Friday, April 18, 2008

Does Anyone Like "Expelled"?

Does anyone like the movied "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"? Anyone?

Pretty much no, if you read the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. So far, only 2 critics out of 22 have something nice to say, and one of them is from Mark Moring of Christianity Today. (Poor Mark doesn't seem to know the difference between "infer" and "imply".)

I love this line from the Hollywood Reporter review: "more than lives up to its subtitle". And the New York Times said, "One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry." At the end, the reviewer says, "“Expelled” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It has smoking guns and drunken logic."


Anonymous said...


I liked it. I'll see it again. Did you see it?

Offensive Christians

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I meant, did anyone with connected brain cells like it?

Anonymous said...

"with connected brain cells"

I lol'd. :-D

- Dave

Anonymous said...

Typical ad hominem attack vice actually discussing issues.

So I guess you didn't see it.

Offensive Christians

Anonymous said...

It still has a higher rating than Battlefield Earth, probably thanks to mr Moring.

There's still time for that to change however.

Anonymous said...

Typical ad hominem attack vice actually discussing issues.

That's how left-libbers like Jeffy work.

Anonymous said...

Professor Shallit:

I'm sorry to bother you but I may have been abrupt in assuming you were not going to accept my post to your blog based on the time hack of the post following mine and the fact that my post wasn't up before that later comment. I've linked here from my blog and several supporters of yours have posted over there.

Would you be so kind as to take some time out of your schedule to help me understand what happened with my post?

Thanks and Respectfully,

Offensive Christians

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I have no idea what you're talking about. I generally approve almost every posting unless it is off-topic, repetitive, or truly offensive. I have a busy schedule and I don't always get around to approving everything right away.

Curtis Forrester said...

OC, stop being a troll. It's pretty clear you're a shrill for Expelled, trying to stir up the pot and then post how you've been treated mean.

An ad hominem attack is generally a technique used between two intelligent debaters where one is attempting to sidestep an argument of fact. Jeffrey was not sidestepping a fact, but was addressing one. You demonstrated a fact (disconnected brain cells) and Jeffrey simply was, well, clarifying his question while subtly pointing out a fact.

Anonymous said...

I liked "Expelled". I thought it made some very valid points. It was a bit sensational and over the top at times, but that's Hollywood for you. Might I add that I do, indeed, have "connected brain cells"? And Jeffrey, you never did answer the question. Did you see the movie?

~ Beth

Jeffrey Shallit said...

It's not showing where i live (to the best of my knowledge).

So, Beth, why don't you tell me what you think one of its "valid points" is, and we can take it from there. You might want to visit first, though, so you don't appear too misinformed.

Erdos56 said...

Pharyngula cross-linked to a description by Michael Shermer about being interviewed by Ben Stein a bit back. What struck me as amusing was Shermer's description of Stein's discomfort over the notion that free market competition was an intellectual influence on Darwin's competition. In the Gilded Age it was quite common for the wealthy to perceive themselves as racially superior in a Darwinian frame-of-mind. The cross-currents are, of course, especially ironic in light of the modern Culture Wars.

Unknown said...

I loved the movie. But on the sole principle that I liked it, then it MUST mean that I have disconnected brain cells.

Anyways, if you actually take the time to watch it, you'll realize that one of the prime messages of the movie comes to life with all the bad reviews from the media. The media can say what they like, the fact is that they don't represent the American society as a whole, especially when it comes to people who have the ability to think and act independently.

The movie does in fact bring up many good points, especially by documenting those who were reprimanded for questioning Darwin's evolution theory. If you can manage to get past any bias toward religion and religious people, then you might be able to accept the facts presented.

You might even enjoy the tidbit near the end where Dawkin's himself (avid opponent of anything religious or pro-ID) admits to his own belief in intelligent design. He just thinks aliens did it instead of God.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Dear Shady:

Do you believe everything you're told?

You've been fooled and lied to. The stories told in "Expelled" are NOT TRUE. Visit to learn what REALLY happened to Crocker, Gonzalez, Sternberg, etc.

As for Dawkins, you've been fooled again. He doesn't believe aliens created life on earth.

Unknown said...

Your question:

"Do you believe everything you're told?"

Exudes quite a bit of irony coming from someone who hasn't even seen the movie yet. And I'd rather believe the scientists who were actually interviewed and gave testimonies in the movie than some crackpot website trying to play it down.

"As for Dawkins, you've been fooled again. He doesn't believe aliens created life on earth."

Again, if you watched the movie, you'd see his clear admission that he does in fact endorse this idea. He was interviewed. And he himself admitted to it. Sorry Jeffrey, but your retorts don't hold much weight seeing as your opinion is solely based on negative media-influenced reviews. Do YOU believe everything you're told?

Remember that independent thinking I was talking about earlier? Might want to try exercising it every once in a while. Trust me, it's a healthy practice.

Unknown said...

Also, specifically regarding Dr. Sternberg, try his home page, and the investigation that was conducted by the Office of Special Counsel.

