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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Expelled Reviews are in from SciAm

Well the reviews from Scientific American for the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, are located here and they are not exactly flattering. John Rennie says in his review:
The most conspicuous absence from the movie, however—and you would think it was impossible in a movie about evolution and ID—is any real science. Anyone looking for scientific reasons or even detailed arguments for why scientists maintained either position would go away unsatisfied. A half hour or so passes before anyone in the film offers even simplistic definitions for evolution and ID. Nor is there any discussion of evolution's accomplishments in illuminating the history of life and problems in fields as diverse as medicine and astrophysics, and its applications to technology such as combinatorial chemistry.

Instead, various Discovery Institute fellows intone that evolution is a "slippery," hard-to-pin-down theory. No such criticism is made of ID, a notion which firmly states that at one or more unspecified times in the past, an unidentified designer who might or might not be God somehow created whole organisms, or maybe just cells, or maybe just certain parts of cells—they're still deciding and will get back to you on that.
The creationists who have produced Expelled are really against all of science, not only biology and evolution. They are only attacking evolution right now because it directly conflicts with their 6000 year old earth. They are also starting to attack the other hard sciences as well. Astronomy and cosmology also show an old universe and earth which directly conflict with the creationist literal biblical view. The crew at Scientific American bring this up with a conversation with the weaselly Mark Mathis after a private showing of Expelled.

Science Talk and Skepticality (Epsiode 074) also interview some of the scientists tricked into interviews by the Expelled producers. Michael Shermer is also unflattering in his review. I love the story Shermer tells in the Skepticality interview. During the interview, Ben Stein abruptly leaves and goes out to pout in his car for a half hour. Shermer asks the other interviewer "Is Stein out there snorting a line of coke or something?" Apparently, Stein and company were making a practice of behaving rudely in order to get a rude response from the scientists to put on film.

Over at Richard Dawkins site, there is a discussion of their experience at the Expelled showing at the Mall of America. And PZ Myers has an ongoing series of posts at Pharyngula. What's nice and extra special about all of this is the letter that Peter Irons that is posted over at Pharyngula. The Expelled producers have almost directly copied a Harvard video about cell biology with their own text and music. And it looks like they also have ripped off music for their "documentary".

3 comments:

patrick said...

just saw Expelled; Ben Stein's goal in making this flick (i gather) was not to win any popularity contests (this by itself helps to validate his message)... his goal was to promote free thought, especially more thinking about motivations that drive American academia and a lot of other behind-the-scenes worldview that we tend to take for granted.

Anna Lemma said...

I think that Ben Stein's goal in this movie is to make as money as he can off of the rubes who wholeheartedly swallow this garbage. Either that or perhaps he is secretly working towards making Christian creationists look as foolish as possible.

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