Expelled from “Expelled”

This is pretty much a placeholder for a huge developing story. PZ Myers of Pharyngula went to an advance screening of “Expelled”, only to be spotted by a producer and disinvited, via armed security guards, on the spot. Richard Dawkins was there as PZ’s guest and was not challenged at the entry. At the question and answer period, Dawkins and “Expelled” producer Mark Mathis had a bit of an exchange, though it sounds like Mathis used his control of the venue to ridicule Dawkins yet again.

Kristine has a first-person report of the incident.

I hope to have more time to write about this tomorrow. Basically, the behavior of the “Expelled” producers and promoters demonstrates exactly the sort of behavior they putatively argue against. There is rampant hypocrisy in outright lying about your project to attract prominent people to interview, then exclude those people from an advance showing of the film they are featured in. This is simply disgusting behavior on the part of Premise Media. I find it hard to put it any other way.

Enough for now, good night.

Update: PZ had a second blog post giving some new information. Unsurprisingly, the reaction on the IDC cheerleading side was to quickly try to href=”http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/a51817a1226de2f2?dmode=source”>squink their way out of the mess.

The line from producer Mark Mathis that PZ was not “invited” to the screening because he didn’t have a ticket and was thus a gatecrasher is a transparent piece of flimflam. The “Expelled” RSVP website offers a place at a screening, and the email response says that no ticket is needed for admission. I RSVP’d at one of the “Expelled” showings myself this morning, and here is the email response I got:

Dear Wesley Elsberry,

This is a confirmation of your RSVP for the free “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” movie screening. Venue information is below.

[...]

Number of seats reserved: 1

YOUR NAME WILL BE ON A LIST AT THE DOOR. NO TICKET IS NEEDED. IDs WILL BE CHECKED.

NO BAGS, CELL PHONES OR RECORDING DEVICES WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE THEATER. PLEASE LEAVE THEM IN YOUR CAR.

More information about “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” can be found at http://expelledthemovie.com; http://g\
etexpelled.com

Sincerely,
Motive Entertainement

If you need to cancel or make an important change to an existing RSVP, please email jessica@motivemarketing.biz. Be sure to reference the screening city, date, and time in your email.

Emphasis added.

I plan to carry a printout of this email with me, plus a bill for my travel expenses if I am refused admission at the door.

Then there is the issue raised by Kristine concerning the bait-and-switch used by Mathis to secure prominent people’s permission to interview them for the film. Mathis’ original requests for interviews described the movie project as being titled “Crossroads” and neglected to mention the sort of confrontational approach that marks “Expelled”. At the Q&A last night, Mathis is reported as saying the following in response to a question about “Crossroads” and making good-faith requests:

I asked Mathis to give (as his film does not) a concise definition of intelligent design and to tell us about some little film called “Crossroads.” Mathis did finally get ID right (irreducible complexity, Dembki’s improbabilities, blah, blah) and then launches in with “And if you know anything about filmmaking, there’s something called a working title…” Yeah, I do know, thanks. I’ve been in films. One of them even won an award (ifilm.com) and filled a few theatres. Without your police state shenanigans I might add, Mark Mathis.

There is a fundamental problem with Mathis’ reply: it is contradicted by the facts.

Fact 1: “expelledthemovie.com” domain was registered on 2007/03/01.

Fact 2: “crossroadsthemovie.*” and “crossroads-the-movie.*” domains are not registered by anyone. (“crossroadsmovie.com” is registered, but has been so since 2001 and obviously refers to an unrelated project.)

Fact 3: Mathis’ requests for interviews are dated after the purchase of the “expelledthemovie.com” domain.

Winston Churchill famously called this sort of thing “terminological inexactitude”. I am not speaking to Parliament, and I can call Mathis’ ruse for what it is, a lie deliberately, willfully, and maliciously told. I plan to bring printouts of the “whois” information and all the interview request emails I can gather to the screening and make this my question to Mathis at the Q&A.

That’s all for the moment.

Update: The “Expelled” producers have employed a contact-hiding service to expunge most data from “whois” lookups on their domain. But the Tucows registration date still shows early 2007 as the domain’s creation date.

Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 16-Feb-2008.
Record expires on 02-Mar-2009.
Record created on 02-Mar-2007.

Did I just hear a distant, “Curses! Foiled again!” ?

Note: The Bad Idea blog covered the domain name registration discrepancy and a number of other clues that the “Expelled” producers were not on the up-and-up several months ago.

