bein stein: expelled

doing my duty. y’all should link the movie Expelled like this (notice the link address): Expelled Expelled Expelled . here’s the most recent on the creationist movie by ben stein. (post written by pharyngula):

This is just getting weirder and weirder. What kind of dummies are behind Expelled, anyway? First they lied about the premise of their movie to get interviews; then they copied Harvard/XVIVO’s cell animations; then they threatened XVIVO with a lawsuit; now it turns out that they’re using music from John Lennon and The Killers without permission, stirring the ire of Yoko Ono. It’s total legal chaos, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m not going to even guess how any of it will turn out. Is the movie industry always this rife with sneakiness and dishonesty?

Anyway, no matter how the lawyers dance, one thing is clear: the makers of Expelled have been paragons of ethical dubiety, doing their best to skirt the edges of the law and sneak as much doubtful, dishonestly obtained content into their little propaganda movie as they can. I guess they had to skimp on the budget for the actual content of the movie to scrape together a very large advertising budget — it’s as if their movie is a metaphor for all of Intelligent Design creationism.


17 thoughts on “bein stein: expelled

  1. Actually, all of the people interviewed for Expelled signed off on it. People like Dawkins do these things all the time and likely didn’t think much of it. They simply NEVER ASKED what the film was for. 🙂

  2. Actually Justin, many of them, including Eugenie Scott DID ask what the movie was about, and were lied to multiple times.

    The producers actually created a shell company to keep the truth hidden until the last minute, and set-up fake websites, and fake information about other movies they were “working” on in IMDB to “verify” this false information they were giving to people.

    You may want to look into the truth behind just how deceitful the producers of this “movie” were before making false statements about the people they defrauded to get into their movie.

  3. Justin,

    Apparently you don’t seem to comprehend the amount of effort that Ben Stein and his group went to, in order to ensure those they interviewed would be unaware of the true intentions of the producers of this “movie”.

    I’d suggest checking out PZ Meyers’s blog, or any of the interviews of PZ or Eugenie Scott regarding this scam.

    The producers intentionally lied to people (which on a small aside is a VERY christian thing to do, don’t you think? jesus would approve…) and went as far as creating fake production companies, fake websites, etc in order to give themselves a “trail” for people to follow to hide their true intentions.

    Every step of the way, the people involved with this movie intentionally lied.

  4. A good starting point for you to get the facts would be:

    Next, I’d advise checking out the Wiki page, and specifically the references they give for the article…

    The general media response to the film has been largely unfavorable. It received a 8% (“Rotten”) meta-score from Rotten Tomatoes. Multiple reviews, including those of USA Today and Scientific American, have described the film as propaganda.
    The Chicago Tribune’s conclusion was “Rating: 1 star (poor),” while the New York Times described it as “a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.”
    The American Association for the Advancement of Science describes the film as dishonest and divisive, aimed at introducing religious ideas into public school science classrooms, and the film is being used in private screenings to legislators as part of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaign for Academic Freedom bills.

    And specifically look at the following section:

    If you’d like to go beyond that, I’m sure a quick google search could help you find more information, but I think Wiki and ExpelledExposed actually cover the issue fairly convincingly, and thoroughly…

  5. I’ve already seen expelledexposed before. Unconvincing and decidedly biased. So you have that an a wikipedia page. Hmm. Expelled was a big movie. If they did all of this and it is known, shouldn’t you have MSNBC, CNN, Fox Newa, and newspaper stories?

  6. As I said, check the references that the wiki article sites (there are MANY of them (175 specifically), including (but not limited to):

    Guardian Unlimited
    Scientific American
    The Chronicle of Higher Education
    National Centre for Science Education
    World Magazine
    PR Newswire
    New York Times
    USA Today
    Chicago Tribune

  7. As for “Expelled was a big movie”, well let’s see…

    Expelled opened in 1,052 theaters (the most ever for a documentary), earning $2,970,848 for its opening weekend with a $2,824 theater average.
    Subsequently, in the second weekend it earned $1,394,940 at 1,041 theaters ($1,340 per theater), in the third weekend it earned $678,304 at 656 theaters ($1,034 per theater), its fourth weekend it earned $328,836 at 402 theaters ($818 per theater).

