Sunday, April 06, 2008

Expelled and "Truth Tickets"

I would like challenge each of my readers to buy a "Truth Ticket" related to the movie "Expelled"

A "Truth Ticket" is a donation, equal to the value of a movie ticket (let's just assume $10 as a nice round number), sent to the National Center for Science Education.

Link to NCSE Donations Page

You can make a donation only, without joining, by selecting the "Donation Only" option at the bottom of the membership/donations page.

Everybody who actually buys a ticket to the movie is contributing to the funding of ignorance in America, and to the suffering that results from people making plans based on ignorance and superstition. So, I think that it is important that, for every person who contributes to dumbing down America by buying a ticket to this movie, it is important that somebody, somewhere, purchase an offset "Truth Ticket", and send it to the National Center for Science Education, which is involved in countering the malicious and pernicious effects of those behind the movie "Expelled".

Personally, I have decided to purchase 10 tickets. I am buying a ticket for every person in my family (including my cat, who clearly has a vested interest in science-based veterinary medicine), and for a few friends and associates. Those friends and associates are people who would benefit from hearing the truth about the movie Expelled and about Intelligent Design or Evolution.

I do trust that most readers are aware of the importance of this event. Evolutionary theory sits at the root of our best advances in medicine, agriculture, and environmental studies. People live and die based on our ability to protect advances already made and to make new advances. Ignorant people make foolish choices, and foolish choices in the realm of medicine, agriculture, and environmental sciences can cost lives.

We have to think of young minds turned off to science - or who just do not get it. Not only the young minds corrupted by this influence, but their classmates who accept evolution but who do not want to get involved in a controversy.

We also need to think about the science teachers at all levels facing an increasingly hostile audience - made hostile by people who have equated any mention of evolution with the defense of Hitler.

These are not the same thing, by the way. I have mentioned before that there are people who think that the movie "Expelled" is about intelligent design and who try to respond to the movie and criticize the movie from that perspective. Those criticisms fall flat. This is because the movie is a propaganda piece, meant not to promote 'intelligent design' per say, but to promote hatred of people who do not share the religious views of those who are backing this movie. It does so by visually linking atheists and those who accept evolution with Nazis, Stalinist Russia, and anything else bad that the makers of the movie could find images of to put on the screen.

In style and structure, it has more in common with a Nazi film promoting hatred of the Jews than with a discussion of academic freedom.

Ben Stein wants to blame evolution for the Holocaust. In fact, the Holocaust was made possible by people who thought that the type of hate-mongering found in Expelled was a perfectly legitimate activity.

In telling the truth about the movie, this is a part of the truth that should be told. People should not only be told why intelligent design is not science. In the context of this movie, they should be told that the people behind the movie are fundamentally dishonest by reporting on the strings of lies that they have so far told about this movie. And they should be told that this is not a movie about the difference in intelligent design and evolution (neither of which, apparently, are defined in the movie), but an attempt to link atheists and those who believe in evolution with all things hated specifically for the purpose of promoting hatred of atheists and those who believe in evolution.

If you are a member of a club or organization that has reason to promote sound science then, for the sake of efficiency, I would like to recommend passing the hat among members of that organization and purchasing these "Truth Tickets" in bulk in the name of the organization. For example, of you are a member of a campus Free-Thought organization, I would like to propose that you start your next meeting by selling as many truth tickets as your members may want to buy, and then sending the money raised to the National Center for Science Education.

Do not forget to invite your members to purchase "Truth Tickets" for their family, friends, significant others, and whomever else they may be willing to take to such a movie, if there were such a movie to take them to.

What I would truly like to see – and what would give real hope for the future of the human race – is if we can "sell" more "Truth Tickets" to benefit the National Center for Science Education than “Expelled” sells in real tickets.

But that would take your help.


Lippard said...

I like your idea. I've purchased 15 "truth tickets" and touted your post on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I bought 4 - now I don't have to go see the stupid movie.

Chris P

Jay McHue said...

So... How does the belief that life crawled up from some primordial puddle of goo (which is really what you're defending, since ID doesn't discount evolution) benefit veterinary medicine?

Anonymous said...

Jason: Most defenders of "ID" are creationists in disguise.

As for the rest, I refer you to TalkOrigins:

Anonymous said...


