Expelled Takes Canada by Storm

If you haven’t seen the weekend box office for Expelled’s Canadian debut, swallow whatever you’re drinking, make sure you’re securely seated, and if you haven’t been doing your crunches, apply proper abdominal support. Then click on through to Pharyngula.

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Canadians drink free in the cantina tonight.

We Were Wrong About Expelled

It’s soooo not about the evils of evolution:

Lots of people have reviewed Expelled. To some the movie has served to confirm their persecution complexes; to others the movie has demonstrated the utter dishonesty of the anti-evolution movement. But here comes Thomas Robb, national director of the KKK (and a Baptist minister), with a thoroughly unique take on the movie: it was made to encourage race mixing. No, I’m not making that up. He begins by pointing out that Ben Stein is a Jew and that he has “set a trap”:

Is the person who puts out the cheese, carrot etc a friend or are these things being set out to entice and to trap a victim. So Ben Stein has set a trap in the form of a movie to catch Christians and destroy their resistance to race-mixing.

Wow, Mark Mathis et al were really clever buggers. They so had us fooled! Good thing we have Thomas Robb, the original Sharp Tack, to reveal the true aim of Expelled! [/sarcasm]

You’ve gotta go read the whole post over at Dispatches. It’s hysterical.

Not only were we wrong about Expelled being about icky Darwinism and stuff, we’ve been wrong about ID all this time, too. Wow. Here we thought it was a tarted-up version of creationism, and Expelled was out there to topple Big Science and stuff, but it’s really something else entirely:

Now it seems that it may be politics. According to the attorney representing the producers of Expelled in the Yoko Ono suit seeking to remove John Lennon’s song “Imagine” from the film:

[Anthony T. Falzone] said an adverse ruling by [U.S. District Judge Sidney] Stein would mean “you have muzzled the speech of my clients” because they would have to replace the song with other images, losing the chance to make the issue important enough that it could even influence the U.S. presidential campaign.

“If you issue that injunction, you trample on these free speech rights and you put a muzzle on them and you do it in a way that stops them from speaking on this political issue leading
up to the election,” Falzone said.

It’s science! No, wait, it’s religion! No, wait, it’s about academic freedom! No, wait, it’s a political issue! No, wait, it’s… what’ll it be next? Here’s a thought: let’s morph it into mime!

I think my favorite part of Falzone’s snivelling was the idea that losing 25 seconds of a pilfered song would mean the difference between Expelled dying a quiet death and Expelled becoming the vehicle propelling ID front and center in the presidential campaign. Who’da thunk John Lennon had such power?

In the meantime, the injunction goes on, and PZ’s out of luck:

Apparently, a New York judge has upheld the injunction against the movie, so there will be no new showings, and DVD rights are in limbo.

The movie is dead anyway, so it doesn’t seem to be a significant decision. It’s not as if theater distributors are lined up clamoring for more copies of this stinker. Although, to be honest, I would like the rights cleared up, because the only way I’m ever going to see it is if I can rent the DVD from my local store.

Does anyone else get the sense that this movie’s only got life left in it because there’s still a few drops of entertainment at its expense left to be squeezed?

Catching Up with Expelled

It’s been a long time since Expelled hit the theaters and failed spectacularly to deal a death-blow to evolution. It didn’t give unstoppable momentum to various Academic Freedom bills. It didn’t topple Michael Moore’s documentary throne. Rather than further its agenda, it managed to make itself a laughing-stock amongst all but the most deluded of the IDiot crowd.

It’s faded faster than a bad dye job in the Arizona sun.

But, happily, there’s still a chance to have some fun at its expense.

The New Jersey Jewish News has a good question:

Stein joins an odd political/religious coalition in taking the measure of the 21st century and deciding that our biggest problem is that we have too much science and too little religion. As American children fall further behind in the classroom, and the United States relinquishes its reputation for technological innovation, perhaps only an economist like Stein can explain how it is in our country’s benefit to mock the fundamental biology upon which our understanding of the natural world relies.

Yeah, Ben. How will IDiocy benefit America? Or was this really your nefarious plan all along?