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16 thoughts on “Expelled from “Expelled”

  1. Glen Davidson

    All I would add is, don’t blow up this story too much if you can help it. It has the possibililty of making the movie look too interesting, when apparently it’s rather boring.

    I’m sure it’s fine for it to be in the blogosphere, revealing what a set of incompetent discussion-suppressing bunch they really are. But if it doesn’t become a general news story, that is best for now.

    Let the whole embarrassing incident come out generally when Expelled is going for increasing publicity.

    If you ask me, the most embarrassing aspect is mostly being ignored so far, which is the fact Dawkins brought up the fact that he is shown in interview situations which are fictional. That’s hardly a fair and honest way to make a documentary.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  2. George

    I hope you do not travel too far to be turned away. I would think you will be now that you have made it public you plan to attend a screening. I suspect they can turn you away at the door even if you do have the invitation.

  3. arensb

    Just for the sake of undeserved fairness, I should point out that the domain “crossroadsfilm.com” was registered on May 5, 2005, by someone who wishes to remain anonymous. That might count as evidence for the “working title” argument. (“crossroadsthemovie.com” was registered today, and “crossroadsmovie.com” in 2001.)

    It does not, however, negate the fact that by the time Myers, Dawkins, et al. were interviewed, the title “Expelled” had already been chosen.

  4. Bad

    As I noted at antiev, I think the Rampant Films side of things deserves a new emphasis as well. It is, if anything, even more ridiculous than the “working title” excuse for “Crossroads.”

  5. Dave S.

    The Britany Spears movie Crossroads was released in 2002, and there was also a 1986 movie of the same title starring Ralph Macchio.

  6. wamba

    Get a load of this:

    Still straining to find an excuse

    As for the implication that I’d be a horrible, disruptive presence, here’s one excerpt from the movie; it’s also on a DVD that they were giving away at a table at the screening*.

    *By the way, another interesting thing is on the DVD. They’ve got excerpts from the Inner Life video. Creationists are certainly drawn to stealing that work, aren’t they?

  7. wamba

    RC Metcalf says

    “67. Comment #148247 by RC Metcalf on March 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I can attest to the fact that what I saw in the Expelled! video (and I saw the whole thing during a pre-release screening) was identical to the Illustra video. I had just watched the Illustra video a week before in preparation for a debate I’m involved in next week.

    I also have the DVD alluded to by PZ Myers. I’ve reviewed it and found the same Illustra footage as in the film… nothing from Harvard.
    …”

  8. Austringer Post author

    I was afraid of that. If it is the Illustra material, I don’t see how they could fail to obtain either permission or forgiveness for use.

  9. Jim Bertrand

    In all fairness, lets not be afraid to put all the information on the table. If evolution is true and reasonable, then it should have nothing to fear by being questioned. No movie can change that.
    But if evolution is not a reasonable theory, then no amount of defense from anyone save the theory either. Let’s allow some open debate. By slinging mud at the movie it only reinforces one of the points in the movie, that ‘big science’ can’t tolerate a dissenting opinion.
    From,
    An open-minded observer

  10. Austringer Post author

    Jim,

    So, where were you when they were drawing up the witness list in Kitzmiller v. DASD? IDC was put on the table, prodded, measured, and found to be narrow religious claptrap, not science. Some of the most eloquent statements leading to that conclusion came from the witnesses for the defense.

    It’s not evolutionary science that’s got a deficiency to make up. You’re gonna need a heck of a table to fit almost a hundred and fifty years of research in evolutionary science on. That table will need to be larger than the floor space of a university library in all likelihood. I can fit all the stuff the DI claims as scientific support for IDC in a backpack. On the other hand, one will find hundreds to thousands of research articles touching upon evolutionary science published each month, if one bothers to look, of course.

    As for dissenting opinion, I take it you haven’t heard of transposons, the endosymbiotic hypothesis, the neutral theory, or punctuated equilibria. Pretty much anyone with even a passing familiarity with the science has, though.

    So a sucky movie should be given a pass on its many failings to make scientists appear open-minded enough that their brains slide out?

    Get a grip.

    You can go quite a ways toward that grip by reading “Why Intelligent Design Fails” and “Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism”. Check it out, along with Expelled Exposed.

  11. Jim Bertrand

    Glad you took time to read my reply.
    As always, the blog owner will always have the last word, as you will likely here.
    Just for the record – I’ve been teaching HS Biology for 30 years.

