A silver lining to Expelled?

Readers are probably aware of the nasty little creationist/intelligent design film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Despite all the fanfare suggesting it was coming to a church hall or basement near you sometime soon it seemed to drop out of existence.

Perhaps that is why the company that produced the film has gone bankrupt. And the film itself, together with its assets, is to be auctioned off any day now.

I thought that would be the end of the sorry little affair. But no – there may be a silver lining – depending on who the final buyers are.

PZ Myers reports that Talk Origins, the people from Panda’s Thumb, are making a bid to buy it. That seems weird.

But think about it. Expelled misrepresented some important people like Myers, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, Michael Shermer and so on. These people were interviewed extensively on evolutionary science, science in general and intelligent design. However, only short clips, heavily edited to produce a misleading impression, were included in the film.

Expelled – The Uncut Interviews

So if Talk Origins wins the bidding they will have access to the full interviews. As Talk Origins suggests:

“The auction promises that besides all available rights and interests in the finished film itself (there is an existing distribution contract), the winner will get all the production materials and rights to them. Want to know what was in the rest of the interviews with Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers? I know I would like to have that material archived and made available to the public, among other things that Premise Media found inconvenient to include in their film.”

Anyone who has watched the uncut interviews available from the Richard Dawkins Foundation will appreciate the possibilities. These are interviews used initially to produce BBC films documentaries like The Root of All Evil?, The Enemies of Reason , The Genius of Charles Darwin and others.

So I look forward to a new series of documentaries – Expelled – The Uncut Interviews. Just imagine, not only will we get an interesting and extensive interview of each person (Myers says his interview last 3 hours!). But as an extra, if the clip used in the film is also included we will get to see examples of how creationists quote mine scientists.

Thanks to PZ Myers: I think the creationists would rather just forget about Expelled.

Similar articles

About these ads

34 responses to “A silver lining to Expelled?

  1. Seems Talk Origins didn’t win the bid. It’s a shame really, I’d have loved to see what was actually said and have a hearty laugh at how obviously deceitful the film makers had to be to try and get their fallacious view across.

    I saw PZ said the auction was over but he didn’t say who won it. We might still get lucky; somebody willing to do the right thing might have won…

    Like

  2. Max Whitaker

    Common problem with editing for documentaries. I remember McGrath saying that his comments had been edited to give shallow image in one of Dawkins’ films. It is a problem with the genre which wants to titilate rather than inform. Both “sides” do it.

    Like

  3. Thankfully one “side” has some credible evidence.

    Like

  4. Max Whitaker

    Sure. But the issue here is not the truth of the claim but this dishonest methods used in editing interviews used for a documentary. Given Dawkins has done the same thing when making his own documentaries he would he rather two-faced to complain TOO loudly when the same is done to him.

    Like

  5. Max Whitaker

    NOTE: I have no doubt that Dawkins (among others) was misquoted and edited to seem to say things they did not say – I am a little surprised he did not see this coming as he (or his crew as I am sure he does not have the final say on the content of a commercial product) did exactly same thing to other people.

    Like

  6. Inevitably directors are making decisions in film editing. That is why I find the idea of the uncut interviews so good.

    For eample, McGrath might compalin about how the BBC edited his interview – so he should be thankful that the Richard Dawkins Foundation has made the uncut version of his interview available. (We may also draw our own conclusion about the editing from this.)
    Honestly, I found these uncut interviews an invaluable resource. Hell, there is even that interview with Jill Mytton (see Psychological abuse of children) which is a classic and on such a vital topic. But not even a clip made it into the original film. Yet one can learn so much from it.

    Actually, the complaint of people like Dawkins who were interviewed for Expelled is not so much the editing – which they of course understand. it was the subterfuge in that the interviews were obtained in most cases by false pretenses. Of course Myers has an extra bitch (or is it honour) in that he was expelled from the queue of people waiting to see the film Expelled – even though he starred in it.! Mind you he keeps reminding Dawkins that besides standing alongisde him Dawkins was allowed in! A real boost to his ego as being the most evil atheist out.

    Pity Talk Origins didn’t win the bidding. I will be interested in who did, though, and what they plan to do with these interviews.

