Thursday Madness: No Intelligence Allowed

What happens when someone who was interviewed for a creationist propaganda tries to see how he is portrayed in the film? He gets Expelled. I guess some weeks the Madness in this world takes a little while to come forth. But when it does, it really comes out. In a special Thursday edition of Monday Madness (on Friday), I give you Thursday Madness: No Intelligence Allowed.

MADNESS

On Thursday, March 20th, the first day of Spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the squirrels are out, and creationists wake from a long winter torpor and blossom forth like thorny, noxious weeds. This year, attention is focused on a new Ben Stein-starring documentary called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Last year, the producers of this film interviewed PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, and others, under the guise of a film called “Crossroads,” which was supposedly an even-handed film about science & religion in academia. Turns out, “Crossroads” was a subterfuge intended for the sole purpose of getting interviews, and after they got what they wanted, they announced the real name amidst cries of foul play.

Fast forward to today, where private Expelled screenings are happening in many states, which anyone can sign up for. So if you’ve been interviewed for a hack-job film, wouldn’t you want to see how you’ve been portrayed? PZ Myers sure did, so he signed up for the Minneapolis screening and along with some friends and family, stood in line waiting to get in. But he never got in. To tell the story, here’s a post made by PZ Myers last night while the movie was playing:

There is a rich, deep kind of irony that must be shared. I’m blogging this from the Apple store in the Mall of America, because I’m too amused to want to wait until I get back to my hotel room.

I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried … but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird — I was standing in line, hadn’t even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in. I asked why, of course, and he said that a producer of the film had specifically instructed him that I was not to be allowed to attend. The officer also told me that if I tried to go in, I would be arrested. I assured him that I wasn’t going to cause any trouble.

I went back to my family and talked with them for a while, and then the officer came back with a theater manager, and I was told that not only wasn’t I allowed in, but I had to leave the premises immediately. Like right that instant.

I complied.

I’m still laughing though. You don’t know how hilarious this is. Not only is it the extreme hypocrisy of being expelled from their Expelled movie, but there’s another layer of amusement. Deep, belly laugh funny. Yeah, I’d be rolling around on the floor right now, if I weren’t so dang dignified.

You see … well, have you ever heard of a sabot? It’s a kind of sleeve or lightweight carrier used to surround a piece of munition fired from a gun. It isn’t the actually load intended to strike the target, but may even be discarded as it leaves the barrel.

I’m a kind of sabot right now.

They singled me out and evicted me, but they didn’t notice my guest. They let him go in escorted by my wife and daughter. I guess they didn’t recognize him. My guest was …

Richard Dawkins.

He’s in the theater right now, watching their movie.

Tell me, are you laughing as hard as I am?

No. I’m laughing HARDER! PZ was EXPELLED from EXPELLED!

They were so afraid of PZ Myers reviewing the film on his blog, that they actually barred him from seeing it. And they were so stupid that they didn’t notice that Richard Dawkins… Richard freaking DAWKINS was right next to him!

Madness.

The Madness compounds, reports are coming in that Dawkins stood up during the Q/A session with the producer, Mark Mathis, and asked him why PZ was expelled?! Kristine, who was there, commented on it:

Dawkins stands up and asks MARK MATHIS why PZ was expelled. As Rev. Barky said to me later, it was a magic moment. Mathis repeats the same bullshit above. Nazis, eh?

And that beefy, ugly cop [*edit- cop, not copy, but what the hay, “copy” fits too*], after completing his rounds of the audience during the film, hovered just behind Dawkins (who was about 30 rows away from Mathis) every time that Dawkins spoke. Stalin, eh? Police state?

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.

Mark Mathis made a big spiel about “let’s be open to new ideas and have a debate.” So Dawkins stands up, and these open-minded people laugh at him.

PZ put up another post later in the evening, and Greg Laden is starting a list of links to posts about this topic.

Collin at A Reasonable Doubt, reports:

Last night, I attended a pre-screening event of the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” at the Mall of America. Also with me was my girlfriend Skatje Myers, her mother, and Richard Dawkins along with three RDF staff members.

Mark Mathis, the associate producer of the film, happened to be there as well. He hosted a Q&A session at the end of the film, and as we all can imagine, it had to be extremely surprising to see Richard Dawkins stand up in the center of the audience and ask, “Why, when he was featured in your film, when the entire theme of your film was free speech and oppression, did you EXPELL my friend and colleague Dr. PZ Myers from the viewing tonight?”

It’s true. Poor PZ was expelled last night. A guard walked up to him and told him that the producer had personally ordered him to be arrested if he attempted entry into the theater. Instead of getting arrested, PZ went down to the Apple store and posted the whole spiel on his blog, Pharyngula. That’s not what I’d like to talk about, though.

What pissed me off wasn’t so much the childish style of the film or the biased audience that cheered for Mathis, but Mathis himself. He had the gall to accuse Dawkins of lying about him, when the whole time he was lying non-stop. Here’s how:

1.) Mathis claimed at the beginning before the showing of the film that “our enemies are trying to sneak in and record our film”; he warned the audience that they ought to look out for people with cameras and such. No one tried to record anything. More importantly, no one, including PZ, ever tried to “sneak in”. PZ was told to leave, and he left.

2.) Mathis and co. tricked Dawkins, PZ, and others into the interviews for Expelled by telling them it would be for an objective film called “Crossroads”. This is not in dispute, but…

3.) When Richard’s assistant Liz asked Mathis to tell the audience about a film called “Crossroads,” Matthis explained that Crossroads was actually the working title of the documentary while they were interviewing everyone. He explained that this is common in movie-making, and that titles change all the time. Well, while that last part may be true, the claim that Crossroads was the working title during the interviews is a flat-out lie. The web space for http://www.expelledthemovie.com was purchased in February, 2007, and the interviews for Crossroads were conducted in April, 2007. No web space for Crossroads was ever purchased.

4.) During the Q&A, Mathis said he agreed with an ID proponent featured in the film named Berlinkski when Berlinksi said that Darwinism wasn’t a sufficient condition for the Holocaust, but that it was a necessary condition for the Holocaust. He seriously said that, as though eugenics and genocide and artificial selection were never around before Darwin.

5.) Dawkins pushed his question about PZ being expelled over and over until Mathis finally gave his bullshit answer: He wants Mr. Myers to be in this theater… in April, with 10 bucks. He wants to get paid for this. Is that such a bad thing? Well, it wouldn’t be under different circumstances, but it’s a lie. He doesn’t need $10 from PZ when he paid PZ for the interview in the first place! Moreover, PZ was featured in the film; the credits thanked him for his participation.

Why would Mathis be so stupid? What a terrible PR mistake to kick PZ out. When I talked about this with PZ on the train back to the Marriott: Matthis is really just a lying asshole. It’s just that simple.

Mathis Madness. With the film supposedly about freedom of speech and claiming that people are being Expelled because of their beliefs, they EXPELLED someone who didn’t agree with them!

We’re all awaiting Richard Dawkins’ review of the film and the whole screening debacle. What a big mistake this will turn out to be!

In honor of this occasion, I photoshopped several pictures of PZ being expelled, feel free to spread them around and link to them! The most insane stupidity, the most mind-rending inanity, the things that test our ability to have faith in the intellectual progress of this species, all diced up to be sipped through a straw. Thanks for reading Monday Madness.

Images:

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Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar researching citrus genetics at UC Riverside.

3 thoughts on “Thursday Madness: No Intelligence Allowed”

  1. There’s more, but I’m too busy until the weekend to post about it. It’s definitely a funny story, and Mark Mathis’s story has already changed several times.

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