    As for the sheer ‘volume’ of evidence you suggest, I have read the literature and much of it lacks the terms natural selection and mutation. The most frequently found words are instead “speculate” and “hypothesis”.

    ‘The purpose of an open mind is to close it on something – the truth’ (CK Chesterton).

  12. Austringer Post author

    Jim,

    I somehow doubt that you have “read the literature”. I have no doubt that you’ve read some tiny subset of evolutionary science, and a rather larger amount of antievolution literature. As for your frequency analysis, I doubt that, too. Care to enumerate the works that you say are too speculative? I know that the IDC advocates were embarrassed not to have even a hypothesis to call their own in 1997, and they have yet to remedy that lack. Hypothesis is not a bad word in science.

    I still commend those two books I suggested last time around.

  13. Jim Bertrand

    I was content to be done with this website, Wesley.
    But since you’ve asked a question I will grant an answer. Articles:To mention a few (forgive my lack of formality here, but we’re speaking candidly as men, not trying to impress others)
    Annual Review of Microbiology, Robert Macnab/Yale
    The paper on ‘Speculations’, cilium
    Papers by Ken Miller – all the titles and dates I’ll not take up our time typing out.

    One author I found to be particularly interesting said,
    “There is no publication in the scientific literature – in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books – that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, or biological system, either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations.”
    I agree with you, Wesley, that speculation is not a bad word. But it has been noted, “All sciences begin with speculation; only Darwinism routinely ends with it.” And yes, the author was Behe.I don’t think either of us has the time to keep up a running dialogue on this Wesley.
    I wish you well, and I pray that both of us will become the saints that God made us to be. That goal is more important than our debate over origins.

  14. Austringer Post author

    Jim,

    “forgive my lack of formality here, but we’re speaking candidly as men, not trying to impress others”

    In science, formality in citation is not meant to impress; its purpose is communication such that one person can easily tell another where to find a resource. Because you skipped giving a real citation, you have impressed me, but not in a positive fashion. That means I have to spend my time trying to figure out what, in fact, you were referring to. Hopefully you haven’t been telling your students that full citations are puffery; that would be malfeasance.

    A quotation from MacNab is a commonplace in antievolution websites like CreationSafaris and ApologeticsPress. I infer that the following is the full reference:

    HOW BACTERIA ASSEMBLE FLAGELLA
    Robert M. Macnab
    Annual Review of Microbiology, October 2003, Vol. 57, Pages 77-100
    (doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.57.030502.090832)

    Unfortunately, Robert MacNab is not around to defend himself against antievolutionary quote-miners. The word “speculate” is conspicuous by its absence from the paper. (Yes, I just obtained it via Web of Science to check.) There are two uses of “hypothesis”:

    There is evidence for interactions of FliH, FliI, and FliJ with the soluble domains
    of the membrane components FlhA and FlhB of the export apparatus. Thus a
    reasonable hypothesis would be that the initial stage of export involves the docking
    of a FliH-FliI-FliJ-substrate complex with the FlhAC-FlhBC structure of the export
    apparatus (63a).

    [...]

    Not much is known yet about the functions of these proteins. Both FliP and FliR
    have been detected in the basal body (18), supporting the hypothesis that the
    export apparatus is located at the center of the MS ring. FliO and FliQ have not
    been examined in this regard.

    Not exactly the stuff of sweeping generalization, is it?

    Since Jim failed to give any particulars on Ken Miller’s work, I can only assume that examination there would show he’s even further off the mark.

    Of course, Ken Miller’s research isn’t focused on flagella, as anyone familiar with the scientific literature would know. Miller has a number of popular essays aimed at laymen critiquing Behe’s concept of “irreducible complexity”. If one wants recent technical work on the evolution of bacterial flagella, one needs to look elsewhere.

    So start by looking here, at a popular essay by Nick Matzke pulling together much disparate research on flagellar components. This essay brought Nick to the attention of Mark Pallen, and they co-authored a review article on flagellar evolution in the technical literature (citation in BibTeX format):

    @article{ ISI:000241043700016,
    Author = {Pallen, Mark J. and Matzke, Nicholas J.},
    Title = {{From The Origin of Species to the origin of bacterial flagella}},
    Journal = {{NATURE REVIEWS MICROBIOLOGY}},
    Year = {{2006}},
    Volume = {{4}},
    Number = {{10}},
    Pages = {{784-790}},
    Month = {{OCT}},
    DOI = {{10.1038/nrmicro1493}},
    ISSN = {{1740-1526}},
    Unique-ID = {{ISI:000241043700016}},
    }

    Within that article, one finds the data that shows Michael Behe was simply wrong in several of his pronouncements about bacterial flagella.

