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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Intelligent design film: Volunteer's account of what really happened when Darwinist was kicked out of the screening

Update March 28, 2008 4:45 pm:

I was in a press conference a few minutes ago for the Expelled documentary (about scientists who are persecuted for questioning Darwinism and other materialist evolution theories). Ben Stein, the film's lead, producer Mark Mathis, and others were there.

Mathis confirmed that he kicked PZ Myers out of the film to make a point (Myers endorses the destruction of the careers of those who question Darwinism, yet he was really upset about getting booted from a film).

And ... Myers apparently somehow got into the press conference itself! - "under false pretences" according to the moderator. He was told to be quiet, and he rung off (to the best of my knowledge). He told the media to phone HIM instead.

Greg, at Hollywood Jesus live blogged the affair and is promising updates.

Strangely, while he was in the telemeeting, Myers insisted that Darwinism had nothing to do with Nazi Germany. Of course, historically, Darwin was an enormous influence on the Nazis because his Descent of Man appeared to put racism on a scientific footing. That does not mean (and the Expelled guys made clear that they did not think it means) that today's Darwinists have anything to do with Nazism. But it is a historical fact that Darwin was one of the Nazis' heroes, as historian Richard Weikart painstakingly shows.

Update March 28, 2008 6:51 pm EST A friend writes: "PZ explains on his blog that he dialed in 5 minutes early and overheard the Motive staff describe the secret password required for two-way talking (which some of the interviewees needed to know).

No super spy stuff required…just dialed in early and got lucky."

(Actually, I think, friend, that the Motive staff are NAIVE! They don't understand how bankrupt Darwinism is and what Darwinists will do to protect it. Why didn't they understand this before they got involved?)

Update March 28 2008 10:15 pm EST: Another friend writes to say, "If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on a Motive staff plan to intentionally leak the two-way password five minutes prior, knowing that PZ could not resist dialing in and crashing another party. I think these guys are a little more savvy then you give them credit for…their job is marketing and they are good at what they do…they sit around and dream this kind of stuff up!"

Okay, 10:15 pm EST friend, my own view is that PZ craves attention because he has neither good evidence that his theories are true nor a distinguished publication record. If it was a Premise Media strategy, as my friend believes, it may be miscalculated. Many journalists in the legacy media are about as independent in these matters as dairy cows. (Cows who are not milked face really, really serious suffering, so they must go along with barn routines.) I myself am perpetually amazed at the stupidities that science journalists will believe, but then I co-wrote a book in which that was a major theme, The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul. Most of the time, their gullibility was hilarious.

Update March 29 2008 11:05 am EST: Here's PZ on the stunt. He doesn't "feel" set up, but I just don't know.

March 29 2008 5:46 am EST: Here's an account of the teleconference that gives some idea of the sort of people who seek to ruin the careers of scientists who doubt Darwin. Note that, in this account, all errors and crimes of Darwin's followers are denied - indeed, definitions constantly shift so no error can ever be pinned down - until you look for a more rational, less hate-filled account. In an era when the Catholic Church has apologized for historic wrongs, this sort of thing should arouse suspicion, quite apart from the general bad character and free indulgence of hate that the site exhibits.) Note: It was submitted, I think twice, to the combox and I don't publish naked URLs, so I have placed it here.


Here are some clips from Expelled.


March 28, 2008 3:45 am: Re the new level of caution around the screenings of Expelled (the documentary about the suppression of scientists whose research shows that there is design in the universe), line producer Mark Mathis writes back to say, "Yes, that's the concern, that illegal recording will occur with the intent to damage the film."

The part I don't get is, why didn't Mathis think of that before? There's a huge scandal just under the surface - the suppression of evidence against materialist theories of all kinds. The suppressors are deadly serious ideologically, and most are funded by tax money.

Plus, they have thousands of media allies who have never considered for a moment the possibility that materialism might not be true - because they never hear, let alone report, the evidence that disconfirms it.

Well, in my experience, people who land up in this arena almost always learn the hard way what they face ...

March 28, 2008 10:49 AM I interviewed Mark recently, and he said,
MATHIS: The national media has a very high concentration of people who are liberal, agnostic, or atheist. That creates self-reinforcing feedback.

