Flunked, Not Expelled: Gaming the Movie Ratings

Speaking of brazen antics, Glen Davidson over on the AtBC forum blew the whistle by posting the “Expelled Challenge” FAQ. Apparently, these folks are running scared that their project will be little more than one step up from “direct to video” projects, and are coordinating mass attendance of students and their parents from literalist-Christian schools. They are providing what amounts to a kickback to school administrators for movie ticket stubs from attendees who go to the “Expelled” movie during its first two weeks in the local theater.

Your school will be awarded a donation based upon the number of ticket stubs you turn in (see submission instructions in FAQ section). That structure is as follows:

0-99 ticket stubs submitted = $5 per ticket stub
100-299 ticket stubs submitted = $1,000 donated to your school

300-499 ticket stubs submitted = $2,500 donated to your school

500 ticket stubs submitted = $5,000 donated to your school

Each school across the nation will be competing for the top honor of submitting the most ticket stubs with that school having their $5,000 donation matched for a total donation of $10,000!

Notice that the ticket stubs become worth $10 each to participating schools at the maximum on their scale, a value that is likely higher than the actual ticket price. We knew before that antievolutionists fell into the “more money than sense” category, but this provides abundant confirmation that someone is very, very worried about reception of this film, and is willing to pay a premium to artificially drive up ticket sales. And note the specific recommendations given to schools for this kickback drive:

Q: What’s the best way to get our school families to come out to the movies?

A: In speaking with Christian Schools, we’ve found that hosting a school-wide “mandatory” field trip is the best way to maximize your school’s earning potential. Send a field trip home with your middle school and high school students, have each child pay for their own ticket, then collect the stubs at the door once you get to the movie theater. With this model, you also will be able to benefit from the ticket stubs purchased by parents who choose to come as well.

Wow… what an opportunity to take children away from classrooms, fill their heads with obnoxiously delivered misinformation, and profit off of it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, exposure to antievolution decays morals.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

45 thoughts on “Flunked, Not Expelled: Gaming the Movie Ratings

  • 2008/01/16 at 7:45 am

    “a school-wide “mandatory” field trip is ”


    “have each child pay for their own ticket”

    seem like a good way to make parents angry. Especially it they learn about the kickback.

  • 2008/01/16 at 8:10 am

    I guess the theory could be to use this as a loss-leader, getting the film talked about (in places other than IDC and pro-evolution sites). Whether it will work or not is another question.


  • 2008/01/16 at 8:36 am

    “Notice that the ticket stubs become worth $10 each to participating schools at the maximum on their scale, a value that is likely higher than the actual ticket price.”

    I guess that depends where they go; I just went to the theater a few weeks ago after a few months of not seeing anything and ticket prices were bumped up to about 9.50 for general admission. It might be different elsewhere or during the day and I don’t doubt that the group is trying to make it an incentive to get the maximum amount of tickets, but $10 isn’t that high for a ticket anymore.

  • 2008/01/16 at 8:45 am

    Careful Wes, when they talk about freedoms, they mean freedoms for themselves and not for others.

    Check out this at the Terms of Use page:

    Permission is granted to electronically copy and to print hard copy portions of this site for the sole purpose of using the site to promote the Movie and ideas of EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. Any other use of materials on this site, including reproduction for purposes other than those noted above, modification, distribution, or republication, without prior written permission of Motive Entertainment is strictly prohibited.

    Notice the bit I bolded. Doesn’t this mean no-one can reproduce part of the site unless they agree with the message and are promoting the movie?

  • 2008/01/16 at 8:46 am

    Wes –

    The third paragraph above was a direct quote. I must have messed up the quote tags.

  • 2008/01/16 at 9:15 am

    “manditory” field trips?! sounds like something from the Soviet era – all students will attend the informational presentation for the greater glory of the state…. bring your family (inform us who is unwilling to attend) etc. sick

  • 2008/01/16 at 10:28 am

    Sigh. This is worse than their usual bad behavior, and that is a fairly high (or is it low?) standard to attain. With the Wedge strategy, ID inc. could be accused of evangelism by get-your-foot-in-the-door deception–so as a Christian I could say that while their methods were deplorable and utterly without biblical precedent, at least, I could spin, they had a noble cause. Here their cause cannot be cast as merely misguided. Here, it would appear, they are simply willing to spend money to avoid embarrassment.

  • 2008/01/16 at 11:33 am

    Wow. Talk about taking a loss on a movie! This could end up being worse that Waterworld! (Though the marine biology pictures in that movie were nice.)

