Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Science Is Supposed to Take These People Seriously?
From Michael Schermer's review of Expelled in Scientific American:
... Ben Stein's antievolution documentary film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, opens with the actor, game show host and speechwriter for Richard Nixon addressing a packed audience of adoring students at Pepperdine University, apparently falling for the same trap I did.Maybe the Discovery Institute will claim that the movie isn't made by "Design Theorists" but the DI's Ministry of Misinformation has been busily promoting it with at least 11 articles about the movie over the last two months. It's a little late for them to disown the movie's tactics.
Actually they didn't. The biology professors at Pepperdine assure me that their mostly Christian students fully accept the theory of evolution. So who were these people embracing Stein's screed against science? Extras. According to Lee Kats, associate provost for research and chair of natural science at Pepperdine, "the production company paid for the use of the facility just as all other companies do that film on our campus" but that "the company was nervous that they would not have enough people in the audience so they brought in extras. Members of the audience had to sign in and a staff member reports that no more than two to three Pepperdine students were in attendance. Mr. Stein's lecture on that topic was not an event sponsored by the university." And this is one of the least dishonest parts of the film.