This Movie’s in the Correct Category… August 23, 2011

This Movie’s in the Correct Category…

Reader Matthew points out that iTunes is currently selling Ben Stein‘s anti-evolution propaganda movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed for $4.99 as part of its “Back-to-School” sale…

… and they’ve categorized it under Comedy 🙂

Well, I suppose it is a mindless film that had a lot of people laughing afterwards…

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  • Haha… I don’t know why they even carry that crap. Meanwhile, they’re missing a boatload (or ‘arkload’) of great movies out there.

  • William Poire

    I laughed so hard, I cried. Ben Stein knows how to sell artificial and natural tears.

  • Anonymous

    This Movie’s in the Correct Category…

    I didn’t know that the iTunes store included a trash can.

  • Psuedo Nym

    And Animal Farm is… Action/Adventure?

  • Kirby Clendenon

    This is exactly what keeps me from identifying with Atheists.  Someone makes a movie which you don’t agree with, and you brush it away with dismissive terms like “mindless.”  I know you’ve convinced yourselves that evolution is the only intelligent way to look at things, which is actually quite ignorant in itself.  I think an open mind is a  better stance.  But this movie actually had a very good interview in it which explained that you don’t have to be a Christian or Biblical Creationist to believe in Intelligent Design.  If someone mentions ID you just assume immediately that they must be Christian. I thought Ben Stein had some interesting interviews in the movie.  But since you’ve labelled Ben Stein as an idiot for opposing your monolithic theory of evolution, you don’t seem to be able to even glean a few good things from the movie.   Atheists seem to like to label those they disagree with first, and then it seems like they have  favorite insults they like to throw ( which usually includes words like idiots and mindless) at them.  For such self-avowed individualists, you sure act like a gang of thugs trying to find security in their like-minded pack.

  • Robertlrader

    If he were opposing gravity with some kind of unfounded pseudo-science, I’m sure you’d feel some condescending urges; what makes this different?

    It’s not us that disagrees with it, it’s reality.  The dismissive attitude is usually just a more calming reaction than the outrage we should and often do feel about such people trying to cripple children’s educations by teaching them such things. Evolution is the only intelligent way to look at things, since the only other options are various degrees of magic. I have an open mind in the sense that if anyone were to actually demonstrate magic in a repeatable and verifiable manner that I’d believe it, but somehow I’m not really expecting that to happen. If someone mentions ID I believe they are probably a Christian, but there’s a possibility that they are not. But they are overwhelmingly creationist, since ID as a term and idea was thought up to dress up creationism in cargo cult science and try to sneak it into non-religious areas like public schools. There are a handful of people that are ID but not creationists, but they mostly get swept under the rug since they tend to be all about aliens.I do think Ben Stein is an idiot for opposing the theory of evolution for the same reasons I’d think someone was an idiot for opposing the theory of gravity or a heliocentric model of the solar system. We are individualists, but we have joined in an online community because of our similar beliefs and opinions on certain specific subjects. We don’t all feel the same way about ID because we’re part of an atheist community, we joined an atheist community because of how we feel about ID and creationism. (not just those two items obviously, but those are the ones relevant to this discussion.

    I really do feel that I have an open mind. I’ve looked at, considered, and rejected all of the major points and arguments used in the movie (and the ID movement as a whole). I really don’t believe that an open mind means you have to accept that all things are possible and that all possibilities are equally likely. You can absolutely identify things as impossible and reject them, even reject them quickly, without being close minded. Otherwise the “You should have an open mind” argument could be used in support of literally anything. From the teacup orbiting Mars to an international wire fraud scam.

  • Heisenberg

    Part of the problem you have here is slightly legitimate in a weird, non legitimate way. What I mean is, sure, to non-atheists, a lot of times it does seem like we’re completely dismissive and we’ve closed our minds about certain things, evolution specifically. The truth is, we know that we don’t have all the answers, we do know that the facts and science points to evolution as the main process of life. Again, we realize that we don’t have all the answers. What you’re saying is that we need to act like this, that we realize we don’t understand evolution 100%. HOWEVER, it’s theories like intelligent design/creationism that back us into this corner. If a scientists says anything remotely close to “we don’t have all the answers about evolution//but we’re pretty damn close” we all know that the last half of that quote will be lost. People will start claiming there are more and more legitimate scientists opposed to evolution, when that just wouldn’t be the case. It’s the same reason we don’t constantly strive to say “we know we don’t know it all” in every conversation we have about any subject. Especially when those conversations are held with a crowd we identify with and expect to agree with.