Because ID rejects the scientific process in favour of dogma. ID/Creationism is so stuck on their pet idea that they are completely unable to say "Hey, you know what! We might be wrong!" And the ability to say that is perhaps the most important thing in science.

Jay McHue said...

"Most defenders of "ID" are creationists in disguise."

Sure they are. Let me guess... "cdesign proponentsists!" Right?

Jay McHue said...

"Because ID rejects the scientific process in favour of dogma. ID/Creationism is so stuck on their pet idea that they are completely unable to say "Hey, you know what! We might be wrong!" And the ability to say that is perhaps the most important thing in science."

Hey, look! Irony! Never expected that from a dogmatic evolutionist who's afraid of a little movie and thinks it will single-handedly destroy science education in America.

Lippard said...

Jason: "ID doesn't discount evolution" -- with the exception of Behe, most ID advocates do deny evolution to about the same extent that young-earth creationists do. They're willing to except variation "within a kind" (or baramin, or some other narrow biological category), but not transitions between those categories.

Anonymous said...

Jason, tell us more about the belief that life crawled up from some primordial puddle of goo.

Do you have a newsletter?

David Kessler said...

Hey, I like this idea! I smell a meme coming on...

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I bought a membership and 7 truth tickets. The guy on the phone said he had heard about the Truth Tickets and "we are pleased about that".

Anonymous said...

How does the belief that the earth revolves around the sun benefit veterinary medicine?

Nomad said...

Jason: You REALLLLLY need to get a reality check, my boy. Expelled, the movie that this is about, claims that evolution is evil and leads to Nazis and the holocaust. The movie that defends ID can only do so by attacking evolution, since they have no points to make in favor of the vacuous excuse for science that is ID.

So what's your point again? I seem to recall you were saying that most ID supporters also support evolution. So expelled does not represent ID, then? What IS this movie about then?

As to the original post, I dig the idea, but am not such a fan of "truth ticket". That sounds like the sort of Orwellian term that the Discovery Institute would have come up with to try to fleece the believing masses in order to support their work.

Jay McHue said...

I just found out from someone who saw the movie that Dawkins makes a completely fool of himself by saying that if ID were true, then it was space aliens who did it. lol! No wonder you guys hate this movie. It's completely embarrassing to you!

Martin Freedman said...

Jason I just found out from someone who saw the movie that Dawkins makes a completely fool of himself by saying that if ID were true, then it was space aliens who did it. lol! No wonder you guys hate this movie. It's completely embarrassing to you!

No this is not the reason, the reason is, as far as we can tell, that this is not a documentary with an honest attempt at legitimately explaining ID, evolutionary biology and how they relate but rather a work of propaganda, dishonestly masquerading as such a documentary, for the purposes of hate mongering against atheists.

The use of Dawkins in this propaganda or pseudo-documentary is one example. First he was deceived by the producers into his participations, that is given false reasons to participate. Given such dishonesty these producers displayed is hardly a basis to trust anything they have produced is it?

Now disregarding any editorial manipulation to dishonest ends they might have done in Dawkins' segments, your main point completely fails. What Dawkins says is not in the least bit embarrassing. If there were actual evidence for ID on this planet (and there is not but if) it could only show that
a) the most likely cause are aliens
b) the best explanation for how these aliens came about would still be the theories of evolution
c) the least likely explanation for ID would be god
Dawkins was and is quite consistent in this.

Indeed even Behe or Dembinski (one of the two) has stated that ID , if it were ever demonstrated, is at best an argument for aliens and not god. To think otherwise and think it is embarrassing to say this displays ignorance of what ID could legitimately conclude, regardless of any understanding or not of evolutionary biology.

Of course your response is just more circumstantial evidence that ID is a pseudo-science developed as an illegal ploy to insert religion qua creationism into the USA educational curriculum. Why not be honest and tell the truth about your intentions?

Unknown said...

I just bought my TruthTicket.

wiseclam said...

I'm in for $40

Lippard said...

Jason wrote: "I just found out from someone who saw the movie that Dawkins makes a completely fool of himself by saying that if ID were true, then it was space aliens who did it."