  • 2008/01/16 at 11:35 am

    Jason- I don’t see the problem here. My old school had mandatory classes in Intelligent Design. Seems pretty standard to me. (S)

  • 2008/01/16 at 12:52 pm

    “Q: Will all schools who submit their ticket stubs be given a donation?

    A: … Funds for the Expelled Challenge will only be distributed to those who register through the Expelled Challenge website … on a first come, first served basis in the order in which they were registered. Bottom line, funds are limited – register as soon as you can! ”

    The little asterisk is in bold above. The “Bottom Line” is that apparently there is no guarantee a school will get their kickback. They don’t tell you how much money is available for the program. I suspect more than a few schools are going to be disappointed.

  • 2008/01/16 at 1:02 pm

    If the producers of Gigli had thought of this they might have had a hit on their hands!

  • 2008/01/16 at 2:16 pm

    I suspect that even if a flop critically, and even if it’s as poor as I suspect it will be on the facts, it’ll still make money. After all, they are targetting the correct market.

    Hint: It’s not people interested in either science or academic integrity.

  • 2008/01/16 at 2:45 pm

    Wow, this sounds a little like what the Chruch of Scientology did to promote Battlefield Earth. to try and boost the opening week numbers, they asked their members to all go see the movie, or at least buy tickets, even if they didn’t watch.

    I’d love to ask Benny if this was his idea.


  • 2008/01/16 at 3:38 pm

    Notice also that the marketing is for “Christian schools.” What, Jewish schools and Muslim schools both believe in a creator and don’t think life was an accident, just like the page says.

    But… well… we just didn’t think that… er…

  • 2008/01/16 at 3:42 pm

    Note that most schools on field trips could attend daytime shows (cheap) with group pricing (cheaper). They might well be able to get the cost down to less than they will get paid by the producers to go.

  • 2008/01/16 at 3:59 pm

    For all the lawyers involved in the ID “program,” you’d think someone would know a jot about copyright law. Reproduction for purposes of commentary and criticism is clearly spelled out as falling under Fair Use. Doesn’t change the law just to post an announcement saying I refuse to recognize it ….

  • 2008/01/16 at 8:45 pm

    I assumed that The Expelled would have trouble generating interest when I learned about its content. The Gonzales story might be good for twenty minutes, but the rest? Caroline Crocker did not have her visiting appointment renewed. This is an outrage? Richard Sternberg engaged in unethical conduct. Are we supposed to be troubled that he was chastised by his colleagues just because his unethical conduct was related to design? And Dover??!! I mean, I guess that there’s a case to be made that Jones exceeded his authority in speaking to the veracity of ID, but, ya know, it’s kind of hard to dissociate that from the disgusting motives and behavior of the principals.

    Anyway, it warms my heart to learn that these folks know that their project will fail.

  • 2008/01/17 at 1:36 am

    Whats all the fuss. Only those whom wish to see it will go. The others can see what ever else they desire. Why are so many offended at the ID movement?
    The argument as is all useless arguments,I have the need to be right, even if I am not. If the ID’ movement is right then you need them to open your eyes. If they are wrong, then they cannot hurt you or change anything or anyone. Under free will, each makes their own choice. If they want to give away a few thousand tickets..so be it. When I was in college, it was mandatory in our English, we watch ‘the Headless Horseman and make a report on it. I do not think I really enjoyed either, much less was impressed with the story. But, by now, I even forgot the details. My kids sold candy bars for the school to make a few cents off of them for the school. I was not to happy about that, but I was not to sad either. Promotions take place in the schools every year. That is how they make some extra money. What do you fear, being right or being wrong. God is right and we are all wrong to the point of each of our spiritual ignorance. Helen nanney

  • 2008/01/17 at 2:51 am

    If they are wrong, then they cannot hurt you or change anything or anyone.

    That is so wrong.

    People in error can still use the political system to propagate their error and infringe on the rights of their fellow citizens, as the antievolution movement has a long, documented track record of doing.

  • 2008/01/17 at 11:19 am

    Why are so many offended at the ID movement?

    I am offended because it is an effort to promote ignorance and stupidity in place of knowledge and understanding. I object to teaching Intelligent Design in schools as if it were science because it is not science, and saying that it is will confuse students and be an impediment to their education. I object to those who are truly ignorant about evolution, biology, and science pretending to be making cogent arguments against these fields of knowledge, and I am especially offended by those proponents of Intelligent Design who promote it by misrepresenting science, quote-mining scientists, and engage in bald-faced lying.

  • 2008/01/17 at 3:36 pm

    20.Mark Duigon said …

    Why are so many offended at the ID movement?