How to Ruin American Enterprise

12) Elevate mysticism, tribalism, shamanism and fundamentalism–and be sure to exclude educated, hardworking men and women–to an equal status with technology in the public mind. Make sure that, in order to pay proper (and politically correct) respect to all different ethnic groups in America, you act as if science were on an equal footing with voodoo and history with ethnic fable.

Everybody read that 2002 Forbes article as sarcasm, but in light of what he’s done lately, methinks it may have been more of a roadmap.

So how are his efforts to “elevate mysticism, tribalism, shamanism and fundamentalism…to an equal status with technology in the public mind” going? Ouch:


Not too good for a movie that proclaimed it would make $15-20 million in the opening weekend.
But how’s the theatre count? There’s still a chance… isn’t there?

Not in 402 theatres and falling, there’s not. Especially not when Yoko Ono has opened a can of whupass and ensured you can’t sneak it onto anymore screens, either.

A federal judge in Manhattan has told the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that they cannot distribute the film any further, until a copyright infringement complaint is heard in court later this month.

“Cannot distribute the film any further…” I suppose that means a swift DVD release is right out, then.

Ken Miller, one of the evolutionary biologists Expelled refused to include in their propaganda because he’s also a Christian, doesn’t have anything nice to say about it:

“Expelled” is a shoddy piece of propaganda that props up the failures of Intelligent Design by playing the victim card. It deceives its audiences, slanders the scientific community, and contributes mightily to a climate of hostility to science itself. Stein is doing nothing less than helping turn a generation of American youth away from science. If we actually come to believe that science leads to murder, then we deserve to lose world leadership in science. In that sense, the word “expelled” may have a different and more tragic connotation for our country than Stein intended.

Canadian Christianity ridicules it:

Matters are further confused by the fact that the film never acknowledges that some ID theorists actually believe in evolution, albeit perhaps only to a point.

Instead, the film allows the viewer to think that ID and evolution are natural enemies – an idea deepened by the film’s efforts to link Darwinism with the Holocaust.

The problem is, evolutionary theory – which is both older and newer than Darwin, by the way – is either true or it isn’t, and it doesn’t matter much whether people have abused the theory, any more than it matters whether people have abused, say, the teachings of Jesus. Within the film, Dawkins links the Bible to genocide just as surely as Stein links evolution to genocide, so what good does that tactic really do?

Reasons to Believe has even debunked its central premise:

In Reasons To Believe’s interaction with professional scientists, scientific institutions, universities, and publishers of scientific journals we have encountered no significant evidence of censorship, blackballing, or disrespect. As we have persisted in publicly presenting our testable creation model in the context of the scientific method, we have witnessed an increasing openness on the part of unbelieving scientists to offer their honest and respectful critique.

Our main concern about EXPELLED is that it paints a distorted picture. It certainly doesn’t match our experience. Sadly, it may do more to alienate than to engage the scientific community, and that can only harm our mission.

How fucking pathetic is it when even people peddling Biblical inerrancy and creationism don’t want to be seen in Expelled’s company?

All of this jabbing Expelled in the eye with their own log of stupid has been delightful, but things are slowing down to a trickle. That’s why I hope Ono’s suit is settled quickly, so that we can enjoy a reprise of the fuckery when the Expelled DVD is released. I’ll bet you a million dollars to a donut hole their bonus features include something stolen, blatantly copied, or breathtakingly dishonest.

What, no takers?

Attention John Derbyshire: the Cantina is Open

Poor John. It’s hard being a conservative in these troubled times.

Ben Stein’s fuckwittery knows no bounds:

In an interview with the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Ben Stein said the following amazing thing in an interview with Paul Crouch, Jr.

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [i.e. biologist P.Z. Myers], talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

And John Derbyshire suffers:

And there are NRO readers who are on board with this dreck? I need a drink.

We have drinks, John. Claim yourself a stool and name your poison.

You know, we don’t see eye-to-eye on demographics, among a number of other things, but I’d be pleased to pour for a man who can hold forth so passionately on science in one column, and quote Voltaire in response to Ben Stein’s dumbassitude in another. I think we have a basis for conversation here. And at least in my cantina, no one’s going to torment you by gushing over the wonders of Expelled.