DOL: Self-reinforcing feedback ... you mean, they don't know many people who disagree with them? So they keep hearing that they are right all the time and they believe it. Their own opinions bouncing from wall to wall?

MATHIS: That's right. Today, we have a very large percentage of agenda journalists - so convinced they are right that they don't protect themselves against their own biases.

These agenda journalists tend to be at the top - they are outspoken, absolutely convinced, and determined to tell stories according to their own philosophy. At a lower level, you get people who are really not thinking about it. They tell their stories with a bias that they don't even realize they have.


So the big question is, can Mark's film survive the onslaught? Given that he was in TV news for ten years, I will put my lunch money on that.

While I am here, here's a video interview between American evangelical RC Sproul and Ben Stein, star of Expelled. I presume you can see Ben in long pants again, but write to tell me if it ain't so.

Update March 27 2008 7:22 pm EST : Line producer of Expelled, Mark Mathis, writes to say, re the cancellation of some screenings, "Some cancelled, most rescheduled. Big concerns about piracy. Also very hard to keep up with all the demands."

I have written back to ask whether he means by "piracy" that surreptitious videocam-ing from the audience could result in, for example, stuff on YouTube - stuff that won't even make the final cut.

It is certainly true that they are concerned about piracy. I cannot get a DVD from them myself and, as a journalist and published author who makes her living by writing, I would be the last person to support violation of intellectual property rights. (This annoys me because it creates a problem for me, as the film won't open in Canada till AFTER April 18.)

Update March 26 2:04 pm: I have just been informed that further Expelled screenings have been cancelled for security reasons. I will update when I have more information. The film will open as planned in April, according to my sources. Also, the story is leading in the blogosphere. So is Ben Stein, I gather.

Update March 26, 2008 8:41 pm A credible source informs me that some of the screenings have been cancelled, but that others are planned, and that he himself was asked to chase guests for new screenings. Hmmm. Is it possible that the Expelled folk are changing venues to avoid planned disruptions? Well, we'll see.

Update March 26, 2008 4:09 pm According to the Web site, the film will be in theatres March 18, and you can find out from
Carmike when it is coming to town. (Or get together a party to phone them up to tell them not to show it, thus guaranteeing DVD sales.) Also, you can get group rates, so if you are Darwin fans, you can all go together and boo in unison. (Yes, I DO think that way about you. And NO, PZ Myers is NOT a nice guy. Anyone who doubts this, scroll down for some of his comments. Check out this, for example, but I quote some of it below, in what is becoming a very long post, I see. But at least it's all here in one place.)

Update March 26, 2008 4:31 pm: Here's some stats from Premise Media on the Technorati blog popularity results.

SANTA FE, N.M. (BUSINESS WIRE)--Something amazing happened yesterday. The controversy around Premise Media’s upcoming movie Ben Stein’s EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed became the hottest topic in the blogosphere. According to BlogPulse, a service of Nielsen Buzzmetrics, the issue held the number one slot throughout the day on Monday, March 24th (http://www.blogpulse.com). There were also over 800 results on Technorati (www.technorati.com).

“It is amazing to see the reaction of PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins and their cohorts when one of them is simply expelled from a movie. Yet these men applaud when professors throughout the nation are fired from their jobs and permanently excluded from their profession for mentioning Intelligent Design,” said producer Mark Mathis. Mathis was at the event that has raised this controversy.

Mathis continued, “I hope PZ’s experience has helped him see the light. He is distraught because he could not see a movie. What if he wasn’t allowed to teach on a college campus or was denied tenure? Maybe he will think twice before he starts demanding more professors be blacklisted and expelled simply because they question the adequacy of Darwin's theory.”


I've got some calls and mail out to various places to find out why they cancelled the rest of the advance screening. Maybe security, as I first heard, or maybe they don't feel they need them now, or who knows?

PZ Myers, who was evicted from an Expelled screening last Thursday, was the person 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.


Update March 26, 2008 12:51 pm

[Update notes from March 25 and following are below.]

A friend tells me Expelled was cut down from 8 hours to 90 minutes. That is more or less normal. It probably means that people who think they are in it may not be in the end. They will most likely be on the DVD.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette observes that Myers himself said,
Oh, well. I have two warnings for the creationists.