    I am offended because it is an effort to promote ignorance and stupidity in place of knowledge and understanding. I object to teaching Intelligent Design in schools as if it were science because it is not science, and saying that it is will confuse students and be an impediment to their education. I object to those who are truly ignorant about evolution, biology, and science pretending to be making cogent arguments against these fields of knowledge, and I am especially offended by those proponents of Intelligent Design who promote it by misrepresenting science, quote-mining scientists, and engage in bald-faced lying.

    100% Agree.

  • 2008/01/17 at 5:01 pm

    LaeLaps wrote:

    I guess that depends where they go; I just went to the theater a few weeks ago after a few months of not seeing anything and ticket prices were bumped up to about 9.50 for general admission. It might be different elsewhere or during the day and I don’t doubt that the group is trying to make it an incentive to get the maximum amount of tickets, but $10 isn’t that high for a ticket anymore.

    10$ a ticket is not that high for a lot of theaters, but I suspect that the kinds of theaters that will screen Expelled! (independent or second-run theaters, etc.) tend to charge less than that. Moreover, the film producers only get to keep a portion of the box office. The theaters take a cut, and so too do the distributors, and so on up the line. So it’s likely that even at the $5 level, the producers will be taking a loss.

    In case anyone was wondering whether this was intended to be a serious commercial venture or just another expensive advertisement for the ID movement, all doubts have now been, you know, expelled.

  • 2008/01/17 at 5:47 pm

    So… if you have 225 ticket stubs, you make more money by submitting them as three batches of 75, than you do by submitting them as a single batch.

    Are the ID proponents expecting their supporters to have flunked Mats as well as logic and biology?


  • 2008/01/17 at 8:42 pm

    The creationists are so thick that they could lose, and have, a thousand times and they will still going on trying to force their religious believes on all through any means necessary. Make no mistake this is war for the future of humanity and its freedom to evolve. Organized religion is the greatest evil ever created by Man.

    To me all so-called “intelligent” Design is is like a cheap whore (Creationism) dressing up to try and look respectable.

  • 2008/01/18 at 10:17 am

    I’m not really worried by all this you know. I grew up in a school where we had to attend a religious service every day, my family and most of my friends families attended church every day, and at 14 I saw the hypocrisy in it all and became an atheist, most of my friends were there way before me. The more established religion becomes, the more people rebel against it. at the moment however religion in the us education system is seen as dangerous and anti-establishment and therefore cool. i say give them enough rope to hang themselves. the truth will not die, scientific research is too far gone for it all to be bottled up now.

  • 2008/01/18 at 11:01 am

    While scientific research in the abstract will not suffer in the long term, as noted before, in the long term we’re all dead. Also, it is perfectly possible for anti-science forces to drive scientific research to other, more friendly nations. This has pretty much been accomplished for the field of stem cell research.

    We also know what the consequences of political mandate of teleological doctrines for biology does, with a death toll in the tens of millions due to famine because of use of Lysenkoism in the USSR and China.

    So I don’t think that complacency is the right option.

  • 2008/01/20 at 12:49 am

    Compacency is not the right option. The attitude of the scientific community was to ignore it. It’s not worth our time. It’s rediculous. The Discovery Institue has a 5 million dollar a year budget. They are going after politicians and the general public with their campagn. Dr. Ken Miller told me that it’s the politicians that can effect funding for scientific research. Look what happeded to stem-cell research. Science and education are at stake. They can’t go after science because there’s always someone to check their facts. Misrepresenting science is easy. “They say we came from monkeys!” Streightening out that misrepresentation takes time to explain. The members and agenda of the DI need to be exposed. In the Dover trial, three of the scientists from the DI decided not to testify under oath about Intellegent Design.

  • 2008/01/23 at 9:02 am

    Whatever the truth of “intelligent design,” there is some truth to the movie. An eminent biologist who has just published a book crticising natural selection writes to me, “One of them [reviewers] called my treatment of selectionists -venomous-. I’ve been in the thick of those phenomena for almost forty years. Some of the grad.students who took my graduate course regarded me as the anti-christ. A frontal assault may only result in a bloody nose or worse.”

    Scientifically, it should be possible to believe in evolution but not natural selection. Science should not discourage challenge to a proposed mechanism.

    In February Amazon will be carrying my book “Save Our Selves From Science Gone Wrong,” a manifesto against natural selction. Advance review copies can be requested at http://www.evolvedself.com or from me by email.

