12 November 2008

Expelled (Oh, Stein - Really?)

I finally saw this poor excuse for a documentary the other day and since I'm up with one of those post-alcohol binge sugar rushes I figure I'll blog about it. It was available for instant viewing on my roommate's netflix account which means I got to see it for free, though I'm sure the makers of Expelled got some paltry compensation for my efforts, unfortunately. First off, I have this to say.


And now for the serious review. Maybe.

Throughout the entire ... thing ... Ben Stein tried to affect this tragically thoughtful look as he thought about Soviet and Nazi regimes and Darwinism and instead of making me sympathetic (as, you should note by now, I so often am), it made me want to give him shaken baby syndrome. Secondly, if you understand the phrase 'argument from (pseudo-)authority' then you understand this film. How many times will you hear Stein say 'and now let's go find out from someone who really knows what's behind this' only to have him interview, say, the author of The Dawkins Delusion. Really moving objectivity. Point 3 - editing. Here I'm a bit confused because Michael Shermer comes off so sterling in his countenance and communication that I'm surprised the editors let it in. He doesn't harrass or attack or name-call. Unlike the others (Dawkins, Dennett, Myers, Hitchens, etc.) he is speaking with his audience in mind and it seems effective. Of course, later in the program Ben Stein learns that even Michael Shermer is 'wrong' but at least he got his foot in the door. As for the stuffier (though still absolutely correct) scientists, it's unfortunate that their valuable words were minced and turned into sound bites because I'm sure someone somewhere would have learned something had they been able to extend to discourse. The lovely Eugenie Scott was another who spoke with her audience in mind as well but, unlike Shermer, she was ripped a new one for it. Why? For being dishonest (basically, she disagreed with Dawkins and Dawkins must be in the right, so she must be lying ... wait, logic?).

I even got to be reunited through the lens with Casey Luskin and Anika for a short time when Stein took the Discovery Institute tour! I do believe Tiana and I had a longer and more interesting experience, however.

If you can manage to watch this, er, film for free or close to it, I urge you to do so - for the lulz and so you know what you're up against when people say they don't believe in evolution. When people say that creationism or intelligent design should be given equal time in the classroom, you'll know what sort of information they're basing this decision on. And now here's a photo of me enacting a fantasy in which I battle to death the 'reptilian' (you'll get why this is amusing if you watch) doom of the ID movement. Cuddles.

roomies 018


Geoff said...

This movie sounds awful. You have convinced me not to see it, whether that was your intention or not.
Bueller? Bueller?

Kate said...

More like ...



My dignity?

intelekshual said...

BUT KATE! This movie was extremely well made and unbiased and if you think it wasn't then OBVIOUSLY you are trying to expel ID proponents from the arena of academics HOW DARE YOU YOU AWFUL BIGOTED PILE OF BIGOT-Y-NESS.

Kate said...


I need that as a bumper sticker.

Jenna said...

New Zealand is amazing. You should go if you ever get the chance. I can't imagine anyone not falling in love with it. My camera is just a point and shoot. It's a Canon Powershot SD1000. I looked at your website, great photos!

WardawgUSMC said...

I loved the movie. Very eye opening. I have since mentioned the movie to scientist friends of mine who react with literal insanity. I see why they are so fearful of these common sense approaches and how the ID theory threatens their strangle hold on research funding. However, I am confident that as long as the evolutionists continue to make arguements like "we came from crystals" or "aliens left us here" the strangle hold can't possibly last much longer...unless of course we want to keep darwinists around for entertainment value. I must say it is very entertaining to just be a little critical of evolution and watch my scientist friends melt down under the pressure. BTW, you shouldn't wrestle alligators, after all aren't we suppose to respect our elders (LOL).

Kate said...

What exactly about it opened your eyes? Argument from authority? Did you examine the credentials of those being interviewed? Did you follow the non-sequiturs of the arguments regarding 'darwinism' vs stalinism and the nazis? Do you believe that all evolutionary biologists promote eugenics? I'm not really sure where you're coming from here except that you don't want science to be right and that's fine. There have been plenty of times when science has not, in fact, been in the right. This does not automatically put Intelligent Design in a default correct position, however. If evolutionary theory is wrong there could be countless other correct theories and Intelligent Design looks to be the least likely of those to win the spot for multiple reasons. This is about critical thinking and not about who's going to come in first. Please get your head out of the Us vs Them mentality and simply think. If we disagree, that's fine, but there's no logical reason to agree with the IDers that's not based in theology.


My alligator loves me. This is how we show affection.

S E E Quine said...

Hi Kate,

My roommate told me to watch Expelled, was confident that I'd find it compelling, and then I tore it a new one, which he was actually impressed by and admitted there's a lot of "yellow journalism" in it.
` Now, in my exposure of the discovery institute, I remembered the Skepticality interview where you and Tiana had paid Casey Luskin a visit, so I'm visiting your guys' blogs to read about it.

PS LOL @ Wardawg!