    We all know that there is more to learn and there will always be more to learn. That’s the beauty of science. We’re not claiming to know every truth and we’re open to learning as many truths as we can. However, we’ve all been forced to act as if this isn’t the case because if the idea that there is something we don’t quite yet understand about evolution is picked up on by Creationists then it becomes fodder for the ludicrous argument that evolution isn’t real.

  • This has nothing to do with atheists. The film really is mindless. Have you seen it?

    I went to see it with some friends when it was in theaters. One of the friends had a negative view of Dawkins from general things he had heard about Dawkins and came away with a positive view in reaction to the film’s pisspoor attempts to portray him negatively. 

    The movie contained direct falsehoods and misleading statements about what happened to various ID proponents it claimed were persecuted (a fun exercise is to go see the sections of the movie that talk about Sternberg and Gozalez and see how many misleading or outright false statements there are.)

    Then there was the plagiarism issues which almost sunk them.

    And then there was everything else wrong with the movie. Criticizing directed panspermia by showing stock footage of 1950s aliens? And criticizing theories of abiogenesis that involve crystal structures by showing stock footage of a medium with a crystal ball? Seriously? I’ve seen 12 year olds come up with more serious issues.

    The whole thing was an utter waste. 

    And no, if we here ID we don’t “assume” that the person is Christian. That would be stupid given that Ben Stein is Jewish. But, it is fair to assume that the vast majority of ID proponents (pretty much almost everyone other than Berlinski) is some form of religious individual who is using ID as apologetics to try to hijack science with their religion or to get their religion into public schools. 

    The basic fact is that while some people in the rank-and-file may have been duped into thinking that ID is valid science, there’s nothing there. ID was constructed for one basic reason: to get a new form of creationism into the public schools in the US. That’s why ID shows up right after the US Supreme Court said that creation science could not be taught in public schools. That’s why one early draft of the ID textbook “Of Pandas and People” had the amazing transitional form “cdesign proponentsists”. If you think that ID is anything other than a scam, please read the Dover decision. 

  • It’s an available option – some people like to waste their time, others only have the patience for particular stuff.

  • Ben

    Before condemning the community, it might be a good idea to educate yourself, Kirby.  ALL of Ben Stein’s points in “Expelled” have been widely and thoroughly debunked or exposed as intentional distortions.  The refuting literature is copious and ubiquitous.  No one has “brushed it away with dismissive terms.”  It IS mindless.  The reason that this community refers to it as “mindless” is because they continue to make the same vacuous assertions, even when their errors have been exposed.  The movie distorts facts, uses quotes out-of-context and, in some cases, just lies outright.  Had you made any effort, as a Skeptic, to verify the claims of the movie, instead of lapping them up like a naive kitten at a milk bowl, you could have saved yourself the embarrassment of posting a message that serves only to herald your ignorance.

  • *snerk*

    Someone’s a little butt-hurt, there.

  •    Kirby, besides the obvious intellectual dishonesty such as the over-the-top attempt to connect atheism to Nazis, the filmmakers editing the answers given by prominent scientists (while excluding the exact question being asked) so they either distorted or completely misrepresented the answers of those agreeing to an interview in good faith. 

    Scientists like PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins (and others) were intentionally mislead as to the exact nature of the film. When PZ Myers attempted to attend the premiere he was not even allowed in the theatre.  Stein’s sad attempt at belittling scientific ideas and scientists when the “facts” he presents are twisted out of context is vile.
    Other scientists and educators in the film who whined about losing their jobs due to their religious beliefs is simply untrue.  Yes, their views stand out as silly given their fields of study, but the reason these professionals were let go or denied tenure had more to do with proper procedure or simple lack of professional achievement in their positions.  The fact some held irrational views was simply a point of disagreement (and maybe ridicule among fellow academics). But I repeat: creationist belief wasn’t given as a reason for the professors losing their jobs.  It’s sour grapes.

        The makers and “star” (ha! right) of that celluloid abortion known as Expelled lied, obfuscated, and slandered throughout the film.

    Maybe you should check out

    It’s a site set up by the National Center for Science Education.  Or do a search on PZ’s Myers blog Pharyngula.  Just type in “Expelled” or “Ben Stein”.

  • Anonymous

    “I know you’ve convinced yourselves that _______ is the only
    intelligent way to look at things, which is actually quite ignorant in
    itself. ”

    A. Evolution
    B. Germ Theory
    C. Atomic Theory
    D. A Heliocentric Solar System
    E. A Spheroid Earth
    F. Gravity
    G. Tectonic Plate Theory
    H. An Expanding Universe
    I. Reality

    Thanks for playing.

  • Rich Wilson

    “If someone mentions ID you just assume immediately that they must be Christian.”

    Not at all.  At least Biblical creation is a thesis.  It posits that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days etc. etc.

