Custom Search

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Expelled scientists not expelled from filmography database

In an odd twist of popular culture, the scientists, doctor, and prof who appear in Expelled - Caroline Crocker, Michael Egnor, Guillermo Gonzalez , Richard Sternberg, and Robert Marks - now each have their own IMDb page - a page on a site that keeps track of movies. "For profs, this is really strange stuff," one writes me to say. Somehow I doubt they'll be hiring agents or acting coaches though.

If Darwinian explanations were tried in the present day ...

At some point, I am going to be writing a post at Design of Life blog on the origin of sexual reproduction. Something that I - as a layperson - have noticed about Darwinian theory is the way in which mechanisms and benefits are carelessly intermingled when explanations are offered. The result is a thesis that looks to the lay public much sounder than it actually is.

When I ask "how did sexual reproduction evolve", a Darwinist often explains why it is supposed to be a benefit. What I wanted to know was HOW did it evolve, not why it is a benefit.

Perhaps he assumes that the how will someday be explained by Darwinism, so all we need now is a plausible explanation for the why. Sloppy thinking, that.

I wonder what would happen if someone tried that approach with a news story in the present day, instead of the remote past? It might go something like this:
Me: You say you got a dog who is a veterinarian? A DVM? So how did that dog get through vet school?

He: He really, really wanted to be a vet, to help other dogs.

Me: No, but ...

He: Darwin's theory can account for altruism too, you know. That was a major recent finding, further cementing the neo-Darwinian synthesis ... it's all about selfish genes, see ...

Me: But that's not what I'm concerned about just now. I want to know HOW that dog mastered the brutal courses in ...

He: Well, you journalists SHOULD be concerned about altruism! The evolutionary future of all species ... blah, blah, blah ... the evils of species-ism ... St. Jane of the Apes ...

Me: Can I ask you one simple question? What, exactly, is that dog's IQ quot -

He: That's just the sort of question only a creationist would ask! And I don't argue with creationists. A waste of time. This interview is now over.

Me: (Later, to self, on the bus ... ) In my granddad's day, it was horses on the payroll. Now it's dogs on the veterinary register. With one difference: How do you break the scandal to the public in THIS atmosphere? I run a risk even questioning the dog's credentials. ...

Phooey. I think I'll go cover that flock of flying pigs while I'm at it.

Canada's Shadow Justice System and My Disabled Comments Box

Further to the fact that I disabled Comments recently, some readers may be interested in Pundita's reflections on a blogger's recent case before one of Canada's "Human Rights Commissions":
... the largest truth is that Marc Lemire kept his site within the letter of the law -- without fully realizing that there was a shadow justice system in effect in Canada, a system that could circumvent virtually all laws on the books. In his discussion of the Canadian Constitution Federation decision to intervene in his case, Marc observes:

One of their key arguments is that Section 13 is nothing more than a quasi-criminal statute without any of the protections of criminal legislation.

Truer words were never spoken, and it's on the basis of that truth that I defend Marc Lemire's position and give him the benefit of the doubt at every turn. Everyone who respects the rule of law must do the same.

In the meantime, I try to avoid second-guessing what may "offend" someone somewhere.

To keep up with the struggle for freedom of speech in Canada, check in with Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.


Baylor Prez Spins Expelled Worries: God of Bible is God of genome ... but not of Bob Marks's Evolutionary Informatics Lab

While Imagining no heaven, no hell, no Yoko Ono, and no delay till the Expelled DVD comes out, I note where John Lilley, Baylor’s president, has seen fit to defend his institution in the light of the unflattering portrait provided in Expelled.

Read more here.

Labels: , ,

Imagine Yoko Ono Shutting Down Showings of Expelled?

So far it is imaginary.

Ono is seeking at least $75,000 in damages and injunctive relief.

Her case turns on the use of some lines from Ono’s late husband John Lennon’s ”Imagine”*.

On April 30, 2008, a New York-based United States judge, Sidney Stein, enjoined “further distribution” of Expelled until Yoko Ono’s lawsuit for copyright infringement is heard.

A legal eagle friend has shown me a copy of the judge’s order, with hand-scrawled changes. It means that new copies of the film can’t be sent out until the hearing later this month, but so far as I can see, the current copies of the film can continue to be shown.

*While finding the link to Lennon and “Imagine” on YouTube, I noticed quite a number of attacks on Expelled. But so far no one seems to have pirated footage of the film, or at least not that they are crowing about.

I almost think that’s too bad. I am getting impatient. So many American friends have seen it, but it is not coming to Canada till at least June 6.

While we are here, how is Expelled doing after 17 days?

Well, as I write this (7:18 EST), it is #6 in political documentaries, #13 in documentaries, and #10 in Christian documentaries at MOJO. Here’s the daily calendar view. I don’t yet have more than an estimate for this weekend's box office, but it comes out to:

TOTAL LIFETIME GROSSES: Domestic: $6,619,000 est.

About the people who are confidently predicting doom for Expelled, a friend writes to say that they crack him up:
I believe it's #13 of all time in box office receipts after only two weekends and it's possible, if not likely, it will crack into the top ten before it's done. $6 million going into the third weekend is tanking? This person needs to check out "Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden" which came out on the same weekend as EXPELLED. I don't think Spurlock's bomb (the guy who brought you Supersize Me) has even made $300k yet. That's a poor performing film. By contrast, EXPELLED is a huge success.
By the way, I wouldn’t pay much attention to reader opinion at the MoJo site:
Readers B- (362 votes)
Your Grade Log in
As: 229 63.3%
Bs: 12 3.3%
Cs: 3 0.8%
Ds: 3 0.8%
Fs: 115 31.8%
In other words, what you think of Expelled depends on whether you think that scientists should be allowed to talk about evidence of design in the universe or life forms. But if you don’t think so, you were less likely than others to see the film. In fact, I have no idea what proportion of the 31.8% who failed the film did in fact see it. There would really be no need for them to do so, of course; they could always watch another film and go home and rant about Expelled anyway.

Labels: ,

Who links to me?