    Like

  7. Yes – the false pretense is more of an issue. I think people interviewed by Dawkins know where he is coming from. Perhaps he really does want to create an unbiased account of his discussions. One interviewer/ documentary maker I really respect is Louis Theroux who really does seem to present just what he encounters.. although perhaps this is just due to editing and bias too clever for me to detect…

    Like

  8. Although this is interesting:

    http://beastrabban.wordpress.com/2008/01/07/sheldrake-claims-dawkins-got-interview-through-misrepresentation/

    Also Deepac Chopra also claimed that Dawkins misrepresented the reason for the interviews… so perhaps there is a little bit of hypocrisy going on here.

    Like

  9. It ended up going for about US$200 000 – so I guess someone though they could make a profit from it (although AiG is rumoured to be one of the big bidders).

    It’s shame the TO guys didn’t get it, not just because of the production materials, but because then they would have had the rights to cut an ‘annotated version’ which would be a pretty nice way of showing how utterly vacuous the film’s *ahem* premise is. Also pretty cool to see them returning all their recent donations even though they were given with no guarantee of success.

    Like

  10. For example, McGrath might complain about how the BBC edited his interview – so he should be thankful that the Richard Dawkins Foundation has made the uncut version of his interview available.

    Oh, ignore that. That’s part of Dawkins’ cunning plan.
    It’s all a trick.
    It’s made available just to make it look like he’s being fair and reasonable.
    In reality, he’s just as bad as somebody else who is really bad.
    Don’t be fooled by a man’s actions. It’s the narrative in your head that counts.

    Lying For Jesus

    Like

  11. Cedric. Dawkins made a complaint that he had been asked to do an interview under false pretenses. I believe him. Some other people said that Dawkins asked them to do an interview under false pretenses. I believe them too. Unbiased approach you see where I do not take my favorite people and assume they are always in the right.

    Like

  12. Max, people like Deepac Chopra ans Sheldrake are hardly reliable sources. And if they knew they were being interviewed by Dawkins for a BBC doco I think they can hardly claim misrepresentation.

    The Expelled people set up a company with an unknown name, claimed to be putting both sides in a doco. I don’t think Dawkins or Myers twigged to what was going on but Shermer and Scott may have.

    However, its not a big deal. The film itself discredited the makers – only fools would have gone along with the lies (and yes there are quite a few fools around).

    People like Dawkins are being misrepresented all the time. They have come to expect it and I don’t think they lose sleep over it.

    Like

  13. “Max, people like Deepac Chopra ans Sheldrake are hardly reliable sources.”

    You jest I assume? This is exactly what the fundy (on the other side) would say about Dawkins… because all atheists are dishonest right? And all people who believe in things you don’t are dishonest too right…? You can have your double standards if you want but this is a pretty weak justification for them.

    I am sure Dawkins is misrepresented. It is just a shame he does not learn from this experience and think perhaps he should not do the same to others…

    Like

  14. My assessment of the reliability of people like Deepac Chpra is based on experience. He says some stupid things and is not very connected with reality. So I can easily see him being able to convince hiself that he is being misrepresented even though the facts (That noone hid the facts of the BBC or Dawkins from him) don’t fit with that. I doubt he has much problem with lying anyway.

    I guess we all apply our own experience. As I have explained a few years ago I wouldn’t have given Dawkins the time of day. Then I read one of his books and realised I had been wrong about him for 30 years.

    However, his demonistation fits comfortably for this who hate atheists. It fits comfortably for some contrarians who are atheists.

    As I often say we are not a rational speices. Biases like this don’t suprise me at all.

    Like

  15. Yes. Deepak has some views that are odd (by your perspective) but to extrapolate from that that he must be unreliable in normal interpersonal communication is unwarranted… as stupid as assuming that all atheists are immoral say?

    “I doubt he has much problem with lying anyway.”
    Again – this is a mirror image of what the fundamentalist would say about Dawkins… because athiests/hindi gurus all lie…

    “However, his demonistation fits comfortably for this who hate atheists.”

    Indeed. I am glad you can see this wrto Dawkins…. now if you stretch your mind a little you will see you are sadly doing the same with Deepak.

    “As I often say we are not a rational speices. Biases like this don’t suprise me at all.”

    True – but this does not excuse you for now being on the watch for your own!

    The difference between me and you is that I am not allowing my intellectual disagreement with Dawkins to flavour my opinion of him as a person.

