No Intelligence Allowed Part II

On Thursday, PZ Myers was EXPELLED from Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed, a creationist documentary supposedly about expelling people from academia for their personal beliefs.An irony widely recognized in the blogging community as an Epic Fail, now the news media is picking up the story.

PZ Myers put up another post about the event, and there’s an article written about it in the New York Times.

Read No Admission for Evolutionary Biologist at Creationist Film. Here’s a couple choice bits:

But Walt Ruloff, a partner in Premise Media, the film’s producer, said the screening was one of a series the producers have organized for the film, which opens April 18, in hopes of building favorable word-of-mouth among people likely to be sympathetic to its message. People like Dr. Myers and Dr. Dawkins would not have been invited, he said.

Mark Mathis, a producer of the film who attended the screening, said that “of course” he had recognized Dr. Dawkins, but allowed him to attend because “he has handled himself fairly honorably, he is a guest in our country and I had to presume he had flown a long way to see the film.”

Truth is, Mathis didn’t have a clue that Dawkins was there until he stood up. He was surprised to see him in the theater. So this isn’t a case of selective “this guy is nice but this guy is a weenie” expulsion, this was an oversight. And by suggesting that Dawkins and Myers “would not have been invited,” I’m inclined to believe that had they known Dawkins would be there, they would have expelled him too.

Then, Mathis claims that Dawkins “shrunk” in front of his eyes.

That is not how Dr. Dawkins recalls it. He said Mr. Mathis said “enemies” were attempting to interfere with the film.

“It is impossible to imagine what Mathis is afraid of,” Dr. Dawkins said. “It is impossible to credit such bungling and inept public relations.”

Dr. Dawkins said the hoopla has been “a gift” to those who oppose creationism. “We could not ask for anything better,” he said.

There have been several more articles. I’ll skip The Discovery Institutes “Dawkins is a Gate-Crasher!” stupidity (hello – can you get it through your head that he signed up online and got a confirmation email that he could get in?), and a couple other sources, and get to the real media.

The Fort Mills Times gave a short synopsis, explaining what happened and leaving room for irony.

Twin has an article up, with some delicious quotes.

“I could not imagine a better result for this,” he said. “They’ve shown themselves to be completely dishonest and that they’re trying to hide the truth about their movie, which is to my advantage. And they’ve shown themselves to be such flaming idiots.”

Myers said Friday was the all-time high-traffic day for his blog — pharyngula — which includes posts about the “Expelled” controversy among other topics in science and religion.

Mathis did not recognize Dawkins, who also is in the film and says Mathis tricked him into an interview.

“What surprised me is it is a really lousy film, even if you happen to agree with it,” said Dawkins, who took advantage of a question-and-answer session after the screening to ask why Myers wasn’t allowed in.

“P.Z. is in the film extensively,” he said. “If anyone had a right to see the film, it was him. The incompetence, on a public relations level, is beyond belief.”

On the blogs, Russel Blackford weighs in, and Skatje, PZ’s daughter, adds to the fray. And also has a blurb.

Although PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins have been busy at a convention, they still managed to find time to talk about the expulsion, and record it on video. You can watch the footage at the Richard Dawkins Foundation.

To sum up, I particularly like how Blackford put the whole affair:

But the whole sorry Expelled saga took an extra plot twist this week, with the ID-ists (or IDiots as they are sometimes known) shooting themselves in the feet with every available barrel – think of them carrying one of those Vietnam-era mini-guns used to great effect by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Terminator 2. With all barrels firmly pointed at the ground. Sorry, I mean at their vulnerable toes.

You can also check out this post at The Panda’s Thumb – apparently, they put together such a biased propaganda piece that they didn’t include interviews with scientists that have included Intelligent Design Creationism in their courses. Only because their courses dash apart the design arguments, and don’t prove the point they want to make with the film – remember, this film purports to prove that Design is unfairly Expelled from academia, and this would make it hard for them to make that case.

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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.