One, I will go see this movie, and I will cheer loudly at my 30 seconds or whatever on the screen, and I will certainly disembowel its arguments here and in any print venue that wants me. That's going to be fun.
Two, next time I'm asked to be recorded for a creationist propaganda film, I will demand more money, and a flight and a limousine to the premiere. They can pay for my tuxedo rental, too. And my hotel room will have a jacuzzi and a bowl of M&Ms — green ones only.


Well, I can certainly see why he didn't endear himself to Mark Mathis.

The prospect of him cheering "loudly" wouldn't endear him to me.

She adds
Sounds like disruption to me-- you try it sometime, bet you get kicked out of the movie.
Hat tip Ffs!

(Note: She originally posted this in the combox here.)

Someone whose comment I rejected wrote to tell me that PZ Myers is a nice guy in person. I don't care, okay. I am entitled to take him at his word as provided in his posts, linked above and below. And I intend to - unless he informs me personally that it is all hogwash, in which case, ....

Also, a friend asks, given Myers's well-advertised views,
Would a known Christian, especially one with a known ID persuasion, be able to take a course under Myers without fear of intimidation, ridicule, belittling and threats found on his web site?


Well, here is his university's policy on the subject:
The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. Inquiries regarding compliance may be directed to the UMM Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Officer at (320) 589-6021.


While we are here, you would think that so zealous a defender of "science" as Myers would have a stellar publication record. Friends searched for me and this is all they could find (though it only goes back twelve years):

Ethanol teratogenesis in the zebrafish, Danio rerio.
Author(s): Myers PZ, Larson M, Hartwell M
Source: DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY Volume: 235 Issue: 1 Pages: 245-245 Meeting Abstract: 339 Published: JUL 1 2001
Times Cited: 0

2. Title: Calcium signals monitored from leopard frog optic tectum after the optic nerve has been selectively loaded with calcium sensitive dye
Author(s): Dudkin EA, Myers PZ, Ramirez-Latorre JA, et al.
Source: NEUROSCIENCE LETTERS Volume: 258 Issue: 2 Pages: 124-126 Published: DEC 18 1998
Times Cited: 4

Dudkin EA. Myers PZ. Ramirez-Latorre JA. Gruberg ER. Calcium signals monitored from leopard frog optic tectum after the optic nerve has been selectively loaded with calcium sensitive dye. [Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Neuroscience Letters. 258(2):124-6, 1998 Dec 18.
UI: 9875543

Stachel SE. Grunwald DJ. Myers PZ. Lithium perturbation and goosecoid expression identify a dorsal specification pathway in the pregastrula zebrafish. [Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.] Development. 117(4):1261-74, 1993 Apr.
UI: 8104775

Myers PZ. Bastiani MJ. Growth cone dynamics during the migration of an identified commissural growth cone. [Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Journal of Neuroscience. 13(1):127-43, 1993 Jan.
UI: 8423468

Myers PZ. Bastiani MJ. Cell-cell interactions during the migration of an identified commissural growth cone in the embryonic grasshopper. [Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Journal of Neuroscience. 13(1):115-26, 1993 Jan. UI: 8423467

Myers PZ. Bastiani MJ. NeuroVideo: a program for capturing and processing time-lapse video. [Journal Article. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Computer Methods & Programs in Biomedicine. 34(1):27-33, 1991 Jan.
UI: 2036787

Metcalfe WK. Myers PZ. Trevarrow B. Bass MB. Kimmel CB. Primary neurons that express the L2/HNK-1 carbohydrate during early development in the zebrafish. [Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Development. 110(2):491-504, 1990 Oct.
UI: 1723944

Myers PZ. Eisen JS. Westerfield M. Development and axonal outgrowth of identified motoneurons in the zebrafish. [Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Journal of Neuroscience. 6(8):2278-89, 1986 Aug.
UI: 3746410

Eisen JS. Myers PZ. Westerfield M. Pathway selection by growth cones of identified motoneurones in live zebra fish embryos. [Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Nature. 320(6059):269-71, 1986 Mar 20-26.
UI: 3960108

Myers PZ. Spinal motoneurons of the larval zebrafish. [Journal Article. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.] Journal of Comparative Neurology. 236(4):555-61, 1985 Jun 22.
UI: 4056102

Green DM. Myers PZ. Reyna DL. CHROMPAC III: an improved package for microcomputer-assisted analysis of karyotypes. [Journal Article] Journal of Heredity. 75(2):143, 1984 Mar-Apr.
UI: 6546940


Funny, my lead author on The Spiritual Brain, Mario Beauregard, has 70 publications and I suppose he is in the same age range as PZ.