    Then there’s this Behe quote,

    “There is no publication in the scientific literature – in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books – that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, or biological system, either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations.”

    Behe, it turned out, was bluffing, and was impeached on the witness stand as someone who would confidently claim that things did not exist without actually having read the material relevant to the claim.

    Further, Behe was in attendance on June 17th, 2001, when I criticized William Dembski and Behe over the IDC fixation with examples where we do not have the data in hand concerning evolution. Where we do have a good record of the origin of systems in biology, they show signs of having come into being via known evolutionary processes. If IDC were correct, it should be possible to demonstrate it where our data is adequate. Instead, IDC requires that given partial data, any uncertainty in assignment of natural causation must immediately result in IDC being considered the way things happened, even though in those cases one must set aside an explanation with some evidence for a conjecture with none at all.

    I agree with you, Wesley, that speculation is not a bad word.

    Speculation is not a bad word, but I did not say that. I said that in science, “hypothesis” is not a bad word. I hope Jim’s students get a better level of preparation of lessons than that indicates.

    I don’t know, Jim; we all start out ignorant, but only antievolutionists routinely stay that way. (OK, that is hyperbolic; feel free to include other denialists as well.) That applies to Behe in spades. It’s my stance that saintliness is not marred by getting a clue.

  15. shawn

    “It’s not evolutionary science that’s got a deficiency to make up. You’re gonna need a heck of a table to fit almost a hundred and fifty years of research in evolutionary science on. That table will need to be larger than the floor space of a university library in all likelihood. I can fit all the stuff the DI claims as scientific support for IDC in a backpack. On the other hand, one will find hundreds to thousands of research articles touching upon evolutionary science published each month, if one bothers to look, of course.”

    sounds like what the pope said to galileo. using the weight of “evidence” as an argument to it’s validity is as weak as to say the amount of rotten wood still makes a good strong table–no matter how big it is. Inversely, the less studied ideas that science or discovery bring our way does not make them any less valid. The only flatearther I see here is you.

    secondly, despite your obvious moodiness over being expelled from the movie, you must admit that no good scientist or journalist should ever be “expelled” for having or entertaining or even mentioning other ideas. I don’t care if you call ideas speculation or hypotheses or grand lightbulbs of holy illusidation. At least you didn’t lose your career over it. rent the video for God’s sake. There are very good scientists who lost their careers. I think you can understand how I might not see your woes as all that woeful after all. there is no room in this country for physically ruining a person’s career because they thought wrong.

    Thirdly, if darwinism is so inextricably removed from religious ethos than who’s to say that your ideas about the beginning of life to the exclusion of ID’s claims aren’t just “who’s offspring is genetically more successful in his environment” and not really who’s got the right answer. What if we accidentally turn the wrong way? What in science’s name could save us? Any good lie always has some truth in it. Or even any good mistake may have much of the right ideas in it. But who is to say. Oh yeah, the BIBLE says the road is wide and easy that leads to hell. if there is no need for religious ethics in the face of science than there is no reason why a smart guy like me couldn’t think of a way to destroy all dissenters to my way of thinking. And i admit, there are many times when religion gets it wrong too. People do bad stuff to each other no matter what excuse they give. But darwinists seem to think–there is no right or wrong. “because i have the “weightier” argument, i am on the side of evolution and must move on as the next step in the human evolutionary process. and in-so-doing extincting all other ideas. especially those that go straight to the heart. The WHY behind it all. those ideas are definately out.” It allows you to not worry about “why”. only “how”. but it is the “why” that makes us act toward others in certain ways. and the way “big” science is acting toward others is “evidence” to me and many others who are drawing connections to a future without free inquisitory speech. You should be much more worried about “why” and less worried about “how”. And I don’t care what the poor scientist interviewees thought the movie was about. When asked, I bet you and most people like you would say “less than where it is now. Trying to pretend it’s science.” it is science. it’s a particular branch of knowledge (see below). that’s what the word means. i don’t need to be peer reviewed or read ALL the literature to look up what the word science means. so the story of noah’s ark is a myth. that doesn’t make God a myth. Nor does it make Jesus one. And now we come to it.
    “I somehow doubt that you have “read the literature”. I have no doubt that you’ve read some tiny subset of evolutionary science, and a rather larger amount of antievolution literature.”
    I somehow doubt you’ve read enough about Jesus. I suggest C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and also his book The Problem of Pain.