    ID just says “Evolution is wrong”.  It doesn’t present anything itself.  So sure, maybe we’re living in The Matrix.  So what?  We can’t investigate that.  We can investigate evolution, and better our understanding.

  • Anonymous

    “I know you’ve convinced yourselves that _______ is the only
    intelligent way to look at things, which is actually quite ignorant in
    itself. ”

    A. Evolution
    B. Germ Theory
    C. Atomic Theory
    D. A Heliocentric Solar System
    E. A Spheroid Earth
    F. Gravity
    G. Tectonic Plate Theory
    H. An Expanding Universe
    I. Reality

    Thanks for playing.

  • A. Ling

    I was so happy when our local library moved “Expelled” to the FICTION section! (^_^)

  • Hi Kirby,
    The issue is really very simple, and it has nothing to do with someone being Christian, or someone being assumed to be Christian.  The issue is the difference between science and religion. Stein wants ID to be taught in public school science classes as a legitimate alternative to evolution as an explanation for the development of life on Earth.  Please excuse my copying my response to another person who was asking a few days ago about ID in public school science classes:
    For  a proposition to belong in science, it has to include the following things: 

    1. Empirical evidence (observable by at least one of the five senses) that is observable by anyone, not just by a select few who claim to have special abilities, such as mystics.

    2. A hypothesis proposed to explain the empirical evidence observed.

    3. Testing of the hypothesis against the empirical evidence.

    4. Review of the testing and the conclusions by peers in the field, whose job
    it is to look for flaws in the procedure or the conclusions.

    5. Repetition of the testing by others, to make certain the results can be

    6. Amending the hypothesis or proposing an entirely new one in light of the
    test results, as well as newly observed evidence.

    7. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

    For the proposition of a god (an intelligence) who guides the development of life to be included in public school science and science education, it would need to include the above steps, not just an argument.  An argument is not evidence. An argument needs evidence. Regardless of how eloquent or elaborate an argument is, if it doesn’t have supporting empirical evidence, then it’s just an empty hypothesis.

    ID proponents only offer one repetitive argument in several variations:  “Scientists don’t fully understand exactly how (x) developed, therefore the only possible explanation is that it was guided by an overseeing super intelligence.”  This is an Olympic leap to a consclusion.  Not one shred of empirical evidence is offered in support of this entity.  The existence of this intelligent designer requires faith to accept, and the willful disregarding of contradictory empirical evidence. Therefore, it belongs in a religion class, not a science class.

    Kirby, the medicine in your veins, the food in your belly, the clothes on your back, the car you drive, the home you live in, the computer you’re using right now, and ten thousand other things that you take completely for granted were all brought to you and made better and safer by the method of thinking that uses the above seven steps.  They were not brought to you by inventing unnecessary entities to explain the incomplete bits of knowledge during the process.

  • Drew M.

    This is quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve read in months. Oh god, that laughing fit felt good.


  • Anonymous

    @Kirby Clendenon.  Even if evolution were wrong it would still be the very best way to explain the diversity of species on the planet.  IDcreationism does nothing to offer an explanation.  Nothing at all.  It is not even wrong because it offers nothing that is falsifiable, produces no experimental evidence and cannot be used to make predictions about the natural world.  Of course we dismiss it.  It is crackpot pseudo science and should be kept out of public schools and consigned to the waste bin of ideas that never really panned out.

    You know what though, it is easy to change our minds on this.  Nothing, in fact, could be easier.  Form ID into a falsifiable hypothesis, test it against the arbiter of reality through experimentation and observation and if the experiments back up the predicted results then we’ll be forced to reassess the hypothesis.  That is after rigorously checking the experimenter’s methodology and results.  That’s what we do with all science.  That’s what it means to have an open mind.  An open mind isn’t simply accepting every claim made, it is examining each claim and testing it to see whether reality is in accordance with it.  An open mind is about reviewing the evidence and admitting that you are wrong when the evidence contradicts your beliefs.  As I said, show us the evidence and you’ll see open minds at work.

    As for IDcreationism being purely a Christian delusion you are of course correct.  Some Muslims also have a history of denying reality in favour of creation ideas.  They are wrong too.  Creationism is a failed assumption.  It offers nothing for science and scientific advancement.  Why some people cling to it life a life jacket is beyond me.

  • Anonymous

    ID is entirely Christian. Other religions like Islam believe in outright Creationism.

    ID though is just Creationism with the explicit references to god removed, in an attempt to be able to teach it in schools. In one case they took a book, removed all mentions of god and republished it.

  • Annie

    Richard-  This was so incredibly well said that I felt it deserved more than a meager thumbs up in the form of a “like”.  I appreciate you reposting this, as I must have missed it the first time.