    Like

  16. Max,
    Refer back to my comment that we are not a rational species. This is why science, which does require rationality in the end, relies on social working and verification against reality. At the personal level a scientist is just as irrational as a non-scientist. (Hell I even knew a scientist who was member of the ACT Party!).

    Personally I am aware of the irrationality in myself. It is understandable as we, in our day to interactions, must be able to react to situations without going into a long period of analysis and verification. Its party of what makes us human and able to operate.

    Now I reacted that way to Dawkins 30 years ago because of my socialist sympathys and the way his book The Selfish Gene had been presented as a justification for selfishness (It is in fact the opposite) andf capitalism. Frankly I wish that I had sat back and at least read the book. (Perhaps I could have justified not doing so then because it was outside my field and one has little time to read ourtside material in a busy life).

    Nowadays I do try to read further. And not react intuitiviely as I did then. Being older there is not the same drive too – its possible to be more even handed. And I think wisdom does tend to come with age.

    I certainly feel more open minded. I read more widely and am able to take postive points from a person’s writigns while registering points I disagree with. And I never agree completely with any author I read.

    Even so, I have a limited time left so refuse to waste time on stuff I can be pretty sure are not honest or are whaky. I am not so open minded my brains fall out. Maybe I sometimes might jump to unjustified conclusions but in a discussion like this I am open to receiving other points of view.

    If you can justfy Deepak or his ideas to me I might well put him on my list to read.

    Still Iam hardly going to waste my time on something like theology or mysticism whoich startes with a premise quite outside my own outlooks. (Sure if I saw the light, got born again, etc., that would change.)

    I think we all do this, we have to to survive. We are not robots.

    Ohe thing I try to do, though, is not induglge to freely in them vs us reations. I sometimes, rarely, will accuse someone of being “strident” or “militant” to be provocative or make a point. But I recognise that such language is usually part of the demonisation process.

    Like

  17. You jest I assume? This is exactly what the fundy (on the other side) would say about Dawkins… because all atheists are dishonest right?

    Why create a strawman?
    Sheldrake and Chopra are individuals with individual reputations.
    As individuals, they are woo-meisters. Famous woo-meisters.
    Lying and obfustication and heavy-duty gobbledygook are their bread and butter. It’s what they do.

    It’s not reasonable to just accept their word on something.

    Dawkins has provided clear-cut evidence that he has been treated unfairly.
    Based on that evidence, I accept his account.
    Not because I like him.
    He made a claim and he backed up that claim. That’s why I find his claim credible.
    Chopra and Sheldrake?
    There’s nothing to substantiate their complaints. If there is then by all means present it.

    Like

  18. “If you can justfy Deepak or his ideas to me I might well put him on my list to read.”

    I think you misinterpreted me. I think Deepak’s ideas are as whacky as you probably do. My point was that just because he has whacky religious ideas does not mean that he is either (i) a liar or (ii) incapable of interpreting people’s intentions when talking to him.

    I am sure you have met people who have crazy beliefs but despite this are quite honest, and capable of having stable relationships and understanding people’s intentions.

    You seem to have rejected his claim that Dawkin’s acted towards him in a deceptive manner based on irrelevant criteria. This strikes me as very similar to people who assume that all atheists must be liars and immoral… which we both know is a ridiculous idea. How was your claim not the same…. it does not really matter. Just seems a bit hypocritical.

    Like

  19. “Why create a strawman?”

    Um.. I thought I was pointing out a strawman. Reread maybe?

    “Sheldrake and Chopra are individuals with individual reputations.
    As individuals, they are woo-meisters. Famous woo-meisters.
    Lying and obfustication and heavy-duty gobbledygook are their bread and butter. It’s what they do.”

    Yes… which is exactly what the fundy would say about Dawkins. This sort od silly mudslinging is not something that interests me really.

    “It’s not reasonable to just accept their word on something.”

    Same point as above.

    “Dawkins has provided clear-cut evidence that he has been treated unfairly.”

    True – and I believe him.

    “There’s nothing to substantiate their complaints. If there is then by all means present it.”

    They have presented it. Do a google search.

    Like

  20. But honestly I don’t really care. Dawkins is just a particular mouth piece for his philosophy – the philosophy itself is of more interest than whether or not he did or didn’t lie to get an interview… and the same goes for the ID crowd. The ideas stand or fall regardless of the tactic of their respective missionaries.