Plus: Here are a zillion links to the controversy from Greg Laden. Note also Brazilian news coverage.

March 24, 2008: Update note from line producer Mark Mathis, who writes me to say:

"You should know that I invited Michael shermer to a screening at NRB in Nashville. He came and is writing a review for scientific American. I banned pz because I want him to pay to see it. Nothing more. "


Note: See also the earlier post on PZ Myers getting expelled from Expelled.

For convenience, where there are further developments (and there clearly are), I will update from here, and it's not my fault if the story is confusing.

March 25 2008:

8: 11 am: Chris Hewitt of the Minneapolis-based Pioneer Press writes

"Expelled," subtitled "No Intelligence Allowed," is the controversial film that argues schools should be teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution. Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota-Morris -- and, more to the point, a
prominent atheist -- was interviewed for "Expelled" last April, although he says he was told the film was an evenhanded look at the intersection of science and religion and was to be called
"Crossroads."


I will be very surprised if the film "argues schools should be teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution." I assume that Ben's school in the film is a metaphor. (While we are here, the Discovery Institute does NOT think that intelligent design should be taught in schools, only that arguments against Darwin's theory should be permitted.)

Hewitt - like many people - would be very surprised, I think, at just how bad the evidence is for Darwinian and other materialist evolution. But don't believe me, read Michael Behe's Edge of Evolution. For example, there is very little evidence that Darwin's natural selection functions as a source of new information - which it must do if it is to have the status Darwinists insist on. That is WHY expressing public doubt is so risky. A huge amount of prestige and grant money is at stake.

Hewitt goes on to note:
"Myers was in the Twin Cities this week for the American Atheists Conference 2008 in Minneapolis and, coincidentally, he learned there was to be a free screening of "Expelled" at the Mall of America Thursday night. So he registered to attend with his wife, Mary, along with what Myers called "a whole parade of atheists," including internationally famous science writer, Richard Dawkins, whose books include "The God Delusion."

"They all got in, but Myers did not.


So could there be anything unusual about Myers that annoyed the organizers?

Well, a friend draws my attention to some Myers comments at Raving Atheist:

(WARNING: You are about to read the sort of language that pretty much guarantees that a comment will not see the light of day at THIS blog. But I have no means of explaining what I think is going on otherwise.)

On politics:

Howard Dean was my favorite in the last big campaign. If someone stands up and says what they think and tells the wingnuts and religiots to go sit on their thumbs and spin, they'll get my vote.


At one point, the interviewer asks, "In a related matter, how come when I enter the search term "demented fuckwit" into Pharyngula I get about a zillion hits?" (09-20-2007, 08:34 PM)

Myers's reply:
Somebody's got to be in charge with slapping around the demented fuckwits. The position has devolved on me. (09-20-2007, 08:39 PM)


The whole interview may be enlightening if you've the stomach.

Reading it, I now get a much clearer sense of what probably happened at the theatre at Mall of America last Thursday night.

Here's my take: Mark Mathis does not mind atheists in general but he did not want THIS guy in the theatre at his private (= non-commercial) screening. The point about making PZ "to pay to see it" comes down to this: If PZ came to the theatre for a regular commercial screening - not a private screening organized by the producer - and didn't mind his mouth, well that would be somebody else's problem, not Mark's.

Actually, I don't doubt there is more to the story. But this kind of thing has got to be a factor. I would love to see a security video.

March 25 2008 7:09 am EST:

Volunteer Leonard Gee, whose account of PZ's ejection is provided below, writes to clarify,
I was a volunteer and eyewitness at the Minneapolis Expelled movie where Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers showed up uninvited to this private event. PZ MYERS was asked to leave by security. Dawkins was admitted. Thank you also for posting my comments about the Expelled Minneapolis showing which Expelled Associate Producer Mark sent you. "Anonymous" on this blog questioned my comment pondering why Dawkins used a passport and not a driver's license. Blogger Al offered this explanation as a possibility:until 10 years or so ago, UK driving licenses simply did not have a photograph on them Thanks Al. To me that seems like a very reasonable explanation. My main point was simply to witness what I saw..in this case the fact that Dawkins signed in under "Clinton" and used a passport.
- Leonard Gee


My own view is that some are hoping that the uproar around PZ Myers can be used to discredit the film itself. My sense is that that won't happen. Not getting admitted to a private screening under controversial circumstances is hardly the same thing as suffering a concerted effort to ruin one's career, which is what happened to a number of ID-friendly scientists - with the hearty endorsement of PZ Myers, as you can see from the quote above. That is precisely what Expelled is about.

