrete proof of evolution is just one of the few minor problems they are working on…..But rest assured Darwinism is true!!!!!….Don’t dare question it boy or you career is over buddy…Toe that line!!!!! OR ELSE!!!!!

  35. Dawkins and PZ were duped into being interviewed by Stein because they really believe that only fools would look at the issue and come out in support of ID. Maybe they are wrong.

  36. Mr Dawkins says,”At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front”.

    Well I say, “He’ll just have to learn the hard way what Research means!”

  37. Is Dawkins classifying anyone who believes in a god acting in history as a creationist? Is Ben Stein a creationist? I know he Jewish but is he a creationist or does he believe in a higher power?

  38. Tina said:
    Mr Dawkins says,”At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front”.

    Does that make Ben Stein a Jewish “creationist”?

    From the article:

    Dr. Scott said, adding that she would have appeared in the film anyway. “I just expect people to be honest with me, and they weren’t.”

    I want everyone’s help here as I try to understand what Dr. Scott meant. Does she mean that had she known the interview was for an ID friendly movie-maker she wouldn’t have participated? No. She says she would have participated anyway. So, why did she want to know who the movie makers were? Are we to assume that she would have said things differently? If the answer to that question is “Yes”, then it sounds like there are at least “two” versions of what Dr. Scott would say about evolution on camera: one for ID-unfriendly movie makers; and one for ID-friendly movie makers. The question I need your help with is this: Does all of this imply that despite the fact that Dr. Scott protests she wants people to be honest with her, that she has two versions of Darwinism she tells depending on the questioner?

    If, OTOH, the answer to the above question was “No”, that her answers regarding Darwinism wouldn’t have changed in the least, then why does she complain that she felt the movie makers weren’t being honest with her? I wonder if Dr. Scott is being honest with herself.

  39. http://www.pulitzer.org/cgi-bi.....ow+Winners

    The above URL will take you to the Pulitzer Prize page for NY Times reporter, Walter Duranty. Duranty made a name for himself whitewashing the “Terror Famine” created by Stalin to starve millions of Ukrainians for resisting collectivization. Duranty was blackmailed (it was later discovered) into reporting in the NY Times that Ukrainians were doing just fine, without mentioning that “Uncle Joe’s” government was confiscating their food.

    This is the legacy of the NY Times, that they have never (as far as I know) surrendered the Prize won by publishing propaganda in service of Stalin’s genocide.

  40. In press conferences, do politicians ever ask a questioner’s reason for asking a question? Wouldn’t the politicians sound silly if their first response was, “why do you ask?” And politicians get into big trouble for giving different answers to the same question. These Darwinists are making themselves look foolish by whining that they were “misled.” I have already taken the Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin to task for denying Monkey Girl author Edward Humes a full interview.

  41. [...] broken the story of its existence last August. I watched it pitch and roll through accusations of trickery, a threatened lawsuit over plagiarism and a real one over intellectual property, production delays [...]

  42. [...] The Darwinists have all the pop science journalists on auto dial. They need only ring them up and bitch. Indeed, that is precisely what Richard Dawkins did. One might have expected a professor of the [...]

  43. [...] Dawkins told The New York Times that Expelled was misrepresented to him, and that he would not have taken part, had he known Ben Stein’s sympathies. But [...]

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