Here is a link-rich post describing a major PR coup on the part of the
producers of the film "Expelled". Unfortunately, it turns out to be a
major coup for the other side.
As you have undoubtedly heard, a group of evolutionary
biologists and evolutionary biology supporters attended a showing of the
movie Expelled, in the Twin Cities, last night. This group included the
very famous Richard Dawkins and the only slightly less famous PZ Myers.
PZ and Richard, in fact, were together in line, along with PZ's spouse,
a daughter, and a future son in law. Other evolution supporters and at
least one local evolutionary-type blogger were also in line.
While waiting in line and minding their own business, PZ was spotted by
the Expelled! production staff, and EXPELLED from the theater!!!!
Richard Dawkins and the others were not picked up by this anti-truth
security dragnet, and were able to attend the show.
Since the premise of the film is that academics are being suppressed,
oppressed, repressed, and depressed for failing to toe the party line on
evolution, it is ironic, to say the least, that the producers would, in
turn, expel a known critic of their position. Even more ironic when
this critic is featured in the film and prominently listed in the
Here is Myers' account, from his own blog:
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'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
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 offers his comments on the episode.
The blogs are ringing with ridicule. Mark Mathis,
duplicitous producer of the much hyped film Expelled, shot himself in
the foot so spectacularly that the phrase might have been invented for
him. Goals don't come more own than this. How is it possible that a man
who makes his living from partisan propaganda could hand so stunning a
propaganda coup to his opponents? Hand it to them on a plate, so
ignominiously and so UNNECESSARILY.
Now, to the Good Friday Fiasco itself, Mathis' extraordinary
and costly lapse of judgment. Just think about it. His entire film is
devoted to the notion that American scientists are being hounded and
expelled from their jobs because of opinions that they hold. The film
works hard at pressing (no, belabouring with a sledgehammer) all the
favourite hot buttons of free speech, freedom of thought, the right of
dissent, the right to be heard, the right to discuss issues rather than
suppress argument. These are the topics that the film sets out to raise,
with particular reference to evolution and 'intelligent design' (wittily
described by someone as creationism in a cheap tuxedo). In the course of
this film, Mathis tricked a number of scientists, including PZ Myers and
me, into taking prominent parts in the film, and both of us are
handsomely thanked in the closing credits.
Seemingly oblivious to the irony, Mathis instructed some uniformed goon
to evict Myers while he was standing in line with his family to enter
the theatre, and threaten him with arrest if he didn't immediately leave
the premises. Did it not occur to Mathis -- what would occur any
normally polite and reasonable person -- that Myers, having played a
leading role in the film, might have been welcomed as an honoured guest
to watch it? Or, more cynically, did he not know that PZ is one of the
country's most popular bloggers, with a notoriously caustic wit,
perfectly placed to set the whole internet roaring with delighted and
mocking laughter? I long ago realised that Mathis was deceitful. I
didn't know he was a bungling incompetent.
And it seems the film was pretty bad, too.