EvolutionNews.org caught lying out its ass. Again.

Posted: March 23, 2008 in Atheism, Evolution, News, Religion
Tags: , , , , , ,

car_salesman.jpgEvolutionNews.org, a little puppet of the Discovery Institute, has a long history of printing falsehoods, misinformation, quote mining and generally being about as reliable and trustworthy as a tweed jacket wearing used car salesman with a thin moustache.

Their latest round of bollocks? They attempt to cover and justify the expelling of PZ Myers from a screening of the Expelled documentary. Let’s go through their coverage and point out all the falsehoods and outright lies, shall we?

Like many films in pre-release, Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is being selectively screened around the country to develop a buzz.

Most such screenings are not done in a way like this and certainly do not have audiences hand picked. Instead, movie studios bring in a wide selection of people as a test audience to see if they genuinely like the movie or not. They then take the objective assessment from the test audience and then use that information to go make a final cut.

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.

That is hardly surprising since the supposed test audience are hand picked to be filled with, let’s face it, people who simply do not know any better. It is like holding (to use the films own tactics to link a theory with someone completely unrelated) a neo-nazi rally, inviting on known idiot skin head and then claiming that nazism is popular.

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!

pzmyers800.jpgActually, both PZ Myers and Dawkins have stated that producers refused to hand over questions in advance since they wanted a more candid response. Multiple sources against your one? I think I’ll take the people who don’t have the track record of speaking out their backsides, thankyou.

— 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.

drooling_homer.gifYes, some editing room magic at work. It is amazing how that can change the meaning of what someone is saying, isn’t it? It is a common tactic used by ‘current affairs’ shows (such as the reknownedly bad ‘Today Tonight’ and ‘A Current Affair’) and one which was lampooned in an episode of the Simpsons “Mmm, Sweet, sweet Candy…”.

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.

money-print-c10055084.jpegI think that the way that the producers are offering to give money away, in excess of the price of tickets, is going to hurt any commercial value of a niche documentary a lot more than people trying to actually see the film so they can judge it for themselves.

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.

Far more likely a case of those people who were actually in the film being curious about how they were portrayed. You’d think it common curtesy for the producers to invite those people it used to some sort of screening, but I guess not. Of course, ‘crashing’ is an entirely wrong term. Why? Well, read on for that.

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.

I do not know how someone can be labelled as ‘crashing’ an event when they followed the same exact application/invitation process as everyone else there and were clearly approved to attend. For those not in the know, the film had a preview screening invitation form on it’s website. People who wished to see a preview screening would sign up using this form and if they were approved, they’d get sent an email stating as such. PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins and those with them all signed up using their real names and were approved, receiving those confirmation emails.

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.

He had the same invitation as everyone else. Was he specifically invited? No. Was anyone present at the screening specifically invited? No. Did Dawkins or Myers have a ticket? No. Did anyone in the line have a ticket? No. The way the system worked was that he attendees lined up and collected their tickets as they showed photo ID as their names were checked off a list.

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.

Which:

a) goes against Dawkins long standing view that there is a possibility that God exists but there is no evidence of such, so the chances of it being real are relatively zero.

b) is nothing to be nervous about anyhow. There is a far greater chance that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the fantastically enormous universe we live in than there is of the christian god existing. There is no evidence that alien life kick started life on Earth but the chances of it happening are, by default, greater than that of supernatural intelligent design.

In short, it’s a classic piece of creationist quote mining. Quote mining, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the way that one snippet or phrase is taken out of context to mean something else entirely different to what the speaker meant. The Discovery Institute is infamous for widespread use of this particular tactic and this appears to be just another example of it.

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.

Really? Some examples which has stood up to some objective examination, perhaps? Expelled makes several claims about Intelligent Design proponents being discriminated against in academia but all of them have been shown to be false. Crocker was fired for being incompetent, Gonzalez … incompetence and extremely poor academic record, Sternberg … well, it was clearly shown he was just spouting lies and hasn’t actually lost anything (see previous post for examples and more information)

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.

And yet the writer of this article I’m quoting, one Bruce Chapman, can’t seem to be able to link to any ‘burn the heretic’ entries or papers published by Myers. Tsk.

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.

Yes, it is rather odd that a documentary (and that is a very loose use of the term) which is supposed to be all about academic freedoms and exchanges of ideas … well, does everything in it’s power to stop the film being seen by people who aren’t already proponents of the idea. Oddly enough, this may be the first sensible thing Chapman writes. Of course, in an actual scientific debate on the subject of ID vs Evolution … well, Evolution always seems to win hands down. Why would that be? Well, to start with ID isn’t even a scientific theory (it’s debatable if it even ranks as a hypothesis) and … oh, hold on … it isn’t even science to begin with, as settled at the Dover trial. Debating ID really is a waste of time until they bring some sort of evidence to the table, otherwise it would be like Stephen Hawking debating with Cosmo Charlene the astrologer about Cosmology vs. The Zodiac.

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, personally, have not seen this claim made. It may have been, I simply do not know. That being said, it is well known the DI has lent all the support it can to the movie through various means.

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?

Wait. The defence offered by the outright lying involved in Expelled’s interviewing tactics is “It’s alright, other people do it as well.”? Seriously?

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.

As they’ve stated themselves (and they should know, they were there at the time), they received no questions beforehand. They also did not ask to be paid for their time as the statement alludes to, put were offered cheques afterwards. Scientists find it hard enough to get time enough to inform the public of ideas and discoveries as is, they love to do pro-bono work to share the wealth, so to speak.

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.

Ooh, now we get to the personal insults. That’s a fine intellectual level you’re setting there, my friend. Oh wait, you’ve already thrown intellectual honesty out the window long, long ago so why not, hey? Sadly for you, the position taken by Dawkins and Myers is the one that is supported by the evidence and facts. The position of Intelligent Design, on the other hand, has been able to offer absolutely nothing as evidence or proof behind vague ramblings of “Maybe god did it”. The closest ID has ever come to evidence was the idea, most famously brought forth by Behe, of Irreducible Complexity … and that died a pretty quick death when it was actually looked into, didn’t it?

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Comments
  1. ozatheist says:

    to add insult to injury, not only have evolutionnews been caught out grossly misrepresenting the facts, the site evolutionnews.org is supposed to be the blog for the Discovery Institute. Since when do blogs NOT allow comments? I guess when they fear they’ll be caught out for the liars they are?

  2. Monado says:

    One minor point: PZ Myers registered for the screening under his own name, as did members of his family. Each person was allowed to bring three guests. It is likely that Prof. Dawkins came as “and guest.” So the producer would not have Prof. Dawkins’ name in advance, although Dawkins was in line with British passport in hand.

    That explains why producer Mark Mathis was able to tell a a private duty police officer to pull Prof. Myers out of the lineup, before he even reached the sign-in table, and order him to leave the theatre. Mathis reveals himself to be petty, vindictive, and incompetent all at the same time.

  3. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Crocker’s contract was not renewed.

  4. Game, set and match to PZ and Dawkins in their doubles match against Mathis and “Expelled”!

  5. thewordofme says:

    Fascinating story. I’m wondering if I should actually go to see it , as I don’t want to be supportive of ID endeavors..

  6. Now she’s teaching a lot of business opportunities for everyone who wants to make money online, an extraordinary amount of marketers fail to earn big money because they fail at conversion. So again these authors may never make it into a bookstore but that’s fine with them because they’re hitting their goals elsewhere.

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