It’s possible you’ll run into a few Mexicans, mind. But you might find the brown people aren’t as scary as you seem to think.

Hell, I’d imagine even the flaming liberals in this cantina are preferable to what you’ve endured of late, eh?

¡Viva pensamiento racional!

Fight ALL CAPS With ALL CAPS: Brilliant!

I nearly got myself in trouble at work laughing my ass off. I was spelunking the comment thread on Carpetbagger’s “Conservative Ben Stein insists, ‘Science leads you to killing people’” post, enjoying the number of politically active people who are also wise to Intelligent Design’s antics. Right in the middle of it, I encounter this:

43. On May 1st, 2008 at 8:28 pm, Ashok said:

Ben Stein NEVER said “Science” is leading people to kill. either the author is dumb or he is a liar and deceiver with the intent to deceive all the sheep here that follow him deceived and stating that it is science that Ben Stein is attacking.





I have read many people write “why dont the proponents of intelligent design prove their arguements?” Well Duh… they have … and the proofs are out there.

Look familiar? Yepper. The old IDiot “I’m full of shit, so I have to USE ALL CAPS and MULTIPLE PUNCTUATION MARKS!!!! to prove HOW SERIOUS I AM” method. The only thing we were missing was the variety of fonts, and the pretty colors. No doubt we’d have had them if such things could be inserted in comments.

As PZ noted when the Expelled lackwits sent him an email:

Font size changes, random underlining, random color changes — it is so typical of creationist email. If I didn’t know that these gomers had millions of dollars at their disposal, I’d consider this to be yet another rant from a lone fruitcake living in his mother’s basement.

Notice too the palpable hysteria and desperation.

There must be some kind of creationist style manual out there, packaged at a bargain price along with the Wedge Document.

But the most beautiful thing came later, when a commenter turned creationist tactics against the cretin and posted this gorgeous smackdown:

49. On May 1st, 2008 at 11:51 pm, Nemodog said:

As stated by an Ashok,


O.K. folks, here is how the scientific method really works. It’s not a democracy. You don’t get a vote until you’ve had a basic (call it a BS) amount of scientific education from accredited (call it college for the U.S.) sources.

You get that? YOU DON’T GET A SAY AT ALL.

Now, once you’ve gotten your basic educational unit, and you have an idea (let’s call it a THESIS) you propose it, test it, and then try to convince those who have the same basic education that you’re not a


If the idea holds, you take it to the next level. You ‘challenge’ the next higher unit of learning (like people who have MS or PhDs) with your idea. They look at it, and you and your peers DON’T GET ANY VOTE AT ALL. If they think it’s stupid, the idea is completely and absolutely DESTROYED.

At this point, you have a few choices.

You can go back to school, studying under the next level, until you achieve an education in the next peer group. Then you get to vote with them.

You can rethink your idea and retest/experiment until you’re convinced that you’re right, and start at square one again.

You can slink off and tell everyone how ‘right’ you are, even though you are a crack-pot.

The issue with Intelligent Design is that it can’t be tested, and hasn’t even passed the first stage. Rather than accept that evolution has survived the peer review process for a long long time, the proponents have slunk off, and the scientific community thinks that they are basically crack-pots.

Now, personally, I suspect that you, Ashok, are in the crowd of people who don’t get a vote. I may be wrong, but I haven’t run across too many classically educated scientists who think these ideas stand even
the most basic examination.

So shush.

Nemodog fights ALL CAPS WITH ALL CAPS!!! Brilliant! And a most excellent explanation of how science works. Concise, snarky, and so pointed you could poke an IDiot’s eye out with it.

John Derbyshire Gives Blogger Heart Failure

I hear your two questions: “Who the fuck is John Derbyshire?” and “Which blogger?”

This blogger. Me. And this is John Derbyshire. Everybody say “Hi, John!” Yes, I’m asking you to say hello to a conservative columnist. A cheery hello, at that. Even though he’s a homophobic racist hypocrite (as he admits himself), we can extend a cautious hand of welcome. After all, for a conservative, he is, as he says, “a mild and tolerant” racist homophobe, which is damned near miraculous for a National Review Online columnist.