For the first time - in this film - many members of the public will get to see what Darwinism looks like up close - how the Darwinists enforce against anyone who questions their dogma. I wouldn't have believed it myself ten years ago. But it is what the evidence actually shows. There is no question that the history of life did NOT unfold the way they say, but the public trough is a hard habit to break, and they show no sign of wanting to break it.


March 24, 2008 9:55 pm EST A friend offers some angst posts at the science blogs:

Cognitive Daily

PZ's posts:

"Expelled"

"Late night quick one"

"Busy busy busy"


My friend notes that this blogger is collecting the links to all the blog posts about the incident:
"PZ Myers Expelled, gains sainthood"

I am told to expect more information soon. If I don't hear from anyone, I think I will just buy the DVD and send it to Myers.

12:52 pm: At Uncommon Descent, Dave Springer argues that the explanation for the discrepancy between the Expelled producers' account and Dawkins's and Myers's account about whether Myers received an invite to the Expelled screening is that Myers was gaming the system by responding to an invitation he had not actually received.

He fooled the host by gaming the invitation/response system employed. The host wasn’t checking RSVPs against a list of invitations sent out but rather just assumed that any RSVP received was in response to an invitation sent out.

Perhaps PZ will issue a statement on this. Meanwhile, I will still pay for his ticket if he agrees to sit through the film.

In other news, the Inside Higher Ed weighs in on the whole affair, opining

The movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” is already generating press in advance of its April 18 release. With a widely recognizable host, an explosive topic and a self-consciously conspiratorial tone, the slickly produced documentary at least has the ingredients for success on a Michael Moore scale. While popular conceptions of academe as a haven for aloof, godless eggheads isn’t uncommon, some scholars are especially worried that the movie could make an end run around science and take a misleading message to the public. The producers retort that intelligent design, prohibited in the classroom, has rightly reappeared in the cineplex.


Well, if you WANT an idea to spread, make it sound dangerous. If they taught ID in the classroom, most students would just snore through it. Now they won't.

Note: The above link originally read "Chronicle of Higher Ed". A helpful reader corrected the error for me. The reader insists that there is a big difference between the two politically, but I don't know.

Oh, and here's Richard Dawkins's account of Expelled:

The whole tone of the film is whiny, paranoid -- pathetic really. The narrator is somebody called Ben Stein. I had not heard of him, but apparently he is well known to Americans, for it is hard to see why else he would have been chosen to front the film. He certainly can't have been chosen for his knowledge of science, nor his powers of logical reasoning, nor his box office appeal (heavens, no), and his speaking voice is an irritating, nasal drawl, innocent of charm and of consonants. I suppose that makes it a good voice for conveying the whingeing paranoia that I referred to, so maybe that was qualification enough.

Now, to the film itself. What a shoddy, second-rate piece of work. A favourite joke among the film-making community is the 'Lord Privy Seal'. Amateurs and novices in the making of documentaries can't resist illustrating every significant word in the commentary by cutting to a picture of it. The Lord Privy Seal is an antiquated title in Britain's heraldic tradition. The joke imagines a low-grade film director who illustrates it by cutting to a picture of a Lord, then a privy, and then a seal. Mathis' film is positively barking with Lord Privy Seals.

I take it that he didn't have a good time, so I am glad if he didn't have to pay. If line producer Mark Mathis takes up my idea, neither will PZ have to pay. (I have offered to pay for PZ's ticket if he watches the film all the way to the end.)


9:05 am Meanwhile, science journalist Chris Mooney argues that Myers' getting the bum's rush out of the theatre will probably help Expelled.

A friend writes to say,

- after getting several comments from his readers suggesting that this is NOT good for 'Expelled' Mooney wrote the following...........
"could you folks please try, just this one time, to check your highly developed critical faculties at the door, and accept that most Americans don't see it your way, and won't? All they'll know is that Ben Stein has a new movie out and it's really controversial and getting a lot of attention."