Jason, your friends were deceived by the way Dawkins was edited. He explains what he actually said in his review of the movie:

Toward the end of his interview with me, Stein asked whether I could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred. It's the kind of challenge I relish, and I set myself the task of imagining the most plausible scenario I could. I wanted to give ID its best shot, however poor that best shot might be. I must have been feeling magnanimous that day, because I was aware that the leading advocates of Intelligent Design are very fond of protesting that they are not talking about God as the designer, but about some unnamed and unspecified intelligence, which might even be an alien from another planet. Indeed, this is the only way they differentiate themselves from fundamentalist creationists, and they do it only when they need to, in order to weasel their way around church/state separation laws. So, bending over backwards to accommodate the IDiots ("oh NOOOOO, of course we aren't talking about God, this is SCIENCE") and bending over backwards to make the best case I could for intelligent design, I constructed a science fiction scenario. Like Michael Ruse (as I surmise) I still hadn't rumbled Stein, and I was charitable enough to think he was an honestly stupid man, sincerely seeking enlightenment from a scientist. I patiently explained to him that life could conceivably have been seeded on Earth by an alien intelligence from another planet (Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel suggested something similar -- semi tongue-in-cheek). The conclusion I was heading towards was that, even in the highly unlikely event that some such 'Directed Panspermia' was responsible for designing life on this planet, the alien beings would THEMSELVES have to have evolved, if not by Darwinian selection, by some equivalent 'crane' (to quote Dan Dennett). My point here was that design can never be an ULTIMATE explanation for organized complexity.

Jay McHue said...

So Dawkins is trying to save face after yet another embarrassing incident. Nothing new.

Anonymous said...

When you see Expelled by a ticket to another movie, and just walk into Expelled.

Kristine said...

I'm a member of the NSCE, but I've just upped my contribution. Great idea.

Jay McHue said...

When you see Expelled by a ticket to another movie, and just walk into Expelled.

And you people call the "Expelled" filmmakers dishonest!

Jay McHue said...

And on a blog titled "Atheist ETHICIST" to boot! The irony has flattened me like a semi.

Alonzo Fyfe said...


Actually, your comment is correct in that it is dishonest to pay to go to one film and go to another instead.

When my wife and I go to the movies, we go to a milti-plex and typically see two or three movies in a day. We pay for all the movies we see - sometimes coming up to the ticket taker from inside the theater to give him our tickets.

However, please note the bigotry of your statement. One person proposed a dishonest act, and you decide to condemn everybody. That's a bit like reading about a black person robbing a convenience store, and then making a comment about how all black people are crooks.

How about directing your comment at the specific person who suggested the action and foregoing the bigoted overgeneralizations.

EvolutionaryBiologist said...

I loved your idea and I created a group on Facebook (the social networking site) to tout the inspiration. Hopefully it will inspire many donations!!

Also, I want to bring people's attention to the creation museum:

Anonymous said...

Jason: You have demonstrated your prejudiced ignorance of the subject enough already You started off by associating evolutionary theory with "crawling out of the goo", a classic creationist misconception about evolution. They you claimed that "We" hate the movie because Dawkin's looks like as ass in it, as if Dawkin's or anyone elses personal behavior is scientific evidence. Then (as noted above) you dishonestly associated one anonymous person's comment with the community at large.

You appear to have no interest in dialogue or the open exchange of information at all. I believe that's what the kids these days call "trolling".

Anonymous said...

Jason - While I see where you are going with this and do agree with the part of the film that says ID should be up for debate, as scientists in the past have used their religious beliefs to help them better understand their science...

you're really making a fool out of yourself and those of us who actually support the thought of "ID" being accepted.

As for myself - I feel that Intelligent Design is given a bad rap and do believe it is greatly looked down upon. I'm not a scientist of any kind, but I simply can't understand why people condemn the thought of it so quickly (and don't tell me they don't cause that would be a lie.) As soon as someone mentions that someone or something could have created the earth - we're made out to be inferior beings who know nothing more than how to spell their name or eat a sandwich.

We're called stupid, ignorant, arrogant, idiots, etc. all because we SUGGEST that maybe there is something that created us and the earth.

What's really interesting to me is that people have a complete fundamentalist view of this whole matter as well. If you support ID then you say that nothing evolutionary could of happened but if you support darwin then you say that nothing ID could have happened.