He immigrated illegally from Great Britian before he became legal and started hating on all the brown immigrants, so that likely explains why he’s the kind of conservative who can give me heart failure for being rational, reasonable, and uplifiting.

I found him on The Panda’s Thumb. He’s one of the rare few conservatives who’s been quoted as saying non-outrageous things about evolution. I still hesitated before clicking that “Continue reading A Blood Libel on Our Civilization at the National Review” link. I mean, it’s the fucking National Review. It’s fuckwit central. But I like to think I have courage, and at times even an open mind, although that’s been hard to keep open after the abuse it’s taken from the neocons. So I steeled myself and clicked.

His article has a promising start. Right under the title, it asks, “Can I expell Expelled?”

Absolutely, John. You most certainly can. By all means. I’d be delighted to hold the door open while you boot them in the arse, even.

Things then became a bit rocky, but I soldiered on:

What on earth has happened to Ben Stein? He and I go back a long way. No, I’ve never met the guy. Back in the 1970s, though, when The American Spectator was in its broadsheet format, I would always turn first to Ben Stein’s diary, which appeared in every issue. He was funny and clever and worldly in a way I liked a lot. The very few times I’ve caught him on-screen, he seems to have had a nice line in deadpan self-deprecation, also something I like. Though I’ve never met him, I know people who know him, and they all speak well of him. Larry Kudlow, whose opinion is worth a dozen average opinions on any topic, thinks the world of Ben.

Oh, deary, deary me. He loves Ben. No good can come of this.

So what’s going on here with this stupid Expelled movie? No, I haven’t seen the dang thing. I’ve been reading about it steadily for weeks now though, both pro (including the pieces by David Klinghoffer and Dave Berg on National Review Online) and con, and I can’t believe it would yield up many surprises on an actual viewing. It’s pretty plain that the thing is creationist porn, propaganda for ignorance and obscurantism. How could a guy like this do a thing like that?

Easy, my dear John. Ben Stein is an opportunistic assclown. He’s snookered you into thinking he has a frontal lobe. I am so sorry you had to find out the truth this way.

Heh. You said porn. Hur hur hur.

So far, not so bad. Gingerly, I continued picking my way through the piece, convinced that at any moment, I’d get my legs blown off by a sudden claymore landmine of neocon fucktardedness. There were moments where I’d stop, breathless, convinced I’d just tripped a wire:

The first thing that came to mind was Saudi money. Half of the evils and absurdities in our society seem to have a Saudi prince behind them somewhere, and the Wahhabists are, like all fundamentalist Muslims, committed creationists.

Awshit. Just when it was all going so swimmingly, here we go with the Islamofascists are responsible for everything bad!!1!1!!! spiel. What a fucking disappointment… holy fuck, what’s this?

This doesn’t hold water, though. For one thing, Stein is Jewish. For another, he is rich, and doesn’t need the money. And for another, the stills and clips I have seen are from a low-budget production. Saudi financing would surely at least have come up with some decent computer graphics.

Ye gods. Logic! Tortured, twisted logic, true, but considering we’re dealing with a conservative mind writing in the National Review, that’s pretty damned impressive. Most of them just leave it at “Islamofascists didit, blow them all to bits, the end.” The man questioned his assumptions. He tried applying reason.

This is where the heart attack happened. Clutching my chest, I continued to read:

It is at any rate clear that [the producers of Expelled] engaged in much deception with the subjects they interviewed for the movie, many of whom are complaining loudly. This, together with much, much else about the movie, can be read about on the Expelled Exposed website put up by the National Center for Science Education, which I urge all interested readers to explore.

Total. Heart. Failure. He, John Derbyshire, a conservative writer for the National Review, just referred his readers, nay, urged them, to visit ExpelledExposed.com, not to debunk or sneer but to learn.

I’d say “be still, my heart,” but you’ve stopped, so that’s redundant at this point.

My own theory is that the creationists have been morally corrupted by the constant effort of pretending not to be what they are. What they are, as is amply documented, is a pressure group for religious teaching in public schools.

My heart stopped already, right? Can it stop again? He even freely admits that these fuckers are trying to pass religion off as science!