Well, thanks to Darwin's fans, they probably know a bit more now ....

Another friend writes to remind me that the worst thing that could happen to Expelled would be indifference. You know, polite applause and all that. He asks me to remember Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Screams from The New York Times about the film supposedly being anti-Semitic got it free publicity Gibson just couldn't buy.

I think that the ID guys should give the Times's Cornelia Dean the Phillip Johnson Wedge award for really putting the Expelled advance screenings on the map with her story about PZ's ouster. Unless they would prefer to give it to PZ himself.

Apparently Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers posted a YouTube video on March 22 on Myers's expulsion from Expelled. It's been viewed 1866 times since then (9:18 am EST) and is worth watching for their side of the story.

I think that Mark Mathis should let me pay for a ticket for Myers. Because I can link to his blog when he trashes the film, it would be a business expense for me.
But Myers would have to agree to sit through the film before running off to trash it. None of this, "I really tried, I sincerely honestly tried" stuff. If I pay, he ruddy watches the film.


So many people are coming to the blog today, that I should really take the opportunity to advertise my books. Here they are. The earlier story follows:




Earlier story:

Well, we have heard from Cornelia Dean of The New York Times that

Two evolutionary biologists — P. Z. Myers of the University of Minnesota, Morris, and Richard Dawkins of Oxford — tried to go to the movies at the Mall of America in Minneapolis Thursday evening. Dr. Dawkins got in. Dr. Myers did not.

On those facts, everybody agrees. After that, things break down.


Well, I asked line producer Mark Mathis what he recalls from the evening, he sent me the account of a volunteer, Leonard Gee, which he said I had permission to post. I have changed the post only by adding some hard returns, for paragraphing, and cleaning up inevitable bad code:


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Minneapolis, Minnesota preview screening

March 20th 2008

As a local volunteer from Minneapolis, Minnesota I assisted with setting up the special Minneapolis preview screening of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The movie was set up specifically for specially invited guests of the film.

Unfortunately, more than just invited guests showed up. In fact several other rather notable uninvited guests also showed up as well - one by the name of P.Z. Myers and the other well known atheist Richard Dawkins (who were also in the film). After notifying the security at the Mall of America the P.Z. Myers was attempting to actually enter the theatre uninvited- the Mall of America security politely insisted he leave the theatre.

As the remaining movie guests filed past the volunteer I.D. checker several remaining Myers family members and friends, notably among them the atheist Richard Dawkins, checked in as a Myers invited guest.

Richard Dawkins signed in using the name ³Clinton² Dawkins and used his passport-rather then a drivers license to enter the theater as a guest of the Myers. (This is usually the kind of drama I am used to seeing on the screen once inside the movie theatre on the screen-and not in the hallway of a movie theatre. I knew it was going to be an very ³interesting² night ahead- indeed!).

Before the movie started, producer Mark Mathis first briefly introduced the film. Because this was a special early preview of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, producer Mark Mathis mentioned that the film version we would be watching would be projected a bit dimly- as this was not the final directors-cut version of the film.

In spite of some minor technical issues with this early version of the movie I must say - the film really did a remarkable job presenting the controversy and really delivered on content. The imagery of the film was both powerful and beautiful- while at the same time nostalgic films clips injected some needed levity into a rather serious film subject.

The basic premise of the movie is simply that there should be a fair and open forum to present both Darwinian theory and Intelligent Design theory. The film suggests there should be academic freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, however, as the movie points out with numerous examples: openness within the academic community is slowly eroding and being replaced by a kind of academic political correctness.

Academia is slowly being closed off to new ideas - even scientific ones. The movie presents to the audience numerous dramatic examples of where there has been radical suppression of alternative scientific theories (hence the title of the film).

Why is this happening exactly? The movie suggests it is because scientists and academics simply dare to ask questions and about Darwinian evolutionary theory- which must be not be questioned. The movie provides numerous dramatic examples of this academic intolerance from Darwinists towards Intelligent Design theory.

Question and Answer session

Other than the movie itself, another highlight of the evening for me was the wonderful discussion that took place with producer Mark Mathis during his post-film Q&A session.

Although the general tone of the discussion was very civil things become energized when it became apparent that Richard Dawkins,one of the main interviewees in the film, was in the audience.