    Originally, Walt Ruloff, the movie’s executive producer, “said the film could top the $23.9-million opening for Michael Moore’s polemic against President Bush, Fahrenheit 9/11, the best launch ever for a documentary.”

    Reviewing Expelled’s opening box office figures, Nikki Finke of the Los Angeles Weekly wrote that considering the number of screens showing the film, the ticket sales were “feeble,” demonstrating “there wasn’t any pent-up demand for the film despite an aggressive publicity campaign.”

    In contrast, Lew Irwin (StudioBriefing) wrote that the film “flopped,” and “failed to bring out church groups in big numbers.”

    If you look at the data, the movie was nothing but an unmitigated flop, that’s HARDLY what any rational person would call “a big movie”.

  8. From what I read in the actual newspapers, the expelled team had a movie (caed crossraods or something like that if I remember right). They got people such as those interviewed to agree to be interviewed for the documentary. They do this all the time and would not likely have thought much about it. When the time came to move the movie forward, marketing people said a new name was needed to make the film more attractive. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was chosen.

    Further, unless the people are mistaken, it doesn’t really matter much who interviews them – does it? They just didn’t like how they ended up looking because they happen to be in the wrong on this one.

  9. Actually they had bought the URL expelledthemovie dot com BEFORE they asked to interview anybody.

    The intention FROM THE START was a movie called expelled, about creationism, and linking evolution to hitler.

    They created the website for “Crossroads” as a way to obscure the true intent of the movie from those they interviewed.
    They even went as far as to create a fake production company so that “Crossroads” could not be linked to expelled until after the interviews were done…

    They INTENTIONALLY lied, which as I mentioned before, is such a very moral, and christian thing to do… There is no way to sugar coat it, they deceived people in order to get them to agree to interviews, sand took steps to ensure the deception would not be found out until too late.

    Further, unless the people are mistaken, it doesn’t really matter much who interviews them – does it?
    Actually people like Dawkins don’t generally accept invitations to be interviewed by creationist anymore due to the fact that these types generally “quote mine”, and take small fragments of very long interviews out of context to make the interviewee seem to have a different view than they truly do.

    For one such example:

    In support of his claim that the theory of evolution inspired Nazism, Ben Stein attributes the following statement to Charles Darwin’s book The Descent of Man:

    With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

    Stein stops there, then names Darwin as the author in a way that suggests that Darwin provided a rationale for the activities of the Nazis. However, the original source shows that Stein has significantly changed the text and meaning of the paragraph, by leaving out whole and partial sentences without indicating that he had done so. The original paragraph (page 168) (words that Stein omitted shown in bold) and the very next sentences in the book state:

    With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

    The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.

    According to John Moore writing in the National Post:

    Stein quotes from a passage in Darwin’s writing that appears to endorse the notion that for a species to thrive the infirm must be culled. He omits the part where Darwin insists this would be “evil” and that man’s care for the weak is “the noblest part of our nature.” When I asked Stein about this on my radio show he deadpanned, “If any Darwin fans are listening and we have misquoted him we are sorry we don’t mean to diss Darwin.”

    When one knows in advance the types of tactics somebody is likely to use, then they can make an informed choice as to accept the interview request or not, but when you are intentionally lied to, it’s much harder to be prepared for what might come.

    They just didn’t like how they ended up looking because they happen to be in the wrong on this one.
    EXCUSE ME? How exactly were they “in the wrong on this one”???? They accept science over a book written by bronze age nomads on scientific issues.

  10. I do not know if the Expelled team used deceptive methods or not. I also do not know who on the team claims to be a Christian. Why do you bring it up? I would be completely against the team lying to get what they wanted.