  • 2008/01/23 at 1:20 pm

    It sounds like your emeritus professor is speaking to the violence of his rejection of natural selection, and not to any organized persecution of himself. I think a substantial fraction of graduate students may hold their advisors to partake of the anti-christ nature, even when they say nothing at all with respect to evolution. But if you are talking about how “het up” people get when taking up the antievolution cause, then the statement could be taken as saying the movie does demonstrate just how far people will go when they are putting evolution in their sights, and that would be something I could agree with.

  • 2008/01/23 at 1:53 pm

    I see confusion on this board between opposition to evolution and opposition to natural selection. In your post you speak of “anti-evolution cause” and “people putting evolution in their sites” in connection with my post talking about opposition to natural selection. I’ve read that Ben Stein is concerned about challenges to “Dawinism,” but believes in evolution itself.

    Is a distinction between evolution and natural selection meaningful to you, or are they effectively synonymous? To me they’re poles apart.

    I beleve opposition to evolution would fade away if science would downgrade natural selection to no more than a hypothesis. Evolution, the more significant idea, is unnecessarily being saddled with an unpopular and ultimately unprovable hypothetical mechanism, unprovable because it may be impossible to discern the true mechanism behind a historical phenomenon. One may settle on such a mechanism for one or another reason, but to insist on it being taught as science seem unwise, to me, and likely to bring science into disrepute.

  • 2008/01/23 at 2:10 pm

    Shaun, you may have the purity of focus you discuss, but you would do well to learn something about what motivates the “intelligent design” creationism crowd. They speak of “Darwinism”, but they do not mean “natural selection” alone by that; they are also targeting “common descent”. I include Behe in that, even though when pressed he will say that he has no ‘reason to reject’ common ancestry. So when you speak to things beyond your own work, and you did so in your initial comment, that means that we are discussing the broad topic and not just your own take on things.

  • 2008/01/23 at 2:26 pm

    Shaun, what is your critique of the data of John Endler concerning natural selection in guppies? Or of the data compiled by the Grants in the Galapagos? Or even of the data collected on Biston betularia by Kettlewell, then later by Majerus and Grant? It seems to me that claims that natural selection is bad science has to go through the already-known data and show why that data should be re-interpreted in favor of an alternative.

  • 2008/01/23 at 5:03 pm

    Reply to 33. What bothers me is what motivates the defense-of-natural-selection crowd. Is natural selection a theory like gravity, that can be questioned, or has it become a test of loyalty? Loyalty to–science? Does one prove one is loyal to science by heaping abuse on those challenging a theory just because someone else opposes it? Evolution is a much more significant part of science than natural selection. So why is it natural selection that’s so defended? Because it’s weak. and I think you know that. Else why the fear?

    Reply to 34. Proof of evolution is not proof of natural selection. It is reasonable to assume that whatever the mechanism of evolution is, it will result in greater adaptation. Merely demonstrating an increase in adaptation says nothing about which mechanism is involved.

    Aren’t you surprised at finding yourself resisting challenge to a scientific theory? Meeting such challenges has been science’s formula for success. Are you pleased at the role you play, of facing down critics, as if they were guilty of something?

    Are creationists succeeding by backing science into a corner, making it look increasingly ridiculous in defying scrutiny of one of its theories? Doing so makes it exactly what the creationists accuse it of.

    Science’s greatest danger lies in seeing attacking creationists as more important than doing science.

  • 2008/01/23 at 8:15 pm

    Response to reply to 33: You seem to have wandered off the page; the topic of 33 was that you were positing truth to be had in a forthcoming movie that is generically antievolutionary. Fear? What fear?

    Response to reply to 34, paragraph 1: If you have an alternative mechanism that can be tested, that would be interesting. If all you are saying is that whatever evidence pertaining to natural selection is produced can never be distinguished from an unknown and unspecified process, I’m afraid that is not as portentous as you seem to think it is.

    Paragraph 2: Asking for you to substantiate your claims is hostility? That doesn’t sound much like science, or even reasoned discourse, to me. There is a high bar for “critics” to meet. When I commonly run across “critics” who don’t even know that Fisher published a book in 1930, much less who can actually express a coherent criticism of the content, it doesn’t instill in me the sort of credulousness that you seem to be advocating.

    Paragraph 3: That doesn’t seem to parse into anything that makes sense. Try again?

    Paragraph 4: Actually, I think that doing science is best accompanied by socio-political action by scientists to fend off the socio-political action of antievolutionists. Complacency is a very real danger. Most scientists simply do science to the exclusion of public outreach of any sort. This is something that does need to change.

  • 2008/01/24 at 8:20 am

    We have efficiently explored and expressed our differences, which is so far as they represent the beliefs of significant different parties re “Expelled…” I find worthwhile.