    Like

  21. Um.. I thought I was pointing out a strawman. Reread maybe?

    No. You were creating a strawman from whole cloth.

    Here’s what Ken actually said…“Max, people like Deepac Chopra and Sheldrake are hardly reliable sources.”

    These are known woo-meiters. Ken mentioned them by name. They have a reputation for being unreliable.

    …because all atheists are dishonest right?

    Somehow you have magically leapt from specific individuals to an abstract group. Not the same thing at all, hence the strawman creation.
    You chose to “creatively re-interpret” and compare Ken slinging off about Deepak and Sheldrake with a fundy slinging off against “atheists”.

    … which is exactly what the fundy would say about Dawkins. This sort od silly mudslinging is not something that interests me really.

    People misrepresent people. It happens.
    Sometimes people claim that that they have been misrepresented..but it’s not true.
    Sometimes people claim that they have been misrepresented…and it’s very true.
    They are not the same.
    You just can’t lump it all together, invoke the magical balance fairy and say it’s ALL silly mudslinging. Sometimes it’s mudslinging and sometimes it’s spelling out the truth. For the sake of honesty, it’s important to acknowledge the difference.

    “There’s nothing to substantiate their complaints. If there is then by all means present it.”
    They have presented it. Do a google search.

    Why would I? It sounds like a waste of time.
    Chopra and Sheldrake have a well known reputation.
    A BAD reputation.
    Even you don’t seem to care for them.
    Somebody wants to claim that they have been hard done by then…great but I’m not going to waste my time doing a google hunt.
    A reputation counts for something after all.
    If you want to present some evidence that they are correct then present it.
    “Google it” is very weak tea.

    This is exactly what the fundy (on the other side) would say about Dawkins… because all atheists are dishonest right?

    Like

  22. “No. You were creating a strawman from whole cloth.”

    I think we have missed each others meaning at some point. But never mind.

    “These are known woo-meiters. Ken mentioned them by name. They have a reputation for being unreliable.”

    Do you have any evidence for this? Provide some evidence that either of these people are unreliable or dishonest (in their dealings with people – not in their philosophical thought). Otherwise you are merely throwing random accusations.

    “Why would I? It sounds like a waste of time.”

    Because then you would have some data with which to make claims rather that speaking out your ass? If you are totally unwilling to do even the minor amount of research required in doing a simple google search then don’t even pretend you want to know the truth of the matter.

    “Chopra and Sheldrake have a well known reputation.
    A BAD reputation.”

    Again – evidence? But since you won’t even do a google search I suspect you will just continue to make these baseless accusations. Much like the fundamentalist who harps on about the dishonesty of Dawkins but when asked to actually read his book says: “Why would I waste my time”. You really make me laugh – you are the exact mirror of the people you criticize but just too dim to realize it?

    “Even you don’t seem to care for them.”

    This is where the subtle difference between a persons beliefs and their conduct comes in. I don’t care for their beliefs – this does not colour my opinion of them as people. It is a useful distinction which you might want to try to grasp?

    “A reputation counts for something after all.”

    Come on! How would you feel if the fundy used this as their argument against Dawkins? “Duh… I don’t need to read Dawkins book,, a reputation counts for something after all… duh!” I don’t want to believe you are this stupid Cedric! Please say something to convince me otherwise!

    Like

  23. Because then you would have some data with which to make claims rather that speaking out your ass?

    You are the one that moved your sphincter and placed a steamer on the dinner table-not me.
    I’m not making a claim.
    You are the one invoking the magical balance fairy.

    Given Dawkins has done the same thing when making his own documentaries he would he rather two-faced to complain TOO loudly when the same is done to him.
    (…)
    I am sure Dawkins is misrepresented. It is just a shame he does not learn from this experience and think perhaps he should not do the same to others…

    I don’t believe you when you make such a silly claim.
    Dawkins has made serious efforts to provide evidence that he’s been fair to people in his documentaries. Unedited footage is freely available.

    This is where the subtle difference between a persons beliefs and their conduct comes in. I don’t care for their beliefs – this does not colour my opinion of them as people.

