Sunday, April 20, 2008

Talking to a victim of Expelled

Some of our Christian commenters are just idiots or mean-spirited trolls, but occasionally we get someone who's sincere and easily duped by the lies spewed by Ben Stein's little movie. One of these, a young woman (I assume) calling herself Verity, has commented here, and my comment, straightening out a number of the falsehoods and misconceptions she holds as a result of taking Stein at his word, follows right away.

While I have no sympathy for the fundie fanatics of the world, for the people who concoct the lies Expelled is selling to begin with, I do have sympathy for the victims of their deception, and how their view of the world is thus impoverished by trusting in ignorant ideologues like Stein, rather than in reality. Go have a look see, and comment yourself if you see any details I might have missed.

Meanwhile, the weekend estimate for Expelled is shaping up to place the movie at 9th overall, with earnings of around $3,153,000. Its per-screen average of $2,997 means that it was getting about 111 viewers a day on each of its 1,052 screens. Of course, distribution will not be even, so that means some showings each day were nearly empty while others would have been fuller. But mostly this means that Expelled had a thoroughly average opening weekend, actually a bit above average due to its being a propaganda film "documentary." But a far cry, I'd have to say, from the projected $12-15 million that Mark Mathis said was the opening he'd consider "successful." I suspect that on Monday, however, he'll have downgraded his expectations accordingly and be raving about what a blowout success the movie was.

Mostly, though, I think we can consider Expelled pretty much a blip on the "culture war" radar at this point. Hopefully now that they're done being vilified as Nazis, all of America's hard-working and underpaid scientists can get back to work now. You've earned it, gang.


  1. Nicely put, Martin. I added an additional comment about Richard Dawkins and also pointed Verity toward Ken Miller and Francis Collins, under the assumption that she--like me--probably has a Christian/theistic background.

    I know the names had already been mentioned in the thread, but I think it's very helpful for Christians to hear other Christians talk about evolution. Although this weblog disagrees with their religious convictions, Miller and Collins are scientists who believe in God--completely shattering the Steinian claim that the so-called "institution of science" has an anti-religious agenda. Miller is an especially good public speaker and "framer" of science, and his pro-science attitude and message is more pleasant, loving, and ultimately Christian than the divisive, subversive Steinian call to hate and repel evolution on grounds of tradition.

    I haven't heard Miller say much about Stein, Mathis, or Expelled on public record. While the film accuses him of being a Nazi sympathizer and uses dishonest tactics to smear his colleagues and his research, Miller, it seems, has chosen to turn the other cheek. If that kind of loving attitude isn't Christianity, then we shouldn't want to be Christians!

  2. I would be only too pleased to see more of Ken Miller's brand of Christian out there, than those fundamentalist fanatics who fill the ranks of the Discovery Institute and the ID movement as a whole. I hope Miller offers a public response to Expelled. He indicated he was interested in seeing it when he spoke here earlier this month, so I assume he has by now.


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