Like many films in pre-release, Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is being selectively screened around the country to develop a buzz.
Press will be invited to screen the final version in three weeks, I’m told, while the official opening in theaters is April 18. Surprisingly, even the private screenings are causing excitement. Audiences love it.
In January I saw an early version that was screened in Fort Lauderdale and I will be at a Seattle screening soon. The Darwinists who are portrayed in the film — giving answers to questions submitted in advance! — are worried about what the public will think of their views when produced incontrovertibly in their own words. What they say is damning, all right, but it’s not much different than what they write in books and say in speeches and other appearances.
There is a growing fear by the producers that Darwinists may be trying get into the showings to make bootleg copies (for the Web?), possibly in hopes of damaging the commercial value. Others may be crashing because they want to trash it before it even gets reviewed by the media. P.Z. Myers, who was not let into a showing last night in Minnesota, probably falls in the latter category.
Amazingly, the best selling Oxford scientist/author Richard Dawkins also crashed a showing of Expelled in Minnesota last night and he not only was let in, but introduced at the end of the showing.
Dawkins apparently acknowledged that he had not been invited and did not have a ticket. A sophomoric side to his ideological campaign is thus revealed.
Dawkins, understandably is nervous about this film, among other reasons because Ben Stein has him on camera acknowledging that life on Earth may, indeed, have been intelligently designed, but that it had to have been accomplished by space aliens! This is hilarious, of course, because Dawkins is death on intelligent design. But it turns out that that view applies only if it includes the possibility that the designer might be God.
Myers, of course, relished being expelled from Expelled, but objective observers know that Myers is the most vociferous advocate of expelling Darwin critics from academia. Not from movie pre-screenings where he wasn’t invited, mind you, but from their jobs. Too bad the film doesn’t show (and I wish it had), his promotion of advice to attack teachers and professors who dare question Darwin’s theory. The whole point of Myers is that he is a take-no-prisoners, crusading atheist scientist who has made it his purpose in life to harass people who disagree with him. Dawkins turns out to be his buddy and mutual admirer.
Frankly, I wish the producers would have a special pre-release screening for the Darwinists who are interviewed in the film — and invite some of the rest of us who have seen their depredations up close. We’d be glad to debate right there.
Among other things, I’d like to read some of the Darwinists’ statements and charges back to them and ask them to defend themselves. One of the most preposterous is that the well-funded’ Discovery Institute is funding this film! ( 1-They seem to have far more money available to them than we do, and 2-We are saving our pennies for the upcoming Broadway musical comedy, Darwin’s Folly.)
I have to say something else, personally. I have been sandbagged by one TV and documentary crew after another. So have Discovery-affiliated scientists. The interviewers all say they just want to understand the issue. Going in, they are quite clear about definitions, for example, and only start using Darwinist definitions of our positions when they report. They never provide questions in advance and even if they say they will stick to science questions and public policy, almost all sneak in questions about personal religious beliefs. Then, of all the footage, guess what gets on TV or in the documentary?
So it really is pathetic of Dawkins, et al to complain that when they were interviewed for Expelled they didn’t know that the film was inherently unfriendly. These are interviewees who received pre-agreed questions, signed release forms after the interviews were conducted, and actually got paid for their time.
I am getting more excited about Expelled myself and can’t wait to see the finished version. I suspect I’ll wish that the film was twice as long and had twice as much from Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, et al. From what I already have seen, they really expose themselves as the anti-intellectual, bullying poseurs they are — small men who above all are afraid of a fair contest.