Thursday, 27 March 2008

Stepping on rakes

I was going to write a lengthy post about Expelled, that Russian doll of idiocy. (Truly, whenever you think you've encountered the last piece of stupidity associated with the film … oh, look! There's another piece inside.) But it renders me almost incoherent as I oscillate betweem mirth and irritation.

There's no need for me to retell the tale. And I don't think I could do it justice, anyway. It's a long and complex story with interleaved layers of irony and absurdity. For those who are not familiar with the bizarre developments over Easter, Greg Laden has harvested all the links.

This latest episode kicked off last Thursday as this post by PZ Myers explains. (Beware if you're on dial up. It attracted well over 1400 comments.) But whereas that post was hilarious — the film's production team now appear to be spending most of their time stepping on rakes while trying to control the damage — what preceded it and what follows are not.

The film purports to be about academic freedom. A very special version of academic freedom that applies only to those who believe in creationism. It does not extend to evolutionary biologists.

And there's more.

Josh Timonen saw the film last Thursday:
The film moves on to claim that Darwinism was "necessary" for Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. Stein says something like "Darwinism may not only be wrong, but it may also be dangerous." Up to this point the film has been fairly dull with poor attempts at humor, but now they're laying on emotional appeal. We see B&W footage of people opening up concentration camp ovens with bodies still inside, emaciated Jews in the camps, and so on. It is of course all very horrible to see, but the premise is so rotten it made me doubly angry. They want you to think that teaching evolution will lead to another Holocaust, basically. We see shots of Ben Stein attempting to look as if he'd just learned of the horrors of the Holocaust on-camera. Way to exploit, Ben.

To counteract that venality, here's a clip of Jacob Bronowski in The Ascent of Man. His words, by the way, were not scripted. Science is vital.


Wanderin' Weeta said...

"... that Russian doll of idiocy..."

Beautiful comparison!

Snail said...


It had to be said!

Wanderin' Weeta said...

And they've just opened up another one, and lo and behold; doll number n+1 pops out!


Snail said...

You wonder how much longer they can sustain the stupid. How can they be so incapable?

What's the betting the film goes straight to video and is distributed to church groups.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

That's a bet I won't take you up on.