    I have nothing further to add. I can think of no better responses to your responses than I’ve already given. Thanks for the opportunity to use your board.

  • 2008/01/24 at 9:08 am

    That’s refreshing, Shaun; too few people involved in these exchanges simply have no notion that discussions can have ends.

    I’ll look forward to seeing what your book-length argument looks like.

    As for “Expelled”, my comment over on PT expresses my thoughts:

    Now, to the point that Kirk says deserves our attention… IDC advocates are claiming “persecution”, and their three examples concern:

    * A journal editor who, in the final issue he edited, shepherded an off-topic piece-of-crap review paper through a “review process” that caused the journal to revamp its editorial guidelines to prevent future repeat gaming of their system, then complained when his colleagues at his place of unpaid volunteer research failed to treat the incident as a positive thing.

    * An astronomer who between being hired by a university and being denied tenure there failed to bring in any funding beyond a last-ditch $50K token from the Discovery Institute, slacked off on publishing research papers to write an IDC propaganda book, was involved in a high-profile, media relations gambit to falsely associate the Smithsonian institution with said IDC propaganda, included the IDC propaganda book as an item for consideration in his tenure review packet, then got upset when his colleagues did take notice of his IDC activities.

    * An adjunct instructor whose contract didn’t get renewed. Why is her case special among all those hordes of adjunct instructors whose contracts didn’t get renewed? Oh, yes, she spouted off a bunch of clueless IDC drivel in classes that students were paying tuition for. Was that supposed to be a good thing?

    IDC is not a legitimate field of human inquiry; it is just a sham aimed at evading clear precedent in the USA concerning inserting narrow religious doctrines into public schools. The IDC movement’s history does not just contain instances of bad behavior and political gaming; that is the preponderance of what they have delivered. IDC advocate efforts so far as engaging the scientific process makes the cold fusion community look like a bunch of Newtons and Einsteins by comparison. IDC began as a simple sham to try to get the same old “creation science” arguments inserted into public school science curricula, and the poor moral stance in which IDC was birthed seems to have corrupted all further efforts. One might consider it a modern example of “original sin”, though cdesign proponentsists try desperate damage control measures.

    Why in the world should people participating in or aiding and abetting a sham aimed directly at infringing the rights of others expect to be accorded respect for doing so? The IDC movement would like there to be no consequences for their bad behavior and poor performance, and seem to be taking the brazen route of acting like there hasn’t been any bad behavior or poor performance. Sorry, IDC doesn’t get to be the Homer Simpson of science.

  • 2008/02/12 at 5:46 pm

    They don’t have to be the Homer Simpson of science – evolution has won that hands down!

    Why is it that so many noteworthy scientist – I’m talking about Nobel-prize winning, doctorate owning scientist – who were always respected in their research – when they genuinely recognize and verbalizes any decent from Darwinian views they are ostracized and belittled. I know that it is an overstatement that this happens in every instance, but you would have to be a blind, afraid of challenges or simply biased to not recognize that it has happened enough that concern is warranted!

    I have no stake in either field of inquiry, but it does not take a genius to see intellectual posturing and incompetence masquerading as real science.

    In my local science textbooks they are still using the Urey-Miller experiment, the peppered moth, Ernst Haeckle (sp?) embryonic chart, the “horse series” . . . etc. to prove macro-evolutionary change with micro-evolutionary examples. If the evidence is really that strong for evolution why not use real, verified macro-evolutionary examples? Evolution claims these examples are abundant, but then go on to use the same old tired and mis-applied examples to verify their case. Even Steven Gould recognized this as the truth and said as much. Concerning the continued use of Haeckle’s chart which he knew for over 20 years was fraudulent as do all experts in the field, he said I was the “academic equivalent of murder”. – Steven Jau Gould, “Abschrulich! Atrocious” Natural History March, 2002. Yet, it is still in 2006 (and I imagine 2008) textbooks as fact!

    He also said, ““Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad, that we never see the very process we profess to study.” – Gould, Stephen Jay, “Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” Natural History, vol. 86 (May 1977), pp. 12-16. Yet, their statements about these fossils they’ve never even seen are recorded as fact – even in this field were some of the more obvious embarrassment to the theory have been witnessed! It is really just amazing that anyone still take this seriously without at least some hint of intelligent inquiry. The American public is so amazingly, mind-numbingly gullible. They fall for anything that has amazing graphics and the “NAME” science on it. Discover does this all the time – A great example is their article on the DNA comparisons of Chimps and Humans in their April 2006 issue. The information was not so much wrong and deliberately misleading. Anyone without a decent knowledge of the basics would have been swept away by the article not even realizing the contradictory nature of its erroneous claims.

