20 January 2008

Christian schools: win Ben Stein's money

In the wake of the victory for common sense that was the Dover Trial and Michael Lynch's trouncing of their only paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, the Intelligent Design movement has refocused its efforts on propaganda. Specifically, the documentary Expelled, in which none other than Ben Stein will apparently argue that evil atheist scientists have "expelled" ID "theory" from its rightful place in the science curriculum. I first heard about Expelled when the New York Times reported that Richard Dawkins and NCSE's Eugenie Scott were interviewed for the film under false pretenses.

Now, ERV (SA Smith) points out a scheme to bribe Christian schools to take their students to Expelled. How pathetic is that? The producers aren't even sure that their assumed core demographic (Christian teens) will show up to this movie if they don't institute "mandatory field trips." It's also maddening to me: I went to a Mennonite high school, where I actually got a pretty good grounding in biology, and where I took the class that inspired me to pursue graduate study of evolution and ecology (Thanks, Mr. Good!). Which is to say that, even though many do, there's no reason that Christian schools have to teach pseudoscience. This Expelled initiative tries to provide exactly such a reason.

An aside: Who exactly is making Expelled, anyway? According to the Times article, the production company that arranged the interviews with Dawkins and Scott called itself Rampant Films - but it turned into Premise Media when the real nature of the project was revealed. Premise Media has a website [mind the creaky flash intro on your way in], the contents of which are concerned only with Expelled. Anyone want to bet it's a front for the Discovery Insitute?

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