What about the people who believe ID and science could actually work, hand in hand? People who think that science is an awesome thing and if people want to believe in ID as a part of it - then they should be allowed to without fearing their jobs.

but if people don't want to believe - then that's okay too. As long as progress in science is being made - then it shouldn't matter.

I went a little far in the writing of this though - my main concern was more about Jason making people who believe both can work together and that mankind, if we could simply look beyond our personal beliefs (as our writer makes seen in another writing - if on an island do you say God or no God...or where do we get water?) and actually look at human beings as just that. Human beings. People that are like us and feel and think.

Jason...stop being a jerk. Seriously. If you can start a sophisticated debate - then do it, otherwise - stop trying to be someone who thinks they're doing something great by throwing one little thing in their face and declaring yourself the intellectual champion.

To everyone else, much respect. I hope you will go see the movie for yourselves just so you aren't writing based on what reviews or other people say.

I thank those of you who read this and hope you know that I don't want to bash anyone. I just wanted to say my part, that's all.

Anonymous said...

I do want to quckly say though that - there are some people who have definitely given you all reason to call people who support ID stupid, ignorant, idiots, etc because people are very ignorant and do not want to accept that what they are saying is wrong.

Because of those people - I say I am sorry. I'm not a fan of those people either and I wanted you to know that so that no one misunderstands some of my comments. I tried to write them to the best I could without any condemnation and hope that I succeeded.

Hatred begetting hatred just doesn't work for me and I simply want to speak peacefully and with respect to the writer and those who are frequent readers and commentors. Again...thank you.

Anonymous said...

i swear...last comment - but i read over what I wrote after I commented and theres a huge typo mistake in one paragraph...

"I went a little far in the writing of this though - my main concern was more about Jason making people who believe both can work together and that mankind, if we could simply look..."

What I meant was that my concern was about Jason making people who believe in ID or believe that both can work together look like arrogant tricksters who run to the table and shout something irritating to cause a fuss...then run and hide from it so they don't get into trouble.

Then i went on to say that I hope people on both sides can start to look at each other as human beings and start working together instead of fighting about something that will never have a complete answer...debate will always be there. Instead of dividing ourselves...I hope to see people working together.

Cool. Hope I cleared that one up. I'm tired of writing now. I need a nap.

Anonymous said...

Matt - cheers! :) I wish more people were like you. And thank you for putting the moderate position in perspective again, based on my upbringing and location I run into far too many fundamentalists and I sometimes forget that swell people like you are still around as well.

Anonymous said...

Matt, the reason that ID gets such a 'bad press' and is dismissed so readily is that there are only really two groups of ID proponents:

1) Creationists in disguise.

2) People who genuinely advocate a non-religious ID 'theory' that is vague in the extreme. It basically says 'an unknown being, of unknown origins, of unknown nature, designed and created life by an unknown method, at a time in the past we're not quite sure of, for an unknown purpose', and basically have to deny large amounts of evidence and quite substantial portions of the scientific progress we've made in the last hundred years or so in favor of this vague 'theory'.

Jason said...

Hi, this is Jason here, it's been a year and I've evolved. I no longer believe in intelligent design.

Martin Freedman said...

Hi Jason

"Hi, this is Jason here, it's been a year and I've evolved. I no longer believe in intelligent design."


faithlessgod (aka "martino")

Graham said...

There is one possibility that you have all overlooked. it is this: That the makers of this film are under mind-control by space-aliens, or are perhaps space-aliens in disguise; aliens bent on conquest (also perhaps with a wicked sense of humour) who wish to sow discord among humanity, setting us as enemies against one another, and to undermine scientific education and technological progress, so that they may in due course invade Earth with impunity.

Can any of you prove it is not so?
I think my theory deserves equal time with all the others.
And if I am denied it, I will know that the evil conspiracy of the aliens is to blame!

inchirieri apartamente cluj said...

For me it wasn't such a great movie. I have read some critics about Stein and I don't see why everyone is getting so mad about him saying Darwinism can't explain gravity and thermodynamics. Stein is obviously correct in this respect.

Dvo said...

Matt- I understand what you are saying. But ID, at it's core, is not science. It is religion. You can't test for ID, you can only believe it or not believe it. So if you want ID taught, go to church or start your own. The debate about whether evolution was guided by God or not is a Scientific matter. Keep your religion out of my Science, and I'll keep my Science out of your religion. Deal?