    Textbooks, magazines and newspapers have been selling the “fact” of junk DNA for nearly 30 years only to discover in recent years that – wow! Look at that – they were wrong about much of it and those parts which are still unclear are also the least understood – but that never stops the incessant proliferation of assumptions stated as facts. I just wonder when scientists will gain some integrity or at least the American public will stop being so amazing naive!

    If you want to comment to me feel free to use my e-mail address, I do not frequent this forum I just happened upon it and thought the posts to be comical, a little scary and thoroughly validating of the point the movie is trying to make.

  • 2008/02/13 at 12:03 am

    I notice that Mark doesn’t bother trying to defend the kickback scheme. That’s the smartest thing I’ve seen Mark do.

    As for the rest, Mark seems to be strong on rhetoric, but weak on everything else.

    Let me see if I have this right… antievolutionists advocate “teaching the controversy” and having a go at “strengths and weaknesses” of concepts, but whenever someone puts their work on the spot, suddenly that’s all down to “persecution”. I think I see where that’s headed. We know that antievolutionists have no problem deploying hurtful, if not defamatory, rhetoric when talking about scientists who disagree with them. Yet taking an antievolutionist to task for blatantly false claims is, once again, “persecution”.

    Sorry, I’m not buying it.

    As for the supposed content of Mark’s criticisms, there are good resources in response to Wells’ “icons” arguments.

    I really find the false invocation of authorities repulsive, and Mark provides a sterling example in implying that Gould would be on board with a claim that no transitional fossils have been found. Consider Gould’s statement on Archaeopteryx,

    Archaeopteryx, the first bird, is as pretty an intermediate as paleontology could ever hope to find—a complex mélange of reptilian and avian features.

    There is also the 1977 paper by Gould and Eldredge where they explicitly validate a study by Ozawa as demonstrating “phyletic gradualism” in a foram lineage. Mark displays an altogether too common antievolutionist trait of confusing statements about rarity for statements declaring nonexistence.

    Then there is the Gould quote about Darwin and gradualism, that Mark is apparently unaware that I’ve already examined it in detail — and found Gould’s usage wanting.

    I agree with Mark that the American public has proven gullible, but differ on where the conmen are located. I agree that less credulity is called for, and when people actually examine the claims, it is apparent that the antievolution literature is full of hokum.

    I think I’ll pass on the invitation to email. I don’t see any point in a private exchange. Mark is at least a cheerleader for antievolution, if not a knowing conduit for their falsehoods.

  • 2008/02/14 at 12:38 am

    You are missing the point and making mine – thank you.

    I did not imply something so utterly ridiculous about Gould – anybody who has even a passing affinity with evolution knows he buys into it – and why not – it paid well.

    All I did was say that at least he was honest about the serious misgiving in the field and that therefore all of the dogmatic statements spewed in our classrooms are just so much posturing.

    Yawn . . . another very dead and tired “hook line and sinker” example of paleobable with the Archaeopteryx! (thanks again for making my point) Gould is right about his statement – it is the best example they have! However, when Archaeopteryx has been examined by some of the worlds leading EVOLUTIONARY avian experts – they don’t buy it!

    The Archaeopteryx being used as a transitional form, has long been rejected by avian specialists! It was a 100% true bird, complete with flight feathers, (NOT a transitional feature) – and certainly not a feathered dinosaur!

    The fossilized remains of Archaeopteryx demonstrated at least two of the five sacs which are present in modern birds. This indicates that the lungs which are unique to all avian creatures were already fully present and functioning. This is because no other respiratory systems vestiges were found and because any intermediary transition between avian air sacs and reptilian tubes would prove fatal to the organism.

    Analysis of the skull with CT scanning revealed that the Archaeopteryx had a brain like a modern bird’s, though a little smaller. Archaeopteryx also had large optic lobes to process the visual input needed for flying. It’s inner ear had a cochlea length and semicircular canal proportions which were in the range of modern flying birds. This means that the Archaeopteryx could hear in a similar way to modern birds, and that it also had the sense of balance required for coordinating flight.

    It had fully formed flying feathers including asymmetric vanes and ventral, reinforcing furrows as in modern birds. Typical elliptical wings of modern woodland birds with a large wishbone for attachments to the musculature needed for the downstroking motion of the wings.

    The fact that it had teeth is irrelevant in a discussion concerning it’s alleged dino-ancestry – a good number of extinct birds had teeth which are not considered intermediary and many, many reptile do not – this just serves to “lead the public down the evolutionary trail” knowing that people are far more convinced by pictures than an understanding of the issues.