    Their conduct is the basis of their reputation.
    Not their “beliefs” or their “philosophy” or “views”.
    They lie to people. That’s how they conduct themselves.
    They are known frauds that sell woo. That’s how they conduct themselves.
    They have their financial hooks in deep into gullible people. They are not nice, harmless folk with some eccentric ideas. They use deceit for fun and profit.
    Based on their reputation, which is based on their conduct, there’s no way I’m going to just take their word on anything.
    That’s one of those curious things that happens when you are a known liar and bullshit peddler. People tend to distrust you.

    Yet who knows? Maybe they really have been hoodwinked by Dawkins? No need to take their word for anything though.

    “Duh… I don’t need to read Dawkins book,, a reputation counts for something after all… duh!”

    Strawman.
    You are making an unsubstantiated claim. I’m not refusing to read or look at anything.
    I’m just refusing to do your own legwork for you.
    Don’t try and shift the burden of proof onto me. It’s dishonest.

    You want to claim that Sheldrake and Chopra have been hard done by or that Dawkins is just as bad as someone else? Then provide evidence. Don’t just wave your hands in the air and sent me off on a google goose chase.
    I don’t believe in magical balance fairies.
    One side can sometimes be actually wrong and the other side can sometimes be really and truly in the right.

    “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”-Hitchins

    Like

  24. @Cedric another +1

    Like

  25. Cedric: I disagree from what I have read and looked into. From what (little) you have looked into you have reached a different conclusion.

    Like

  26. I disagree from what I have read and looked into.

    Max, all I’m asking for is for you to back up what you said about Dawkins with some evidence.
    Either you are being unfair and maligning him or you really do have something solid.
    If you’ve got him dead to rights on him doing the same thing to others…then let’s see it already.
    What did you read that convinced you?

    If you don’t really have anything concrete then do the right thing and withdraw your claim.

    From what (little) you have looked into…

    Well, I didn’t invoke the magical balance fairy so, naturally, I have not looked into it. It’s your claim, not mine.
    (shrug)

    Like

  27. You claim that you have read things that make you believe that Deepak is a liar and a swindler. I have asked you to provide such sources but instead you just repeated the same line – yet expect me to do your work for you in looking up my claims. We have read different things and so come to different conclusions it seems. If you are interested in the claims I have made you are free to look it up yourself. If it does not interest you and you feel it is a waste of your time.. fair enough!

    Like

  28. (not interested in a “meta-debate” – we disagree – this is established lets leave it at that)

    Like

  29. No, stop being dishonest and weasely.
    The veracity of your claim does not rest on anything I may or may not have said.

    This is about your claim.
    Yours.
    Your words.

    Either you stand by your words or you don’t.

    …yet expect me to do your work for you in looking up my claims…

    Extraordinary.
    It’s not MY work to look up YOUR CLAIMS.
    YOU make the claim, YOU provide evidence for that claim.
    I don’t have to do a damn thing.
    Don’t try and shift the burden of proof.
    You opened your sphincter and pooped a fresh steamer on the dinner table.
    It’s your job to eat it. I had nothing to do with it.

    Given Dawkins has done the same thing when making his own documentaries he would he rather two-faced to complain TOO loudly when the same is done to him.
    (…)
    I am sure Dawkins is misrepresented. It is just a shame he does not learn from this experience and think perhaps he should not do the same to others…

    This claim of yours must fall or stand on it’s own.
    Put up or shut up.
    I don’t believe in magical balance fairies.

    not interested in a “meta-debate” – we disagree – this is established lets leave it at that
    Craven squirming. You made a false claim. You told a fib.
    I’m calling you out on it. Do the honest thing and withdraw your claim.
    There is no “meta-debate” or any such wankery.
    It’s just you and your silly claim.
    Withdraw it.

    Like

  30. We disagree. Get over it. It happens a lot on blogs :)

    Like

  31. Disgusting.
    You are a liar.
    You made a false claim and you don’t even have the good grace to withdraw it like an honest person.

    Like

  32. OK. We clearly disagree more than I thought… but again – this is the nature of blog! Don’t take it personally! :)

    Like

  33. But… just for you:

    Yes I was lying and clearly wrong – and I declare Cedric to be the “winner” of this disagreement.
    :D

    Like

Leave a Reply - please be polite to other commenters & no ad hominems.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s