Dawkins stood up and abruptly started firing off questions at Producer Mark Mathis - who politely and very professionally informed the audience that this person was well-known atheist Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins stood up and questioned Mathis on several issues. He questioned Mathis on why P.Z. Myers was denied access to the free preview showing of the movie.

Mathis calmly responded by explaining that Myers had simply not been an invited guest to this free preview and pointed out the fact that he could pay to see the movie after its release.

(He also joked that he enjoyed the idea of Myers paying $8.00 to see the movie along with everyone else).

It certainly did not escape notice of myself or many in the theatre that Dawkins apparently also had entered into the free movie preview apparently as an uninvited guest.

After Mathis responded to Dawkins' first objection - Dawkins then claimed to object to the film on the premise that any interview he had done in the film was under the assumption that he was interviewed by Ben Stein and Mark Mathis for a film that was to be about the even-handed look at the Intelligent Design vs. Darwinian evolution controversy. The conversation basically went like this:

Dawkins: I agreed to be in the film under the assumption that I was being interviewed by Ben Stein (and by Mark Mathis) for a film that was to take an even-handed look at the Intelligent Design/Darwinian Evolution controversy.

Mathis- It was a fair treatment.

Dawkins--You got me into the movie under false pretenses.

Mathis- I told you that it was a movie about intelligent design and Darwinistic evolution controversy + (various other things that were in the
movie)

Dawkins: I was bending over backwards to define an example of what could be a potential source of life's origins. Repeats 'I was bending over backwards' several times. You ridiculed the alien concept.

Mathis- I did not ridicule the concept- we just showed in the movie what you said in response to the question.

Mathis- I want to correct- what you said on the radio show wasn't accurate; wasn't true (more discussion took place)

Dawkins- sorry I did misstate but it was a minor point.


Mathis:- I didn't think it was minor - you called me a liar.

At one point during the exchange between Mathis and Dawkins one unidentified audience member in the audience even politely stood up in obvious disagreement with Dawkins and correctly suggested that the main point of the film was that Intelligent Design should be presented along with Darwinian evolution.

Dawkins then attempted to try to continue in debate with Mathis even though Mathis had previously said that wanted the after-movie Q & A session to be about Q & A and not "debate". I really admired Mathis' smooth, controlled handling of the entire eveningŠespecially the Q & A session. He provided the forum with the type of welcoming and respectful open conversation - the kind of conversation and open discussion the film itself suggests should be much more commonplace -. especially within the academic community in America.

- Leonard Gee
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Meanwhile:

One blogger found himself expelled for even writing about the Expelled film.

In the next few hours, this blog post was visited by more than 10,000 new visitors. And many of them wrote to me, either via Comments on this blog, or by email. Almost all of them demonstrated clearly that they’ve already made up their minds about Expelled even before it is ready for theaters. And almost all of them seem to think that Stuart is launching some kind of nuclear attack on them and their evolutionist theories. They have risen up en masse and published character assassinations of Stuart, calling him “a shameful liar” and “a disgrce to his university,” when in fact he was just a college student and a moviegoer who sent me an off-the-cuff email telling me about his memorable moviegoing experience.
Sounds like somebody’s really scared. I’ve been buried in hate mail from evolutionists and athiests in the last 24 hours, much of it laced with obscenities and spectacular recommendations about sex acts that Christians should go and do with themselves. Ah, what fine representatives for their worldview. Very little of the response has borne any substance. (I’ve posted some of the comments that came in, but only those that were offered with civility and restraint. I eventually gave up on sifting through the pile for looking for more.)


Having heard these and other accusations - including a claim of a "fairly libelous"accusation from foxfier (the accuser seems unaware that foxfier is a woman), I contacted line producer Mark Mathis.

Incidentally, last summer, I (Denyse) was at a meeting where four scientists whose careers had been shipwrecked by frantic, persecutory Darwinists spoke about what had happened to them.

An elderly scientist got up and said that it almost provoked him to thoughts of violence, to think that these fine people should be so burdened by troubles and struggles because the evidence from their work did not support Darwin.

Well, maybe Expelled will help. Most of them are in the film, I gather.

Look, I can't help the fact that Darwinism isn't true. Nor can they. They - and I - just want the persecution to end.

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