Remember how Mark Mathis, producer of “Expelled”, kept going on about how the “Crossroads”/Rampant Films thing was what they had in mind while interviewing Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott, and others, then they decided to chuck all that and go with the “Expelled” concept? It seems that Mathis should have had a session with Ben Stein so that they could make their stories match. Stein was interviewed by the New York Sun and by the WORLD magazine, and there are several interesting things about the content of his responses.
One of the things that has dogged Mathis is the fact that the “expelledthemovie.com” domain was registered at the beginning of March, 2007, about a month earlier than the invitations for interviews went out to Eugenie Scott and PZ Myers. No similar domain seems to have been registered by Mathis for the alleged “Crossroads” concept. Ben Stein adds another piece to the burgeoning chronological evidence stack that argues against taking Mathis at his word. When did Ben Stein get the word that he’d be the front-man for an attack piece? According the WORLD interview, that would be sometime in 2006:
WORLD: How did you get involved with Expelled?
STEIN: I was approached a couple of years ago by the producers, and they described to me the central issue of Expelled, which was about Darwinism and why it has such a lock on the academic establishment when the theory has so many holes. And why freedom of speech has been lost at so many colleges to the point where you can’t question even the slightest bit of Darwinism or your colleagues will spurn you, you’ll lose your job, and you’ll be publicly humiliated. As they sent me books and talked to me about these things I became more enthusiastic about participating.
Plus I was never a big fan of Darwinism because it played such a large part in the Nazis’ Final Solution to their so-called “Jewish problem” and was so clearly instrumental in their rationalizing of the Holocaust. So I was primed to want to do a project on how Darwinism relates to fascism and to outline the flaws in Darwinism generally.
So, starting sometime in 2006, Mathis or his fellow producers were engaging Ben Stein with precisely the concept of “Expelled”. There is no mention by Stein of any such thing as “Crossroads” or of being intrigued by the “Crossroads” concept.
And Stein in the New York Sun interview contributes a little something extra to the discussion over the animation used by the “Expelled” project.
Mr. Stein became involved with the film when he was approached by Messrs. Ruloff and Sullivan during pre-production. “They sent me an absolute torrent of information, some of which I read, some of which frankly I did not read,” Mr. Stein said. Intrigued by what he did absorb and by a segment of computer animation commissioned by the producers that depicts life at a cellular level in its nearly infinite complexity, Mr. Stein signed on. “It just became a gigantically bigger project than I even had the slightest clue it was going to be,” he said.
So part of what brought Ben Stein aboard the project was being shown an animation of processes occurring inside the cell… a couple of years ago, if Stein’s statements are in any way consistent. (Hint to Mark Mathis: you can argue for your version of the past by attacking Stein’s credibility in recall of when he was approached for this project.) Now, the whole flap over unauthorized use of the Harvard/XVIVO “Inner Life of the Cell” video didn’t get going until around September, 2007, when IDC advocate William Dembski’s lecture in Oklahoma revealed its use there to people who recognized the source of the animation. It was shortly after Dembski was hit with cease-and-desist requests that the projected release date of “Expelled” was shifted from around February 12th to April 18th, apparently to give time for the copycat animation to be made and edited in to “Expelled”. So essentially the New York Sun gave these folks a pass when they reported,
Intrigued by what he did absorb and by a segment of computer animation commissioned by the producers that depicts life at a cellular level in its nearly infinite complexity
There is no evidence that the producers had commissioned any such animation at the time that Ben Stein was recruited. It appears that the “Expelled” producers were using the Harvard/XVIVO product, “Inner Life of the Cell”, as a recruiting tool for their project. There is evidence that the copycat animation was only “commissioned” relatively recently, certainly long after Ben Stein was signed on to the project.
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