Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gatecrashing Expelled?

This is nothing short of astounding!!! Apparently, PZ Meyers, the palaeontologist at the University of Minnesota, was barred from watching the premier of Expelled, the ID film promoted heavily by Ben Stein. His account of it is here. This is from his account:

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 complied.

They didn't notice the fact that Richard Dawkins was with him. They blithely let him in. Later, Mark Mathis, the film's promoter sent out a press announcement about the expulsion. Meyers writes about it here. The Discovery Institute has their own take on the episode, called Richard Dawkins, world's most famous Darwinist, stoops to Gatecrashing Expelled. In it, they note:

In January I saw an early version that was screened in Fort Lauderdale and I will be at a Seattle screening soon. The Darwinists who are portrayed in the film -- giving answers to questions submitted in advance! -- are worried about what the public will think of their views when produced incontrovertibly in their own words. What they say is damning, all right, but it’s not much different than what they write in books and say in speeches and other appearances.

The "incontrovertibly in their own words" statement is a bit thin, since several of these self-proclaimed "Darwinists" have complained loudly and long about how they were portrayed and that they weren't told what the project would be in advance. I posted about a bit back.

Richard Dawkins writes about it here. I tend to view PZ Meyers the same as I do Richard Dawkins, and he is every bit as caustic toward religion (birds of a feather?) as Dawkins. As the DI quote also notes, he is not above trampling on the rights of teachers. I wonder, though, if this is, in some way, any different than me saying that creationism should not be taught in schools at all. I firmly believe that there is no place for recent earth creationism in the science curriculum in schools. I just don't want people publicly humiliated for it.

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