    Also, both its maxilla and mandible moved – a feature completely lacking in most vertebrates including reptiles.

    Do you wish me to go on . . .?

    In short, the Archaeopteryx was a true bird in the full scientific and traditional understanding of the word!

    Dr. Alan Feduccia, a world authority on birds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an evolutionist himself, says:

    “Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.”

    Gould even stated that most of the paleontologists in the world have never even seen the fossils they claim to study – when you restrict your searching to those how actually have and/or are recognized experts in the field, you discover another story altogether.

    But you obviously feel passionate about this, I stomped a nerve – I’m sorry for that – but it too demonstrates my point – again, thank you!

    As concerning the issue of paying people to see the film, I can genuinely see your point and if I were bias for evolution and defensive of it I would embrace it as a fact. I’m not really on either side so it give me a wonderfully clear perspective on the issue. It allows me to see it from the other side as well and I honestly do not know which is true or if it is some odd combination of both views. You se, it is equally possible that the only way to ensure people will actually see the film and thus, be exposed to the problem we DO ACTUALLY HAVE in academia, is to pay them to see it. I find it completely in keeping with their stated issues without public educational system and their goals. Evolutionary hypothesis has gained such a death-grip in our educational system that this film could and probably would go unseen by those who need to see it most. Why? It runs contrary to dogma and if there is anything Americans understand and adhere to it is a peer pressure and herd instinct. If the teacher says it’s stupid or wrong, most kids don’t even care enough to second guess it, and speaking out against it is social suicide. So if evolution was the one deadlocked by the system what would they do? Oh, I know, they’d deliberately set up a bogus trial, with a big name sponsor like the ACLU and force their “pig tooth” evidence through the court system, intimidate people with technobable and eventually get their way – OH, no, they already did that!

    No, I’m afraid this blog site made up their collective mind before this even came up. Again, I am not saying that there is no evidence to support your position – I’m saying there is not enough evidence to come to a conclusion. This again is another example of evolution supporting people taking an observation, formulating a hypothesis (which is perfectly sensible) and then reading into it “facts” which, at this point, you cannot substantiate. I understand the methodology, I’ve been reading evolutionary literature long enough to recognize it.

    Just to clarify, I do not advocate either side – there is MUCH in the teachings of many creationists which is just plain hokey and terrible science. But that shoe is so solidly on the foot of evolutionists as well that their feet are rotting and it’s beginning to stink!

    I have an idea for you, put your head out of your butt for a moment and look at the evidence for what it is without bias and preconceptions. Have no GOAL or agenda to side with and see where the truth leads you. If it does not change your position – great! If it does great. But your literary temperature was running rather high – I believe I smell an agenda with stinky feet!

    – Mark

    Some Cited sources:

    V. Morrell, “Archaeopteryx: Early bird catches the worms,” Science, 259(5096): 764-65, February 5, 1993.

    A. Feduccia, “evidence from Claw Geometry Indicating Arboreal Habits of Archaeopteryx,” Ibid.

  • 2008/02/14 at 8:36 am

    Mark entered the first at 12:38 this morning. Mark complained in a second comment at 1:48 AM. I’m sitting in the airport terminal trying to keep a connection going; this is the first batch of comments approved today.

    Good-bye, troll.

  • 2008/03/24 at 1:15 pm

    Expecting sense from someone like the Mark character is obviously useless. It is apparent that he has an emotional investment in the crap he is peddling and a personality which does not permit him to disconnect long enough to assess the claims objectively. For him, all incoming information is filtered through a distorted lens which protects him from seeing himself as the idiot which others perceive. Don’t waste your time with him. He can never learn.

    Instead, we should spend time on devising ways to protect and inoculate the populations which the ID group want to indoctrinate.

    American science teaching has set itself up for the threat of this type of brain-washing by its over-emphasis on teaching and examining scientific factoids instead of teaching students to use and understand the scientific method.

    We must teach students how to clearly distinguish a scientific theory from an untestable statement, assertion, pronouncement, opinion, fantasy, myth or article of religious or ideological faith. We must teach them what constitutes good evidence as opposed to poor evidence. We must teach them enough logic and statistics so they will not be easily persuaded by faulty logic, appeals to inappropriate or poor authorities, misused statistics and straw man scenarios.

    While such an approach will greatly improve the quality of science teaching and help to decrease the appalling gullibility of the average American resident, it is likely to be heavily opposed by those whom it harms most: sellers of religion, political ideology and commercial goods. Since these forces are much greater in the US than they are in other industrialized countries it will be correspondingly harder to teach and examine these essential building blocks of good science in that country. Harder, but not impossible.