    Further though, I am curious – Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Check out the good person test at

  11. I do not know if the Expelled team used deceptive methods or not.
    Look up the information for yourself. I have given you plenty of places to begin your search to come to your own conclusion.

    If you want to defend the movie or the people involved with the movie you should know the facts.

    Without knowing the facts, when you make statements such as this:
    Actually, all of the people interviewed for Expelled signed off on it. People like Dawkins do these things all the time and likely didn’t think much of it. They simply NEVER ASKED what the film was for.

    It tends to make you sound ignorant, since the evidence is quite easy to find, and the producers of the movie do not even deny their tactics (they do try to “spin” them, but they do not deny them.

    I also do not know who on the team claims to be a Christian.
    Actually, pretty much everybody involved in the creation of the “movie”, including the producers and Ben Stein.

    Why do you bring it up?
    Because christians tend to claim what they says is the moral high ground (i.e. anti-choice for expectant mothers, homophobic legislation to ban gay marriage, etc) so when these same people use deceitful tactics to push their agenda forward, it should be pointed out that it goes against what they CLAIM is the foundation of their religious faith.

    If I make a claim that my faith tells me to not smoke, and you catch me smoking, you have EVERY right ot call me a hypocrite, and you would be right in doing so.

    I would be completely against the team lying to get what they wanted.
    Then once again, I would advise you to look up the information for yourself, so you can be informed of their tactics, before you attempt to defend them in the future.

    I understand you probably won’t take my word on this topic, which is why I have been attempting to show you other places to look. Take the time to follow the links through the wiki page, and and read all of the information (both pro and con towards the makers of the “movie”). Once you have all of the information from what you would consider to be trusted (i.e. unbiased) sources (NYT, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, etc) then I think you’ll be in a position to either defend Ben Stein and the rest of the producers, or dismiss their tactics as unethical.

    Do you consider yourself to be a good person?

    Check out the good person test…
    The first page that comes up for that link asks if you are “good enough to go to heaven”. I don not believe in the christian view of a heaven and hell, and therefor, I’m not sure what point there is in that survey for myself.

    If a christian view of the world is required ot be a good person, then the overwhelming majority of the planet are not “good” people by those standards, despite any efforts they make in their lives ot improve the world.

    For instance if worshiping jesus is a requirement, then Thomas Jefferson and Gandhi would both be considered to not be good people. And yet, most rational people, looking at the works of these two people, would agree that by and large, both men were great men who did much towards the improvement of those around them, and in some part, the world at large.

    As well, I find it hard to take seriously Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort when they make claims like these:

    Specifically, the simplest, and least controversial criticism of their arguments:
    The next point to make is about the banana, as we know of them in the western world, being created by god. As many people with an understanding of biology can attest there is a well known history of how we got what we know of as bananas.
    From a National Geographic article on some of the potential threats to bananas:
    The domestic banana that we know and love is an asexual clone, one that results from the sedate, artificial act of vegetative propagation…
    How the banana has got away without sex for so many thousands of years owes much to the hand of man. Although wild bananas do pollinate their flowers—having the botanical equivalent of sex—their fruit is packed full of peppercorn-hard seeds, making them inedible…
    The soft, yellow flesh of the edible varieties is the result of a mutation many thousands of years ago that rendered the fruits of these plants sterile…
    There is, in fact, nothing very natural about the banana…

    Another article that does a good job describing the history of the banana is from a Washington and Lee University student:
    The banana originated from seed bearing relatives in south-east Asia and the Pacific. The wild relatives were inedible, however a cross between two produced a sterile plant that has developed or been shaped into the varieties of edible banana and plantain growing today.

    So then we can see that wild bananas, “as God intended them”, have seeds and are inedible. With even a minimal amount of research before they aired their program they could have avoided such an obviously flawed argument.

    Any group that would make such obviously flawed arguments I personally think is not really deserving of much time., and certainly not worth listening to their uneducated propaganda.