    It all brings me to this. If what you say is true that there is no God or designer or implementer of social order (we just made that bit up) and that evolution is the supreme method of moving a species forward or ending it and that’s it, than anything is allowed. Law is of no real value, except that those with the best laws win. They allow for the most gain. You would surely need to have the law on your side. Heartlessness is key. Feelings only muttle what evolution says clearly. It can’t be a “personal” battle. Well it is. It’s “personal” because the same designer sent Jesus for you. And that’s what you really don’t want to hear.

    sci?ence? ?/?sa??ns/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [sahy-uhns] Show IPA Pronunciation

    –noun 1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
    2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    3. any of the branches of natural or physical science.
    4. systematized knowledge in general.
    5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
    6. a particular branch of knowledge.
    7. skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Origin:
    1300–50; ME < MF < L scientia knowledge, equiv. to scient- (s. of sci?ns), prp. of sc?re to know + -ia -ia
    Dictionary.com Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
    Cite This Source
    there is that a good enough citation to not impress you?

  16. Austringer Post author

    sounds like what the pope said to galileo.

    No, it isn’t. The pope, or more precisely, the Inquisition, didn’t cite voluminous scientific testing of geocentrism to make its case against Galileo. You might try reading up on history.

    using the weight of “evidence” as an argument to it’s validity is as weak as to say the amount of rotten wood still makes a good strong table–no matter how big it is. Inversely, the less studied ideas that science or discovery bring our way does not make them any less valid. The only flatearther I see here is you.

    Did I give the impression that the disparity was only in numbers? Let me correct that, then. Besides being a pathetically small base, the stuff IDC claims as its justifying literature meeting scientific standards is also pathetic in content. The same cannot be said for the thousands of studies in evolutionary science published each month.

    secondly, despite your obvious moodiness over being expelled from the movie, you must admit that no good scientist or journalist should ever be “expelled” for having or entertaining or even mentioning other ideas.

    You aren’t very good at reading comprehension, Shawn. I wasn’t expelled from the movie. And there are completely appropriate reasons to expel people from jobs and careers. Incompetence and malfeasance are utterly normal ways that people find themselves out of work and looking for a new career all the time.

    I don’t care if you call ideas speculation or hypotheses or grand lightbulbs of holy illusidation. At least you didn’t lose your career over it. rent the video for God’s sake. There are very good scientists who lost their careers.

    No, there aren’t. Guillermo Gonzalez did not get tenure at one school, having failed to develop a publication record, research program, significant external funding, or graduate students at his university. That’s a completely normal condition for failure that would go wholly unremarked if GG weren’t also one of the crybaby brigade at the Discovery Institute. Richard Sternberg didn’t even lose a job, much less office space or access to specimens. They changed his office, along with about 19 other people, and they asked for the master key back that he never should have been issued. Caroline Crocker was an adjunct instructor whose contract didn’t get renewed. Do you have any idea how many adjunct instructors have that happen to them every year? (BTW, Caroline Crocker was “expelled” from the position running the IDEA Clubs nationally… does getting sacked by IDC advocates not count as being “expelled”?) Robert Marks had some personal web pages hosted on a university server taken down. Those pages are now hosted on a third-party server. The movie was overblown propaganda, nothing more.

    I think you can understand how I might not see your woes as all that woeful after all. there is no room in this country for physically ruining a person’s career because they thought wrong.

    As mentioned before, incompetence is a perfectly good reason to fire somebody. Science tends not to be a forgiving sort of pursuit. If you develop a reputation for telling untruths, which one is pretty much obliged to do in the IDC advocacy business, you are likely to find yourself pretty much shunned.

    Thirdly, if darwinism is so inextricably removed from religious ethos than who’s to say that your ideas about the beginning of life to the exclusion of ID’s claims aren’t just “who’s offspring is genetically more successful in his environment” and not really who’s got the right answer.

    You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    It’s “personal” because the same designer sent Jesus for you. And that’s what you really don’t want to hear.

    Eh? I’m a United Methodist.

    there is that a good enough citation to not impress you?

    I knew what science was without a trip to the dictionary. I didn’t need to know what lexicographers thought the current usage of “science” was for that. IDC doesn’t qualify. Under oath, Michael Behe had to admit that a connotation of “science” broad enough to pass IDC in also would cover astrology.

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