    May I suggest that the scientific community begin making teaching films aimed at young science students at various levels. The aim should be to teach students how to use the scientific method and how to identify when it is not being used or, more importantly, it cannot be used. The ID model should be included as one example among several which do not fit the scientific model or which have been discarded by the scientific model.

    By the way, I am intrigued by the silence of the scientific community about one of the crucial flaws in the ID/Creationist argument. It’s hidden end claim is that the christianized god of Abraham created the world and its inhabitants in an extremely short space of time. This claim relies exclusively on the claim of fallible people to infallibly determine the infallible nature of christianized Jewish religious writings and their translations and to infallibly interpret them.

    Modern biblical scholarship throws this one out of the water with little ceremony. It has been long acknowledged by those with the highest international reputations for good scholarship that the creation stories which appear in the Jewish/Christian canonical writings were derived from the mythology of earlier religions. Two versions of these stories are recounted in the book of Genesis one after the other: from from the tradition of the southern tribes of Israel and one from the traditions of the northern tribes of Israel. The god of one is El and the god of the other is Yaweh. The El god was also worshipped by non-Jewish tribes. El was believed to be the chief god who presided over a committee of lesser gods (the Elohim) who were involved in the creation of the universe. Yaweh was one of these lesser gods. It has been cogently argued that Yahweh was not a particularly stellar god and may well have been one of the collection of gods/spirits/demons who came to be collectively known as Satan.

    In other words, the Genesis account comes from a pagan tradition which believed that the world was created by a committee of gods with the earth being created by a lesser god of somewhat dubious character.

  • 2009/02/01 at 2:21 pm

    Hello everyone. Just thought I would drop by and say a few things. I am a vehement evolutionist who cannot stand all of the ID propaganda. I’m also a doctor and a biochemist.

    All of the circular rhetoric being forced on the scientific community and the next generation by ID makes me more than a little ill.

    I’ll attempt to be quick, I honestly hope that an ID sycophant manages to answer these in ANY way.

    “ID is a science” claims are not taken seriously by the scientific community because:
    – Every year, in every scientific field, hundreds of new finds, proofs, evidence etc is found which supports an old earth, evolution, and common ancestry. Any claim that another explanation is better must be able to show that these findings are either a) false or b) can be explained better in the other way
    – The “other way” cannot be a “god of the gaps” who is left lurking behind a wall as an explanation.
    – The “other way” cannot rely on a text with several claims but no proof. ie the bible. If you remove the bible from the argument, not because it is dangerous to science in any way, just because it has several unproven and unprovable claims about the origin of the universe.
    – without objective and repeatable finds, logic, proof, etc there is no science.
    – taking fossils and saying”rapid fossilization” doesn’t make it so. If the flood created water so deep that it resulted in the near immediate fossilization of everything this requires proof. And by proof I mean water deeper than 7 miles should have left a mark AND at the same time violated the laws of physics (see Hydraulics). (7 miles being the depth of the Marianas Trench, the bottom of which is covered in liquid water and mud, not non-ice solid water and a flat rock floor.

    -Science is not a religion because science relies on facts and observation, not faith in an unproven (see imaginary) invisible Gummi bear.

    – Please. Make one proof of ID or disproof of science. ANYTHING at all. It will blow my mind.

    – Evolution, the age of the universe, common descent, genetics, medicine, chemistry, anatomy, archaeology, astronomy, physics ETC all back each other up. They show the same things. I’m sorry, there is nothing in the bible to stand against it. There is no current argument which works out. Finding a difficult problem for science to answer does not constitute proof of ID. It just shows an area not researched yet.

    -The bible history and origins is very interesting in itself. First off the first monotheistic culture was the religion of Akhenaten, an egyptian pharoah, before Moses (again no proof of that existence) who claimed that “he was the one true god”. Besides all of the inconsistencies in the beloved book of ignorance (and I could go on) just think of the process of it’s translation. Ok, the original bible is unknown. The earliest known one is either greek or hebrew depending upon who is asked. (that means a bunch of undomiciled palestinians playing telephone) This is then translated into latin ( the early Romans and Papacy may have an ulterior motive, I’m not certain ;)) and mistranslated. Parts are even left out completely, about 25 % as a matter of fact. Then it gets translated into German, French, and English all of whom proceed to falsify sections just to prove their divine right to rule. I can’t even go into the plain mistakes type mistakes.

    Ok, hope to get some more reading done. Peace

    (over 95 % of crimes in America are by people claiming to be Christians. Yet they represent 60~% of the US population. .05% of criminals are atheists yet they come from a stock of 15% or more of the population)

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