  12. Ben Stein is Jewish I believe.

    The banana argument was taken out of context and tongue in cheek. In fact, Ray has even conceded the banana argument when used alone on an internet radio show.

    If you will not look at their site, why not try this one (without your presuppositions to simply dismiss it all together):

  13. Hmm, he may be Jewish, I’m not certain. I know I heard an interview where he mentioned “christ” (by that name) which is why I thought he was/is christian.

    I do know that many of the people involved (producers, etc) with the film have stated publicly they are christians, and that is where they derived their understanding of the evolution denial point of view (you may know this as creationism).

    Either way, if it is Ben, or the other producers, does not change the point. They intentionally lied to PZ, Eugenie, Dawkins, etc. As I recall from my catholic upbringing, lying is a no-no, and not quite the best example of christian virtue to be spreading in public.

    As for the banana thing, have you WATCHED the video for yourself? Not just the main clip you’ll find all over youtube, but the FULL show. I’d suggest finding it (online or purchase), and you’ll clearly see it was ment in all seriousness, and was not at all toungue in cheek. Comfort and Cameron may be trying to use that excuse now to deflect some of the deserved criticisms that have come their way, but if that is what they are claiming, then they are clearly lying.

    They made complete and utter fools of themselves, plain and simple. I’d have a much higher opinion of them if they were open about it and admitted they were completely wrong, and full of shit, but they have yet to do that. Until that happens, I have absolutly no respect for anything either of them says on any subject (with the possible exception of “behind the scenes” info on Growing Pains).

    As for this other site, WOW is all I have to say…
    Have you Ever Been Angry with Someone?
    Jesus said, that makes you a murderer.
    Jesus said in Matthew 5 that whoever is angry with his brother without cause is guilty of murder.

    Good to know I can cross 9 of the 10 commandments off my list now. (Hmm, I wonder how my wife woudl feel if I tried to cross off adultery;) )

    As a person who does not believe that an afterlife exists, I foudn this site to be ludacris and infantile. Essentially it boils down to acting a certain way or the big bad man in the sky will be mad at you. Wow, what a philosophy to run your life on. I’d prefer to have my actions dictated by what I feel is best for myself, my wife, my friends, and the world at large, for the sake of improving the world, not to “keep me out of hell”.

    But not everybody has the will to be good for the sake of goodness. Some people apparently need the “big bad man in the sky”. I pity those people’s sad pathetic lives.

    It’s VERY hard to take something as absurd as this seriously, but apparently you do. I’m not really sure what that says about you as a person, and I don’t know you well enough to make that judgment myself, but I will say it’s a tad bit nuts…

    Personally I believe the bible was an attempt by bronze age men to understand the world around them. Some of what is in the bible is poetic, and there are many good ideas. However a large portion of it is horrific and vile, and much of it is quite innacurate.

    I have a simple question for you, if you do follow the bible as the “literal word of god”.
    What order did god create man, animals, and women?
    Carfully read Genesis chapters 1 AND 2, since the order is different in the two chapters, then please tell me which of the accounts is wrong, because plainly they can not BOTH be true, since they disagree with eachother.

    And that’s just the first two chapters of the book.

    My opinion of religion is simple. If belief helps a person in their life, and makes them feel better, GREAT for them. However, there are a few issues.
    1) People should NEVER attempt to force their beliefs on another person. This includes having their religion treated preferentially by goverment, and any sorts of missionary work. If somebody wants ot learn about a religion, they are free to come to that religion, but the religion should never be pushing
    2) Nobody should EVER be allowed to justify their actions based on their religious beliefs. This includes homophobia, racism, acts of violence, etc. This should NEVER be tolerated under any circumstances.

    If religious people could hold to these two simple rules, I’d have no problems with their belieiving in anything (god, allah, jesus, zeus, l ron hubbard, fsm, ra, etc).

  14. Pingback: Is Atheism a (Religion/Faith/Belief System/etc)? | Thinking Critically

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