One of my favorite comments came from “Pixy Misa” (Andrew Mazels) who correctly called Ben Stein’s accusing Darwin of responsibility for the Holocaust “a blood libel on science.”

I would actually go further than that, to something like “a blood libel on Western Civilization.”

Wow-e-wow. Just… wow. I know I’m dead, now. Conservatives in our country just don’t say things like this. I must have ended up going down the wrong leg of the Trousers of Time this morning. Total alternate universe. Has to be.

Western civilization has many glories. There are the legacies of the ancients, in literature and thought. There are the late-medieval cathedrals, those huge miracles of stone, statuary, and spiritual devotion. There is painting, music, the orderly cityscapes of Renaissance Italy, the peaceful, self-governed townships of old New England and the Frontier, the steel marvels of the early industrial revolution, our parliaments and courts of law, our great universities with their spirit of restless inquiry.

And there is science, perhaps the greatest of all our achievements, because nowhere else on earth did it appear. China, India, the Muslim world, all had fine cities and systems of law, architecture and painting,
poetry and prose, religion and philosophy. None of them ever accomplished what began in northwest Europe in the later 17th century, though: a scientific revolution. Thoughtful men and women came together in learned societies to compare notes on their observations of the natural world, to test their ideas in experiments, and in reasoned argument against the ideas of others, and to publish their results in learned journals. A body of common knowledge gradually accumulated. Patterns were observed, laws discerned and stated.

Glories! Yes! “Spirit of restless inquiry,” even so! Science, “greatest of all our achievements,” absolutely! I’ll even forgive you that little sneer at other countries for not having a scientific revolution, because by your narrow definition of a scientific revolution, you’re right. They didn’t have one. But you understand the glory and importance of science, John, and that…

…brings to us a feeling for what the scientific endeavor is like, and how painfully its triumphs are won, with what sweat and tears. Our scientific theories are the crowning adornments of our civilization, towering monuments of intellectual effort, built from untold millions of hours of observation, measurement, classification, discussion, and deliberation. This is quite apart from their wonderful utility — from the light, heat, and mobility they give us, the drugs and the gadgets and the media. (A “thank you” wouldn’t go amiss.) Simply as intellectual constructs, our well-established scientific theories are awe-inspiring.

This, my darlings, is where I began to cry. Because John Derbyshire, a conservative, stated precisely how I feel about science. He expressed perfectly my own sense of wonder, my awe and appreciation, my love. His passion and mine recognize each other joyously. This is what draws us together over the divide. This is what makes those differences in ideology solvable. A conservative gets it. He understands, and respects, science. This is hope, people. This is fertile middle ground, this is. He can’t be the only conservative in this country who feels this way.

And how does he feel about Ben, now?

And now here is Ben Stein, sneering and scoffing at Darwin, a man who spent decades observing and pondering the natural world — that world Stein glimpses through the window of his automobile now and then, when he’s not chattering into his cell phone.

Ouch. And Intelligent Design?

The “intelligent design” hoax is not merely non-science, nor even merely anti-science; it is anti-civilization. It is an appeal to barbarism, to the sensibilities of those Apaches, made by people who lack the imaginative power to know the horrors of true barbarism. (A thing that cannot be said of Darwin. See Chapter X of Voyage of the Beagle.)

And yes: When our greatest achievements are blamed for our greatest moral failures, that is a blood libel against Western civilization itself.

Very ouch.

All that’s needed now is for more true conservatives like John Derbyshire to get so disgusted with the neocons and theocons that they wrest back conservatism from the assmonkeys destroying it. It can be done. That middle ground that I was pining for a bit ago, it can be created again. We’ll all be freely mingling in it, visiting from our respective ends of the political spectrum, cheerfully ribbing each other over what we consider each other’s silly ideologies, but able to debate rather than degrade, talk rather than shout.

That’s what this article has shown me. It’s still possible. The divide is not yet an impassable chasm. There are some people on both sides busily building bridges and caulking the cracks. They’re making it possible for us to reach each other.

And when we get there, won’t we ever have a delightful time bashing the IDiots? Once I get my heart started again, anyway.