Sternberg's page:

Office of Special Counsel homepage:

OSC's findings in the investigation:

Since my other comment has yet to post, you can include this one in the same post if you like.

But yes, I've seen both sides of the coin on this controversy. I have to say that if I spent a good portion of my life earning two PHDs in evolutionary biology, wrote 30 peer reviewed articles, and then recieved torment for peer-reviewing an article that supports an alternate view, I'd be pretty jaded as well. This is not a small deal, all of his qualifications and past achievements have been ignored, and his career ruined. Coercion by a handful of scientists has a bigger effect on someone's career than you would think.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I know the contents pretty well, from the large number of reviews that have been posted. So far, you've exhibited pretty well that you don't have connected brain cells.

For example, you have provided no evidence that is a "crackpot" website. In fact, it was produced by many people that I know and trust. They are intelligent, reasonable people who are experts in the areas they talk about.

As for Dawkins, you don't even understand the context of the interview. Go read this:

Dawkins says in his own words that he doesn't believe aliens created life: "I was most emphaticaly NOT saying that I believed the thought experiment. Quite the contrary. I do not believe it (and I don't think Francis Crick believed it either). I was bending over backwards to make the best case I could for a form of intelligent design. And my clear implication was that the best case I could make was a very implausible case indeed. In other words, I was using the thought experiment as a way of demonstrating strong opposition to all theories of intelligent design."

You've been hoodwinked by the liars behind "expelled".

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Have you actually READ the special counsel report on Sternberg? If you had, you would see that the evidence doesn't support the conclusions.

Go read the report by Ed Brayton here:

Brayton demonstrates that the movie's claims about Sternberg are lies, pure and simple. And the Office of Special Counsel report's conclusions are nonsense - which doesn't surprise anyone, as they were driven by Rep. Mark Souder and Sen. Rick Santorum, both far-right hacks and supporters of ID, with an axe to grind.

As for Sternberg, whatever damage happened to his career was self-inflicted. I edit a journal, too. If I bypassed the usual process to publish pseudoscientific nonsense, my reputation would suffer, and deservedly so.

Unknown said...

Actually I have read it, and I don't need Ed Brayton's input to make my decision for me. I can make my own decisions based off of the facts provided.

So really, all it boils down to is the credibility of the arguments being made. You claim that the investigation was backed by right wing "hacks," but in the opposite case just as much could be said about Brayton's take on the ordeal. He would see the investigation through his own left wing lens, sharpening his axe toward all who question evolution theory. Which is the reason why he feels the evidence does not support the conclusion.

Also on Dawkins, so you're telling me that the raging atheist author of "The God Delusion" is now all of a sudden trying to rectify his testimony on "Expelled" by saying his admittance was out of his sympathetic efforts to appeal to ID? The ACTUAL video footage says otherwise.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

If you've read the report, then you know that none of the conclusions are supported by the evidence.

Brayton isn't "left-wing"; his views are much more nuanced than that and can't be captured in a left-right dichotomy.

As for Dawkins, you haven't seen the complete video of his interview. You've seen an edited version presented in a misleading fashion. Which should we trust: the man's own words, as recorded on the website I posted, or an edited video? I know you have no connected brain cells, but at least try to present some evidence in support of your claims.

Lippard said...

Shady Milkman:

The difference between Brayton's account and the Souder report is that Brayton's analysis is supported by the documentation attached to the Souder report, while the Souder report contradicts that documentation.

Sternberg wasn't fired, he wasn't removed from any position, he didn't lose an office or access to the Smithsonian (even though he should have, for mishandling specimens and failing to return overdue borrowed library materials even after multiple requests for their return). Smithsonian rules prohibit research associates from identifying themselves as employees of the Smithsonian, yet Sternberg's affiliation was identified as the Smithsonian on Discovery Institute materials for several years. He left his position as editor of PBSW by his own resignation before the controversy erupted over his failure to follow the journal's review processes (using himself and other ID advocates as the sole reviewers of the paper, even though there were other reviewers associate with the journal with better credentials for reviewing the subject matter of the paper).

Anonymous said...

You might even enjoy the tidbit near the end where Dawkin's himself (avid opponent of anything religious or pro-ID) admits to his own belief in intelligent design. He just thinks aliens did it instead of God.
Again, if you watched the movie, you'd see his clear admission that he does in fact endorse this idea. He was interviewed.

I watched the movie. Your misinterpretation is noted, and stupid. Dawkins was asked by the interviewer whether there was any possible way ID could constitute science. So he came up with one, life on earth seeded by aliens. His point was merely that it would in fact be scientifically testable. We could look for evidence of past alien visitation to our planet. We could look for fossil and genetic clues consistent with such a proposal. We can test for these things, unlike the "God did it" proposal of Ben Stein and company. To say that we can test for such things is not say that such evidence actually exists, or that Dawkins believes that it does. His discussion emphatically does not constitute "endorsement."