An intelligent if often adversarial reader of my blog wonders why I would call the people who crafted the movie 'Expelled' liars. What's the evidence, he wonders? Well....

Let's ignore the purported 'Darwin caused the Holocaust' argument which is supposed to occupy a substantial portion of the film. I haven't seen the film, and I'm not going to judge its merits until I've seen it, but for the record I think that is a deeply misleading argument, the kind of faux history whose only intent is to slur the scientific community.

Here, I'm referring specifically to the manner in which Stein, Mathis and Company have created the film and the way they have represented themselves since that point.

What are the facts? For one thing, they solicited interviews and gathered footage under false pretenses. While interviewing PZ, Dr. D and others, they told them they were making a film called 'Crossroads', which was billed as a general exploration of the interaction between science and faith. PZ posts the letter with which he was contacted here, along with a screen shot of the blurb for 'Crossroads' that at one point appeared on the Rampant Films site (it has since been removed).

The well-respected Times science writer Cornelia Dean interviewed the Rampant executives, and their statements can be found here. They essentially claim there was no deceit, and it was a marketing decision to change the name from 'Crossroads' to 'Expelled', the difference in descriptions between the two films not withstanding.

Well, that's just a lie. Wesley Elsberry researched the matter and found that the domain name for 'Expelled the Movie' was created back in Feb. of 2007, long before Dawkins, Myers et al were interviewed. No domain name was ever created for 'Crossroads.' Also, at the time the interviews were done, Rampant Films was not identified as a subsidiary of the more obviously-evangelical Premise Media , as it is now. Again, this was part of their deception, as investigation of their purported office address shows.

I won't bother trying to parse the competing accusations of dishonesty from both sides over the 'PZ Expulsion Affair', but based on their prior conduct, I find their denials and shifting explanations more than a bit hard to swallow.


Ed Darrell said...

I would have thought you'd have a more clear opinion on the issue . . .

More seriously, I'm grateful for your post on the reservations page. The entire page disappeared for a while last night; I found it again through your post.

Do you think they'll edit the thing before final release?

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Hi, Ed! I don't think you've ever left me a comment before, but I'm glad you did. I try to show restraint, since as a Christian and a high school biology teacher I get all 'kinds' (though never baramin!)

Anyway, you're welcome, pass that post along to others. I like it when I can be helpful to science education.

As for 'Expelled'...who knows? The change in the February release date came on the heels of Dembski and the 'Xvivo' thing and I do believe that eventually, despite Premiere Media's denials, that it will turn out that DI Fellows were pretty heavily involved in directing the film's narrative.

You know what wouldn't surprise me? If they attempt to tack on some spin about what I'm now calling 'PZX', and add that to the film.